Scattered signs emerged this week that Republican leaders and activists would continue scorched-earth legal tactics against Hillary Clinton and other Democrats — even as President-elect Donald Trump called for a smooth presidential transition.
Jason Chaffetz, the Utah congressman finishing his first term leading the powerful House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, made it clear the partisanship of the presidential campaign “is not going to go away,” as the Washington Post reported in Top House Republican says he’ll continue probe of Hillary Clinton’s private email server.
“It would be totally remiss of us to dismiss [the email investigation] because she’s not going to be president,” Post reporter Lise Rein quoted Chaffetz (shown in an official photo) as saying of the Democrat’s defeated nominee. “I still have a duty and obligation to get to the truth about one of the largest breaches of security at the State Department,” he said. “Tens of thousands of documents still have not been turned over to Congress.”
Meanwhile, Trump’s leading surrogates Chris Christie and Rudy Giuliani, both former federal prosecutors, were well positioned despite the ostensible comity that others in the Trump campaign are voicing to help implement the chants of “Lock her up!” that they helped lead against Clinton at Trump’s campaign rallies nationwide.
On the Fox News Bill O’Reilly Show, Giuliani called for continuing investigation of Clinton. “There’s one tradition in America, right? Election is over. We forget about it,” Giuliani said. “There is another tradition in America which is ‘equal justice under the law,’” Giuliani said. “And it would depend on how bad the violations are.”
Today, we survey these developments and conclude that a radical right infrastructure that thrives on using the legal system to investigate and prosecute Democrats is not likely to stop.
Demonizing the Clintons goes hand-in-hand with besmirching a Obama presidential legacy that has had fewer financial scandals than most, and ensuring success for a Republican Party that verged on disintegration just a week ago in the minds of many centrist pundits now proven wrong.
Here is a vital point almost never reported by the mainstream media:
The modern GOP and radical right have a track record of never-ending investigations that demonize and immobilize their Democratic targets. The Whitewater-style special prosecutor investigations throughout the 1990s not only kept the Clintons on the defensive but forced hordes of staffers to hire expensive defense counsel for no valid purpose while taxpayers spent millions.
In a similar technique, the Bush Justice Department (including then-New Jersey U.S. Attorney Chris Christie) indicated vast numbers of Democrats on sometimes flimsy evidence, thereby destroying the opposition particularly in Southern and swing states.
Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, one of the Deep South’s most popular Democrats, is still imprisoned after being framed for 1999 “corruption” that was not even a crime except under the most partisan-style judiciary, as we and others have often reported. Not coincidental is that one of Siegelman’s first persecutors and prosecutors in 1999 was Alabama Attorney Gen. Jeff Sessions, who announced a fishing expedition on Siegelman’s first month in office to find corruption.
Sessions later presided as chairman over a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee that never investigated the obvious corruption of Siegelman’s trial judge Mark Fuller, chief federal judge in Alabama’s middle district of Montgomery after nomination upon the recommendation of Sessions. Fuller, shown smirking in chambers in a photo by Phil Fleming immediately after the Siegelman verdict avoided a hung jury on corruption charges, was a Republican partisan forced to leave the bench in 2015 because of a wife-beating scandal involving his clerk during the Siegelman case.
But Fuller was never examined by the Senate or anywhere else for the financial and sexual corruption that made him a pawn of the get-Siegelman forces. We reported this in several front-page Huffington Post stories beginning in 2009, including Siegelman Deserves New Trial Because of Judge’s ‘Grudge’, Evidence Shows….$300 Million in Bush Military Contracts Awarded to Judge’s Private Company.
Rather than investigate anything like that as a senator, Sessions recently backed Trump as one of his most important campaign surrogates and advisors, and is reportedly poised to assume one of the administration’s top posts in precisely the defense contracting arena where Fuller and his cronies made their fortunes while ostensibly working in prosecution and judging.
A similar endless-prosecution strategy used against Hillary Clinton and the Obama State Department could smear and sideline for years not only Clinton but large numbers of colleagues. If investigations continued without indictments that would provide in effect the best result for partisan investigators because defendants could never be vindicated through a verdict. The public has seen that even FBI or Republican-led congressional never provide closure because Clinton critics then simply say the system was rigged and another investigation is necessary.
Nice Words For Now
Trump met with President Obama in the Oval Office Nov. 10, as shown by the White House photo at right. Although Trump’s words were conciliatory his election was based on harsh attacks on Democrats.
Christie, New Jersey’s governor (shown below left) and a former U.S. attorney leading all federal criminal and civil litigation in that state, has led the Trump transition team for months until Vice President-elect Mike Pence assumed the top transition job and Christie became a deputy.
Giuliani, New York City’s mayor during the 9/11 attacks in 2001, is a former No. 3 official at the Reagan Justice Department. In a CNN appearance, Giuliani openly promoted his credentials to become the next attorney general. That was a typically in-your-face, New York-style Giuliani violation of Washington protocol that office-seekers push their interests more privately.
Most important as a continuing legal threat to Clinton and other Democrats: The nation’s far-right has built a powerful and financially successful propaganda apparatus that operates outside government for the most part and uses scorched-earth legal investigations to feed material to pundits, which leads to political success for so-called leaders and big money (such as via federal contracts for intelligence services) or ideological rewards for the elites guiding the system.
That apparatus is not going away just because Trump, some of aides and many Democrats want to play nice now that he has won. Indeed, Trump’s Campaign CEO Stephen Bannon, Campaign Manager Kellyanne Conway and Deputy Campaign Manager David Bossie are each previous hirelings of the secretive billionaire hedge fund tycoon Robert Mercer, who has also funded the ultra-right Breitbart commentary site that Bannon led before turning around Trump’s campaign in late summer.