Why Republicans' Hysterical 'Rubicon' Rhetoric Is So Absurd

Hunter Biden

Hunter Biden

On the right, the word of the week is “Rubicon.”

MAGA commentators from social media to Fox News are arguing that President Joe Biden and the Democrats passed a point of no return when a Manhattan jury found Donald Trump guilty of 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in connection with a scheme to conceal the hush-money payoff made to a porn star in the final weeks of the 2016 presidential campaign.

They claim Trump is the victim of a politicized prosecution that requires Republicans to respond in kind by trying to throw Democrats in jail.

But Trump’s supporters are just trying to concoct a righteous excuse for doing what they have already done. Trump and the right-wing press spent his presidency teaming up to demand federal criminal probes of his political foes, only for those investigations to collapse when Trump’s own law enforcement appointees assessed the purported Democratic crimes.

Indeed, Republicans and Trump appointees have overseen nearly all of the high-profile investigations of political figures conducted over the last decade. When those Republicans and Trump appointees have investigated Republicans, the probes have regularly led to criminal charges and convictions, and when those Republicans and Trump appointees have investigated Democrats, they largely have not.

And for all the right’s claims of politicized prosecutions, the record shows Democratic presidents bending over backward to appear impartial, while Trump as president constantly and publicly accused his political opponents of crimes and demanded their prosecution.

Republicans keep finding Republican crimes

One of the huge holes in the right’s argument is their claim that Biden is connected to Trump’s myriad legal travails.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who successfully prosecuted Trump, is a Democrat — but he was elected by New York voters and charged Trump under state law, requiring the right to gin up a baroque conspiracy theory to explain how Biden supposedly masterminded the probe.

Fani Willis, the Fulton County district attorney who filed racketeering charges in Georgia over Trump’s election subversion plot, is likewise elected in her own right without a tie to Biden.

Meanwhile, Trump’s classified documents and January 6 federal prosecutions are led by Jack Smith, a political independent who prosecuted politicians of both parties as head of the Justice Department’s political corruption unit. Smith took over probes launched under FBI director Christopher Wray, a Trump-appointed Republican, and received special counsel status from Biden-appointed Attorney General Merrick Garland to keep him walled off from political pressure.

Trump is now a convicted felon like many of his former associates, including his former legal fixer Michael Cohen, his former campaign chair Paul Manafort, and his longtime political consigliere Roger Stone. Robert Mueller, a Republican who was appointed as FBI director by President George W. Bush, led their successful prosecutions. Mueller in turn was hand-picked to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election by Rod Rosenstein, a Republican and a Trump appointee at the Justice Department.

Republicans keep not finding Democratic crimes

At the same time, the MAGA media spent years demanding the Trump Justice Department conduct criminal probes of high-profile Democrats and other public officials who had otherwise tangled with Trump. Fox hosts like Sean Hannity, a close adviser to the former president, would read long lists of purported crimes committed by Trump’s political opponents and demand they face justice.

But when Republicans and Trump appointees actually tried to turn frothy right-wing media reports into real cases, they failed.

Trump led chants of “lock her up” during his campaign against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but FBI Director James Comey — a Republican who oversaw the probe of her use of a private server — recommended no charges against her, and Trump’s law enforcement appointees apparently found no cause to reverse that determination.

Nor did Trump-appointed Republicans bring charges following federal probes of the Clinton Foundation and the Hillary Clinton Uranium One pseudoscandal.

And the much-touted probe into the origins of the Russia probe, overseen by a Trump appointee with the full backing of Trump Attorney General William Barr, ended with a whimper.

Joe Biden’s son is literally on trial today

Just to put an exclamation point on how intellectually bankrupt the right’s narrative is, consider that on Monday, jury selection began in the federal gun trial of President Biden’s son, Hunter.

Hunter Biden came under federal scrutiny in 2018, when his father was considering a presidential run, the FBI and DOJ were both led by Trump appointees, and Trump and his allies were launching what became a yearslong effort to damage Joe Biden’s potential candidacy through his son.

Hunter Biden’s purported crimes have been covered in excruciating detail by the same right-wing commentariat that claims to hate purported politicized prosecutions when they target Trump, with much of the coverage complaining that the president’s son has gotten off easy.

President Biden, however, is not responding with constant complaints of lawfare and politicized prosecutions or demanding retaliation. In fact, Biden retained the Trump-appointed U.S. Attorney David Weiss, the Trump-appointed U.S. attorney overseeing the case, when Biden took office in 2021. Garland has since named Weiss a special counsel, again walling him off from political interference.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

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