Lee Smith: Impeachment ‘Isn’t About Trump,’ but ‘Punishing the American Voters’

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) waves a gavel during the first session of the 117th Congress in the House Chamber at the US Capitol on January 3, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis / POOL / AFP) (Photo by TASOS KATOPODIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Democrats’ impeachment push against former President Donald Trump is a manifestation of the ruling elite’s contempt for those it views as its subjects, said Lee Smith, journalist and author of The Permanent Coup: How Enemies Foreign and Domestic Targeted the American President, on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Sunday with host Joel Pollak.

“It is not about Trump,” Smith stated of the impeachment pursuit against the 45th president. “It’s about punishing the American voters. ‘We’ll tell you who to vote for.’ This is what happened in 2016, right? This is what Russiagate was about. ‘How dare you not vote for Hillary Clinton? … Because you didn’t, we’re going to make you feel pain. We’re going to use the president you elected as a mechanism.'”

“By putting Trump in pain, they used him as an instrument to hurt the American public. … It’s not just going to hurt Trump’s supporters. The purpose all along has been to undermine the foundations of the republic. That’s what they’ve done and that’s what impeachment is about. It’s to further humiliate the American voter for thinking that they have any choice over who may govern them,” Smith added.


Lee drew a parallel between the aftermath of the Peloponnesian War and Democrats’ seizure of the White House and both chambers of Congress in a column titled, “The Thirty Tyrants.”

Lee wrote:

[Sparta established a] friendly government Sparta [i]n Athens upon defeating it after 27 years of war in 404 BCE. For the upper caste of an Athenian elite already contemptuous of democracy, the city’s defeat in the Peloponnesian War confirmed that Sparta’s system was preferable. It was a high-spirited military aristocracy ruling over a permanent servant class, the helots, who were periodically slaughtered to condition them to accept their subhuman status. Athenian democracy by contrast gave too much power to the low-born. The pro-Sparta oligarchy used their patrons’ victory to undo the rights of citizens, and settle scores with their domestic rivals, exiling and executing them and confiscating their wealth.

The Athenian government disloyal to Athens’ laws and contemptuous of its traditions was known as the Thirty Tyrants, and understanding its role and function helps explain what is happening in America today.

Lee said the current government is primarily composed of “an anti-democratic faction” similar to “the 30 Tyrants that governed Athens.”

“The American elite, they resent democracy,” Lee remarked. “They despise democracy. They despise, in particular, not just democracy abstractly as a political system. They despise the people that they feel only deserve to be ruled over. The idea that they should have to share power with other Americans — by nature of our system, by nature of the Constitution — is repugnant to this elite that now governs the country, and the majority of it is in the Democratic Party, of course, but there are elements in the Republican Party.”

Lee lamented that Republicans seemingly prioritize the political welfare of Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) over the Democrat party’s and broader left’s attempt to criminalize political dissent.

“The big problem is that there is no Republican Party at this point to stop them,” Lee determined. “It’s basically the American public all on its own. … The Republican Party is concerned about saving Liz Cheney’s bacon from the fire. That’s what it cares about. While it’s been saving Liz Cheney … the left, the press, and other institutions have been trying to redefine Trump’s supporters — 75 million people — as ‘domestic terrorists.'”

The election of Trump and commensurate spread of nationalist and populist ideologies accelerated the coalescence of a ruling elite broadly unified through its financial ties to and political support for China, Lee assessed. He wrote:

The pro-China oligarchy is not competing with the country from which it draws its wealth, power, and prestige. Chinese autocracy is their model.

What seems clear is that Biden’s inauguration marks the hegemony of an American oligarchy that sees its relationship with China as a shield and sword against their own countrymen. Like Athens’ Thirty Tyrants, they are not simply contemptuous of a political system that recognizes the natural rights of all its citizens that are endowed by our creator; they despise in particular the notion that those they rule have the same rights they do. Witness their newfound respect for the idea that speech should only be free for the enlightened few who know how to use it properly. Like Critias and the pro-Sparta faction, the new American oligarchy believes that democracy’s failures are proof of their own exclusive right to power—and they are happy to rule in partnership with a foreign power that will help them destroy their own countrymen.

Lee concluded, “What does history teach us about this moment? The bad news is that the Thirty Tyrants exiled notable Athenian democrats and confiscated their property while murdering an estimated 5% of the Athenian population. The good news is that their rule lasted less than a year.”

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