The Manhattan trial of Donald Trump begins in earnest this week, but the verdict is already in: prosecutors and the judge are guilty of election interference.

I know that’s true because The New York Times said so.

Well, the Gray Lady didn’t put it exactly that way, but a Friday headline hinted at the injustice by declaring: “Trump on Trial vs. Biden on the Trail: An Unusual 2024 Stretch Begins.”

Calling the situation “Unusual” is one way to describe the fact that the incumbent is free to use Air Force One to hit the swing states while the challenger is effectively strapped to a chair during a ginned-up criminal trial.

Among other and better word choices The Times could have used are “outrageous” and “corrupt.”

Those get to the heart of Democrats’ effort to rig the election in Biden’s favor by weaponizing law enforcement and the courts.

The aim is any or all of the following: tie Trump down, dirty him up, bankrupt him and lock him up.

The only thing they’ve failed at is knocking him off election ballots, and only because the Supreme Court said no dice.

Biden milked his advantage during his trip to Pennsylvania, where he was unsparing in his attacks on his incapacitated rival.

He visited his version of Abe Lincoln’s log cabin by going to his childhood hometown of Scranton where, The Times dutifully reported, he argued that “voters faced a choice on the economy between ‘Scranton values or Mar-a-Lago values.’ ”

Hollow pitch to voters

You have to wonder what the good people of Scranton really think of the Big Guy’s family values, and whether they approve of the millions in dirty money the Bidens got from China and other adversaries.

The Times didn’t ask.

In Philadelphia, the newspaper said the president used the endorsements of members of the Kennedy family to link the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy to Trump’s vision of “anger, hate, revenge and retribution.”

That’s below the belt, but The Times didn’t scold Biden.

Imagine if Trump did that.

This is the stuff of banana republics, and it’s no longer over the horizon.

The kind of election meddling Americans associate with third-world kleptocracies is here and now.

With wars in Europe and the Mideast, the planet could use a stable, trusted democracy of the kind America used to have.

But the Trump cases prove we’ve entered a new, dark era where government power is openly abused for partisan purposes.

The Manhattan charges are so blatantly cooked up it’s hard to believe a trial is really happening.

In fact, until the indictment, I assumed the whole thing was an MSNBC fever dream that would never see the light of day.

Even after the charges were announced, I held out hope New York courts would be adults and blow the whistle.

After all, Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg didn’t describe how he managed to turn a series of alleged bookkeeping misdemeanors in 2016 into alleged felonies now.

But hopes for a fairer court system disappeared when state Attorney General Letitia James got away with bringing her absurd civil case against the former president.

The fact that she had campaigned on a pledge to target Trump should have been enough to get the case thrown out.

Instead, she managed to steer it to a Gong Show judge who accepted her concocted claim of fraudulent damages, and gleefully added some of his own to raise the total to nearly $500 million — in a case where there were no victims!

Tish’s portfolio grab

While James lusted after which Trump properties she might seize first — maybe an office tower, maybe a golf course — a hint of sanity finally appeared when an appeals court reduced Trump’s bond from the full amount to $175 million.

Yet that sent James into a new jihad rage.

She’s now challenging the ability of the bond company to cover the $175 million and demanded a new insurer be found or default be declared so she could start seizing properties.

So at a time when New York is overrun with rampant violence that is chasing away taxpayers and businesses, two of its top prosecutors are chasing their white whale, who happens to be their party’s top opponent.

The judge in the Manhattan case is also suspect. Justice Juan M. Merchan, previously little known, is an instant celebrity on the left in part because his daughter is a Democratic activist who worked for California Rep. Adam Schiff, a Trump tormenter.

Like daughter, like father?

The obvious conflict of interest should have led Merchan to recuse himself, but he refused.

The media is fine with that because convicting Trump is more important than a fair trial and public trust in the courts.

None of this is especially new because we are in the eighth year of Dems going around voters to dirty up the opposition.

These are the only rules they abide by, while Republicans remain addicted to circular firing squads.

Although the left’s first big weaponization of politics, the 2016 phony Russia collusion story peddled by Hillary Clinton and amplified by The Times and other leftist outlets, failed to change the election, it sabotaged much of Trump’s term.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe went on so long, and involved so many damaging leaks, that it helped Dems win the House in the 2018 midterms.

After getting the gavel, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Schiff drummed up a phony impeachment over a Trump phone call with the president of Ukraine, further weakening his quest for a second term.

Having proved effective, the harassment hasn’t stopped, as illustrated by the sham Manhattan trial.

Three prosecutors, plus the Federal Election Commission, rejected the case as too weak, including Bragg before he caved into leftist pressure to bring it.

Indictment indifference

This is historic, but nowhere in the cheerleading media will you find concerns that America survived 44 former presidents without indicting a single one after he left office.

But #45 is different.

Indeed, he’s so different that he faces four criminal trials, plus the James civil case — all brought by Democrats.

And he’s the threat to democracy!

Trump is no angel, but there is no evidence that, while in office, he demanded that his opponents be prosecuted.

But Biden did exactly that.

Two years ago, The Times reported that Biden wanted Attorney General Merrick Garland to prosecute Trump.

The partisan AG soon obeyed, indicting Trump not in one case, but in two.

Think of it as a belt-and-suspenders effort to make sure Biden’s opponent would be tied down in court and smeared even if acquitted.

The New York and Georgia criminal cases add another back-up — state convictions are pardon-proof, so a President Trump couldn’t exonerate himself.

It’s all part of an election strategy the media shamefully embraces.

Here’s an example from The Times’ Friday story:

“Campaigning across the country, Mr. Biden looks like a conventional presidential candidate. Sitting in a courtroom, Mr. Trump looks like a criminal defendant.”

Mission accomplished.

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