Political Thoughts with Richard Bleil
Today (as I write this), the FBI searched former president Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home. There is no word on what, exactly, they were looking for, but, of course, the former president took to the airways to condemn the search, saying that the FBI is “occupying” his home, borrowing the vernacular of the January 6 insurrection. In addition, there has been a grand jury gathered regarding the former president as well.
Let’s be clear about this. Search warrants are not easily obtained. There must be clear evidence of reason to believe a crime has been committed, and a judge must examine the evidence before a search warrant is issued. These warrants are usually narrow in scope, limiting the search to very specific items for support of a very specific crime. If insufficient evidence exists to give credible belief that the crime in question has occurred, no warrant will be issued. A grand jury, on the other hand, usually precedes a criminal charge. The purpose of a grand jury is to ascertain if sufficient evidence exists to issue a warrant and charge an individual with a crime.
Does this mean Trump has committed a crime? Not necessarily. We do, in this nation, believe in the concept of innocent until proven guilty, even if the extremist conspiracy theorists want to try and convict in a trial by media (although, to be fair, the January 6 committee has been doing the same thing recently). I mention this because I do have friends who will believe Trump’s claims of harassment and repeat right-wing media claims that there is no justified cause. The main-stream media, of course, will carry the true story, the story that the right-wing media, and my friends, will claim is liberal-controlled media propaganda. But the reality is that the mainstream media has a built-in self-check. See, for all media outlets to knowingly publicize falsehoods means that they must all agree to do so in advance and trust one another not to break the agreement. But the media, whether we like it or not, is based on advertising, and advertising is based on viewing. If one legitimate news source had the opportunity to “break” the story of a large-scale conspiracy, that would bring a lot of readers, and that news agency would make a mint on the advertising that resulted. Yes, I realize that there is a lot of political messaging that is “fed” to the mainstream media, but it’s still far more reliable than the right-wing news outlets.
Trump has been a national embarrassment for years. He has embraced extremist dictators such as Putin over our long-standing allies and tried to weaken the UN and NATO. He is not the only president to be impeached, but he is the first to be impeached twice, and no, he was not “exonerated”. It’s true that the Senate did not vote to remove him from office which requires a simple majority vote which could not be garnered in a Republican controlled Senate more interested in protecting their own party than justice. Exoneration by the Senate, on the other hand, requires a “super majority” vote of two-thirds, which the Republicans knew they couldn’t get. My conservative friends hate it when I point out that if Trump was exonerated, then so was Clinton, who was also not removed from office by the Senate.
Now, he is (to the best of my knowledge) the first former US president to be so deeply embroiled in criminal investigations over his actions while in office that his residence has been legally searched. This is the kind of thing that I would expect in a third-world nation, but here in America? It’s simply shameful.
As more Republicans turn their backs on him, the Republican party as a whole still overwhelmingly supports Trump as he gears up for a second run at the office. This is simply stunning to me, and if he succeeds, I cannot imagine how our nation will survive. The resurrection was an attempt to usurp the Constitution, so regardless of what they want people to think, it certainly was not patriotic. And Trump did incite the resurrection, knowingly if subtly. It’s his way to call for illegal actions without actually saying the words. In his presidential run against Hillary, he said in a speech that, I don’t know, maybe, if an outside nation like Russia decided to break into the Democratic computers and search them, I don’t know, maybe. Never did he explicitly call on Russia to interfere, but his intention was obvious.
With the January 6 broadcasts, it has become painfully clear that those who do not want to see the truth won’t. These are the people who form Trump’s base, and keeping him in play.