By: Donald V. Watkins
Copyrighted and Published on August 14, 2022
An Editorial Opinion
On Monday, August 8, 2022, the FBI raided Donald J. Trump's home at Mar-a-Lago in Florida. On August 11, 2022, Attorney General Merrick Garland held an unprecedented news conference to explain the procedures that led to the raid. On the same day, the Department of Justice (DOJ) asked a federal judge in Florida to unseal the search warrant documents. Trump did not oppose this move.
On Friday, August 12, 2022, the search warrant was made public. The search resulted in the retrieval of 11 sets of the highest categories of top secret classified government documents relating to our defense and national security. The search warrant also listed the three categories of federal criminal laws that are at the center of the Trump investigation: (a) violations of the Espionage Act, (b) obstruction of justice, and (c) removing and destroying government documents. All three charges are serious felonies.
Within Trump World, the search of Trump's Mar-a-Lago home was viewed as a declaration of war. To Trump's army of tens of millions of diehard supporters and "patriots," the raid on Mar-a-Lago represents the beginning of the nation's Second Civil War.
In the aftermath of the raid, Trump World began threatening the lives of the FBI Director, FBI agents, the U.S. Attorney General, federal prosecutors, and federal judges.
Donald Trump is the undisputed leader of a national movement of armed "patriots" throughout America. He is also the leader of the Republican Party at all levels of government.
Trump World firmly believes there is a vast Deep State conspiracy to destroy Trump because he is standing up for their "Make America Great Again" values. Anybody who gets in the way of their political agenda is deemed to be an enemy.
Trump's "Patriots" Are Armed and Ready to Commit Acts of Violence
Donald Trump's "patriots" and supporters are well-armed with military-grade assault weapons. They include far-right para-military units and white supremacy militia groups who are ready, willing, and eager to shed blood for Trump. They have absolutely no confidence in the FBI, IRS, Border Patrol Agency, DOJ, and federal judiciary.
Trump's "patriots" have demonstrated their propensity to engage in acts of violence. Their leaders planned, implemented, and participated in the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.
On Thursday, a Trump "patriot" armed with an AR-15 assault rifle and a nail gun attacked the FBI field office in Cincinnati, and was later killed. This attacker was reportedly part of the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6th.
Threats of violence against FBI agents, DOJ officials, and federal judges are WRONG AND MUST STOP NOW! There are plenty of legitimate ways to challenge actual and/or perceived law enforcement abuse. I have done it for 48 years.
I do not understand why Republican leaders in Washington refuse to publicly defend the men and women of the FBI, IRS, DOJ, and federal judiciary. Right now, Republicans are loathing them and placing the lives of these officials in great danger.
Donald Trump and U.S. Senator Rand Paul have even suggested, without any factual basis, that the FBI planted incriminating evidence at Mar-a-Lago during the raid. I DO NOT believe any FBI agent planted incriminating documents at Trump's home.
Does the FBI Cheat to Win High-Profile Criminal Cases?
For the record, the overwhelming majority of FBI agents, federal prosecutors, and federal judges are dedicated, first-class professionals. However, a lot of them are not. I have dealt with my fair share of the bad ones.
As an African-American and a trial lawyer with a record number of landmark cases, I have witnessed and/or experienced a wide array of misconduct by federal, state, and local law enforcement agents, prosecutors, and judges. Here are just a few examples of such misconduct:
1. In 2017, the FBI agents who secured the FISA warrant that launched the Russia investigation violated 17 key agency protocols for seeking court-ordered search warrants.
2. A March 1996 Report issued by DOJ's Office of Inspector General on the "Good Ol' Boys Roundup" detailed a litany of instances of racism and misconduct committed by 500 to 1,000 FBI, ATF, and DOJ agents and prosecutors in the Southeast each year, from 1980 to 1995.
3. In the 2015 case of USA v. Milton McGregor (Montgomery, Alabama), the lead FBI agent (Keith Baker) was secretly sleeping with the court reporter (Mallory Johnson, nee McCutchin) who recorded the grand jury proceedings and ensuing criminal trial against McGregor on bribery and public corruption charges. The prosecution withheld this information from defense attorneys for 11 days.
4. In USA v. Ted Stevens (Anchorage, Alaska), it was discovered in 2012 that federal prosecutors deliberately withheld exculpatory evidence that would have produced a verdict of acquittal in Stevens' 2008 trial on public corruption charges. Sen. Stevens died before he could clear his name in this criminal case.
5. The Congressional Record-Senate Journal documents the FBI's attempted coup d'etat from 1988 to 1992 to remove Richard Arrington, Jr. as the first black mayor of Birmingham, Alabama. The U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama who led this failed coup attempt was forced to take an early retirement because of his role in the coup.
6. In the case of USA v. Nathan Chapman (Baltimore, Maryland), U.S. Attorney Thomas M. DiBiagio (Baltimore, Maryland) targeted, indicted, prosecuted, and convicted Nathan Chapman, a distinguished African-American investment banker and gubernatorially-appointed Chairman of the University of Maryland Board of Regents, on trumped up Securities and Exchange Act violations. DiBiagio, a George Bush-appointee, issued an internal office memo directing his prosecutors to target, indict, and prosecute prominent Maryland democrats like Nathan Chapman, Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, and members of the Baltimore city council prior to the November 6, 2004 presidential election. DiBiagio demanded three front-page white collar/public corruption cases. Chapman's case was the first one. DiBiagio was fired in 2005 when news of his "targeting" memo was leaked to the press. Lt. Gov. Townsend and the council members were never prosecuted. Chapman died before he could clear his name in his criminal case.
