How convenient for Joe Biden that he is far from scrutiny on an extended vacation in a borrowed mansion in a secluded community on Kiawah Island, SC, the very week his attorney general unleashed a political firestorm by authorizing the FBI raid on the home of their shared nemesis, Donald Trump.
But the president couldn’t help a little subtle gloating as he rode a bike on the beach past the waiting media, flashing a cheery smile.
Asked about his vacation, he replied: “I’m enjoying it a great deal. I’ve been on the phone a lot, monitoring news reports.”
Yes, you can bet he is monitoring the news, with relish.
If there is one defining adjective for Biden’s presidency, it probably is spite. His consuming hatred for “the former guy”, whose name he often can’t bring himself to utter, is palpable.
He makes no secret of the fact that he despises Trump voters, too, all 74,223,369 of them. His unusual malice — fuelled by Trump-deranged historians he keeps inviting for endless “Socratic dialogues” in the White House — has had a corrosive effect on America.
If only Biden had been the unifying president he promised he would be, and shown a little grace in victory, commended Trump for Operation Warp Speed, perhaps, not spitefully unwound all his policies, not branded half the country “white supremacists” and “domestic terrorists” in his inaugural speech, not sicced the FBI onto parents at school board meetings, not weaponized the federal government’s security apparatus against his political enemies, not supersized the IRS to go after the little guy, not tanked the economy and lied about absolutely everything.
Joe’s failure to unify
He might have lowered the temperature on Trump derangement and set a more generous-spirited tone befitting a generous-spirited nation.
A statesman with America’s best interests in mind would have cautioned against the FBI raiding Mar-a-Lago or at least called for calm in a national address as soon as it happened. He would have been a president who is loved rather than reviled and mocked.
If only Biden had been the empathetic moderate that he pretended to be during the election campaign, we wouldn’t be at the perilous moment we are at today, with angry armed men in the hollers and the woods pledging civil war on TikTok, or storming an FBI office in Cincinnati, or ramming a burning car into the barricades at Capitol Hill, or God-knows-what in response to the Mar-a-Lago fiasco.
For them, Aug. 8, 2022, is a day that will live in infamy.
It’s not Trump radicalizing these people; he was their release valve. It is Biden and his politicized Department of Justice and FBI, who have broken every norm by sending 30 FBI agents to the home of a former president to search his house and ransack his wife’s closet.
No matter Trump’s myriad flaws, the legal argument over whether or not he had used his presidential authority to declassify the documents seized by the FBI last Monday is contested by lawyers on both sides and no discernible reason has emerged for the cack-handed urgency.
We’ve had a flurry of leaks from the DOJ and the White House in an attempt at post-facto justification for this precedent-setting law enforcement overreach. It’s nuclear secrets. It’s Jared Kushner and the Saudis. Leak, leak, leak to the usual suspects.
But we’ve seen this playbook before. The Russia hoax, two impeachments, Alpha Bank, the Steele Dossier, Carter Page, the FBI lovebirds, James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Stormy Daniels, Michael Cohen, Michael Avenatti, Adam Schiff, and on and on relentlessly.
So, forgive us for being skeptical. When the same top Obama administration officials who ran the Russia hoax are now back in the White House and running the DOJ it’s hard not to believe they are up to their old tricks.
Mar-a-Lago was like throwing a match on a “tinderbox”, says Terry Turchie, former deputy assistant director of the FBI Counterterrorism division.
“This is going to spiral out of control,” he says. “I think we are going to have a lot of trouble with people [who] are so upset. There is 1% of people we have to worry about that will react by going out and being violent and that will bring the full force of the government down on them — I wonder if that’s deliberate.”
Turchie, who captured the Unabomber and retired from the FBI in April 2001, says his “worst fear” is a major terrorist attack on an American city when the FBI has taken its eye off the ball.
“With the combination of reemergent alliances between Russia, China, Iran and North Korea, [with] al Qaeda spreading in Africa and roving bands of terrorists in Afghanistan, [with] a porous border where people can pour across, there could be a dirty nuclear bomb going off in an American city and we would have no idea who is doing it.”
He points out that the FBI has no idea how to find the 75 people (“probably more like 575”) on the terror watchlist who have come across the southern border.
“We’re in one of those terrible times, in a tinderbox atmosphere where we could see a [simultaneous] rise of domestic terrorism and international terrorism.
“That is a terrible mix. You don’t want to go into that with an FBI that is highly politicized.”
The Bureau is ‘broken’
The FBI is unrecognizable since he joined in 1972, Turchie says, when agents were blue-collar crime fighters, rather than privileged Ivy Leaguers with ideological baggage.
“The FBI as I knew it has collapsed. Discipline has broken down and it has become nothing more than a police agency for the Democratic Party.”
He remembers when the Bush administration was hellbent on blaming the anthrax attacks after 9/11 on Iraq as a pretext for an invasion. It was the FBI alone which stood firm and insisted, correctly, that the attacks were domestic terrorism.
Today the FBI has lost that spirit of independence and Turchie doubts it will ever contradict the wishes of the Biden administration, no matter how wrong-headed and politically partisan.
Mar-a-Lago is the tragic proof.