Listen To You Tell Me Texas Friday 12/15/17
Can faith in the United States Department of Justice ever be restored? That’s a question that now hangs in the air, giving off an odor that is increasingly strong and increasingly unpleasant.
The question should never have to be asked. Going back to the Romans, statues depicting Lady Justice show her holding a set of scales – weighing the support and opposition to the case before her – while she wears a blindfold. It’s the blindfold that’s important. When standing before Lady Justice, who you are and what station you hold is not supposed to matter.
The blindness of Lady Justice is an idealistic vision that has never been, and likely never will be, fully realized. But America’s greatness is attributable in large measure to our valiant attempt toward that ideal. It is fair to say of justice in America that we have never been perfect but that we have – with acknowledged lapses – almost always tried.
As a result, until recently, most people saw the DOJ as apolitical.
That changed during the Obama years. Examples abound. Here are a few.
Attorney General Eric Holder refused to pursue a civil suit under the Voting Rights Act against members of the New Black Panthers who had engaged in unmistakable voter intimidation at a polling place in Philadelphia in 2008. The Assistant U.S. Attorney on that case resigned in disgust.
The Justice Department never prosecuted – and in the opinion of many never even seriously investigated – former IRS official Lois Lerner. Ms. Lerner, by her own inept admission, deliberately delayed or unfairly denied applications for tax exemptions by conservative political groups. When pressed on the matter by Congress, Ms. Lerner took the Fifth.
Germane to the controversies that swirl today, it is evident that then FBI director James Comey decided in advance in 2016 not to prosecute Hillary Clinton on any of the multiple charges against her for which there was ample probable cause. Based on evidence obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, Mr. Comey by all appearances shaped his investigation into Mrs. Clinton accordingly.
All of which and much more brings us to December 2017. Today as you read this, a pack of blatantly partisan hyenas posing as Justice Department lawyers – encouraged and cheered by a pack of blatantly partisan hyenas posing as national journalists – pursues a duly elected president on the strength of surveillance of dubious legality that flowed from a discredited dossier bought and paid for by that president’s political opponent.
Such a thing in America was, until only recently, unthinkable. By comparison, the misdeeds of Richard Nixon amount to an unpaid traffic ticket.
Hindsight is 20/20. It is now clear that President Trump should have appointed someone other than Jeff Sessions to be attorney general. The Justice Department is the thickest, nastiest, murkiest and most malodorous corner of the swamp. It will take someone with enormous mental toughness to drain it.
Jeff Sessions is clearly not that guy.
The president should act accordingly – and swiftly – politics be damned.