PATRICK LAWRENCE: The Rape of Lady Justice

This is an open-and-shut case of the judiciary being misused to keep Trump out of the political process. Unlike during the Russiagate years, liberal authoritarians know they are operating in broad daylight this time. 

Boxes of classified documents stored in a bathroom at Mar-a-Lago. (U.S. Department of Justice, Public domain, Wikimedia Commons)

By Patrick Lawrence
Special to Consortium News

It is getting hard to keep track of the charges lodged against Donald Trump since his indictment last week in Miami for allegedly retaining classified documents at his Mar-a–Lago estate after he left the White House in January 2021.

It is not at all hard to keep track of the destruction of the American judicial system — which is the real story here, the story in which we all figure and for which we will all pay the heaviest price.  

Let’s begin with a count of the legal knots in which American courts are already binding Trump — a count so far, as there seems to be more on the way.

The Manhattan district attorney indicted the former president in April on 34 counts of falsifying business records related to his presidential campaign in 2016. This is the case of Stormy Daniels, the porn star who was paid $130,000 to keep quiet about a brief encounter she had (her account) or did not have (Trump’s account) in a Las Vegas hotel room 17 years ago.

Now we have a Miami grand jury handing up indictments on 37 charges related to the documents case. Of these, we must note, 31 counts come under the Espionage Act of 1917.

This escalates matters very considerably. A former president and a current contender for the presidency now faces the gravest charge for which American law provides. 

Trump now keeps company with, among others, Eugene Debs, Emma Goldman, Alexander Berkman, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, Daniel Ellsberg, Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange, and Edward Snowden — others charged under the Espionage Act since the Wilson administration passed this unambiguously unconstitutional law to silence those critical of America’s entry into World War I a century and some ago.

The D.A. in Atlanta is currently investigating, with a view to possible indictments, allegations that Trump interfered in Georgia during the 2020 presidential election.

Jack Smith, the special counsel running the Mar-a–Lago investigation, has another one going in Washington, where a grand jury is considering indicting Trump on charges he incited whatever the liberals are calling the protests of Jan. 6, 2021, these days — a coup, a riot, an insurrection, who can keep track?

These are criminal cases. On the civil side, there is the preposterous case of E. Jean Carroll, a never-heard-of-her writer who won a $5 million judgment last month based on her claim that Trump assaulted her in a Bloomingdale’s dressing room in (are you ready?) the early 1990s, yet 15 years earlier than the wholesome Stormy alleges she had her go-around with The Donald. Carroll, keeping the ball in the air, is now going for an additional $10 million in damages.

Leading Republican Candidate 

U.S. presidential debate, Oct. 22, 2020. (Screenshot)

I will no longer use “the former president” to describe the former president. From here on out it will be “the leading Republican candidate” to run against the enfeebled Democratic incumbent next year. Make that “the leading Republican candidate who handily defeats the enfeebled incumbent in every poll so far conducted.” How’s this for a succinct second mention?

There is most certainly a revenge factor behind this legal onslaught against the leading Republican candidate who handily defeats ….  Democrats have never got over Trump’s triumph over Hillary Clinton seven years ago, when history was supposed to end and orthodox neoliberalism was to reign without challenge as it is now and ever shall be amen.

Trump Derangement Syndrome lives, in short.

But we must look forward to understand events on the legal side over the past couple of months. What we now witness is an open-and-shut case of liberal authoritarians’ misuse of the judiciary to keep Donald Trump out of the political process because they are correctly uncertain they can defeat him by way of it.

I am all but convinced that the Biden Justice Department does not give much of a damn whether or not the cases against Trump end in convictions.

If I am right, the objective is to keep him tied up in judicial rope until the election next year is fought and won. We are already hearing from the nitwittier of mainstream commentators, Rachel Maddow among them but not alone, that it would be fine were Justice to drop all charges providing Trump commits not to run next year.

To put this another way, liberal authoritarians are in the process of depriving American citizens of an independent judiciary, which is supreme among the mediating institutions essential to any properly functioning polity. It does not get much bigger if we are talking about the final devastation of our battered republic, a point upon which I will shortly dilate.

Operating in Broad Daylight

Liberal authoritarians are well aware that, unlike a good deal of their chicanery during the Russiagate years, they are operating in broad daylight this time. Too many Americans remain stubbornly capable of seeing what is before their eyes as plainly as one sees a Technicolor screen in a movie theater.

Predictably, preemptive control of “the narrative” has been evident since the Miami indictments were made public last Thursday.

Let us watch as events are turned upside down, those subverting our institutions cast themselves as saviors. Get a load of this, from Peter Baker, The New York Times’s White House correspondent.

“History’s first federal indictment against a former president poses one of the gravest challenges to democracy the country has ever faced. It represents either a validation of the rule-of-law principle that even the most powerful face accountability for their actions or the moment when a vast swath of the public becomes convinced that the system has been irredeemably corrupted by partisanship.”

A validation of the rule of law? Even the most powerful face accountability? Are these people trying to make me laugh or do the other thing? I cannot quite tell any more.

Hillary Clinton, James Comey, James Clapper, John Brennan, Joe Biden, the last as vice-president and now president: This is an extremely truncated list of those who, since Trump’s election in 2016, have gone uninvestigated, untried and un-convicted as felons, and I use this term advisedly.

Clinton’s breach of security was vastly worse than the worst Trump is accused of. Clapper and Brennan lied to Congress under oath. Even according to the incomplete record available to us, an investigation of Biden’ Ukrainian and Chinese business dealings would almost certainly leave him in an orange jumpsuit.

These are a few of the countless replies available to us as we consider the equal-under-the-law argument the Democratic establishment now cultivates and Peter Baker summarizes.

Indictments Now Pending

Let us consider very briefly the indictments now pending against Trump.

The Manhattan D.A.’s case rests on the contention that a payment to a porn star made by one of Trump’s attorneys should have been accounted as a campaign expense. The Mar-a–Lago case turns on when Trump declassified documents and whether this counts as it ought to under the Constitution. Reminder: Any president in any circumstance can by law declassify documents without the assent of any other institution of government.

Support CN’s Spring

Fund Drive

At worst, or best depending on your point of view, we are left with an accounting error in the first instance and a passing matter of bureaucratic ambiguity in the second.

The subhead on the Baker piece reads, “The former president’s efforts to defend against multiple felony counts by discrediting law enforcement pose a grave challenge to democracy.” Suggesting that it is dangerous to our democracy to assert that our law-enforcement agencies have discredited themselves: This is what I mean by upside down.

As of last weekend the Trump mess has taken on a new dimension, one we cannot miss if we are to understand our moment. Around the country various political figures of various stations reacted to the latest set of indictments by threatening what we will politely call extra-parliamentary actions.

“Eye for an eye,” Andy Biggs, an Arizona Republican in Congress, warned in a Twitter note Friday. Here is Kari Lake, a halfway-prominent conservative, speaking Saturday at the Republican state convention in Georgia:

“I have a message tonight for Merrick Garland and Jack Smith and Joe Biden—and the guys back there in the fake news media, you should listen up as well, this one is for you. If you want to get to President Trump, you are going to have go through me, and you are going to have to go through 75 million Americans just like me. And I’m going to tell you, most of us are card-carrying members of the N.R.A. That’s not a threat. That’s a public service announcement.”

What are we listening to here? I have no prediction to make as to how far these threats of “retribution” — a Trump family member’s term — will go. What is the thought beneath the inflammatory rhetoric? This is the key question.

My answer: This is what a society sounds like when it has lost the most essential of its public institutions. It sounds very violent. It sounds anarchic. It sounds like it is failing.

The American judiciary has been other than pristinely independent far longer than anyone alive now can remember. Any black American can tell you all about it. What we have watched in recent decades is the corrosion and corruption as it creeps upward through all our institutions. Chief among these is the judiciary.

Institutional Collapse

2000 presidential election recount in Palm Beach County. (Dtobias, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0)

I recall thinking, after the Supreme Court stole the 2000 elections to hand it to George W. Bush, “This society has lost its capacity to self-correct.” I wish the confirmations of this that followed were not so numerous. Citizens United in 2010, when corporations were declared people — it is still strange to type that phrase — was a mile marker.

Lately, to skip across a long list, the Supreme Court has ruled that corporations have a legal right to seek damages from unions running strikes for their members’ rights.

These judicial rulings signal not only the destruction of public space in American society, which is alarming enough. They also tell us we, as citizens, cannot rely on the courts for balanced, disinterested, even rational rulings. At some point the judiciary ripped the blindfold off Lady Justice. Her famous scales are tipped.

 I had better explain the gravity I attach to the Trump indictments and the brazen usurpation of the American judiciary at the hands of liberal authoritarians obsessed with power.

Many years back I spent time in Sri Lanka as a senior rapporteur for an Asian human rights commission. The brief book that came out of that sojourn is called Conversations in a Failing State: Sri Lankan Encounters. (It is tough to find at this point, unless you are in my cellar.)

The war between the Sinhalese majority and the Tamil minority was raging then in the north of the island. I went nowhere near it. I was interested in the root causes of the conflict, and I found these readily enough in Colombo, the capital, in the coastal towns, in the central highlands around Kandy, in the tea plantations, and in Nuwara Eliya, the crumbling British hill station.  

The civil service, the legislature, the army, the public sector institutions: These had long earlier given way to the rot of corruption. It was when the judiciary began to go that “failing state” became the state of things.

The chief justice then was a man named Sarath da Silva. Sarath, as he was known, was not short of a terrorist in his pursuit of total power by way of total control of the judicial system. Enemies turned up dead.

He had judges in exile and judges hiding out in Nuwara Eliya, petrified he would find them. Ordinary Sri Lankans, especially the Tamils, could forget all about a justice as administered by the state. Resorting to either the police or the courts never even occurred to them. You took care of matters best you could on your own.

And it was the collapse in this way of the judicial system, the mediating institution of final resort, that lay as the root cause of the war up north and the near-complete collapse of Sri Lankan society.

No, Merrick Garland is not Sarath da Silva and the mess in our courts does not compare in magnitude with the mess I saw in Colombo’s: No accusations of hyperbole, please. But the lessons are there for us to learn from.

Problems of judicial imbalance and courts in the service of private or political interests have a long history in America, yes. What is going on now at Justice and the various grand juries it has convened are the straight-line consequences of the corrupt use of the department and its law-enforcement agencies during the criminal years of Russiagate.

This abuse of the judiciary, notably by way of the Espionage Act, went all the way to the top last week. This is the significance of our moment. Liberal authoritarians are now availing of the courts and the extremities of American law to eliminate a political candidate in the service of a Democratic president of failing competence — that is, to determine the probable outcome of an election.

Our corporate media become more Pravda-like by the day as the travesties mount, publishing perfectly obvious fallacies in naked-emperor fashion. I do not care how many buffoons the major dailies field of the Peter Baker or Maggie Haberman sort, who spend their working days producing this silly-but-frightening stuff. Nighttime is still dark, the daytime light. The corrupt and corrupting are still corrupt.

What is being done to our judiciary is as we see it. And it lands us in the gravest circumstance of my lifetime.

Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune, is a columnist, essayist, lecturer and author, most recently of  Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century. His new book Journalists and Their Shadows, is forthcoming from Clarity Press. His Twitter account, @thefloutist, has been permanently censored. His web site is Patrick Lawrence. Support his work via his Patreon site.  

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

Support CN’s Spring

Fund Drive Today




94 comments for “PATRICK LAWRENCE: The Rape of Lady Justice

  1. bardamu
    June 14, 2023 at 18:24

    Every time I read this level of reporting these days, I wonder whether it will be the last time. Many thanks.

  2. Susan Siens
    June 14, 2023 at 15:40

    There is really nothing bizarre going on here.

    The Pedocrats have one thing to run on:

    TRUMP, TRUMP, TRUMP. They think if they keep him front and center all the time that independents and the unenrolled will vote for Biden again. I don’t think so.

  3. robert e williamson jr
    June 14, 2023 at 14:25

    More proof I’m fallible .

    In hindsight I missed a great chance at some sensationalism. I should have titled my earlier comment.

    Title should have read. U.S. Intelligence Communities Constant Gang Rape of Lady Justice.

    Believe me it applies.

    Thanks CN

  4. robert e williamson jr
    June 14, 2023 at 12:50

    Mr. Lawrence has delivered another classic here. What he has given us is a thing of beauty, and a thing of beauty is supposed to be a joy for ever. Not so much in this case. Because of the weight carried by the truth here he exposes the results of a vile take-over by the National Security State, CIA and some fifteen other intelligence organizations that have imposed a death sentence on the democratic republic.

    I desire here to reveal one of the latest events to occur in the JFK assassination saga, which interestingly enough is centered on a presidents authority to declassify classified documents. Jefferson Morley and company are doing fine work, follow them.

    December of 2022, another batch of JFK documents were released – one specific – to JFK’s intent to reorganize the CIA.

    Realizing that I tend to drift back to the JFK murder quite often I beg for your attention. Do a simple google search – Arthur Schlesinger memo, June 30, 1961, CIA Reorganization.

    Included in this MEMORANDUM FOR THE PRESIDENT, SUBJECT CIA Reorganization, in the words of one Chad Nagel this memois one of the eloquent to come out of the JFK files.

    This memo should be a shock, especially to anyone not familiar with CIA’s history. Schlesinger had to book on CIA and their efforts to take over the U.S. government from the inside. He very directly addresses I. CIA Autonomy, II. Doctrine, III. Operations and Policy, IV. Operations and Intelligence , V. Conclusion.

    In section III Operations and Policy, resides the documents only redactions, #3. The Controlled American Sources (CAS) represents a particular aspect of CIA’s encroachment on policy-making functions.

    If you are curious to what this about it is about CIA being hell bent to take over the government. Don’t take my word for it, do the search and you get hXXps://nsaarchives.gwu/document/18285-national-security-archive-doc-o2-memorandum

    Mr.Lawrence is very spot on that the DOJ is a serious problem for all Americans and the reason is because CIA using their “Sources and Methods” caveat allowing for their total secrecy has compromised the rule of law, naturally the results of this travesty is to allow CIA total control of it’s own destiny.

    Mr. Lawrence my hat is off to you, here is more proof you are on the right trail.

    Like I have been saying look this up and read the 15 page memo or You miss out!

    Thanks CN

  5. mgr
    June 14, 2023 at 08:17

    Always excellent. Some comments nitpick over details. In others, it seems that hatred for Trump overwhelms every other consideration. Nonetheless, the salient point that Patrick Lawrence is documenting, I think, is the fact that the US intelligence service’s modus operandi of initiating coups, color revolutions and overthrows of foreign leaders who do not align with US goals, and usually to the detriment of their local public, has now come home. And of course, it was HRC, Obama and the DP who ushered it in. Apparently, US intelligence services including the CIA and FBI have been tasked with overthrowing and/or manipulating America’s elections. And now America’s judiciary and justice system has joined in the effort as well. Oh happy day. World’s leading democracy? Most exceptional nation? Seriously? Where do you think it goes from here?

  6. C. Parker
    June 14, 2023 at 03:38

    Another brilliant essay from Patrick Lawrence. You are correct to direct attention to the U.S. judiciary system. The Supreme Court has been overly politicized to the detriment of keeping a united country. Most all attention given to the Supreme Court has been devoted to a few issues: abortion, guns and gay-rights. Americans are nonchalant at the destruction of their first amendment: censoring anyone who mentioned covid on a social media platform was disturbing, then came the censoring of a sitting president from a social media which should frighten all citizens. Were was the so-call Left demanding the justice department to take actions. I don’t buy the private company baloney. All those who thought they were Left remained silent due to their hatred for Donald Trump. (Here’s where the critic needs to plea I didn’t vote for Trump, nor would I ever) This is a divided country which continues to worsen due to the failure of justice.

    Thank you to Consortium News for being here for all who enjoy great journalism. As a daily reader of CN I usually learn something from fellow CN readers in the commentary. I was startled this excellent article got so much criticism. I believe they totally missed Patrick Lawrence’s point. We have entered dangerous waters when our justice department backs a political elite. Jailing opponents??? That is the stuff we read about in those far away countries we are made to fear and hate.

  7. Graeme
    June 14, 2023 at 00:55

    The irony that the ‘man’ who re-instigated the DOJ persecution of Julian Assange is now facing charges, which could legitimately be described as far more dire and potentially damaging to the US government, could end up facing a longer prison sentence than Julian Assange.

    Of course Julian exposed the corruption of the US military during an illegal war and the efforts by subsequent presidents to push that corruption out of public consciousness;
    where as Trump is being charged with corruption while sitting in the most important office in the land.

  8. Joe Wallace
    June 13, 2023 at 22:13

    I almost always agree with what Patrick Lawrence writes, and I am grateful for the writing and insights he shares on this website. That said, I take issue with a couple of the points he makes in this article.

