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Tuesday, August 30, 2022
The Strangest Thing About ‘Semi-Fascist’ Trump
By Victor David Hanson | American Greatness
Of the last three presidents, Trump was either the
most indifferent or the most obstructed when it came to using
government agencies for his own partisan political advantages or
to neuter his enemies.
For the Left, Donald Trump is synonymous
with “fascism” (or “semi-fascism,” as Joe Biden put it the
other day). And for Liz Cheney and most of the
NeverTrumpers, he remains an existential threat to
But to quantify those charges, what
exactly has Trump done extralegally—as opposed to his
bombast and braggadocio about what he might have wished to
And what are the standards by which to
judge this supposed menace? Did Trump illegally and with a
mere signature nullify over $300 billion of contracted
student loans—to firm up his college-student and
college-graduate base nine weeks before the midterm
Did Donald Trump weaponize the
feared IRS, the logical place to find fascistic tendencies
of any president bent on using government to punish his
enemies? Did he push through a plan to add 87,000 new IRS
investigative agents at a time of national discord?
For the last five years, Trump
was rumored to be under investigation by the IRS. Currently, his accountant is
facing felony sentencing for advising improper write-offs.
Certainly, from the contents
of Hunter Biden’s laptop and the remarks of Hunter’s
associates like Tony Bobulinksi, the Biden family raked in
millions of foreign dollars. Evidence so far suggests Joe
Biden was a recipient (as the “Big Guy”) of 10 percent of
these quid pro quo payments. At
times, Bobulinksi may have sent a strapped and broke Hunter
thousands of dollars in cash gifts. Were any of these
stealthy transactions taxed? Does the recently heavily
Biden-endowed IRS care?
If Trump wished to abuse his
power over the IRS, he would have followed the Obama model
of weaponizing it during a reelection year to go after his
In Obama’s case, the tax agency
slow-walked or denied nonprofit status for groups whose
ideology was deemed not helpful to Obama’s campaign in 2012.
There was a reason Lois Lerner invoked the Fifth Amendment,
and it was not to protect Donald Trump.
Did Trump blatantly use the national
security apparatus of the government to enhance his own
reelection bid in 2020? That is, did he do anything
analogous to Obama’s gambit with Vladimir Putin in 2011?
Was Trump ever caught on a hot mic
promising a Russian president that he would try to ease
Russian worries about Eastern European missile defense if
only the Russians would give him space during his 2012
campaign for president against Mitt Romney?
What we forget about the 2011 Seoul,
South Korea hot-mic Obama exchange with
then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev was that all the conditions
outlined in their hushed 2011 recap were adhered to by both
parties: Obama did dismantle plans for a joint
U.S.-Eastern European long-range missile defense—a system
that might be now of advantage to the U.S. and its allies.
Putin did stay quiet during the Obama
campaign cycle. Obama did get reelected.
And Putin did invade Ukraine
and Crimea only after Obama was elected (or, a cynic might
put it, because Obama was
A current Trump “collusion” critic, mutatis
might have surmised that a colluding Barack Obama put the
national security of the United States and its allies at
risk in order to use his office to massage campaign
advantages over Mitt Romney in 2012. And the ultimate result
of such machinations was a loss of U.S. deterrence that in
part explained Russian aggression in 2014.
Did Trump weaponize the FBI? That is, did
the FBI go after journalists, former Obama officials, or
Democratic Party activists who variously were attacking Don
Jr. or Ivanka on the pretenses of retrieving one of their
lost laptops or diaries?
Did Trump use Republican National
Committee firewalls to transfer money to private lobbyists
and law firms to find dirt on Hillary Clinton in 2016, and
then turn it all over to the FBI to launch a Crossfire
Hurricane investigation of Clinton, centered around a
Trump-hired ex-spy who became a paid FBI informant?
Are there texts of Trump-era FBI agents
talking about how to “stop” Hillary Clinton’s or Biden’s
Did Trump’s FBI, in the predawn hours,
burst into the homes of New York
Times reporters—in James O’Keefe -style—and march them outside
in their underwear, all for the possible “crime” of
receiving a stolen draft of the Supreme Court early draft of
the Dobbs decision? Which
is the greater “crime”—trafficking in clearly stolen
confidential Supreme Court papers or looking at the
abandoned, lost, and lurid diary of a wayward presidential
Did the Trump Justice Department start an
investigation of the suspected illegal lobbying of Joe Biden
and Hunter Biden, who used the former’s political
connections to win large cash payments from foreign
governments? Were there Trump officials in the permanent
Justice Department who went after his various political
opponents on the pretexts of the Logan Act? Or did the
Trump Administration help spread the allegations of any
hired anti-Clinton ex-spies and salt them around the
Speaking of Trump and threats to the
democratic order, did any Trump attorney general refuse a
congressional subpoena, as former Attorney General Eric
Holder did? Was anyone held in contempt of Congress, as
Holder was? Did any simply refuse to honor subpoenas and
withhold requested documents from Congress, as the Obama
Administration did time and again?
