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Last Friday night, the same news network engaged in a de facto blackout on Trump broke some ominous news: Sometime this week, Trump will be arrested and indicted for… something.
"This is a huge development."
Fox News reporting President Trump to be arrested next week and he is expected to be "fingerprinted and processed like every other defendant." pic.twitter.com/hNjsSl8yL8
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) March 17, 2023
Tell us if you’ve heard this one before: the walls are closing in.
Sources tell Revolver that Trump may be arrested as early as today.
Many would say that Trump’s indictment became inevitable after January 6, after he announced his 2024 campaign. Those voices would be wrong, though. The indictment of Donald Trump has been inevitable since the moment Trump won the 2016 election, because all along, winning that election with the transformative America First message campaigned on has always been the “real” crime of Donald Trump.
That truth is proven by the sheer scale of the investigations into Trump, as the many haters and losers scramble for any way to put him away for good. First there was Crossfire Hurricane, sparked by James Comey and others deciding that desiring normal relations with Russia was evidence of criminal behavior. Then there was the absurd and seemingly endless Mueller probe in reaction to Trump firing then FBI director James Comey. Besides the pending Manhattan case, Trump may also soon be indicted for “election interference” in Fulton County, Georgia, or for “insurrection” on January 6, or for improper handling of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago.
Every one of these cases is a trivial farce. Whether Georgia was stolen in 2020 or not, there is zero doubt that Trump genuinely thought it was. Trump wasn’t at the Capitol on January 6, and did nothing that day besides encourage protests. And as for classified documents, as president Trump could literally declassify any document he wanted with his mind.
And yet, of all those, the charges expected to come down this week might be the silliest of all.
How weak is Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg’s case against Trump? Just to bring his coming indictment, Bragg had to resurrect an investigation after scuttling it for lack of a compelling case. Though the investigation started with grandiose dreams of finding massive tax violations or unwinding a vast criminal business empire, Bragg eventually had to settle for looking at Trump lawyer’s Michael Cohen’s alleged hush money payouts to stripper Stormy Daniels. Paying hush money isn’t a crime, though, so Bragg has to argue these de facto blackmail payments violated New York reporting standards for businesses. Even that crime is only a misdemeanor; to make it a felony, Bragg will have to argue that Trump’s hush money payments were ackshually an illegal contribution to his own campaign. In other words, New York officials will argue that Trump, who had the right to spend an unlimited amount of his own money on his campaign, broke campaign finance law by reimbursing his personal lawyer out of his own pocket for a nuisance payoff related to activity that allegedly occurred a decade prior to the campaign. The claim is a legal travesty. Over the past seven years, the criminal case against Trump has fallen from “secret meetings with Putin to betray America” to this unholy procedural abortion.
How political is Bragg’s case? When he was elected, Bragg published a “Day One” memo announcing he would no longer prosecute “low-level” crimes like fare evasion, prostitution, or resisting arrest, and would rely on “community solutions and support services” to combat epidemic shoplifting. Bragg is also the overgrown vermin who tried to charge bodega owner Jose Alba with murder for defending himself against a violent criminal.
Now, one of America’s most pro-crime (and pro-criminal) DAs has lurched into a great crusade to nitpick Donald Trump’s seven-year-old paperwork violations. Trump may soon displace Julian Assange as the world’s most clear-cut example of “anarcho-tyranny.” As Revolver summed it up back in 2021:
Anarcho-tyranny is the dehumanizing state of affairs whereby the state refuses to stop violent crime, yet still vigorously enforces even the most unjust and petty laws against ordinary people. Anarcho-tyranny is why downtown D.C. was abandoned to a rioting horde last summer, most of whom will never be brought to justice, yet the largest manhunt in history seeks every person who walked into the Capitol on January 6. Anarcho-tyranny is why St. Louis only made an arrest in 29 percent of murders last year, but still brought felony charges against the McCloskeys for simply holding guns in the face of a braying mob.
Indulging in a multi-year fishing expedition to find some flimsy legal pretext for imprisoning Donald Trump, while letting New York’s actual streets revert to 1970s-level decay, is anarcho-tyranny par excellence.
