The FBI raid on former president Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago compound is an event without precedent in the history of the United States. The raid was based on a judicial warrant, which a federal judge would only issue against a former president on the most compelling evidence of a major crime, not some technical violation of the rules regarding document handling.
The Biden administration has an obligation to explain to the American people the connection between the raid on Mar-a-Lago and the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol by Trump and his fascist followers in a violent attempt to overturn the 2020 election.
There can be little doubt that the decision to carry out the raid was prompted by evidence of ongoing efforts to prepare and carry out new attacks in furtherance of Trump’s continuing plans to seize power.
For the White House and the Department of Justice to conceal the evidence and the charges being investigated is to make them accomplices in Trump’s efforts to overthrow the US Constitution and establish a dictatorship. Such an authoritarian regime would be based on fascist mob violence and the mobilization of Trump’s still considerable support within the state apparatus, including the military, the immigration police, other police agencies and the FBI itself.
Biden has refused to comment on the raid. The Democratic president held two White House events on Tuesday. In the morning, he signed the Chips and Science Act, giving hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars to the US semiconductor industry so as to lessen the dependence of the US military on chips produced in Taiwan and China. In the afternoon, he signed the instrument of ratification of the entry of Sweden and Finland into NATO.
The Democratic president declined to take questions at both events. Later on Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre refused to answer reporters’ questions on the raid, except to insist that Biden had no advance notice and had not been briefed about it.
The claim by the White House that the president does not comment on the actions of the Department of Justice because its prosecutorial decisions are “independent” and “nonpolitical” is preposterous. The decision to raid Trump’s estate in Florida was made in full knowledge that it would touch off a political firestorm in Washington. If, in fact, Biden was personally not involved, it was only because a decision was made to provide him with plausible deniability.
At both White House events, Biden hailed the bipartisan support for a hard-line US policy of confrontation with Russia and China, and appealed for greater “unity” with the opposition party. But the Republican Party instead has lined up behind Trump, denouncing the raid, with some members of Congress declaring it is grounds for the impeachment of Biden.
Virtually the entire Republican leadership has echoed Trump’s condemnation of the raid, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who issued a statement pledging to launch investigations into the Justice Department and Attorney General Garland should the Republicans regain control of the House in the November mid-term elections. The fascist coup plotters are, in other words, seeking to go on the offensive.
Trump’s militia backers in the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and similar groups fired off tweets calling for protests in cities across the country and threatening armed violence.
The Republicans and their media backers are screaming and shouting about the “unprecedented” raid. The Wall Street Journal declared in an editorial, “Once the Rubicon of prosecuting a former President has been crossed—especially if the alleged offense and evidence are less than compelling—every future President will be a target.”
More consequential is Trump’s unprecedented attempt to overthrow the government, the most “compelling” charge that could be brought in a supposedly democratic country. In refusing to reveal the charges against Trump, both Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland are deliberately concealing from the American people the seriousness and depth of the political crisis.
The language of the Wall Street Journal is revealing. The “crossing of the Rubicon” is a reference to the decision by Julius Caesar to send his legions across the Rubicon River and overthrow the Roman Republic, seizing dictatorial power for himself. That metaphor applies more directly to Trump’s actions on and before January 6, 2021 than to any other event in American history.
The Biden administration has a responsibility to explain and expose to the public the magnitude of the conspiracy that has been uncovered. What information did it receive that triggered the decision to raid the home of the ex-president? What did it learn about his ongoing plans to destabilize and overthrow the government? What violent attacks are Trump and his fascist supporters preparing to unleash against the American people?
No one can believe that 30-some FBI agents were mobilized to search Mar-a-Lago for an entire day because Trump was in possession of a dozen boxes of White House papers that may include some classified material. This claim by unnamed “sources” only demonstrates that the White House takes the American people for fools—and that it is more concerned about the public reaction to disclosure of the real reasons for the raid than the fascistic conspiracies of the former president. In failing to reveal the motivations for the raid, the Biden administration is facilitating the cover-up of the January 6 insurrection.
The working class can have no confidence in this government, either to investigate and expose the dictatorial plans of Trump, or to fight the fascist right when these plans come to fruition in another frontal assault on the remnants of Constitutional forms in America. Its entire record is one of cover-up and cowardice.
In the lead-up to the attempted coup—when Trump backed far-right plots to kidnap and kill Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer in Michigan and other Democratic governors who imposed minimal COVID-19 restrictions, refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, and told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by” should he lose the election—Biden dismissed the danger of a coup.
During the events of January 6, Biden said nothing other than to plead with Trump to go on television and call off his own insurrection, while Democratic lawmakers cowered under their desks.
The Democrats have used the House January 6 Committee to cover up the role of powerful elements in the military, police and intelligence apparatus in backing the attempted coup, while promoting the fiction that with only a few exceptions (the “crazies”), the Republican Party opposed Trump’s plot.
The Democratic Party, like the Republicans, is controlled by the corporate-financial oligarchy, which has vastly increased its wealth during the pandemic by means of free money from the Federal Reserve, brutal attacks on workers’ living standards and working conditions and government-protected price gouging.
The collapse of American democracy is the outcome of a protracted process of economic decline and political reaction. Its two basic causes—unending imperialist war and ever greater social inequality—are rooted in the mortal crisis of American and world capitalism.
The working class must intervene into the political crisis, mobilizing its immense social power independently of both big-business parties and their agents in the trade union bureaucracy.
The only way to put an end to war, poverty and the drive to dictatorship is to unleash the power of the working class on the basis of a socialist program and the fight for a workers’ government.
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- January 6 Committee covers up role of Republican Party, national security officials in Trump coup