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Jack Smith’s Jan. 6 Indictments Are an Attack on Political Speech

Posted on Friday, August 4, 2023
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by Outside Contributor
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Indictments

If recklessly lying to voters were a crime, most everyone in D.C. would be serving life in solitary confinement at Supermax. But in a liberal democracy, as frustrating as it often is, political misconduct is settled by voters and elections, not partisan prosecutors or rioters.

Feel free to campaign and vote against Donald Trump if you like. I’m certainly no fan. If Trump wins in 2024, Congress can impeach and remove him if they choose. But just as there was no special set of rules that could keep Trump in the White House in 2020, there shouldn’t be an exclusive set of rules to keep him out, either.

Yet Special Counsel Jack Smith’s indictments over Jan 6 read like a political oppo document cobbled together by some partisan House staffers who perfunctorily tacked on the last-minute novel legal reasoning.

Though numerous commentators who have an aversion to Trump have pointed out the weakness of the indictments, it’s quite telling how little media-approved historians and legal “experts” even bother defending the underlying legal case. Trump is evil, a threat to “democracy,” and really what else is there to discuss? In the Trump-addled politics of our age, it is virtually impossible for either side to compartmentalize the process and the person if that person happens to be Trump.

In this case, the precedent would criminalize and chill political speech. People keep assuring me the indictments aren’t really about the expression but rather about defrauding the government. Sorry, the entire case is predicated on the things Trump said or believed or didn’t say or didn’t believe. All of it should be protected under the First Amendment. “Spreading lies” – prosecutors leaned on the thesaurus hard, finding about two dozen ways of repeating this fact – or entertaining theories offered by crackpot lawyers, or trying to convince faithless electors to do things that people have been trying to convince faithless electors to do for a long time, are all unethical, not criminal.

Nowhere do the indictments come anywhere in the vicinity of making the case that Trump incited “imminent lawless action” on Jan 6. At least no more than, say, the entire Democratic Party had a hand in inciting the 2020 Black Lives Matter riots – the most destructive in American history. This is a dangerous road to go down.

Yes, Trump’s Mar-a-Lago classified documents case is an exercise in the selective use of power for political ends, but it has a basis in law and recent precedent. (Not for Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden, but for others.) This, however, isn’t about mere double standards anymore.

When, in 2000, the Supreme Court finally stopped Al Gore’s conspiracy to overturn the outcome of the presidential election, no serious person contemplated throwing him or his lackeys in prison. Since that time, Democrats haven’t only been lying about elections, they have tried to stop the certification of every national election as well.

When they fail, people like Adam Schiff will use a DNC political oppo document to concoct a conspiracy, illegally leaking classified documents – in carefully curated snippets to mislead the country – to overturn the will of the American voter. This effort also resulted in expensive investigations that defrauded the American people.

The point isn’t that we should imprison Gore – or Stacey Abrams or Hillary Clinton or Ron Klain or John Kerry or Bennie Thompson or Barbara Lee or Maxine Waters or Raul Grijalva or James Clyburn or Ed Markey or Nancy Pelosi, or many others who have tried in various ways to challenge election results in the past. It’s to say that Trump’s actions laid out in the indictments aren’t crimes, either.

Perhaps Smith doesn’t really expect Trump to end up in prison over any of these indictments. As his foray into the partisan prosecution of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, overturned 8-0 by the Supreme Court, this case is grounded on a “boundless” reading of statute. The law isn’t the point. The point is likely to make Jan. 6 – and hysterical claims about American democracy’s near demise – the centerpiece of the 2024 election.

Granted, allowing Joe Biden’s record to be the central issue of that 2024 campaign is potentially disastrous for Democrats. These indictments, however, create a deterioration of law that Americans will have to live with long after the next presidential election.

David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist. Harsanyi is a nationally syndicated columnist and author of five books — the most recent, “Eurotrash: Why America Must Reject the Failed Ideas of a Dying Continent.” His work has appeared in National Review, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Reason, New York Post and numerous other publications. Follow him on Twitter @davidharsanyi.

