Jędrzej Bielecki: Biden Takes on Trump

The FBI’s search of the former president’s Florida home means that the White House is heading for open confrontation with the billionaire to save American democracy.

This decision had to be made at the highest level. In recent U.S. history, there has been no case of law enforcement entering the private property of the former head of state. However, this is what took place on Monday night in Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump’s summer residence. From there, the FBI most likely took boxes of classified documents that should not remain in Trump’s possession. Yet given the political significance of such a move, which took by surprise the person of interest, the search warrant most likely came from Attorney General Merrick Garland. It was almost certainly not issued without Joe Biden’s approval.

This might be a prelude to a far more important decision of the incumbent president: bringing Trump before the Department of Justice for his stance on Jan. 6, 2021. According to a separate investigation conducted by a special congressional committee, the billionaire not only encouraged his supporters to go to the Capitol to stop the process of formally acknowledging Biden’s victory but also called upon state authorities to reverse the election results. So saving American democracy was at stake.

Trump, former U.S. president, has announced that FBI agents searched his residence in Mar-a-Lago, which, according to his son, Eric Trump, is part of the investigation into Trump’s having taken documents, related to his presidency, from the White House to his Florida residence.

Biden, however, must consider his subsequent plan of action on political, not strategic grounds. Will initiating criminal proceedings help Republican voters realize what kind of threat their candidate poses to America’s future? Or, on the contrary, will they think it is a provocation and become even more involved in supporting Trump?

There is no room for error since the opinion polls seem to be quite even: According to YouGov, if the election was held today, Biden would receive 45% of the votes and Trump, 43%. The White House is clearly calculating that Republicans, seeing the threat that Trump poses, will bet on a more responsible politician like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis or the former Vice President Mike Pence, who at a key moment sided with democracy. So the hope remains that having decided to openly confront Trump, Biden has calculated his reasons well. At a moment when Russia is attacking Ukraine and China is threatening Taiwan, the victory of those who oppose democracy in the U.S. would probably mean the end of the free world.

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