In 2010 the West African country of Ivory Coast held an election.
Their then-incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo was unhappy with the outcome, a loss to his challenger, current President Alassane Ouattara. Gbagbo refused to leave the palace, surrounding himself with troops, some of whom were killed in the ensuing brouhaha.
Eventually, Gbagbo was arrested by pro-Ouattara troops, who extradited Gbagbo to the International Criminal Court in The Hague to face charges of crimes against humanity. The legal proceedings went on for eight years. Ironically President Ouattara is currently serving his third term as President and is considering running for a fourth despite the Ivory Coast Constitution appearing to limit any president to two terms. Whoever is in charge simply makes up the rules as they go along.
Such is the madness, the lawlessness and the corruption in many third-world countries. Select laws are ignored. Others are manipulated by the party in power for their own benefit. Troops, police and the power of government are used to enforce the wishes of those currently in charge. Truth, justice and fair play are widely absent.
Unstable governments are not in short supply around the globe. Sudan, Algeria, Libya, Eswatini, and Somalia all immediately come to mind and a long list follows. Latin America has a long history of dictators. In any of these places, cruel leaders, angry mobs, corrupt law enforcement or some combination of all three are typical. Any semblance of structure and stability crumbles and ultimately it is the common citizens who suffer. America’s immediate neighbor to the south, Mexico, is so steeped in corruption that for many there, seeking out law enforcement for assistance has become the action of last resort.
Photos of the US Capitol building from January 6, 2021, garnered many comparisons to such banana republics. Two days after the ugly riots, President-elect Joe Biden said, “This reminded me more of states I’ve visited in the over hundred countries I’ve gone to in third-world tinhorn dictatorships.”
Now Biden appears to be presiding over one himself.
This past week the FBI raided former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. The Associated Press reported it was part of an investigation into whether he is in possession of classified records from the White House, citing people familiar with the matter.
Retired FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael Tabman was quoted in the Daily Mail as defending the raid. ‘You know, everything could disappear. You got evidence that you need to get before it disappears or it moves and you can’t see it anymore.’
If Trump or any of his staff do indeed have classified material in their possession, it is a very serious matter. You may recall former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton kept classified information on her private email servers at her home in New York. According to then-FBI Director James Comey, her servers had one hundred and ten messages containing classified information including “seven email chains (concerning) matters that were classified at the Top Secret/Special Access Program level” — the highest level of classification.
What you don’t recall is the Clinton’s Chappaqua, New York home being raided by more than two dozen FBI agents. On the contrary, Hillary’s lawyer, David Kendall, was allowed to keep a thumb drive containing the classified information inside his office. Apparently, at that time the FBI wasn’t concerned about information disappearing so they couldn’t see it anymore. They were so unconcerned in fact, that they didn’t flinch when the former Secretary of State used a process called bleach-bit to permanently delete 30,000 emails. No raid. No worries.
But for Trump? Different story.
Joe Biden’s Justice Department decided the jack-boot tactics were necessary because the FBI allegedly had information from a confidential informant that there might be classified printed material at Trump’s Florida home. The last time the FBI decided to act on secret information about Trump it ended up in a two-year, $30 million dollar investigation that concluded completely in Trump’s favor. The source of the Trump/Russia “confidential informant’s” information, in that case, turned out to be the Hillary Clinton campaign.
Here is where the banana republic part comes into play. The Mueller investigation determined that during the 2016 presidential campaign, when the allegations of a Trump-Russia connection first surfaced, it turned out that then-CIA Director John Brennan briefed then-President Obama and told him the story had been planted at the FBI by the Clinton campaign.
The President of the United States knew the story was bogus but didn’t say a word. The CIA Director knew the Trump-Russia connection was poppycock but spent the next two years on CNN as a paid on-air expert, fanning the conspiracy claims. Emails emerged showing individual FBI investigators had specific intentions of harming a Trump presidency.
Fast forward to 2022 and what do the Democrats, the party currently in power, have as their top agenda items?
The Biden Administration’s Justice Department just raided the home of the former President of the United States.
The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee just earned a victory in court allowing them to see former President Trump’s IRS tax records. What is his alleged tax misconduct? None specified. They just want to look and see what they can find.
Republican Congressman Scott Perry, Chairman of the conservative Freedom Caucus, and his family were cornered this week by three FBI agents demanding his cell phone, so they could search it for anything related to January 6. There have been no publicly disclosed allegations of any wrongdoing by Perry, yet the FBI’s first step was to take his phone, which includes confidential correspondence with his staff, his attorney, his wife and more.
Senator Chuck Grassley reported that several FBI whistleblowers had come to him with allegations that senior FBI officials had intentionally altered the classification of credible evidence related to Hunter Biden’s financial and foreign business activities to stop the further investigation from going forward during the 2020 Presidential campaign.
The pattern is clear. The Justice Department’s FBI has been used for years as a tool of the Democrats, turning a blind eye to Hillary Clinton’s destruction of 30,000 emails and to her keeping the highest classified information on a private server, even allowing foreign adversaries to get their hands on US secrets, yet pursuing Donald Trump full bore based on allegations that came out of that same Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Even when President Trump was beaten at the ballot box, that wasn’t enough. The current Justice Department is still vigorously pursuing the former leader.
That same Justice Department is pursuing conservative Members of Congress. That same Justice Department has been running interference for President Biden’s troubled son, Hunter. Andrew McCabe, in his official capacity as Deputy Director of the FBI, lied to the Inspector General. Search warrants were obtained by the FBI using false information.
One or two of these things would be cause for pause. This, however, is a years-long effort by the Justice Department and the FBI to put their thumb on the political scale. Trump and conservatives have clearly been the target.
President Nixon famously had an enemies list. Team Biden has taken things to a whole different level, however. The Biden Justice Department is using the full weight of its authority to pursue political enemies. There is no consideration of truth or justice, but rather simply who is the target and how much damage can be inflicted. In the case of wrong-doing by the Democrats, not only has Justice looked the other way, they have actively worked to protect individuals.
Election integrity is under attack. The Supreme Court is under attack. Now a federal law enforcement agency is being used to carry out attacks of one party on another.
You are witnessing the first steps of a newly minted third-world country. Welcome to the Banana Republic of America.
• Tim Constantine is a columnist for The Washington Times.
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