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PaulE
PaulE
11 months ago

The exact same strategies and tactics that are commonly used by authoritarian regimes all around the world, to attack and then systematically eliminate their political opposition from the field, are now being openly used here in the United States by the Democrats. All as the MSM, which is nothing more than the propaganda arm of the Democrat Party, cheers it all on as “protecting our democracy”. Which is of course laughable, if it weren’t such a milestone for where this country has descended to.

None of this is of course an accident, but rather it is all intentional and has been executed exactly in the same way in countries such as Brazil and Turkey within the last few months by the regimes in charge. If most Americans were more interested in things beyond the pablum the MSM feeds them on a daily basis, they would know all this and see that the same tactics are being employed here. The Democrat Party, which today is nothing more than a reflection of the combined American socialist and communist groups that took it over decades ago, is simply following the same Marxist playbook used throughout the world to eliminate any credible threat to the regime in power.

I am of course less concerned with what Jack Smith and the other corrupt foot soldiers of the regime are doing, than in the fact that the sheep continue to sit passively by and simply continue to watch this country sinking to new lows with each passing day. It’s like watching a bad, low budget B grade movie on one of the non-descript streaming services. You know what is going to happen within 10 minutes of the start of the film and marvel that anyone spent money to produce this junk before you switch to another channel.

Philip Seth Hammersley
Philip Seth Hammersley
11 months ago

Trump, like Reagan, didn’t listen to the “experts” who have been WRONG so many times! “Experts” deleted “Tear down this wall” at least twice but Reagan kept putting it back in. It was a CLEAR signal for FREEDOM. Trump ignored the “experts” who said “Don’t talk with N. Korea” but he did and it stopped their provocative actions. The “experts” are a bunch of narcissistic people who THINK they are smarter than us normal people!!

W T
W T
11 months ago

Smith is just another flunky reaching for the brass ring.
Frivolous charges from the past with different descriptions is a waste of our Taxpayers $$$
and most of all a needed distraction from biden enterprises

Rik
Rik
11 months ago

Speech is Not Free under Communism! And Communism is what today’s Democratic Party Leadership is NOW SELLING!

Oldrealist
Oldrealist
11 months ago

The more they attack Trump, the more I trust him to destroy back stabbing RINOs and deep state liberals.
TRUMP THEN
TRUMP NOW
TRUMP IN JAIL
TRUMP FOREVER

Thinking
Thinking
11 months ago

This election is not about fair and free election it is a mandate election for sloppy to be elected with 95% of the vote. Their whole plan is to destroy America and make it a third world global country.

Tai Chi Rich
Tai Chi Rich
11 months ago

I see all this rhetoric about what we all know is happening but I don’t see any plans to fix it. I’m pretty sure the founding fathers would have been shooting by now.

Arthur Pavis
Arthur Pavis
11 months ago

Bravo David Harsanyi! Great piece that illustrates how political hacks who are now “running” the country with corruption, fraud and the weaponized Department of (In)Justice.
We the People must take our country back and together help restore our Founding and Constitutional principles to this nation.

Jerry
Jerry
11 months ago

In the first paragraph the writer makes a common mistake that unfortunately a lot of others make these days when he says “But in a liberal democracy”. We are not a democracy we are a constitutional republic that has some democratic features. The more democratic we become the more confused and weak we become.

Mar
Mar
11 months ago

This is Election interference in your Face!rhino Republicans and Evil Democrats are working together to destroy the 2024 elections. DEFUND Jack Smith. He has no right to use American hard earn money to Abuse an American Citizen!

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
11 months ago

Someday, these ppl are going to keep poking and prodding half of America too much and they’re really going to get the”insurrection” they keep calling that little tiff on January 6th.

