In the 1987 film, “No Way Out,” the character Scott Pritchard, general counsel to the Secretary of Defense, is desperate to protect his boss – and his meal ticket – by covering up the secretary’s act of murdering his mistress. The film presents its audience with a tangled web of Washington intrigue, and even 35 years ago, it brought home the lengths to which small men with large ambitions, having burrowed within the termite mound of the deep state, will go to protect their own careers and the powers that come only to those in positions of unelected authority in a bloated federal bureaucracy. “You have no idea what men of power can do!,” shrieks Pritchard at one point in the film, as his desperation to preserve his threatened career reveals the depths of his megalomania.
On Monday, the American people were given an ominous demonstration of what men of power can, and indeed will, do to crush those who oppose them. Someone watching the unfolding events need not be a member of team MAGA to look upon the FBI raid of the duly-elected 45th former president of the United States’ Mar-a-Lago estate with the deepest of concerns. One cannot help but think that the very agencies set up to protect the citizens of this nation have become hopelessly politicized and are morphing into the enforcement arm of a borderline thugocracy that has taken over D.C. I can only imagine the horror with which the Founding Fathers would have looked upon such a brazen act of federal power projection. I think it might be along the lines of, “And we thought the Redcoats were bad? Will someone explain to me exactly what we had a revolution for again?”
Although the most rank and shameless partisans within the Democrat Party, along with their trained parrots in much of the media, have been dutifully mouthing the blast emailed talking point from the DNC headquarters that “no one is above the law” (more on that in a moment), many other Democrats are looking at this FBI action with the proper level of disquiet it deserves.
Of all people, former Democratic New York governor Andrew Cuomo, certainly no fan of Trump to say the least, tweeted: “[Department of Justice] must immediately explain the reason for its raid & it must be more than a search for inconsequential archives or it will be viewed as a political tactic and undermine any future credible investigation & legitimacy of January 6 investigations.” Even some in the media are showing themselves to be the proverbial broken clock that is still right twice a day.
When asked if the pretext for the FBI raid – to wit: a search for classified documents in Trump’s possession that should have been turned over to the National Archives – is enough to warrant such a SWAT tactic, CNN legal analyst Paul Callan responded: “No, it’s not enough to warrant all this, and this is a daring and dangerous move by the Department of Justice, to serve a warrant on a former president and raid his personal residence.”
Daring, no. Dangerous, yes. There really seems to be, as of this writing (and yours truly waited a day or two to see what fruit fell from the shaken tree first), only two possible reasons for this unprecedented raid. Neither of which bring any comfort to lovers of civil liberties who believe in what seems to be a dying American Republic.
First is that this was really just “executing a search warrant” (as one State lacky in the media tried to frame it) to retrieve the classified documents. If this is the case, then the obvious question hangs in the air like a foul vapor: why was there no similar FBI raid on the home of Hillary Clinton between 2014 and 2016? Unlike the president, who can declassify anything at will, the former Secretary of State was served with a subpoena related to her use of a private server in her Chappaqua home to conduct government business. In response, her staffers destroyed several cell phones with a hammer and bleach-bitted over 30,000 emails she claimed were merely of a personal, non-governmental nature. You try that after a federal subpoena and see how long before your door gets kicked in. “Well, we’d intended to delete them before the subpoena, so…” Good luck with that.
We might also ask: how is it that Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), a sitting member of Congress, can allegedly sleep with a Chinese Communist Party agent and is not only allowed to remain free of investigation, but actually continues to sit on the – wait for it – House Intelligence Committee?
Then there are the former NSA and CIA directors who demonstrably perjured themselves before Congress only to be rewarded with media consulting gigs. Why does Paul Pelosi’s stock trading not get the Martha Stewart treatment? Any bets on if his DUI vanishes without a trace, with no media curiosity as to why? And, of course, there is the Hunter and Joe Biden multi-million dollar influence-peddling racket and the many brazen crimes Hunter videotaped himself committing.
It goes on and on, and nothing listed above is anything that hasn’t already been said a thousand times. Nevertheless, it bears repetition because as long as these questions remain, Americans’ trust in the government will continue to erode. And why shouldn’t it? It is as if these people somehow know that they are immune from any legal consequences for their actions – that the omnipotent State mechanism will move in to protect them. And it would seem that it has done just that.
This, then, presents us with a second possible, and more sinister, motivation for the raid: it was intended as a partisan projection of power and a message to anyone with Trump’s audacity to threaten the status quo. That same State apparatus that has been so absent in the face of blatant illegalities and improprieties committed by top Democrats has been ruthless in its pursuit of those on the other side of the aisle, as Michael Flynn tragically learned the hard way.
Only someone steeped in naivete, or hyper-partisan denial, could believe that the raid on the Trumps’ home was not at its core a political action. Some 30 federal agents spent a full day on the Mar-a-Lago grounds going through every inch of the property. They even rifled through the former First Lady’s wardrobe closets while forcing Trump’s lawyers to stand out in the scorching Florida sun as the search went underway.
While the contents of the search warrant remain unknown, the pretext of finding archive documents was reportedly used to enter the house of the party in power’s most dangerous and outspoken opponent in order to find something, anything, damning enough to prevent his run for office against a failed president in 2024. And they may find something accusatory… as they would most likely find in any of our homes as well. Why? Because the legal statutes have become so gargantuan that, as civil liberties attorney Harvey Silverglate has pointed out, every day the average American commits three felonies without even realizing it. This presents a target-rich environment for a government machine looking to take down anyone standing in its way. As Stalin’s NKVD enforcer Lavrentiy Beria famously asserted: “Show me the man, and I’ll show you the crime.”
The shift towards authoritarianism over the past decade has been a trend we can no longer ignore. As The Daily Wire reported, according to a National Issues Survey of 1,000 people, nearly eight in ten Americans, 79.3%, responded that “[t]here are two tiers of justice in the American justice system: one set of laws for politicians and Washington D.C. insiders vs. one set of laws for everyday Americans.” If there is any silver lining to the FBI raid on the former president’s residence, it is that it has now laid bare for all to see the true corruption of the State. It is now known that there are no lengths to which those in power won’t go to in order to protect said power and punish any who threaten to upend their lucrative apple cart.
Throughout my adult life, I have been a Democrat, a Republican, and now a staunch Independent. I have voted across party lines in the past and have abstained from certain elections when I found both candidates unworthy of my vote. But I see now that there is no other way to vote than to remove this corrupted and power-mad group of grifters from office. I loathe hyperbole – we see it too often for too little – but I truly believe, barring shocking evidence against Trump to the contrary, that the FBI raid places us at a tipping point. The greatest myth of nations is permanence – that we are somehow immune from the evils that have brought down great empires of the past…tyranny, despotism, one-party rule, corruption at the highest levels, a selective application of the laws for political ends, moral decay, and a hubristic bureaucracy devoid of any accountability to the public. The framers of our Constitution understood the darkening of men’s hearts once they’ve tasted power. Thus did they realize their new nation’s system of government could only function with checks and balances to hold at bay the very people who would authorize a raid on a former president while their political allies go forth and multiply without fear of consequence.
Most importantly, they understood that having a codified Bill of Rights was not enough. After all, laws and rights are only as good as the willingness of those who wield power to enforce and protect them (the late great Justice Antonin Scalia reminded us that the USSR had a bill of rights too). Otherwise, as the framers said, they were a mere “parchment guarantee.” Words on paper, nothing more. Something more is desperately needed in today’s legislative and executive branch. John Adams once observed that our Constitution was made only for a “moral and religious people.” He would be gravely disappointed, and frightened, at those who sit in the halls of power today. It is up to us to keep the faith this November, throw the corrupt officers overboard or in the brig, and bail out this sinking ship before it founders.
Brad Schaeffer is a trader, columnist, and author. He has published two novels: the World War II epic Of Another Time And Place and the best-selling The Extraordinary that tackles the difficult subjects of autism and PTSD.
The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.