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Information Leaks Show Media Is Above the Law

Information Leaks Show Media Is Above the Law

We often hear that America is a nation based on the rule-of-law and that no man (or woman, I presume) is above the law.  As with any such overarching claims, there are exceptions.  We see that being played out in the reporting of Trump’s Justice Department investigation of information leaks going out of Congress to major media outlets.

The left-wing media is inflating the story to blockbuster proportions.  To put an old analogy into proper perspective, they are making a Mount Everest out of an ant hill.

This latest narrative flying out of the anti-Republican media spin machine charges President Trump, former Attorney General William Barr and others at the Department of Justice with abusing power by spying on members of Congress who have been critical of the Trump administration.  They accuse the accused of acting on an enemy’s list for political purposes.

The media even “quotes” some unnamed bureaucrat who said it SEEMED politically motivated – the kind of secret testimony that can only be used in the lawless court-of-public-opinion and by dictators.

The issue centers around subpoenas that the Justice Department issued to Apple and Microsoft to secure the phone records of at least two members of the House Intelligence Committee – Chairman Adam Schiff and member Eric Swalwell – and some members of the media.

The subpoenas also requested information on some of the family members of the principles – including one who it only describes as “a minor.”  The media seems to imply it is a child, but I suspect they do not know the age because it is an older teenager.  That makes a big difference, as explained below.

We should note – because the press will not – that the request was not for the content of phone conversations.  The Justice Department was not eavesdropping.  The data only covered who was calling whom.

The media gave the story maximum sensationalism – hour after hour of coverage and condemnation of Trump, Barr and Republican leaders.  It was another of the left’s hyperbolic “the Republic is falling” narratives.

Democrats are screaming that the actions of the Justice Department were a violation of the separation of powers. 

Imagine … the Executive Branch investigating members of the Legislative Branch.  These equal but separate Branches are not ever to do that – is the media implications.

But … hold your horses!!!  The Justice Department often investigates members of Congress.  AND … no Branch investigates the other more than … yes, you guessed it … the Legislative Branch.  Congress has scores of investigations of the Trump administration throughout his four-year presidency – and since.  In modern times, Democrat legislators arguably investigate more than they legislate.

The slant of the anti-Trump media is that the solicitation of the phone records was an abuse of political power by Trump for the sole purpose of punishing political enemies – an enemies list, as the call it.  But that is a very narrow and prejudicial view.  The media narrative leaves out several very important facts for consideration.

There have been a growing number of leaks of confidential information in Washington in the past few years – reaching astronomical levels during the Trump administration.

Now here is the point that we must keep in mind. THE LEAKS ARE ILLEGAL.  They are crimes – felonies.  And those leaking the information and accepting it like stolen goods, are potentially criminals.  Investigating the leaks is the obligation of law enforcement – and in the case of information leaks from federal agencies, the duty to investigate falls on the … Department of Justice.

But the news media and the leakers no longer see it that way.  The hysterical hyperbole over the Justice Department’s investigation of leaks clearly demonstrates that Democrats and the media do not believe in the rule-of-law.  How dare the folks at the Justice Department look for the leakers for prosecution?

In the case of the media, in some ways they are above the law – at least as it pertains to all the rest of us. 

News services are not breaking the law if they publish leaked information even if it was illegally leaked.  To better understand how this makes the media above common law, consider this.  If you or I accept what we know to be stolen goods for our own benefit or gain, we are guilty of a felony.  If a newspaper accepts illegal goods – in this case leaked information – for its own benefit or gain, they are exempt from the law.

Democrats are claiming that Barr and others at the Justice Department are simply doing the bidding of President Trump.  They play video clips of Trump calling on the Department to investigate leakers as proof of an abuse of power.  If a person is not a critical thinker, that may sound credible.

But then, what is so corrupt about the President calling for an investigation of illegal leaking?  Previous Presidents have called for investigations into information leaks.  It is exceedingly rare, however. 

There have only been about one dozen cases of leakers being prosecuted under the 1917 Espionage Act – and interestingly, two-thirds of those were during the Obama administration.

And as far as Trump’s public calls for investigations, he can do more than that.  The President is the top law enforcement person in the national government.  What you say?  You thought the Department of Justice was an “independent agency?”  Not so.  It is – and always has been – part of the President’s Cabinet.  The Attorney General is appointed by the President, reports to the President and serves at the pleasure of the President.  The President has the constitutional authority to end investigations or order them.

If you have been taken in by all the current malarky spewing from the left, you need to recall how the left had their undies in a bunch because they claimed (falsely, as it turned out) that Trump was going to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller.  Trump calling for an investigation is not an abuse of power.  It would not be an abuse of power if he even ordered an investigation.

The evidence clearly showed that many of the politically motivated information leaks could only have come from the House Intelligence Committee – and there were a couple of prime suspects, House Intel Chairman Adam Schiff and Congressman Eric Swalwell.  The Justice Department also subpoenaed the phone records of Don McGahn, Trump’s own White House lawyer – demonstrating that they did not pardon the investigation.  If the lawyers at the Justice Department were doing Trump’s bidding, your would not have seen Trump’s White House counsel’s phone records subpoenaed.

Family members also had phone records subpoenaed – including a minor. 

If that minor was a teenager, as I suspect, the request for phone records is understandable.  If the congressmen were making incriminating phone calls, they could have easily and cleverly used other than their own personal phones.  Any serious investigations would have checked-out any other phones the suspects might have used.

Schiff is a suspect because he was spreading false information in the news media to hurt Trump and the Republicans.  He even lied that he had seen conclusive hard evidence that Trump had conspired with Russia in the election – a claim totally refuted by the Mueller Report.

Rather than an abuse of power, the failure of the Justice Department to investigate political crimes would be a dereliction of duty.  That is how a criminal investigation works.  You see a crime.  You try to identify suspects based on ability and motivation.  And then you investigate.  You gather information.

We know who received the purloined information because they published it.  The fact that we have not prosecuted news outlets that traffic in stolen information, does not make it any less onerous.

Finally, the press is again assuming that Trump ordered or motivated the investigation and Barr carried it out – but that is malicious partisan speculation.  Trump, Barr and former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein have denied knowledge of the investigation – and so far, there is no evidence to refute their claim.  In that case, the entire investigation – and the request for phone records – could have been the result of an ongoing practice of tracking down information leaks. 

Based on the facts currently known, there is no reason to disparage the Department of Justice investigation at this time.  The agencies job is to investigate federal crimes – and we know that federal crimes were committed in conjunction with leaked information.  We should let them do their job without prejudging the case in the court-of-public-opinion.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. Ben

    I miss the Larry of a couple of weeks ago that proclaimed that prosecutorial misconduct was rampant, grand jury indictments were handed out like candy, and that we needed to be very leery of how the justice system uses their powers.

    I’m not surprised you flip flopped without a hint of irony so quickly.

    AGAIN, The real story here is that if the justice system can blatantly misuse their powers against some of the most powerful people in the world, Democrat AND Republican, how do us little guys stand a chance? As you stated when you wrote about trump, it is far past time for criminal justice reform.

    • Larry P Horist

      Ben … do you have a reading comprehension problem or you just like to get attention by being outrageously stupid? I did not flip-flop. I am very critical of the Grand Jury system… but you seem to not know that people get indicted all the time without a Grand Jury. Grand Jury indictments are rare … but still very bad system.

      • Ben

        This is much better. I like when you engage you readers. It makes it WAY more entertaining..think Gladiator “ are you not entertained?”and that’s the business you’re in, right?
        The Tucker Carlson scoop kinda put a damper on your media leaks rant.
        No, I don’t have a reading comprehension problem. I simply took your point to the next logical conclusion. But it does seem like you have a consistency problem. The Left has been saying for years that the justice system needs reform, you seem to have agreed to some extent. The difference is the little man gets indicted all the time on sketchy evidence and you only seem concerned when the elite gets indicted by grand jury. You even touch on it on your Juneteenth article. The point stands, we need criminal justice reform and it must include the aspects that impact the poorest among us.
        Now, back to Tucker Carlson leaking trump’s most intimate details …lol

  2. Ratwrangler

    While America was founded on the idea that the law was fair and impartial to all, those of us who have been around for awhile, and paying attention to the reality in which we live, know that this has not been the case for decades. Sadly, the unfairness of the law, often determined by wealth and power, has become more prevalent in recent years. When a young man was not charged and convicted of the murder or manslaughter based on the defense of ‘affluenza’, that was the lynchpin that showed that the law unfairly favors the wealthy. A poor person could never be absolved from such a crime because he was ‘too poor to know right from wrong’, but ‘too rich to know right from wrong’ worked in court for Ethan Couch, though he mowed down and killed four people with his truck. Until the law becomes blind to wealth and power, just as it should be blind to skin color, we will always have unequal justice. The same applies to those with political slants. The media that is favored by the Party in charge tends to get away with more than those who are not favored. In my opinion, the best way to handle all of this is to make slander and libel illegal, rather than just a civil matter. That way, if a media publishes a lie, law enforcement can declare that they are an accomplice, unless they turn over their ‘sources’ for prosecution. A few good trials and convictions should convince politicians and the media to be a bit more honest.

  3. Ben

    Speaking of media leaks… Tucker Carlson was evidently behind a lot of the very sensitive insider information concerning trump and the White House inner workings and squabbles.
    Again, Larry’s article hits right before a major reveal. Great scoop!