    First, why is he so dismissive when he writes that “Carroll, keeping the ball in the air, is now going for an additional $10 million in damages?” E. Jean Carroll sued Trump for rape and defamation. She lost the case for rape, though she won $5 million in damages for sexual abuse and defamation. That would have brought the matter to a halt for almost anyone other than Trump, but we’re dealing with the Donald here. He appealed the judgment, of course, and Carroll is considering suing him again because he has continued to defame her. So who, exactly, is “keeping the ball in the air?” If we didn’t know better we might think Trump was a sore loser. Should he be able to continue defaming her with impunity? Well, sure, if you ask the Donald. He’d be the first to tell you: he’s the victim here.

    Biden’s supporters may well realize their candidate will not be reelected if he’s matched against Trump, but there is no basis for claiming that “What we now witness is an open-and-shut case of liberal authoritarians’ misuse of the judiciary to keep Donald Trump out of the political process because they are correctly uncertain they can defeat him by way of it.” Trump’s indictments are certainly convenient obstacles for keeping him out of the presidential race, but are they really the sole reason why he was indicted?

    The indictment says that “the classified documents Trump stored . . . included information regarding defense and weapons capabilities of both the United States and foreign countries; United States nuclear programs; potential vulnerabilities of the United States and its allies to military attack; and plans for possible retaliation in response to foreign attack. The unauthorized disclosure of these classified documents could put at risk the national security of the United States, foreign relations, the safety of the United States military.”

    While it might be a matter of great moment for most of us to handle classified documents (and we would be well advised to strictly observe the rules regarding their handling), high officials in the government handle classified materials as a matter of routine in their everyday course of business. For that reason, the courts tend to be charitable, forgiving, as long as those officials are deferential when they are caught mishandling classified materials. Not much was made of Pence’s and Biden’s mishandling of documents, for example, because they immediately complied with orders to return documents that should not have been in their possession. Not so with the Donald. When Trump was ordered to return classified documents, he refused, asserting that they were his, and he and his cohorts even lied about what they possessed. He also claimed, without evidence, that documents in his possession had been declassified. In this, as in the Carroll case, Donald Trump, in line with other divinities, recognizes no limits on what he can and cannot do.

    Lawrence writes that “The Mar-a–Lago case turns on when Trump declassified documents and whether this counts as it ought to under the Constitution. Reminder: Any president in any circumstance can by law declassify documents without the assent of any other institution of government.” That statement is correct as far as it goes, but it doesn’t go far enough. Yes, it’s true, the president enjoys the power on his own to declassify documents. But even that power is subject to a process that is much less straightforward than Lawrence’s statement would suggest. Declassification is not a magic act that is performed in secret. The president may not require the assent other institutions of government to declassify documents, but they must be informed of his actions. Moreover, this power to declassify is a presidential prerogative that expires when the president is no longer in office. So, absent evidence of a declassification process undertaken while he was still president, Trump cannot claim to have declassified documents in his possession after leaving office.

  9. Utu
    June 13, 2023 at 21:19

    Sorry, Mr. Lawrence, but the judiciary was never independent. It has always served power. The difference now is that the ruling class is divided, and we’re seeing which side the judiciary is falling on. The factions being neoliberals (Lawrence’s “liberal authoritarians”) and fascists, mostly coalesced around Trump. The contest is over things like the Empire abroad and what level of authoritarianism will be required to keep the people at home in line. Neither side portends anything good for the American people or the rest of the world.

    In the interest of accuracy, however, he says, Reminder: Any president in any circumstance can by law declassify documents without the assent of any other institution of government.

    Not necessarily. Document 19 is classified FRD (formerly restricted data, which is nuclear secrets) which are classified under the Atomic Energy Act, and cannot be declassified by a President, even a sitting one.

  10. wildthange
    June 13, 2023 at 20:44

    After the attack and take over of the Supreme Court for one religious sect in a total culture war against all of the 60-70’s this is a minor attack on one persons freedom that got what Jeb Bush could not have gotten and Hillary was denied what feminism she might have gotten on top of the Battle of Putin that served as the excuse for her electoral college fluke. GWB couldn’t have produced such a windfall profit.
    Rotating political paybacks climb along with all the greenback for our new world order of oil and LNG profit motives. The joke seems to be Bill encouraged Trump to run and saturday night live erupted in premature high fives.

  11. Aaron
    June 13, 2023 at 17:22

    It’s more than anything probably a distraction/diversion so they can keep the blank check going for the proxy war.

  12. shmutzoid
    June 13, 2023 at 17:20

    Gee. Is it possible, anymore, to talk about Trump’s crimes against the democratic rights of people WITHOUT being accused of Trump Derangement Syndrome!?

    And, what’s with the dismissive sarcasm?? —–> “…whatever the liberals are calling the “PROTESTS” of Jan.6,2021….a coup, an insurrection, a riot..who can keep track?” (emphasis mine). …….gee, just a protests, huh? There was an extensive conspiracy within the White House, various lawmakers and select personnel from various agencies to plan and enable a coup attempt. The mob that day was whipped into a frenzy and unleashed to create as much mayhem as possible, with the hope of Trump swooping in to invoke ’emergency powers’ to stay on as pres./dictator while the election was, er, ‘sorted out’. …………. Does anyone, including P. Lawrence, know what woulda’ happened if the mob had actually managed to hold hostage Pelosi/Pence/others?? ….. Perhaps a guarantee of their safety in exchange for the electoral votes to be determined by state legislatures. Who the hell knows?
    ……That NOT ONE of the coup plotters has been held accountable/indicted is in itself criminal. …..Dems and Republicans—–> colluding to maintain a viable and strong EMPIRE.

    Indicting Trump for mishandling documents is an extension of the phony Russiagate. it’s an attack by Dems FROM THE RIGHT ,having nothing to do with the peoples’ democratic rights. ……it has to do with imperatives of the National Security State, with which the Dems are very closely aligned.

    • Caliman
      June 13, 2023 at 19:43

      Does it not give one pause to swallow the “coup attempt” story hook, line, and sinker heard and promulgated by the very same people one believes (later in the last paragraph) to be the national security state, “with whom the Dems are very closely aligned”.

      I guess not.

  13. KB
    June 13, 2023 at 16:57

    With a few minor tweaks, this essay could probably get published on Newsmax, OAN, or the Epoch Times. Heck, the author might even get booked on Sean Hannity’s show since they both traffic in the same talking points.

    • David
      June 13, 2023 at 21:35

      Lawrence’s claim that a president can declassify any document at any time is false. Some documents cannot be declassified the president during his own term. It is claimed that applied to some of the documents Trump took. Trump did not declassify the documents he allowed others to access. That is not in dispute. He said so himself. The prosecution may be politically motivated but even Trump apologist Allen Dershowitz acknowledge he is guilty. He incriminated himself on tape. Should his violation of law be ignored because Hillary Clinton wasn’t prosecuted? I don’t think so.

      • Piotr Berman
        June 14, 2023 at 13:29

        And what about the documents lovingly stored next to Biden’s beloved Corvette? Just to put it in perspective, why there is no indictment for the murder of Soleymani? Because REALLY SERIOUS crimes are covered by bipartisan consensus. Recall impeachment for not fomenting war in Ukraine enough.

        Mind you, Trump did not disclose secret documents like Petraeus, unprosecuted, this is “prosecutorial discression” at its least discrete.

        Murder and mayhem are OK, but misshufle some paper boxes or enable some poor children to have nice summer vacations, “impartial justice” is on your case.

    • Randolph Williams
      June 14, 2023 at 07:44

      If the shoe fits, wear it, if the truth hurts bear it — Hank III

  14. Robert Furnback
    June 13, 2023 at 16:43

    What was the difference between Reality Winner and Donald J. Trump. Reality Winner revealed Russian interference with our electoral process on one page of paper. Does any one think that all those boxes of government documents were just in the lavatory in case there was no toilet tissue. The greatest difference is money and justice, Reality Winner was subject to the laws that every citizen is subject too, Donald J. Trump has operated as if he is above the law. Reality Winner was hit with the longest sentence ever imposed on a civilian for leaking classified information to the media. I don’t have any confidence that Donald J. Trump will have any thing like this happen to him. This is why our justice system is broken because some are treated very differently than others.

    • Manny
      June 13, 2023 at 23:36

      Look also to Jack Teixeira. He is in prison, before any trial, for showing classified material to his buddies. Did Trump have helicopters roving above his house, and officers carrying him in shackles, from his house?