7. In 1996, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles issued a pre-indictment letter to U.S. District Judge U.W. Clemon advising him of its plan to indict him on bogus conspiracy, bribery, and money laundering charges. The purpose of the indictment and prosecution was to remove Clemon from the federal bench before he could ascend to the position of Chief U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Alabama. This nefarious plan was pushed by several white federal judges in the Northern District who hated Clemon, who was the first black federal judge in Alabama history. Acting on a Citizens Coalition complaint, Attorney General Janet Reno reviewed the FBI's misconduct in Clemon's case and nixed the rogue plan to indict him. The DOJ's attempted coup d'etat in Clemon's case is reported in the Congressional Record-Senate Journal.
8. In 1963, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover approved the agency's plan to pressure Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., into committing suicide before he traveled to Stockholm, Sweden to accept his 1964 Nobel Peace Prize.
9. From 1975 to 1977, the local FBI aided and abetted the Montgomery, Alabama police department in a cover-up of the shooting-death of an unarmed and innocent Bernard Whitehurst. Officers planted a "throw-down" pistol by Whitehurst's body after his death. In 1977, the Washington Post featured the Whitehurst case in a front-page article titled, "Alabama's Watergate." A plaque commissioned by the city and unveiled on April 16, 2013 at police department headquarters summarizes the police misconduct in Whitehurst's case this way:
"On December 2, 1975, Bernard Whitehurst was shot to death by a police officer in Montgomery, Alabama. He died behind a house on Holcombe Street, running from police officers who mistakenly believed he was the suspect in a robbery of a neighborhood grocery store.
The facts were slow to emerge in this shooting of a black man by a white police officer. But investigations urged by the Whitehurst family, the city's daily newspaper, and the local district attorney revealed the following of that tragic event: that Whitehurst, 32, did not match the robbery suspect's description; that he was unarmed, despite the police claims that they returned fire after being fired upon; the gun found by his body had been confiscated by police in a drug investigation a year earlier, and was placed at the scene as part of a police cover-up.
The shooting that cost Bernard Whitehurst his life led to the resignation of the city's mayor and public safety director, the resignation or termination of eight police officers and the perjury indictment against three police officers.....".
What's On the Horizon for Donald Trump and Republicans
First, Republican respect for the federal law enforcement community today is apparently in the toilet. Trump World is trashing the members of these agencies all day, everyday on FOX News and on right-wing online podcasts and media sites.
Second, it is highly likely that Donald Trump will be indicted in Washington, D.C. on the criminal charges listed in the search warrant.
Third, barring divine intervention, Trump will likely win the Republican nomination for president in 2024, whether he is indicted or not.
Fourth, if Republicans do not retake control of Congress in the November midterm elections, I expect Trump's para-military forces and diehard supporters to tear this country apart with widespread violence.
Fifth, Trump will NOT condemn this violence. In fact, he will revel in it. After all, these are Trump's "patriots" and they are ready to die for him.
Trump's recent experience in beating Special Counsel Robert Mueller and former FBI Director James Comey to a pulp appears to have prepared him for his fight with Merrick Garland, Chris Wray, the FBI, DOJ, and the federal judiciary.
Since December 2019, Trump has repeatedly called FBI agents "scum" and no Republican stepped forward to defend them.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) has publicly stated that FBI whistleblowers are coming forward and providing his office with "insider" information about corruption within the agency. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has promised Congressional hearings on the leadership of the FBI. U. S. Sen. Rick Scott (R-Florida) has likened the FBI and DOJ to Hitler's "Gestapo."
Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Green has called for defunding the FBI. Green has been joined in this call by a Republican Congressional candidate in Florida named Anthony Sabatini. Congressman Paul Gosar (R-Arizona) has advocated that Trump's "patriots" destroy the FBI.
Trump World's attack on the FBI, DOJ, and federal judiciary is unrelenting and unprecedented in scope, scale, and viciousness. It is also inciting violence against members of the federal law enforcement community.
FOX News, which is Trump's unofficial propaganda channel, continuously justifies Trump World's all-out assault on the federal law enforcement community. FOX is owned by Keith Rupert Murdock, an Australia native who has been engulfed in his own lawbreaking scandals since 2013.
While I have aggressively fought in the political arena and courtroom against misconduct committed by specific FBI agents, DOJ officials, and judges when and where it was warranted, I have NEVER advocated VIOLENCE against any law enforcement officer, or DEFUNDING any law enforcement agency, or physically harming any judge. Furthermore, I have NEVER called any law enforcement official a derogatory name, even though they have publicly and privately called me: (a) the "Nigger lawyer from Montgomery," (b) that "son-of-a-bitch," (c) "Mayor Arrington's Nigger lawyer," and (d) much worse.
Trump and his Republican sycophants in Washington have taken their disrespect of the federal law enforcement community to a gutter level that I never thought was possible in America.
I am a longtime political Independent, a current "political prisoner," an online journalist, an attorney, an officer of the court, and a proud American. I know, first-hand, what it is like to be railroaded in the "rigged" federal criminal justice system. However, I am urging the people in Trump World to CEASE their non-stop threats of violence against FBI agents, DOJ officials, and federal judges, RIGHT NOW!