Why is the Biden administration turning a blind eye to the Trump regime's crimes?

As more Trump revelations come to light, Biden ignores the situation. There's one big reason why

By Chauncey DeVega

Senior Writer

Published June 15, 2021 8:31AM (EDT)

Joe Biden and Donald Trump (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)
Joe Biden and Donald Trump (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)

The constant drip of "revelations" about the Trump regime's crimes are about to become a torrent and a flood. In all, these "revelations" are very much like a firehose tied in a knot that is about to burst.

Over the course of the last few weeks, it has been revealed that the Trump regime spied upon journalists at the Washington Post and CNN who were reporting on Russian influence in the 2016 election. 

The American people have also learned that the Trump regime's official policy of cruelty towards nonwhite refugees and migrants was even worse than publicly known: children were stolen from their parents by the United States government even when they could have been deported together as an intact family.

We now know that Donald Trump actually wanted the Army National Guard to be used as a protection force for his followers on January 6 as they gathered together prior to launching their lethal attack on the Capitol.

In keeping with his paranoia and aspirations to be an American Nero, Trump's loyalists at the Department of Commerce spied upon employees and members of the public deemed to be "disloyal" because they opposed changes to the United States Census which were designed to undercount nonwhite people, especially Hispanics and Latinos.

No longer the stuff of speculation, it is now an indisputable fact that Trump's campaign advisor Paul Manafort was sharing internal polling and other information with a known Russian spy during the 2016 presidential campaign.

In addition, audio of a 2019 phone call has been released in which Trump's personal attorney and emissary Rudy Giuliani explicitly attempts to intimidate the leaders of the country of Ukraine into participating in a disinformation campaign against then-candidate Joe Biden, with the goal of influencing the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.

Over the last few days, there have been more "revelations" about the Trump regime's apparent high crimes, abuses of power, and other misdeeds.

CNN and the New York Times have reported that following Trump's defeat in the 2020 presidential election, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows pressured the Department of Justice to find ways to overturn the results in order to keep Trump in power.

On Thursday, the New York Times reported that the Trump regime spied upon House Intelligence Committee Democrats (and their family members and staff) who were investigating the Russia collusion scandal.

This surveillance was ostensibly designed to stop "leaks" of "classified" and other "privileged information" to protect "national security." Although I would suggest that the real goal was to gain information about what the House Intelligence Committee knew about Trump's and his inner circle's contacts with Russian and other foreign agents. 

On Sunday, the New York Times also reported that in February 2018 the Trump regime ordered the Department of Justice to obtain the phone records and other information of then-White House attorney Donald McGhan and his wife. Such an order appears to be part of a larger pattern, whereby Donald Trump and his agents were obsessed with "leaks" and "traitors" and "disloyalty." 

How has the Biden administration responded to these continuous revelations about the Trump regime's obvious high crimes?

Instead of bringing the full force of the law and other punishments down upon the Trump regime (including members of the Republican Party in Congress), the response by the Biden administration — as seen with former Attorney General William Barr's memos on not charging Trump for obstruction of justice, Trump's IRS tax documents and information about his D.C. hotel, the E. Jean Carroll lawsuit and other examples (most notably not creating a truth commission to fully expose and publicly document the horrors of the Age of Trump) — has largely been tepid. 

Why is the Biden administration behaving this way?

Put simply, Joe Biden sees himself as a healer, a unifier, a type of secular national priest, and someone committed to consensus and bipartisan politics. This is his core temperament.

He truly (and incorrectly) believes that by "moving forward" from the Trump regime, and implementing public policies which help the majority of Americans, the country's wounds will be healed and neofascism defeated.

Joe Biden and the Democratic Party's leadership have convinced themselves that properly investigating the Trump regime and its Republican allies and enablers will be a distraction from their policy agenda.

Joe Biden and his administration also have an unwavering faith in and commitment to the stability and strength of America's political institutions. For them, the country's core institutions and their legitimacy must be protected at all costs.

But this involves an error in reasoning and assumptions: what if the institutions are already deeply flawed, and Trumpism only accelerated their decline (and perhaps even collapse)?

Moreover, the Biden administration and the Department of Justice are committed to maintaining precedent and protecting the presidency from what they see as undo limitations on the power of the office. Such a standard will only empower future authoritarians and dictators-in-waiting.

The above explanations are largely correct. However, they overlook the unifying and ominous explanation that is hiding in plain sight.

It is more likely than not that the true extent of the Trump regime's crimes are so great and horrible that the Biden administration and senior members of the Democratic Party have either actively decided or come to a tacit understanding that it is in the best interest of the country to somehow conceal them — or at the very least, to let these heinous acts leak out slowly, as to then be lost down the memory well.

In plain English, something about this whole thing stinks.

The image that comes to my mind is that of President Biden walking behind a Trump-Republican elephant with a shovel to pick up its endless waste. No matter how fast and carefully Joe Biden and his helpers scoop up the Trump-Republican elephant's turds, there is always a stink in the air and some residue on the ground.

Democracies fail a bit at a time, and then all at once. The United States is in a crisis moment. To slow the march of neofascism requires a great reckoning. Part of that reckoning demands a full public accounting of the Trump regime and its allies' and enablers' crimes against democracy and the American people.

In a new essay at Common Dreams, Thom Hartmann summarizes this idea of a great reckoning:

Prosecuting Trump, Barr, and the other corrupt members of his administration and people around him is not a matter of political payback. It has very little to do with Donald Trump or the Republican party, in fact: it's about the future of our republic.

They must be held accountable.

President Biden and Congress must appoint an independent, special prosecutor (or equivalent) and set up an office within the Justice Department to look into crimes committed in the White House during the previous four years.

If we fail to do this soon, it will become practically and politically impossible. And if America fails to hold its rich and powerful to account, particularly the man who corrupted the highest office in the land, we will have truly gone down the same path as an increasingly corrupted ancient Rome, leading straight to the death of our republic, too.

Are the American people mature enough to grapple with the true scale of what Donald Trump and his regime afflicted upon them and the country? I do not know. But the American people must learn the whole truth through public hearings and commissions, investigative reporting, from whistle-blowers, and all other available means if the country's democracy is to be saved.

Joe Biden may have convinced himself that it is best to protect the American people from such dangerous truths. And if Biden has indeed come to such a conclusion, it will be a stain on the legacy of his presidency and a note made in large print on the epitaph of American democracy.

By Chauncey DeVega

Chauncey DeVega is a senior politics writer for Salon. His essays can also be found at He also hosts a weekly podcast, The Chauncey DeVega Show. Chauncey can be followed on Twitter and Facebook.

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