  15. Nancy J Gillard-Bartels
    June 13, 2023 at 16:01

    Patrick States, “Any president in any circumstance can by law declassify documents without the assent of any other institution of government.”

    However, I heard that a POTUS can not declassify “National Defense” information. Now I’m wondering?

  16. June 13, 2023 at 15:56

    a fine piece with equal parts well deserved anger and occasionally sloppy charges…the dressing room in which the alleged sexual assault took place on the uh famous writer no one ever heard of before was at bergdorf goodman which makes it even more bizarre than bloomingdales, which is not nearly as expensive or closely watched…the idea that someone was raped at bergdorfs is something a Trump type mentality might accept but no one who has ever been there let alone used a dressing room could swallow. Worse is all the stuff about threats to democracy as though it has ever existed in this country since our euro ancestors threw the palestinians – oops- indigenous americans out. Reminder? 8% of americans are millionaires, multi millionaires and billionaires. 92% of us are not. If you believe we have ever run this show please continue trying to perform self lobotomies by deep nose picking with thousands of bandages near at hand.

  17. John Manning
    June 13, 2023 at 15:54

    Western audiences do not understand law. The comparison between Trump holding secrets and Biden doing the same cannot be made. Trump is clearly still capable of cogent thought regardless of your opinion of his thoughts. Biden does not know what he is doing or saying from one moment to the next. Consequently Trump has intent and therefore is a criminal. Biden on the other hand makes the ideal President.

    However all of that is no excuse for Lawrence casting slurs against Pravda. Pravda has been one of the more accurate media sources for news about the Ukraine.

  18. Rob
    June 13, 2023 at 15:44

    I detest Donald Trump, but whatever crimes he may have committed pale in comparison to George W. Bush and Joe Biden leading the country into immoral and stupid wars, whether directly or by proxy, through lying and misrepresenting facts. Why are they not in the docket? The pursuit of Trump is chapter 3 of the Russiagate project: chapter 1–the Trump/Russia collusion hoax; chapter 2–the Maidan coup and the proxy war with Russia in Ukraine; and chapter 3–the legal crusade against Trump himself. All of which is the evil handiwork of so-called “liberals.”

    • mgr
      June 14, 2023 at 05:55

      Rob: That is an excellent summary.

  19. Litchfield
    June 13, 2023 at 15:02

    “No, Merrick Garland is not Sarath da Silva and the mess in our courts does not compare in magnitude with the mess I saw in Colombo’s: No accusations of hyperbole, please. ”

    Actually, they most certainly do compare in magnitude, because the USA is a giant and anything that occurs in the USA has giant ripple effects not only in our own society, but throughout the globe. Look at the huge effects the failures to charge Clinton, Biden, and others as listed by Lawrence has had. These failures have brought to power the hugely corrupt Biden, who is probably managed by the hugely unaccountable Neocon faction in the State Department. This would not have happened without the connivance of the FBI and various figures within the DOJ, but primarily Merrick Garland. I hope to see both Biden and Garland in orange jump suits.

    I appreciate Lawrence’s article, but I have to say I don’t appreciate his “No accusations of hyperbole, please.” Doesn’t he realize that with this odd sentiment he trivializes his own message?

    • TonyR
      June 13, 2023 at 21:54

      I usually like Lawrence’s insights but I think he is a bit of the rails with his constant belittling of trump transgressions while insinuating Biden is more corrupt. I do agree that Biden is a war criminal as are most of our recent presidents but I doubt Biden is as corrupt as trump. And no a president cannot magically declassify national security and defense secrets. I am glad trump is being charged because he is clearly guilty of obstruction and it’s about time we show the president is not above the law.

  20. Rodertrudis
    June 13, 2023 at 14:42

    I see this mess arising from a single issue: Trump, though perhaps a fascist himself,
    will not support the fascists in the US. The Democrat’s reaction, along with the support
    from Media and Government, to the 2016 election revealed their plan for war against Russia.
    Trump blocked this plan for four years and if elected promises to end the war “within twenty four hours”.
    The warmongers must destroy Trump or put him away. He cannot be allowed back in the White House.

    • Richard DeBacher
      June 13, 2023 at 19:28

      And Trump promised that winning a trade war with China would be easy. How did that work out? Trump fell in love with Kim Jong Un and elevated that brutal dictator on the world stage. He got nothing in return but flattering letters that he treasures. Trump promised to repeal and replace Obamacare. He failed to repeal and never had a replacement plan. He promised a boom in American manufacturing and coal mining. Didn’t happen, and thankfully so as far as coal mining. He kept his promise to cut taxes, but he lied about the results. There was no boom in capital investment, only a boom in stock buybacks and executive bonuses and new loopholes for real estate moguls such as DJT. And, of course he promised to build an impregnable wall across the southern border and Mexico would pay for it. He built a few hundred miles at taxpayers expense, with contracts awarded to his campaign contributors. Thousands of holes have been cut in his impregnable wall by immigrants and drug smugglers and other parts are failing from flash floods. So if you believe Trump’s promise to end the war in Ukraine, I have a bridge in Brooklyn you may want to buy.

      June 13, 2023 at 21:35

      Sure, Rodertrudis, we should believe Trump’s promise to end the war upon his re-election. Just like we believed his promise, issued repeatedly during the 2016 campaign, to enforce all laws involving the handling of classified documents. Or his promise to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. Or his promise to repeal and replace Obamacare. Or his promise to build an impenetrable wall along the Southern border and Mexico would pay for it. Or to spark a boom in American manufacturing and coal mining. Or win a trade war with China.

      One promise he kept — he cut taxes, especially for his fellow plutocrats, real estate moguls, and corporations, but the cuts did not, as he promised, pay for themselves or spark a boost in capital investment. Instead, we saw a boom in stock buybacks and executive bonuses. With promises like these, Trump confirms what anyone with an ounce of sense already knows — he’s a chronic and habitual liar, a narcissistic bully interested in advancing one thing and one thing only — his personal interests, fortune, and libidinous desires.

  21. S Cognitius
    June 13, 2023 at 14:40

    As Mr. Lawrence doubtless knows perfectly well, perspective determines vision. (A limited perspective only affords a limited vision). From its limited perspective, his article about the rape of poor Lady Justice is most certainly a good one.

    The Forces that control our political system have made of it a Reality-TV Show. Doesn’t Mr. Lawrence surely know that? Does he think that the political contest between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, or between Trump, or DeSantis, (or whomever), and Biden, (or whomever), will (or could) determine who controls our government and our Mass Media, and thus our nation? Was Trump in control when he was in the White House? If he actually tried to take control, do we think the ‘Dallas-option’ would not be invoked? Do we think he’s either that courageously heroic, or that stupid?

    We are surely aware of the concept of our appreciation and/or enjoyment of a ‘show’ being dependent on our ‘willing suspension of our disbelief’. We see the show from the perspective of understanding that it’s not ‘real’, but rather is an artistic dramatization of reality. But we agree to suspend our awareness that it’s not real in order to better enjoy the show.

    ‘Disbelief’ is the crucial missing factor in the perspective Mr. Lawrence presents in his concerns for the fallen virtue of Lady Justice.

    Various kinds of sleight-of-hand tricks always depend on skillful diversion of the mark’s attention at the crucial time. Timing is everything in show business. The Ukraine offensive is underway. Do we think it’s accidental that our attention has been diverted by a well-timed indictment? Yet another Trump indictment? Yet more Trump derangement syndrome? So what? It’s just one more indictment. It’s nothing new. Yet Mr. Lawrence makes ‘news’ of it. The rape of Lady Justice occurred long ago. It’s nothing new. Yet Mr. Lawrence makes ‘news’ of it. Mr. Lawrence continues to warn us that what has already been here for some time is coming any day now. His warning people that what’s past is coming actually impair’s their vision of what IS coming. If it’s not ‘new’, then it’s seldom ever ‘news’.

    Meanwhile, with our attention diverted with non-new ‘news’, the progression of WW3 unfolds in the deep-background, without much notice. When you control ALL of Mass Media, this is SO easy to do.

    Never mind the puppets, Mr. Lawrence. Keep your eye on the Puppeteer. In regards to this fakey ‘democracy show’, NEVER suspend your disbelief. “The show’s the thing wherein we’ll catch the evil of the king”, (apologies to Willie S, paraphrasing from ‘Hamlet’).

    Does Kari Lake not know that there is nothing the Puppeteer would like more than for her to make good on her silly showboat threat? No… She doesn’t… Because she’s stupidly fighting the Democrats, not the Puppeteer, not her actual Enemy.

