Within the last week, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has undertaken two controversial actions and taken inaction on other notable cases, that point to the overt politicization of our nation’s top law enforcement agency.
On the evening of August 7, the DOJ approved an unprecedented search warrant executed by the FBI to search former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida. The warrant was reportedly issued for taking home materials at the conclusion of his presidency that were meant for the National Archives, which may have contained classified information. Just three days prior, on August 4, the DOJ filed civil rights charges against three former and one current Louisville Metro Police officers in the 2020 shooting of Breonna Taylor, who was caught in the crossfire when her boyfriend fired through the door at officers serving a search warrant on her apartment – a case that was presented to a grand jury and declined by local prosecutors and the Kentucky Attorney General when video emerged showing officers returning fire during the incident.
For many who have served in the criminal justice system, the way these two cases were pursued, and the timing of them, exposed political conflicts within the justice department that have been suspected since 2013, when thenAttorney General Eric Holder called himself [former President] Barack Obama’s “wingman”, as opposed to being an impartial arbiter of justice. Nine years later, a myriad of highly political cases pursued by AG Merrick Garland are calling many Americans to question the integrity of the DOJ and other federal law enforcement agencies.
“When I was at DOJ, the left screamed about [AGs] Sessions, Gonzalez, and Ashcroft on independence, but now they want the AG to be in lockstep in this board game they are playing – to be on the same page and narrative with the White House,” said Brett Tolman, former United States attorney for the District of Utah. “Fifteen to twenty years ago, something like [a raid on the residence of a former president] would never have happened. This show is important to Democrats, to me it’s one of the most overplayed hands in history.”
To the increasingly polarized Democratic base, the Mar-a-Lago raid and Taylor charges are a signal that the Biden Administration is determined to demonstrate their authority over former President Trump and state governments that oppose their views. The pinnacle of this perceived abuse of authority is with the Mar-a-Lago raid, which the White House claimed to have no knowledge of, but Tolman said from first-hand experience as a federal prosecutor, “Attorney General Garland, FBI Director Wray, the Deputy AG, and both the DOJ and FBI liaisons to the White House would have had knowledge of and approve the Mar-a-Lago search warrant application.”
Tolman also addressed the fact that the federal magistrate judge who issued the Mar-a-Lago warrant was an Obama donor and former defense attorney on the Jeffery Epstein human trafficking case, saying that “securing a warrant is one of the few circumstances where judges can be shopped, instead of issued at random.” Adding to speculation that the warrant was politically staged was the fact that FBI agents were sent in wearing tactical body armor, despite the fact that Mar-a-Lago is a sterile environment secured by the U.S. Secret Service. Tolman notes that “in looking at a comparable case, the Hillary Clinton email scandal, no warrants were issued nor agents in tactical gear sent.” This is noteworthy considering the fact that the Clinton and Hunter Biden cases are far clearer in a legal sense. Considering that the president of the United States has the authority to classify and declassify information – Trump was President when the materials in question were removed from the White House.
The Taylor case raises even more questions about politicizing the justice system. According to Tolman, for generations, the DOJ has had a petite policy, which prevents the agency from prosecuting someone on the same facts and circumstances as a state case. Therefore, when the grand jury declined to indict the officers in Taylor’s death, in the absence of new evidence, the DOJ would normally defer to the state and decline to prosecute as well. Considering there is bodycam footage from various angles showing officers being fired upon through the door of Taylor’s apartment after knocking and announcing themselves on a legally-issued search warrant – the prospect of a conviction in this case does not bode well for the DOJ.
Considering President Biden’s abysmal poll numbers, looming recession, and a rise in crime throughout the nation, pundits feel that these legal actions by the DOJ are serving to distract the public into focusing on the January 6 and Black Lives Matter riots, both of which energized the Democratic base. The Mar-a-Lago raid and Taylor charges are the most recent attempt to use the DOJ’s color of authority to rally the Democratic base. Garland’s DOJ has recently sued states like Idaho for enacting pro-life laws pursuant to the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade, a redistricting plan in Texas, voter integrity laws in Florida and in Georgia, which all have Republican governors.