And yes, in case you were wondering, Bragg is one of America’s dreadful George Soros prosecutors. Bragg was elected with $1 million in support from Soros, via Soros’s donation to the left-wing organization Color of Change.
We don’t just bring this up to snipe at Old Man George. Until now, analysis of the “Soros prosecutors” trend has focused on how, by donating to low-turnout local races in deep-blue cities, Soros has successfully suspended the criminal justice system when it comes to prosecuting client groups of the left. Now, Bragg’s pending Trump indictment shows another dramatic advantage of investing in local DA races: Creating a reservoir of deeply ideological political actors who can do things like spend years concocting politically-motivated charges against one’s enemies.
For Trump, the Manhattan indictment is a badge of honor, as are any other indictments that follow in the days to come. Trump, more than any other politician, is the personification of having “skin in the game.” Trump could have very easily lived out the twilight of his life in unfathomable wealth, already a global celebrity and icon. Instead, Trump not only ran for president, he did so pursuing a transformative agenda that directly challenges most powerful and evil forces in the country. For Trump, this decision was financially ruinous and destructive to his reputation. Now, precisely because he refused to back down or submit to the pain box, his very personal freedom is in the balance.
.@DarrenJBeattie Discussing "Trumpism After Trump" And The Reality Of Truly Challenging The Regime
"But there’s no getting around the pain box. If you’re challenging the Regime, you are going to face the storm." pic.twitter.com/tSp2FTZDeD
— The Columbia Bugle ?? (@ColumbiaBugle) September 16, 2022
Such is the regime’s desired fate for anyone who makes a serious (rather than a fake) challenge to its supremacy.
In the end, Bragg’s indictment of Donald Trump says a lot more about those investigating Trump, and what motivates them, than it does about the 45th president. First, it reveals the continued need to not merely oppose Trump, but to create a total smoldering crater where his political existence once was. In a sense, imprisoning Trump is just a step up from the attempt to deplatform Trump two years ago. After January 6, Trump lost his Twitter, his YouTube, his email list, and even some bank accounts. Despite all that, he remains the favorite for the GOP nomination, and his policy takes are in many ways sharper than ever. What do you do if deplatforming someone doesn’t work? You deplatform even harder—if getting banned and blacklisted from the internet doesn’t work, the next step is prison. If prison doesn’t work, well, you do the math.
Besides the practical elements of targeting Trump, there is a revealing emotional component to this as well. Consider the detail emphasized by Fox. There is a substantial fixation about whether Trump will, or will not, end up in handcuffs.
“This is a huge development.” Final preparations being made to arrest Donald Trump next week. Trump will “be fingerprinted and processed like every other defendant”. The Secret Service will make the decision whether to handcuff the former president or not. (Video: Fox News) pic.twitter.com/u36MW0680U
— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) March 17, 2023
Handcuffing Donald Trump? They’re going to cuff a 76-year-old man? What, are they afraid he’s going to punch out one of the cops and then run? Is he going to grab a gun, or try to grab the steering wheel? Of course not. But this visual is crucial catharsis for millions of AWFLs, #Resisters, and r/TheMueller subscribers who have dreamed and fantasized about this day for the better part of a decade.
It’s a sad — no, it’s a pathetic climax to an obsession that has bubbled through American politics for the past eight years, ever since Donald Trump first began running for office. But it’s also, as one future president once said, a “big f*cking deal.” No American president — future, sitting, or former — has ever been charged with a crime. Richard Nixon likely would have been, but Gerald Ford pardoned him. The reasons he gave at the time are worth a look:
it is common knowledge that serious allegations and accusations hang like a sword over our former President’s head, threatening his health as he tries to reshape his life, a great part of which was spent in the service of this country and by the mandate of its people.
After years of bitter controversy and divisive national debate, I have been advised, and I am compelled to conclude that many months and perhaps more years will have to pass before Richard Nixon could obtain a fair trial by jury in any jurisdiction of the United States under governing decisions of the Supreme Court.
… The facts, as I see them, are that a former President of the United States, instead of enjoying equal treatment with any other citizen accused of violating the law, would be cruelly and excessively penalized either in preserving the presumption of his innocence or in obtaining a speedy determination of his guilt in order to repay a legal debt to society.
