The president was perfectly accurate, and for once insusceptible to questions about his good faith, when he expressed surprise at Attorney General William Barr’s comment last week that former president Obama and former vice president Biden, “based on the information that I have,” would not become subjects of a criminal investigation, “whatever their level of involvement” revealed in the examination by special counsel John Durham of the origins of the spurious Trump–Russia investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller. The attorney general elaborated that he did not wish to continue or aggravate the mixing of politics with the law and suggested that the best method of adjudicating Mr. Biden’s role in these matters would be by the electorate. As a number of eminent commentators, including Lou Dobbs and Frank Miele, have pointed out, this is not an acceptable treatment of the subject. The attorney general’s desire to separate politics and legal matters is entirely admirable, and since the Watergate trivialities were amplified to consume the Nixon presidency in 1974, the temptation of the party out of the White House to criminalize policy differences has produced a series of dangerous assaults on the constitutional process.
But the attorney general knows perfectly well that the public, when acting as an electoral jury, is not able to judge the legal implications of controversial behavior as they tumble out in the media without some legal context and evaluation of evidence. A political campaign does not facilitate a fair judgment of the issues, and few people could be more aware of that fact than Mr. Barr. All thoughtful observers of American politics applaud the desire that legal questions not be addressed in political and electoral campaigns. Yet the course he outlined last week, of leaving the judgment of Obama’s and Biden’s behavior in the Trump–Russia canard and related outrages to the voters (although Obama will not be facing the voters again), is precisely what he reluctantly returned to public office to discourage. Either the attorney general spoke without prejudice as to whether the Durham investigation moves on to examine the conduct of Obama and Biden, or he was just throwing the Democrats off guard, in the manner that former FBI director James Comey employed when he assured President Trump that he was not a target of the FBI counterintelligence investigation (one of his many total falsehoods).
A criminal investigation into former holders of national office would be a momentous and disturbing development. As one who disputed at every stage (and has continued ever since its sorry completion) the judicial persecution of President Nixon, objected to the Walsh investigation of Iran-Contra and President Reagan and its unjust findings, and opposed the impeachment of President Clinton for the reasons that caused it to end in acquittal, I feel particularly strongly that there should be no criminal investigation and certainly no publicity of such an investigation of President Obama or Vice President Biden if there is any other less disruptive and less potentially abusive method of determining the facts that Barr has many times rightly stated must be ascertained. He wishes to get to the bottom of what seemed to him an unprecedented and unconstitutional assault upon a presidential campaign and a president-elect that continued more than halfway through the first term of the Trump presidency. This will require some examination of what role Obama and Biden played in that skullduggery, without prejudging it.
If Mr. Barr’s comment was tactical, it has been successful, in that the Democratic national political media (about 80 percent of the media) have been offloaded from Barr’s back and have ceased to revile him as a Trump lackey, as that would be unbecoming of the last protector of the threadbare Obama legacy. This cannot have been his purpose, but he may have been addressing only current probabilities. It is inconceivable that there were rogue directors of the FBI, CIA, and NIA, and officials in other senior echelons of government, plotting to frame or mousetrap a three-star general and former intelligence chief and mislead the FISA court with false requests for domestic espionage on a presidential campaign, without anyone consulting or informing President Obama. His role must be investigated, fairly and promptly. If he and Biden were engaged in illegal acts, the country must be enabled to make an informed decision on Election Day. If they were not, the country must know that, and they must not be stigmatized by the almost certain crimes of some of Obama’s appointees.
In the current political atmosphere, the official national Democrats have been almost immobilized; the putative candidate remains notoriously in his home, though he seems to have percolated upwards to the ground floor, where he is regularly interrupted by, as he puts it, “Canadian geese.” (Canada geese spend most of the year in the U.S.) The Biden campaign consists of vocally ignoring the sexual-assault allegations of former staff member Tara Reade and dismissing the entire vast emerging attempted 2016 putsch as a “diversion” from the current president’s own supposed wrongdoing, of which he has inconveniently been completely absolved. The Biden policy positions consist of a steady movement to the left to appease every atomized plaintiff constituency huddled under the broad circus tent of Democratic grievance-pandering and virtue-signaling. The real Democratic campaign is being conducted by the Democratic media, who infest almost all the television news networks except Fox with effectively the same level of partisanship as would be shown if their news programming were acknowledged to be paid political advertisements for the Democratic Party.
And this campaign consists in the continued magnification of any conceivable misstatement of the president’s, the systematic minimization and whitewashing of virtually every aspect of the attempted theft and reversal of the 2016 election, and a campaign of hysteria to perpetuate the lockdown of the economy until Election Day. This is the Democratic strategy: terrorize the country with the specter of a pandemic whose fatality levels have now been reduced by nearly two thirds and continue to decline, and 80 percent of whose victims are above the age of 70. (According to Neil Ferguson of London’s Imperial College of Medicine, initial author of the estimate of over 2 million American coronavirus fatalities, two thirds of those who have died of that virus would have died this year of other causes anyway.) Nothing reduces the sadness of any one of those deaths or minimizes the impact of the coronavirus, but it does make the point that the frenzy of fear generated by the Democratic media propaganda machine to try to promote an artificial economic depression in order to defeat the president they failed to deprive of election four years ago is not justified or honorably motivated.
As I have written here and elsewhere before, the Democratic campaign is a disgrace as odious, if not as riddled with criminal wrongdoing, as their comparable effort four years ago, in which senior Justice Department and intelligence officials were so pleased to be complicit. It must be plumbed to its slimy depths.