Loretta Lynch: Politics Over Justice

REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Michael Thielen Executive Director, Republican National Lawyers Association
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There is a fundamental difference developing between Democrats and Republicans that is the cause of many of the problems in Washington now.  Since Democrats are no longer the part of government, they are now the party trying to undermine government.  Democrats do not believe in equal treatment under the law, but rather feel they are above the law.  Right now, Democrats are not about issues — they are about politics over justice.

This has been driven home recently by comparing the differences between Obama’s and Trump’s Department of Justice.  Trump Administration Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the investigation into Russian influence on the 2016 election to avoid any appearance of impropriety, because of his close association with candidate Donald Trump.  He did this, despite Sessions’ strong denial of meeting with the Russians in his role with the campaign and absolutely no evidence any illegal activity occurred.  While not all Republicans or conservatives agree with the decision, the fact remains that Sessions erred on the side of caution, ethics, and respect for the integrity of the investigation.

Democrats called for both the firing of FBI Director James Comey (before he was actually fired by President Trump – then they were against it) and the hiring of a special counsel, yet they give no credit to President Trump’s Department of Justice.  Instead, they decry Sessions’ ethical recusal, saying that it proves there was wrongdoing.

Compare this with former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and her tumultuous tenure. Lynch did not recuse herself from the investigation into Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s illegal use of a private email server that handled classified information.  Like her predecessor, Eric Holder, Lynch set up an alias DOJ email account under the name Elizabeth Carlisle to handle official business.

She secretly met with Bill Clinton at a crucial moment in the investigation.  When a reporter discovered the clandestine meeting, the Lynch DOJ went into crisis mode — strategizing, preparing talking points, and working with the mainstream media to bury the story.  Lynch was involved in the response effort, but under her “Elizabeth Carlisle” alias.

Why set up an alias email account?  The official version is the alias account avoided people guessing the Attorney General’s email address and flooding her inbox.  It is common practice for CEOs and other high profile leaders to have an email address that does not fit the organization’s customary formula.  For example, if most company email addresses are first initial plus last name, the CEO’s email might be first initial, middle initial, and last initial.

What is not common practice is to use an entirely different name altogether.  Why would Lynch, and Holder before her, adopt such a strange practice?  One reason might be to avoid Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.  A person would request the Attorney General’s correspondence on a certain topic, but because the Attorney General had used her alias account, none of her emails would show up on a search for emails sent to or from Loretta Lynch.  As the email alias was unknown until last week, the Attorney General’s emails on sensitive subjects were largely kept from public release under FOIA.

This would be entirely in conformity with the Obama Administration’s practice of avoiding transparency whenever possible, despite claiming to be the “most transparent administration in history.”  Last July, the American Center for Law and Justice filed a FOIA request for documents relating to the Lynch-Clinton airplane meeting and the Obama FBI responded that no responsive documents existed.  After a lawsuit, over 400 pages of responsive documents were produced last week.  This is just one example of the Obama DOJ’s lack of transparency.

When confronted with this evidence, Democrats . . . talk about Russia.

This is part of an ongoing pattern. Holder called himself the President’s “wingman” this after his predecessor, George W. Bush appointee Michael Mukasey, set up guidelines to limit contact between the White House and the Justice Department about ongoing criminal and civil law enforcement issues. Holder spent most of his time as Attorney General acting more like a DNC General Counsel than America’s top lawyer.

Wingman Holder was held in contempt by Congress and oversaw a Justice Department that looked away when the IRS undertook an unprecedented attack on opposition grassroots groups such as the Tea Party and other conservative political groups.  The DOJ was so politicized that a court ordered ethics training for Justice Department lawyers and in another case a court ordered sanctions in the form of attorney’s fees for a meritless case against voter ID.

The complete lack of respect for the rule of law in elections is ongoing.  One of the top talking points for candidate Hillary Clinton and Democrats was then candidate Trump saying he would wait to decide whether he would accept the election results.  Hillary Clinton said: “We’ve accepted the outcomes when we may not have liked them. . . . he’s talking down our democracy.”

The irony in Clinton’s statement is that she is the one who did not accept the election results and the last nine months have seen Democrats trying to take down our democracy by resisting and obstructing the will of the people.  This started with fake recounts in which Democrats, through Green Party candidate Jill Stein, tried to undermine election results.  Hillary’s lawyer, Marc Elias, supported this effort and some have argued helped guide the effort.  The recounts failed to overturn the election but succeeded in starting a narrative that President Trump is not legitimate that goes on to this day.  All things real and imagined regarding Russia are just the latest example of that narrative.

The narrative has come full circle with Jill Stein recently tweeting: “Unlike the Dems, I didn’t sabotage Bernie Sanders in the primaries, then try to cover my tracks with ludicrous Russia conspiracy theories.” Of course, as a result, some Democrats are now accusing Stein, Trump, and the Russians of working together.

The reality is the Democrats are not working with anyone.  They are only trying to undermine any government not run by them and waiting until they are back in power, so they can use the power of government to keep the public in the dark, favor those they agree with, and oppose those they disagree with.

Michael Thielen is executive director of the Republican National Lawyers Association.