With “The Godfather” serving as a leadership manual for many politicians, Joe Biden might have been thinking of a particular scene during his 9/11 speech at the Pentagon. The president solemnly declared that “national unity” is “the greatest lesson” of that awful day even as his Department of Justice issues subpoenas to scores of Donald Trump supporters.
The contrast between the president’s call for unity and the FBI’s partisan putsch is a bloodless version of the baptism murders scene in “The Godfather,” where Michael Corleone participates in his nephew’s christening while his goons assassinate the heads of the rival families.
So far, the FBI hasn’t fired a shot at Trump World, but the broad, aggressive subpoena action, which also involved seizing the cellphones of two associates, led even The New York Times to call it a “substantial escalation” of the government’s war against the former president.
As a result, the raid on Mar-a-Lago is beginning to look more like the start of something far more comprehensive and dangerous than a narrow one-off limited to official documents.
The developing pattern suggests Biden is committed to helping Democrats in the midterms by giving the party’s Trump haters a pound of flesh while scaring much of the opposition into silence. Attorney General Merrick Garland increasingly appears comfortable as the administration’s enforcer, willing to use his power to serve his boss.
The hypocrisy is stunning. Dems accused Trump of trying to weaponize Justice as president but show no qualms about doing exactly that.
Instead of trying to parse their shifting explanations, it’s better to remember what the late John Mitchell once said of the Nixon administration: “Watch what we do, not what we say.”
Biden’s dark turn was hinted at in his “MAGA, MAGA, MAGA” speech in Philadelphia.
Although it was widely panned, including by many Dems, and Biden tried to walk it back the next day, his broad labeling of Trump supporters as a “threat to democracy” takes on a far more sinister dimension when the FBI gets involved.
The extent of that involvement is dribbling out, with the usual legacy media outlets getting leaks from anonymous sources who are said to be “familiar with the matter” or “have knowledge” of the situation.
Translation: Justice Department aides aren’t afraid they’ll be prosecuted for leaking grand-jury and other supposedly confidential information. They know they are on the politically protected team.
According to the Times, ABC News and others, Garland has expanded his Jan. 6 probe to include everything from Trump’s plan to substitute new slates of electors in the states he was contesting to the money he is raising through Save America, a political action committee.
The latest subpoenas come after dozens of other former Trump aides were previously served with demands to provide information on numerous topics, including the planning of the Jan. 6 rally. Separately, state lawmakers and GOP party officials were also reportedly subpoenaed earlier in the summer.
At least four phones have been seized, three of them from Trump lawyers John Eastman, Jeffrey Clark and Boris Epshteyn. Those getting subpoenas include former NYPD Commissioner Bernie Kerik, the Times says.
The new fronts in the attack make it seem inevitable that Trump will make presidential history again by being hit with criminal charges, perhaps numerous ones. It also seems likely that such charges could come before the fall elections.
Justice generally follows self-imposed guidelines that require prosecutors to steer clear of politically sensitive cases within 60 days of an election. But as with most things involving Trump, standards and rules are being trashed under the justification that he broke political norms.
Such hypocrisy would be comical if the stakes weren’t so high. The assault on Trump is so far out of proportion to events that you don’t have to agree with him that the election was stolen to suspect he is being targeted for political reasons more than criminal ones.
In addition, the attempts to criminalize the statements and peaceful efforts to contest the 2020 election made by people close to him, as well as by supporters at the state level, smack of a banana republic.
There is, of course, an ulterior purpose for this madness. For Dems in general, keeping the focus on Trump and what they call “insurrectionists” amounts to an enormous scam of diversion.
They prattle on feverishly and endlessly about extremists and threats to democracy in an effort to distract voters from focusing on sky-high inflation, surging crime and the open border nightmares their policies have produced. If voters focus on those failures, many Dems will be unemployed come January.
For Biden, the stakes are even higher. A Republican-led Congress would mean aggressive investigations of the role the Big Guy played in the access-peddling schemes of his son Hunter and brother Jim Biden.
We already know that millions upon millions of dollars flowed through Hunter’s accounts from China, Russia, Ukraine, Romania and elsewhere and that one of Hunter’s partners moved money between Joe’s account and Hunter’s. As Post reporter Jon Levine recounts, emails on Hunter’s infamous laptop show he often paid for his father’s household expenses while Joe Biden was vice president.
In a 2010 email, Hunter’s business partner Eric Schwerin lists home maintenance costs under the title “JRB Bills.” They included $1,239 in repairs to an air conditioner at “mom-mom’s cottage,” $1,475 to a painter for “back wall and columns at the lake house,” $2,600 for fixing up a “stone retaining wall at the lake” and $475 “for shutters.”
There is also the 2019 missive from Hunter to his daughter Naomi, where he writes:
“I hope you all can do what I did and pay for everything for this entire family for 30 years. It’s really hard. But don’t worry, unlike pop, I won’t make you give me half your salary.”
Pop, aka the Big Guy, aka the president of the United States, somehow became a wealthy man, but even he can’t afford to face a GOP Congress.