Over the past several weeks, Democrats have spent their time defending the absurd notion that America is in the midst of a constitutional crisis. What, pray tell, has initiated this crisis? The supposed unwillingness of Attorney General William Barr to turn over to Congress unredacted sections of the Mueller report, plus underlying grand jury materials. Barr, for his part, correctly points out that the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure bar him from revealing grand jury testimony. That rule was put in place by Congress itself. Nonetheless, Democrats, seeking to manufacture a feeling of Nixonian chaos, have claimed that the Trump administration is now seeking to block the release of a report that Barr himself released. The Mueller report is, indeed, public.
Playing politics with our institutional health is a dangerous game. Here’s the truth: Our system of checks and balances is working just fine. Our politicians proclaim that the messy friction between the legislative, executive and judicial branches demonstrates that our politics is unworkable. But that friction is a feature of the system, not a bug. As James Madison explained in Federalist No. 51: “the great security against a gradual concentration of the several powers in the same department, consists in giving to those who administer each department the necessary constitutional means and personal motives to resist encroachments of the others. … Ambition must be made to counteract ambition.”