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The year America became a banana republic

Joe Biden’s Democrats have weaponised the security state to attack their enemies and protect their friends.

Sean Collins
US correspondent

Topics Politics USA World

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Joe Biden and the Democrats have ruthlessly weaponised the American justice system to go after their enemies and protect their friends. In 2023, their abuses of power became impossible to ignore. The US is now starting to look more like a backward banana republic than a modern constitutional democracy.

Above all, the powers of supposedly neutral government bodies like the Department of Justice (DoJ) have been wielded to one overriding end: to stop the re-election of Donald Trump. Recently, Democrats and Never Trump Republicans have started to warn that Trump will take ‘revenge’ on his enemies if he is re-elected next year, by exploiting the powers of the prosecutorial state. But this is more than a little rich, given how the Democrats and their allies have used every tool at their disposal to try to bring down Trump, ever since he was first elected to the White House in 2016.

The Durham report, published in May of this year, revealed how the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was actively involved in perpetuating the lie that Trump colluded with Russia to win the 2016 presidency. Durham found that the FBI opened its ‘Crossfire Hurricane’ investigation into Trump without any evidence or basis. In its application to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to begin surveillance of the Trump campaign, the FBI used the infamous Steele dossier – with its lurid, largely fabricated tales about Trump – despite knowing it had been commissioned by Hillary Clinton’s campaign. At the same time, the bureau turned a blind eye to Hillary’s mishandling of classified information, which involved keeping official emails on her private server. Democrats then used the FBI pursuit of Trump to press for the appointment of a special counsel, Robert Mueller, to investigate him.

This joint Democrat-FBI hit job on Trump failed to remove him from office, but the Russia-collusion hoax sidetracked his administration for more than half of his four-year term. It was scandalous that the FBI interfered in the political process to try to benefit one political party.

New examples of the security services corrupting politics kept coming to light throughout 2023. In April, the House Judiciary Committee and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence revealed that, two weeks before the 2020 election, Joe Biden’s presidential campaign conspired with 51 former spies to draft a letter to discredit the New York Post’s discoveries from Hunter Biden’s laptop, which implicated Joe in his son’s shady dealings. The spies claimed in their letter that the story was a product of a Russian disinformation operation, but they had no evidence to back up this claim. In turn, Twitter and other social-media platforms censored the Post’s story, citing the ginned-up letter. In a debate with Trump, Joe also leaned on this dodgy letter to lie about the laptop and his knowledge of Hunter’s business dealings.

Here we had a presidential campaign collaborating with intelligence officials and a compliant media to censor journalists and deceive the public during an election. We’ll never know if a truthful airing of the Hunter laptop story would have swung that close 2020 election to Trump, but this interference was outrageous nonetheless.

The campaign to bring down Trump culminated in the indictments filed by the DoJ and by Democratic prosecutors. Trump is currently subject to 91 charges across four criminal cases, plus many other civil suits against his business. The sheer number of charges in itself suggests that the Democrats have massively overreached. Closer inspection indicates that the vast majority of these charges are ‘innovative’ or dubious in nature. For instance, one of the key charges against Trump is that he knowingly propagated the lie that the 2020 election was stolen. His claims about the election were certainly contemptible and anti-democratic, and they should be denounced in the strongest possible terms. But that does not mean he should be criminalised for them.

Amid the noisy barrage of charges against Trump, the overriding reality is inescapable: the current president and his party are trying to send his likely political opponent to jail. This should not happen in a democratic republic. The recent petition by federal prosecutor Jack Smith to the Supreme Court, asking to accelerate the appeals proceedings against Trump, shows how justice has been distorted for political ends. The only reason Smith wants to rush the process is so he can put Trump on trial, and imprison him, before the November 2024 election.

Last week, the Supreme Court of Colorado made the goal of these legal cases explicit when it ruled that Trump should be disqualified from holding office. Four judges, all appointed by Democrats, decreed that Trump cannot appear on the ballot paper in the upcoming Republican primary in Colorado. The judgement made unprecedented use of a Civil War-era statute that was designed to keep unrepentant Confederates from high office.

Time and again, Democrats accuse Trump of being an authoritarian threat to democracy, only to then show the world how it’s really done. They are the ones destroying democracy, even as they purport to be saving it.

The frantic efforts of federal law-enforcement bodies to nail Trump stand in stark contrast to their slow-walking of investigations into Biden and his family. In the spring and summer of 2023, two Internal Revenue Service (IRS) whistleblowers accused Biden’s appointees of undermining their investigations into Hunter. Under oath, the two agents testified that the DoJ withheld information from them, allowed the statute of limitations on crimes to lapse, tipped off Hunter’s lawyers about searches before they happened, and forbade them from exploring Joe’s potential involvement. And in July, a judge struck down a sweetheart plea deal that the DoJ had arranged for Hunter, exposing how the department had tried to let the president’s son off the hook. Most Americans now believe Hunter received favourable treatment from the DoJ, thanks to his father.

Back in August, to fend off accusations that he was protecting Hunter, attorney general Merrick Garland gave attorney David Weiss more authority over Hunter’s case. In turn, earlier this month, Weiss indicted Hunter on nine counts of tax evasion and tax fraud, among other crimes. The indictment provides spicy details about Hunter spending millions of dollars on prostitutes and drugs, claiming ‘business deductions’ for exotic dancers in his tax returns and avoiding paying millions in taxes. But Weiss glaringly omits the most important question: how exactly did Hunter earn those millions? Going there would have exposed what the DoJ presumably wants to remain hidden: the links between the untalented Hunter’s foreign sources of income and his only asset – namely, his father.

Mounting evidence shows that President Biden clearly lied when he claimed that he had no knowledge of his son’s business dealings and had not interacted with Hunter’s associates. We now know that millions of dollars have gone to shell companies controlled by the Biden family. In December, House Republicans voted to authorise an impeachment inquiry to get to the bottom of the president’s involvement – with all Democrats voting against.

The extension of the law into politics is taking a toll on the public’s confidence in the justice system, and in government generally. Only about half of Americans view the Department of Justice favorably, while trust in the government in Washington is at 16 per cent, near to an all-time low.

Conversely, it seems that the campaign to bring down Trump is actually boosting his support. It has effectively turned him into a martyr. As of a few weeks ago, Trump had a three percentage point lead over Biden. What does it say about the public’s belief in the validity of the charges against Trump if a majority still prefer him as president? People can see through this political persecution and electoral interference.

Federal law enforcement in the US has a big credibility problem – justice is neither being done, nor being seen to be done. Increasingly, people realise that officials’ abuse of their power is distorting American politics. Yet this political weaponisation of justice is likely to intensify rather than diminish in 2024, as we head towards the presidential election in November. Just think: one presidential candidate could be running for office from a jail cell. Ladies and gentlemen, please fasten your seatbelts.

Sean Collins is a writer based in New York. Visit his blog, The American Situation.

Picture by: Getty.

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Topics Politics USA World

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