Elaine
Elaine
11 months ago

I am amazed at how forgetful people are, they do not seem to remember the end of 2021 how strong our economy was with low the interest rates to enable affordable mortgages, our emergency oil reserves were in storage, the oil industry was producing enough that met our usage needs so we didn’t have to purchase foreign oil, the dollar was strong, our allies were loyal and worked together with us against our enemies. The tyrants were not rattling their sabers as loudly as they are now and it seemed there was some restraint in threatening us with a “New World Order” and putting the middle class (which carries the most of the tax burden) out of existence. All we hear now is FEAR of a food shortage, power shortage, limitations on our freedom to travel, etc. There is distrust of the government agencies and our medical workers have not been supported in their training because the politicians and insurance corporations have torn down the trust between patients and doctors with their $$$decisions.
The current administrations had promised to unify the country, but they have put up more divisive propaganda so there can’t be any civil exchanges of ideas…it is their way or the highway!
I want my Country back that allowed the Ten Commandants, prayer in schools, the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, the Stars and Stripes displayed in every school classroom, the teaching of reading, writing (especially cursive) and arithmetic with the old fashioned 2+2=4 (no new math).

Samuel
Samuel
11 months ago

… to such extent do the Bidens, the Obamas and the Clintons have our policy community bought off, hopelessly corrupted, they can pretty much do whatever they want. No one can do a darned thing about it. Things are so Bad in Washington DC, they’ve even got Kevin McCarthy, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Mitch McConnell, feeding off the Bejing Biden gravy train –

David Millikan
David Millikan
11 months ago

Excellent article.

Charles Palumbo
Charles Palumbo
11 months ago

Note how conveniently Jack(boot) Smith left out the part of President Trump’s speech:
“I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capital building to PEACEFULLY and PATRIOTICALLY make your voices heard.”
Lexington & Concord II is very, very near
I pray that I am wrong

granky
granky
11 months ago

When our government can arrest us for saying an election may have been rigged, we no longer live in a free society.

RossX
RossX
11 months ago

The democrat party DID have a major hand in the 2020 phony Floyd riots. Vast majority of it was in blue state cites. Pelosi,.. when asked about all the violence said, “I don’t care what they do,…….AND,…. they do what they do”!

2004done
2004done
11 months ago

Oldrealist: I trust him to TRY, but my jury is still out on just how powerful the “Deep State”/ MSM/ communist subversion is, compared to whether WeThePeople will finally notice and stand against the bootheels that have appeared at our throats.

Gary
Gary
11 months ago

Very interesting article. So, why don’t we have some Republican AGs or DAs go after the likes of Al Gore and Hillary Clinton . Why do Republicans just continue stepping back from a fight . The Democrats did not wait even two minutes to try to impeach Trump. So, what are we waiting for . Congress should impeach Biden , Garland , and the other crooks , AND , local AGs and DAs should likewise start attacking Democrats . If Repubs don’t the Democrats will only go after Republicans more and more. All they know is power . We are under attack and NO ONE is doing anything about it .

Lawrence Greenberg
Lawrence Greenberg
11 months ago

Like the good Communist – er, I mean Democrat – he is, Jack Smith has spent his entire career working toward shredding our Constitution and ending the individual rights and freedoms it guarantees to our citizens, while at the same time protecting those, like himself, who are working toward destroying this nation and everything for which it stands. He should be charged accordingly and treated as appropriate for his crimes.

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
11 months ago

An attack on all MAGA alone

Cb
Cb
11 months ago

What a narcissist smuck!

Chuck
Chuck
11 months ago

The author says “I am no fan of Trump”. There is a thread running through the republican camp whereas it has almost become vogue to say “I don’t like how he says….what he did way back…” etc. The only question you need to answer when you speak or go to the polls is who do the dems, liberals, socialists, communists, deep staters fear so much that they will pull out all stops to stop that person from running!! Vote with your head, not your heart.

Traditionalist Patriot
Traditionalist Patriot
11 months ago

The terminally flawed biased MSM will applaud everything that Jack Smith does in tandem with applause for the Washington, D.C. swamp legal system. President Trump deserves a change of venue due to the political assault against him from the Biden Justice System.

