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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

 

Scandal, Corruption, Lawbreaking — And So What?

Victor Davis Hanson
The FISA-gate, Clinton emails, and Uranium One scandals are sort of reaching a consensus. Many things quite wrong and illegal were done by both Hillary Clinton and her entourage and members of the Obama agencies and administration — both the acts themselves and the cover-ups and omissions that ensued.

Remember, in the FISA-gate scandal such likely widespread criminal behavior was predicated on two premises: 1) certainty of an easy Clinton victory, after which the miscreants would be not only excused but probably rewarded for their zeal; 2) progressive hubris in which our supposedly moral betters felt it their right, indeed their duty, to use unethical and even unlawful means for the “greater good” — to achieve their self-described moral ends of stopping the crude and reactionary Trump.

The wrongdoing probably includes attempting to warp a U.S. election, Russian collusion, repeatedly misleading and lying before the FISA courts, improperly surveilling American citizens, unmasking the names of citizens swept up in unlawful surveillance and then illegally leaking them to the press, disseminating and authenticating opposition smears during a political campaign, lying under oath to Congress, obstructing ongoing investigations, using federal funds to purchase ad hominem gossip against a presidential candidate, blatant conflicts of interests, weaponizing federal investigations, trafficking in and leaking classified information . . . The list goes on and on.

The State Department is now involved. Apparently anyone who was a former Clinton smear artist can pass fantasies to a sympathetic or known political appointee at State. And if the “dossier” fits the proper narrative and shared agenda, it gains credence enough to ensure that it is passed up to senior State officials and on to the FBI. Perhaps a private citizen with a grudge against a rival should try that as well. These scandals will grow even greater before various congressional investigations expire....
I think the Democratic fallback position will be to point to the career carnage at the FBI and DOJ as punishment enough.

Director Comey was fired. Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was forcibly retired. FBI lawyer Lisa Page was reassigned and demoted. FBI general counsel James Baker resigned. Senior agent Peter Strzok was reassigned and demoted. The former FBI director’s chief of staff, James Rybicki, resigned. Mike Kortan, FBI assistant director for public affairs, took retirement. Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr was reassigned and demoted. Justice Department’s counterintelligence head, David Laufman, resigned. A cadre of others “unexpectedly” have left, allegedly (or conveniently) for private-sector jobs. Such career implosions do not happen without cause.

Voters would only grow more cynical if some Americans were allowed to abuse constitutionally protected civil liberties, and to lie to the Congress, the FBI, and the courts, while the less connected others go to jail for much less. Without a judicial accounting, it will be impossible to clean up the hierarchies of the FBI and the DOJ.

Indeed, absent accountability and punishment, the new modus operandi would be for any lame- duck incumbent administration to use federal agencies to enhance the campaign of its own party’s nominee. It would be only logical to conclude that criminal acts used to help a successor would be forgotten or rewarded under the victor’s tenure.

...
We can't allow this to end with a standoff, where the people who committed crimes and tried to remove a freely elected President get away with it. It's not good for the country.

Attorney General Sessions must find muscular, ambitious, and combative prosecutors (preferably from outside Washington, D.C., and preferably existing federal attorneys), direct them to call a Grand Jury, and begin collating information from congressional investigations to get to the bottom of what is likely one of gravest scandals in post-war American history: the effort to use the federal government to thwart the candidacy of an unpopular presidential candidate and then to smear and ruin his early tenure as president.

Only another prosecutorial investigation, one way or another, will lead to resolution, take the entire mess out of the partisan arena, and keep the anemic Mueller investigation honest — with the full knowledge that if its own investigators have violated laws or used tainted evidence or in the past obstructed justice, then they too will be held to account.


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