Conservatives thrilled at longtime antagonist Jake Tapper’s response on CNN to the too-long-awaited Durham report: “Devastating” for the FBI.
Right thought. Wrong target.
The report was “devastating,” all right. But for the FBI? Not so much.
FBI Director Christopher Wray hasn’t resigned, once the standard response to such scathing indictments. Unlawfully leaky sieve and former FBI Director James Comey? Still walking about. Lying Andrew McCabe? Got his pension reinstated. The bureau? Fully funded and advancing its massive, multi-gazillion-dollar new complex.
Hence we got the PR equivalent of a raspberry to Durham from the G-men (and women): “Reforms? We don’t need no stinkin’ reforms.”
The report is absolutely devastating, though . . . for conservatives. It is devastating for those who predicted the probe would reveal “the crime of the century,” per Donald Trump. It’s devastating for those who believed it would result in “many indictments,” as his Director of National Intelligence insisted. And you are surprised beyond measure if you believed, per Fox News’ Sean Hannity, that it would “Blow wide open” the “deep state.”
Rather, Durham delivered the wronged Right an unmistakable punch to the gut: fuhgeddaboudit.
You can’t touch J. Edgar’s heirs, nor their collaborators in the Biden and Obama White Houses, the Justice Department, or CIA. Nor the scumbag collection among Fusion GPS and “pee-tape” fabricators Christopher Steele, Igor Danchenko, and Charles Dolan. Especially not any of the Clintonites.
Not to mention the media, who, in a true circle of hellions, reported on outlandish investigations, with their coverage leveraged to justify further illegal intrusions.
So, yeah. That crowd conspired, concocted, connived, contrived, and yes, colluded with the best of them. They—knowingly, mind you—zagged instead of zigged in order to suppress scrutiny of Hillary & Company’s diplomatic payola and “plan” to falsely incriminate a campaign opponent.
And purposely zigged rather than zagged in hamstringing Team Trump when, the special counsel asserted, “neither U.S. law enforcement nor the Intelligence Community appears to have possessed any actual evidence of collusion.”
But, as Roger Kimball lately expounded, conservatives knew all that—yet longed to see what Bill Barr’s hand-picked avenger would do about it, and when.
Durham’s answer: Essentially zip. Zero. Zilch. Nix. Nada. And never.
In fact, everyone is missing the report’s primary point. It was never meant to detail various offenders’ misdeeds, misconduct, and malfeasance, but to explain why the special counsel couldn’t effect justice or accountability.
The bottom line: The forces of evil can’t be stopped in this way. Not with prosecutions. Nor with guidelines. Not with reforms. Not after catching them in hand-in-the-cookie-jar lies, engaged in book-cooking and “confirmation bias”—Durham’s polite term for “partisan witch hunt.”
As has been asserted in this space, “lawfare,” and even law enforcement, only runs in one direction today. And that direction is not rightward.
Take Durham’s extended apologia on the paucity of prosecutions in his executive summary:
If . . . the outcome of the Special Counsel’s investigation leave(s) some with the impression that injustices or misconduct have gone unaddressed, it is not because the Office concluded that no such injustices or misconduct occurred.
Translation: “I caught these rogues red-handed, and wanted to come down on them like a ton of bricks mixed with fire and brimstone.”
[T]he law does not always make a person’s bad judgment . . . a crime (nor) criminalize all (political campaigns’) unseemly or unethical conduct . . . Finally, in almost all cases, the government is required to prove a person’s actual criminal intent . . . The Office’s adherence to these principles explains, in numerous instances, why conduct deserving of censure or disciplinary action did not lead the Office to seek criminal charges.
Translation: “But I’m a real prosecutor and won’t trump up imaginary offenses or massively overcharge like the January 6 hacks.”
[E]ven when prosecutors believe that they can obtain a conviction, there are some instances in which it may not be advisable to expend government time and resources on a criminal prosecution . . .
Translation: To win, our side must bring open-and-shut cases.
[J]uries can bring strongly held views to the courtroom in criminal trials involving political subject matters, and those views can, in turn, affect the likelihood of obtaining a conviction . . .
Translation: And we can’t even win open-and-shut prosecutions against these guys given D.C. jury bias. You think I’m further besmirching my record with another sure-loss case?”
[N]ot every injustice or transgression amounts to a criminal offense, and criminal prosecutors are tasked exclusively with investigating and prosecuting violations of U.S. criminal laws.
Translation, and the key point: Many transgressions chronicled ran afoul not of the law but rather five “Ps”: accepted practices, policies, protocols, propriety and principles.
Transporting us directly to Durham’s ultimate conclusion, speaking to the possibility of reforms but actually hanging over the entire current state of affairs in America:
[M]eeting (the Justice Department’s and the FBI’s) responsibilities comes down to the integrity of the people who take an oath to follow the guidelines and policies . . . designed to ensure the rule of law is upheld . . . The promulgation of additional rules and regulations . . . would likely prove to be a fruitless exercise if the FBI’s guiding principles of ‘Fidelity, Bravery and Integrity’ are not ingrained in the hearts and minds of those sworn to meet the FBI’s mission of ‘Protect[ing] the American People and Uphold[ing] the Constitution of the United States.’
Durham’s efforts fell with a thud because the entire cohort of progressives and deep state fellow-travelers have tossed aside, and trampled underfoot, all five “Ps.”
Those concepts were established and once upheld to constrain government’s fearsome might and reach. This is why they are lodestars for conservatives but roadkill for progressives on their scorched-earth, Shermanesque march to complete woke control of the levers of power.
Durham’s report thus further illustrates the reality this correspondent recently reflected upon: “[A]ll meaningful avenues to counter mendacious, monolithic misrule by out-of-touch elites remain stubbornly blocked.”
Including not just a weaponized justice system but also the executive branch, corporate America, the culture, Congress, and even elections.
And by the way, on the last: who can say that, having gotten away with conspiring an effective coup against a sitting president despite an in-depth, bare-all federal investigation, that “cabal” didn’t complete the act by purloining the 2020 vote, which wasn’t so probed?
Want to stop it all from happening again, within the current system—and current configuration of America?
To repeat: fuhgeddaboudit.