  22. Robert Emmett
    June 13, 2023 at 14:28

    That either/or proposition by Baker of the Times (natch), a clear sign of the bogosity of false dichotomy. As in, you’re either with us or with the enemy. Really? How about I think both choices stink?

    Isn’t it also becoming increasingly clear, from the looks on their faces, that the tv gang doesn’t even have to believe what they’re saying anymore as long as their bag of deceit & banality is flung in the public face with the insouciance of a gunnysack of unwanted kittens tossed into a farm pond?

    Maddow has sort of an otherworldly aura as if she’s been sunbathing on Neptune. And O’Donnell looks simultaneously smug & constipated.

    At last, the domino theory makes sense to me! A (manufactured) cascade of lies & banality knocks down all those institutions of democratic checks & balance (executives, lawmakers, military brass, “experts”, the press) all of which must follow the breadcrumbs of official lies just to stay on the “winning team”. The judiciary may just be the last to wash down the bunny hole.

    It’s hard for me to imagine, as an average bear, what could turn the tide when allies in seats of power are so few.

  23. June 13, 2023 at 14:03

    A reflection from the real left, the left that does not plan on voting for Mr. Trump but which knows the truth when it sees it. And this article, sees it. “Liberal” is as “liberal” does, and the Democrats are NOT liberal.

  24. Bostonian
    June 13, 2023 at 12:27

    The Clinton campaign did the same thing that Trump is accused of in New York, writing off as “legal expenses” the $175,000 that bought the fake Trump-Russia-hooker-pee Steele Dossier. And the Federal Election Commission refused to do anything about this violation of its regulations until a conservative think tank, the Coolidge Reagan Foundation, sued them to enforce the law. Over four years later, the Clinton campaign was finally fined and quietly paid $113,000 for the violations. Even MSM stated these facts hxxps://

    No criminal indictment for that candidate, no phony show trial, no absurd theory that misreporting, a simple FEC misdemeanor, must be construed a felony.

  25. Caliman
    June 13, 2023 at 12:09

    As Patrick says, corrupt prosecution by the police and the judiciary is not new to our land … the disfavored, whether racial, political, and social have been targeted for mispolicing and midjustice for many many years.

    What’s new is that this has now been applied to an elected executive of the land … a president voted for by more than 70 million citizens twice! The sheer intolerance for democracy exhibited here and the justification of same by the Complex’s talking heads is something special to behold and particularly corrosive to public order and law.

    • Cisco
      June 13, 2023 at 19:23

      Oh thank goodness another sane person. It just comes across to me that Lawrence thinks trump should be given a pass only because clinton and biden were given a pass. If my memory serves me right, I don’t think you can compare what trump has done to what biden and clinton have done. I’ll agree with him on his take of our corrupted justice system, though.

  26. Sick and tired
    June 13, 2023 at 12:04

    And I over simplifying this entire issue?

    I guess the main thrust of the charges is the obstruction of justice angle. I think the former president may have played a fool’s game in not fully cooperating in handing them over. Sort of like Martha Stewart going to prison by lying to the the FYI and not for committing underlying crimes.

    The fact that both Biden and Pence discovered similar documents points to flawed and/or unenforceable document handling procedures. Surely all classified documents are maintained and stored separately and not Willy-nilly packed up with non-classified documents and subject to some sort of internal review before being released to the pres. No classified documents should leave the premises.

  27. June 13, 2023 at 11:45

    Collapse of the judiciary?

    But no mention of the facts that a Trump appointed federal judge is hearing the case and has not recused?

    No mention of that same judge’s prior pro-Trump opinion that was appealed and reversed on legal errors?

  28. Carol C.
    June 13, 2023 at 11:45

    To say that this is all about stopping trump from running again, is to say that his crimes should be ignored, is ridiculous. His crimes are real and every bit as damaging as an effort to silence an opponent.
    As for saying trump had the right to declassify, totally ignores that he didn’t, and that part is one reason why this is a crime. It is far from an accounting error.
    To suggest that the outcry by some people is a sign of a failing society, I agree, but you do not say what these particular people want to put in its place is a fascist society limiting the rights of people they don’t like. It is happening in Florida, where a child of gays parents cannot draw a picture of his family in school anymore. It is happening across the nation, where schools have to censor history if it makes elite whites feel bad. The rest of us Pollyanna types want an open, honest, fair government for all Americans. I know that might be pie-in-the-sky thinking, but try not forget us while you are white-washings the angry right.

    • Jeffrey Blankfort
      June 13, 2023 at 16:46

      Brilliant and timely, as you cut through the nonsense that Trump’s conscious, deliberate crimes are mere accounting errors compared to those, far worse committed by Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. That I won’t contest, but that what we are seeing in Florida is a horrible miscarriage of justice which threatens our entire society as Lawrence contends will clearly be welcomed by those who benefited from Trump’s having lifted the lid from the garbage can that had kept their racism and that on the part of millions of other white Americans largely bottled up and legitimized it, as well as turning ALL of his federal judicial appointments over to the uber rightwing Federalist Society, whose contempt for the public mimics that of the worst of the Federalist “founding fathers” who gave us the Electoral College, and more immediately, the incompetent judge who was, we are told, “randomly selected,” to oversee his trial in Florida.

      Yes, Trump is clearly the choice of the NRA, and the well armed assault weapons fanatics, many of whom are veterans of a “volunteer” army that can no longer be considered victims of an unforgiving economy and are ready to come to Trump’s defense with their weapons, if needed. Lawrence’s defense of Trump might well end up high on their reading list.

  29. June 13, 2023 at 11:42

    Patrick – did you read the indictment? If so, how could you miss the stuff on Trump’s conspiracy to violate the subpoena and lie? The facts are blatant and damning. As usual, the coverup is almost always worse than the underlying crime.

    Trump revealed US invasion and war plans on Iran. Trump retained those plans and showed them to a write solely to avoid being blamed for any future invasion. He did that for selfish reasons, not to stop US war. Obviously, the war plans are far worse than the Trump possession of them. But to put Trump in the same category as the list of Espionage Act violators you cite is grossly misleading.

    When this story originally broke, I put it in the same category as Russia-gate. But after reading the indictment, I’ve changed my mind – this may be retaliatory and political, but it is NOT another Russian-gate hoax.

  30. IJ Scambling
    June 13, 2023 at 11:17

    “Even according to the incomplete record available to us, an investigation of Biden’s Ukrainian and Chinese business dealings would almost certainly leave him in an orange jumpsuit.”

    Specific to the harm done, the criminal acts (which are?), the inflammatory words, the could-haves and might-have-beens, the outrageous belligerence of the Orange Charlatan (what am I missing here?)–

    Reports now indicate Joe diddled with Burisma Holdings to get a special (Ukraine) prosecutor off that company’s back, to the tune of 5 million for himself and Hunter. While VP he gave the Ukraine government of that moment six hours or no deal on a 1 billion aid package from the US. And (“son of a bitch,” he said in a later self-congratulatory moment) the prosecutor was eliminated.

    This is the man in love with being a war president to help himself get re-elected, with plummeting poll approval, with a bewildering and dangerous war in Ukraine going.

    Is the attention of the nation misplaced here? Being distracted?

    (from no fan of Trump)

