Can This Be Happening in America?

Can This Be Happening in America?
The seal of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is seen outside of its headquarters in Washington on Aug. 15, 2022. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)
Conrad Black

We have familiar experience with the phenomenon of what are clearly intolerable circumstances being tolerated if they worsened only gradually. Everyone has looked back on a grueling experience and thought that it couldn’t have been endured had the individual known how unpleasant it would become.

No matter how familiar anyone may be with the horrors of the Nazi regime, it remains to us inconceivable that the culture of Beethoven and Goethe could have committed such crimes.

The United States has now reached the point where the sequence of outrageous and unconstitutional measures that have occurred in the past six years would have been inconceivable six years ago.

It’s unimaginable that anyone who has ever been nominated for president by a serious U.S. political party could be an intelligence asset for a foreign power. We now know that there has never been one scintilla of evidence remotely hinting that Donald Trump was guilty of any such offense, or that he had any inappropriate relations or even a particular regard for the government of Russia.

Yet, for more than two years, it was endlessly bandied about that Trump had been “groomed” by Russian agents like the “Manchurian Candidate” to debase the presidency of the United States into boot-licking subordination to the national interest of Russia. The former directors of the National and Central Intelligence Agencies, James Clapper and John Brennan, solemnly told national audiences that Trump was a Russian intelligence agent and was guilty of treason in favor of the Russians.

Both these senior officials on occasion allegedly lied to Congress but were never prosecuted. Former FBI Director James Comey, who improperly removed government property from his office, also improperly leaked confidential information to the media, improperly presumed to decide that Hillary Clinton shouldn’t be prosecuted for destroying 33,000 emails that were under subpoena from Congress, signed a false affidavit in support of a FISA warrant to conduct illegal telephone intercepts on the Trump campaign, and supported the pretense that the infamous Steele dossier, which he knew to be a pastiche of lies and defamations, was authentic intelligence, indicating the guilt of Trump of unlawful collusion with the Russian government.

The then-ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), and other Democrats repeated ad nauseam that they had conclusive evidence of Trump’s guilt. They lied. The inspector general of the Justice Department recorded 17 separate instances of improper official behavior. There has been no prosecution of any of this.

In all of pre-Trump U.S. history, there had been impeachment trials of two presidents: Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998. Neither of them should have occurred and both failed, but in the past four years, Trump was impeached twice, once for a telephone conversation with the president of Ukraine in which he asked if the Biden family and particularly the current president’s son, Hunter, had committed illegalities in Ukraine.

He didn’t direct the verdict; he didn’t ask for any incrimination of the Bidens. This was a completely inadequate pretext for impeaching a president and yet, he was impeached. On one of the counts, 49 senators, including former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, did vote to convict Trump; he was, of course, acquitted.

At the end of his term, Trump was impeached again for having allegedly fomented an insurrection, even though the FBI director had already testified that there was no evidence that Trump or his campaign organization or his administration were connected in any way to the trespass and the vandalism that occurred at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Trump requested and offered extra security, but that was declined by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser, also a Democrat.

The various comprehensive accumulations of evidence about the behavior of Hunter Biden incite the strong inference that he has committed a number of illegalities and that the president repeatedly lied to the public about his own connections to his son’s activities.

While there’s no evidence that U.S. official conduct was altered in respect of Ukraine, China, or other countries, in consideration of alleged bribes paid to the Biden family, there seems to be little doubt the current president and his family were engaged in activity that not only allegedly involves substantial lawbreaking by family members, but also seems to have been suppressed, rather than investigated, by the FBI.

The assertion that the FBI seems to have suggested to Facebook that the allegations against Hunter Biden were likely Russian disinformation, and requested that the social media platform not publicize them would have been unthinkable six years ago. But it seems to have been assimilated by the U.S. political community as a perfectly normal and acceptable occurrence.

It seems clear that in the 2020 presidential election, in which Trump could have prevailed in the Electoral College if 50,000 votes had flipped in Pennsylvania and any two of Arizona, Georgia, and Wisconsin, that millions of ballots potentially passed through hands that couldn’t be identified. All of this occurred in swing states where rules were changed ostensibly to facilitate voting during the pandemic.

However, in the case of a number of states, contrary to the Constitution, these changes were determined not by the state legislatures but by executive branches or state judiciaries.

In every one of the lawsuits filed to attack these questionable changes to voting and vote-counting rules—including the case of the Texas attorney general’s action against the swing states and supported by 18 other state attorneys general—the judiciary, including the U.S. Supreme Court, declined to hear any on their merits. They were disallowed for technical reasons, some of those being quite spurious.

Now, we have had, on the complaint of federal archivists, the intrusion and occupation for nine hours of the former president’s home on a warrant alleging just cause to believe that crimes have been committed, involving the improper removal and retention of classified information. Trump had been collaborating with the archivists, possessed the power to act as he pleased with classified material when he was president, and this isn’t a classified material case anyway.

He didn’t pack any of this himself as he left the White House, hasn’t mislaid or misused any of this material, and 19 months have gone by since he left office. It’s a document-handling case. There’s no conceivable justification for such a sensational invasion in the absence of any plausible claim of significant wrongdoing—except that it’s a political tainting job against the former president, and the Presidential Records Act isn’t a criminal statute.

This is just the Democrats transmuting a grumpy librarian’s complaint into the insinuation that the former president committed unimaginable crimes.

A disastrous and shaming flight from Afghanistan is described by President Joe Biden as “a triumphant success,” while Dr. Anthony Fauci retires with dignity after doing terrible damage to the country with his nonsense about shutting schools, “droplets,” the ups and downs of masking, the “abolition of hand-shakes”—almost all of it now thoroughly discredited.

Six years ago, no one could have imagined that these outrages would have occurred, much less that they would be accepted by a bedraggled, degraded, demoralized United States, its federal government in the hands of lawless and authoritarian myth-makers, applauded by the complicit national political media. Can this be America?

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
Conrad Black has been one of Canada’s most prominent financiers for 40 years and was one of the leading newspaper publishers in the world. He’s the author of authoritative biographies of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Richard Nixon, and, most recently, “Donald J. Trump: A President Like No Other,” which has been republished in updated form. Follow Conrad Black with Bill Bennett and Victor Davis Hanson on their podcast Scholars and Sense.
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