Wednesday, June 15, 2022


I don't understand how you can live in this society and write a piece like the one John Stoehr just published at The Editorial Board:
Don’t confuse Trump dodging indictment with him getting off scot-free. Consequences are coming. They always do
They do? Always? Really?

Stoehr writes:
If Trump is not indicted, I think we can expect the Justice Department to move heaven and earth to show the American people they can still have faith in the promise of American exceptionalism. In order to make sure the public still believes the rule of law applies equally, we can expect federal prosecutions to track down, arrest, indict and prosecute every person who came within farting distance of seditious conspiracy.
We can? Because the Justice Department is worried about our perceptions of the fairness of the system? You'd never know it.
More than 840 people have been indicted in connection with J6. Some pleaded guilty....

The Department of Justice was already in the process of rending asunder the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, two of the most notorious white-power terrorist groups. They led the J6 attack. Justice will no doubt ramp up that process after last week’s spectacular first hearing by the J6 committee....

Over the weekend, police officers arrested more than 30 members of the Patriot Front, a white nationalist group. They were taken into custody on suspicion of planning to riot during a Pride event in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho. According to CBS News, the FBI, which is part of the Department of Justice, is assisting in the investigation by local law enforcement.

During the Trump years, funding of and recruitment by white-power terrorists groups grew sharply and then soared in the run-up to the J6 insurrection. (That’s according to information revealed last week by the first J6 committee.) Even if the former president dodges prosecution, do you think these goons are going to think it’s OK to be out in the open?
Well, I suppose it depends on who the president is in the next few years and what the president is doing to the FBI and the rest of the Department of Justice. We know there's a very good chance that the next president will be Donald Trump, who won't repeat what he regards as the mistake of hiring people with morals, scruples, and respect for the law. He'll hire nothing but loyalists and sleazebags.

I see where Stoehr is going with this: Many people have been arrested for their part in the January 6 insurrection. Right-wing extremists are, to some extent, being rolled up.

But what that means is that the people in the mob are in legal jeopardy, while the people in nice suits who planned the election theft are all walking around free. This doesn't prove that "we can expect federal prosecutions to track down, arrest, indict and prosecute every person who came within farting distance of seditious conspiracy." It proves that those plotters appear to be in deep trouble up to a certain pay grade.

That's how these things often go, right? Remember Abu Ghraib? Remember the way servicemembers tortured and humiliated prisoners in highly specific ways devised by U.S. government consultants and authorized at very high levels of the U.S. government? Notice that the prison sentences were limited to the soldiers involved -- none of the higher-ups who told them what to do and told them that they should do it spent even a day in prison.

Maybe things will change, but so far, January 6 looks a lot like that.

Stoehr disagrees:
As for those who stood by Trump’s side all the way to the end, I don’t see how they escape accountability. None of them are as political toxic as Trump. Like Richard Nixon’s henchman, they’re likely to go down.

The FBI has been investigating Giuliani. (It raided his residences.) Peter Navarro has been indicted. Steve Bannon, too (on an unrelated charge, allegedly). John Eastman, the mastermind of the idea that Vice President Mike Pence could send electors back to their respective state, is surely in hot water. Same for Sidney Powell. She’s embroiled in a defamation suit related to her allegations that Dominion voting machines were rigged. And there are dozens of other ghouls and grifters less well-known and more likely to face prosecution as a result of being less well-known.

The takeaway?

Trump might survive, but not his lackeys.

Future lackeys will think twice.
THe most any of these bastards will get is eighteen months in a country-club prison -- and even that's unlikely, because it takes only one regular Fox viewer on any jury to acquit. And if all this makes Republicans fear a repeat of January 6, their alternative is effectively making January 6 legal, by getting 2020 truthers in position to oversee elections, and by embracing the "independent legislature" theory, meaning they get to declare their party the winner of any election that's close (or, if they're brazen, any election at all).

Stoehr concludes his piece with pie in the sky:
Donald Trump is almost certainly going to get away with treason. Garland won’t touch him. That will hurt those of us who believe in American exceptionalism, the idea that everyone is treated equally under law. In fact, there are rules for the powerful. There are rules for everyone else.

That should not be surprising.

But let’s not confuse dodging indictment with getting off scot-free. As they come for the little people, so will consequences come for Trump, too. We just can’t see, in the present moment, what they will be in the future.
Maybe -- maybe -- the outraged response to January 6 will persuade Republican voters that Trump can't win in 2024. I'm starting to see that sentiment in right-wing comments sections. Some Trump admirers think the rest of us are likely to turn out in big numbers to vote against Trump, and are less likely to do so against, say, Ron DeSantis. (They're probably right.)

But is that Stoehr's idea of consequences coming for Trump? If so, it's not much. A lot of people have lost nomination contests. I'm sure Trump expected to lose his first one. If that's all that's coming for Trump, or maybe the kind of financial stress he's already weathered once, then I think he'll be fine. I'd regard that as proof that real consequences don't always come when they're deserved.


ALSO: Yes, the Proud Boys seem really intimidated these days:

No comments: