Having Team Biden’s competent hands at the helm makes it even more amazing that we survived four years of Donald Trump. Never mind the bottomless incompetence, if the only scandal that came out of the Trump years was Ginni Thomas’s insurrectionist behavior and her husband’s not-exactly-subtle attempt to use the SCOTUS to protect her, that would be scandal enough for any other presidential administration to have achieved everlasting infamy. With the Trumps however, this scandal will have to get in line, take a number and then get in an even longer line.
The January 6 insurrection didn’t occur in a vacuum. The reason Trump and the entire GOP desperately needed Trump to remain POTUS – regardless of the election’s actual outcome – is because Trump controlling the Department of Justice (part of the Executive branch) is the ONLY way Trump can guarantee himself (and his Republican co-conspirators) that they’ll NEVER be prosecuted for a massive criminal conspiracy to defraud We The People of our free and fair election results. Turns out, controlling the DoJ is the ONLY way We The People can guarantee ourselves that Trump – and every single Republican who enabled him in any way, shape or form – gets prosecuted for that very same massive criminal conspiracy.
That puts Merrick Garland right at the crux of the matter: will America continue to be the greatest experiment ever in human self government or will we shrug off democracy because we didn’t want to offend the vocal but violent white minority who were dead set on imposing permanent minority rule upon the rest of us – and who intended to use the rule of law itself to do their dirty work?
There’s no middle ground here. Our perception of justice IS “justice” – the equal enforcement of the rule of law. If we perceive unequal enforcement then that’s all the matters. Justice asserting that it’s doing its job correctly only carries weight if We The People accept its assertions. The moment we question them? It means the DoJ’s integrity is in question; the damage is already done.
Bill Barr’s DoJ – like Rod Rosenstein’s and Jeff Sessions’ Justice Departments – might as well have advertised how corrupt they were. To Sessions’ credit, he did recuse himself from the Trump-Russia probe that became the Mueller Report. But then, Sessions knew when he recused himself that he’d be caught out soon enough if he didn’t. Here’s where the deeper Republican conspiracy seems to have kicked in – and worked behind the scenes to our collective detriment.
The progressives all assumed that Rod Rosenstein was our bulwark against Trumpian corruption. We all assumed the Mueller Report, once released, would begin the painful process of shoving all the toothpaste back into the tube. We assumed – as the “adult” Republicans kept assuring us – that they, not team Trump, were really in control of things. Boy, did we have it all wrong!
Rod Rosenstein was a metastasizing cancer dressed up as the cancer’s cure. Turns out Rosenstein himself did one of the biggest disservices to justice of all. As Trump’s henchmen and lackeys grabbed control of the levers of power in DC, our intelligence community was actively investigating Trump’s relationship with Russia – with Putin especially. There were considerable leads. There was the Steele Dossier’s tantalizing dirt. When Rosenstein oversaw the creation of Robert Mueller’s team, it appeared that despite Donald Trump, justice was being done.
Ah, but, Rod Rosenstein wasn’t an honest actor. Still isn’t.
Rosenstein was instrumental in keeping the Mueller team’s scope as narrow as possible – to only the Trump campaign’s possible involvement with Julian Assange and Wikileaks.
Had that been the extent of Rosenstein’s villainy, it’d be bad enough. It was far worse. Judging by Rosenstein’s actions (I can’t know what was in his head but I can sure as hell make an educated guess), he knew there was lots more evidence of lots more criminality beyond that scope. And he must have known that evidence would tie Team Trump to Team Putin – or feared what might happen if such a connection was made. Had Rosenstein been looking for the Truth, he would have found it easily. Instead, under Rosenstein’s corrupt direction, we (law enforcement) looked away.
As Robert Mueller’s team began their investigation into whether or not the Trump Campaign conspired with Russian players in order to gain the presidency (which is one hundred percent illegal!), Rod Rosenstein told Mueller’s team not to worry about the counter intelligence angle because the FBI was handling it. Then he told the FBI to stand down on the counter intelligence investigation because Team Mueller was on it. Now, why on earth would the acting Attorney General of the United States do such a thing? Whose interests could he possibly be serving?
It ain’t We The Peoples’.
At least, that’s our perception of Rosenstein’s actions. It looks for all the world to us like Rosenstein is serving corruption’s interests. Treason’s. My personal perception of Rod Rosenstein – regardless of whatever truth finally comes out about him – is that he was corrupt and he corrupted justice. It would take a bigger mountain of evidence against him to persuade me to question the mountain of evidence already looming over him. I’m dubious such a mountain exists.
When Bill Barr took over from Rosenstein, despite all the empty-headed, history-denying insistence that Barr would finally put the institution first, the Department of Justice put even more distance between their work and actual “justice”. Barr was the consigliere Trump had dreamed of – his Roy Cohn. There was even the kinky sex angle. Barr’s dad ran the private girl’s academy in NYC that hired and nurtured Jeffrey Epstein before he became “Jeffrey Epstein”. From every conceivable angle, Bill Barr at Justice meant zero justice was ever going to happen.
Again – that’s my perception of justice and, really, perception of justice is “justice”. My perception of corruption is just about as good as actual corruption. To regain its integrity, the DoJ would have to directly address my perceptions of its corruption regardless of whether they were corrupt or not. As they are corrupt…
The same principle applies to beauty and racism. Beauty’s in the eye of the beholder, right? It’s not up to the beautiful to adjudge themselves “beautiful”. They’re too close to the subject to be objective.
And, how can we possibly trust a racist’s opinion as to whether or not they’re a racist? Their perspective’s suspect. A far, far better judge would be anyone subjected to the racist’s racism. Only people who’ve never experienced bigotry perceive the possibility of bigotry as a question. Anyone who’s ever experienced bigotry imprints that feeling – of being prejudice’s target – on their soul.
The great expectation when Biden won the presidency (after we veered away from the cliff we were speeding toward), was that he would bring in a Department of Justice genuinely interested in justice. Donald Trump’s criminal behavior wasn’t subtle. He didn’t do it in the shadows. He brazenly violated multiple laws right in our faces.
We know there are prosecutors dedicated to restoring the DoJ to its pre-Trump settings. Some of them preceded Merrick Garland (whose nomination the Republicans held up for as long as they could – I wonder why…?) Garland himself brought in plenty more. No one has questioned the integrity of anyone below Garland at Justice.
In February, Carey Dunne and Mark Pomerantz, the prosecutors overseeing the Manhattan DA’s criminal investigations into Trump’s tax cheating, suddenly quit after newly elected DA Alvin Bragg chose NOT to prosecute Trump despite overwhelming evidence. In his resignation letter (released to the public last week), Pomerantz expressed “no doubt” that Trump “committed crimes”. “His financial statements were false, and he has a long history of fabricating information relating to his personal finances and lying about his assets to banks, the national media, counterparties, and many others, including the American people,” Pomerantz reportedly wrote.
My betting is – it’s my last hope that Merrick Garland is, in fact, doing something other than lamenting the fact that there’s nothing to do – that the fact that no one at Justice has quit like Pomerantz did (because Donald Trump isn’t being prosecuted) means something. Surely, one of those passionate, young public servants feels just as ardently as Pomerantz does that “Bragg’s decision not to move ahead with prosecuting Trump ‘will doom any future prospects that Mr Trump will be prosecuted for the criminal conduct we have been investigating’.”
We need Merrick Garland to act. We need the Department of Justice to enforce the rule of law equally – something that’s never happened in America; it’s time. After having been repeatedly burned by our own hopes, the left is reluctant to put much faith in “institutionalists” like Garland who seem to care more about the institutions than democracy. Or justice.
Hey, that’s just my perception.