Bannon was arrested on Thursday and charged in Manhattan federal court with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering. The charges, which carry a prison sentence of up to 20 years, stemmed from his alleged misuse of funds donated to build a wall on the US border with Mexico.
He’s hardly the first Trump associate to be hauled off in handcuffs, and while liberals celebrated the indictment with a social media victory lap, conservatives cried foul at what they saw as one-sided prosecution of their “side” – particularly with regard to New York’s Southern District Court.
Democrats commit fraud, too, they pointed out, zeroing in on former president and first lady Bill and Hillary Clinton and their Clinton Foundation nonprofit – a “pay to play slush fund,” as one commenter described it. Many argued that the Clintons were protected by the “obviously corrupt” New York courts.
Several users reminded the crusading New York district attorney that – according to former Clinton campaign director John Podesta’s emails, at least – Clinton Foundation funds paid for Chelsea Clinton’s wedding.
Some brought up still more Democrats who’d skated on crimes they should have been indicted for…
…while others warned an even more partisan “justice” system was coming under a Joe Biden administration.
While the Clinton Foundation has an A rating from Charity Watch – as its defenders repeatedly mentioned on Twitter – it’s long been accused of staggering levels of corruption, and not just by conservatives with a partisan axe to grind. After 18 months probing the Foundation’s finances, Wall Street analyst Charles Ortel reported the organization had taken in “illegal private gains of approximately $100 billion” between 1997 and 2016. The overlap between Foundation donors and recipients of Clinton’s political largesse as Secretary of State – including over a dozen foreign governments – is difficult to dismiss, though the political power couple’s defenders have certainly tried.
However, little has come of Trump’s 2016 campaign pledge to “lock her up.” A federal corruption probe into the Clinton Foundation reportedly wound up earlier this year without charges recommended, while a House hearing similarly went nowhere despite explosive testimony from a pair of forensic investigators insisting they had proof the NGO has long acted as a de facto “foreign agent” dedicated not so much to charity as “advancing the personal interests of its principals.” Those investigators also weighed in on the Bannon indictment on Thursday, questioning why the Clinton Foundation wasn’t being held to account.
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