SCOTUS Must Weigh in on Unprecedented Political Persecution

Written by Robert Knight

In the name of “saving democracy,” a former presidential aide is now in a federal prison in Miami.

Former Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro was sentenced to four months for ignoring a congressional subpoena ordering him to appear before the U.S. House Jan. 6 Select Committee.

That’s the kangaroo court that permitted no pro-Trump witnesses or pro-Trump committee members, and staged a Stalinist-style show trial that outranks the most disgraceful congressional abuses of power ever seen.

Mr. Navarro continues to argue, rightly, that he is protected by executive privilege, without which no aide could ever speak candidly to a president for fear of this kind of prosecution.

It’s why he is the first presidential aide to be jailed for contempt since George Washington was sworn in as president on April 30, 1789.

Even the manner of Mr. Navarro’s arrest smacks of police state tactics. He was at Reagan National Airport on June 4, 2022, about to board a flight to Nashville, Tennessee, to appear on Mike Huckabee’s TV show when FBI agents handcuffed him and took him into custody.

U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta, an Obama appointee, questioned the nature of the event.

“It is curious … at a minimum why the government treated Mr. Navarro’s arrest in the way it did,” he said at a pretrial hearing. “It is a federal crime, but it is not a violent crime. It is a surprise to me that self-surrender was not offered.”

Well, it’s not really a mystery.

If they had just let him walk into an FBI office, as Mr. Navarro has said he had offered to do, it wouldn’t send the message that the politicized FBI wanted: Buck our idea of “democracy” at your own peril.

Similarly, the FBI conducted a SWAT-style, pre-dawn raid at Trump adviser Roger Stone’s Fort Lauderdale, Florida, home in January 2019. They did so again at the Lorton, Virginia, home of former Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Clark in June 2022.

Russ Vought, who was White House budget director, tweeted at the time that “more than a dozen DOJ law enforcement officials searched Jeff Clark’s house in a pre-dawn raid, put him in the streets in his pjs, and took his electronic devices.”

Mr. Clark, whose real crime is trying to expose vote fraud in the 2020 election, is one of 19 defendants, along with Mr. Trump, in the RICO case in Georgia. That’s the one being prosecuted by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who put her lover on the payroll as an assistant prosecutor.

She’s a Democrat, so nothing has happened to her, other than the ex-boyfriend being booted from the team.

While we’re on the topic of double standards of justice, the Biden administration is still arresting people in connection with the Jan. 6, 2021, riot. Some have been in jail for more than three years without trial.

Does that sound like America, or instead like the Democrats’ idea of what “democracy” looks like? They must spend a lot of time in Cuba or Venezuela.

Democrats love to throw “democracy” around, even as they act in profoundly undemocratic ways.

In “Screwtape Proposes a Toast” (1959), C.S. Lewis’ devilish mentor Screwtape instructs demons in how to use the word in diabolical ways.

“Democracy is the word with which you must lead them by the nose. … They should never be allowed to give this word a clear and definable meaning,” Screwtape says. “You are to use the word purely as an incantation; if you like, purely for its selling power. It’s a name they venerate.”

Indeed, the upholders of “democracy” are deploying undemocratic lawfare never before seen in this country. They are jailing the opposing party’s former executive officials and raiding homes of peaceful pro-life protesters.

The FBI raided the Florida home of former President Donald Trump to seize documents. Democratic prosecutors are trying him on 91 felony charges in four different Democratic-dominated jurisdictions.

This past week, New York Attorney General Letitia James, who campaigned on a promise to “get” Mr. Trump, began taking steps to seize some of his assets.

Mr. Trump and his co-defendants, including sons Eric and Donald Trump Jr. and other executives, owe $467.3 million, levied by Democratic New York Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron after Mr. Trump’s civil fraud conviction.

To obtain a bond, they need to post collateral covering 120% of the judgment, or about $557.5 million, according to his lawyers.

So far, 30 bond issuers have said no, this is too much. Besides, most of Mr. Trump’s assets are in real estate, which is not liquid.

Too bad, Ms. James says. Guess he’ll have to sell them off and take a beating in what Mr. Trump calls a “fire sale.”

Even if the former president and current Republican front-runner is eventually exonerated, he could never recover the millions lost from dumping properties.

If you want someday to destroy a political opponent in order to “save democracy,” you might want to take notes.

All I can say is, the U.S. Supreme Court, which yawned at Mr. Navarro’s appeal while he was facing prison, had better weigh in on this unprecedented political persecution happening before our eyes.

After all, there’s a “democracy” to save, or better yet, an erstwhile self-governing republic.

This article was originally published by The Washington Times.

Robert Knight is a former Los Angeles Times news editor and writer and was a Media Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. This column was originally published by The Washington Times.

He has been published by the Wall Street Journal, National Review, the Christian Post,,,, and many others.  He has co-authored three books and written 10, including “Liberty on the Brink: How the Left Plans to Steal Your Vote” (D. James Kennedy Ministries, 2020) and “The Coming Communist Wave: What Happens If the Left Captures All Three Branches of Government” (D. James Kennedy Ministries, 2020) . 

You can follow him on Twitter at @RobertKnight17, and his website is