Gonzo territory

Gilead

Donald Trump

Coup attempt

Jonathan Capehart makes the mistake of treating a constitutional oligarchy,[11] that fraudulently takes on the airs of a representative system of government,[12] as having some mystical force that will resurrect Liz Cheney like “The Force” in Star Wars resurrected Obi-Wan Kenobi.[13] It is a sad but dangerous, if somewhat romantic, delusion that assumes that good, or in Liz Cheney’s case, a lesser evil, will prevail. Our system of government is not, however, by any means, “The Force,” and there are no Jedi Knights to save it or us from a forthcoming white Christian nationalist regime.

But there is this really very curious search at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence that no one really seems to know very much about. The predominant word is that it’s about violations of the Presidential Records Act but I’m also seeing that, that act lacking an enforcement mechanism, probably wouldn’t suffice to warrant a search of this political magnitude.[14]

On Tuesday, a lawyer for [Donald] Trump said the agents who brought the court-approved warrant to Mar-a-Lago a day earlier took about 12 more boxes [in addition to 15 returned earlier] after conducting their search. . . .

[Christina] Bobb did not share the search warrant left by agents but said that it indicated agents were investigating possible violations of laws dealing with the handling of classified material and the Presidential Records Act.[15]

Stanley Brand, a former House counsel who represents some of the Jan. 6 defendants and witnesses, said that search warrants don’t always yield any blockbuster or useful information. He called the FBI search of Trump’s property a huge escalation in the investigation of documents improperly taken to Mar-a-Lago. If investigators don’t recoup materials that showed that there were serious national consequences for the materials he potentially kept, Brand said, it could tarnish the Justice Department’s reputation.[16]

The other angle here is a ferocious reaction from Trump’s supporters. The search is alleged to galvanize Trump’s base.[17]


Julia Ioffe noticed it too:

[The search] did produce one deeply unexpected wrinkle in the political universe. Two years after Republicans made quick work of tying even the most moderate Democrats to their more progressive colleagues who called to “defund the police,” attempting to sink them in the 2020 elections, Republicans took to social media last night to loudly call for defunding, well, federal law enforcement.

Marjorie Taylor Greene, who by now needs no introduction, led the charge by declaring, simply, “DEFUND THE F.B.I.!” Others quickly followed. Erick Erickson, the conservative commentator who went from Never Trump to Always Trump, tweeted that, even as he struggles to form an opinion about what happened, he can already say that the F.B.I. should “be in line for defunding right behind the I.R.S.” The white nationalist House Republican Paul Gosar went so far as to call the F.B.I. “brown shirts” and to demand their “dismantling and elimination.” A Republican state representative from Florida who is running for Congress, Anthony Sabatini, said local Florida law enforcement should arrest F.B.I. agents on sight and that “it’s time to completely gut the F.B.I. and D.O.J.” Russ Vought, a conservative think tanker, went on Fox News, to preach the same gospel: defund the F.B.I. In a matter of hours, the idea had spread like wildfire. . . .

It is also deeply ironic, if you can call it that. When the national spotlight finally turned on law enforcement killing unarmed Black civilians, Republicans saw the call to “defund the police” as offensively unpatriotic. When the F.B.I. came after a former president who obstructed justice, flushed public records down the toilet, and did all kinds of other things that, let’s just say, weren’t extremely friendly with the law, it was suddenly time to get serious about defunding law enforcement. Funny how that works.[18]

This, of course, wasn’t all. On Twitter, there was a lot of this sort of thing:


As for what will be next, Ioffe is skeptical[19] and I sure as hell can’t tell you she’s wrong.

“If they are trying to rebound from the perception that their decision-making was skewed from the [Donald] Trump era, this is not going to help that,” [Stanley] Brand said. “Part of it depends on what happens hereafter.”[20]

All I can really tell you here is 1) we’re in gonzo territory now, and 2) stay the fuck tuned because, one way or another, this story ain’t over.

Jonathan Capehart, “Liz Cheney is the Obi-Wan to Trump’s Darth Vader,” Washington Post, August 8, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/08/08/liz-cheney-obi-wan-kenobi-trump-darth-vader/

Eric Tucker and Michael Balsamo, “Trump says FBI conducting search of Mar-a-Lago estate,” Associated Press, August 8, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/donald-trump-mar-a-lago-government-and-politics-9e8d683afe87389407950af7ccfdbdd6

Devlin Barrett et al., “Mar-a-Lago search appears focused on whether Trump, aides withheld items,” Washington Post, August 9, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/08/09/trump-fbi-search-mar-a-lago/

Julia Ioffe, “Defund… the F.B.I.?” Puck News, August 9, 2022, https://puck.news/defund-the-f-b-i/

Perry Stein, “Garland vowed to depoliticize Justice. Then the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago,” Washington Post, August 9, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/08/09/garland-trump-raid-politics/


  1. [11]David Benfell, “A constitutional oligarchy: Deconstructing Federalist No. 10,” Not Housebroken, July 3, 2021, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/04/22/a-constitutional-oligarchy-deconstructing-federalist-no-10/
  2. [12]David Benfell, “Why I do not vote,” Not Housebroken, February 25, 2016, https://disunitedstates.org/2016/02/23/why-i-do-not-vote/
  3. [13]Jonathan Capehart, “Liz Cheney is the Obi-Wan to Trump’s Darth Vader,” Washington Post, August 8, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/08/08/liz-cheney-obi-wan-kenobi-trump-darth-vader/
  4. [14]Eric Tucker and Michael Balsamo, “Trump says FBI conducting search of Mar-a-Lago estate,” Associated Press, August 8, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/donald-trump-mar-a-lago-government-and-politics-9e8d683afe87389407950af7ccfdbdd6; Perry Stein, “Garland vowed to depoliticize Justice. Then the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago,” Washington Post, August 9, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/08/09/garland-trump-raid-politics/
  5. [15]Devlin Barrett et al., “Mar-a-Lago search appears focused on whether Trump, aides withheld items,” Washington Post, August 9, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/08/09/trump-fbi-search-mar-a-lago/
  6. [16]Perry Stein, “Garland vowed to depoliticize Justice. Then the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago,” Washington Post, August 9, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/08/09/garland-trump-raid-politics/
  7. [17]Devlin Barrett et al., “Mar-a-Lago search appears focused on whether Trump, aides withheld items,” Washington Post, August 9, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/08/09/trump-fbi-search-mar-a-lago/; Julia Ioffe, “Defund… the F.B.I.?” Puck News, August 9, 2022, https://puck.news/defund-the-f-b-i/
  8. [18]Julia Ioffe, “Defund… the F.B.I.?” Puck News, August 9, 2022, https://puck.news/defund-the-f-b-i/
  9. [19]Julia Ioffe, “Defund… the F.B.I.?” Puck News, August 9, 2022, https://puck.news/defund-the-f-b-i/
  10. [20]Perry Stein, “Garland vowed to depoliticize Justice. Then the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago,” Washington Post, August 9, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/08/09/garland-trump-raid-politics/

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