From the highs of a jury finding the former President guilty of sexual assault without any evidence to the lows of a Justice Department report that found no evidence and a lot of bias in the Russian collusion investigation, Trump-haters operate under the assumption that the man deserves it no matter what. What will happen when these tactics are turned on someone else?
It’s a dizzying time to be a Trump-hater. Every day it seems there is cause for either celebration or mortification as the Orange juggernaut continues his third consecutive bid for the White House. Things move so fast that the big news of barely a few weeks ago, namely the indictment in New York City on creative, shall we say, felony charges, has been completely wiped away by two more recent developments. First, a New York City jury awarded E. Jean Carroll $5 million dollars, concluding that the former President had both sexually assaulted and defamed her after she accused him of rape. “I filed this lawsuit against Donald Trump to clear my name and to get my life back. Today, the world finally knows the truth,” Ms. Carroll said in a statement after the verdict, not mentioning that the same jury found that President Trump did not in fact raper her as she claimed. For his part, President Trump responded with a post on Truth Social, continuing to insist that “I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHO THIS WOMAN IS. THIS VERDICT IS A DISGRACE — A CONTINUATION OF THE GREATEST WITCH HUNT OF ALL TIME!” and claiming he would appeal. Progressives, perhaps needless to say, were thrilled with the outcome. The Guardian declared, “E Jean Carroll’s case against Donald Trump was a true victory, led by a brave, graceful, brilliant survivor of integrity and eloquence, tirelessly fought for by dedicated advocates and lawyers.” After recounting the many ways the case itself was “triggering,” V (formerly Eve Ensler), concluded “One woman standing up, speaking the truth glimmers the brave in each of us. She opens the space for another world where women might do more than dream of being safe and free. Glimmering happens when you call rape rape. When you speak the language that matches the crime. It happens when you put rapists on trial and not their victims, when you silence predators and exile them rather than giving them mega-media platforms. Our greatest glimmering will be making sure we never elect a charged predator to be our president again. Let the glimmering begin.”
Left unsaid is that Ms. Carroll presented no evidence that she had ever met President Trump and couldn’t even identify the year in which the purported rape occurred, claiming it was either 1995 or 1996. The best she could come up with was the testimony of two friends, neither of whom could identify the year themselves, who claimed she spoke to them contemporaneously after the incident. The case was only allowed to proceed because of a change in New York state law which seemed specifically designed to target President Trump. In other words, a person was found guilty of sexual assault in a civil case without even establishing the two parties had ever actually met one another, much less evidence that any kind of crime occurred, and the finding was facilitated by lawmakers pursuing strictly political goals. It’s question oft repeated, but what could possibly go wrong? The consensus of Trump-haters has always been that he deserves it, whether or not actual justice has been served. In their view, President Trump represents such a unique threat and is so uniquely awful that the ends justify the means whatever the case may be. They are, of course, entitled to their opinion, but rarely do they stop to consider what might happen once these precedents are applied to someone else. By this standard, what wealthy man or woman is safe from a completely spurious charge concerning events that might or might not have occurred decades ago? What is to stop someone who attended Harvard at the same time as Mark Zuckerberg from suing him for the same thing based only on a person’s word and a couple of friends who claim they told them something sometime? The standard for civil cases is known as a “preponderance of the evidence,” which one would normally take to mean some proof that the two people in question were in the same place at the same time at minimum, but somehow this case was decided in Ms. Carroll’s favor without any evidence at all, not even a date and time to verify. Progressives like to insist that women do not lie about these sorts of things, but that is impossible to believe when potentially millions of dollars are on the line. People have sold their souls for less, and it is only evidentiary and procedural barriers that have prevented widespread abuses of the justice system simply for monetary gain. Now, those barriers have been eroded based purely on hatred of one man, but it will not end here, nothing ever does. It is only a matter of time before these same standards are applied to someone else until no one with a decent bank account is safe.
Last week, progressives were much less pleased when Special Counsel John Durham released his long awaited report on the origins of the FBI’s investigation into then-candidate Donald Trump for supposedly colluding with Russia. As many (including me) have long suspected, the report found unequivocally that the investigation should never have been launched in the first place and was based on no credible evidence, there’s that pesky word again. “Neither U.S. law enforcement nor the Intelligence Community appears to have possessed any actual evidence of collusion in their holdings at the commencement of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation,” the Special Counsel wrote. He went on to suggest that political bias played a role in the investigation by comparing President Trump’s treatment to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and noting that some of the key players involved clearly loathed Trump. As the report put it, “at least on the part of certain personnel intimately involved in the matter” there was “a predisposition to open an investigation into Trump.” Of particular interest was the Justice Department’s knowledge that the Clinton Campaign planned to smear candidate Trump with claims of colluding with Russia and paid for the materials to do precisely that. No less than President Barack Obama was briefed on this intelligence, but somehow when claims of Russian collusion came up, the leadership involved completely “forgot” that this was Clinton’s plan all along and proceeded as if the “evidence” originated organically. Equally troubling is the role of a married couple, the Ohr’s, one of whom worked for the US government and the other who worked for the group that compiled the Steele Dossier for Hillary Clinton. Together, the two laundered information across the Justice Department, acting like it was authentic intelligence, when they knew the poison tree nature of the source all along.
