A Blog on Politics, Principles, and Uncovering the Narrative

Category: Corruption

The Corrupt Defense of Donald Trump

The thing that is most telling about the many reactions by Trump and other republicans: none of them are stating that Trump didn’t do what he is being charged with.

However, they are saying lots of other stuff.

Here is a blow-by-blow dismantling of the defenses used by Trump and other republicans against his indictment:

The first and foremost of the objections:

This is the weaponization of federal law enforcement and government.

If you are “weaponizing government,” it means that you are using government powers to attack your political enemies for things they did not do, or for things they would normally not be punished for.

An excellent example of the weaponization of federal law enforcement and government would be what happened to Hillary Clinton regarding both Benghazi and the email issue. There were six different republican House committee investigations (and four others in government as well) on Benghazi, one after another after another.

What’s more, Kevin McCarthy himself admitted that their goal was weaponization—that the purpose of the investigations were to erode public trust in Hillary Clinton so as to make her unelectable:

Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s untrustable. But no one would have known any of that had happened, had we not fought.

That’s weaponization.

The same can be said of Hillary Clinton’s emails; several officials in the Bush 43 and Trump administrations did the exact same things with email accounts as Clinton did, but it was Clinton who was endlessly investigated, not just by republicans in Congress, but the FBI, culminating in republican FBI head James Comey violating the Hatch Act and making a completely unnecessary but completely damning-sounding announcement 11 days before the election in a manner that clearly changed the election’s outcome.

That’s weaponization.

Hillary committed no crimes and was cleared of all accusations of criminal activity. And it was not just the FBI which said that, it was the republican investigations as well. But they never cared about that, as their true goal was to make Hillary unelectable, and they succeeded.

On the other hand, what has happened with Trump is completely different. The investigations did not spring from spurious political claims without evidence; all come from direct evidence of Trump committing a number of crimes. The Biden Department of Justice showed great reluctance to move forth with any investigations, and it was not until nearly two years after Trump left office that a special prosecutor was named, and it took him eight months to bring charges.

That’s not weaponization. It’s an overcautious slow-walk in reaction to blatant illegal actions resulting in an indictment based on manifestly blatant crimes with an unmistakably powerful foundation of facts and evidence proving the indictment just.


Donald Trump is being prosecuted for the same crimes committed by Joe Biden

No, he’s not. Had Trump done what Biden did—immediately hand over all documents upon realizing he had them—then  Trump would not have been prosecuted. In fact, Trump knew he had the documents all along, oversaw which documents he would take, and knew it was wrong to take them, but even then, had Trump responded to the request by the National Archives to return the records, he would still not have been in trouble. Even as late as the subpoena by the FBI, if Trump had complied, he still would not have been prosecuted.

Trump is not being charged for taking the documents. All of the charges are based upon the initial crime of “failing to deliver” once requested by the archives and the FBI subpoena. Biden never did that, and Trump is not being charged for simply taking the documents with him.

He is being prosecuted because he participated in a conspiracy to obstruct justice by hiding the documents and lying about them to law enforcement, as well as having disseminated some of the documents.

There is zero evidence that either Biden nor Pence willfully took documents. Neither of them withheld any documents. Both immediately reported the documents upon finding them and returned them. Neither of them schemed to hide them, nor did they defy any subpoenas, nor did they lie about them.

Had either of them done any of that, they would be in the same trouble Trump is in.

Furthermore, the emphasis is on the knowing mishandling of secret documents; there is no evidence whatsoever of Pence, Biden, or Clinton doing this; with Trump, there is copious evidence.


The Biden administration indicted Trump, and so that’s a biased, political attack

First, Biden did not order the indictment. Merrick Garland did not order the indictment. Even Jack Smith, an independent special counsel, did not order them. A Florida grand jury ordered the indictment. Biden and Garland both studiously maintained a great distance from the matter.

Second, Trump clearly committed crimes. Are republicans saying that if a republican commits crime, then a Democrat can never, ever prosecute them for that? Because I don’t think that anyone doubts that republicans would indict a Democrat in a New York minute. They tried like hell to do that to Bill Clinton, then to Hillary Clinton, and to Obama (remember Durham?), and even now they’re screaming for Biden to be investigated. So if Democrats are OK as targets for republicans, why is the reverse somehow suddenly unthinkable?

Not to mention, republicans have made it crystal clear that they will never prosecute one of their own. they have stated this out loud for years, just as they have demonstrated with their votes for just as long.

So if a Democratic administration is not allowed to investigate a republican and republicans refuse to investigate their own, we are back to republicans being a special elite class above the law and beyond its reach.

