Lost in the daily deluge of scandal and incompetence from the Trump administration was this little nugget from embattled Attorney General Jeff Sessions: While talking to AM Hate Radio host Hugh Hewitt, Sessions said he might just be considering having an "outside counsel" investigating Obama's two attorneys general to see if charges needed to be brought against them.
That counsel, Hewitt suggested, would have “authority to bring charges if underlying crimes were uncovered.” He pointed to controversies including alleged bias within the IRS against conservative political groups and the “Fast and Furious” scandal, in which the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives allowed guns to be sold illegally in the hopes of tracking them to Mexican drug cartels.“
Well, I’m going to do everything I possibly can to restore the independence and professionalism of the Department of Justice,” Sessions replied. “So we’ll have to consider whether or not some outside counsel is needed. Generally, a good review of that internally is the first step before any such decision is made.”
This counsel would be totally independent and nonpartisan, of course (wink wink).
During the campaign, Trump promised that he would prosecute Hillary Clinton for her imaginary crimes. It was one of his top applause lines and his audience ate it up like candy. After the election, there wasn't anything to be gained from following through on his promise so he dropped it. But that was then and this is now.
What we're witnessing now is a trial balloon by Jeff Sessions. Lacking a terrorist attack or new war to distract the public, Trump and his people are casting about for something to take the heat off of the Russia story that is threatening to end Trump's presidency and send a lot of powerful people to jail for actual, real life treason. Suggesting the investigation and prosecution of the two black attorneys general of the much-despised black president will excite Trump's white nationalist following even more than building a wall with Mexico. Who knows? They might just "uncover" evidence that will put Obama and Hillary in jail, too.
In the meantime, who's going to have time to investigate all this silly Russia nonsense? Mission accomplished.
But this is dangerous territory to venture into. Once Republicans get a taste for prosecuting Democrats, there's no reason to think they'll ever stop abusing their power. So far, they've shown little to no willingness to buck Trump as long as they get what they want and eliminating Obama's legacy is very high on their list of things to do. And if they can start criminalizing the opposition and pay no penalty for it? What have they got to lose? They've already fully embraced rigging the elections with laughably extreme gerrymandering and overtly racist voter suppression laws so why not go for the brass ring?
A word of caution, however, to Republicans that would look the other way or even actively support the Trump regime: Locking up political opponents is the end stage of authoritarianism and once Trump and his cronies get comfortable throwing Democrats and liberals in prison, there is literally nothing stopping them from throwing you in prison as well for voicing even the mildest opposition to their agenda. You've heard it before and you'll hear it again: Absolute power corrupts absolutely. And considering how corrupt the Trump administration already is, that's not going to be a long road to travel.
There are 605 days left to the 2018 elections.
- This article kills fascists
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