Opinion: The FBI raid is terrible news for Trump, and yet …
“When you’re attacking FBI agents because you’re under criminal investigation, you’re losing.”
That 2016 tweet from Trump campaign adviser, and future White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, then referring to Hillary Clinton and Democrats, took on a special irony on Monday, as former President Donald Trump and his allies spent much of the day and night railing against the FBI for raiding Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort and occasional home that morning.
The FBI search, executing a search warrant, was conducted as part of an investigation into Trump’s handling of classified documents while in the White House. He’s accused of removing classified documents illegally and even ripping some up and throwing them in White House toilets — a fitting metaphor for a presidential legacy if I’ve ever heard one.
Most legal analysts agree this is really, really not good news for Trump. As former Acting U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal said on MSNBC, “If I were Donald Trump’s lawyer right now, and thank God that I’m not, I would be advising my client to be telling my family that I am expecting jail time….”
Additionally, if Trump’s found guilty of mishandling classified documents, he could be prohibited from holding public office again, say, in 2024.
So, it’s no wonder Trump responded with a typically nuclear statement about his circumstances, calling the raid “prosecutorial misconduct,” “the weaponization of the Justice System,” and an “attack by Radical Left Democrats who desperately don’t want me to run for President in 2024.”
But make no mistake about it — for all their spittle-soaked bluster, Trump and friends couldn’t be happier this is happening now.
How do we know? Because rather than downplay or ignore the story, Trump and MAGA world are screaming about it.
Trump himself was one of the first to confirm the story, releasing that statement of martyrdom before even most media outlets caught wind of it.
His loyalists were quick to turn the story of a president who may have committed crimes while in office into one about the “deep state” he so often insisted was out to get him — presumably for moments like this one.
“The FBI just proved that Donald Trump was right,” tweeted Newsmax host Benny Johnson. “He’s always been right. No one will ever forget this.”
If anything, it proves Trump critics were right that he’s a corrupt megalomaniac who flouted rules and possibly laws to cling to power, avoid oversight and profit off of the presidency.
But hey, getting to say this episode vindicates Trump is politically profitable.
Trump and his friends, GOP candidates like J.D. Vance and the RNC, are fundraising off the raid.
And over at Fox News, where news of some legislative wins for President Biden and Democrats was throwing the vibe off, hosts and guests didn’t just make a meal of this, they made an all-you-can-eat buffet.
Trump’s daughter-in-law Lara ominously warned supporters that they could be next, or something. “If this is what they’re able to do to the former president of the United States, think about what they could do to you, to anybody in America.”
Steve Bannon called the FBI “the Gestapo” — because nothing means anything anymore.
Laura Ingraham promised even more retribution against, well, everyone I guess: “…when we get power back, it’s time to hold everyone accountable: the military leadership, the civilian leadership, the civil service, those in Congress who’ve abused their power.”
And Mark Levin was having a totally normal one, as he usually is: “This is the worst attack on this republic in modern history. Period!”
Dan Bongino was equally restrained. “This is a freaking disgrace. A disgrace,” he said. We don’t live in Cuba. We don’t live under Kim Jong-un. There has to be not only hearings, but a total, total house cleaning at the top of the DOJ and FBI.”
Over in Congress, Republicans are making the most of this, too. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, eager to get back into MAGAland’s good graces, threatened the attorney general, and Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene went on an unhinged Twitter tirade, mumbling something about communism.
It’s wild to watch a group of people compare the U.S. to Nazis, Communists, and dictators because — get this — their favorite former president, who refuses to believe the results of a democratic election, may not in fact get to act more like…a dictator.
If only these folks were as mad about the insurrectionist siege on the U.S. Capitol as they’re pretending to be about the raid on Trump’s Palm Beach golf club. But they aren’t really mad about either — because if Trump was successful at anything, it was convincing his fans that nothing matters more than he does. Not even America itself.
— S.E. Cupp, the host of “S.E. Cupp Unfiltered” on CNN, is a columnist for Tribune Content Agency LLC.