America has experienced former presidents strongly criticized, personally maligned, one prematurely pardoned (Nixon), one deposed in a civil trial (Clinton), and one – a very popular one – sued for libel (Theodore Roosevelt, he won). But America has never indulged arresting a former President – for anything, let alone disagreement over a private civil suit. The effect could be enormous.
In short, America has long sought to keep a tight rein on how we use the enormous coercive power of the federal government, including every level of prosecutorial power. While “no one is above the law,” we expect a special focus on due process, detail, proportionality, and avoiding any perception of political persecution of former political actors by their successors. Misuse of prosecutorial power is dark.
But what are we seeing? For transparently political reasons, a vendetta settling, we are watching the erosion of America’s highly prized reputation for not abusing legal process for political gain. We are watching the next act in a reckless pursuit by leftist political actors – now pervasive in prosecutors’ offices – of Donald Trump, and all who appreciate his fight for prosperity and freedoms.
After all, a sitting president – Mr. Biden – went out of his way, while sitting on a truckload of hidden and classified documents – to call half of America “enemies of the people,” a truly dark turn. What began in 2016 as a public distaste for Trump’s brand of “in your face” politics, which tends to be personal, sometimes arrogant, turned into fear of Trump’s potentially disruptive effect on the bureaucracy.
That fear, which spawned what we now know to be bold misuse of the Justice Department, FBI, FISA court, and investigative tools throughout 2016, became desperate when Trump won. From 2016 until the end of his term, Democrat operatives abetted bipartisan actors in Congress and the media, knowingly developed and promoted a false and intentionally damaging political narrative.
Specifically, they used every tool – some legal, some illegal, some traditional, some absurdly untraditional (like snap impeachments) – to derail, delay, vilify, and demonize this president.
Not someone to take unjust criticism lightly, Mr. Trump – feeling unfairly treated – fought back, using the airwaves and social media. He cooperated with but disdained the unjust appointment of a special prosecutor, who ultimately cleared him.
Trump declassified and released data to show he faced wrong-headed, but well-orchestrated, leftist and Democrat misuse of federal resources for surveillance, misrepresentations before FISA, and other. All this was compounded by COVID-19, a “likely” Chinese origin virus, which upended the social and political order, created more fear, led to more blame-casting, and occurred in Trump’s final year.
The political vilification of Mr. Trump then took off like a rocket when he encouraged raucous protestors on January 6th, films of which now stunningly contradict much of what Democrats contended.
Never mind. The idea that Mr. Trump had to be vilified, was a good target for “what ailed the nation,” that he must be repudiated – despite a remarkable economic and national security record – and replaced with the “woke” (Marxist, racist, socialist, gender-dismantling) agenda, took root.
Fear has again rocked the left, as reality has set in: Trump has a following more concerned about the country, preserving rule of law, freedoms, free markets, and the Bill of Rights – than his style. This fear began to rise as Trump indicated…he might run, again.
Stunningly, in retrospect embarrassingly, the “January 6th Committee” – configured like the French Revolution’s Committee on Public Safety – issued a scathing, highly personal, subjective, and selective report on Donald Trump, fanning political hatreds on both sides.
Then the Biden Justice Department – which later found a boatload of classified documents hidden by Biden, some perhaps tied to his China-hired son – deployed 30 highly armed, unnecessarily hostile FBI agents to raid Mr. Trump’s home, where they pawed through the former First Lady’s garments, turned the place upside down for nine hours, and got a handful of innocuous documents for their efforts.
Again, the steam of political corruption rose form that event, and drifted to all corners of the blogosphere, social media, pumped by Democrat politicians, as if law no longer matters. The warrant used was either “general” – illegal under the 4th Amendment, or “specific” but wildly violated, in either case unjustified, together with that belligerent raid.
Turn the page, and we watch Biden’s White House – strangely linked by money to China and Ukraine –doing backflips to condemn Trump’s policies, reversing even common sense, because it was his.
And NOW, we have a Democrat establishment clapping and nodding as a petty indictment –transparently political in nature, disgrace to US history, tradition, and rule of law – is rolled out to nobble the former President, presumably to destroy his attempt to run again, against corruption.
Bottom line: This is not going to turn out well for those who still, after seven unproductive years, aim to end Trump’s political career and silence him. He is not of the traditional personality type found in presidents like Eisenhower, Reagan, or GHB Bush. But he does not quit.
Moreover, this indictment may make Trump the posterchild – or poster candidate – for fighting public corruption, and the seemingly unstoppable “woke” revolution that is afoot. People feel government is crushing them, aided by media. Many see an absence of accountability, feel Democrat leaders are hurting more than helping. Trump may now become the symbol of fighting all that, standing indisputably for those who feel marginalized. The effect could be enormous.
Robert Charles is a former Assistant Secretary of State under Colin Powell, former Reagan and Bush 41 White House staffer, attorney, and naval intelligence officer (USNR). He wrote “Narcotics and Terrorism” (2003), “Eagles and Evergreens” (2018), and is National Spokesman for AMAC.