No, this is not a political attack, and as has been pointed out on many occasions, if anyone else had done what Trump has done, they would be in jail already.


This is election tampering

No, election tampering is the head of the FBI recklessly announcing that new Hillary emails had been found, giving a distinct assumption of guilt, just 11 days before an election, sending Hillary, then the front running, into a steep and sudden dive—the classic definition of “October Surprise.”

That’s election tampering.

This indictment comes more than a year before the next election, and the timing was due to Trump’s own actions.


Joe Biden had 1,850 boxes of classified documents

No, that’s an outright fiction. The number may be the number of total documents given to the University of Delaware, which is perfectly legal for a Senator to do; Biden was a Senator when he gave the documents.

Why isn’t Biden under investigation?

He is. Special counsel Robert Hur (a Trump appointee) is handling the case. Keep in mind that Biden had maybe a few dozen classified documents at most, compared to Trump’s 300+ classified documents. Trump’s included vital information, including military plans and nuclear secrets. 

Aside from that, there is no requirement that Biden be prosecuted at the same time and in the same way as Trump.

Josh Hawley:

This is not about Donald Trump ultimately; this is about the United States of America. This is about whether the Constitution is still real in this country. This is about whether any American, any American can expect the due process of law.

Umm… what?

I guess that when you got nothing, then content-free babble might be an attractive alternative.

Mitch McConnell:



Trump had the power to declassify those documents. He declassified them.

No he didn’t. Declassification has a process, and there is no record at all of Trump going through that process. Nor is it an actual thing for a president to be able to declassify records just by taking them. Nor would it still be OK for Trump to have the kinds of records he had at Mar-A-Lago.

Nikki Haley:

The American people are exhausted by the prosecutorial overreach, double standards, and vendetta politics

Then republicans should stop doing it.

Trump again:

This is a witch hunt

No, a “witch hunt” is when any number of innocent people are falsely accused so as to intimidate them to accuse others, and then the process is repeated. This is what Joe McCarthy did in the 1950s.

It is not a “witch hunt” if a special prosecutor without political affiliations investigates mountains of evidence of a crime.

Trump is being prosecuted under the wrong law; instead of the Espionage Act, he should be prosecuted under the Presidential Records Act

That’s like prosecuting a bank robber for jaywalking; the Presidential Records Act is a red herring that republicans are using, pretending that everything Trump did falls under a civil crime, and not the far more powerful—and relevant—Espionage Act.

The charges are all lies.

Apparently, evidence is not a real thing. The facts speak for themselves, and often Trump is the one on record confessing out loud.

The standard reporting from right-wing outlets utilizes two techniques: outrage at anything and everything, and the firehose of lies. Mark Levin, in one small example, screamed in outrage that the indictment was made in Florida—as if that were an injustice instead of an advantage for Trump. And the talking heads’ litany of fury and disgust were packed full of false assumptions, gross exaggerations, and outright lies that not only were disgorged in vomitous volume, but each lie was itself based upon a mountain of other lies. Such rage-filled onslaughts are not a matter of fact or reason, they have the sole purpose of expressing an emotional wrath intended to create only the impression that there is anything to be outraged about.

In the end, it comes down to just a few things:

Did Trump commit crimes? The answer is clearly “Yes.” Trump has been committing crimes for years. The evidence is copious and indisputable.

Should Trump be prosecuted? Unless we want to establish a new legal standard wherein people who are in power are above the law and can commit crimes with impunity, then yes, Trump must be prosecuted.

Should we prosecute every last crime by politicians? No. If a crime is minor or irrelevant to national security or without harm to individuals, or can be excused as an accident or by lack of awareness, then such actions by presidents can and perhaps should be overlooked, for the reasons presented in the Nixon administration memo: if constantly pelted by prosecutions over minor things, a president would never be able to do their job.

The problem comes when these crimes are relevant, are a threat to national security, and are harmful to people. These cannot and must not be overlooked. And Trump has without question committed such crimes.

No, They Don’t Want That

Neither Trump nor republicans want the affidavit released, just as they didn’t want the search warrant released.

This is a very common republican tactic: by demanding to have something released when they believe it is unlikely that will happen, they can raise doubt while at the same time pretending that they have nothing to hide.

Well, that backfired when it came to the search warrant: Garland got the warrant and receipts released, to the vast embarrassment of Trump and the GOP.

Now they’re screaming for the affidavit, as if somehow that will fully exonerate Trump. This time, they feel more confident that it will not be released, as releasing affidavits is very rare.

