Rickards: Lawfare Tears America Apart

The full ramifications of the guilty verdict against Trump have yet to be felt. It was the first time in U.S. history that any president has been convicted of a crime during or after leaving office.

Now Trump will have to run for president as a “convicted felon,” which the media has been repeating over and over again. But so far the verdict seems to have benefitted Trump.

Trump got a six-point jump in approval ratings after the verdict. Total donations to the Trump campaign have also exceeded $100 million since the verdict. Incidentally, 30% of those donations were from first-time contributors, who were clearly motivated by the verdict.

As I’ve explained before, this verdict is purely the product of lawfare. I break it all down for you here, including what you can expect next.

Lawfare is defined as the use of law and legal process to destroy political and ideological enemies. For Americans who care about the future of our constitutional form of government, few topics are more important.

Warfare is associated with the physical destruction of people and infrastructure through bombing, artillery and assault. Yet you can do just as much destruction using the law. If you can destroy reputations, bankrupt opponents, seize property and tie enemies up in court indefinitely using legal assaults, you can do just as much damage as if you had fired missiles or dropped bombs.

That’s the idea.

‘What’s the Big Deal?’

Supporters of lawfare say that using legal means to fight opponents is nothing new. Lawsuits have been used against rivals for centuries. Proponents claim that “lawfare” is just a new name for a very old game of using the law to sort out disputes and seek damages. That’s more or less true.

Yet in that process both sides — plaintiffs and defendants — have observed certain moral and ethical rules. They’ve honored guardrails set up to preserve the integrity of the legal system as an institution.

Judges have been rigorous in enforcing those rules and making sure that both sides in a dispute respect the legal system as a whole, even as they fight out their respective claims. There have always been some bad apples among lawyers and judges, but they’re the exceptions not the rule.

On the whole, judges are impartial, lawyers act ethically, juries deliberate with an open mind and all parties deal in good faith. Outcomes can be tough, but the system as a whole is respected and preserved.

Lawfare Turns Law on Its Head

None of that is true with lawfare. The practitioners of lawfare view the law as just another tool in the tool kit to advance their agenda and destroy their enemies. If the law is damaged and the legal system is degraded, that’s OK as far as lawfare practitioners are concerned — as long as they achieve their goals.

What this means in practice is that lawyers and their associates scour statutes, rules and regulations looking for anything that might apply literally to a target, even if no substantive case of the type desired has ever been brought.

They look at statutes that are 100 or even 200 years old and have not been applied for many decades (a condition lawyers call desuetude or disuse) and bring them back to life in circumstances never contemplated by those who enacted the statutes.

They’re also aided by thousands of pages of new rules and regulations that are still open to interpretation because they’ve never been litigated. As for these, the lawfare warriors devise creative theories to attack their targets without regard to the original purpose or meaning of the rule.

In fact, one of the preoccupations of the deep state is to keep pumping out new rules that no one can keep up with but which lawfare types can bend and shape to their purposes.

Anyone who looks objectively at Trump’s hush money case knows what a farce it was (again I break it all down for you here). The other cases against Trump fit into that same category.

But there’s another sinister component of lawfare that could potentially keep Trump out of the White House — even if he wins the election.

The 14th Amendment

One of the more technical lawfare attacks on Trump was the effort to remove him from the presidential ballot in numerous states in reliance on Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. Section 3 bars insurrectionists from holding federal office. That section was enacted after the Civil War to prevent Confederate military officers and civilian officials from holding office in the United States.

The last case using this section was brought in the 1930s, almost a century ago, and the government lost that case. Section 3 really is a dead letter today. Still, the lawfare legal squad has dusted it off and is using it against Trump.

The Supreme Court recently ruled that states don’t have the power to use Section 3 in federal elections. But the ruling left open the possibility that the U.S. Congress could pass legislation to use Section 3 itself.

That means the insurrection clause isn’t a dead letter but a lawfare weapon waiting in the wings. Here’s how the insurrection clause could be used to prevent Trump from becoming president even if he wins the election…

The Nuclear Option

Assume Trump wins the election on Nov. 5 (likely in my view). Also, assume the Democrats take control of the House of Representatives in that election. The Electoral College votes are certified by the states on Dec. 8 and then sent to the Congress for a final count.

The new Congress is sworn in on Jan. 3, 2025. The Electoral College votes are counted on Jan. 6. The new president is not scheduled to be sworn in until Jan. 20.

Sometime between being sworn in and counting the Electoral College votes, the new Democrat House of Representatives could pass a resolution stating that Trump is an insurrectionist and is disqualified from becoming president.

The Supreme Court left the door open to such a resolution. At that point, the House could refuse to count any Electoral College votes for Trump. In the final count, Trump would get zero votes and Biden would have less than the 270 votes needed to become president.

At that point, the selection of a president would be thrown to the floor of the House (as happened in 1801 and 1825) and the House members voting not as individuals but as state delegations would choose the president.

Trump would not be eligible in this scenario, but a Republican would be the likely winner because Republicans control more state delegations even as the Democrats have more individual votes. A compromise candidate would be the likely winner, perhaps Ron DeSantis or Nikki Haley.

The point would be to eliminate Trump. If you thought the J6 protests were bad, what do you think would happen if congressional Democrats prevented a duly elected president from taking office?

Hopefully it doesn’t come to that and we never have to find out. As it is, lawfare is taking the nation in a dangerous direction.

“Show Me the Man and I’ll Show You the Crime”

In the meantime, lawfare is running wild. It’s being used against political candidates, advisers, members of Congress, judges and others who in any way support Trump or his policies.

Lavrentiy Beria, head of the Soviet secret police (NKVD) under Stalin, once said, “Show me the man and I’ll show you the crime.” He meant that if you target an individual, it’s not difficult to fabricate a crime even if the target is innocent.

The accusation, arrest and trial are enough to destroy most people emotionally and financially regardless of the technical outcome. If you combine this process with corrupt prosecutors and judges, then the destruction of the target is assured.

Such abuse of process is against the Fifth, Sixth and 14th Amendments of the Constitution, which offer a presumption of innocence, right to counsel, right to know the charges against you and due process of law.

But the lawfare gang doesn’t care about the Constitution. They just want to destroy their targets. In this sense, the political targets are not the only victims. The law itself is a victim. That threatens everybody and the country itself.

This is the new America — neo-fascist lawfare edition.

The Daily Reckoning