The indictment of former President Donald Trump is just the latest maneuver by many in the United States to distort elections.
The indictment will not be known until tomorrow, but according to the American media, the former president is accused of making fraudulent payments to a porn star with whom Trump denies having had sexual relations. According to the claims of his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, who went to prison for "lying to the Internal Revue Services about the taxes he owed, lying to financial institutions and lying to Congress," Trump is accused of making the payments with funds from his 2016 presidential campaign, which is prohibited. But Trump did not use campaign funds, which would actually have been a serious violation of campaign laws. Trump used his personal money -- to pay Cohen.
It would be an old offense, quite minimal -- there is a two year statute of limitations on such campaign misdemeanors; this payment goes back seven years -- without influence on the outcome of the election. Trump's alleged offense until now had not been prosecuted by New York County District Attorney Alvin Bragg (elected in 2021), nor by his predecessor, nor by the competent election commission. Bragg, who reportedly benefited indirectly from $1 million of George Soros' funds, had led his election campaign by promising to indict Donald Trump.
In January 2021, during his campaign, when asked by a radio host, "A lot of people are wondering, whoever has this job, are they going to convict Donald Trump?", Bragg answered: "That is the number one issue." Not try Trump; convict Trump. The tactic appears reminiscent of Soviet secret police head Lavrentiy Beria's: "Show me the man, and I will find you the crime."
According to Alan Dershowitz, Professor Emeritus at Harvard Law School:
"In such a case, it is not a question of discovering the commission of a crime and then looking for the man who has committed it, it is a question of picking the man and then searching the law books, or putting investigators to work, to pin some offense on him."
Even former US Attorney General William Barr, not known to be unquestioningly supportive of Trump, called the indictment "an abomination": "They are going after a man, not a crime," Barr said.
But let us not be mistaken. This is obviously not an isolated act, nor is it about serving justice. The Republican Party front-runner in polls for the 2024 presidential election is the man to kill for the "Deep State," who appear determined to keep running the country the way they like (here, here, here and here).
Remember: in 2016, all the polls predicted a big loss for Trump. His election was a divine surprise that could never be allowed to happen again. At the beginning of Trump's term of office, the FBI mounted a campaign against National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who was forced to resign. Then came the endless saga of "Russian collusion", which finally deflated after thousands of accusatory articles and the $32 million investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller, who completely discredited himself. Then we had the first impeachment proceedings on a reportedly frivolous pretext in relation to Ukraine.
In the 2020 presidential election, under the pretext of Covid, election laws in many states were changed -- illegally, some by not going through state legislatures, as required by the Constitution. There was also a series of maneuvers -- including the federal government and 51 former intelligence officers knowingly suppressing media reporting on the contents of Hunter Biden's laptop -- that cast legitimate suspicion, regardless of what the almost unanimous mainstream media said, on the outcome.
After President Trump, on January 6, 2021, called on his supporters to demonstrate "peacefully and patriotically," in front of the Capitol Building, some skeptical and disappointed demonstrators -- perhaps again with the intervention of the FBI -- became disorderly. Politicians and the media did not hesitate to compare the events of that day to the 9/11 attacks and Pearl Harbor. The only person unfortunately killed at the demonstration was an unarmed demonstrator, shot by a policeman. The federal government refused to release 14,000 hours of surveillance video of the Capitol from that day, presumably in an attempt at a cover-up. Trump was subjected to the absurd procedure of a second impeachment to remove him from office -- even though he was no longer president. Finally, he was banned from Twitter and Facebook, which had been so useful to him since 2016 to bypass a hostile media.
Despite this relentless hostility, the beast is alive and still roaring. At the beginning of 2023, here Trump is, still leading the polls as Republican favorite for the 2024 presidential election and capable of defeating a seemingly senile Joe Biden, who is being called a puppet in the hands of his entourage and whose almost daily gaffes the media spare us.
Moreover, despite the efforts of many politicians and journalists to protect Biden, the new Republican-dominated House of Representatives has uncovered bank records showing "payments made to President Joe Biden's son from a Chinese Communist Party-linked company," as well as "showing Biden family members received more than $1 million from a Chinese energy company after passing through the account of a family associate."
The House Oversight Committee's majority staff stated in a memo:
"Biden family members and their companies began receiving incremental payments over a period of approximately three months. The recipients of the money included Hallie Biden, companies associated with Hunter Biden and James Biden, and an unknown bank account identified as 'Biden.'"
The Biden family's shadowy connections to Ukraine and China are largely ignored by the American media and there is no rush to investigate them, but they loom like a threat that could explode at any moment. Trump's indictment, a humiliating "perp walk," and the possible incarceration of the former president, serve as useful diversions to prevent the public from seeing evidence of a current commander-in-chief who has been questioned as being compromised.
No abuses will be spared Trump, or any other Republican who might run for president in 2024. It seems as if many in America, in what appears an escalating wish for authoritarian power (such as here, here, here, here, and here) are ready for all maneuvers to not let American voters choose their president democratically in 2024.
Alain Destexhe, a columnist and political analyst, is an honorary Senator in Belgium and former Secretary General of Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders.