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Trump’s Legal Efforts Strengthened American Institutions

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The United States is still standing. Albeit unfortunately for those who wanted everything to fall apart to take profit of their irresponsible omens. But the United States not only stands, but it has also strengthened itself. Trump, perhaps unwittingly, reinforced American institutions.

Sometimes Republics need challenges to armor themselves, especially in times of profound tension. The Watergate scandal paradoxically hardened the nation and served as an important precedent to alert one and all: the world sees, the press sees. It is the necessary injury that strengthens institutions and hardens the skin. It is good to go against the establishment because it is good that the establishment reacts. It is good what Donald Trump does.

President Trump has the right to contest the elections. We are already seeing a gigantic distance from Caribbean or Asian dictatorships, which are completely alien to the processes. The denunciation of fraud of Donald Trump’s campaign, contrary to what the Democratic opinion-makers have said, does not show an institutional drift but rather gives rise to the opposite. Even when the system is perfect (which is not the case), it is good to question it and question it again.

Let’s begin by saying that there is enough noise to drive the president’s denunciations and his campaign. There have been irregularities – innate, of course, to the system, and not at all unprecedented – and we are going through a unique context in history, which gives rise to numerous manipulations. The United States carried out a very delicate experiment with mail-in-ballots, because of the pandemic, and this strengthens the argument of the denunciation of fraud. These denunciations, naturally, ended up in the corresponding instances. And it is there that the reactions that have shielded America as never before have taken place.

Democrats will have to take full responsibility for lying and manipulating their electors. The cynicism of those who today assume themselves to be moral authorities in the face of Trump’s allegations of fraud, which they have called insane, is obscene. We are talking about the same Democrats who lasted four years talking about the delirious theories, without any proof, that profiled Trump as a Russian puppet. But then again, they’re going to have to eat their words about the Supreme Court.

Donald Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett was met with the worst-possible arguments. It is painful for Democrats to have to live with a Supreme Court composed of a clear majority of conservative judges, including three nominated by Trump. In the end, their argument against Barrett was that it would be unacceptable for the president to nominate a judge so close to the election. And many said that Trump’s strategy consisted of the possibility that Amy Coney Barrett would be the crutch that would allow his campaign to reverse the results.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Of the nine Supreme Court justices, six are conservative and three owe their nomination to President Trump. However, despite warnings from the Democratic Party, at the decisive moment they remained attached to the institution and quite far from the White House. Democrats said they were incapable of being impartial, and ended up rejecting on December 8 the lawsuit in Pennsylvania, by the Trump campaign, and the great legal efforts against the elections led by the Texas Attorney General, and accompanied by 17 other states.

Trump is today the Republican Party’s racehorse for the White House. The Republican majority in the Senate knows that Trump is an unstoppable force that catches votes like flies. That same majority knows that Trump’s re-election is in its best interest. But Mitch McConnell rules in the Capitol. And while he was very prudent and long held out on calling Joe Biden president-elect, he finally did so after the Electoral College vote on December 14. His bet is clear: on a cooperation with the White House that will stop the radicals who are slowly taking over the Democratic Party. His reaction, institutional, is a gesture to the United States.

Finally, the Department of Justice. The highly-reputed William Barr was the target of the worst criticism from the Democrats since Trump elected him to office in February 2019. He was blamed for politicizing the Department and for being more loyal to the White House than to the institution. These unsubstantiated criticisms were diluted because William Barr was more than up to the job, and this is well-explained in an excellent Wall Street Journal editorial that said: “The Attorney General was the right man for the job in hyper-partisan times.”

Well, that same attorney general, the alleged Trump player who politicized the Justice Department, put a stop to the president’s fraud allegations. As the Wall Street Journal puts it, “Perhaps Mr. Barr’s greatest contribution was speaking truth to Mr. Trump, who wanted his tormentors prosecuted whether or not the evidence warranted.”

“This was the right decision and shows Mr. Barr’s adherence to principle,” continues the Wall Street Journal.

And it wasn’t that William Barr turned his back on Trump. No. He instituted a federal investigation into the fraud allegations even if it cost him employee resignations. And he instituted it because it was right because millions believe and are convinced that the election was stolen. So it was time to investigate. But the efforts got nowhere and, as he told the Associated Press, there are no decisive elements of fraud that could reverse the results.

More recently, this Monday, December 21, William Barr made the news again because he made it clear that he will not appoint a special counsel to investigate the fraud allegations. He doesn’t see the need. “If I thought a special counsel at this stage was the right and proper tool, I would appoint one, but I haven’t and I’m not going to,” he said at a press conference.

As Professor Hector Schamis rightly says in his last column: “Democratic stability also does not depend on the conviction of a president, which helps if he has it, but it is based on institutions that set the parameters of what the government can and cannot do.”

The gestures of the Supreme Court, of the Republican Party and its leader, Mitch McConnell; and of Attorney Barr shield the United States as a Republic. They are the necessary reaction to legal and legitimate efforts, but unfairly caricatured.

“A shining demonstration of the separation and independence of the powers of the State, the Founding Fathers would be proud.” “Not only is there a separation of powers,” Schamis tells us, “but it is stronger than any ideology and party identity.”

If Trump had never raised the fraud allegation, the Democrats’ distorted story would have continued to rise. Bought by those who allow themselves to be fooled, unfortunately for them, there is an inflexible truth: America still stands. With its weaknesses and gaps, it is a solid Republic, now strengthened by the challenges facing its institutions.

Orlando Avendaño is the co-editor-in-chief of El American. He is a Venezuelan journalist and has studies in the History of Venezuela. He is the author of the book Days of submission // Orlando Avendaño es el co-editor en Jefe de El American. Es periodista venezolano y cuenta con estudios en Historia de Venezuela. Es autor del libro Días de sumisión.

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