This is the kind of thing that could only happen in countries run by “tin-pot dictators” conservatives fumed on Twitter upon seeing that the FBI had searched former president Donald Trump’s Florida home. “If this is what they’re able to do to the former president of the United States, think about what they could do to you,” Lara Trump warned on Fox News.
It’s true! If this is what investigators will do to the former president of the United States — follow all the steps to obtain a warrant from a judge to search his home for documents that they (and the judge) believed probable cause suggested were there, then leave without arresting anybody — imagine what they will do to you! You might also have to deal with a search warrant from a judge! You, too, might receive due process when suspected of committing a crime!
Imagine! The next time it appears that you have run afoul of the Presidential Records Act by taking classified documents home, the FBI will obtain a warrant from a judge to come to your combined residence and country club to search your safe — with cooperation from the Secret Service! There are millions of Americans out there right now reasonably saying to themselves, “All this time I have been storing classified materials pertaining to the office of the president, some too classified even to be described (which sounds like a koan), as I thought was my right as an average citizen. And now, I see what kind of hell scape I am living in! One where the former president is subject to laws, just as I, an average citizen, am subject to laws!”
counterpointIt’s too soon to judge Trump on missing documents and fake slates
It is a well-known fact that federal law enforcement exists solely to make miserable the lives of civil rights leaders, to bury in a deep hole all allegations against Brett M. Kavanaugh and to investigate Hillary Clinton, root of all evil. What it is not for is this. Next, you are going to tell me that if somebody tries to keep themselves in power by force, they ought to face consequences for it!
Well may the Republican congressional minority rend its garments and wail. Well may House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy threaten retribution. What are we coming to, when law enforcement agencies enforce the law against the president? Against average citizens, sure. Against troublemakers, an ill-defined category that I refer you to Trump speeches to better understand — naturally! But against our god-king? Our cherished former president?
A state governed by laws is no state for me. I wanted a state where some people are above the law and some people are below the law. I wanted one where Trump specifically was above the law and also got to use the apparatus of the state to harass his political opponents. That is apolitical and just. This is — just awful!
“No former president is safe,” tweeted Matt Gaetz, (R-Fla.) Too true! Too true! John Adams sitting there on his trove of documents. Benjamin Harrison, inciting all those insurrections. William Henry Harrison, being there! Any one of us could become a former president, if we play our cards wrong, and we must first ask ourselves: If the most powerful are not above the law, who can be? Is anyone? Shouldn’t someone be?