In a virtually unprecedented move, FBI agents raided the office, home and hotel room of President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen April 9. They were directed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, at the recommendation of former FBI Director Robert Mueller, the special counsel seeking to get the president impeached.
The move is further proof that Mueller’s probe, supposedly into Russian interference in the 2016 election, is in fact a frame-up operation using methods that are dangerous for the working class.
After almost a year of digging around and seeking to stick charges against people around the president to see if he can get one to turn on him, Mueller has produced nothing. The liberals and petty-bourgeois left have hailed the former top U.S. government spy, hoping he can oust Trump from office.
“Are we really in a situation where Bob Mueller is no longer investigating crimes, he’s just investigating people?” asked Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Republican from Florida. But Mueller’s probe, like all prosecutors and grand juries, works by targeting an individual and then searching for a crime to pin on them.
The FBI seized Cohen’s electronic devices, financial records and communications with the president. The raid was given the green light by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller to investigate Trump.
“Attorney-client privilege is dead!” the president tweeted after the raid, adding afterwards, “A TOTAL WITCH HUNT!!!”
This constitutionally protected privilege flows from the Sixth Amendment in the Bill of Rights, which protects one’s right to trial and “to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.”
David Cole, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union — among the groups for which driving Trump out of the White House comes before everything else — defended the latest steps in the witch hunt and blow to our rights. He blessed the break-in and seizure of private documents as “pursuant to the rule of law.”
Washington’s political police
Raids like this are part of the methods cops have used for decades to frame up workers in the frontlines of class battles. The FBI’s role is to safeguard the interests of the capitalist rulers. It has organized frame-ups of fighters in the labor movement and for Black rights, opponents of Washington’s wars and communists, under Democratic and Republican administrations alike. Many of the top officials of the FBI today have been exposed as part of the anti-Trump gang.
The special counsel has a broad reach, immense powers and unlimited time. Mueller isn’t accountable to anyone but himself. His “investigation” undercuts rights and protections won in the Bill of Rights. These will be increasingly important for workers as sharpening class battles deepen in years ahead and the propertied rulers seek to break working-class struggles, bust up unions and frame up those who lead them.
The raid on Cohen was justified by the U.S. Attorney’s Office as part of a previously undercover investigation of his “personal business dealings.” But the entire debate in the bourgeois media focuses on his relation to the president.
Despite almost a year of freewheeling operation, Mueller is no closer to finding evidence that could be used to impeach Trump for collusion with Moscow’s interference in the 2016 election. But the probe just keeps going, with no end in sight.
A fever-pitch hysteria has taken hold of the liberals and the left, as they try and make an amalgam of alleged Moscow connections, tidbits from another former FBI Director, James Comey. They use the slanders and allegations in his new book about being fired by Trump, and lurid innuendoes about the president’s alleged infidelities. In fact, polls show there is growing support for Trump as employment improves and he has made some popular moves in foreign policy, like his effort to reach a deal with North Korea.
The liberal media and the left try to paint President Trump as something fundamentally new and different in U.S. politics. Writing in the New York Times April 6, Madeleine Albright, former secretary of state under Bill Clinton and author of the just published book Fascism: A Warning, claims Trump is opening the door to what she says is a worldwide resurgence of fascism.
In reality, the Trump administration, like all those before it, defends the interests at home and abroad of the propertied capitalist rulers.
The dangerous class
It’s true there is a political crisis in the U.S. today ripping through the rulers’ two political parties — the Democrats and Republicans. Its roots lie in the concerns and fear of the meritocrats and liberals about the working class. That is what they saw as “different” about the Donald Trump campaign — and now, to their horror, his presidency. For them the only explanation is that the working class is becoming more racist, more anti-immigrant, more opposed to women’s rights, and has to be controlled and “taught.”
This political crisis has no equivalent anywhere else in the capitalist world.
In comments in India last month, Hillary Clinton picked up on her 2016 campaign remarks that workers who voted for Trump were “deplorable.” She told a meeting there that the president won votes from people in areas of the country that shouldn’t really count. She stressed that she, on the other hand, “won the places that represent two-thirds of America’s gross domestic product.” She and those like her deeply believe that votes in wealthier areas of the country should count for more than those in areas where she derisively said workers were “looking backwards.”
It’s these “deplorable” workers who are involved in labor battles today in states where Trump won the most votes in 2016 — like West Virginia, Oklahoma and Kentucky. They are providing a powerful example that is being watched closely by millions of workers across the country today. Through their tenacity, organization and discipline, striking teachers and school workers are demonstrating that it is possible to wage a united and effective struggle against the bosses and governments at all levels that are trying to make working people pay for the economic, political and moral crisis of capitalism.