MCCAIN: The indictment of a president is seismic but unlike other crises, this will tear


America wakes up this morning to a new reality.

Where do we, as a country, go from here?

The unsettling truth is that no one knows.

Yes, of course, we’ve weathered momentous – even traumatic – moments before.

Richard Nixon’s resignation showed the country that their president was, in fact, a crook. The September 11th attacks revealed our powerful nation to be incredibly vulnerable. The January 6th riots exposed the gaping rifts that had torn open between us all.

But in these instances, a great majority of Americans rallied together and recognized common cause.

Republicans joined with Democrats to force Nixon from office. Patriotism surged after 9/11. No serious person condoned the violent assault on the U.S. Capitol.

This feels different. It is hard to understate the significance of what has just happened.

I wrote a similar thing after the August 2022 FBI raid on President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home – and looking back now – maybe it was inevitable that we find ourselves here.

It was among the first precedents to be shattered.

Now a leading candidate for president has been indicted by the Justice Department of an incumbent president seeking a second term.

It goes without saying that Biden’s DOJ has undermined – intentionally or not – the public’s rights to choose its own leader. There’s no denying that they’ve put their thumbs on the scale.

The narrative of this election will no longer be set by the candidates. It will not be driven by policy positions and debates over the future course of the country.

Now a leading candidate for president has been indicted by the Justice Department of an incumbent president seeking a second term.

Now a leading candidate for president has been indicted by the Justice Department of an incumbent president seeking a second term.

No, this election will be a referendum on Trump’s guilt or innocence.

Never before in my lifetime has the ground under our feet seemed so shaky. I feel it in the pit of my stomach.

If this 37-count federal indictment against Trump does not unite Americans in universal condemnation of him, then I fear there may be no coming back.

American’s fundamental faith in their country will be crippled.

Just weeks after Special Counsel John Durham detailed how the FBI launched a full-fledged investigation into Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign based on the flimsiest conceivable evidence – it’s hard not to get the inkling that the most formidable forces in America have it out for Trump.

Undoubtedly, the ex-president has behaved atrociously.

We know that he was storing sensitive documents in his home – he shouldn’t have. He lamely attempted to explain away the issue by claiming that he can declassify documents with the wave of his hand – he can’t. His lawyer misled federal authorities, who came looking to recover the information – they shouldn’t have lied.

But this is now how they treated Hillary Clinton.

As Secretary of State, Clinton created a private server to shield her government communications from the prying eyes of Republican investigators and pesky public requests for transparency.

She and her staff had the evidence of their actions destroyed and even smashed their digital devices – covering their tracks.

Richard Nixon's resignation showed the country that their president was, in fact, a crook. The September 11th attacks revealed our powerful nation to be incredibly vulnerable. The January 6th riots exposed the gaping rifts that had torn open between us all.

Richard Nixon’s resignation showed the country that their president was, in fact, a crook. The September 11th attacks revealed our powerful nation to be incredibly vulnerable. The January 6th riots exposed the gaping rifts that had torn open between us all.

But she was not prosecuted for obstructing justice or improperly handling classified information.

On the contrary, Clinton’s lawyers were granted immunity and she was only interviewed by authorities after they concluded that charges weren’t warranted.

Obviously, President Joe Biden is responsible for scattering top secret documents from Washington D.C. to Delaware, and frankly, who knows where else, over the course of decades.

Vice President Mike Pence had classified information. His home was searched, and he has been cleared.

Why is Trump treated so differently? Were his actions bad enough to necessitate derailing a presidential election?

In the end, if Republicans and Democrats do not agree that this unprecedented indictment was, not only justified, but imperative, then the U.S. justice system will be considered completely and utterly broken.

In the short-term, Trump’s popularity among Republicans will surely surge, as it did after he was indicted by a politically partisan Manhattan District Attorney on absurd charges linked to his payoff to Stormy Daniels.

Trump’s chief GOP rival, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, was sent scrambling by the news of the indictment and he found himself in the uncomfortable position of defending his primary opponent.

‘The weaponization of federal law enforcement represents a mortal threat to a free society. We have for years witnessed an uneven application of the law depending upon political affiliation. Why so zealous in pursuing Trump yet so passive about Hillary or Hunter?’ DeSantis tweeted.

He’s not wrong, but this can’t be the position DeSantis wants to be in.

Republicans joined with Democrats to force Nixon from office. Patriotism surged after 9/11. No serious person condoned the violent assault on the U.S. Capitol. This feels different. It is hard to understate the significance of what has just happened.

Republicans joined with Democrats to force Nixon from office. Patriotism surged after 9/11. No serious person condoned the violent assault on the U.S. Capitol. This feels different. It is hard to understate the significance of what has just happened.

In March of next year, just three weeks after Super Tuesday when one-third of all convention delegates are up for grabs, Trump’s Stormy Daniels trial kicks off.

Will that super-charge the Trump campaign yet again?

It very well might.

In the long-term, how this plays politically is anyone’s guess.

If Trump wins the Republican nomination, will America elect a man under federal indictment?

One thing is for certain, the perception that there are two standards of justice in America has firmly taken hold.

It’s a chilling prospect for anyone in public life, who now run the risk of facing frivolous persecution by corrupt prosecutors.

It is a further threat to the institutions that hold tribal passions at bay. It chips way at the collective faith that binds us together.

At seemingly every step, America lurches away from the country that I recognize.

This is the view from across the Rubicon.

It’s terrifying.



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