Of course, they might actually get their wish—and if they do, they will surely regret it. An affidavit would show the cause the FBI had in asking for the search warrant—and that could potentially be worse for Trump than the search warrant was.

Of course, republicans have another motive: the affidavit would reveal the FBI’s source(s) that they supposedly have within the Trump inner circle, or at least clues as to who it could be. This would help them because it would give them a target to endlessly smear and accuse—not to mention signal to their fringe crazies that open season is on for snitches.

If the affidavit is released, which it probably won’t be, it would hopefully be heavily redacted to hide all sensitive information.

It’s a Deal

Trump is at it again: in order to drastically lower his property tax payments, he says that his golf club, assessed by the county as being worth $14 million, is actually only worth 1/10th that: $1.4 million.

So now there’s going to be a huge investigation and brouhaha and an even greater waste of taxpayer money trying to untangle Trump’s lies.

I have a simple solution: the county should accept Trump’s value. And then purchase it from him at his own price, using eminent domain, and use the land to build housing for the homeless.

If Trump says the property is only worth $1.4 million, take him up on it. If he wants to keep it, he can claim it at being his actual price—and pay the damned taxes on it.

That should, in fact, be the standard law for all tax assessments: if anyone with a property assessed at over, say, $5 million, tries to claim it is worth less than that amount, any local or state government should be able to buy it at the stated value, and then either use it, or sell it on the market and recoup the profit.

That’s Why They’re Trying to Steal It

One more reminder: if your vote doesn’t count, then why are republicans striving so relentlessly to take it away from you?

Just yesterday, a conservative judge, who had ordered 200,000 likely Democrats to be purged from the voter rolls, doubled down and cited the election board for contempt for not caving in to a republican-led attempt to cage these voters and rob them of the legal rights. Members of the board were to be fined $250 a day until they stripped the right to vote from a group of people who are mostly democratic and legitimate.

Fortunately, they could—and did—appeal to a court that was not avidly playing for one side, and both the purge and the contempt charges were set aside.

For now, those 200,000 voters are hanging on to their right to vote… but conservatives are never going to give up on stripping democrats of their rights.

The Slow-Burning Fire

Many people are worrying about an impending coup. If you have been having that feeling, then it’s time to re-orient yourself.

The coup is already happening; in fact, it started a few decades ago, and has been moving along like a slow-burning Reichstag fire. Trump may simply be hurrying its pace somewhat, making the mythical frog in boiling water a little more aware of what’s happening. But the point that many are missing is that Trump is not the threat; he’s trying to ride the threat, but the real danger is the ongoing conservative redefinition of our country. If we allow conservatives to hold Trump as separate and at a distance rather than recognizing that he is simply taking control of their vehicle, we invite even more disaster.

This has been happening in the Supreme Court, as the right wing of that establishment has been slowly rewriting the constitution and the standards for legal reinterpretation. The Second Amendment is now legally something completely different from what it was originally intended; corporations are now enshrined constitutionally as super-citizens, their money granted the exalted status of “free speech.” In the name of “Originalism,” the original shape of the constitution is being rewritten. The standards for that reshaping have been defined by Scalia and his fellow travelers as nothing less than the camel’s nose under the tent; for example, Scalia established that all one needs to deny the existence of the separation of church and state is to point out that it has been done on a regular basis, so the original intent is no longer relevant. For a new legal precedent to be set, all you need to do is point to a violation of an existing principle. Every time this happens, the context and details are too complex for popular consumption, so it just gets normalized that much more easily.

This has been happening in the Executive, which over the years has eroded from a bastion of leadership to little more than a figurehead, with the real power being behind the throne—all while the office gains more and more power. It’s not who gets elected as much as who is pulling the levers; do you think that Trump is writing any of those executive orders and memoranda? People like Bannon are the real power, like Cheney and Rumsfeld were for Bush, as they and a similar crowd were for Reagan. An actor, a dunce, and a carnival madman—the precedent has been set that the office holder doesn’t even need to be smart, just likable. Meanwhile, the powers behind him move to make the office all the more powerful, presiding over an ever more dominant intelligence establishment that bows to their rule, and a military grown to gross proportions.

