In appointing a special counsel to investigate former President Donald Trump, the Justice Department (DOJ) has turned its law enforcement apparatus into a “tool to attack a political enemy,” according to FBI veteran Marc Ruskin.
The timing of the appointment is significant, Ruskin said, noting how it dovetailed with pledges by House Republicans to investigate President Joe Biden and his administration once the GOP takes control of the House in January.
“Using the legal system in baseless investigations and prosecutions has been a hallmark of the anti-Trump campaign since before 2016,” Ruskin, who served 27 years with the FBI and is a contributor for The Epoch Times, said in an interview.
‘Bait-and-Switch’Ruskin believes that the special counsel investigation serves a particular purpose.
“It's an old trick,” he said. “They'll be hoping to divert attention from the congressional investigations and focus instead on a baseless special counsel investigation, because there's no question that the legacy media is going to jump on board and give this front page attention, while the investigations being conducted by Congress will either be ignored or relegated to the back of the newspaper.”
During the Nov. 18 press conference, Garland described the appointment of Smith—a registered independent—as a matter of public interest, citing Trump’s presidential candidacy and Biden’s interest in entering the race. Ruskin, however, didn’t feel convinced that there were sufficient grounds to warrant such a move.
“They really haven’t articulated facts which justified the appointment of any kind of counsel,” he said.
Some Trump critics have argued that the special counsel appointment suggests that the DOJ is intent on bringing the case to indictment. Ruskin dismissed this claim as “a fabrication in order to justify a difficult-to-justify investigation.”
“The argument is the old ‘where there's smoke there must be fire’ reasoning, which is fallacious reasoning,” he said. “It's a fallacy which has been propagated in order to justify what is arguably a politically motivated investigation seeking to create an advantage for the Democratic Party in the upcoming elections.”
As Jan. 6, 2021, probes have dragged on for nearly two years, Ruskin said that he doesn’t expect anything tangible coming out of the continuing investigations.
“They've come up with basically nothing. It really defies credibility to even suggest that this is a bonafide, legitimate investigation.”
Ruskin said that the news from Nov. 18 confirmed his belief that the FBI’s Mar-a-Lago raid was a “fishing expedition to obtain anything related to January 6.”
Such a tactic, which Ruskin called a “bait-and-switch,” is no different from using “tainted evidence” in his view.
“It's like the fruit of the poisonous tree,” he said. “You shouldn't be able to use facts obtained via subterfuge in order to accomplish [something] unrelated to the goals.”
Hunter Biden ProbeHaving won back the House with a slim majority, Republicans have wasted no time raising a number of probes they plan to unleash in the new year, with a top focus being Biden’s alleged involvement in his son Hunter’s foreign business deals.
Republicans on the committee on the same day released a report claiming to have uncovered evidence of federal crimes tied to the Biden family, which include conspiracy to defraud the United States, wire fraud, violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Action, tax evasion, money laundering, and violations of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.
But Republicans looking into the possible abuses by the DOJ and FBI could face strong resistance from the agencies, according to Ruskin. This is especially so if the House GOP wants to look into ongoing matters like the FBI Trump raid, in which case, the bureau could cite the ongoing investigation to refuse to disclose information.
An “obvious avenue of inquiry,” he said, is “why the Justice [Department] and the bureau have sat on for two years without making any progress.”
Treatment of GiulianiRuskin also noted that one day ahead of Trump’s anticipated 2024 campaign launch, prosecutors announced that they weren't pursuing criminal charges against Rudy Giuliani—Trump’s former personal lawyer—over alleged Ukraine lobbying. The move ended a two-year probe that included a high-profile FBI raid in April 2021 that resulted in the seizure of 18 electronic devices.
“The case probably showed that they had no case and probably should have dismissed it a long time ago,” Ruskin said.
If the new Congress decides to look into the Giuliani case, one issue that could come up is whether there was sufficient probable cause for the FBI search and seizure warrant, or if the move was driven by political malice, Ruksin said. Considering Giuliani's work for Trump and the DOJ’s “questionable behavior” regarding the former president, he said “it's reasonable to speculate” the investigation was politically motivated.
The DOJ didn't return The Epoch Times' request for comment. The FBI told The Epoch Times it has "no comment."
While the planned congressional investigations may not result in criminal prosecutions, Ruskin still thinks they're a necessary step.
“Sunlight is the best disinfectant,” he said, quoting Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis. “Bringing into the sunlight hidden acts is the best way to deal with them—initially, at least.”