Did Trump order an FBI raid on the Obama
home, on rumors that there were thousands of documents under
dispute with the National Archives in his possession,
especially given the Obama record of fiercely fighting any
Freedom of Information Act lawsuits to release his
Was a John Podesta put in leg irons by
the FBI? Was Robbie Mook’s house stormed to learn of what he
knew about Hillary Clinton’s missing emails?
Was Jake Sullivan’s phone grabbed by the
FBI at an airport to determine his role in the Russian
Or, with a look ahead to his own
reelection, did Trump in 2018 order a raid on the Biden
home, in search of “lost” Biden vice presidential documents,
supposedly improperly removed after Biden’s tenure that
might have shed light on the Biden family’s extracurricular
Where Is Trump’s Deep
Are there now any former Trump loyalists
who, as “anonymous” officials in cabinet agencies or
obstructionists on the National Security Council, are
writing op-eds about their stealthy daily efforts to
undermine Biden’s executive orders or his administration’s
action? Is anyone listening to Biden’s phone calls with
foreign leaders while working with Republicans on the House
Intelligence Committee and while prepping a “whistleblower”
to find grounds for impeachment based on some of the things
Biden has allegedly said to foreign leaders?
Did Pfizer rush prematurely to announce a
viable COVID-19 vaccination to aid Trump’s reelection—or in
contrast, did it slow walk a viable vaccination’s rollout
until after the election to massage the result?
Are there now “50 former intelligence
officials” who signed affidavits in support of Trump’s
allegations about the authenticity of Hunter’s laptop? Are
there dozens of retired four-stars now opportunely blasting
Joe Biden’s historic humiliation of the United States in
Kabul? Have any retired admirals mocked the Uniform Code of
Military Justice to write New York
suggesting a befuddled Biden leave office “the sooner, the
Are there former Trump officials writing
in Foreign Policy that Biden is a
disaster who could be removed by impeachment or the 25th
Amendment—or more rapidly by a military coup? Are retired
officers writing to General Mark Milley urging him to act
should he feel in the next election that a likely Republican
loss seems suspicious?
Election Interference and
Between 2017 and 2020, did Trump’s team
systematically seek to change the voting laws in key states
to radically transform traditional balloting, in a mail-in
or early voting revolution, in which only 30 percent of the
electorate would vote on Election Day?
If Trump improperly questioned the ballot
result of the 2020 election, then he sinned in the long
tradition of presidential ballot objectors, including former
U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), January 6 committee
chairman himself Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), and Hillary
Clinton, who claimed Trump was an illegitimately elected
president and advised Biden not to concede if he lost the
2020 popular vote. A defeated Stacey Abrams toured the
country claiming she was the “real” governor of Georgia, yet
nobody smears her as an “election truther.”
Was there any “dark money” effort
analogous to the efforts of corporate and tech money along
with DNC activists and Biden operators in what Time magazine’s Molly Ball
described as a “conspiracy” to ensure the defeat of Trump’s
Did Trump’s team coordinate with
right-wing billionaires to infuse hundreds of billions of
dollars to modulate street protests, to absorb the work of
state and local registrars in key precincts, and to censor
unfavorable stories on social media?
Trump impotently railed and bayed to the
wind about the “fake news” reporters at his rallies. By
contrast, the Left, both private elites and public
officials, kept quiet and injected half a
billiondollars to alter the way
people voted and effectively to censor the way people
produced and consumed the news.
Restoring Our Norms?
How about Trump’s efforts to
revolutionize the very system of government? Did he promote
a court-packing scheme to ensure he might not just get a 5-4
majority, but perhaps an 11-4 conservative advantage in a
new 15-justice Supreme Court?
Did he keep mum while right-wing
demonstrators swarmed the homes of Justices Sonia Sotomayor
and Elena Kagan? Did his attorney general ignore the obvious
felonies involved in such threatening tactics? Did Trump
work with his Republican Congress in 2017 to end the
filibuster to ensure his legislation would not be
stonewalled? Did he dream up ways of getting rid of the
Electoral College so the “blue wall” might never return?
