On Tuesday, President Joe Biden’s Justice Department took the unprecedented step accusing former President Donald Trump – Biden’s main challenger in the upcoming 2024 election – for repeatedly expressing his opinion that the last election was stolen, rigged and unfair.
It is an opinion shared by millions of Americans, and to which they are undoubtedly entitled, thanks to the First Amendment. That includes Trump, who has repeatedly (and recently) said the 2020 election was stolen. He’ll probably keep saying it until the day he dies, and he has every right to do so.
The idea that our Department of Justice could indict someone, especially the main political rival of the sitting president, for speech protected by the First Amendment is simply insane. It puts us firmly in banana republic territory, where tin can dictators imprison their political opponents before election day to ensure their “re-election”.
Simply put, this indictment is nothing more than a declaration of war against American voters and their constitutional right to free speech. Like Jonathan Turley noted on Twitter“If you take a red pen to all material allegedly protected by the First Amendment, you can reduce much of the indictment to haiku.”
Consider what DOJ special counsel Jack Smith (who, let’s not forget, was once reprimanded by a unanimous Supreme Court after he tried to put a republican governor in jail during the Obama administration). The charges against Trump do no It includes incitement to violence on Jan. 6, 2021. You might be surprised to hear this after Smith’s hyperbolic press conference on Tuesday, in which he went on about the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and how horrible it was to be.
Instead, the charges are that Trump committed conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction and attempted obstruction of an official proceeding, and conspiracy against rights. It sounds scary, but what it amounts to is the criminalization of opinions that Jack Smith and the Biden Department of Justice disagree with.
Crucially, Smith’s indictment alleges that Trump’s claims about the 2020 election were false and that I knew they were fake. As evidence, Smith cites a slew of Trump officials and federal bureaucracies who told him there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud. He even cites the Department of Homeland Security’s infamous Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, which we now know, thanks to the “Twitter Files”, directly interfered in the 2020 election by censuring Americans for power.
However, despite being told otherwise by CISA, Trump continued to claim that the election was stolen, so he must have lied. Or so goes the reasoning here.
I know, I know. You’re probably thinking that this can’t be real, that no one would be stupid enough to hang charges on the idea that Trump secretly believed he lost the election because a bunch of Deep State officials told him to, but they lied . about it hoping to get a big “conspiracy”.
But it doesn’t matter. That Trump knew he lost the election and lied about it is a political issue, not a legal one. It’s precisely the kind of thing that only the voters can sort out, not the DOJ thugs in the Biden administration.
Think of it this way. If Smith can indict Trump for talking about the election, to argue that it was stolen or rigged, then rest assured the DOJ under Biden could indict all the millions of Americans who agree with Trump about 2020 and they have said publicly. Heck, Smith could probably sue me for writing this article (and mostly this).
Forget Trump for a minute. This indictment sets a terrifying precedent that puts all Americans at risk. If Trump’s prosecution is successful, it means that the First Amendment is dead in America. It means you’re not allowed to have opinions that contradict the official Justice Department narrative, and if you do, you’d better not have the temerity to run for high office.
Viewed from that perspective, this latest accusation of Trump, which has now been indicted more than 75 crimes, many of them by Biden’s DOJ, is an exercise in raw power. It’s not like the Democrats are playing some kind of 4D chess in hopes of drumming up support for Trump among the base to make sure he’s the nominee because they think they can beat him in the general election.
No, they just want to put him in jail. They think Trump is a criminal for opposing them, and they think the same about his supporters. The left wants to criminalize dissent. They really don’t think you should get a vote, let alone an opinion. That’s what this indictment is about. If you think that’s bad, wait.
John Daniel Davidson is a senior editor at The Federalist. His writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Claremont Review of Books, the New York Post, and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter, @johnddavidson.