Attorney General William Barr is singling out President Donald Trump’s enemies, one by one, for scrutiny.
The deeply conservative Barr has opened investigations into special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe and FISA warrants used to put Trump associates under surveillance in 2016, and he’s repeatedly gone after former FBI director James Comey and others who looked into Trump’s ties to Russia, reported the Intelligencer.
“No single case is egregious enough to prove bias on its own,” wrote New York Magazine columnist Jonathan Chait. “The connecting thread is that Trump’s enemies are scoured for any violation that can be found, and held to the strictest letter of the law, while his allies are given broad latitude.”
“Enough cases fit the pattern for it to have become unmistakable,” he added.
It’s even more telling to consider which cases Barr has decided not to investigate — such as the release of private text messages from former FBI agent Lisa Page, who’s now suing the Justice Department, or leaks related to the 2016 Clinton email probe.
“Trump is not arbitrarily having his opponents arrested,” Chait wrote. “He is doing something more subtle, but still extremely dangerous: using the Department of Justice to selectively hold his opponents to the most exacting levels of legal scrutiny that are not broadly applied. It doesn’t even matter that not every investigation brings charges, and the charges themselves probably won’t hold up in court.”
“The time, expense, and reputational cost of the investigations will be damaging enough,” he added.
Slowly but surely, Trump is corrupting the rule of law.
“The message Trump has sent to his bureaucracy is unmistakable,” Chait wrote. “Political loyalists will be granted broad latitude, and displays of troublesome independence will be held to the strictest accountability. Fascism is not descending on Trump’s America, and the rule of law has not disappeared. But its slow disintegration has crossed a dangerous threshold.”