As the daily avalanche of information pours out on the tactics of the FBI and special counsel in their “Russia” investigation –- courtesy not of the Justice Department and mainstream news but of congressional oversight committees, watchdog groups and a few relentless reporters –- we’re learning more about the apparent set-up cooked up to protect Hillary’s candidacy and, later, to hobble and if possible remove Donald Trump. But there’s something even beyond that travesty we must sadly take away:
There is something seriously wrong with the system of justice in our country.
Sure, we’ve always known our justice system wasn’t perfect, because it’s made up of human beings and nothing about human beings will ever be without its flaws, but we assumed the people at the top were doing their best to ride herd and maintain overall integrity. We’ve always known there were SOME dirty cops who planted evidence, and SOME prosecutors who cut deals with sleazy witnesses, and SOME defense attorneys who prided themselves in getting the guiltiest and most vile defendants off (hey, it showed how skilled they were), and SOME judges who let personal associations and/or under-the-table money affect their decisions. We’ve known that the system favored those who had money for bail and high-priced attorneys. And we’ve had government scandals large and small, in every administration, that dismayed, distracted and sometimes wearied us.
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But in my lifetime, we’ve never before discovered such a spectacular spider web of contamination. We see it was the people we should be able to trust the most, the ones who had worked their way to the top, who abused their power and orchestrated what appears to have been an attempted coup. This mess NEEDED to be exposed, and for that we should thank the election of President Trump. But it’s sad, and as painful to those who love America as having teeth pulled without novocaine.
We’re watching the system grind people up. Trump’s national security advisor and retired Gen. Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying when his questioners didn’t even think he had. George Papadopoulos, age 30, a very minor player on the political stage likely used to help set up the investigation of candidate Trump, was induced to accept a plea deal for lying to investigators that would give him a recommended sentence of up to six months in prison. His wife Simona has gone public, tweeting: “George wasn’t ‘cooperative enough’ in the Mueller’s recommendation. He cooperated for 1 year and helped his country. He has been loyal to the truth and not to anyone’s agenda. His cooperation is considered pointless as it didn’t reveal any wrongdoing by the campaign.”
She says her husband didn’t even have a lawyer when they first talked to him and that he “could not lie, of course, to please Mueller’s agenda.” She believes the case was “manufactured to justify...the Mueller investigation.” Tuesday they will meet with lawyers to decide whether or not to withdraw his plea.
We should also be concerned with the rights of some, like Paul Manafort, who may have actually skirted the law sometime in the past because their journey through the system shows how disparate the treatment of lawbreakers can be. He faces the real possibility of life in prison for not accepting a deal; he apparently had nothing to offer Mueller on Trump. But Rick Gates got a “sweetheart” deal to testify against Manafort, the person he had also embezzled from, just because Mueller thought Manafort might have something on Trump. It will be interesting to see what the jury does with this.
But for unequal treatment under the law, who’s been revealed as the poster child for that? Um, that would be Hillary Clinton. Thank you, Hillary, for showing us just how messed up our system of justice can get. You are “Exhibit A,” corrupt but off the hook, the most obvious symptom of the disease.
Contrast her treatment --- kid-glove --- with that of President Trump. The gloves are...off. Remember when being President didn’t involve constant investigation, horrific accusations (ex-CIA chief John Brennan essentially accused him of treason, and it was said on MSNBC that he would probably like to round people up and murder them), legal hand-tying to prevent him from exercising his most basic constitutional authority as President, and vicious death wishes? It’s all fine, because...TRUMP. Justice, reason, and common decency are forgotten.
Obviously, Mueller isn’t through with Trump, and won’t be unless somebody ends this. White House attorney Don McGahn has already testified for 30 hours about anything they wanted to know, but they need the big fish. (Read Andrew McCarthy's piece at the link below about why Mueller should go whistle up a rope.) We now know how “perjury traps” work –- in a nutshell, the prosecutor gets to decide what’s “true” and what’s not –- and Mueller’s goal is no doubt to catch Trump in one. Otherwise, he’s got nothing. But what we have going on now has nothing to do with guilt or innocence. It’s what Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz has called “the criminalization of political differences.”
That’s what Russian dictator Josef Stalin’s chief of police was referring to when he famously said, “Show me the man, and I’ll show you the crime.” Folks, this is one reference to “Russia” that we should heed. Maybe then we can make America’s judicial system great again.