Trump has declared war on the GOP, The Department of Justice and the FBI. It all seems a bit much – over the top, hysterical and shrill. Desperate? Paranoid?
I certainly think it comes across that way and its not the tactics I would advise. But then I would have advised against so very much of what he’s done.
Who goes on a podium and says the Department of Justice and the FBI are corrupt? I mean it’s the Department of Justice – of the United States of America – their name is their mission statement. It’s the Federal Bureau of Investigation – aren’t these guys Elliot Ness’s – the untouchables. It sounds like a third world accusation, one so blatantly ludicrous the immediate reaction is to laugh at the desperation the statements imply.
However, what if he’s right in his accusations? Even a little bit.
As a nation we’ve always believed that while politicians are often lousy, hypocritical and even a bit dirty we’ve generally taken comfort in the political structure gifted to us by our Constitution. You know, that document that created the Separation of Powers – whereby the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government are three distinct and independent branches of government – creating a system of inherent Checks and Balances to prevent abuse of power.
I think the lines between the three have gotten a bit more blurry than our founding fathers would be comfortable with.
The Justice Department has provided us with almost endless examples of questionable actions. The foot-dragging and sometimes outright refusals by the DOJ to release Hillary’s emails in the face of not only Freedom of Information requests but actual court orders is alarming. The meeting between Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton aboard a private plane in Phoenix just days before the FBI announced its decision on the Hillary investigation was more than questionable. The head of the DOJ meets privately aboard a jet on the tarmac with the husband of the party being investigated (and the man who gave Lynch her start in federal politics) just days before the FBI releases its decision and we are supposed to accept that they talked – for thirty minutes – about grandchildren?
On the FBI front I find matters even more disturbing in many respects. The FBI was considered by many to be the last bastion of honesty and ethics within the federal government. Director Comey managed to shatter this reputation in one press conference. Mind you it wasn’t just the press conference but the revelations post the press conference that cemented things. For starters, Comey found Clinton guilty of essentially every act they investigated. When I watched Comey’s announcement I thought to myself “wow, they are actually going to recommend indictment – at least strip away her security clearance”. Instead, he did what no other FBI Director has done. He actually cleared her by making a statement on prosecution – as in there being none. Director Comey gave a clear path to allow Lynch at DOJ to announce the matter closed with no need for review. Do note that he did make this damning statement “To be clear, this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences. To the contrary, those individuals are often subject to security or administrative sanctions”. To restate, the FBI does not decide who will be prosecuted. They investigate. Period. The matter is then turned over to actual prosecutors – like the DOJ.
Later revelations got worse. Turns out the FBI granted immunity to five Clinton staff members – and agreed to destroy the evidence (laptops) when finished. These aides included Cheryl Mills, former Chief of Staff and Mrs. Clinton’s personal attorney along with Heather Samuelson, former senior advisor. Both women were present as attorneys for Clinton during the FBI Clinton Interview despite being interviewed as witnesses and offered immunity. I keep waiting for leaks on this whole mess from senior FBI agents. I think the leaks are coming but perhaps not until retirement of either the senior agents or Director Comey.
The matters I listed above are just a few amongst many but they highlight the blurring of lines between agencies and the willingness to co-operate in order to achieve a result – in this case the clean bill of health for Mrs. Clinton.
I find these activities and actions to be deeply disturbing and symptomatic of how incestuous things have become in Washington. I find these actions alarming.
Maybe Trump isn’t just paranoid.
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