The Danger that Lawfare against Trump Presents to the Progressive Movement

Many have noted that the indictments of Trump ring of lawfare by the Biden administration. Donald Trump has now been indicted four times, and in blatant overkill, now faces 91 criminal charges. In New York alone  he was hit with 34 felonies for the payments to Stormy Daniels. Trump also faces felony charges for claiming the 2020 election was the byproduct of fraud and then seeking to invalidate the outcome of that election through allegedly unlawful means.

These criminal cases rest on the assumption that Trump knew his claims of election fraud were false, making his actions to overturn the election an illegal conspiracy. However, what anti-Trumpers declare disinformation is what Trumpers and others consider their First Amendment free speech right to speak the truth. So far, the US has no official 1984-style Ministry of Truth or “science” that declares what is misinformation – though Biden sought to create one with the Nina Jankowicz Disinformation Governance Board.

Trump challenged the election results in some states and asked officials there to find evidence of fraud. Later he asked Vice President Pence to reject the Electors from those states. A candidate in any election has the right to challenge the vote count. The Constitution presents some procedures for doing this, which Trump followed.

Yet, in 2000, 2004, and particularly in 2016, when Democrats lost the election, they also challenged the final vote. The US clearly has undemocratic presidential elections, where winning the popular vote does not mean you win the election, a consequence of the Constitution giving us no right to vote for president.

In 2000, the Supreme Court did intervene to stop the recount of votes for president in Florida that would have made Al Gore the president. In 2004, Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer and others objected to certifying the Ohio elector votes for Bush, which would make him the victor. In 2016, after the Hillary Clinton-CIA-FBI Russia collusion hoax – the biggest national security state hoax since their WMDs in Iraq – had failed to stop Trump, Democratic activists tried to convince electors to switch their votes from Trump. Two did. Some even received death threats if they voted for Trump. No one was charged with obstructing an official proceeding in either case.

Trump stands accused of violating the Espionage Act, treason, by possessing classified documents in his private mansion – something we know Biden did as Vice President and Clinton did as Secretary of State. Trump – unlike Biden or Clinton at the time – was President of the United States, the highest official of the Executive Branch of the government. Even the American Bar Association states the President has “broad authority to formally declassify most documents.”

Glenn Greenwald asked:

What is it that Donald Trump did exactly that was illegal? He definitely sued in court multiple times and lost, which is absolutely his right to do. He told Mike Pence what he heard from his lawyers was Mike Pence’s ability to do, even if it wasn’t, which was act as that vice presidential role and reject as certified results, ones that he regarded had evidence of fraud and send them back to the states. He arranged for an alternative state of electors to be ready to be anointed in the event he could prove that there was a fraud. But what about this is criminal? Which of these steps is illegal?

In Georgia state court Trump was charged with 13 felony conspiracy counts under their RICO anti-racketeering law used against mobsters. The law makes everyone who did anything as part of the conspiracy a full member of the criminal ring and equally responsible for crimes committed by others, as long as they were committed as part of the conspiracy. The prosecutor outlandishly claimed this conspiracy began one day after the 2020 election, when Trump gave a speech saying he won. This is criminalizing our First Amendment free speech rights.

National Security State Lawfare to Fix 2024 Election for Biden

The Biden administration is using the Department of Justice to eliminate his only serious challenger in the presidential race. This lawfare election fixing is unprecedented in US history, though presidents have been “elected” in underhanded ways, as in 1824, 1876, 1960, 2000. Even more ominously, this lawfare is being engineered by the national security state. They have opposed Trump since he first condemned US wars in the Middle East during the 2016 Republican primary debates, and called out the national security state hoax of weapons of mass destruction to instigate the war on Iraq.

It now looks like the 2024 presidential election will not be decided by our vote, but by the national security state intervening beforehand to remove Biden’s most formidable challenger.

Trump could have brought the same charges against Biden in 2020, when Biden, years after no longer holding a government position, had secret documents in his house. However, there would have been national outrage and popular mobilizations against “fascism” if Trump’s Department of Justice had indicted Biden for treason in the run-up to the election. But today, progressive people either approve of lawfare against Trump, or are silent.

In 2020, during the Black Lives Matter mass protests, people called for defunding the police and prison network, and regarded prosecutors as covering for police brutality. Now, the left and liberals champion the prosecutors of Trump, not questioning their credibility. Greenwald noted, “They really have come to be a political movement that reveres institutions of power because they regard them as being their political allies.”

Voters for Democrats now Trust the FBI and CIA

A Gallup poll a year ago, before the indictments of Trump corroborates this: 79% of Democrat voters say the FBI is doing an excellent or good job; only 29% of Republican voters do. And 69% of Democratic voters say the CIA is doing a good job; only 38% of Republican voters do. We live in a different era from what we grew up in, even 20 years ago at the start of Bush’s war on Iraq. Now most Democrats like the CIA and FBI and most Republicans don’t. Now all the Democrats in Congress vote to continually fund the war in Ukraine, while only Republicans vote against.

It’s a bygone era when Republicans were the war hawks and a wing of the Democrats were pro-peace. Unfortunately most leftists and progressives still live in that era.

Today many who want to defend free speech, stop endless war, stop censorship, oppose the “deep state,” find a hearing with Trump Republicans, while the Democrats have become advocates of war and state censorship.

Lawfare Indictments against Trump will be directed against us

These lawfare charges to remove Trump from the presidential race, presented by the national security police agencies along with the Democratic Party and neo-con Republicans, will be used against viable future third parties. They will be a threat to our constitutional rights and our ability to organize against the 1%. Already, in part thanks to the absence of progressive outcry, the RICO law prosecution of Trump in Georgia is used against Stop Cop City protestors in Atlanta.

We should protest the indictments against Trump and the harsh criminal sentences against his January 6 supporters because if the left would ever move off the sidelines and become a force, they will be subject to similar prosecutions, only in an even more draconian way. Working class forces who effectively take on the bosses will suffer the same treatment.

McCarthyism of the Left

Unfortunately, anti-Trump sentiment infects and blinds much of the left milieu. Very few oppose these national security police state attacks on Trump or the lawfare manipulation of the 2024 election. We protest the New York Times’ McCarthyite attack on anti-war activists, but McCarthyism also exists in the left, where people are baited, and fear being baited – not as Reds, but as Trump supporters often simply for not condemning him enough. Consequently, they either participate in Trumper-baiting themselves or are intimidated into not standing up to it. This left McCarthyism is widespread and functions to push people towards voting for the supposed “lesser evil” Democratic Party and towards defending the actions of the national security police state.

We see this left McCarthyism with cheering the harsh sentences of January 6 defendants, most of who were non-violent. We see it in progressives’ not demanding answers for what the 100-200 undercover FBI and other police agency undercover agents in the crowd were actually doing that day. We see it in their not demanding answers about what the federal agents who had infiltrated the Proud Boys and other groups months before January 6 actually knew of January 6 plans. Stewart Rhodes, leader of the Oath Keepers, was in regular contact with the Secret Service for months prior to January 6. We see it in progressives’ failure to question the reasons behind the deliberate lack of defense of the Capitol. We see it in progressives not standing up for Rhodes and Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio, who were non-violent on January 6, and did not even enter the Capitol, but were given 18 and 22 years for a charge often used against radicals: “seditious conspiracy.” These sentences are precedents that will be used against us. But left McCarthyism, fear of being baited as soft on Trump, makes progressives keep their mouths shut.

Unfortunately, as the Democratic Party shifted far to the right, and now is in open collusion with the FBI and CIA, becoming increasingly owned by the national security state, more and more of the left has capitulated to the identity politics ideology of that Party and the belief that it represents the “lesser evil” to Trump “fascism.” How far this left will degenerate, and how long until there is a national reaction to national security state fixing the 2024 election is unclear. The left is digging themselves into a hole, and giving the police state the opportunity to cover them up when they try to get out of it.

Stansfield Smith, Chicago ALBA Solidarity, is a long time Latin America solidarity activist, and presently puts out the AFGJ Venezuela Weekly. He is also the Senior Research Fellow at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs. Read other articles by Stansfield.