[Editor’s note: Make sure to read Joseph Klein’s masterpiece contributions in Jamie Glazov’s new book: Barack Obama’s True Legacy: How He Transformed America.]
A quote by David Horowitz, the founder of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, appears on the top of the webpages of the Freedom Center’s online publication Frontpage Magazine: “Inside Every Progressive Is A Totalitarian Screaming To Get Out.”
The left-wing progressive Biden administration has proven Mr. Horowitz correct time and time again. It is on a mission to stamp out political dissent that deviates from the progressive Democrat party line, trampling on the First Amendment and a fair election process.
But this is nothing new for progressives who believe they have a monopoly on truth.
Progressives’ attack on the cornerstone of Americans’ fundamental rights, the First Amendment’s protection of free speech, dates back to Democratic President Woodrow Wilson’s administration. Wilson was an early leader of the Progressive Movement more than a century ago. He disdained the limits placed on government by the Constitution.
After the United States entered World War I during the Wilson administration, Woodrow Wilson launched an unsparing attack on dissenters who dared to freely express their views on the war and other public policy matters. “Woodrow Wilson set the tone,” Chicago Law Professor Geoffrey Stone declared, “of an utter intolerance for dissent and disagreement.”
With the passage of the Sedition Act of 1918 in hand, the Wilson administration went after political dissenters with a vengeance.
Wilson’s Attorney General Mitchell Palmer had thousands of American citizens and immigrants rounded up and detained without a warrant upon the general suspicion of being associated with alleged subversives, in what became known as the “Palmer Raids.”
President Wilson called Eugene Victor Debs, a Socialist leader who spoke out against the war and the draft, a “traitor to his country.” Debs was charged with sedition and imprisoned.
Fast forward to the Biden era. As a presidential candidate Joe Biden said that if he were to be elected, he would be the “most progressive president in history.” President Biden has kept that promise – so much so that even Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders is pleased with Biden’s progressive agenda and has said that he will support the president for re-election.
In keeping with the progressive example set by Woodrow Wilson’s administration in stamping out dissent, the Biden administration has been putting the First Amendment on the chopping block.
For example, the Biden Department of Justice, headed by Attorney General Merrick Garland, has labeled parents expressing their concerns about woke public school curriculums at Board of Education meetings as domestic terrorists, subject to possible criminal prosecution. It charged a peaceful pro-life protester, who clashed with a Planned Parenthood escort outside an abortion clinic because the escort was harassing the protester’s son, with a violation of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act. The protester was acquitted of the charge, for which he could have been imprisoned for eleven years if convicted. With armed FBI agents arresting the peaceful protester at his home in front of his family, the Biden administration meant to send a message of intimidation to pro-life protesters. The FBI on President Biden’s watch is also reported to have targeted traditional Catholics for surveillance, including those who recite mass in Latin. You cannot even be safe in a place of worship without the Biden law enforcement agents keeping an eye on you.
And let us not forget how Biden administration officials colluded with high-tech companies to censor the posting on social media platforms of content they claimed was misinformation.
However, the progressive Biden administration’s worst attack on the First Amendment was yet to come. On August 1, in a blatant attempt to interfere with next year’s presidential election, Merrick Garland’s handpicked Special Counsel, Jack Smith, filed an indictment against former President Donald Trump whom Joe Biden may face again in 2024.
President Biden had previewed his intent to deprive the American people of the opportunity to vote for Donald Trump in 2024 during a press conference he held last year. Referring to Mr. Trump, President Biden said that “we just have to demonstrate that he will not take power … if he does run. I’m making sure he, under legitimate efforts of our Constitution, does not become the next President again.”
That is what elections are for, Mr. President. Not your Department of Justice.
Less than nine months after President Biden gave the signal of what he wanted to be done to Donald Trump, Special Counsel Smith filed a shaky four-count indictment against President Biden’s chief political adversary. The indictment seeks to criminalize Mr. Trump’s constitutionally protected political speech. The indictment also seeks to criminalize the constitutionally protected actions he took on the advice of legal counsel to petition government officials at the federal and state levels for a redress of his grievances concerning the 2020 election.
Whatever opinions some lawyers, including Special Counsel Smith or even Mr. Trump’s own Attorney General Bill Barr, may have of Mr. Trump’s position on the outcome of the election and the actions he took in support of his position do not matter. Mr. Trump had the right to pursue all peaceful avenues to challenge the declared results of the 2020 presidential election right up to the day that the results were officially certified. That does not constitute, as the indictment alleges, a “conspiracy” to “overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 presidential election by using knowingly false claims of election fraud to obstruct the federal government function by which those results are collected, counted, and certified.”