During this long period of delay and potential litigation, ugly passions would again be aroused. And our people would again be polarized in their opinions. And the credibility of our free institutions of government would again be challenged at home and abroad.
Ford recognized that criminally prosecuting an elected U.S. president was politically toxic, and impossible to do in a remotely evenhanded way. Except for an exceptionally flagrant or severe crime, it wasn’t worth it. The shame of resigning in disgrace would be enough instead. History has vindicated Ford’s decision as the correct one.
Now, compare the actions of President Trump’s persecutors, who are totally consumed by a multiyear obsession with making something, anything stick to a president they hate. Ford feared that Nixon couldn’t get a fair trial anywhere in the country. Today, Democrats trawl for charges in the bluest jurisdictions possible. Manhattan voted 87 percent for Joe Biden in 2020. Twelve jurors drawn from the borough’s jury pool would convict Trump for the Son of Sam killings if given the chance…and of course, that’s why Manhattan has been the focal point of so much “arrest Big Orange” energy.
Over the past couple years, we have repeatedly emphasized the importance of leveraging the positions of power one controls. Last month, we praised Ron DeSantis’s ambitious plan to remake the New College of Florida:
In a world where academia is absolutely consumed with politics, a seat on a public college’s board of trustees is a political position, and needs to be treated like one. Republicans have (mostly) learned not to appoint random people as judges. Board of regents seats should be treated with the same level of import. Of DeSantis’ new trustees, only one of them actually attended the New College. Most of them aren’t even from Florida. But so what? [Revolver]
The pending actions from Manhattan and Fulton County show the darker side of this equation. Not only can those holding political power set the rules and remake institutions, they can weaponize their power to enforce the laws to target politically-determined opponents. Could DeSantis, or some other Republican governor, AG, or DA return the favor by launching fishing expeditions to legally assassinate political foes? In a word, yes. It’s not pleasant to contemplate; no country is better off from having a hyperpoliticized justice system.
That choice, though, has been taken out of our hands. The justice system is already hyperpoliticized. It leaves the country’s border wide open for illegal crossings, but it prosecutes Donald Trump for trying to change that, and for good measure it tries to imprison people like Douglas Mackey for supporting him.
The assault is underway. So the question is: What are we going to do about it?
A few final thoughts are in order about the purely political ramifications of arresting Donald Trump. Do shots of himself in handcuffs, facing unjust charges, help or hurt Trump’s chances of winning the GOP nomination? Do they help or hurt his odds of winning the presidency itself? Elon Musk himself suggested that, if Trump is arrested on flimsy charges, it will cause him to be elected in a “landslide.”
If this happens, Trump will be re-elected in a landslide victory
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 18, 2023
Some, like, Matt Walsh, have even suggested Trump’s arrest is deliberately calculated to hand Trump the nomination, on the theory that Democrats him as the “most beatable” candidate.
They want Trump to be the Republican nominee. That’s obviously the play here. There is no other conceivable reason to arrest and perp walk him on a bullshit misdemeanor charge.
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) March 18, 2023
It is nearly certain that Trump’s martyrdom will galvanize his base, which always feels most loyal to him when he is under siege. Musk may even be right that this sentiment will win over independents as well. But people like Walsh go too far in ascribing the coming charges to a centrally-coordinated left-wing strategy. It’s far more likely that Alvin Bragg is acting on his own. He’s met enough anti-Trump harpies at New York cocktail parties to know that prosecuting Trump is a way to salvage his career.
This is one means Bragg has to guarantee Kathy Hochul doesn’t fire him as a peace offering to Lee Zeldin voters
— CTIronman (@CTIronman) March 19, 2023
The truth is that “Trump Derangement Syndrome” was coined for a reason: Trump really does drive his enemies insane. They don’t want him on a GOP ticket. The system harbors unique hatred for Trump for the same reason that he inspires unique loyalty in patriots– Trump is the real deal and challenged the system in a way that our country hadn’t seen for years. Trump started and still leads one of the most powerful political movements in American history. For this, the corrupt regime wants him either dead, or behind bars and bankrupt, nothing less. And in many cases, they want the same for you.