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Bradley Blankenship
Bradley Blankenship
Bradley Blankenship is a Prague-based American journalist, columnist and political commentator. He has a syndicated column at CGTN and is a freelance reporter for international news agencies including Xinhua News Agency.

The FBI’s Trump residence raid could mean he can’t run in 2024 – and his militant followers will rise up

Trump FBI news

If the former president withheld classified papers, it could cost him his political future… and possibly lead to civil war.

The FBI carried out a raid on former US President Donald Trump’s Florida residence on Monday. It is not clear which specific investigation the search warrant is related to, however CNN claims to have heard from familiar sources that it relates to Trump’s handling of presidential documents.

For his part, Trump has described the event as an “assault” that demonstrates “dark times for our Nation.” Just like the former president, Republican-aligned media like Fox News are also portraying the event as political persecution by the administration of President Joe Biden against his likely 2024 opponent. But whether this campaign-style embellishment really describes what took place at Mar-A-Lago or not, it is indeed unprecedented.

First of all, American presidents are never held accountable for anything. The 1982 Supreme Court decision Nixon v. Fitzgerald established the concept of absolute immunity where presidents enjoy complete civil immunity from any litigation brought about by actions undertaken while holding the office of the President. Likewise, the Department of Justice has gone a step further for decades, holding a policy that no president can be indicted while holding office – though the Court and the Constitution are silent on this.

Trump must have done something after leaving office, since a Court apparently believes he withheld government documents earmarked for the National Archives after leaving office. That would be a crime, most probably falling under the category 18 US Code § 2017 – Concealment, removal or mutilation generally. And it appears FBI agents were looking for those documents.

One part of this US Code is crucial: that a person found guilty “shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both; and shall forfeit his office and be disqualified from holding any office under the United States.”

Essentially, if the FBI actually found withheld government documents held by Trump – that he took with him after he was no longer president – then he could be barred from running for office ever again. The fact that the FBI executed a no-knock raid on his residence, especially with the serious political risks and consequences, implies that these suspicions must have been very well-founded. That is to say that the chances of them having found something is actually quite high.

Of course, if that happens and Trump gets charged and convicted of this crime then he will accuse these charges of being trumped up (mind the pun) and so will his followers. Note that most Republican voters don’t even believe the results of the 2020 presidential election are legitimate and at least 120 Republican nominees across the country don’t believe President Joe Biden was democratically elected.

So imagine this as a scenario: Whether Trump wins again in 2024, or even before the election takes place, he gets charged and convicted, becomes barred from holding office and possibly languishes in prison for a few years. His team puts out brazen statements, as they already have, accusing the US government of political persecution and rallying their supporters to mobilize against the state. Depending on your interpretation of the ongoing January 6 committee hearings, that’s also something they’ve already done.

This is why some folks on social media, as well as some journalists, are accurately saying that the US could be on a collision course for civil war now. The country is already so divided politically that Republicans and Democrats essentially live in different universes. Trump being sent to prison and barred from office could be what breaks the camel’s back.

My personal view is that if the laws of this country are to mean anything, then the powerful must be held accountable. I understand the concept of absolute immunity; if the president were afraid of making hard decisions that could get them prosecuted or face civil penalties then they couldn’t perform their duties. Still, I believe, as Noam Chomsky once famously said, that all post-war US Presidents are war criminals – and that’s why I believe they should absolutely be held accountable.

Going a step further, I also believe that they should be held accountable for the very-obviously corrupt activities they conduct, like what Trump could supposedly be doing with his government documents. No one should be above the law because a two-tier legal system automatically undermines the supposedly universal values it is designed to protect. Everyone should be equal under the law.

That being said, about one-half of the country is extraordinarily misinformed and would not accept any legal proceedings against Trump as legitimate. This would prompt many of them to organize, radicalize and even mobilize against the government. Heck, one Florida lawmaker is already calling on his state to cut ties with the Department of Justice and arrest unauthorized FBI agents.

With the widespread availability of firearms in the US, it would not be hard to imagine extremist groups expanding their reach and even new ones popping up. This could easily spill over into a civil war scenario. That’s no exaggeration.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of DTNZ.

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Source:RT News

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2 COMMENTS

  1. As if the Clintons left the White House and rode off into the sunset never to be seen or heard from again, right? As if they never used any state secrets or insider information to somehow keep their names relevant even over 20 years after Bill’s term ended.

    As if Obama didn’t remain behind in Washington in 2017, setting up an office just down the road from the White House for “reasons”. And what’s up with the National archives complaining that he’s supplied them with virtually NO DOCUMENTS from his two terms in the Oval Office – must be another weird coinky dink we’ll all pretend isn’t true. Too bad the FBI have never raided his home in a similar fashion, especially given all that “equal treatment under the law” such and such…

    As if we all didn’t watch the windows being boarded up on election night and the vote counts jumping inexplicably at 4am. As if none of us notice the entire Biden regime is comprised almost exclusively of all the same Obama acolytes and minions from before, as if we didn’t see their sheer giddiness to have the boss back in the White House a few weeks ago while poor old Joe wondered around haplessly like Grandpa Simpson. Or are we all just “misinformed” on that too? Were my eyes lying to me as I watched the video feed?

    These politicians (much like ours in NZ) know the vast majority of their citizens hate them. And it’s not because they were RADICALISED by Twitter or Alex Jones or Pepe the frog. It’s because for decades these politicians have done everything in their power to make common peoples’ lives harder and their futures shittier, they’re still doing it to this day (now on a global scale with their climate schemes – schemes being the operative word).

    Trump was the first politician in a long time to come along and actually try to help people, and to deliver on his promises – even the most ardent anti-trump twits would acknowledge that he gave his voters what they wanted, and that economically America was soaring for those four years.

    Despite everything they’ve done to cancel the man, he still dominates every (honest) poll and every media discussion. People don’t care about Russian hookers, pee tapes, Jan 6 FBI false flags and bullshit classified document raids (or whatever the fuck else the establishment want to try to tar and feather him with next); they care about trump because they trust Trump to actually deliver on what he promises. Because he’s EARNED that Trust. And make no mistake, it’s not a crazy fringe minority you lefties love to imagine it is, in reality it’s the majority of the country – your skewed news cycles and fake polls have filled you all with a deeply false sense of assurance.
    No one (literally NO ONE) wants the shitty, lower your expectations, own nothing and be happy, Eco/techno-fascist future these utter reptiles are trying to sell us. Trump presently is the largest threat to that agenda, and they fucking well know it.

    They also know if/when he runs in 2024 he will absolutely trounce them again for a third time. A stolen election, big tech crackdown and fake news damage control was enough to get Biden over the line last time, but it likely won’t work again a second time. As you rightly pointed out, people are pissed off and well armed, and a civil war isn’t beyond the realm of possibility. And honestly at this point it seems like it’s literally the establishment’s only remaining play. “Oops, civil war means no election in 2024, sorry ????????‍♂️”

    That’s why they deliberately crossed the rubicon to raid trump’s home and make a big spectacle of it, that’s why Christopher Wray intentionally made a point to use the word “deplorable” the other day when giving comments on the fake death threats those brave souls of the intelligence agencies have supposedly been receiving. It’s all as obvious as it is pathetic.

    The biggest danger to the government is the government, they’re just too rich, too powerful and too arrogant to realise it. They should stop with the 3rd world shenanigans and let democracy run its true course. Let the people have the President they want and the future they want. History suggests they will eventually anyway, one way or another.

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