Trapped by the Ghosts of Corrupt Administrations Past

It’s little wonder sane people have taken the Left’s messaging strategy regarding impeachment and the Justice Department inspector general’s new report as mere political inanity and mendacity. Government officials, past and present, who fear potential indictment for abuse of power for personal and partisan gain, their legal “experts” at Lawfare, their collusion media cohorts, and social media’s rabid pack of regressive mouth-breathers who do little more than parrot them are not advancing a typical political argument. They are proffering a preemptive legal defense.

For the Left, preparing briefs for a prospective court of law rather than making good faith arguments in the court of public opinion is a necessary gambit, due to U.S. Attorney John Durham’s probe into the Russia-gate lie. Think of it this way:  These Obama administration officials, both in and out of government, are out on karaoke night croaking out their mashup of Warren Zevon’s classic, “send Lawfare, guns, and money!”

Specifically, the Left is pursuing a legal strategy common in criminal trials: In order to distract from and/or prejudice the trier of fact against the evidence of the accused’s guilt, the defense endeavors to put the government on trial. (In the case of the House Democrats’ sham impeachment, it is doing this quite literally.)

It’s understandable the Left’s ulterior motive might be missed as one merely aimed at gaining votes and, though they do hope that will be a collateral benefit, that’s not all that’s going on here. Still, they are using their shopworn bag of despicable “politricks”: baseless personal attacks; veiled threats to intimidate; and, of course, accusing others of what the Left is doing.

This is routine by now, so it’s easy to miss what’s actually going on.

In the instance of Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report on FISA abuses, the potential criminal defendants and their cohorts view it—rightly—as a prospective legal exhibit. Hence, their imperative to construct a false narrative of its findings for the collusion media to gaslight the juror pool—i.e., the American people. Some narrative attempts have been comically inept, such as that of former FBI Director James Comey claiming the report exonerated him; or that the report found only “mistakes” made by “low-level” employees.

Other attempts, however, have been far more insidious and effective—namely, claiming the report found “no bias” motivating the FISA abuses or in commencing the counterintelligence investigation.

Horowitz’s report specifically said it would not second guess the discretionary judgments of the FBI in the FISA process. In other words, he would give individuals the benefit of the doubt as to the purity of their motives. Only direct evidence of bias—say, a memo or a person admitting bias—would change the inspector general’s presumptive conclusion. This is a difficult standard, given that those knowingly engaged in criminal malfeasance are loath to implicate themselves in word or deed; moreover, even if such evidence exists, Horowitz’s limited investigatory powers and scope would have rendered it almost impossible for him to obtain.

Horowitz is well aware of the limits on his investigatory powers. So it makes total sense for him to continually state why, despite the overwhelming evidence indicating bias in the FISA process, he cannot conclude there was bias. Conversely, it is also why Horowitz always uses the disclaimer that, though his report found no direct evidence of bias, he cannot rule out the possibility there was bias in the murky FISA process.

As for the counterintelligence investigation’s predicate, Horowitz is more emphatic there was no bias in launching it, because the threshold is so low as to be almost nonexistent. (Apparently, while Horowitz is reluctant to second guess the FBI’s discretionary judgments, there are times he is more than happy to affirm them without a second thought at all.)

Yet this finding also requires the same disclaimer: Although his report found no direct evidence of bias, he cannot rule out the possibility there was bias in the launching the counterintelligence investigation.

Why? Because while it is sad but true that the FBI can legally launch a counterintelligence probe based upon the thinnest of hearsay, that does not mean that the FBI should launch a counterintelligence investigation based upon information agents know to be false, especially if they know that information was manufactured.

It is akin to an FBI agent knowingly lying by omission or commission to manufacture information to obtain a FISA warrant. Not that such a horrible abuse of power would ever happen . . . Again.

It is a mistake to assume there could be bias on the part of individuals who lied to spy when fraudulently obtaining a FISA warrant, but somehow there could not be any bias coming from the same individuals when it came to commencing the counterintelligence investigation, which was required first and foremost before they could even consider applying for said FISA warrants to spy. Therefore, if the FBI agents involved knew the investigation’s predicate was bogus  and proceeded anyway, that would certainly constitute bias.

This is a question—among many others—the Durham probe must ultimately answer. Yet for Obama Administration officials fearful of legal jeopardy due to the findings in Durham’s probe, they and their cohorts want to gaslight the public—i.e., prospective jurors—into believing that Horowitz’s FISA report “debunks Trump’s conspiracy theories” about the “deep state” sabotaging his candidacy and presidency.

If this gaslighting prevails, these potential defendants, their legal teams, and the collusion media will argue there can be no malfeasance—let alone criminality—in the absence of bias; just routine misfeasance by somebody, anybody, but not them.

In sum, then, the collusion crowd wants Americans to believe the Horowitz report is the end.

But, unfortunately for them, it is just the beginning. And the Left knows it, for they are painfully aware the Durham probe into the origins of the Russiagate lie is grinding away toward the truth. In consequence, from the Left come the personal attacks, threats, and false accusations of doing what the Left, in fact, has been doing all along and is doing still.

How else to explain, after the Horowitz FISA report revealed some of the gravest abuses of the surveillance power of the state, the collusion media condemns not the miscreants who did it, but U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr?

How else to explain Eric Holder slithering forth and, in an acute failure of self-awareness, sliming Barr and issuing veiled threats to U.S. Attorney Durham for conducting an inquiry into the origins of the Russiagate scam—you know, an investigation to root out federal government corruption and safeguard the civil liberties of the American people?

Given the acute stupidity and abject lack of self-awareness that must have gone into his penning this fast and furious smear, one cannot help but wonder if Holder is reprising his role as former President Obama’s “wing man” to perpetuate the risible myth the previous administration was “scandal-free.”

How else to explain why the House Democrats’ clown show impeachment hearing’s key talking point is the patently false allegation that President Trump “abused his power for political gain in 2020,” when that is precisely what the Democrats did in 2016?

In a nutshell, the Left’s messaging remains a shot of “Orange Man Bad” with a chaser of “Barr sucks, too.” As the polls now unmistakably show, for Democrats and the Left impeachment is not a winning political argument. Yet, trapped by the ghosts of the corrupt administrations past, the Left cannot change tactics or tack to political messaging that might salvage a short-term electoral advantage. Instead they must persist in their legal messaging, due to the long-term damage that will be done to regressive political fortunes should Obama Administration officials be indicted and possibly convicted for abusing their powers.

Two words to the wise, then. First, when exposed to the Left’s mendacity regarding Barr and Durham and his investigation into government corruption, suffice to remember: the Left is lying not to beat Republicans but to beat the rap. Then, as the Durham probe drops and justice is meted, let us pause to enjoy the Left’s discordant strains:

I’m hiding in Honduras
I’m a desperate man
Send Lawfare, guns, and money
The sh– has hit the fan . . .

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About Thaddeus G. McCotter

An American Greatness contributor, the Hon. Thaddeus G. McCotter (M.C., Ret.) represented Michigan’s 11th Congressional district from 2003 to 2012 and served as Chair of the Republican House Policy Committee. Not a lobbyist, he is a frequent public speaker and moderator for public policy seminars, and a Monday co-host of the "John Batchelor Show" among sundry media appearances.

Photo: Zahim Mohd/NurPhoto via Getty Images

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