If Donald Trump was abusing his office as president in an effort to remain in power for his own personal benefit, the Constitution provides the remedy of impeachment and removal from office. The Democrat-controlled House did impeach Mr. Trump. But the Senate acquitted him. Now the Biden Department of Justice is seeking another bite of the apple.
Special Counsel Smith is claiming that Mr. Trump obstructed Congress’s certification proceeding with fraudulent objections to the certification of the election results declaring Joe Biden the winner, including trying to enlist then-Vice President Mike Pence’s assistance in this effort. Following Mr. Smith’s logic to its absurd conclusion, what should we make of all the Democratic House members who challenged the certification of Donald Trump as the winner of the 2016 presidential election on spurious grounds? Massachusetts Rep. Jim McGovern objected to the certificate from Alabama on the grounds that the “electors were not lawfully certified, especially given the confirmed and illegal activities engaged by the government of Russia.” He was not even censured for his attempt to obstruct those certification proceedings based on the fraudulent Russia hoax.
The indictment alleges in detail episodes in which Donald Trump and his unnamed co-conspirators are accused of trying to “influence state legislatures with knowingly false claims of election fraud.” They are also accused of being involved at the state level in “a plan to submit fraudulent slates of presidential electors to obstruct the certification proceeding.” These conclusory assertions hold little water in the absence of proof beyond a reasonable doubt of specific corrupt intent to defraud. Moreover, there is no allegation that Donald Trump or his co-conspirators tried to bribe anyone or threatened anyone.
The indictment alleges that Donald Trump knowingly spread lies that the 2020 election results were fraudulent, and that he deserved to be declared the winner. The criminal purpose, the indictment alleges, was to “create an intense national atmosphere of mistrust and anger, and erode public faith in the administration of the election.” Mr. Trump’s pronouncements, including his criticism of Mike Pence for not suspending or delaying the Congressional certification proceeding in his role as president of the Senate, allegedly stirred then-President Trump’s supporters to riot at the Capitol on January 6th.
Mr. Smith is not only a courtroom warrior using lawfare to carry out President Biden’s direction to ensure that Donald Trump is kept out of the White House this time. Evidently, he also fancies himself as a mind-reader, who can decipher what the former president was really thinking and believed when he claimed that he was the rightful victor in the 2020 election and sought redress.
In any event, even if Mr. Trump knew that what he was saying about the election was untrue, Mr. Trump’s repeated public expression of an opinion – whether disinformation or not – is protected speech under the First Amendment.
Lying under oath or lying to federal agents is a federal crime. Politicians lying to the public is not a federal crime. If lying to the public were a federal crime, then Joe Biden would be guilty of that crime many times over. Biden repeatedly lied about virtually everything, especially concerning his knowledge of his son Hunter’s foreign business dealings.
The indictment notably does not charge Mr. Trump with inciting the January 6th Capitol riot nor with being part of a sedition conspiracy leading up to the violence on January 6th. That would have been hard to do since, in his speech at a rally earlier on January 6th, Mr. Trump specifically asked his supporters to march peacefully and patriotically to the Capitol to make their voices heard.
The Special Counsel conveniently left out of his indictment any mention of Mr. Trump’s exhortation to his supporters to conduct themselves peacefully on January 6th. Mr. Trump certainly did not come anywhere close to encouraging or inciting violence. In the end, there was an orderly and peaceful transfer of power.
Nevertheless, according to the Special Counsel, Mr. Trump is guilty of multiple crimes by virtue of what he said and what he did in reliance upon the advice of legal counsel while still president to challenge the integrity of the 2020 presidential election.
This travesty of justice is a crude attempt by the Biden administration to distract attention away from its failures and from the Biden family syndicate’s corruption scandal that is reaching closer and closer to Joe Biden himself. It jeopardizes voters’ chance to decide for themselves whether Mr. Trump is worthy of another term as president, a violation of the civil rights of voters who would want to have the opportunity to vote for Donald Trump.
From time to time the progressives’ totalitarian streak comes out in full display. It happened during the Wilson administration. And a century later, the totalitarian streak has emerged again during the Biden administration. It is time to drive a stake through the heart of left-wing progressive tyranny once and for all to preserve America’s constitutional republic.