Biased Justice

Posted: Feb 17, 2020 10:12 AM
Biased Justice

Source: AP Photo/Seth Wenig

President Trump’s anger over the original sentencing guidelines for Roger Stone was due not just to the matter at hand, but to a long-standing pattern of harsh judicial treatment of those on one side of the political ledger and the overlooking of many offenses of those on the other. 

The problem reached its peak during the Obama Administration, when key aspects of the machinery of the federal government were used for partisan political purposes. Then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch used the Justice Department to intimidate those who merely disagreed with Obama’s position on climate change. No convictions resulted, but intimidating and costly subpoenas were issued.

The most infamous unpunished abuse of power instance involved former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, former acting Commissioner Steven Miller, and the now-retired Lois Lerner, who served as the head of the unit overseeing applications for tax-exempt status. They conspired to harass Tea Party Groups seeking tax exempt status. Again, no convictions resulted. A “settlement document” merely noted the IRS “was delinquent in its responsibility.” No criminal charges were brought against the perpetrators. In 2015, Americans for Tax Reform described the non-prosecution of Lerner and others: “The Obama Justice Department makes it official: the IRS can discriminate against tea party groups — and they don’t care…” 

Roger Stone, the 67-year old politico friendly to Trump, was not linked to any violence and wasn’t considered a flight risk. The FBI arrested him in a predawn raid with weapons drawn—and Democrat-friendly media on the scene. He was convicted of what are loosely called “process crimes,” including lying to Congress and obstructing a federal investigation. In a 2019 letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, Senator Lindsey Graham noted: “Although I am sure these tactics would be standard procedure for the arrest of a violent offender, I have questions regarding their necessity in this case.” 

While a dramatic spectacle was made over the Stone arrest for mere process crimes, the major offenses of using the federal government for partisan purposes, misleading the FISA Court, and other substantive offenses has been largely ignored. Neither an arrest nor a prosecution has resulted for individuals such as Loretta Lynch, Lois Lerner, or, for that matter, others such as James Comey, former CIA director John Brennan, and others who misled federal officials to a far worse degree in the now discredited Russian collusion charge.

Other Obama-era examples abound. In 2016, the Select Committee on Benghazi released its report on the fatal terrorist attack. The information revealed that the Clinton-era U.S. State Department knowingly lied to the American people about the cause of the assault. It also revealed that an antiterrorism team was indeed stopped from proceeding. Despite the death of a U.S. Ambassador and other Americans, and despite clear evidence of a knowing refusal to take actions before and during the event that could possibly have prevented the tragedy, no repercussions followed.

No issue stands out more, nor illustrates better, the pro-Democratic double standard, and “get out of jail free” attitude towards those it favors, than the entire matter of the Russian uranium deal, in which the Kremlin’s nuclear energy agency, Rosatom, took control of 20% of U.S. uranium. In what clearly appears to be a quid-pro-quo, Secretary of State Clinton’s family-run foundation received massive donations from Moscow following her approval of the deal. Husband Bill Clinton received $500,000 for a one hour speech in Russia as well. 

Secretary Clinton also violated both State Department protocols and federal laws and regulations by using her private email server for emails containing secret and top-secret messages. Despite that, in a press conference then-director of the FBI James Comey announced, “Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes … our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.”

Neither Hillary nor Bill Clinton have been indicted or received punishment.  

Frank Vernuccio serves as editor-in-chief of the New York Analysis of Policy and Government