When he is not wandering aimlessly across a stage, President Biden is leveling the most vile of curses in his vocabulary at news stories with which he disagrees – “Malarkey!” This was his retort last week to a reporter’s query about allegations that he corruptly profited to the tune of $5 million while serving as Barack Obama’s Vice President.
Meanwhile, former President Trump has been relentlessly and, as always, loudly, insulting Special Counsel Jack Smith for bringing an indictment against him for unlawfully possessing and disclosing highly classified documents after his tenure as Commander in Chief expired. For good measure, the former president also has been insulting anyone, including the man he appointed as his last Attorney General, who fails to similarly discount the 37-count indictment filed against him last week in the U.S. District Court in Miami.
Actually, both cases have merit, both raise extremely serious questions about the competency of each man to serve in such high office, and both matters should be pursued seriously.
The case against Trump was laid bare in the 44-page indictment returned against him last Thursday. The document is resplendent with details, including photographs, demonstrating the cavalier, and certainly un-presidential manner with which the former president considered classified national security information.
Trump’s supporters argue, with perhaps a degree of validity, that charging a former president with nothing more than mis-handling classified papers is, in the broad scheme of things, not among the more serious issues facing America at home and abroad right now. Trump defenders declare also — and with a degree of cogency — that charging him but not Hillary Clinton with such offenses represents an un-level and two-tiered system of justice. They decry also that other office holders, Joe Biden among them, are not being treated as harshly as is Mr. Trump.
All these responses to the indictment are, to a degree, valid. None, however, erases what is at the foundation of the indictment – an inappropriate and dangerously lackadaisical attitude respecting information on which our nation’s military and intelligence leaders rely when making decisions of war and peace.
Whether one likes or dislikes those serving in our Foreign Intelligence Community, and regardless of whether a president or an ex-president is or is not a fan of the top brass at the Pentagon, the fact remains that the security environment within which decision-making at those levels occurs, must be respected and is disregarded at very real risk of endangering lives, relationships, resources, and strategic options. This is not a game.
The notion that a president should be permitted to declare on a whim that highly classified intelligence information is no more worthy of legal protection than a Rand-McNalley roadmap, should not be among the attributes of someone seeking to be president, much less someone who has served as president. And blindly defending a former president who exhibits such callous, almost gleeful disregard for established and statutorily founded procedures is unbecoming a major political party.
Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, the unfolding contest between the still-new GOP majority in the House of Representatives and the very well-established FBI concerning evidence of high-level corruption involving the then-Vice President and now President of the United States, is anything but “malarkey.”
The allegations that, while serving as Obama’s Vice President, Joe Biden benefited financially to the tune of several million dollars as quid pro quo for acting in his capacity as vice president, are among the most serious charges that could ever be levelled against a sitting vice president (or president). If true, such acts would be staggering in their implications for our country and its standing in the world.
Thus far, the American public is not privy to anything beyond a reported “credible” FBI document or documents that such untoward behavior took place. The mere possibility that evidence not yet discounted by the FBI or the Department of Justice exists, merits the most thorough and timely assessment of which our government is capable.
If, instead, we witness a process stymied by the partisan gridlock that has infected virtually every meaningful investigation engaged in by any congressional committee in either the House or the Senate by either the Republicans or the Democrats in recent years, the stench of corruption will extend far beyond our borders, and linger long past the tenures in office of either Mr. Biden or Mr. Trump.
Bob Barr represented Georgia’s Seventh District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003. He served as the United States Attorney in Atlanta from 1986 to 1990 and was an official with the CIA in the 1970s. He now practices law in Atlanta, Georgia and serves as head of Liberty Guard.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller.