The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

The Jan 6th Case Against Trump Is The Right One

As readers will remember, I didn’t think much of the other cases against Trump, not because he isn’t likely guilty, but because none of them were the important thing he did: try a coup.

They also violated the cultural rule that elites don’t get indicted for such things. Of course, they should, but doing it only against Trump and not against other very senior politicians who have clearly committed crimes is likely to cause an escalation of intra-elite fighting, but that’s a minor thing.

The US isn’t much of a democracy, but to the extent it still is, protecting what remains is important, and there’s little question in my mind that Trump did try to overthrow an election which clearly went to Biden. (I didn’t endorse either Biden or Trump, this is not a partisan question to me.)

So I’m pleased to see this indictment.

There are, however, some consequences. If the trial is fast enough to convict him before the election, then the likely Republican nominee is DeSantis. Whatever you think of Trump, DeSantis is worse: a pure culture warrior who will use executive power to crush human rights and civil liberties, and who will use the full power of the government against anyone who opposes him.

Likewise, if Trump is convicted, Biden can expect to be charged once he leaves office over various corruption charges. Hate to say it, but I’m in the camp that says Biden is clearly corrupt and likely it will be provable.

The US is going to become a lot more politically unstable over the next few years.

This is a donor supported site, so if you value the writing, please DONATE or SUBSCRIBE.


The Simplest Thing You Need To Understand About Climate Change


Open Thread


  1. Carborundum

    Morally, I agree with you. Legally, I think the charges related to the mishandling of classified information are stronger. Politically, I worry about the ratchet effect (i.e., the number of times I’ve seen the Democrats try and fail at a gambit that the Republicans then adopt and sink home to significant effect is very non-zero).

  2. mago

    The title of this post strikes me as false.
    Doesn’t matter if Trump is right or wrong, because the whole damn shooting works is screwed.
    There’s no wrong or right.
    That’s dualistic bifurcation. Not to be redundantly dualistic. Haha.
    Trying to reduce complex issues into some “clever” comment on a blog makes me complicit.

  3. StewartM

    I agree.

    And for those who claim that this-or-that other person is as corrupt as Trump, I would say “If you can’t convict someone as obviously, transparently, and over-the-top guilty as Trump (I mean, he doesn’t even try to hide it), then what chance of someone who simply is corrupt in more ordinary ways?”

  4. NR

    If you read the indictment it’s pretty crazy. At one point, Trump called the AG and deputy AG and tried to get them to override the election for him, then told them to just declare it to be fraudulent and let him and the Republicans in Congress handle it.

    He did this twice, and on the second time he threatened to fire the AG for not agreeing. He then attempted to replace him with one of the co-conspirators, twice. He first sent the co-conspirator to fire the AG, who rejected being fired by a subordinate. Then in a meeting with the AG and the co-conspirator, Trump tried to fire him and stopped when he was told the DoJ would see mass resignations if he did.

    He and his co conspirators were pretty much outlining the crimes to each other in emails and texts, and talking about it in front of witnesses who weren’t even really in on it.

    My favorite quote was this, from one of the co-conspirators, in reference to all the claims of fraud in the election:

    When our research and campaign legal team can’t back up any of the claims made by our Elite Strike Force Legal Team, you can see why we’re 0-32 on our cases. I’ll obviously hustle to help on all fronts, but it’s tough to own any of this when it’s all just conspiracy shit beamed down from the mothership.

    And yet there were people claiming that the election was stolen and “the evidence was overwhelming.” Will any of those people come back and admit they were wrong? Doubtful at best.

  5. VietnamVet

    I think 2024 will be the last USA election. Not one of the candidates is a populist who will do what is in the best interest of the American people. All are for government by and for corporations. The US cultural wars have gone religious.

    This is a scrummage between the national and global elite. But they are so incompetent, venal and arrogant that they have gotten mankind into a proxy world war that can only be won with the full mobilization of NATO nations and/or the Russian Federation. Since this requires the support of the populace, restarting the armaments industry, and the oligarch’s wealth to finance it (all of which is nigh impossible); there will be either likely be a replay of 1917 revolt or the mercenaries on the losing side will ignite their tactical nuclear weapons on the mobs.

    China could come out on top if a strategic nuclear war is avoided and the Communist Party regains the mandate of heaven lost with the COVID-19 pandemic and the trade war with the West.

  6. Swamp Yankee

    I am in full agreement, Ian. I thought Russiagate was extraordinarily thin, and said as much at the time.

    This, however, does not strike me as thin.

    On both the classified documents and, more importantly re: the attempt to fraudulently override the expressed will of the people of several States, and the actual seizure of the Capitol, we saw Trump commit these crimes in more or less real time. Indeed, it strikes me that he was only charged on the classified documents counts after refusing to take the reasonable “off ramp” granted by the prosecution (which, nota bene, Mike Pence very wisely took, which fact belies claims that this is simply “lawfare,” which we see even from soi disant “Left” commentators; “lawfare” for some commentators has become simply code for “legal things I don’t like.”).

    Moreover, the counter-argument that we hear from some commentators, particularly those whom I think ought to be characterized as “soi disant ‘Left'” or in some cases, post-Left, are essentially a series of elaborate “Tu Quoque” fallacies: for instance, we see it argued that Hunter and Joe Biden are corrupt, which is true, but irrelevant, a literal non sequitur; the questions before us relate to classified documents and fraudulently attempting to undo the legitimate results of the 2020 Election, not Hunter Biden.

    We see further insupportable, Tu Quoque arguments — that because Russiagate was bad, Jan. 6th is somehow …. not bad (this is implied; the speakers rarely have the courage of their convictions to state this outright). This is absurd. It’s absurd because the Russiagate crowd did not storm and violently seize physical control of the national legislature with the hopes of lynching the Vice President and overturning the General Election.

    Indeed, the HRC- “Hamilton option” crew, whom I argued against publicly at the time, _never acted upon the Hamilton option._ They let the Electoral College process play out. They did not storm and violently seize the Capitol of the United States in an attempt to stop it from so doing. Clinton, for whom I have little love, even attended Trump’s Inauguration. Whatever later statements were made about the election, or whatever difficulty raised for Trump by various Russiagate issues, there simply is no equivalence between the violent seizure of the National Capitol by an armed, far right mob, and the efforts of the Democratic Establishment after the 2016 Election to discredit Trump and project all the blame for their failures on to Slavic bogeymen.

    Moreover, Naomi Wolf’s argument that what Trump did was somehow equivalent to the Gore campaign’s contesting of an actually confused and too-close-to-call election in 2000, fails to stand up to any real scrutiny. Again, as with 2016, Al Gore himself certified, as President of the Senate, the Electoral College count in early 2001. Gore accepted the decision of the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore, though he disagreed with it. Indeed, he did not storm, and violently seize with the hope of political murder, the Capitol of the United States.

    An even more strained analagoy is that the events of Jan. 6th were somehow the equivalent — again, the entire structure of these Soi-Disant Left/Post-Left arguments are Tu Quoque — of the Tennessee Three and their disruption of the sitting of the House of Representatives of Tennessee.

    This is again, an erroneous equivalence that holds no water. The rules which were violated by the Tennessee Three were rules of parliamentary procedure for a parliamentary body, the Tennessee House of Representatives. They were not criminal statutes. Nor were the Tennessee Three concerned with overturning a legitimate General Election in the State of Tennessee. Do our soi-disant Left/Post-Left interlocutors really believe that speech acts, like disrupting the TN House with a bullhorn, are the equivalent of physically attacking, overpowering, invading, and vandalizing the National Capitol in the course of attempting to overturn a legitimate election, and all the while proclaiming their intention to commit political murder? If they really cannot see the categorical difference between these two situations, I am left wondering whether I was incorrect in attributing any wisdom to the judgement of these commentators in other realms.

    The fact is that if a commentator consistently construes things in the worst possible light for one set of political actors, while construing them in the best possible light for another political actor, and making excuse after excuse for this latter actor in an attempt to exculpate them for grave crimes, it is fair for observers to say that one is favoring that latter political actor. It is particularly sad when this favoritism towards one political actor seems to creep upon the commentator unaware, so great is their hatred — often with cause — for that actor’s opponents.

    For those commentators whose Leftism was never programmatic but rather attitudinal, a stance of opposition rather than a discrete manifesto, it becomes easy, I think, to start slipping from “Neoliberal Democrats suck!” (true) to “Neoliberal Democrats suck and therefore their far right opponents are correct!” (not true).

    The fact is that the mob which stormed the Capitol carried the Stars and Bars through our national legislature, beneath the portrait of that great exponent of republicanism and opponent of the Slaveholders’ Rebellion, the Bay State’s own Charles Sumner. If a commentator wishes to excuse this conduct, that is their prerogative, though they are wrong, both at law, and morally; but please don’t do so while _also and for years_ loudly declaiming their opposition to the Confederacy.

    In short — no. If you are against the Confederacy, and its attempt to undo the lawful results of a legitimate election through violence, then you must also oppose the Jan. 6th mob for _attempting to do precisely the same thing_. That is, one must do this if one has a politics that is more coherent than simply raging at the Democratic Party for not being left enough, and then expressing practical support for some of the most reactionary elements in American life.

    It’s a strange “leftism,” that — thus my use of the term Soi Disant Left — and not one that I find supportable.

    The fact is that Jan. 6th was and remains a gravely serious juncture for the republic, and that will not be changed by any number of fallacious arguments to the contrary.

  7. GrimJim

    Rome fell, not because of the barbarians at the gates, but because of the oligarchs at its heart.

    When Rome conquered essentially everything it could, barring far greater expense than profit, three things happened.

    One, the tribute that flowed in from the provinces quickly went from great piles of loot to barely keeping up the costs of maintaining the legions that held onto the province.

    Two, Rome got bogged down in a massive, generational, Emperor-consuming grinding border war with Persia, which sucked up most remaining tax income.

    Third, the oligarchs quickly tired of paying for any of it, as, with the end of quick easy loot from conquest, the tax man started in on them. So they then made it illegal or impossible to tax their wealth, forcing the emperors to debase the currency at the same time they squeezed out the middle class and literally starved out the Poors.

    In the end, the barbarians ended up often being the mercenaries of the local oligarchs, who has reduced the local middle class to a class of people later known as serfs… One step above literal slaves.

    Of course, many barbarians said screw this, killed the oligarchs, and took their wealth, lands, and daughters, but in effect, the oligarchy long outlived the empire they killed…

    And the descendants of those barbarian mercenary bandits formed the core of the noble and royal class, many families of which still rule today… Oligarchs of the modern Western Empire…

    And so history now rhymes ever on…

    Though our barbarians are within. It will end up being a mix of Christofascist barbarian militias against the invading Mesoamerican tribes, mostly descended from the Cartels, instead of Germans and Huns as it was last time…

  8. Willy

    Donald was the real reason crazed terrorists flew into buildings. Because they hate us for our freedoms to be stupid. Rudy is Americas mayor. Drunk lying with oil running is now the face of America. Time to release the Kraken already. Ginni can pull the lever if Clarence ever gets back from yachting with his priests. Maybe Elon can burn down another company. Pillow and Kid can then shoot up some beer cans to celebrate.

    Ruthlessly shameless. Deviously incompetent. Benevolently greedy. Putrescence gone full moxie. The bouncy clown car hijacked by business suits cheered by the parade crowd, not because it’s so ridiculously comical, but because the crowd believes that only good things will come from it. The United States of Shitshow.

    I for one welcome targeting elites gone full batshit. You can always advise regular guys to never go full retard, but an unchecked unbalanced elite will take it as a personal challenge to which they’re fully entitled.

    Now if they start hammering each other legally (when before it was so very taboo to do so), how can more normal-thinking regular guys encourage this without any of the resulting political instability? Our elites do after all, deserve it do they not?

  9. Mark Gisleson

    I/6 insurrection was a Reichstag riot. Everything about the Democrats’ Congressional star chamber hearings are starting to unravel (see Tucker Carlson’s latest interview with the former Capitol Hill top cop). I strongly suspect you’ll have an entirely different opinion about the Deep State prosecution of Trump a year from now.

    Trump’s a massive jerk, but so are all the other billionaires. Nothing can be fixed until great wealth is outlawed and the criminals currently in charge imprisoned.

  10. marku52

    My best guess is Trump is convicted on some charge or other, but is elected anyway from jail. Precedent: Debs ran for president from jail). The blatant prosecution of T while ignoring the massive Hunter/Joe corruption is way too much to ignore for at least 55% of the nation.

    Pardons self. End of Story.

  11. elkern

    I completely agree with last line of the OP:

    “The US is going to become a lot more politically unstable over the next few years.”

    The Democratic Party is (still) incompetent, politically and managerially. I fearlessly predict that we will hear Democrats say the phrase “This election is the most important election in our history” a zillion times in 2024 (just like in 2022, 2020, 2018, 2016, etc).

    The GOP is deeply split between the Old Guard (Big Money) and the Trumpist mob they created with decades of mind-numbing right-wing propaganda. The Old Guard is competent, but very few people actually support their real goals (eliminating taxes and regulations which limit their accumulation of wealth). The Trumpists have lotsa energy, and they are infinitely flexible (guided by Trump’s whims!), but they are incapable of any organized long-term action.

    Sadly, by “doing the right thing” (prosecuting Trump for trying to overturn the election), they are giving the GOP Old Guard exactly the handle they need to regain control of Trump’s Mob. Big Money Republicans (like the “heroic” Liz Cheney) will shamelessly join in Trump’s blather about “political persecution”, in the hope of regaining the support of the Mob. If Trump’s legal problems don’t drive him out of the race (exile? money woes?), the GOP will have to find some other way to martyr him…

    We have let Ben Franklin down (“a Republic, if you can keep it”).

  12. Ian Welsh

    Swamp Yankee — Wolf really said that, wow. Idiot. As best I can tell, the 2000 election was stolen, for Bush, and the one real act of violence was by Republicans trying to ensure all votes weren’t counted, while Gore was too scared to bring in his own troops. (The buses were ready to roll, full of Teamsters and democratic supporting African Americans.)

    2000 was a successful election steal and, I suspect, was part of why Trump thought he could get away with it–just throw it into enough doubt and get it to the Supremes, so they give it to him. But in 2000 it really was close, as you say.

  13. Hart Liss

    The Mar-a-Lago might well get to a charge of wrongly taking classified materials to and did sell to third parties.
    Jared got $2b of Saudi money for a reason. It’s a payoff to something.

  14. StewartM


    My best guess is Trump is convicted on some charge or other, but is elected anyway from jail.

    My guess is that Trump avoids prison by agreeing to accept a lifetime ban on holding office.

    … the massive Hunter/Joe corruption

    Oh, gimme a break. There is no ‘massive corruption’ (the Hunter Biden laptop is planted evidence, I see that Marcy Wheeler has picked this up correctly):

    At the most this is a case of ‘the ordinary’ corruption that nearly everyone in Washington engages in. And yes, this should be stopped. However, this won’t be done until a) you take away billionaire’s money via taxation (i.e., they can’t buy politicians if they can’t afford it); and b) make wealth divestment a requirement of office-holding and disallow ANY income of retired politicians save their government stipend (make that generous, but you can’t take a dime from any other income source…they can consult and give speeches and write books all to their hearts’ content, but they can receive not a dime from it).

    Trump’s corruption is blatant. Voting for Trump to ‘fix’ corruption is like complaining of the heat and then jumping into a blast furnace. And not only is Trump personally corrupt, what was his signature legislation? Oh, yeah, giving the billionaire class even MORE money to buy politicians and to worsen corruption.

  15. DMC

    It’s worth noting that the founders of both the Proud Boys and the Oathkeepers have publicly admitted that they are FBI assets. As the January 6 mob was largely composed of Proud Boys and Oathkeepers, this should give one pause. As should the fact that a couple of hundred of largely unarmed twits got past the Capitol Police, who regularly deal with crowds in excess of 800,000. Add in the recent interview with the then head of the Capitol Police and that Riechstag fire smell becomes inescapable. I’m no fan of Trumps but one has to engage in some fairly extreme partisanship to ignore all the evidence pointing to Jan. 6 as an FBI put-up job. The other charges against Trump seem legitimate, if, in some cases, trivial. But the so-called insurrection has just too many aspects that just don’t add up. Like why didn’t the cops start shooting? Or how did the crowd circumvent the barricades?

  16. bruce wilder

    Can we reject on current evidence that Trump was subjected to Russiagate and impeachment and is being persecuted because of his opposition to the Ukraine War?

    Swamp Yankee, I note, prefaced his polemic with this curious comment:

    “I thought Russiagate was extraordinarily thin, and said as much at the time.

    This, however, does not strike me as thin.”

    Hmmm. I do not think the “thin” evidentiary case was an issue with the Russiagate propaganda hoax. Mostly it was fabricated with no basis at all and with reckless disregard for the consequences of ginning up Russophobia. The “abuse of power” charge in the first impeachment was based on the testimony of an NSC staff member with definite views of his own on Ukraine.

    I cannot judge the legal case. I think the use of parallel grand juries is a tell for an unscrupulous prosecutor — certainly a tactic that calls into question the commitment to due process. Any charge regarding the disposition of supposedly classified information ought to be regarded by the public as illegitimate unless the jury gets to see the “secrets” which seems very unlikely to happen. (I do not think the system of classification should exist; it is incompatible with democratic governance.)

  17. different clue

    @Swamp Yankee,

    I had to look up ” soi disant” . I don’t think Naked Capitalism is “soi disant” left, but they are certainly Trump-excuse-making and Trump-rationalizing-for. I think they are driven by long-standing and deeply-impacted rage over the long running betrayal and arson-burndown attacks against every good New Deal achievement committed by the Clintobama Silicon Hollywood-Wall Street New Yuppie Scumocrats.

    Sigh . . . what can one do? Continue reading the ongoing hi-valu material that NaCap still puts out on some subjects. And those who have not been banned over there can maybe figure out how to say this and that about that or this in a way that might help re-clarify some thinking among some members of the Trump apologist-for Amen Corner that NaCap has over there.

    @ Marku52,

    I read or heard just recently that Merrick Garland has appointed a “special counsel” to co-ordinate a deeper look-see scratch-and-sniff into the Hunter Biden deal. So it looks like Huntergate is not being ignored anymore.

  18. NR

    Can we reject on current evidence that Trump was subjected to Russiagate and impeachment and is being persecuted because of his opposition to the Ukraine War?

    We most certainly can, because the Ukraine war started after Russiagate and both of Trump’s impeachments.

  19. different clue


    The founder of the Proud Boys is the Canadian citizen Gavin McGinnis. Are you saying that Gavin McGinnis has admitted to being an FBI asset?

  20. capelin

    “We most certainly can, because the Ukraine war started after Russiagate and both of Trump’s impeachments.”

    As if the Ukraine slaughter just started out of thin air, with no Western planning and lining up of ducks. No, it’s like a 20 year project.

    The easiest way to annoy the faux-left these days is to point out “well, we probably wouldn’t have the Ukrainian war if Trump had been elected”. They mutter “yeah, Putins bff…”.

  21. NR

    As if the Ukraine slaughter just started out of thin air, with no Western planning and lining up of ducks. No, it’s like a 20 year project.

    Okay then, I guess Trump isn’t really against it after all, since he did nothing to stop or derail this supposed “20 year project” during his term in office.

  22. DMC

    Yes, Gavin McGinnis and Stewart Rhodes both admitted to the press that they were FBI assets within about 2 months of January 6. It’s a matter of the public record.

  23. DMC

    Ok, now I’m having a hard time finding McGinnes admitting to being an FBI asset. Perhaps I was confusing him with Tarrio or Biggs, who were more or less leaders of the PB by that point, as McGinnes had publicly disassociated with the PB by then. I’ll get back to you about Rhodes.

  24. DMC

    I guess I’m going to have to retract that statement as the closest I can now find is that “leaders” of both organizations copped to being assets and I must have conflated “leaders” with “founders”. Never mind!

  25. Failed Scholar

    Trump did get rid of a lot of State dept career neolibs during his term, chief among them one ‘cookies’ ‘fuck the EU’ Victoria . Quite remarkable when one considers the steady career trajectory from the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations. So to say that the Orange Menace did nothing to oppose American overseas mis-adventurism isn’t entirely accurate, and I increasingly wonder how many plans he may have stuffed up for a whole swath of these government parasites, intentionally or unintentionally.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén