To some degree, character assassination has been part of political life since the founding of the Republic. In the 1990s, the Clintons – President Bill and wannabe Hillary – coined the term “politics of personal destruction.” Neither the Founders nor the Clintons could have imagined that attacks on political adversaries would go to the extreme we see today.
The folks on the left like to blame it all on President Trump and his pugnacious and combative personality – but even that is part of a broader character assassination policy emanating for those leading an unprecedented resistance movement against the duly elected President of the United States – and by extension to all who work for him, support his policies and even voted for him.
The means of character assassination is a corrupt and weaponized propaganda press parading as a legitimate news media.
Just months ago, attorney and former Attorney General of the United States William Barr was a highly respected figure in Washington circles. He was generally said to be an outstanding choice to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Before going further in examining the case of Barr, let us recall the ups and downs of Sessions. You will recall the harsh and unrelenting criticism of the folks on the left when he was named – and the pounding he took during his confirmation hearing. His appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee was not your usual “advise and consent” hearing, but more of an inquisition from the Democrat side of the panel. The flunky news media picked up the narrative from the Democrats – as they constantly do – and piled on.
The attacks on Sessions were not based on him, however. They were the result of his being nominated by the lefts arch villain – Trump. After the President and Sessions had a falling out and the Attorney General seemed to be defying the will of the President, Democrats and their wholly-owned cronies in the Fourth Estate took a liking to Sessions – praising him as a person of high moral character for recusing himself in the Special Counsel investigation.
The entire left-wing universe has come to evaluate all facts, all events and all people by their relative relationships to Trump. It has taken on all the characteristics of an obsession. The stated goal of the #Never Trump Resistant Movement is to “get” Trump – and to waste anyone who defends Trump in any way.
Democrats no longer operate as the “loyal opposition,” and the left-leaning media no longer puts up even a pretense of journalistic objectivity. They bend all reality to demonize Trump and all those who refuse to join the resistance – including the President’s closest advisors, Republican leaders in Congress and elsewhere, principled conservatives who see value in many administration policies and even the voters who remain loyal to Trump. They turn the term “political base” into a pejorative when it comes to Republicans from the Oval Office to the precincts.
William Barr is more than just the latest example. The hypocrisy of the left is clearly seen in their attacks on Barr. When nominated by Trump, the confirmation hearing became a partisan falderal – with all but three Democrats voting in against confirmation. The final vote was 54 to 45 in favor.
Since his confirmation, the attacks have grown more intense and more mendacious. The new campaign of character assassination centers around the narrative that Barr is not serving as the Attorney General of the people, but as the personal attorney of Donald Trump – even though part of the duty of the AG, as a member of the Executive Branch, is to protect the powers of the presidency.
When there is a controversy over a power of a President, it is generally an issue between the Executive Branch (the White House) and the Legislative Branch (the Congress) to be decided by the Judicial Branch (the Supreme Court). And guess who is responsible for arguing the case FOR THE WHITE HOUSE? If you answered, “Who is the Attorney General?” you get to pick the next category.
The left seems to think – and they often say it – that the AG is some sort of independent bureaucrat. That is because they are the party of centralized power. They tend to like fealty to a bureaucracy ruled over by a power-elite rather than a dedication to the Constitution. Socialism in a word.
More specifically, they want this AG to work against the President – his boss – and thereby against the Constitution.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and their respective flocks may declare that Trump is abusing his power, but that is merely their opinion – most likely based on political expediency rather than constitutional scholarship.
Historians – other than those who are currently politicized – would show examples of the proper relationship between a President and the Attorney General he hired. One can recall how Attorney General Eric Holder refused to investigate matters that were potentially politically troublesome for President Obama – including Fast and Furious and ACORN.
We should also remember how Holder defended Obama’s claim to have the power to make a “recess appointment” when the Senate was not officially in recess. Congress saw it as an abuse of power. The Supreme Court decided against Obama and Holder.
When it comes to protecting the President, even in personal matters, America’s AG has a long history. President John Kennedy appointed his brother, Robert, to the AG Post. That gave his sibling authority over J. Edgar Hoover at the FBI. Both men knew of Kennedy’s womanizing – including with a moll of mobster Sam Giancana and also a woman who was a Russian spy. Now that was some real collusion, but Brother Bobby never called for a Special Counsel.
With Democrats and all those biased media hosts and panelists – and the entire editorial folks at the New York Times and the Washington Post – declaring that Barr has destroyed his reputation and is a rogue AG that also needs to be impeached and removed from office, it is necessary to see what has brought on such personal and vicious condemnation.
The entire attack on Barr is based on two unstated questions – one aging out and the other brand new. The first question is, “How do you stop Trump from being President because he was not supposed to get elected?” The second question is, “How can we get back to taking down Trump after the Mueller Report busted our two-year narrative that Trump has been in bed with the reds?”
That is a pretty tall order when you consider that Trump said he would not fire Mueller – and he did not. That he would allow his staff to be interviewed by Mueller without exerting Executive Privilege. And in the final analysis, the man who, after more than two years of investigation was to give the political coup de grace to Trump declared him innocent of the central accusation – and would not arrive at a decision to claim Trump committed obstruction of justice.
Since Mueller works for Barr, he well understood that, as an employee of the DOJ subservient to Barr, he was kicking the final decision to the senior management of the Department — and ultimately to the Attorney General.
From day one, Barr promised that he would release the Mueller Report, even though he did not have to do so. He said it would have to minimally redact based on legal requirements and standard practices. He said it would take three or four weeks to accomplish the redaction in concert with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and a platoon of Justice Department lawyers – and with the assistance of members of the Mueller team, including Mueller himself.
Barr did as he promised. In fact, only 10 percent of the Report was redacted – and the vast majority of that was grand jury testimony, followed by information regarding ongoing investigations. It has been lost in the reporting that the version of the Report provided to key members of Congress had only two percent redaction. Yes, it is true. The whiners in Congress actually got a Report that was far less redacted.
More importantly, Volume 2, which dealt with the obstruction of Justice issue, had less than two percent redacted in the public copy and less than one-tenth of one-present redacted in the congressional copy. One-tenth of one-percent actually redacted.
While the Democrats and the press made a big deal out of the letter Barr issued after officially receiving the Report – although he had been briefed on the findings weeks before. In it, Barr accurately summarized the two key conclusions – that Mueller did not find any evidence of criminal conspiracy between Trump, his people or any American with Russia and that he could not conclude that Trump had illegally obstructed justice.
Though Mueller believed that Barr’s letter created confusion in the public mind, it was his own refusal to complete the work of a prosecutor and come to a conclusion – one way or another. In fact, when a prosecutor does not find criminal wrong-doing, innocence is the assumed fall-back.
Rather than employing a little patience until the full report could be seen and evaluated, Democrats and their media allies went on a full-blown dishonest narrative that the President and Barr were … excuse the expression … colluding to withhold information from the Congress without pointing to any significant information that was being withheld.
The fact that Barr had acted appropriately in every way and has been extraordinarily transparent on what he needed to do and what he would do was brushed aside in an outrageous false political narrative – a shark-like feeding frenzy — that would have been exposed by a fair and objective news media. Instead, they promoted and subsequently engaged in some of the worst political character assassinations in memory.
Those who twist Barr’s words to claim he lied to Congress or disgraced his office – with Pelosi even accusing him of criminality – are themselves the great deceivers and a disgrace to public service.
So, there ‘tis.