Duncan Hunter's deluded defense is pure Trump

Faced with a 47-page ind...

Posted: Aug 24, 2018 9:06 AM
Updated: Aug 24, 2018 9:06 AM

Faced with a 47-page indictment that details -- in excruciating specificity -- allegations that he and his wife repeatedly misused campaign funds for personal use, Republican California Rep. Duncan Hunter Jr. offered up this response: This is all just one big Democratic conspiracy.

OK, I'm over-simplifying but not by much.

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"This is the Democrats' arm of law enforcement, that's what happening right now," Hunter said in an interview with a San Diego TV station. "It's happening with [President] Trump, it's happening with me. We're going to fight through it and win and the people get to vote in November ... I think they've used every dirty trick in the book, so it'll go to court when they want it to."

(Did I mention that Hunter gave this interview on his way to a fishing trip in advance of his court appearance on Thursday?)

Hunter sounded a very similar note in a formal statement in response to the indictment. "The fact is that there is a culture operating within our Justice Department that is politically motivated," he said. "We are seeing this with President Trump; we are seeing this with my case. This is evidenced by the fact that after two years of investigating, the Department of Justice decided to take this action right before my election."

Before we go any further, let's go over a few facts, shall we?

Fact #1: The Justice Department is run by Jeff Sessions, a former Alabama Republican senator. He was nominated to that job by President Donald Trump, a Republican. His nomination as attorney general was approved by the Senate, which is controlled by, wait for it ... Republicans.

Fact #2: The charging document in Hunter's case alleges that he and his wife overdrew their personal checking account more than 1,100 times in a seven-year period as they spent lavishly and well beyond their means. It lists 200 examples of the Hunters allegedly dipping into funds for personal use. 200!

Those facts -- just the two! -- fundamentally undermine Hunter's pushback on the charges. And yet, there will be a bloc of people (and Hunter undoubtedly knows this) who will believe his denial solely because it is premised on the idea of a so-called "deep state" conspiracy against prominent conservatives. This may well be what legal (and political) fights look like in the age of Trump -- one side armed with facts, the other armed with conspiracy theories.

In lieu of a factual pushback against the charges against him, Hunter is simply throwing his arms around Trump and telling conservatives "See, I'm just like him! We're both victims of the deep state!" Aside from making the direct comparison between himself and Trump, Hunter's official statement makes several other clear attempts at mimicking Trump:

  • Hunter describes the investigation as a "witch hunt."
  • He makes mention of the fact that Hillary Clinton was never indicted for her role in establishing a private email server when she served as secretary of state
  • He throws out some red meat for conspiracy theorists -- noting that two prosecutors involved in his case went to a fundraiser at a private home during office hours.

In short; Hunter is laying the image of himself as a Junior Trump -- a victim of a corrupt Justice system -- on very, very thick. If Hunter were a comedian, he would not only tell the joke, but then come into the audience and explain it to you, and then borrow a cocktail napkin and diagram exactly why the joke works. Like, dude, enough already! We get it!

There's one big difference between Trump and Hunter, of course. Hunter has been indicted and faces a legal proceeding in which a jury and a judge will decide whether prosecutors are running some "deep state"-sting operation, or whether Hunter and his wife drastically abused the powers of his office. Trump has not -- and, according to Justice Department protocols, can't be. (A sitting president can't be indicted according to the Justice Department; special counsel Robert Mueller has reportedly told Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani that he abides by that view.)

Trump, because of that status, is free to say what he likes about his own Justice Department and the alleged "deep state" conspiracy embedded within it who is out to ruin his presidency. Those claims can be made without a shred of proof. Hunter will face a much higher bar. It remains to be seen if he can come close to meeting it.

Regardless of how Hunter's case ends up, however, you can bet that he won't be the last Republican politician who, when backed into a corner, leans on the conspiracy theories that Trump has helped to build and fortify during his life in politics. The idea of a being a victim of an unforeseen -- but hugely complex and nefarious -- state apparatus is a powerful one. Like all good conspiracy theories, it can't be disproven. Any fact that runs counter to it is yet more evidence of how dug-in the "deep state" perpetrators actually are.

These are the lesser-known effects of Trumpism on the country. And now that the genie is out of the bottle, it won't easily go back in.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 320292

Reported Deaths: 7390
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22299271
Hinds20782424
Harrison18455317
Rankin13933282
Jackson13740249
Madison10276225
Lee10068176
Jones8475167
Forrest7845153
Lauderdale7263242
Lowndes6524150
Lamar636688
Lafayette6315121
Washington5427138
Bolivar4842133
Panola4671110
Oktibbeha466398
Pearl River4610148
Marshall4576105
Warren4440121
Pontotoc426173
Monroe4163136
Union415977
Neshoba4066180
Lincoln4009113
Hancock387687
Leflore3516125
Tate342586
Sunflower339491
Pike3374111
Alcorn327474
Scott320374
Yazoo314771
Adams308586
Itawamba305178
Copiah299966
Coahoma299084
Simpson298689
Tippah292468
Prentiss284461
Leake272474
Marion271480
Covington267283
Wayne264842
Grenada264087
George252451
Newton249064
Tishomingo232469
Winston230382
Jasper222148
Attala215173
Chickasaw210759
Holmes190574
Stone188833
Clay187954
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174232
Yalobusha167940
Smith164134
Walthall135547
Greene131934
Lawrence131424
Montgomery128943
Noxubee128034
Perry127538
Amite126542
Carroll122330
Webster115132
Jefferson Davis108534
Tunica108127
Claiborne103130
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96729
Franklin85023
Quitman82316
Choctaw79218
Wilkinson69632
Jefferson66328
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 549394

Reported Deaths: 11328
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson810851571
Mobile42180832
Madison35733524
Tuscaloosa26186460
Shelby25638255
Montgomery25103615
Baldwin21921314
Lee16301176
Calhoun14725329
Morgan14650286
Etowah14192364
Marshall12465230
Houston10798289
Elmore10302214
Limestone10191157
St. Clair10166251
Cullman9975201
Lauderdale9621250
DeKalb8978190
Talladega8467184
Walker7351281
Autauga7244113
Jackson6993113
Blount6957139
Colbert6418140
Coffee5650128
Dale4931116
Russell455241
Chilton4476116
Franklin432082
Covington4283123
Tallapoosa4137155
Escambia402380
Chambers3731124
Dallas3609158
Clarke353361
Marion3264107
Pike314878
Lawrence3135100
Winston283672
Bibb268664
Geneva258782
Marengo250566
Pickens237062
Barbour234460
Hale227078
Butler225071
Fayette219763
Henry194844
Randolph187744
Cherokee187545
Monroe181041
Washington170639
Macon163051
Clay160159
Crenshaw156157
Cleburne153744
Lamar147237
Lowndes142154
Wilcox126830
Bullock124642
Conecuh113830
Coosa112129
Perry108826
Sumter106032
Greene93734
Choctaw62125
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