Crossing the Rubicon at Mar-a-Lago | Opinion

In response to the outrageous invasion of Trump's home at Mar-a-Lago, several people have suggested the deep state in general—and the FBI in particular—have "crossed the Rubicon."

On Monday, Buck Sexton told Jesse Waters:

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 repeated that "they've crossed the Rubicon here."

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

Callista and I had the opportunity to visit the Rubicon in 2014. It is a small river in northwestern Italy. That small stream was the constitutional boundary of the Roman Republic. To cross it with an army was to violate the constitution of the Republic. In fact, any leader who brought an army into Rome without authorization was in effect a traitor and an outlaw.

We stood by a statue of Julius Caesar on the eastern side of the river. The statue looks West across the Rubicon toward Rome. Imagine those few days leading up to Caesar's decision to cross the river.

The actual decision to cross the Rubicon is captured brilliantly in Theodore White's small book Caesar at the Rubicon: A Play About Politics.

Caesar had spent nine years fighting in Gaul (from 58 to 50 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.

Caesar's opponents feared him and 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 and the rule of law had increasingly given way to bribery, riots, murders, and other methods of getting results without regard for the traditional system which had made the Republic so astonishingly powerful and profitable.

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 refuse, because they fear Caesar more than they fear war.

Julius Caesar finally decided (probably on Jan. 10, 49 BC) to move his army across the Rubicon. He moved on Rome with such speed that his opponents 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. We know he won because we still recognize the month of July in his honor. In fact, Caesar and his family were so successful we also recognize August, which is named for Emperor Augustus, Caesar's nephew and successor.

Donald Trump
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 10: Former U.S. President Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower to meet with New York Attorney General Letitia James for a civil investigation on August 10, 2022 in New York City. James Devaney/GC Images/Getty Images

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 in 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, Democrats in Congress, and the fake news media have brought us to the brink of a constitutional crisis.

Mark Levin says we are already in a post-constitutional America.

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.

Lord Acton warned that power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

We are watching the corruption spread like a malevolent cancer eating the structure that guarantees our freedoms.

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.

Every American upset at the depth of deep-state dishonesty and corruption has an opportunity this November to reassert the Constitution and the rule of law.

That is the only answer that is legal and constitutional.

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.

For more of Newt's commentary, visit Gingrich360.com.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.