Justice As A Political Weapon - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Opinion

Justice As A Political Weapon

A commentary by J. F. Kelly, Jr. | Posted: Friday, May 10, 2019 10:47 am

Many people of my generation long for a return to the days of cordial relations between political leaders. I have in mind the sort of relationship that existed between President Ronald Reagan and House Speaker Thomas “Tip” O’Neil, two leaders with strong political differences but who treated each other with respect, cordiality and good humor. Given the bitterness and anger that pervades political discourse today, however, I doubt that such a return to friendlier times is imminent.

Liberals are disposed to blame Donald Trump for this descent into ugliness while Trump supporters are quick to blame it on liberals’ refusal to accept the legitimacy of his election. There’s enough blame to go around. I wrote in 2016 and since that Trump was among the least qualified of the GOP candidates for the most powerful office in the world but he bullied and insulted his way through the nomination process and won. I said at the time that the GOP missed a golden opportunity to defeat a deeply-flawed Hillary Clinton and recapture the White House.

In spite of her baggage, she was heavily favored to defeat Trump. The liberal establishment considered her to be the rightful heir to the presidency. She had, after all, stood by her embattled husband through his impeachment ordeal and indiscretions and loyally served as a member of Barack Obama’s cabinet after he defeated her for the nomination in 2008 and then declined to choose her as his running mate. But wonder of wonders, Trump won, thanks probably to then-FBI director James Comey’s meddling in the 2016 election by re-opening her email investigation on the eve of the election.

It wasn’t supposed to happen that way and the liberal establishment’s initial disbelief turned to rage. First they blamed it on the electoral college system. When that excuse failed to gain traction, they turned to the Russian-Trump campaign collusion theory. The 22-month Mueller investigation was supposed to provide proof of that theory. But it did not, leaving Democrats again in disbelief and disarray, split over whether to pursue impeachment anyway, presumably based on the president’s personality, communications style, manners and past business dealings, or to focus on trying to find a nominee for the fast-approaching 2020 campaign among the score of candidates who might somehow be able to beat Trump, an incumbent presiding over a booming economy with the lowest unemployment rate in half a century and a productivity growth rate currently at 3.7%.

Enter William Barr as their next target. Finally, the nation has an attorney general who seems able to act as one after the likes of Jeff Sessions, who passed on his main responsibility, Loretta Lynch, who allowed her authority to be usurped by Comey when he ruled out prosecuting Clinton for security violations that would have gotten anyone else fired and possibly imprisoned and Eric Holder, who campaign unashamedly for Obama’s re-election. Robert Mueller punted the issue of possible obstruction of justice to the attorney general and Mr. Barr promptly determined that the evidence didn’t support any.

But Mr. Barr went much further. He told Congress that he intends to find out more about the origins of the Mueller investigation and how a FISA warrant was obtained to spy on American citizens and the Trump campaign. That’s very bad news for Democrats. There are numerous investigations into these matters ongoing and Mr. Barr wants answers. Former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe is under investigation for lying to federal investigators and former counsel James Baker for leaks to the media. A U.S. attorney is investigating FBI surveillance of Trump campaign associate Carter Page. There are several criminal congressional investigations ongoing regarding the Steele dossier and one by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz into possible FBI abuses of the FISA process. The broader question is whether government and party officials used the intelligence and federal investigation process as a political weapon and whether FBI officials used their awesome power for political purposes.

Mr. Barr has raised issues that could prove more than just embarrassing to those being investigated but could result in criminal indictments. “We have to stop using the criminal justice system as a political weapon,” Mr. Barr told Congress. Apparently, he suspects that Democrats did just that, which explains why they are feverishly trying to discredit the tenacious attorney general. The first step in that process, of course, is to call him a liar.