At the same time, the DOJ has declined to open a federal investigation into the Covid-related deaths at nursing homes in New York, Pennsylvania, California, New Jersey, and Michigan – where Democratic Governors ordered infected patients be returned to facilities to expose other at-risk residents. The DOJ still has not undertaken any Covid-related investigations, even after the Biden Administration appointed officials from three of the five states with these deadly policies to senior-ranking roles at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, two of which were under state investigations for their Covid policy at the time of their appointments.
Furthermore, Congress has grilled AG Garland on his October 4, 2021 memorandum directing the FBI Counterterrorism Division to focus on parents expressing anger at local school board meetings. Since the memorandum was leaked, exposing collusion with Biden political operatives, AG Garland has received a letter from the Republican minority on the Senate Judiciary committee stating, “By now involving the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division in this effort, even if you personally believe that division would never cross a line into silencing criticism of local governments, you have given life to the idea that dissidents are synonymous with terrorists. This is a common tactic of third-world dictatorships, but it should never be FBI practice.” Had the DOJ taken action against gerrymandering in Democratic states, pursued big tech overreach, or conducted a raid on Hunter Biden – these conflicts wouldn’t be so glaring, but they haven’t and the American public is taking notice.
When the criminal justice system is corrupted by politics, it creates a set of circumstances where American citizens’ rights may be violated for no other purpose than political gamesmanship. Make no mistake, charging someone with a crime or searching their home and private belongings are extreme measures to be taken in the interest of public safety. This is why the raid at Mar-a-Lago coming on the same week that the Democratically-controlled Senate passed a bill authorizing 87,000 new IRS agents is unsettling to many Americans.
“This is partially about Trump, but mostly a warning to conservatives and non-establishment candidates to not oppose or dissent against the uniparty Regime,” said conservative commentator John Cardillo. “Hatred of Trump is actually hatred of a voter base that would kick the establishment out of office. Tyrants hold onto power at all costs, and are sending a very Stalin-esque message to Americans that it’s not about who casts the votes, but about who counts the votes.”
Moreover, pundits show concern that increased DOJ politicization may not only be a strategy to energize the Democratic base, but also a tool to stir up a more extreme element on the right side of the aisle. Throughout the 2021-22 midterm primary election season, Democratic campaigns and their Political Action Committee (PAC) supporters have been funding less moderate, Trump-backed, candidates in key gubernatorial, senate, and congressional races – especially in battleground states.
If the recent Mar-a-Lago raid seemingly strengthened Trump’s resolve to run again in 2024, could that be presenting a weakened Democratic party with a “beatable candidate” to run against instead of a seemingly bullet-proof Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis? To this, Cardillo opined, “The more strategic Pelosi faction most likely does believe that Trump will turn off independents and non-party-affiliated voters, and is therefore the only beatable GOP candidate in 2024.” Cardillo continued, “I personally believe that DeSantis terrifies them even more because he fundamentally understands how to dismantle institutions, and unlike Trump understands the deep state game as he spent time in Congress.”
Regardless of whether the DOJ’s recent actions were based in overt political coordination with the White House or merely gross mismanagement, the public trust in these institutions that once existed is now gone, and cannot be replaced overnight. “I do believe they’ll indict Trump before the midterms despite a glaring lack of any criminal behavior,” said Cardillo. “The rule of law is dead. Our justice system is dead. It’s all about political persecution and it’s happening in the open thanks to a far left weaponized DOJ and FBI, and far left activist judges.”
Thus, amid the 2022 midterm elections, there is now an increased need for oversight of the DOJ, Department of Homeland Security, Treasury, and other federal law enforcement agencies to get these essential institutions back on track. “When I was U.S. Attorney, I got intense pressure to bring political cases by DOJ and told them to pound sand,” Tolman said. “What we’re left with is not only have they overplayed their hand politically, they’ve done it in a way that’s destroyed the confidence that the public has held in the system for over 200 years – that while mistakes may happen, the rule of law is used fairly.”
To that, Tolman recalled a phrase inscribed in the halls of DOJ headquarters in Washington, “The hallmark of fairness in the administration of justice is consistency.” Consistency is a commodity needed now more than ever.
The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.