Dastardly Stalinist Democrats have made it illegal to watch television, leading the country “towards the greatest constitutional crisis since the 1850s” or a potential “civil war” unless Georgia’s legislature overhauls state law to allow a future president to pardon Donald Trump.
At least that was conservative media’s take on Trump’s fourth indictment, handed down late Monday night by prosecutors in Fulton County, Georgia.
The case is one of the most serious facing the former president. Georgia prosecutors accuse Trump and colleagues of a racketeering scheme intended to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. But on the right, where Trump leads in presidential primary polls despite three previous indictments, talking heads described the latest charges as a sinister plot to keep Trump from office.
“Stalin would be proud” of the Fulton County indictment, claimed right-wing radio host Mark Levine during a Monday night appearance on Fox News. (Not mentioned during the broadcast: emails from the January 6 committee show Levin chatting with John Eastman, a Trump attorney who was also charged in the Georgia racketeering case.)
Other commentators suggested that prosecutors were setting off a potentially catastrophic backlash against the left.
“Civil war,” tweeted media personality Tim Pool (who, in fairness, has authored similar posts for years).
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich also took to Fox News to warn that “we are drifting towards the greatest constitutional crisis since the 1850s,” Media Matters reported. Gingrich also opined that the latest criminal charges against Trump represent “a desperate last ditch effort by a corrupt machine to destroy their most dangerous opponent.”
Some conservative voices claimed the indictment of some of Trump’s attorneys on election interference crimes foretold a crackdown on lawyers writ large.
Jenna Ellis, a Trump lawyer indicted in Fulton County for alleged racketeering offenses, tweeted that “the Democrats and the Fulton County DA are criminalizing the practice of law. I am resolved to trust the Lord and I will simply continue to honor, praise, and serve Him.”
Other Trump fans claim the indictment imperils even more Americans for innocuous activities.
“Apparently illegal in America now,” tweeted former One America News Network personality Liz Wheeler, listing out activities mentioned in the indictment like “Telling people to watch TV,” “Asking for phone numbers,” “Renting rooms at the Capitol,” “Advocating for signature verification,” and “Tweets.”
“It’s not just Trump they’re coming after,” Wheeler wrote. “They’re coming next for our free speech if we dare dissent.”
The indictment does not claim that tweeting is illegal. It claims that Trump and allies used Twitter during an extensive effort to overturn a presidential election. Nevertheless, Wheeler and other figures on the right have repeated the refrain that the indictment might criminalize watching television.
“Everyone should read the Georgia indictment to discover how nonsensical it is,” tweeted conservative columnist Gary Abernathy. “This is actually one of the counts—apparently, sending a tweet encouraging people to watch TV is a crime.”
That is not true, as the indictment (or even the screenshot Abernathy posted) reveals. The indictment describes Trump’s promotion of an election-denying OANN segment. Trump’s hyping of the segment is not described as a crime, but as an overt act in furtherance of a conspiracy, much as renting a car is not illegal, but might be relevant to a criminal case if the rental car is used in a series of bank robberies.
Some talking heads suggested radical action to block a Trump conviction. “I think this is so dangerous to the very survival of the republic that it has to be stopped,” Gingrich said on Fox.
Another Monday night Fox guest, Mike Davis, pointed to the difficulty of securing a pardon in Georgia. If convicted on the state’s RICO statute, Trump could neither be pardoned by a president nor Georgia’s governor.
“Under the Georgia law, there is a statute that limits the Republican governor’s ability to pardon, and I think that the legislature in Georgia needs to amend that statute and give Governor Kemp the ability to pardon in this situation because this is clear election interference,” Davis said.
“It is clear Democrat lawfare by Democrat prosecutors where they are trying to have Democrat prosecutors, Democrat judges and Democrat juries and Democrat hellholes decide the next presidential election instead of the American people.”