The entire American political set-up – with or without a FARA indictment, and with the 2024 elections looming – is fragile.
It is getting very messy. Verging on insanity. A new indictment with four charges in respect to the events of 6 Jan has been issued to former President Trump – who has now been charged with more than 75 crimes. These latest charges however are likely only to further eradicate confidence in the Federal Justice process, and in the integrity of the American political system itself.
The indictment is to be heard in the District of Columbia which is notoriously politicised, and unlikely to empanel anything but a wholly hostile jury (the saying in DC is that the Justice Dept could convict a hamburger with a DC jury).
Charging Trump with conspiring to ‘steal’ the 2020 Presidential election entrenches more deeply than before that the country is headed for a great reckoning – in the courts and at the ballot box. It poses questions that cannot but further lead to an unravelling of politics in the U.S.
Contrast these two ‘visions’ of the meaning to this indictment. Firstly,
“In straightforward language with mountains of evidence, the 45-page Indictment document explains how Trump, acting with six unnamed co-conspirators, engaged in a scheme to repeatedly make false claims that the 2020 election was stolen or rigged, and to use those false claims as a predicate to try to steal the election: It’s not hyperbole to say that the conduct of this prosecution will greatly influence whether the U.S. remains a thriving democracy after 2024”.
Now turn to another ‘reading’ of the indictment:
[The DoJ indictment] “is ‘a declaration of war’ against American voters. It is not about Trump per se. It’s about criminalising dissent and punishing the millions who voted for him. [This week the Justice Department] took the unprecedented step of indicting former President Donald Trump — Biden’s chief rival in the upcoming 2024 election — for repeatedly expressing his opinion that the last election was stolen, rigged, and unfair”.
It’s an opinion millions of Americans share, and to which they are unquestionably entitled thanks to the First Amendment. And that includes Trump, who has said repeatedly (and recently) that the 2020 election was stolen. He will probably keep saying it until his dying day, and he has every right to do so. The idea that our Justice Department can indict someone, especially the sitting president’s main political rival, over speech that’s protected by the First Amendment is simply insane … Simply put, this indictment is nothing more than a declaration of war against American voters and their constitutional right to free speech.
“Consider what is alleged and what isn’t: The charges against Trump do not include ‘incitement to violence’ on Jan. 6, 2021. Critically, The indictment simply presupposes that there was no election fraud. It then characterizes Trump’s contrary assertions from November 14, 2020 through January 20, 2021 as “false” – as though this were self-evident. “Trump’s claims were false and that he knew they were false”. On this basis, the indictment claims that 6th Jan was a ‘conspiracy’ – based in deceit – to prevent Electors’ votes from being appropriately counted”.
Tom Fitton, president of the Conservative legal and election watchdog group, Judicial Watch,believes:
“This indictment is a naked threat and act of intimidation by the Democratic Party against any and all of their political opponents’”.
And The Federalist warns:
“If the prosecution of Trump succeeds, it means the First Amendment is a dead letter in America. It means you’re not allowed to have opinions that contradict the Justice Department’s official narrative”.
For the sake of clarity, what is being expressed here is that this indictment is part and parcel of the ongoing western ‘culture war’ – just as scientists were cancelled, dismissed from their professions and ostracised for expressing a view about mRNA science; just as views on human biology are subject now to official negation; just as ‘misgendering’ has become a potential criminal offence (hate speech), so ideological and institutional capture is being extended to the political sphere.
This is the issue, amongst others, that is set to unravel America – and, in unravelling the U.S., will unravel Europe too.
The earlier collapse of the Hunter Biden plea bargain too has left many in Washington shocked. Jonathan Turley, a Constitutional Law Professor at Georgetown wryly notes:
“After all, this is a city that knows how to fix a fight [i.e knows how to shut down DoJ investigations upon an appropriate consideration]”.
“After five years, the Biden corruption scandal was supposed to die with a vacuous plea bargain and no jail time. Most everyone was in on the fix, from members of Congress to the media to the prosecutors. The problem was the one notable omission: Judge Maryellen Noreika. The sentencing hearing was a moment that made the Hindenburg disaster look like a seamless landing. Noreika asked a basic question on the implications of the agreement, and the entire deal immediately collapsed”.
“Now the Justice Department is in a bind. It could not admit in the hearing that Hunter Biden could escape future liability for a host of uncharged crimes. Yet, when a defendant backs out of a generous plea deal, federal prosecutors ordinarily will pursue all of the available charges — and jail time. The Justice Department may now find it has no choice. It could be forced to proceed with a full prosecution.”
“A FARA charge could further expose Hunter’s alleged influence-peddling operations, with what House GOP investigators say were millions in foreign payments from a virtual rogue’s gallery of foreign officials. The Justice Department also would face pressure to seek the same long jail sentence given to Manafort; who was sentenced to 73 months of imprisonment”.
“Biden could give Hunter a pre-emptive or prospective pardon. That would effectively end any federal investigation, although the pardon would need to cover the full waterfront of possible charges. Of course, there is no guarantee that the congressional investigation would then end. Even if such a move dampened the demand for an impeachment inquiry, it would not likely stop Republicans from pursuing answers about the official handling of this investigation and claims of political interference”.