Melinda
Melinda
11 months ago

It’s not about convicting Trump, it’s about stopping him from becoming President again, by any and all means.

Steven
Steven
11 months ago

Isn’t it interesting that these continuous charges and indictments against Trump coincide with the negative news coming out against Joe & Hunter Biden and their corrupt business dealings with our enemies? Not that the media would report on the devastating revelations coming out of the Congressional Hearings going on with Hunter Biden’s former business partner. I wonder how many of these investigations and indictments we would see if the DNC had to pay for them without taxpayer money?

fpatriot
fpatriot
11 months ago

Jack Smith and Joe Bidumb are an attack on free speech which was guaranteed under the Constitution, before Bidumb!

Gabe Hanzeli kent wa
Gabe Hanzeli kent wa
11 months ago

Of course they are. the charges are not even based on a law. if any of the things they charged trump with were laws biden would have been guilty of they Jan 21st after he signed his EO’s that destoryed america.

jocko
jocko
11 months ago

DEPORT ALL liberals, illegals AND THE ONCE HONORABLE, fbi, doj, cia, secret service TO THE NEW AUSCHWITZ, STAT, FOR ROAS……. TO MAGA

Robin W Boyd
Robin W Boyd
11 months ago

Most everything the current DOJ does is an attack on American citizens in one way or another. These witch hunts against Trump compared to the total lack of focus on the way others in government are committing criminal acts makes the U.S. look like a third world Dictatorship nation.

Joanne 4 justice
Joanne 4 justice
11 months ago

Jack Smith is a bad actor in a B grade scandalous science fiction movie !

Joanne 4 justice
Joanne 4 justice
11 months ago

Jack Smith should pursue the restoration of basic law and order in America instead of focusing on prosecuting innocent Americans embroiled in political scandal.

Garyk
Garyk
11 months ago

Jack Smith it’s obvoius, is a political hack, nothing more than a flunky supported by the marxist democrat party as a distraction to their destruction and fleecing of obvious.
President Trump has been denegrated,lied about and they’ve attempted to illegally falsify evidence to convict him and prevent him from saving America.
Tell me who’s the criminal, a President who placed America First or the lying,corrupt,divisive, hateful,self serving marxist democrat party??
What’s really important is America’s future, and the marxist democrat party has done NOTHING to make it better for ALL Americans like President Trump did!
Wake up People , YOUR life,future and that of YOUR Children,Grandchildren and beyond have a choice- A Great America or loss of God,freedom,morals and a future with the marxist democrat party’s destruction????
You better think long and hard because YOUR future depends on it!

Tim Toroian
Tim Toroian
11 months ago

This dumbass and his bosses don’t comprehend that they are setting a precedent that can be used on them?

James Carlyle
James Carlyle
11 months ago

Jack Smith has demonstrated that he does not believe in the Constitution nor the Bill of Rights of our Republic. He is a subversive who serves at the whim of the current regime-another Apparatchik similar to the “Secretary’s” appointed to every Federal Agency/ Department now in existence.- Defense. State, Energy, Commerce, Education, Homeland Security, Treasury, The Fed,”Justice”,Agriculture, “Health”, EPA/, Labor, FTC, Veterans Affairs, Defense,and 32 others sucking off the Taxpaers of this country.

Terry Hurlburt
Terry Hurlburt
11 months ago

JACK SMITH DOESN’T KNOW JACK SH*T ABOUT THE LAW. He only knows how to bend or break it.

Inquirer
Inquirer
11 months ago

Step by step, the Left is imposting a 1984 type environment on the American people.
Their malice will be irreversible.

Silhouette of the President of the United States of America Donald Trump while attending a conference
1960s and 2020s; history repeats itself
Helena, Montana / November 3, 2020: Woman election official directing voter where to park and vote, man in vehicle holding ballot, voting from car outside polling station, poll worker
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