A Bipartisan Commission Is the Tried and True Way To Probe the Conduct of the FBI, Intelligence Agencies

The committee headed in the 1970s by Senator Church would be a good template.

National Archives via Wikimedia Commons
Senator Church, right, with President Carter on August 12, 1977. National Archives via Wikimedia Commons

There has been a good deal of discussion about the virtues of resurrecting something like Senator Frank Church’s committee that in the mid-1970s inquired into the conduct of the FBI, senior intelligence agencies, and the IRS. He was at the time a somewhat notoriously partisan liberal Democrat, but also on the committee were such eminent figures as Barry Goldwater, Howard Baker, Walter Mondale, John Tower, Philip Hart, and Gary Hart.

The committee’s report was not rabidly partisan, and it led to executive orders from Presidents Ford and Carter banning “political assassination.” It would not be easy today to identify anyone who might be so effective and as little suspected of inappropriately partisan motives, but by most definitions, political assassination is a principal pastime of the political process and national press.

No former president or presidential candidate or vice president is adequately youthful or credible as a nonpartisan or bipartisan figure to lead such an inquiry now. It is a terribly unpromising climate and atmosphere for such a mission. The respected filmmaker but rather predictable leftist, Ken Burns, was on television over the weekend comparing sending 50 illegally arrived migrants across the Texas border to Martha’s Vineyard with the actions of Nazi governments.

 As an aside on the general subject, I wish to record my agreement with my good and flamboyant friend Ann Coulter who has awarded her not widely coveted “Pompous Douchebag of the Week” citation to the chief counsel of the Mueller Commission, Andrew Weissmann, and his slavish Harvard comrade Laurence Tribe.

It went to Mr. Weissmann for circulating photographs of a 1939 Deutsch-America Bund rally with the audience giving the straight right arm Nazi salute and a recent Trump rally in Ohio where the audience are largely raising their right arms vertically with the index finger extended signifying unideological, usually sports, success. Mr. Weissmann’s email address includes the words “Citizens for Ethics,” and Mr. Tribe emailed back his admiration for Mr. Weissmann’s “courage.”

They are illustrative of the mental sickness and moral bankruptcy of the American professional and academic left. And they exhibit far more evident and disconcerting Nazi tendencies than have ever been discernible in the conduct of Donald Trump (of whom Ann Coulter is not an admirer). A former Republican attorney general, Alberto Rodriquez, might be suitable for such a task, and a former Democratic senator from Virginia, Jim Webb, if he were willing and able.

They are examples of possible chairmen, and perhaps some more current people, such as the outgoing Republican senator, Rob Portman, or even the incumbent Delaware senator, Chris Coons, might be acceptable, despite Mr. Coons’ intimacy with the Bidens. Many current and retired judges and justices would be reliable. No conscientious observer can dispute that such an inquiry, if seriously conducted, would be vitally useful and timely.

The absurdly laborious Durham inquiry has been a mountain of anticipation that ultimately and with the utmost difficulty produced the long delayed, still-born mouse of a single prosecution for a relatively minor offense which, in the almost invariable pattern of District of Columbia juries, found an obviously guilty Democrat not guilty.

It was the only discernible fruit from the second Barr regime at the Justice Department, which Mr. Barr has used since leaving office as a platform for incessantly slagging off the president whom he ostensibly served. John Durham is proceeding at the pace of a determined snail towards the trial of his second indictee, in northern Virginia where a jury does convict a Democrat on overwhelming evidence approximately every other year.

It would be a thunderous vindication of the old exhortation that hope should never be abandoned if Mr. Durham’s plodding hippopotamus-walk through all the corruption and profoundly illegal misconduct in the conjuration of the Trump Russian collusion scandal out of a fraudulent pastiche of lies commissioned and paid for by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee and bearing the imprimatur of the intelligence services and personally peddled by the director of the FBI, convicted anyone of an offense more serious than jay-walking.   

Americans will have to face the fact that their government is so seriously ethically atrophied that despite all Mr. Barr’s huffing and puffing, there will be no legal day of reckoning for the 17 illegalities that the Inspector General of the Department of Justice found in its conduct in the Trump-Russia and related matters, nor for the former directors of the National Security and Central Intelligence Agencies’ lies to Congress and public assertions that President Trump was a traitor and a Russian intelligence asset.

Nor for the former FBI director and deputy attorney general’s false affidavits supporting FISA applications to conduct illegal telephone intercepts against the Trump campaign and transition team. It requires a levitation of normal human capacity for righteous optimism to expect a serious investigation and, if objectively appropriate, prosecutions over the malodorous financial activities of the Biden family.

The attorney general describes parents who take a responsible interest in the curriculum of their children as being a menace to society in the same apparent category as domestic terrorists. The antics of real domestic terrorists are substantially overlooked, as in the “peaceful protests” that killed dozens of people and caused billions of dollars of damage in the summer of 2020.

FBI officials who preside over illegal enterprises such as the fake kidnapping attempt on Governor Whitmer of Michigan are promoted, and people guilty of, at most, trespass on January 6, 2021, at the United States Capitol are sweated for months in an attempt to extort false inculpatory evidence of an attempted insurrection.

The United States has a criminal conviction rate of over 98 percent, 95 percent without trial, and with five percent of the world’s population, has a quarter of its incarcerated persons, and six to ten times as many incarcerated people per capita as Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom.

This isn’t the land of the free, and it isn’t the rule of law. And the reformers are chiefly overzealous prosecutors who wish to fill the streets with recidivistic, violent criminals while continuing to use the totalitarian plea-bargain system to imprison scores of thousands of over-sentenced, under-proved white-collar offenders.

The ultimate guard-rails of the political system appear to be the judiciary’s refusal, convincingly demonstrated in 2020, to contemplate overturning the result of a presidential election, despite a good deal of evidence of the illegal changes to voting and vote counting procedures in swing states; and on the other extreme, the guard-rail is being tested of avoiding the spurious prosecution of a former president.

The powers within all three branches of the federal government must know that they are now playing with high explosives that have already shaken down parts of the constitutional system and could easily reduce the rest of it to rubble.

A bipartisan commission of qualified and generally esteemed people should be established to look thoroughly into all of these incidents and problems and make serious recommendations; letting the wrongdoers of the last decade go unpunished is a small price to pay for avoiding the disaster that impends.  

The New York Sun

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