Reviews | Rhetoric after Mar-a-Lago raid followed by Cincinnati violence


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The most responsible response to the FBI’s search for Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida remains what it was: to await further information on exactly what was being sought and why. Least responsible is to persist in the reckless rhetoric about “tyranny,” or “third world” political persecution, or “regimes” that has flooded the right-wing media and even the chambers of Congress — and so far was followed by at least one attempted act of violence.

Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Thursday that Justice Department attorneys have filed a motion to unseal the warrant that authorized officers to search for documents the former president may have improperly kept after leaving the White House. It was made public on Friday, along with a list of the inventory the agents took from the house – which includes information relating to extremely sensitive special access programs. The mandate referred to possible violations of a Espionage Act provision which prohibits “the collection, transmission or loss of national defense information”, as well as the destruction of documents and the concealment or mutilation of government documents. The Post reported that some of the documents sought contain material related to nuclear weapons. These revelations do not change the basic picture of the case: so far, everything seems to have been done according to the rules of the art, but it is not certain that what will be found will turn out to be a bomb or a failure.

The appropriate response to this uncertainty is patience, from those inclined to believe that the investigation will uncover a serious breach to those inclined to believe that the Department of Justice has gone too far. Fortunately, some Republicans are showing signs of restraint; The party’s senior member of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Michael R. Turner (R-Ohio), spoke measuredly on Friday about his desire to provide oversight of the Justice Department without making baseless accusations. of abuse. Others, however, drew inspiration from Mr Trump’s conspiratorial rants on his Truth Social website, using terms such as “dictatorship” and “banana republic” to describe rule of law procedures and lambasting the FBI.

Dana Milbank: GOP hysteria over Mar-a-Lago search is an invitation to violence

It’s not just words. They can have a horrible influence on the real world. On Thursday, a gunman wearing a bulletproof vest attempted to break into the FBI’s field office in Cincinnati. The ensuing hours-long standoff ended on a stretch of rural road, where police shot the man dead after he raised a gun at them. Reports so far suggest the man may have previously posted on Truth Social that he was issuing a “call to arms” after the raid, and that the others should “get whatever you need to be.” ready to fight”. Reports also suggest he may have been present at the Capitol during the January 6, 2021, uprising.

The events of January 6 showed that the risk of political violence in the United States is real. By now, politicians and pundits should be well aware of what can happen when they spread inflammatory language: people already engulfed by ecosystems of misinformation are listening, and they can be spurred to action. Unfortunately, the FBI’s search incentive continued to flow – and one man died.

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