On Tuesday, President Joe Biden’s 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. That includes Trump, who has said repeatedly (and recently) that the 2020 election was stolen. He’ll 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. It puts us firmly into banana republic territory, where tinpot dictators jail their political opponents ahead of election day to ensure their “reelection.”
Simply put, this indictment is nothing more than a declaration of war against American voters and their constitutional right to free speech. As Jonathan Turley noted on Twitter, “If you take a red pen to all of the material presumptively protected by the First Amendment, you can reduce much of the indictment to haiku.”
Consider what’s alleged, and what isn’t, by DOJ Special Counsel Jack Smith (who, let’s not forget, was once rebuked by a unanimous Supreme Court after he tried to put a GOP governor in prison during the Obama administration). The charges against Trump do not include incitement to violence on Jan. 6, 2021. You might be surprised to hear that after Smith’s hyperbolic press conference Tuesday, in which he went on and on about the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and how horrible it was.
Instead, the charges are that Trump committed conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of and an attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiracy against rights. Sounds scary, but what it amounts to is the criminalization of opinions with which Jack Smith and the Biden Justice Department happen to disagree.
Crucially, Smith’s indictment alleges that Trump’s claims about the 2020 election were false and that he knew they were false. As evidence, Smith cites a bunch of Trump officials and federal bureaucracies that told him there was no evidence of widespread election fraud. He even cites the infamous Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, which we now know, thanks to the “Twitter Files,” directly interfered in the 2020 election by censoring Americans by proxy.
Yet despite the likes of CISA telling him otherwise, Trump kept claiming the election was stolen, so he must have been lying. Or so goes the reasoning here.
I know, I know. You’re probably thinking this can’t be real, that no one would be so stupid as to hang charges on the idea that Trump secretly believed he’d lost the election because a bunch of deep-state officials told him so, but lied about it in hopes of pulling off a grand “conspiracy.”
But it doesn’t matter. Whether Trump knew he lost the election and lied about it is a political matter, not a legal one. It’s precisely the kind of thing that can only be settled by voters, not by DOJ thugs in the Biden administration.
Think of it this way. If Smith can indict Trump for speaking out about the election, for arguing that it was stolen or rigged, then rest assured the DOJ under Biden could indict every one of the millions of Americans who agree with Trump about 2020 and have said so publicly. Hell, Smith could probably indict me for writing this article (and especially this one).
Forget about Trump for a minute. This indictment sets a terrifying precedent that puts all Americans at risk. 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 — and if you do, you’d better not have the temerity to run for high office.
Seen in that light, this latest indictment of Trump — who has now been charged with more than 75 crimes, many of them by the Biden DOJ — is an exercise in raw power. It’s not that Democrats are playing some kind of 4D chess in hopes of ginning up support for Trump among the base to ensure he’s the nominee because they think they can beat him in the general election.
No, they just want to put him in prison. They think Trump’s a criminal for opposing them, and they think the same thing about his supporters. The left wants to criminalize dissent. They don’t really think you should get a vote, much less an opinion. That’s what this indictment is about. If you think this is bad, just wait.