Source: Hot Air

When it comes to making veiled threats dressed up as dispassionate observations, I see that this rodent has learned at the feet of the master.

In fact, Trump himself posted this video last night on Truth Social.

Graham isn’t wrong. If Trump is indicted, “riots in the streets” are plausible. But it’s one thing to say that as an analyst and another to say it on television as a well-known, influential Trump crony. Why, if I were a cynic, the clip below might look to me like a U.S. senator dangling the prospect of violence to try to influence a decision by the Justice Department on whether to charge someone. Imagine one of John Gotti’s goons musing in an interview about people getting hurt if the boss is charged. Then imagine electing that guy to the Senate.

This wouldn’t be the first time that Lindsey Graham has engaged in blatant civic malfeasance on Trump’s behalf either.

Graham is correct that Trump should be held to the same standard as Hillary Clinton. If he mishandled classified information no more recklessly than she did, he should walk. But we don’t know yet whether he did and neither do any of the would-be rioters. I understand why some were offended by Joe “The Uniter” Biden describing parts of Trump’s base as “semi-fascist” but if we’ve reached the point where a sitting senator is hinting at mass violence if his caudillo is charged and all of us look around at each other and think, “Yeah, that could definitely happen,” maybe we shouldn’t feel so offended.

Or maybe, at the very least, we should feel more offended by Graham’s Gotti shtick than by Biden’s insult.

Trump likes to say that charging him would prove that the U.S. has become a banana republic. It’s true that prosecuting political enemies because they’re political enemies is something that banana republics do, never mind that the more we learn about how stubbornly he insisted on retaining government material that wasn’t his, the less “political” the investigation of Mar-a-Lago seems. Shay Khatiri points out, though, that another hallmark of banana republics is declining to prosecute politicians who’ve committed crimes because their fans might misbehave if they’re charged.

But the United States is not a banana republic for three simple reasons.

(1) A banana republic does not have an independent judiciary.

(2) In a banana republic, political opponents are prosecuted without cause—the machinery of law enforcement does not deliberate over seeking a warrant from an independent judge, whom the head of the government cannot coerce.

(3) In a banana republic, demagogic leaders of popular fronts get away with criminality because political leaders are worried that the regime’s institutions are so weak that the demagogue could spark a revolution…

[A]s such, then prosecuting a former politician with cause for crimes he might have committed is a sign of political health, not institutional weakness. More than that: Letting powerful people go without consequences for their misdeeds purely because you fear the power of their populist movement is anti-democratic. It’s exactly the kind of weakness that both exposes banana republic status and exacerbates it.

I agree with Greg Sargent that the endgame for Trump apologists is that he should be completely above the law, irrespective of whatever lip service Graham might pay to denying that. “The goal here is to erase the very idea that the law can be applied to Trump in a neutral and legitimate way,” Sargent writes. “All law enforcement activity directed at Trump is inherently politically motivated.” To convict Trump of a crime with minimal risk of domestic terrorism in the aftermath, law enforcement would need to meet some insanely high burden of evidentiary proof far beyond the burden needed to convict you or me. Unless they have him on video breaking the law and acknowledging in real time that that’s what he’s doing, he’s scot free.

And even if they had a video, he’d post something on Truth Social about how it’s just an FBI deepfake and 95 percent of his fans would believe him.

Speaking of which, let’s check in on what he’s up to today at his social media perch. Is he posting about inflation? The student debt forgiveness debacle? Some clever middle-ground position on abortion policy that’s going to save the midterms for the GOP?

No, he’s posting about re-running the 2020 election because his brain is made of cheese curds and old chewing gum:

Those are the words of a man leading whip-smart Ron DeSantis by 40 points in some Republican primary polls. There’s a better than even chance that thousand-year-old Joe Biden won’t be the most demented candidate onstage at the 2024 presidential debates.

The most obnoxious thing about Graham’s Gotti routine is how it tries to shift moral blame for any violence that might ensue from Trump to the DOJ. “[I]f the government takes this step, it is the government that is responsible for what follows,” says Philip Bump, paraphrasing Graham. “If Trump is indicted, we can expect violence and it’s the government’s fault for bringing the indictment.” We shouldn’t blame the guy who’s been cultivating violent devotions of loyalty from his fans since before he won the nomination in 2016, leading in the end to a mob attack on the Capitol. We should blame the people at the National Archives and the DOJ who spent 15 months quietly begging Trump to return the documents only to find that he was still holding some back from them as of earlier this month.

It should not to be too much to ask cretins like Graham to accept moral responsibility for the worst excesses of the populism with which they’ve aligned themselves. If he wants a caudillo, let him make the case for having a caudillo. Blaming the Justice Department for riots on “look what you made me do” grounds is weak sauce even for a weakling like him.