    • michael888
      June 13, 2023 at 19:17

      We have to remember what Victoria Nuland said before the Maidan Coup: “The US has invested $5 billion in Ukraine” and was determined not to let Yanukovych take the much better deal from Putin (who would have offered the moon to keep Ukraine as a buffer with NATO); US “democracy” was the plum of EU living standards and NATO weapons (they are magnificent aren’t they?), with no voice from those UKRAINIANS who had elected Yanukovych in an OSCE-certified election in 2009/2010. The US deals with oligarchs and auristocracy, NOT the people. Ukraine’s “independence and sovereignty” were overthrown by the CIA in 2005 when they installed Yushchenko, an American trained banker married to an American citizen who worked for the CIA/ State Dept. When VP Biden took over Ukraine in 2009, he quickly pushed a UkroNAZI agenda, and Good US Puppet Yushchenko complied, filling the army, police and security apparatus with Swastika tattooed “nationalists”, and named Stepan Bandera “Hero of Ukraine”, both no doubt intended to provoke Russia.
      Biden quickly gained a reputation as being more corrupt than even Ukrainians (, a site I found on CN, which documented the firing of Shokin.) Unfortunately for Biden and the CIA, Good US Puppet received less than 6% of the vote when going for re-election. Bad Puppet Yanukovych (with slimy Republican Paul Manafort and slimy Democrats the Podesta Group and Greg Craig as his handlers.) Yanukovych played the EU against Russia for the best deal; it almost cost him his life with Biden and the UkroNAZIs at the Maidan Coup. When Manafort became Trump’s campaign manager, he was quickly derailed by the Ukrainian Black Ledger (I guess it’s not foreign interference in an election if it’s Ukraine , Israel, the UK, etc). The provenance of the Black Ledger was even more murky than the Steele Dossier. Clearly a Puppet State/ Colony of the US could not have idiot Trump interfering with the “$Five Billion Project”.
      When Trump won in 2016, we saw mad scrambling to unseat him. Biden’s corruption was common knowledge in Ukraine, and when Trump asked on the phone about it, threatening (as Biden had done previously) to withhold funding. He ended up getting impeached. (I would have been happy to see him go, except VP Pence seemed an even bigger cipher). What changed my mind was Vindman, whose allegiance is clearly to Ukraine not the US, saying that Trump was “interfering” with established practices and protocols the US (and “Ambassador Bolton”) was running in the puppet state. Somehow my mind flashed to the Citizen Genet case from ancient elementary school history, where the Frenchman tried to make deals with individual states. Thomas Jefferson quickly disabused him of that, noting that the US President, George Washington at the time, IS the decider of US Foreign Policy, and he did want to be provoking Great Britain, our enemy at the time. Even Shrub knew he (or maybe Cheney) was the Decider. It comes with the job of POTUS. Yet somehow State Media and the Deep State totally ignored the Constitution while Trump was President.

      • IJ Scambling
        June 14, 2023 at 10:49

        Thanks much for this. (“Tangled web” imagery infused with large servings of TDS flashing in my mind as I read your comment.) My point was not clear enough. It’s difficult for me to see how Trump’s crimes at this point compare in significance with Biden’s and what Biden might order up if his election problems get much worse. THAT would seem to me the greater danger.

  31. June 13, 2023 at 11:15

    In the last few years I have been maintaining that the American government is incompetent and basically the same as we have in South Africa. Only interested in their narrow interests and neglecting their own countries infrastructure.

  32. Mike
    June 13, 2023 at 11:05

    We have all watched as Trump lied about how the Presidential Records Act works – he is either lying or exceptionally stupid, or both – and the things he’s done with classified material that he has confessed to on the air. I don’t see anything here but an extreme and blatant violation of US law and the need to hold even a psychopath like Trump accountable for his crimes. Committing crimes in the open does’t make the legal. As someone who has held a clearance for a good portion my life, watching the likes of Hillary Clinton getting away with what would have certainly put me in jail, is unacceptable. Trump’s crimes greatly dwarf anything Hillary did, and I strongly feel she should be in jail for her crimes. Let’s be very clear, Trump and his enablers are traitors like we have not seen since the lead up to our Civil War. They belong in jail after they get a fair trial. But they have already confessed on air and in their highly-paid memoirs.

    This article does not contribute constructively to the discussion.

    • maxine
      June 13, 2023 at 18:41

      What is a “TRAITOR” these days?

  33. Paul Grenier
    June 13, 2023 at 11:05

    This is a great piece, and it speaks extremely well of Consortium News for publishing it, though it is certainly in CN’s best traditions to do so. If only the rest of America’s ‘left’ was similarly objective!

    I don’t know if it is appropriate to put in a quote from elsewhere, but Patrick Lawrence’s essay reminds me of Gordon Hahn’s recent essay, in which he declares in effect that the American democratic republic no longer exists. He would agree that the Dems done her in, but the destruction was also bi-partisan:

    ” The irony is that its demise was greatly hastened by its desperate efforts, after the Cold War’s end, to bring to fruition its own (unrealizable) utopian project – worldwide democratic peace – a project it tried to hurry along by the use of threats, coercion and violence. US democratic neo-imperial ambitions gave rise to a nascent American police state that merged with a ‘cultural Marxist’ cabal linking law enforcement, intelligence organs and the Democrat Party. This confluence of authoritarian forces amounts to a new American Party-state, something that far exceeds the so-called ‘deep state’ and which is now being built under the present and ongoing revolution from above being waged against the Constitution and the rule of law …” (from “The Historical Irony and Tragedy of American Revolutionism,” published in Landmarks, the publications page of the Simone Weil Center.

    • Howard
      June 13, 2023 at 17:04

      Agree, Lawrence SEES the forest encompassing the trees, unlike many technocratic, lawfaring compartmentalized gotcha “left liberals” who have commented here, who seem to believe “our justice system” actually is a bastion of accountability and justice for all. It’s just Trump that threatens its sanctity.

  34. Vera Gottlieb
    June 13, 2023 at 10:48

    Up to a point Trump brought this upon himself. His brashness, his loud mouth, his misogyny, his crude remarks… But in some of his political views I have to agree with him.

  35. Danny Sleator
    June 13, 2023 at 10:46

    From Mark Shulman’s post: However, there is no question but Trump tried to hold onto power by illegal means after he had lost the 2020 election. There is no question that he took classified papers that did not belong to him and refused to return them. There is no question that he tried to get the Georgia authority to find 11,000 votes for him that were not cast. Trump set out to destroy our democracy, and he almost succeeded And you think that he should not be prosecuted for his misdeeds?

  36. Sharon Aldrich
    June 13, 2023 at 10:44

    Wow! Patrick Lawrence, you have nailed it! Thanks for the clarity!

  37. susan
    June 13, 2023 at 09:24

    The so-called ‘government’ in the USA is completely corrupt, abhorrent and disgusting through and through and has been since the “white founding fathers”. There were no people of color involved with the “founding” – such as the Indigenous who were already here and who the ‘whites’ tried to completely wipe out. And, don’t even get me started on those “wonderful white founding fathers” and their slaves who were beaten, raped, and hung like animals, just for having a different color of skin. This country is still of that mindset – just look at how we treat people of any color (but white) and LGBTQ today. We are all so hung up on “who will be king” that we forget that we are ALL their peasants and play things – including “whites”! We forget that they don’t give two hoots about us except for the amount of gold we can put in their coffers and would just as soon kill us as to look at us if we get in their way.

    This country and her people are the biggest joke in the world. We think we are superior to everyone and everything else and have the false illusion that a “God” (who doesn’t exist by the way) made us that way. Well, I’ve got news for all of you – WE SUCK! All we care about is stuff. We could care less about our planet which has sustained us for eons and which we continue to destroy day after day. We are destroying the water we drink, the soils that grow our foods, the air we breathe and the habitat that has kept us alive. I for one am sick to death of mealy-mouthed politicians, the military industrial complex and the main stream media lying to us day in, day out. I’m sick to death of watching animals being abused and slaughtered just so that you can have a steak or a chicken leg to feed your insatiable appetites. I’m sick of loud cars, traffic, shopping malls, and TV – all distractions to keep us in line. I’m tired of stupid people, women being abused and beaten simply because we are women. I’m tired of starving children (oh, but god forbid we allow abortions) and homeless people. I’m tired of never ending wars, violence and people slinging guns. Good Lord, what is wrong with us? I honestly hope that this time around the Earth wipes out the human genome once and for all…

  38. June 13, 2023 at 09:18

    Can we all agree to stop calling the DNC crime family members “Liberals”? How can you make statements like “Liberal Authoritarians?” Doesn’t that sound ridiculous? Yes it does. How about Blue Authoritarians and Red Authoritarians? All authoritarians are conservative by definition, including the Blue variety. Let’s get this language use worked out folks. Unless we want to redefine the word liberal to mean something other than it was originally defined as, then we should stop calling the Blue Team crime family members “Liberals”. At least have the good sense to call them Neoliberals, and then things might become more clear. But “Blue Authoritarians” is a more accurate term.

    • Rafi Simonton
      June 13, 2023 at 16:35

      There ARE “Liberal Authoritarians”: CLASS PREJUDICE

      In the ’60s, I was a blue collar labor activist, trained by people who’d been 1930s union organizers. They told me: “liberals are the ones who leave the room when the fight starts.” Meaning those who dodged the front lines, unlike the old Populists and Progressives. Namby-pamby gradualists who urged small, cautious steps for labor, civil rights, LGBT rights etc. even if part of those groups, since respect and income was (and still is) most important for them. Anything with the slightest whiff of a radical edge sent them scurrying.

      A truth borne out when the Ds ditched the New Deal and abandoned labor. Unlike we rank and file New Dealers, the liberals, if they bothered at all, did so only tepidly. Issues vital to us aren’t terribly important to the intellectual and administrative elites. Types who think they’re oh-so-wonderful when they deign to talk to the help, never suspecting some of us can read, write, and think. Their ease with class prejudice is for them the natural order; of course lessers should defer to the decisions of their betters.