It’s alleged that Trump was insincere
when he approved the request for thousands of federal troops
to be available to local law enforcement on January 6, or
that he did not really mean it when he instructed pro-Trump
demonstrators on January 6 to “Peacefully
and patriotically march to the Capitol.”
Perhaps even the hint of encouraging any
type of protest was reckless in such partisan times. But
just days after violent protestors attacked Secret Service
agents manning barricades and had sought to storm onto the
White House grounds, did Trump boast to the nation of the
ongoing demonstrations, as did Kamala Harris, soon to be a
vice presidential candidate?
They’re not going to stop.
And everyone beware, because they’re not going to stop.
They’re not going to stop before Election Day in November,
and they’re not going to stop after Election Day. And that
should be—everyone should take note of that, on both
levels, that they’re not going to let up, and they should
not, and we should not.
Was that a sober or insurrectionary thing
to advise in a summer of rioting that saw 120 days of
violence, $2 billion in damage, 35 dead, and hundreds of
police officers injured?
Did Trump as president meet with CIA and
FBI directors who, in their weekly and daily briefings,
apprised him of efforts to monitor, spy, and infiltrate the
campaign of Joe Biden?
Was there, after 2017, a Republican
majority committee investigating the former Obama role in
launching Operation Crossfire Hurricane, or Attorney General
Loretta Lynch’s secret meeting with Bill Clinton while she
was investigating Hillary Clinton? And if there were, would
Obama loyalists in the House be excluded by the Republican
speaker from participating in House investigations that also
would allow no hostile or even neutral witnesses, no general
counsel’s report, and no cross-examinations?
The strange thing about Trump was that he
did not use extraordinary powers to investigate anyone
unlawfully. He boasted, he railed, he screamed, he whined,
he became at times crude and obnoxious. But he did not use the FBI, the
CIA, the Justice Department, or the IRS to go after the
Obamas, the Clintons, or the Bidens.
Instead, he became the most investigated,
probed, smeared, and autopsied president in modern history.
Trump’s legislative agenda did not include revolutionary
changes in the Electoral College or the filibuster, or
radical changes to the Supreme Court.
In fact, of the last three presidents,
Trump was either the most inept or indifferent, or the most
obstructed concerning any issue of using
government agencies for his own partisan political
advantages or to neuter his enemies.
In truth, the entire apparatus of
permanent government—the Pentagon hierarchy, the Washington
elites at the FBI and CIA, the permanently entrenched at the
Justice Department, and the apparat at the IRS all
despised Donald Trump. And they did not just hate him but
acted on their antipathy by using their powers of government
to destroy his campaign in 2016, to undermine his
transition, to either obstruct or sabotage his initiatives
while president, and to hound him as an ex-president. As
ex-felon and FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith put it of his own
illegal effort to destroy a president, “Viva le [sic] resistance.” Is that the sort of FBI we
want—a cadre of self-described revolutionaries?
Donald Trump was impeached for raising
the question of Biden family corruption in Ukraine with the
Ukrainian president and delaying offensive military aid that
had never been approved by a Democratic president.
Evidence since Trump’s impeachment
suggests he was prescient in his warning to the Kyiv
government to stay out of domestic American politics.
Everything thing we know since that 2021 impeachment vote
solidifies—not contradicts—Trump’s point that the Biden
family was corrupt, and Hunter Biden was receiving large
sums of money from Ukraine and China solely because Joe
Biden had been vice president and was seen as a possible or
even likely future president worthy of such corrupt
investment. Or to put it another way, why would those with
contacts with the Ukrainian government ever pay millions to
an incompetent, drug-addicted miscreant like Hunter Biden,
if not for pay-for-play influence?
In that context, Joe Biden’s early boast
that he got a Ukrainian attorney general fired, most likely
for probing too deeply matters involving his family, gives
credence to Trump’s instincts. So does the fact that both
Obama and Biden for a time stopped shipments of offensive
weapons to Ukraine, while Trump for a time only delayed them
but eventually gave them what they wished.
The result of this unprecedented effort
to accuse Trump of using government fascistically while
fascistically using government to destroy a president is all
too clear in the destroyed careers who sought to undermine
constitutional government. What John Brennan, James Clapper,
Kevin Clinesmith, James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Bruce Ohr,
Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and a host of retired flag officers
and intelligence operatives share is not just their venomous
antipathy toward an elected president and their efforts
rhetorically and often concretely to neuter him, but their
subsequent disgrace even among those who once cheered them