Ultimately, Special Counsel Durham concluded, “Based on the review of Crossfire Hurricane and related intelligence activities, we conclude that the (Justice) Department and FBI failed to uphold their important mission of strict fidelity to the law in connection with certain events and activities described in this report.” While he stopped short of calling the affair a conspiracy to prevent the election and then subvert the Presidency of a duly elected Chief Executive, how else would you describe coordinated activity between top levels of Justice Department leadership and the Clinton Campaign to the express purpose of targeting a person for political reasons? Needless to say, progressives largely dismissed the report, either claiming it offered nothing new or denying the conclusions outright and insisting that President Trump must still be a Russian stooge whatever the facts. The New York Times proclaimed that “After Years of Political Hype, the Durham Inquiry Failed to Deliver.” The Atlantic described it as a “sinister flop.” Salon.com said it was “vacuous” and said it was a “fitting end to [Attorney General] Bill Barr’s ugly legacy.” Even the establishment conservative, largely anti-Trump National Review noted that the investigation into President Trump was predicated on “thin” evidence rather than the obvious absolutely no evidence as Special Counsel Durham actually said. Rarely, however, did anyone stop to consider the obvious question of what happens when these tactics are turned on someone else? The disgraced FBI agent Peter Strzok, for example, was instrumental in the Russian collusion investigation and a notorious Trump-hater, but he was also no fan of Bernie Sanders, describing him as “an idiot like Trump.”
What would progressives say if Senator Sanders were the target of a political operation at the Department of Justice? This is not a question without a reasonable foundation. Progressives should be all too aware of the lengths Hillary Clinton and the Democrat National Committee went to rig the 2016 primary campaign, a claim supported by Senator Elizabeth Warren after Donna Bazile revealed that the DNC was in such debt they used the Clinton Campaign to fund their operations. Senator Sanders himself called it a “money laundering scheme” and for a time refused to support Secretary of State Clinton for the Presidency. The DNC is, of course, a private body rather than a governmental agency, but using the government for your political purposes is the next logical step and one that Secretary Clinton clearly took that same election year. Incredibly, the Special Counsel’s report also reveals how very little of this behavior – that is a conspiracy to prevent the election of and then undermine the tenure of a Commander in Chief – is actually illegal. “[N]ot every injustice or transgression amounts to a criminal offense,” he wrote. The law “does not always make a person’s bad judgment, even horribly bad judgment, standing alone, a crime,” he continued, adding that the law doesn’t prohibit “all unseemly or unethical conduct that political campaigns might undertake for tactical advantage.” This is strictly true, but it’s another way of saying that they got away with it. James Comey, Andy McCabe, Peter Strzok, and others are no longer with the FBI, but they’ve moved on to cushy jobs selling books or working as political commentators, suffering no real consequences for damaging the entire country for their own political ends.
In that case, does anyone reasonably believe this won’t happen again? Why not? What’s to stop it? The clock cannot be turned back and what’s done is done, but it’s an almost immutable law of human nature that what’s happened will happen again unless we take steps to prevent it. That would start by progressives accepting that the investigation into President Trump and subsequent treatment of him was wrong, completely and totally beyond the bounds of acceptable occurrences in a representative republic, and therefore should never happen again. Preventing similar transgressions in the future requires us to acknowledge the truth that massive government bureaucracies armed with almost limitless power cannot be trusted to police themselves, and aggressive oversight by elected officials is required including giving Congress real contempt and jailing power subject to review by the courts, of course. Throughout this sad, tragic episode key players like James Comey repeatedly lied to Congress with impunity. The time to force answers and change behavior was then, and Congress is by far the best tool to do it. Unfortunately, we cannot even get progressives to acknowledge the wrongdoing, much less fix it. Instead, they are the equivalent of Robespierre in revolutionary France believing he could unleash the guillotine upon his political enemies, but they would never come for him – until they did, and then his head rolled with the rest because the revolution always eats its own.