      The Ivy D attitude spelled out in tragic detail in Halberstam’s The Best and the Brightest and Tuchman’s The March of Folly. Check out the educational backgrounds of the current admin. It’s B & B 2.0. because the legacy of confident superiority conferred by liberal institutions continues.

    • Daedalus
      June 13, 2023 at 19:03

      Thank you, Mr. Moffett.

      We have degraded our language to such and extent that our verbalization, and therefore our writing, is becoming meaningless.

      ‘Democrats’ aren’t democratic, ‘Republicans’ aren’t republican, and in many countries, ‘Liberals’ aren’t liberal.

      I come from Cincinnati, the home of ‘propspeak’. Remember Ivory Soap, “99 and 44/100ths percent pure (pure what?). It’s so pure it floats!”

    • Piotr Berman
      June 14, 2023 at 13:38

      “Actual Liberals” are like “genuine populists” and “authentic vinyl”, the material of gloves I once bought. There were periods of contamination with leftists, radicals and pacifists, but such impurities were either removed or reformed.

  39. Joseph Tracy
    June 13, 2023 at 08:50

    I generally really like P Lawrence, a lot; search his columns’ comments; we think alike on most issues. But the idea that Trump is a force for democracy, or for the rule of law, or for the defense of the constitution is as ridiculous as comparisons putting him in the same company as Ellsberg, Debs, Assange etc.
    I dislike Biden as much as Trump, both should be under indictment. But the country is simply not operating as a representative constitutional republic; it is a corrupt and murderous empire, and the fully imperialistic Trump is truly unworthy of this attention and energy.
    Trump faces charges under the current laws of this system, not for some noble determination to set things right but because he is a scummy egomaniacal manipulator who also flouts legal restraint, knowing that lawyers can defend the rich and powerful from almost any abuse or lawbreaking, or tax violations or defiance of legal authorities. I am sickened by the time being forked over by intelligent people to Trump and his “right” to ignore the law, because ….you know, other people are breaking laws, and because Joe Biden is a doddering idiot warmonger, and because because because because because…. because of the wonderful things he does. Sure . I could care less about D Trump’s legal problems. He offers nothing and seems to be reaping a small part of what he has sown. Wait for the legal outcome and stop bending the story to the preferred narrative. Attempts to discount lawbreaking by comparison is a vain and worthless enterprise that smacks of writers who want to hang on to their many Trump fans.. Let him defend himself. You are supposed to be journalists , not politicians.

    • Piotr Berman
      June 14, 2023 at 13:42

      I do not care about Trump, but about audacity of our rulers. There is a real issue here.

  40. Altruist
    June 13, 2023 at 08:47

    Great article as ever by Patrick Lawrence, showing the very dangerous trajectory that the “liberal authoritarians” are taking us.

    If there ever was an oxymoron, it’s liberal authoritarian – but it’s accurate and shows the deep-down hypocrisy of authoritarians masquerading as liberals, warmongers masquerading as peacemakers etc. – we’re arriving at 1984 some 40 years behind schedule – war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength…

    My question for Mr. Lawrence is to what extent there is “central planning” behind what is going on to defang the populist threat to the status quo: on the one hand, the lawfare against Mr. Trump, on the other the firing and attempted silencing of Tucker Carlson until after the 2024 election, coupled with what is happening on the foreign policy front. Conspiracy theory or conspiracy fact?

  41. T J Putnam
    June 13, 2023 at 06:58

    Such serious allegations need to be argued from actual evidence rather than insinuation and innuendo. Otherwise you contribute to the decay you decry.

  42. Manifold Destiny
    June 13, 2023 at 03:54

    I like that Mr Lawrence is using the term, “liberal authoritarians.” It is precisely what we are witnessing. I’ve long maintained that authoritarianism can cut through all political persuasions. Since the election of Donald Trump, the liberal left need no longer hide it, it is laid bare for all to see.

  43. Drew Hunkins
    June 13, 2023 at 02:03

    The establishment warmongering intel-NGO-Soros connected Dems are currently in the process of slaying their Moby Dick.

    The whole thing is debased and sickening. Because I’ll tell you one thing: despite his many faults, we would not see the current extremely dangerous Washington proxy war against Russia in Ukraine if Trump had won in 2020 and he’d wind the whole disgusting operation completely down if he wins in 2024. Imperial Washington cannot have that.

  44. Lois Gagnon
    June 12, 2023 at 21:59

    Speaking of “saying the quiet part out loud”, I think that’s one of Trump’s habits that frighten the ruling establishment the most. He does that on a somewhat regular basis regarding US policy. He appears to not realize you’re expected to know not to do that when you run for office.

    That said, the collapse of the judiciary, not just in the US, but in the collective West does not bode well for the future of anything resembling democracy. Corruption breeds contempt for the public’s right to know what their government is doing. The courts have been our best defense against government overreach. At least to some degree. That time has passed as this rickety empire struggles against history to hold onto power. What a sorry spectacle.

    • Caliman
      June 13, 2023 at 11:49

      Yes …

      “Do you think we don’t have killers …?”

      “wouldn’t it be nice if we were friends with Russia …?”

      etc. … wrongthink must be expunged.

  45. Geoff Burns
    June 12, 2023 at 21:21

    I agree with Randolph. Thanks for writing, and publishing, this essay. I have always thought that Trump is a vile, disgusting human being and was shocked and depressed when he was elected. But our nation could have survived him. What it may well not survive is the left’s reaction to his election.

    • Tim N
      June 13, 2023 at 07:27

      That ain’t the Left reacting. Jesus! That is the Democrats, a right-wing Party of reaction, attacking Trump from his right. As in Russiagate. There is not a single leftist in the Congress, despite the presence of frauds like Bernie Sanders, who is just an old-fashioned liberal Democrat, hated and despised by the right-wing Dems he continues to bend his knee to.

    • firstpersoninfinite
      June 13, 2023 at 09:52

      What left? There is no left in the Democratic Party at all. The neoliberals and the neocons are all that remain in power. The left/right dichotomy is meaningless and useless. It will never be 1968 again, believe me. Your masters and mine are hand in hand with each other. Money is thought, and money flows upwards to their infinite reward. Everyone and everything else is a means to that end.

    • Dienne
      June 13, 2023 at 11:35

      Democrats/liberals are not the left.

  46. Marc Shulman
    June 12, 2023 at 20:24

    It is, of course, highly questionable whether Trump should be charged with breaking a campaign finance law. Bragg has made a mistake. And it is true that our judiciary has made some terrible calls. However, there is no question but Trump tried to hold onto power by illegal means after he had lost the 2020 election. There is no question that he took classified papers that did not belong to him and refused to return them. There is no question that he tried to get the Georgia authority to find 11,000 votes for him that were not cast. Trump set out to destroy our democracy, and he almost succeeded And you guys think that he should not be prosecuted for his misdeeds?

    • Tim N
      June 13, 2023 at 07:28

      You’ve missed the point that Rachel Maddow got.

    • James
      June 13, 2023 at 09:24

      Marc S.

      Well said. The article states that:

      “The Mar-a–Lago case turns on when Trump declassified documents and whether this counts as it ought to under the Constitution. Reminder: Any president in any circumstance can by law declassify documents without the assent of any other institution of government.”

      Is Patrick Lawrence attempting to claim that Trump somehow declassified top-secret documents by telepathy? Trump apparently allowed people at Mar-a-Lago to read classified documents. Does Mr. Lawrence believe that Trump was correct in doing this? Perhaps what is most depressing is that the American people are going to think that their only choice they have in 2024 is between Trump or DeSantis vs. an 80- year-old Biden, with nary a genuine socialist candidate in sight.

    • Riva Enteen
      June 13, 2023 at 11:20

      January 6 was rife with infiltrators. There are certainly legitimate questions about the validity of the 2020 election. Withholding of the Hunter Bien laptop is just one example of how the election could have gone the other way, if conducted fairly. The blatant hypocrisy that holding classified papers is deemed more criminal than the Bidens’ pay to play actions with Ukraine’s Burisma corporation is glaring.

    • Caliman
      June 13, 2023 at 11:56

      A fantastic example of the modern liberal mind … the focus is all on the wrongdoing of the “other” and not the circumstances that led to decisions. This, coupled with a fanatical distortion of the scale of the issues involved leads to the corruption Patrick discusses.

