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OPINION: Fulcher says ‘deep state’ out to get Trump

by CHUCK MALLOY
| April 12, 2023 1:00 AM

Crickets.

That’s the extent of what we have heard from the three senior members of Idaho’s congressional delegation immediately following the indictment of President Trump. While Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch and Mike Simpson were sending out press releases on other matters, other Republicans were expressing disgust over Trump being the first American president to face criminal charges.

In Idaho, Attorney General Raul Labrador and State Republican Party Chair Dorothy Moon were quick to issue statements, blasting Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg for going after Trump. Labrador said the actions “serve to further erode the trust our citizens have in the nation’s justice system.” Moon said Democrats “are willing to throw the rule of law aside in order to further their quest for power.”

One member of Idaho’s delegation who has spoken up about the former president’s indictment is First District Congressman Russ Fulcher. As he sees it, the indictment makes Trump the clear frontrunner for the Republican presidential race next year — if not seals the nomination.

“I’ll say yes — at least for now,” Fulcher told me. “It’s an eternity between now and the primaries. But without question, at a time when the congressional dialogue is on issues such as energy, Ukraine and the budget, the dialogue has changed overnight with the Bragg stuff. Across the Republican Party, and with some Democrats, this is seen as a bridge too far.”

And that’s not good news for anyone thinking about challenging Trump for the GOP nomination next year.

“I think where he’s going with this is that he wants to protect you, the American people, from what has happened to him,” Fulcher said. “I think that’s exactly what you’re going to see.”

Trump may have other indictments — from Georgia, the Jan. 6 investigation and the classified documents found at his Florida home — but those could serve to strengthen his campaign while galvanizing supporters.

“This one is on the system,” Fulcher says. “There’s tax evasion, Ukraine, the Ukranian phone call, Russian collusion, business fraud, his kids’ business fraud, the Stormy Daniels thing, campaign finances, treason and — by the way — the guy has been out of office for a while. We all know that Donald Trump is not a choir boy, but at the same time, there isn’t anyone else on the planet who is going to get that kind of attention.”

The latest chapter, Fulcher says, comes from a prosecutor who is struggling to keep violent crimes down in his home district. “It’s obvious that it’s political,” Fulcher says.

“And what Trump is going through is an example of what happens by going crossways with the system,” Fulcher says. “Remember how they got Al Capone … with a tax charge. If you have a corrupt enough system, and you are creative enough for long enough, you’ll find something. If everything is lined up, and the fix is in, don’t be shocked if there’s jail time (for Trump).”

The merits of the indictment are not the crucial issue, Fulcher says. “The end game is to find a charge. The deep state and swamp is real. The objection to Trump is not his policies, or Stormy Daniels for crying out loud. The blowback is that he threatens their existence.”

But not all is bleak — at least for prospective Republican presidential candidates, Fulcher says. “There’s Ron DeSantis, Mike Pompeo, Nikki Haley and Asa Hutchinson … these are legit folks and worthy candidates. On the Democratic side, there’s a president who’s not all there — that’s not a criticism, but an observation — and a governor who has destroyed the largest state in the country (California). They are in a jam.”

Fulcher said he has not given much thought to who he will support on the Republican side. But unless Trump ends up in prison, Fulcher sees the former president having a clear path to the GOP nomination.

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Chuck Malloy is a longtime Idaho journalist and columnist. He may be reached at ctmalloy@outlook.com.