For at least a century, people in positions of power have committed unspeakable crimes without fearing justice. I believe that at some point, many corrupt people who occupy positions of power will be prosecuted. Of course, not everyone agrees with my assessment. History shows that powerful people are seldom held to account for their crimes. Normalcy bias tells us that this is the way things are, and nothing will ever change. After all, Donald Trump has been President for more than three years. His administration has had plenty of time to make arrests, and they haven’t. Therefore, it could be argued that Trump’s people aren’t interested in restoring equal justice.
If Donald Trump were a typical President running a typical administration, I would agree that arrests seem unlikely. But the evidence suggests that Trump is not a typical President and he is not running a typical administration.
From the day he announced his candidacy, the Washington D.C. establishment—the very seat of corruption—has opposed Trump in every way. Why have Congress, the Pentagon, the intelligence community, and the administrative state gone to such lengths to oppose his policies and why have they tried repeatedly to remove him from office?
The answer is obvious. They perceive him to be a threat.
But if he is a threat, why haven’t there been arrests?
This question implies a belief that the arrest of corrupt people is the solution to our problems. But what if arrests aren’t the solution?
Imagine that the Department of Justice arrested 100 members of Congress who engaged in blackmail, extortion, money laundering and other crimes. A collective cheer would go out across the nation, but Congressional vacancies would soon be filled with the same type of people who were arrested, and the criminal behavior would continue. Our current system of government encourages and conceals corruption. Criminal behavior is baked into our political system. The arrest of elected officials would make some feel vindicated, but it would change nothing. If we can’t find a way to implement checks and balances that hold people in positions of power to account, corrupt practices will continue. A necessary step in the removal of institutional corruption is reforming government. That process takes time.
In recent years, some elected officials have been granted rockstar status by their followers. If we hope to avoid civil war, before these officials can be arrested, their followers must be made aware of their crimes. Declassification and dissemination of documents exposing corruption must happen before arrests can take place. Dan Coats was tasked with declassifying documents but during his term as Director of National Intelligence, he resisted declassification. (When I say the administrative state has opposed Trump in every way, this is an example of what that opposition looks like.) Acting DNI Rick Grenell wasted no time in declassifying and making public documents that expose corruption. Trump’s new Director of National Intelligence, John Ratcliffe, will declassify even more documents. Once the public has been made aware of the realities of corruption, the arrests can happen, and just as importantly, citizens may demand changes to governmental institutions.