By LYDIA BERGLAR
Following Senator Colton Moore’s call for a special session to investigate District Attorney Fani Willis, conversations with Dade County citizens revealed various attitudes about the situation. Some voiced appreciation for Moore’s actions, some believe Moore is simply attempting to draw attention to himself, and some are concerned about the indictments but dislike Moore’s approach.
One Lookout Mountain resident, Rob Jenks, posed many questions that may be helpful for citizens to ask themselves as they assess this (or any) political situation. Likely, people’s answers will be as varied as the reactions to Moore’s statements.
In a similar vein to one of David Young’s comments from last week’s article, Jenks said, “I do know that there’s something really good about this. The good news is, if this actually goes to court, it’ll be the first time that the evidence that Dinesh D’Souza and Mike Lindell and others have found will be heard in court and weighed by a court of law. I’d say, let it be heard.”
Agreeing with one of Tom McMahan’s statements, Jenks said, “I think everybody should read the 98 pages of indictment and ask if it seems reasonable, plausible, or ridiculous.”
He continued, “The prosecutor in Fulton County has admitted that each of these allegations by themselves are not necessarily crimes, but in the aggregate, they present a RICO case. We don’t tail Donald Trump every day, nor any of these other defendants, so there’s no way we can know that their lives are pristine. However, we have to look at these charges and ask: Is the timing politically motivated? Citizens have asked and should ask, ‘What did these 19 people do?’ They can read the counts for themselves.”
In a similar vein to McMahan’s statement about letting the due process of law play out, Jenks said, “Jury instructions are always to be impartial, factual, and to not get emotional. People on the left and the right have become so emotionally attached to one position or another that they would forgo the rule of law in order to win.”
Jenks noted that four indictments are simultaneously going on in multiple states, saying, “They appear to be timed and designed to distract, intimidate, and sap Trump’s presidential campaign. They seem to be consuming the 2024 election year. If there is iron-clad evidence, why wasn’t Trump tried two years ago? Why go an inch deep and a mile wide with four different indictments in four different venues instead of concentrating all firepower on the most heinous crimes he committed?”
In a similar vein as one of Young’s statements, Jenks questioned, “Where’s the proper jurisdiction? Is this a federal case or a state case? Trump’s attorneys have argued that it’s a federal case. Is Fulton County overreaching legally? These are questions we need to ask ourselves.”
Focusing on Trump, Jenks questioned whether we can discern his intent and mindset. “Did Trump believe that he lost the election and that he could pressure officials into changing the results? Or, did he believe that he won the election and was simply asking them to see if ballots were not counted that should have been counted? Do any of his public statements lead you to question his belief that he won? If you can’t say yes to that last question, then you’re saying that he has no First Amendment rights.”
He continued, “Does a candidate have no right to question election officials, their methods, their conclusions? [These indictments] say that Trump has no right to ask for forensic review to see if there was criminal activity, he has no right to suspect that anyone could ever act with criminal intent. We’ve seen how supercharged these elections are and how desperate many politicians are to hang onto power. Is there evidence of corruption throughout American political history? Yes. Is it isolated to one party? No.”
Assessing Willis and Moore’s complaints about her, Jenks asked, “Has Fani Willis done anything that would lead you to believe that she’s partisan? Has her demeanor led you to believe that she is anything but an impartial enforcer of the law?”
Following the Trump indictments, numerous sources are reporting poll numbers that show a decline in support of Trump. However, Jenks said, “If the world is basically relegated to a banana republic status, why wouldn’t polls be arranged in advance to play to the results? That’s happened in other countries. Is it reasonable to believe that the United States, NATO, or the EU will never be infected by a banana republic reality? It’s why, I think, a lot of younger people don’t vote. They believe that their ballot won’t be counted.”
Jenks mentioned one example of potential election corruption. “There’s a way to track your absentee ballot. I have nephews who sent absentee ballots in Southern California. They tracked them and said they were not counted.”
Jenks noted a historical instance of federal corruption influencing American media. In 1975, the president of CBS News from 1954-1961 admitted that the Central Intelligence Agency paid media to publish certain articles. Video footage is posted on YouTube under the title “Sig Mickelson (President of CBS News 1954 – 1961) talks about CIA.”
Jenks said, “Mickelson admitted that the CIA had approached him about placing false news stories in order to sway public opinion about foreign countries. Nobody thought the CIA would be engaged in that, but manipulating the media has been going on since 1954.” Therefore, Jenks asks, is it not reasonable to wonder if similar corruption exists today?
As covered in last week’s article, Moore describes Willis’ actions as “taking political prisoners.” Similarly, Jenks calls such indictments “weaponization of the courts.” He noted a historical example from the business world: The Tucker Automobile Company of the 1940s ultimately went under because the president, Preston Tucker, was consumed by a legal battle.
Due to the sale of stocks to fund production of vehicles, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission accused Tucker of fraud. He was acquitted, but not before the company’s stock had plummeted. Rumors flew that Tucker’s competitors had a hand in the SEC’s investigation.
According to Jenks, examples such as this mean that Americans should not be surprised to find corruption in our country.
He said, “There are a great number of elected officials who believe the U.S. Constitution is a living document that can be reinterpreted. They rightly discern that they can change the Constitution with the will of the people, but that requires people today to understand the intent. Why did the Founding Fathers set up our government the way they did?”
Reflecting on the unique form of government established by the Founding Fathers which has been called “The Great American Experiment,” Jenks said, “The view that sovereignty was with the people and was granted to elected officials on a limited basis was unique in the world. I think we’re seeing a lot of people in government roles who do not believe in that Great American Experiment.”
He described John L. Campbell’s book “American Discontent: The Rise of Donald Trump and Decline of the Golden Age” as a study of what Americans want from their government. “The more we ask for, the more freedom we give away. Dependency comes with ceding authority to the government. I keep thinking back to the saying that those who look to the federal government for their welfare should first look to the history of the American Indian.”
Jenks is an evangelical Christian, and his faith impacts how he approaches politics. He said, “Is politics dirty business? Yes. We understand why churches don’t want to get involved, but if Christians withdraw, evil comes in. What can you do if you find that there’s a ring of evil around you, whether it’s the media, universities, governments, etc.? If you read Scripture, would you anticipate such evil? Christians use the weapons of Ephesians 6, fasting and prayer–things that seem powerless to anyone else.”
Jenks explained that the power of a local magistrate holds meaning for those who do not approach politics with a religious worldview. “In the system of government that was put together by the Founding Fathers, your local government has received the most authority from you, and that diminishes as you go to the state and federal level. The law is structured so that if the sheriff of Dade County understands constitutional law, he can choose not to enforce an executive order from the governor of the state of Georgia. The Dade County government can choose not to enforce things that are deemed as unconstitutional (this would be the Georgia constitution or even the federal constitution).”
One successful example of pushback against unconstitutional government overreach is showcased in a documentary released this summer called “The Essential Church.” Jenks said, “It’s the story of John MacArthur’s church, Grace Community Church, in California. The government was trying to impose mandates on the church during COVID-19, but the government had no authority over the church. The church received huge fines, and MacArthur instructed attorneys to take the government to court. He said, ‘Let’s have a very public trial and let the truth come out.’ The next day, the case was dropped.”
Quotes from the documentary’s trailer include, “Thousands of people in the streets, but you can’t have church?…The hypocrisy of letting people riot helped us all understand one thing: This is not what they say it is…We wanted to attack the health order as unconstitutional. This wasn’t about health and safety. This was all about control and opposition to religious freedom.”
Agreeing with Moore that the Georgia indictments are bigger than Trump and that they set a precedent for the future, Jenks said, “Let’s say Trump is defeated. Will you then ever find someone who will stand up against the status quo and overwhelming push toward centralization? Now, globalization is not all bad. The European Union kind of ended Protestant-Catholic fighting in Ireland and stopped a lot of wars. But are human beings capable–without the grace of God–to resist the temptation of concentrated power and money?”
If readers have responses to the questions posed by Jenks, letters to the editor are welcome, as always.