Trump’s Attacks on Democratic Traditions Intensify as Prosecution Looms

by Michael Nguyen
retaliation threats

Donald Trump, the first former president to face federal charges, and his supporters have once again resorted to their familiar strategy of portraying themselves as victims in the face of unprecedented allegations. However, this time the stakes are higher.

Facing 37 charges, including obstruction and illegal retention of defense information, Trump has escalated his claims and threats. After pleading not guilty, he accused the nonpartisan special prosecutor of targeting him for political reasons and vowed to seek retribution against President Joe Biden if he were to win the 2024 presidential election.

Speaking at his golf club in New Jersey, Trump told his supporters, “There was an unwritten rule” against prosecuting former presidents and political opponents. He promised to appoint a special prosecutor to go after Joe Biden, whom he labeled as the “most corrupt president in the history of America,” and the “Biden crime family.”

This vow echoes the infamous “lock her up” chants directed at Hillary Clinton during Trump’s 2016 campaign, but the specificity and seriousness of the threats have raised concerns among experts.

Lindsay Chervinsky, a presidential historian, warned that such actions would undermine the system of laws and resemble authoritarian regimes like Russia and Venezuela, where political opponents have been targeted and prosecuted. There is no evidence to support Trump’s claim that Biden made a similar pledge to target him, and Biden himself has stated that he has never interfered with the Justice Department’s decisions on any case.

Trump’s attacks on the justice system are part of an ongoing campaign, spanning eight years, that aims to undermine democratic traditions and institutions in the United States.

Throughout his presidency, Trump repeatedly complained about unfair treatment by the legal system, from accusing a judge of bias in a lawsuit against his for-profit university to criticizing the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. He even appointed a special prosecutor to review the investigation into possible coordination between his campaign and Russia, which ultimately led to just one conviction.

Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, a government reform advocacy group, emphasized the danger of Trump’s pledge, citing his history of misusing and abusing his office for personal gain.

Stephen Saltzburg, a former top official in the Justice Department, highlighted the irony of Trump accusing others of doing what he himself would do in a similar position. By signaling his intent to settle scores using the Justice Department, Trump indirectly confirms the claims that led to his indictment.

The indictment, brought by a grand jury in Florida after an investigation led by independent special counsel Jack Smith, charges Trump with holding classified documents after leaving the White House. Trump admitted on tape that these documents were classified and that he no longer had the power to declassify them, yet he refused to return them when requested by the government.

Many experts, regardless of their political affiliations, argue that the charges against Trump are a result of the legal system functioning properly, rather than being driven by political motives. Even William Barr, Trump’s former attorney general, acknowledged the seriousness of the allegations in the indictment and stated that any attorney general, regardless of party affiliation, would have pursued the charges.

The combination of the new federal charges and the ongoing Republican presidential primary has led to increased complaints about the scrutiny Trump is facing. Republicans, including House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, have condemned what they perceive as the “weaponization of power” against conservatives and pledged to hold those responsible accountable.

Although some Trump critics question the legality of the charges brought by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, Trump’s defenders reject any distinction and denounce all investigations into the former president. Republicans have even established a committee to investigate the alleged “weaponization of government” against conservatives, highlighting perceived injustices in the Trump probes.

Despite these protests, legal experts like former U.S. Attorney Roscoe Howard believe that the public will see through the arguments put forth by Trump’s allies by simply examining the indictment. The evidence presented will reveal whether Trump violated the law, and the consequences should be applied equally to anyone who commits similar offenses.

According to Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a historian specializing in authoritarians, Trump’s intensified narrative reflects the old situation he finds himself in. Given the seriousness of the charges, he seeks to regain power to dismantle the institutions that could hold him accountable—an approach commonly adopted by strongmen facing corruption allegations.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about retaliation

What charges does Donald Trump face and what are the potential consequences?

Donald Trump faces 37 charges, including obstruction, illegal retention of defense information, and other violations. If convicted, he could potentially face years in prison.

What did Donald Trump claim regarding the special prosecutor and political reasons?

Trump claimed that the nonpartisan special prosecutor is targeting him for political reasons. He alleges that the charges are politically motivated.

What did Trump vow to do if Joe Biden is elected president?

Trump vowed to retaliate against President Joe Biden if he is elected president in 2024. He promised to appoint a real special prosecutor to go after Biden and what he referred to as the “Biden crime family.”

How are Trump’s attacks on the justice system viewed by experts?

Experts view Trump’s attacks on the justice system as part of a larger campaign to undermine democratic traditions and institutions. They warn that such attacks can erode the rule of law and resemble authoritarian regimes.

Are there any parallels between Trump’s current situation and his past complaints about the legal system?

Yes, Trump has a history of complaining about unfair treatment by the legal system, from lawsuits against his for-profit university to the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. He has previously vowed retribution and appointed a special prosecutor. This pattern adds weight to his current pledge of retribution, raising concerns among experts.

Are there any bipartisan voices supporting the charges against Trump?

Yes, many experts from both sides of the political spectrum argue that the charges against Trump stem from the proper functioning of the legal system, rather than being driven by political vendettas. They emphasize that the laws apply to everyone and that any attorney general would have pursued these charges.

What are the ongoing legal challenges and investigations faced by Trump?

In addition to the federal charges, Trump faces legal jeopardy in other cases. The Manhattan District Attorney’s office has charged him with falsifying business information, and local prosecutors in Fulton County, Georgia, are investigating his attempts to overturn the 2020 election results. There is also a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C. probing his efforts to overturn his election loss.

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PoliticalJunkie87 June 16, 2023 - 11:24 am

smh trump always playin’ the victim card. he said the same stuff bout hillary back in 2016. but now it’s even worse. talkin’ bout retaliatin’ against biden? that’s just crazy talk!

HistoryBuff101 June 17, 2023 - 12:22 am

it’s scary how trump attacks our democratic institutions. he’s tryna undermine the rule of law & act like an authoritarian leader. this is not how democracy works!

FreedomLover456 June 17, 2023 - 2:38 am

finally, someone standin’ up against the corrupt biden crime family! trump’s gonna appoint a special prosecutor & expose their wrongdoings. can’t wait for justice to be served!

LegalEagle22 June 17, 2023 - 5:54 am

the charges against trump are serious & they should be treated seriously. this isn’t about politics, it’s about the law. let the justice system do its job & determine his guilt or innocence.


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