The point here is that the entire American political set-up – with or without a FARA indictment, and with the 2024 elections looming – is fragile, and exposes the U.S.’ political future to real jeopardy.
Separately, the allegations of influence-peddling inevitably tie the Biden father and son team – at the hip – to ‘Project Ukraine’. Policy on Ukraine will hinge increasingly on the Biden political future, whatever that may be.
Republicans will not give up on their Congressional investigations. And, to the degree to which President Biden hypes the ‘success’ of his ‘war against Russia’ and Ukraine, the more the scope will be for his opponents to raise the spectre of influence peddling in Ukraine, and to ask what ‘holds’, if any, Zelensky might have over the U.S.
Trump already is linking the Russiagate hoax of interference in the 2016 election to today’s proxy war with Russia – “fuelled in part by the lingering fumes of Russiagate delirium”. The more Team Biden keeps Ukraine centre-stage in foreign policy terms, the more the scope for his opponents to remind the electorate of Russiagate and the Burisma allegations.
This might argue for an early exit from Ukraine, or contrarily, the Clinton stratagem in respect to ‘imploding the Lewinski scandal’ – war on Serbia.
The reaction against the ‘politics of negation’ (as Chris Rufo terms it in his book, America’s Cultural Revolution) or cancellation in today’s vernacular has come to Europe too. In the UK, the scandal arising from the banking world’s blacklisting of Nigel Farage for his political views (the former leader of a pro-Brexit party), revealed the hitherto unknown fact that more than 1,400 companies are members of a corporate lobby ‘diversity scheme’ – one that insists corporate members stand against “all forms of oppression” and “dismantle racist systems, policies, practices, and ideologies”, and align with the interests of ‘wider society’.
Farage’s bank was accredited to the scheme, with the bank citing its ‘B Corp’ membership to contend that pro-Brexit Farage did not conform with the bank’s ‘diversity commitment’, or those of ‘wider society’, as cause for closing his account.
Behind the scenes then, it transpires, there is B Corp pursuing diversity correctness, and Stonewall (the LBGTQ charity) overseeing employment guidelines in the UK. With no bank account (as all other banks conformed to the blacklisting), Farage would have been ‘cancelled’ from society.
The point that Rufo makes in his book is that a political programme rooted in “negation” can offer no positive programme that won’t swiftly fall victim to its own politics of critique (as the Farage case illustrates). The result, Rufo argues, has not been utopia, but a harvest of “failure, exhaustion, resentment, and despair, and a proliferating class of peevish bureaucrats bickering about symbols and ephemera”.
What seemingly is happening here, as Naoïse MacSweeney writes in The West, is that the “origin myth of the West as a grand narrative that constructs history as a thread running singular and unbroken, from Plato to NATO” is now widely understood across the globe as both factually incorrect – and ideologically driven.
She asks: “Where does the West go from here? There are some who would have us go backwards”. Most people, however, she argues, no longer want an origin myth that serves to support either racial oppression or imperial hegemony. She postulates that the original narrative of “the West” is being replaced by a de-territorialised, structure-fluid western narrative centred around tolerance, rights for minorities, diversity, gender fluidity and ‘democracy’.
The problem however is that the new ‘grand narrative’ is as factually incorrect and as ideologically driven as the ‘from Plato to NATO’ myth. It is the substitution of one flawed repressive narrative by another.
Briefly put, if the traditional western myth ‘is fallen’ like the ancient city of Troy (in this analogy), the invaders of Tradition (Troy) are now inside the city walls – burning and looting.
Rufo’s book describes the modern history of Left-wing radicalism from the Sixties to Black Lives Matter, Mary Harrington relates; however Rufo seeks rather to offer a more expansive account of the political challenge:
“The arc of the book describes how the hated victors smuggled themselves into America’s institutions, hidden in [a Trojan] ‘wooden horse’ of civil rights, only to burst forth – in an attempt to destroy the founding ideals that granted them entrance”.
America’s Cultural Revolution is a shot across the bows. The citadel may have fallen, the temples looted. But Rufo challenges: “We are the besiegers now. It’s your turn to try to hold the walls”.
America’s Cultural Revolution nonetheless reads like a pivot point in American political discourse: Do you know what time it is? (It is eleven minutes after the eleventh hour).
Viktor Orbán speaks to another pivot point – echoing Rufo’s call for ‘counter-revolution’:
“If one is involved in European politics as I am – then today’s ‘western values’ mean three things: migration, LGBT and war … It is managing population replacement through migration, and it is waging an LGBT offensive against family-friendly European nations.
“… the migration crisis clearly cannot be dealt with on a liberal basis. And then we have an LGBT gender offensive which, it turns out, can only be repulsed on the basis of community and child protection.
“Europe today has created its own political class which is no longer accountable and no longer has any Christian or democratic convictions. And we have to say that federalist governance in Europe has led to an unaccountable empire. We have no other choice. For all our love of Europe, for all that is ours – we must fight.”
By Alastair Crooke
Published by SCF
Republished by The 21st Century
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of 21cir.com