Callers represented a wide landscape of reactions. I heard callers on various programs aghast at an unprecedented incursion launched by an administration onto the private property of its potential electoral rival; I also heard, ostensibly from Trump critics, that it was about time the long arm of law enforcement reached into his world. Those opposing views were seasoned by an appropriate smattering of middling sentiment that the raid is impossible to judge until we know what was sought, and what was found.
On my own show, I welcomed all views while delivering my own: that we should hold off on concrete conclusions until the Biden administration shows some transparency. Only then can we judge the rationale behind FBI agents spending long hours Monday at Mar-a-Lago sifting through Trump’s personal effects.
But that does not leave me blind to the backdrop against which this tense drama plays out. As we wait for the FBI and Department of Justice to explain themselves and justify their actions, I am sadly aware of the possibility of abusive persecution of a former president.
It would be a relief to see those suspicions answered by a prompt announcement of the details of a warrant seeking specific evidence in pursuit of a serious crime identified in advance—not a license for a fishing expedition, but a warrant crafted the way warrants used to work.
I don’t root for that outcome politically; I have spent years defending Trump against phony and baseless attacks, and this would be a development that actually had some teeth. But at least my country would not be turning into a caricature of vindictive third-world corruption.
The FBI has revealed a propensity for misdirected aggression, from its years of exhaustively flogging an empty Trump-Russia collusion narrative to a recently leaked training document seeking to stigmatize as “violent extremists” citizens displaying certain patriotic flags.
We also have an attorney general who alerted law enforcement across America to view the righteous indignation of woke-weary parents as a dangerous sign of potential domestic terrorism. It is under Merrick Garland‘s watch that January 6th defendants, many admittedly deserving of some consequences, have languished in jail cells, prolonging their path through a system that has a constitutional duty to process them efficiently.
There are ample reasons to doubt the purity of the motives behind the Mar-a-Lago raid. The cleansing light of healthy scrutiny will determine whether those doubts are well founded.
One call I took Tuesday cast a light on the toll exacted by collapsing confidence in institutions that used to be beyond political reproach. A gentleman with a long history of noble duty in federal law enforcement shared nostalgic stories of the days when he and coworkers of vastly different politics set aside their differences to fulfill the responsibilities of their jobs, no matter where the investigative chips might fall. His personal experience compelled him to believe that such nobility was still the guiding beacon at the uppermost levels of the FBI and DOJ. Surely, he said, there had to be a strong basis for the warrant and the raid.
I shared my eagerness to return to such an America, but it does not exist today. In 2022 we see the hatching of thousands of new IRS agents to staff an agency that not long ago directed aggressive scrutiny toward conservative groups. We have political leaders brazenly looking to ignore the will of citizens in states seeking to protect the unborn in pro-life states in post-Roe v. Wade America.
In short, law enforcement has been corrupted to some degree at every layer by the pull of leftism. As a result, it falls to our stained FBI and our politically embittered attorney general to prove to us that at least in this moment, they are not driven by a partisan or personal vendetta. Americans now calling for transparency are not jumping to conclusions; they are demanding answers from a federal law enforcement culture that has burned its own reputation.
Mark Davis is a talk show host for the Salem Media Group on 660AM The Answer in Dallas-Ft. Worth, and a columnist for the Dallas Morning News and Townhall.
The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.