A most damaging leak: Biden wants Trump prosecuted

Gowdy: Our attorney general should not be a political ‘tool or a weapon’

‘Lady Justice is blindfolded for a reason,’ Gowdy tells viewers on ‘Sunday Night in America’

When an attorney general of your party won’t bring charges against someone you like, he is serving the cause of justice and refusing to kowtow to the mob.

When an attorney general of the other party declines to bring an indictment against someone you don’t like, he is a wuss who must be beaten up until he does the right thing.

After four years of slamming Donald Trump for politicizing the Justice Department, especially under Bill Barr, the media is taking a very different approach to Joe Biden and his AG, Merrick Garland. 

Since Garland has thus far brought no criminal charges against Trump or his top aides or allies in connection with the Capitol riot, he is now being pressured to do so by Democrats and some media liberals.

This is precisely the kind of pressure they loudly decried when it came from the Trump White House. 

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 05: U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks at the Department of Justice on January 5, 2022, in Washington, DC. Garland addressed the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.
(Photo by Carolyn Kaster-Pool/Getty Images)

The New York Times, without a hint of disapproval, reports that “Democrats’ increasingly urgent calls for the Justice Department to take more aggressive action highlight the tension between the frenetic demands of politics and the methodical pace of one of the biggest prosecutions in the department’s history.”

Let’s be clear: When partisans demand indictments, it means they only care about securing an outcome that is favorable to their side. They haven’t seen all the evidence, they have no access to grand jury testimony, they just want a political opponent behind bars.


The Times piece contains this striking paragraph: “The attorney general’s deliberative approach has come to frustrate Democratic allies of the White House and, at times, President Biden himself. As recently as late last year, Mr. Biden confided to his inner circle that he believed former President Donald J. Trump was a threat to democracy and should be prosecuted, according to two people familiar with his comments.” 

Former U.S. President Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower in Manhattan on May 18, 2021, in New York City and U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the economy during an event at the South Court Auditorium at Eisenhower Executive Office Building on November 23, 2021, in Washington, DC. 
(Photo by James Devaney/GC Images  |   Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The paper adds that “while the president has never communicated his frustrations directly to Mr. Garland, he has said privately that he wanted Mr. Garland to act less like a ponderous judge and more like a prosecutor who is willing to take decisive action over the events of Jan. 6.”

Now Biden’s private grousing, while revealing, hardly amounts to direct political pressure. He hasn’t talked to Garland, he hasn’t said it publicly, he hasn’t tweeted about it. Everyone has to be able to let off steam with their confidantes.

But the same can’t be said for those who leaked the president’s comments to the Times. They wanted this out there as a way of sending a message to Garland, who said last week that the only pressure he feels is to “do the right thing.”

Now we don’t need anonymous sources to know that Trump repeatedly pressured the Justice Department, because he did it quite openly. In speeches and tweets, he would demand charges against Barack Obama, Biden and others, and defend Michael Flynn, Roger Stone and others (whom he later pardoned). 

Attorney General William Barr speaks during a news conference, Monday, Dec. 21, 2020 at the Justice Department in Washington.
(Michael Reynolds/Pool via AP)

But we also know from Barr’s book, and from interviews with him conducted by me and many others, that Trump privately pressed him to prosecute, say, Hunter Biden (and was rebuffed). We also know that Barr felt undercut when he decided to intervene in the Flynn and Stone cases and that Trump preemptively tweeted about it, making it look like he was a political lackey.

But you can’t have it both ways. If Trump’s efforts, which were widely denounced, were wrong, the people denouncing him can’t turn around and push Garland to bring charges against those they despise. The events of Jan. 6 were awful, and more than 775 arrests have been made, but it’s up to professional prosecutors to determine high-level illegality. Garland may well have a judicial temperament from his years on the bench, but Biden knew that when he picked him.

One complicating factor for Biden is that the same department is also investigating his son Hunter for possible tax, lobbying and money-laundering violations. 

The Times story says that DOJ officials don’t keep Biden “abreast of any investigation,” which is as it should be. That will add to the credibility of the final decision on whether to charge Hunter Biden.

The president is entitled to his opinion on whether his predecessor crossed a legal line in the events leading up to Jan. 6. But his allies did him a disservice by leaking those comments and trying to prod the Justice Department toward the outcome they’ve been fantasizing about since the days of Bob Mueller.

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