Department of Justice Has Different Standards for Different Subjects

December 13, 2021 Updated: December 20, 2021

Commentary

There’s much to learn about the administration of justice as applied—or misapplied—by the Biden White House and the Garland Department of Justice.

Their conception of justice is revealed by the sharp contrast in the standards applied to distinctly discrete subjects, each of whom reflects sharply opposed belief systems with regard to the communication of true objective facts. One such subject is Andrew McCabe, who has consistently sought to distort, suppress, and hide the truth, and another is James O’Keefe, who has with equal consistency sought to expose hidden truths.

What better indicia are there that the rule of law is a thing of the past and irrelevant than the rewarding of one of the nation’s most prominent alleged perjurers and enemies of an independent and objective federal police—McCabe—whose vindication has nothing to do with the merits of the case and everything to do with politics.

As deputy director of the FBI, and later as acting director, McCabe demonstrated his contempt for constitutional legal principles—such as the Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination and the Sixth Amendment right to effective counsel—considered as essential cornerstones to a free society by the framers and enshrined in Bill of Rights, when, as reported by Greg Re for Fox News, he counseled Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn to forgo the presence of an attorney during a hostile interrogation masquerading as an amicable interview.

In 2016, The Wall Street Journal identified McCabe in a possible conflict of interest. The very senior FBI executive was running an investigation directly involving Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton while his wife was receiving $675,000 in campaign contributions from the director of the very same Democratic Party.

Had McCabe opted to recuse himself from the Clinton investigation, he would have, in all likelihood, retired with his full pension—or perhaps he would today be the director of the FBI.

Instead, an investigation by the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General, released in February 2018, found several instances of “lack of candor” by McCabe while providing sworn testimony. Subsequently, Inspector General Michael Horowitz referred the matter to the U.S. attorney in Washington for criminal prosecution.

The order to fire McCabe didn’t arise from a political source, nor did it come from the Trump White House. Rather, it came from the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibly (OPR), the bureau’s version of Internal Affairs.

Historically impervious to outside influence and virtually impossible to tamper with, OPR has always ruled severely in such cases. A finding of lack of candor results in dismissal.

Many, many special agents have learned this harsh truth. McCabe had been treated in this instance as would any FBI special agent and received no special treatment for being in upper management. Rather, the lesson was that the system works. Democracy will prevail, and those who try to subvert the agency—be they the deputy director or director of the FBI—will ultimately be brought down.

However, the lesson has now proved to be incorrect. Wait for a shift of the political winds, and the system will be perverted—he who tried to subvert the agency has ultimately been absolved. Concurrent with a no-doubt lucrative run as a CNN commentator, McCabe has been formally absolved of wrongdoing by a Garland Department of Justice (DOJ) settlement.

McCabe’s pension has been fully restored, and all references to his having been fired for cause are to be removed from official FBI files. Also, a strong message was sent to special counsel John Durham that in today’s DOJ, his criminal referrals of high-profile anti-Trump players may be destined for the dustbin of politicized justice.

Adding insult to injury, more than $500,000 in legal fees will be paid by the DOJ to McCabe’s attorneys, the white-shoe law firm of Arnold and Porter. The firm issued a statement on Oct. 14 announcing that the taxpayer-funded legal fees would be applied to its in-house foundation, the implication being that the firm is being reimbursed directly—that McCabe’s legal fees weren’t out-of-pocket and that he didn’t incur personal legal expenses requiring reimbursement.

And virtually unreported by media outlets was the DOJ’s settlement with Trump national security adviser John Bolton. An adviser whose loyalty was such that he timed the release of his memoirs to ensure both maximum damage to his former boss, former President Donald Trump, and maximum financial gain for himself.

McCabe, Bolton—a pattern emerges.

As noted by Andrew Goudsward in the National Law Journal on Oct. 15, “While the Justice Department has not commented publicly on either suit, both settlement agreements included subtle, narrow repudiations of the alleged conduct of the Trump administration.”

In sharp contradistinction to the McCabe settlement are the recent FBI executed search warrants on Project Veritas Director James O’Keefe and several of his journalists, demonstrating, in no uncertain terms, that the truth doesn’t pay.

Its discovery and dissemination will cause the full force of a now politicized federal law enforcement establishment to be unleashed. On Nov. 5, U.S. Magistrate Sarah Cave signed search warrants directed against Project Veritas, agreeing to seal the supporting affidavits and related documents. Executing the warrants on the following day, FBI agents seized cellphones with data, potentially compromising confidential journalistic sources. First Amendment organizations not known to be aligned with ideological politics, such as the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, have intervened in the case’s legal proceedings in support of transparency and journalistic rights.

The purported justification for the government action appears to arise from a diary maintained by (and subsequently lost by) Ashley Biden, daughter of President Joe Biden. Compounding the government’s seemingly tenuous justification for search and seizure in a constitutionally protected domain—that of the First Amendment—are leaks to The New York Times, as reported by Andrew McCarthy on Nov. 12 in The National Review—apparently calculated to cast the organization in a negative light.

Veritas has long been an irritant to the left, using undercover techniques to expose unethical—and often illegal—practices. It has also provided a safe platform for whistleblowers to disseminate information hitherto concealed from the general public.

Today’s new and politicized FBI appears to select its targets based on ideological, rather than criminal, activity. Violent fugitives crossing the border from Central America can be left to their own devices. Angry parents, now redesignated as domestic terrorists, are currently the subjects of choice for our national police force.

The fact that Department of Justice Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray are comfortable enough in their positions to have the temerity and will to eviscerate, wreak havoc on, and play fast and loose with the First Amendment, executing search warrants against journalists who use daring techniques to expose uncomfortable truths, is chilling indeed.

And that’s no doubt the intent, to create a chilling effect on others who may be so inclined—others who may think twice now about exposing the darkside—to revealing the absence of ethics in the activities of those currently wielding the reins of power.

The McCabe settlement rewrote history, virtually erasing from official records the acts that prompted a criminal referral by the Department of Justice’s own inspector general. It remains to be seen whether taxpayer dollars will also be used to defray O’Keefe’s legal expenses.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Marc Ruskin
Marc Ruskin, a 27-year veteran of the FBI, is a regular contributor and the author of “The Pretender: My Life Undercover for the FBI.” He served on the legislative staff of U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan and as an assistant district attorney in Brooklyn, N.Y.