Beneath the surface of the entire debate, however, is the long-standing philosophical premise of the left that everything is political and there always is a politically correct position.
With the memo released February 2 by the House Intelligence committee, and now preoccupying politicians and the media, the spotlight shines on a long-simmering conflict in America: the liberal-left’s use of the justice system to overturn “unacceptable” election outcomes. Of course, that is not the interpretation by Democrats, who charge Republicans with “politicizing” justice. (The FBI and Department of Justice, whose actions during the Obama administration are exposed in the memo, agree.) Beneath the surface of the entire debate, however, is the long-standing philosophical premise of the left that everything is political and there always is a politically correct position.
Republicans are in the majority in the House of Representatives, of course, meaning that they chair the House Intelligence Committee and have a slight majority on it as well. They decided to prepare a memo for the House at large on an occurrence during the 2016 Presidential election. Namely, that the FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) applied for a court order permitting a wiretap on one of then-candidate Donald Trump’s campaign advisors. The FBI and the DOJ received that permission and a renewal of it three times.
In each case, they had to show “probable cause” for surveillance. They succeeded, but what evidence of “probable cause” did they present? The memo alleges that they presented a “dossier” on Trump that had been commissioned by a law firm closely connected with Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee. The outfit commissioned to prepare the dossier in turn used the services of a former British intelligence officer. Among other troubling details, he is reliably quoted as declaring himself “desperate” to defeat the Trump candidacy. Aside from that, though, the 35-page dossier has been called into question. For example, it introduced to the world the story that Trump while in Moscow had gotten prostitutes to urinate on the bed where the Obamas had slept.
Former FBI director James Comey called the dossier “salacious and unverified.” Oddly, though, he signed the request for the surveillance—and the “dossier” was offered as pivotal to probable cause.
Not a single corroborating smidgeon of evidence, from anywhere, ever has tended to confirm that report. It was born in the “dossier.” Former FBI director James Comey called the dossier “salacious and unverified.” Oddly, though, he signed the request for the surveillance—and the “dossier” was offered as pivotal to probable cause. Still, the FBI had to present corroborating evidence. They offered a story that appeared on Yahoo that seemed to raise the same suspicions as did the dossier. Unfortunately, it turns out that story was planted with the Yahoo reporter by the author of the dossier.
But the FBI, according to the memo, knew but did not reveal to the court that this “corroborating” story was just a leak from the dossier’s author. Nor that the dossier was commissioned by a law firm connected to the Clintons and the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Nor that the author was a declared opponent of the Trump candidacy.
The memo was released by the Intelligence Committee to 435 Congressmen and guess what? Someone leaked its existence to the media. Demand built for the memo, referred to and described repeatedly, to be released to the public. The committee’s chairman, Devin Nunes (R.-CA), released the memo, pending, as required by law, no objection from the President over a five-day waiting period. During that delay, the Democrats and liberal-left media protested furiously (to put it as mildly). The Democratic head of the Senate, Charles Schumer, and the Democratic head of the House, Nancy Pelosi, demanded that Nunes be removed from his position as irresponsible, anti-American, possibly treasonous. They cried that release of the memo would undercut public confidence in the FBI and in the American justice system itself.
President Trump did not veto release of the memo, and, on February 2, it was made public. The mainstream media found this almost unbearable. The New York Times did offer readers the text of the memo, but only a version heavily “annotated” by the editors. The evening news and talk shows were about nothing else. (Now that the memo is out, and every bit as damaging as they feared, Democrats are trying to laugh it off as a “Nothing-burger.”)
The explicit message of the memo is the duplicitous obtaining of the wiretap warrant on a minor, temporary Trump campaign advisor. The legendary Andrew Breitbart, creator of Breitbart News, our era’s most powerful challenge to the liberal-left media, had a characteristic question after hearing a long argument. “So?”
Out of the multiple allegations in the memo and the mudslide of charges and countercharges that will sweep over us in weeks to come—and aware that we do not yet have the full context—few of us may reach a firm independent conclusion about “Memogate.” The Intelligence Committee knew that. And the Democrats know it. And now, there is talk of the Intelligence Committee releasing a counter-memo from its Democratic members. That will not make the picture any clearer.
The most likely result of the memo is an impression upon the public’s mind that the FBI and DOJ have been exposed as biased, unreliable, and “out to get” President Trump. The FBI is not the neutral, non-political, justice-pursuing organization that we were brought up to revere.
But ask of a folly only what it accomplishes. The most likely result of the memo is an impression upon the public’s mind that the FBI and DOJ have been exposed as biased, unreliable, and “out to get” President Trump. The FBI is not the neutral, non-political, justice-pursuing organization that we were brought up to revere.
The political payoff is obvious. The fervent prayer of Democrats, the liberal-left in general, and the mainstream media is that the investigation into an alleged conspiracy between Russia and the Trump campaign ultimately will bring down the Trump presidency. The investigation early on was turned over to a “special prosecutor,” a resort when the DOJ under a given administration (in this case, President Trump) is viewed as too biased to conduct the investigation. Chosen as special prosecutor, of course, was former FBI director Robert Mueller. For almost a year, now, he has pursued his investigation, casting a shadow over the Trump presidency, holding out to Democrats the tantalizing hope that he will come up with grounds to impeach and convict the President and reverse what the liberal-left views as the hideously unacceptable verdict of the 2016 election.
But now, of course, if Mueller comes forward, at last, with a case against President Trump, it will be put before a public that no longer views the FBI as the white hats. After all, Mueller is a former director of the very FBI that used trickery and duplicity during the election to “get” Trump. The special prosecutor is not nonpartisan nor a representative of justice. He is just the FBI still trying to get Trump.
That will be an illogical, unwarranted inference. Mr. Mueller had nothing to do with the wiretapping of the Trump campaign. It was his successor, James Comey, who signed the petition for wiretap permission. As did the DOJ. What a grotesque perversion of logic, cry the Democrats! What unjustified guilt by association! And how wrong to impugn the Mueller investigation!
Since its release, every phrase in the “memo” has been and will continue to be dissected and argued. There are claims by the FBI that the memo leaves out material information and distorts other information. Pundits are claiming that the FBI was right to withhold from the court that a Clinton- and DNC-connected law firm was behind the dossier. Individuals had to be protected. A few pundits dare point out that the liberal-left has tirelessly charged the justice system with political bias, racism, suppression of freedoms, and suppression of political protestors—and now denounces the Republican sacrilege of questioning the purity of the FBI in this one case.
President Trump, permitting public release of the memo, drew a distinction between rank-and-file FBI agents daily doing their job and the FBI and DOJ leadership, politically appointed by former President Barrack Obama. FBI and DOJ leaders, of course, are political appointees and it was at that level that the successive applications for approval of wiretaps were made.
A couple of observations:
In Washington D.C., where a preposterous 91 percent of the electorate voted for Hillary Clinton, in 2016, and less than 5 percent for Donald Trump, Republicans might well raise questions about the role of the bureaucracy, even the FBI, in the election. Is the notion of a viscerally Democratic “deep state” in the giant federal bureaucracy so far-fetched? How should Americans who elected President Trump view the 19 out of 20 Washingtonians who went for Hillary Clinton?
It is better to lift the lid now on the appalling stink, if it exists, if an imbedded liberal-left federal bureaucracy ever and always throws its weight behind the Democratic cause of ever-more government, ever-more concentrated federal power, and ever-more determination to stifle the stubborn resistance to that agenda by the American electorate.
At least twice, now, after losing an election (1972 and 2016), the liberal-left in cooperation with its mainstream media troops has turned to the justice system to overturn the election. They succeeded in the case of Richard Nixon. “Watergate” is registered in the annals of the Democrats and media as a historic triumph.
Much more is at stake. At least twice, now, after losing an election (1972 and 2016), the liberal-left in cooperation with its mainstream media troops has turned to the justice system to overturn the election. They succeeded in the case of Richard Nixon. “Watergate” is registered in the annals of the Democrats and media as a historic triumph. They could not live with election of a candidate despised by the left for decades as anti-communist who defeated the most socialist candidate in American history till that time, George McGovern.
In the 2016 election, a candidate loathed by the media as politically incorrect in every way won the votes of the American people. To rectify this electoral disaster, Democrats and the mainstream media again turned to the justice system to gain what they failed to gain at the polls.
Given this gambit, is it surprising that the Republican counter-move is to discredit the justice system? If Democrats are using the justice system to “trump” the electoral system, then the justice system is fair game for partisan attack. Democrats won with Watergate. It remains to be seen who will win this round.
Are short-term political gains on both sides being weighed against the damage to the reputation of justice? (What do you think?) Democrats and the mainstream media cry out, now, that the “memo” undercuts the credibility of justice. But…it was they who reached for the justice system to overturn an election result they could not abide.
They will protest: this IS a matter for justice! But any election in modern times, beginning with the 1960 election of John F. Kennedy, now viewed by responsible historians as outright stolen at the polls, could have been challenged in the justice system. In 1960, Nixon resisted his party’s urging to challenge the election outcome, saying he would not cast doubt on the system. I think he was dead wrong; be that as it may, so far only the Democrats have chosen this tactic.
The U.S. Constitution, of course, creates three independent branches of government—executive, judicial, and legislative—as a check on excesses of any given branch. And the attempt by one branch to co-opt another (in this case, the legislature co-opting the judiciary) against the third (the executive) is not new. Democrats hope to use the justice system to find grounds for impeachment and conviction of a president. The grounds, at the very worst? That a foreign power (Russia) in some way may have involved itself in the election on the side of the Republicans. The voters who put Trump in office have no clue what that involvement might have been. Nor, in fact, does Robert Mueller. So exactly how decisive could such influence have been in the months of campaigning, debates, 24/7 news and opinion, and a country riveted on debating the candidates and issues?
Nevertheless, the liberal-left, as soon as the election results were in, and steadily throughout the first year of the Trump presidency, have made their central public issue the “Russia probe.” No day goes by without strenuous efforts to keep it alive. To them, an election is only one step in choosing a new president; if the outcome is simply “unacceptable,” then a mere vote doesn’t validate it. The next step is an extended legal challenge. What conclusion could be drawn by voters who elected Trump? That the American justice system at the highest levels is just another arena of partisan politics.
Is the debasement of justice merely an unfortunate complication of the 2016 election? The secular trend of the political left has been to view all issues and conflicts as political: law enforcement (suppression of minorities), sexual relationships (exploitation of women), communications (social media as a political weapon), immigration (struggle for new voters), climate change (government control over energy), patriotism (struggle over political meaning of the national anthem), marriage (political battle over its definition), language (politically correct or not), Hollywood (nothing but politics), speech (campus speech codes), and literature (assailing the European, white, male canon) to name but a few.
You may believe an employer offers you a job, you accept or decline it, and you are making a trade. No, the true perspective is that of the exploiter and the exploited—a political power relationship. You may think your marriage is a partnership with your spouse. No, the true perspective is that one (the male) is exploiting the other (the female). You may think you are expressing your reasoned view on a topic. No, the true perspective is that you are expressing your racial, economic class, sexual political interests. It is political, all of it, in every waking moment, as seen by the postmodernist-left (sometimes forthrightly labeled “neo-Marxist”).
If the U.S. political system disappoints the Far Left, it will take to the streets in demonstrations, including Antifa violence, marching, burning and looting, toppling statues, shooting down police officers. That is just politics-by-other-means because, for them, everything is politics.
In summary, the pinnacles of law enforcement and justice in America are now down-and-dirty in politics. A spasm of Republican resistance, such as the memo, calls forth liberal-left protests over “politicizing the justice system,” but it is they who have been eager to treat the justice system as inherently political.