This has been happening in Congress, where conservatives have made hyper-partisanship, obstruction, control by monied interests, and disdain for facts the new normal. Having moved in virtual lockstep, Republicans have shown that as long as they are in power, the other party is irrelevant and to be ignored, while as long as they are out of power, monolithic obstructionism is the norm. They openly flagellate themselves before powerful billionaires for favor and backing. More significantly, democracy itself has been reshaped; through radical redistricting and pervasive voter suppression have allowed a smaller and smaller minority to maintain power and control over the legislatures at the federal and most state levels. Not just in the presidency, but also in Congress, almost as a norm now, Democrats get more votes, but Republicans win the elections. Over the past 25 years, both Republican presidents lost the popular vote, and for some time now, Republicans in the House have gained fewer votes than Democrats, despite maintaining a lock on the majority in power.

This has been happening in the media, as we slowly saw the likes of Murrow, Cronkite, Woodward & Bernstein, and so many other legends fall into distant memory. The change started with the rise of the angry popular punditry, which gave way to the advent of Fox News, which in turn presided over the rise of Internet right-wing media empire, which defines for so many what is “real.” All have, for decades now, eschewed the principles of objectivity and even adherence to fact, and have normalized the practice of calling bias and propaganda “news.” The now-prevalent “fake news” is hardly new. In the 80’s, the conservative economic media somehow allowed the bizarrely nonsensical “Laffer Curve” to somehow gain respect; back in the 90’s, Rush Limbaugh made everyone believe that trickle-down worked because Reagan cut taxes and doubled revenues (neither one fully true, and the implied conclusion absolutely false). Such myths and misnomers started to become the norm. The conservative Narrative now holds sway over “truthiness.” Anti-war liberals became soldier-haters, spitting on returning vets, despite nothing of the sort ever having happened; the Narrative is so powerful, it creates whole episodes and events that never happened and the people remember it as if they saw it happen themselves, like crowds of Muslim immigrants cheering 9/11 on rooftops in New Jersey. We have new definitions of classes: the wealthy are job creators, while unions are corrupt; Christians, whites, and men are persecuted, while minorities, gays, and women demand “special privileges” forced by political correctness. Late-term abortions, Feminazis, welfare queens, violently rampaging immigrants stealing our jobs—all mythical, but all now accepted by most as either fact, or something close to it.

This has been happening in education, with a public education under attack by those who favor privatization, greater reach of religious schools, and who despise the concept of critical thinking. A colleague at my university was shocked the other day when an American student proclaimed that college was overblown because “we need more workers, not thinkers.” Remember back when Rick Santorum called Obama a “snob” for wanting everyone to have a shot at higher education? He said the same thing—we need more people who work with their hands, more garbage collectors and carpenters. Critical thinking, he told us, is just something that erodes our religious solidarity. We’re slowly being deprived of a solid educational system, as fewer and fewer of our citizens are even capable of critical thinking.

This has been happening in our bedrock principles, as we see them torn down one by one. The freedom of the press is under particular fire now, after having been weakened by a sustained cultural assault over the decades. We now accept the doctrine of First Strike, which was once unthinkable. We accept the policy of torture more and more. We know that the government routinely violates our Fourth Amendment rights, monitoring us and reading our correspondence, and we simply accept it as a given. Walls against religious establishment crumble, removing the only institutional protection we have against actual, not imagined persecution of religious and philosophical minorities, as we see our Muslim citizens slowly becoming second-class citizens or worse. We see less and less the principles of Democracy practiced, fewer and fewer of the true concerns of the founders respected.

This has been happening in politics in general, as money has shamelessly come to control every aspect of government, and not only corruption but even foreign intervention has become normalized—every time it happens and is not quashed, it becomes something that we just accept and live with.

Trump and those behind him did not start this. All they did was step on the gas. So much so that the whole ungainly structure is rocking and buckling somewhat, but nevertheless is rushing along in another surge, not quite as radical as the one following 9/11, but radical nonetheless.

The path to dictatorship has been slowly blazed over the last generation, as a new reality takes form. The question is not whether it is happening, but rather whether we will recognize it, like the mythical frog in boiling water, and have the power to overcome the sheer force of all of those who have been sold on the idea that it’s what makes America great again.

Perhaps Trump is a blessing in disguise; it’s possible that he’ll make it far more clear how far our system has been compromised.

However, it is just as likely that conservatives will use Trump as a way to claim that since the system is broken, it must be reshaped even more, pushing us even closer to a real dictatorship, just one that we are even less aware of.

And that is the real take-away: Trump may be vying for the position of dictator, but he’s not the real threat. The patiently constructed conservative push to reshape our country, led by the Republican Party, pushed by the right-wing media, directed via the Narrative—that’s the threat. Not Trump.

The greatest blunder we could make would be to fail to tie what Trump is doing directly and irrevocably to the Republican Party and the conservative movement in general.

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