by Roger Kimball
The news Friday that the Department of Justice had decided not to charge former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe got me thinking once again about the legend chiseled into the façade of the Supreme Court: “Equal Justice Under Law.”
Is that what we have? Michael Horowitz, the Obama-appointed inspector general, concluded that McCabe had lied under oath. But as Andrew McCarthy noted last summer, “Government officials who leak while demonstrating their contempt for Donald Trump manage to land on their feet.” Like James Clapper, Obama’s director of national intelligence, McCabe left his government job to be a commentator on CNN.
Clapper, McCarthy pointed out,
is best known for lying to Congress about the government’s bulk collection of telephone metadata . . . and for discussing Steele dossier information with CNN shortly before the network published a report about it . . . CNN missed out on former Obama CIA director John Brennan, who falsely denied to the Senate that his agency spied on the chamber’s intelligence committee. Brennan, who said he was really sorry, was inked by MSNBC.
Contrast what happened with McCabe, Clapper, and Brennan with what happened to George Papadopoulos, who told the FBI he had met the international man of mystery Joseph Mifsud slightly before he had joined the Trump campaign when, in fact, it was slightly after he joined. Result: he is nabbed, disembarking from a plane at night, thrown into jail overnight, and was later sentenced to two weeks in jail.
Or contrast McCabe’s fate with that of Roger Stone, a former advisor to and pal of Donald Trump’s. Stone was subjected to one of Robert Mueller’s signature pre-dawn raids, hit with seven felony counts for allegedly obstructing Congress’s Russia investigation, lying, and threatening a witness (who later said he did not feel threatened). Prosecutors – including a couple who were on team Mueller – initially recommended a jail term of nine years – for a nonviolent first-offender.
A few days ago, news broke that the Justice Department had recommended a lighter sentence. The Left, true to form, went nuts.
“It’s only because Stone is a friend of Trump’s that he is getting special treatment,” etc, etc., as if three years in the slammer (which is what the revised recommendation amounted to) was something for Stone to celebrate.
But, as Kimberly Strassel noted in her Wall Street Journal column, the revised recommendation had nothing to do with Trump. “[T]he decision to reverse,” she wrote, “was made well before Mr. Trump tweeted, and with no communication with the White House.”
Enter Tomeka Hart, the foreman of the jury that convicted Stone. We never would have heard of her if she had not publicly slammed the Justice Department’s decision to seek a lighter sentence. “It pains me,” she said, “to see the DOJ now interfere with the hard work of the prosecutors.”
Google knows everything. It took only a few clicks to reveal that Hart is a left-wing activist and Trump hater. As The Hill reported, Hart referred to the president with a hashtag of “#klanpresident,” spoke about “Trump and the white supremacist racists,” and shouted “Shame, shame, shame!” at a protest outside a Trump hotel.
Now what? On Friday, Stone’s attorney asked again for a new trial (the initial request, on Wednesday, was denied). Stay tuned.
In her Wall Street Journal column, Strassel went on to say that the Justice Department’s revised sentencing recommendation shows Attorney General Barr “getting rid of politics in justice—as he promised. In his confirmation hearing, the attorney general vowed an ‘even-handed application of the law’ rather than judgments based on politics or favoritism.”
It would be nice to restore some faith in that lofty-sounding ideal chiseled into the pediment of the Supreme Court. I do believe that William Barr is endeavoring to recover the impartiality without which any Justice Department mutates into an injustice department. It was good news, for example, that the Justice Department announced Friday that it had engaged an outside prosecutor to review the government’s case against former National Security Advisor General Michael Flynn.
Flynn was set-up and ambushed by James Comey’s FBI at the direction of Robert Mueller. He lost his job, was bankrupted by the legal process-as-punishment attack, and pled guilty only because the FBI threatened to go after his son. To this day, we do not know who it was who leaked the transcript of Flynn’s call with Sergey Kislyak, then the Russian ambassador to the United States, to the Washington Post.
Flynn recently withdrew his guilty plea. It is anyone’s guess what Jeff Jensen, the U.S. attorney assigned with looking into Flynn’s case, will discover. I hope that he is exonerated and lavishly compensated.
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Roger Kimball is editor and publisher of The New Criterion and the president and publisher of Encounter Books.