      So, “Bragg made a mistake”, eh? So did the FBI’s leaders over several years, disobeying lawful orders and working to discredit the elected representative of the people … but it was all a mistake. All “terrible calls” … so sorry, Mr. Trump.

      And taking govt papers home like literally every president in recent times and negotiating their return? Oh, my, a security issue of the first order. Hang ’em high!

    • maxine
      June 13, 2023 at 19:00

      DESTROY OUR “DEMOCRACY”??….That is a boring, stupid comment from too many people who just don’t get it.

  47. Patrick Powers
    June 12, 2023 at 20:05

    I thought the Flynn screw job in 2017 was the most blatant perversion of justice. The prosecution of Trump’s lawyer was number two. They were trying to get him to rat out the boss.

    The whole idea is that Trump is some unique evil. Get him, and the havenots will revert to their assigned lot of grumbling servitude. Wrong.

    • Tim N
      June 13, 2023 at 07:29

      That’s right.

  48. Robyn
    June 12, 2023 at 19:45

    I know this idea isn’t a winner because I haven’t heard anyone else float it but, if I were Trump, I’d settle back to enjoy my last years on earth and encourage my very telegenic daughter to run.

    • Patrick Powers
      June 12, 2023 at 20:09

      Beat you to it years ago. But some people have got to be at the center of attention.

    • Steve
      June 13, 2023 at 08:11

      Ivanka doesn’t have the commitment to shake up the establishment like her father does.

      She wants to be popular. To be subject of hagiographies in Cosmo, the New Yorker and Washington Monthly. To be an accepted member of the upper class cocktail circuit, not a polarizing firebrand. She’s got more in common with Mitt Romney and John Kerry than she does with the MAGA movement. She and Jared would sell out in a heartbeat if it enhanced their social status.

  49. Valerie
    June 12, 2023 at 19:01

    But we were told Sri Lanka was the first domino to fall in the world debt crisis:

    “The departure of Sri Lanka’s prime minister, Mahinda Rajapaksa, follows weeks of protest and a deepening crisis. There is no bankruptcy system for states but if there was then the south Asian country – down to its last $50m (£40m) of reserves – would be first in line to use it.

    “A team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) this week started work with officials in Colombo over a bailout that will include a tough package of reforms as well as financial support. But as the IMF and its sister organisation, the World Bank, know full well, this is about more than the mismanagement of an individual country. They fear Sri Lanka is the canary in the coalmine.”

    (I’m in your cellar Mr. Lawrence. Please turn on the light. I need to find that book.)

  50. June 12, 2023 at 18:14

    Well, that’s depressing, and I couldn’t agree more that our government, including our total judiciary from the top down, is now totally corrupt along with the media which is supposed to be free enough to tell us the truth, but actually is owned by the corrupt oligarchs who run this country and hope to run the world – or possibly blow it up in a nuclear war.
    I suspect that the majority of those of us who read (and support )CN already know this. What would be helpful are some suggestions on how to rise out of this total entanglement we have enmeshed ourselves.
    How about giving us some suggestions of how to cut the mass of cords the government has wrapped around us? For example, is there a way to improve the function of the Supreme Court, and if so, is there an organization we could join to help them do that? Got any ideas how to go abut fixing the total kleptocracy of our government that gives billions to people who have so much money the only thing they can think of to do with it is to bomb millions of poor people. You have told us what is wrong. Got any ideas of how to fix it?

    • Patrick Powers
      June 12, 2023 at 20:06

      Organize. Start small, with local elections. Then move on to state governments.

      • Randolph Williams
        June 12, 2023 at 21:37

        School boards first, Patrick. That was taken away first in the early 80’s, then on to local and state.

      • Carolyn L Zaremba
        June 13, 2023 at 12:06

        Start???? The struggle for socialism began 175 years ago! Start??? It’s a little late for that, wouldn’t you say? What fools (some of) these mortals be. You are WAY behind the curve.

    • Steve
      June 13, 2023 at 08:23

      For starters, ban the inflow of private money into public agencies. Many of America’s institutions have been captured by private enterprise (and it’s even worse elsewhere in the west).


      Second, shut down the public-private shuttle between government service and private industry. No more Pfizer executives running the CDC, or generals leaving the Pentagon to collect seven-digit sinecures as board members of Raytheon and Lockheed, then returning to be cabinet members of a presidential administration.

      Third, decimate the intelligence agencies. At a minimum.

  51. June 12, 2023 at 17:48

    Thank you for summarizing the intent behind this latest mockery of a fair judicial process. It’s hard to believe that Franz Kafka died 99 years ago this month – so prescient. I canceled my subscription to the Times last week just because I couldn’t take any more of parsing bullshit and politically-driven fantasy from fact. May we soon restore basic human dignity to our government and media.

    • Mikael Andersson
      June 12, 2023 at 20:12

      “Parsing bullshit”. Michael you captured the process perfectly. I read the MSM to understand the sheeple, but the parsing effort is now so much more laborious. I need a hazmat suit while I sit at my PC.

      • Patrick Powers
        June 13, 2023 at 03:26

        I’ve boycotted MSM since November 2017. I haven’t missed a thing. There are many eager to parrot what they have been told.

  52. Tommy Pain
    June 12, 2023 at 17:34

    In an actual democracy, democracy has to trump, pun not intended, everything else. In a democracy, or at least a representative democracy, the people have the right to elect anyone they choose to represent them. Lawyers, police, judges and wardens don’t get to stand in the way, not if they want to keep calling it a democracy.

    The basic definition of democracy is that the power lies with the people. Thus, in a democracy, officials do not get to limit who the people can choose to lead them. When you see officials barring candidates from the race, then that is not what democracy looks like. In a democracy, there is no higher power than the people.

    If the leadership of the country has created such a bad situation where the people feel that their best choice is to elect a corrupt and dangerous combination of fool, charlatan and megalomaniac, then the rules of this form of order say that’s what’s gonna happen.

    Dr, Cornell West for President.

    • Joseph Tracy
      June 13, 2023 at 09:18

      We do not have a democracy, and the rule of 51% is not a particularly noble goal. 51 % rule has contributed heavily to racism, the theft of indigenous lands, the breaking of treaties, and massive propaganda industries. Neither is our current system of open bribery by corporations particularly noble or admirable. The US constitution outlines a republic, elected representatives, and lots of balancing restraint on the 3 branches. Much of it promotes corruption, like the electoral college and the power of the senate. The best feature is the Bill of Rights.

    • Carolyn L Zaremba
      June 13, 2023 at 12:08

      We haven’t been a democracy in this country for many decades. I only vote for the Socialist Equality Party. Any candidate that supports capitalism will NEVER get a vote from me.

      June 13, 2023 at 12:46

      Tommy, the people never elected the person you accurately describe as a fool, charlatan, and megalomaniac. Though I despise her, I held my nose and voted for HRC in hopes of blocking the election of DJT. She won the vote of the people by nearly 3 million votes.

      If that fool’s monstrous ego and sociopathic mentality hadn’t precluded rational behavior, he would have returned the documents, all of them, and not tried to compel his attorney’s to lie about their status by hiding some of them. Had he done so, his case would have been closed without charges as was that of Pence. As with Watergate, it’s the attempted coverup that tripped him up — obstructing justice. That’s the crime that must be prosecuted, a judgment shared even by his former protector-in-chief, Bill Barr, who turned a blind eye on Trump’s eleven counts attempts to obstruct the Mueller investigation, crimes that more than a thousand former federal prosecutors from both parties said should have been prosecuted.

      And contrary to what the author of this overwrought opinion piece, Joe Biden remains under investigation, both for his handling of classified documents and for his family’s activities in China and Ukraine. And the special prosecutor in charge is a Trump appointee. If the intent were to grease the works for the next election, Garland would have closed that case. Instead, he’s taken an appropriate hands off stance. Our system of justice is riddled with problems, starting at the top with a Supreme Court packed with radical conservatives beholden to corporations and plutocrats. The Garland DOJ’s shortcomings pale by comparison.

  53. Randolph Williams
    June 12, 2023 at 17:03

    Finally! Someone had the guts to write this piece, and CN the guts to print it.
    Now go back to 1968 and catalogue the slow march to this New World Order. It didn’t happen overnight.

    • dfnslblty
      June 13, 2023 at 12:38

      >>. My answer: This is what a society sounds like when it has lost the most essential of its public institutions..<<

      Do not blind yourself to the many times twice-indicted expotus45 has misappropriated Justice, Mr Lawrence, and lied to the Citizens. Society is now defending half of itself against the hate and fear personified in and promulgated by twice-indicted expotus45.

Comments are closed.