Can all politicians be accused of fraud for lying?

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If there’s one word to describe what everyone might wish Washington would stop producing, it’s “unprecedented.” Yet here we go again, with special counsel Jack Smith’s unprecedented indictment of a politician for engaging in “a conspiracy to defraud the United States.” Be prepared for this new and startlingly elastic precedent to ensnare plenty of others.

That’s the biggest problem with Mr. Smith’s latest broadside against Donald Trump, on top of its untested legal theories and evidence of a Justice Department double standard.

Take Mr. Trump out of the equation and consider more broadly what even the New York Times calls Mr. Smith’s “novel approach.” A politician can lie to the public, Mr. Smith concedes. Yet if that politician is advised by others that his comments are untruthful and nonetheless uses them to justify acts that undermine government “function,” he is guilty of a conspiracy to defraud the country. Dishonest politicians who act on dubious legal claims? There aren’t enough prisons to hold them all.


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Chuck comes from a lineage of journalism. He has written for some of the webs most popular news sites. He enjoys spending time outdoors, bull riding, and collecting old vinyl records. Roll Tide!