By J.D. Gordon
As time expires on President Trump’s first term and a turbulent election looms, Attorney General William Barr addressed the elephant in the room at the Justice Department.
During a speech for Hillsdale College on Sept. 16th, Barr noted that its career prosecutors can “sometimes become headhunters” who fuel the “criminalization of politics.” Alarmingly, he said “I see it everyday.”
Though he didn’t name names or cite cases, there’s a straight line to Russiagate.
A 30-something FBI lawyer named Kevin Clinesmith pled guilty last month to altering a government e-mail in order to improperly obtain a FISA Warrant against Carter Page, thereby gaining a window of surveillance into the Trump Campaign. Similarly young DOJ prosecutors, Jonathan Kravis, Aaron Zelinsky, Adam Jed and Michael Marando resigned en masse from the February trial of longtime Trump associate Roger Stone after Barr rebuked their grossly excessive 7-9 year recommended sentence for a 67-year-old, first-time, non-violent offender.
Barr compared the situation to school children: “Letting the most junior members set the agenda might be a good philosophy for a Montessori preschool, but it’s no way to run a federal agency.” Wow.
About the FBI, he said: “These people are agents of the Attorney General. As I say, FBI Agents, whose agent do you think you are?”
It’s a good thing he’s speaking up, because ‘Lock ‘Em Up’ Politics could destroy America.
That mindset is typical in Eastern Europe and Latin America where many iron-fisted rulers and their cronies get elected then cling to power indefinitely because they’ll get prosecuted, imprisoned or forced into exile once they step down.
Why do people think Vladimir Putin has run Russia since 1999? Embattled Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko has been in power since 1994. Ukraine has seen ex-leaders locked up or forced into exile.
The past six presidents of Peru have been jailed, exiled or committed suicide when the police showed up. In recent years, past leaders of Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guatemala and El Salvador have been collectively indicted, jailed and/or forced into exile. Venezuela’s thuggish strongman Nicolas Maduro hangs on for dear life. Literally.
When political systems use limitless investigations in search of crimes to imprison heads of state and their associates; it’s a powerful deterrent for good, honest people to get involved. Those societies are then left with actual criminal types to fill the void in politics, leading to endemic corruption, destruction of the free press and police states as a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Incredibly, that slippery slope is where we’re headed.
When I was the Trump Campaign’s Director of National Security in 2016, I frowned upon the “lock her up” chants against Hillary Clinton made at rallies. They were not only undemocratic, but even Open Secrets.com shows that since 2008 the vast majority of political donations from DOJ officials go to Democrats. It seemed that game — if played, would be stacked against Republicans.
Yet the level of viciousness was beyond my imagination. As a retired Navy Commander and former Pentagon spokesman, I worked with DoJ and the FBI over two decades and trusted their judgment. Times have changed.
Using the Trump-Russia collusion narrative as a pretext, the Mueller and Comey Gangs took a years-long deep dive into 50-plus Trump associates like me, probing our lives beyond anything related to Russia. Anyone who could be indicted was. Six former colleagues were — three of whom were tripped up by the investigations themselves, commonly seen in perjury traps. None were charged with Russian collusion, the stated reason for the investigations. Mueller, Comey, et al acted as modern day Praetorian Guards, responsible for a downward spiral in America. Barr wisely told CBS last year that “Republics have fallen because of a Praetorian Guard mentality.”
The Trump-Russia investigations were a predatory racket, costing millions of dollars in personal legal bills. Daily leaks, including against me, to The Washington Post’s Roz Helderman, were often twisted into pretzels by the media to connect dots which didn’t exist or insinuate the worst about innocent people. That led to life-altering defamation against Trump associates carried out by hundreds of people in the U.S. and foreign governments, Democratic National Committee, Congress, media and activist groups, as carefully documented by the Capital Research Center. In the court of public opinion, it was the Red Queen’s reign of terror in Alice in Wonderland, “Sentence first, Verdict afterwards!”
Revelations from Judicial Watch that Mueller’s team which comprised of numerous Democrat donors “accidentally” wiped dozens of their government phones before the DOJ Inspector General could examine them was just a minor detail in the big picture of malfeasance.
Of course the person most heavily targeted for destruction was President Trump. Many countries would call it a coup attempt.
The anti-Trump bloodlust as graphically depicted in 2017 by alleged comedian Kathy Griffin had its legal analysis equivalent shown nightly for years on CNN and MSNBC, recklessly demonizing the duly elected president, his team and fantasizing about their imprisonment.
Blinded by rage and self-righteousness, out-of-control prosecutors and media allies may find themselves destroying our country.
If White House occupants have good reason to believe they will be unjustly investigated, prosecuted and imprisoned once leaving, that’s a powerful disincentive for a peaceful transfer of power. Especially in the event of a close, contested election following months of civil unrest and deadly riots across the country. What a nightmare. It must be stopped.
J.D. Gordon is a former Senior National Security & Foreign Policy Advisor to Donald Trump. Previously, he served as a Pentagon spokesman during the George W. Bush Administration and is a retired Navy Commander.