Prosecute Those Around Trump

Over at the Nation, Jeet Heer argues the pros and cons of prosecuting Trump. While he comes down on the side of prosecuting Trump, my inclination is to let the state criminal proceedings continue: I think we’ll be pleasantly surprised how they go once he’s no longer president. It might be like getting Al Capone on taxes, but we should take it, because Heer and others who argue about Trump are missing the point.

For justice to have a deterrent effect, it must target his enablers. That is, many of the people who supported Trump supported him through illegal actions, and they must be punished for doing so. Biden should reinstate and invigorate the inspectors general at, well, all of the agencies, and restart (or flat out begin) investigations into various Trump officials who violated federal law. I don’t really care if someone took a couple of notepads home–that’s not what I mean. But everything from the egregious Hatch Act violations, to kids in cages (we need lots of ICE prosecutions), to outright corruption should be investigated.

This isn’t about vengeance, though there’s nothing wrong with feeling some schadenfreude when it comes to these assholes, but ensuring that well-off powerful people who gain governing power don’t misuse it. Admittedly, we don’t know what Trump will do regarding pardons (though pardoning people really isn’t in his own best interest, as they then can no longer refuse to testify on the grounds of self-incrimination), but it’s prosecuting his enablers that will prevent the next Trump: most of his enablers have a lot to lose, and won’t be willing to lose for another Trump–or a Tom Cotton.

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2 Responses to Prosecute Those Around Trump

  1. mal says:

    I don’t these assholes. They are destructive and anti-human. But I believe should err on the side of pacifism and not call down the power of the state to inflict and harm.

  2. Min says:

    I absolutely agree. Trump’s followers are authoritarians, which means that they will respond positively to laying down the law, even if they do not agree with the prosecutions. They will accept the power of the state, not to do harm, but to rectify wrongs and punish wrongdoers. Many of the successes of the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s were due in no small part to enforcing the law, and enforcing it vigorously. Yes, extremists may raise their fists and shout, perhaps even resort to violence, but in the end Trump’s followers will accept the restoration of law and order.

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