GINGRICH: Has the FBI crossed the Rubicon?

Attorney General Merrick Garland listens to a question as he leaves the podium after speaking at the Justice Department Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

On Monday, Buck Sexton told Jesse Watters:   

“It almost feels like a preemptive coup… this is meant to prevent Donald Trump from being able to run again… This is the Rubicon being crossed. This is something we’ve never seen before. This is something that is outrageous. And the usage of the FBI in this way is really the nail in the coffin for so many Americans as to whether you can trust the FBI or trust the DOJ. Clearly not on political matters.”   

On CNN on Tuesday, George Conway, no friend of Trump even though he is married to former Trump senior counselor Kellyanne Conway, repeated “they’ve crossed the Rubicon here.”  

Crossing the Rubicon references an historic event with a specific meaning. To truly cross a Rubicon is to take a step which changes decisively the circumstance in which politics and government occur.  

Author Theodore White in his book “Caesar at the Rubicon: A Play About Politics” captures the factors weighing on Caesar in January, 49 BC as he decides whether to cross the Rubicon and capture Rome through a Civil War.  

Caesar is conflicted because he would like to operate legally and follow the rules, which forbid anyone from bringing an army closer to Rome than the banks of the Rubicon.  

The Rubicon is a small river in northwestern Italy. Yet, that small stream was the constitutional boundary of the Roman Republic. To cross that stream with an army was to violate the constitution of the Republic. Any leader who brought an army into Rome without authorization was in effect a traitor and an outlaw.  

Caesar had spent nine years fighting in Gaul (from 58 to 49 BC). He had been stunningly successful and had pacified the huge area (which makes up modern-day France, Holland, Belgium, and the western side of the Rhine). He had also twice invaded Britain.  

During the nine years Caesar was gone from Rome, his enemies gathered around the other great general of the era — Pompey.   

Caesar’s opponents feared him and had decided to accuse him of a series of crimes. They intended to convict and promptly kill him. The Roman Republic had been decaying for several generations. The rule of law had increasingly given way to bribery, riots, murders, and other methods of getting results without regard to the traditional system which had made the Republic such an astonishingly powerful and profitable system.  

In White’s version, Caesar negotiates with his opponents. He wants to retain a sense of legality and offers to give up his armies if they will change the law to ensure he will be physically safe.  

His opponents feared Caesar more than they feared war. They refused to offer him the legal guarantees he needs to preserve his life from his enemies.  

He finally decided to move his army across the Rubicon. He moved on Rome with such speed that his opponents, including Pompey, panicked and fled the city. The Civil War had begun and would only end when Caesar had defeated all his opponents and stood astride the Mediterranean as the unchallenged leader.   

So, Caesar crossed the Rubicon, and the weakened Roman Republic died. The Roman Empire was founded on its ruins. It was an outcome for which no reasonable person could have hoped.  

I am not sure if the FBI crossed the Rubicon at Mar-a-Lago, but it clearly further weakened the American people’s trust of the justice system. Later seizing a cell phone from a congressman further threatened the entire constitutional process of the separation of powers.  

The six-year period of corrupt deep state dishonesty by the FBI, many of the intelligence agencies, the Democrats in Congress, and the fake news media have brought us to the brink of a constitutional crisis.  

I think we are wavering between restoring the rule of law and the Constitution and decaying into a third world banana republic system of greed, dishonesty, political power, and law breaking on a grand scale.  

If the FBI can raid a former U.S. President’s home — and bar his lawyers from the premises — the FBI can do it to anyone.  

Crossing a Rubicon unleashes forces which can be extraordinarily destructive. Only once since our founding, during the American Civil War, has that kind of Rubicon been crossed.  

We must seek some way to come together and reopen a sense of dialogue.  

The alternative is far too destructive and consequential.