The Aug. 8 FBI armed raid on Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate is the latest move by the President Joseph Biden administration, fellow Democrats and a coterie of Never-Trump Republicans in their over-six-year witch hunt — and is one of the most dangerous for the working class.
The blatantly unconstitutional break-in and seizure of the files of the former president sets a precedent that will be used to target workers and our unions as we fight for better wages and conditions and take steps to organize independently of the bosses’ Democratic and Republican parties.
During the nine-hour raid, some 30 FBI agents rummaged throughout the massive estate, seizing documents FBI and Biden administration figures claim were “classified” and “items of national security.”
They also snatched Trump’s passports, inferring he might flee the country to escape prosecution. Some liberal news outlets initially denied Trump’s claim the passports were taken, until the FBI made public they had returned them 10 days later. Trump says he had been collaborating with federal archivists over the disposition of the files, as all previous presidents have done, a fact known to the White House. He also said he had declassified all the documents when he was president.
The warrant used to execute the raid cites both the notorious Espionage Act, used by the Barack Obama administration to target and try to silence the press, and Section 2071 of the U.S. Code, which prescribes a prison sentence for anyone who “conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates or destroys” government documents. Passed with bipartisan support in 1917, the Espionage Act was used to frame up and jail Socialist Party leader Eugene Debs for his opposition to the U.S. rulers’ imperialist aims in the First World War and his support for the Bolshevik-led Russian Revolution.
Judge Bruce Reinhart, who authorized the raid, says he’ll release a highly censored version of the affidavit the Justice Department used to obtain the warrant. This leaves the Trump-hating press free to publish anonymous leaks purporting to say why the raid was necessary, as they’ve been doing daily. To gin up their smears, the Washington Post alleged the seized documents were “relating to nuclear weapons,” citing nameless “people familiar with the investigation,” as if it were a fact.
Trump sued the FBI Aug. 22 demanding they keep their hands off the seized material until a third party is appointed to review it, and demanding the government provide more detail about what was confiscated and return any item not listed in the warrant.
Witch hunt targets working people
The FBI — the capitalist rulers’ main political police agency — has been a key weapon in the Democrats’ war against Trump since 2016, when then FBI Director James Comey and other agents collaborated with the Hillary Clinton campaign to try to stop Trump from getting elected. Since then, former FBI chiefs Comey and Robert Mueller, with help from Trump-hating agents like Peter Strzok, have been an integral part of never-ending efforts to stop him from ever running again, and, if possible, get him thrown in jail.
In fact, in its reporting on the Mar-a-Lago raid, the New York Times relied on Strzok — whose crusade against Trump led to his being fired in 2017 — as an “expert” on national security.
The FBI was fed the now famously discredited Steele dossier, stuffed with scandalous and completely unverified claims against Trump by Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign. The dossier’s big lie said Trump was a tool run by Russian President Vladimir Putin. It was used to get a warrant to wiretap Trump campaign official Carter Page, and to set up a two-year fishing expedition and impeachment drive run by Mueller to go after Trump.
Mueller ordered highly publicized armed raids on Trump’s associates. Seven were charged as Mueller’s crew of prosecutors tried to lean on them to finger the president. None ever coughed up evidence enabling Mueller to charge Trump.
This collaboration between congressional Democrats, the FBI and now the Biden administration has continued unabated. Democrats have grabbed onto the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Congress to hold a series of show trial hearings aimed at smearing Trump. But they’ve failed so far to muster anything that can be used to get rid of the former president.
At its heart, this ongoing crusade is aimed at the millions that Clinton condemned as “deplorables,” workers who voted for Trump, hoping to change the conditions they faced. The rulers’ growing fear of the working class provokes them to use any and all means to prevent workers from affecting an election again. The FBI plays an irreplaceable role in this operation.
FBI attacks workers, SWP
For decades the FBI has spied on, disrupted and framed up militant workers, fighters for Black rights, opponents of imperialist war and communists like the Socialist Workers Party with the very same methods used against Trump today.
The expansion of the political police after 1917 was the capitalist rulers’ response to the impact of the Bolshevik-led Russian Revolution on workers and farmers in the U.S., who were inspired by its example. Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt turned the FBI loose to go after vanguard workers as the capitalist rulers organized to push back against the industrial unions and take the U.S. into the second imperialist world war for the domination of markets and resources worldwide. The Socialist Workers Party along with leaders of the Teamsters union were their first targets.
FBI agents and U.S. marshals raided the SWP headquarters in Minneapolis June 27, 1941, seizing literature that would detail “startling revelations on subversive activities,” the Minneapolis Tribune ominously asserted. This was a barefaced lie. That fact didn’t stop the government from using the newly adopted thought-control Smith Act to prosecute 18 leaders of the Teamsters and the SWP.
The blows against constitutional rights carried out by the FBI today target Trump, one of the capitalist class’s own. Such assaults will be used more widely against working people and our unions as our struggles against the bosses and their governments mount.