When we say, “drain the swamp” at the Justice Department and FBI, it’s not a swipe at the integrity of the entire intelligence community, though many Democrats are trying desperately to portray it as such. We’re referring to the politicized upper layers of bureaucracy that appear to have congealed on top like that “skin” that forms on top of week-old banana pudding. Instead of draining from the bottom, maybe what we really need to do is skim off the top.
And don’t think a close look into deep-state corruption isn’t warranted. Those who believe allegations of weaponizing the law to bring down duly elected officials are too far-fetched to be true should know that such strategies are tried quite often. (We suspected Hillary of using them even back when she was First Lady; remember Craig Livingtone and the cache of raw FBI files on HRC’s political opponents?) We’ll never know how many underhanded schemes for interfering with the election process have been carried out undetected.
I’m not talking about “Russia, Russia, Russia”; this threat to democracy is an infection that takes hold WITHIN. When election results –- real or anticipated –- threaten to alter the status quo, those in a position to misuse the system to change outcomes will likely do it, especially when they think they won’t be found out. By the time anyone catches on, if they ever do, the damage may very well be done. And when it happens at the state level, it may not get much attention at all.
Exhibit A: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s legal travails in Texas. The American Spectator has published a multi-part examination of the way the legal system was weaponized with the goal of removing him from office. (Full disclosure: I know Ken Paxton as a friend and worked on his first campaign for state representative, but I’d pass the story along if it were about anyone targeted in this way.) Author Mark Pulliam calls the process “lawfare.” Paxton’s apparently ginned-up case has dragged on for two-and-a-half years with little national attention other than that from the Spectator.
At a time when we’re looking at just how the investigation of President Trump came into being, the Paxton case is instructive. Part 1 of Pulliam’s series deals with the process used by overzealous prosecutors to obtain the indictment against Paxton. He makes the case that “no matter how groundless or transparently malevolent, in the right hands ANY charge can launch a witch hunt.” In Paxton’s case, it was a minor paperwork error from 2011-2012 that had nothing to do with his official duties at the time and for which he’d already paid an administrative fine.
Small potatoes, right? Not to his political opponents, who launched an “investigation” with an unlimited budget for $300-an-hour attorneys. There’s much more; it even appears dates were falsified to bring the alleged violation within the statute of limitations. This truly is a case study of how a public official can be railroaded in a politically vicious environment, especially if you look at it in light of what’s been going on at the federal level, both before and after Trump’s election, to discredit the President, impeach him and remove him from office. That’s obviously the goal of those like Peter Strzok and Lisa Page and who-knows-who-else, and they won’t rest until they achieve it. If and when Trump walks blithely in for his “interview” with Mueller, he’ll be treading on pre-set land mines.
I’ve linked to Part 1 of Pulliam’s series, and I hope you’ll read them all. (One focuses specifically with the media’s role; that should be good.) Pulliam describes this story as “John Grisham meets George Orwell, with a surreal element of Franz Kafka and Lewis Carroll to boot.” But it’s real, and it sounds a lot like Washington DC as well.