Harold Hutchison / Oct. 29, 2019

Durham Probe News a Good Sign for Accountability

With the probe becoming a criminal one, here's hoping something comes of it.

The news that the probe led by federal prosecutor John Durham into the origins of the FBI’s counterintelligence probe of alleged ties between Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russia has become a criminal investigation is one that Patriots should welcome. This shift, reportedly prompted by the upcoming report from the Justice Department’s inspector general, means we may finally see some accountability for Spygate in the wake of the Mueller Report.

As we noted back then, Mueller’s report was notable for what wasn’t there: Proof of collusion with Russia. This was after the FBI’s counterintelligence powers had been turned on the presidential campaign of the party not in power. It would have been one thing had the Mueller probe or the FBI discovered smoking-gun evidence of wrongdoing, but that was not the case. Mueller came up empty on the most salacious and serious charges.

With that failure, America had to deal with the fact that under the administration of Barack Obama, the FBI was essentially spying on Americans who did not share Obama’s political views. Americans deserve answers as to why that spying occurred. What was the evidence that led to the FBI deciding that surveillance of the Trump campaign was warranted? These become more important given allegations centering on the case of former DIA Director Michael Flynn, President Trump’s first national security advisor — with Lisa Page and Peter Strzok in the thick of this case.

This wasn’t an isolated incident, either. Before, during, and after the 2016 election, there also were other cases of questionable, if not abusive, uses of governmental power against opponents of the Left: There was the IRS targeting of the Tea Party, the John Doe investigations in Wisconsin, efforts to turn RICO on opponents of Democrats’ environmental policies, Andrew Cuomo’s abuses against the NRA, and Joaquin Castro doxed Trump donors in his district. If twice is a coincidence, six times is a definite pattern of behavior.

Incidentally, many leftists will cite Georgia gubernatorial loser Stacey Abrams as the victim of a nefarious abuse of power at the hands of now-Gov. Brian Kemp, albeit without any evidence of wrongdoing. When it comes to Cuomo, who openly declared that his intention was to take out the primary political opposition to his anti-Second Amendment agenda, they have no criticism at all. Imagine if a Republican governor were to execute a similar strategy against Planned Parenthood — can anyone seriously say that the same people who either ignore or justify the actions of Castro, Cuomo, and Lois Lerner would feel the same about that governor? They would not only demand an end to any such effort, they would demand accountability, as well they should.

The First Amendment is very clear — Americans have the right to speak out. They have the right to peaceably assemble. They have the right to petition for the redress of grievances. Freedom of the press is protected. But the First Amendment becomes a dead letter if politicians can exploit the power of government to retaliate against people who do nothing more than speak out on an issue. When the power of the government is turned on political opponents of the government, the American people at a minimum deserve an explanation as to why that happened. That explanation should either include irrefutable evidence of extremely serious wrongdoing, or it should detail just exactly who screwed up, and what went wrong, as well as what will be done to ensure similar screw-ups don’t happen again.

The problem is that going back a number of years, cases of questionable or flat-out abusive actions by government under Democrats have not seen that sort of accountability. Lerner, who ran the IRS targeting of the Tea Party, retired with a six-figure pension. Those behind the John Doe investigations saw no repercussions, either. Cuomo and Castro continue in office. Spygate has seen some firings, but Americans need to see stronger steps to ensure that the misuse of power is deterred.

We at The Patriot Post have said it before, but it must be said again: America can survive honest mistakes in the exercise of governmental power, but it cannot survive double standards. Accountability for Spygate is desperately needed to ensure that a double standard is not entrenched.

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