Justice in the Wake of 'Russian Collusion'

For those who believe in the possibility of justice, the Trump administration represents hope.  The perhaps crass and emotional chants to "lock her up" during the Republican presidential primary and subsequent general election were not just expressions of frustration with what many saw as a lawless and corrupt administration, they were expressions of hope – hope that a Justice Department would enforce the law.

The Obama administration's sheer number of eerily similar scandals paints a dark picture of a politicized Justice Department corruptly protecting administration friends and those with whom the administration was ideologically oriented.  The first prominent act of Obama Justice set the standard – sanction rather than prosecution of unlawful activity – by refusing to enforce a Bush administration judgment against the New Black Panther Party for violating the Voter Rights Act.  The violation was obvious, evidenced by photographic evidence and supported by numerous corroborating witnesses, including the testimony of a veteran Democratic civil rights activist.

Subsequent scandals each followed a predictable template.  The administration would first deny any wrongdoing in scandals ranging from Fast and Furious, IRS targeting, Solyndra, Benghazi, Clinton emails, spying on journalists, and the VA waiting list, followed by righteous indignation at any suggestion of political corruption and protracted efforts to impede investigators, often with lost, misplaced, or incomplete records provided to investigators, and ending always with a conclusion of some "possible" low-level impropriety, but no real civil or criminal consequence.  This despite the fact that lives were lost as a result of administration decisions or actions in at least three of these scandals.      

Obama Justice is better known for the scandals in which it found no wrongdoing than any singular effort to enforce the law.  Other than (1) employing isolated instances of racially tinged emails, and dishonestly interpreted statistics applied to paint state and local law enforcement as racist, and (2) engaging in the organized "shakedown" of American businesses through the use of "deferred prosecution agreements" and "non-prosecution agreements," purchased with billions of dollars in record-breaking fines – a practice that was so palpably outrageous that former attorney general Michael B. Mukasey observed that the Obama administration appeared to be turning the Justice Department into a "profit center for the government," what was the Obama administration Justice Department's great contribution to law and order?

The Obama administration not only politicized, but weaponized the Justice Department.  The administration wielded the department to accomplish social change, render legislation it did not like impotent (thumbing its nose at the expressed will of the people as reflected by their representatives in the legislative branch of government), and repeatedly shield and protect unlawful political corruption.  To a Justice Department for which the law is meaningful only if it comports with, or advances, an important social objective, laws are only political tools.  What better use can a tool serve than to protect the true believers?

Apart from intentionally blind sycophants, it is obvious that Hillary Clinton should have been charged for setting up a private server from which she transacted classified government business, and through which she transmitted classified documents and information, including to and from the president.  The machinations through which a corrupt and compromised Justice Department feigned integrity and honor while betraying the public trust to exonerate Clinton are now obvious and horrific.

James Comey publicly excused Hillary Clinton for "gross negligence" in the handling of the nation's classified materials, asserting that while troubling, such conduct did not arise to the level of a chargeable offense, notwithstanding that rank-and-file government and military personnel are often charged for what appear to be far less "reckless" and unintentional acts.  He never explained why destruction of evidence, and a series of obviously inconsistent statements, did not rise to the level of obstruction of justice or perjury.  

Justice Department immunity deals for two top Hillary Clinton aides, Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson, included a side arrangement obliging the FBI to destroy their laptops after reviewing the devices.  The FBI not only sanctioned, but participated in the destruction of evidence.  In addition to ensuring that the evidence could not be used in future legal proceedings, the FBI's actions granted to every prospective defendant an obvious defense that potentially exculpatory evidence was destroyed by law enforcement, tainting possible future prosecutions.

It is apparent, too, that IRS director Lois Lerner and Attorney General Eric Holder, both held in contempt of Congress for actions that could be characterized as criminal obstruction of justice, should have been investigated and possibly prosecuted but for a Justice Department seeking to protect a president and his trusted advisers.  Individual Justice Department operatives who sanctioned and even participated in the destruction of evidence under the cloak of granting immunity to supposedly cooperative conspirators privately mocked the Clinton email investigation because the outcome was predetermined.

Ironically, the very weaponized Justice Department that the Obama administration loosed to first destroy candidate Trump and later hobble the newly elected president has stirred an outraged Congress, which is now taking its case directly to the people, shining a light into the dark depravity of an administration so diseased with the pursuit and exercise of power that it would fix more than a primary election and individual criminal investigations – it would attempt to fix a national election and, if unsuccessful, paralyze the new administration from uncovering the previous administration's wrongdoing. 

The public is turning against the Obama administration and media narrative of Russia collusion.  It won't be long before the public appreciates that Justice under the Obama administration was predisposed to obstructing rather than serving justice.  The common thread of obstruction binds Obama administration and subsequent Democratic delays, misstatements, losses of evidence, nondisclosure agreements, counterintelligence, and character assassination.  The Democrats want to hide the evidence of injustice and obstruction of justice for as long as possible – perhaps forever.

It is an oft-stated legal maxim that "justice delayed is justice denied."  It is for this reason that the Trump administration should hasten justice.  First, Attorney General Sessions should appoint a team of competent assistant U.S. attorneys to convene a grand jury to consider charges against Hillary Clinton and, if an indictment is returned, against Justice Department officials who by acts of commission or omission obstructed justice in that case. 

Second, the Senate should expedite approval of Trump nominations to Justice Department positions in order to wrest control of the department from Obama appointees.  Third, the Justice Department should appoint independent special counsel for the sole purpose of considering whether the Obama administration's investigation of Trump-Russia collusion was lawful, and specifically whether there exists credible evidence that such allegations were, in fact, part and parcel of a broader effort to generally obstruct justice. 

Fourth, Attorney General Sessions should consider broad grants of immunity to cooperative rank-and-file Justice Department staff.  Finally, President Trump should solicit from Congressional Oversight Committees recommendations for legislation making criminal the politicization of Justice activities generally and specifically criminalizing Executive Branch refusals to enforce or subvert the law.

Another common legal maxim provides that the pursuit of Justice should "avoid even the appearance of impropriety."  The American people hope future administrations will know that avoiding "the appearance of impropriety" does not sanction secretive impropriety protected by subsequent obstruction and corruption of investigations.