While the Nunes memo does not provide definitive conclusions on the FBI scandal, its allegations, coupled with what we already know about the Hillary Clinton email scandal, should warrant a robust investigation into the FBI and DOJ. This is a goal everyone should champion, irrespective of one’s view on Trump and the Mueller investigation. Yet Congress is being told to shut up.
Progressives in government have twisted and gutted the Constitution. They have turned Article III courts into a judicial autocracy and have assumed all the powers of Articles I and II of the Constitution, creating an entirely new “fourth branch of government” that must be completely shielded from the President’s executive authority, unanswerable to congressional oversight, and inaccessible to voters and the electoral process. Once sheltered from all electoral consequences, constitutional oversight, and accountability to the president, career progressives then engage in any means – lawful or unlawful – to achieve their ends.
Personal feelings supplant the law
The Nunes memo wasn’t the only sensational story on Friday. All across social media, there was a viral video of Randall Margraves, the father of three daughters who were molested by U.S. gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, rushing towards the “demon” in an attempt to take justice into his own hands. He was immediately tackled by law enforcement officers in the courtroom.
There is a very important lesson we can learn from this incident.
From a moral standpoint, all of us were thinking, “Man, did those police officers really have to eat their Wheaties that morning and be so on the ball? Could they have not allowed Margraves to have landed a few punches on Nassar?” Here is a case where everyone – liberal, conservative, and anything in between – would have cheered such an outcome. Undoubtedly, the cops personally felt the same way too. But the law is the law and we have a process of meting out justice in our republic, and that required the law enforcement officers to immediately restrain Margraves.
Yet we have liberals in the unelected branches of government who feel that if they don’t like the results of elections, they can justify the use of any means to achieve their political ends if their personal sense of morality calls for it.
The liberals who ubiquitously populate the upper echelons of the FBI and DOJ were revolted by the prospect of Trump becoming president. They have the right to harbor such a view, much like many of us felt in 2008 about an Obama victory. But they had no moral right to break the law in order to cover for Hillary Clinton and her use of personal email servers to conduct critical national security functions. Nor did they have the right to spy on the Trump campaign, based on the information we now know, ironically, was provided to them by hired hands of the Hillary campaign, including the wife of a top DOJ official.
We need to understand the lawless behavior at the DOJ in the broader context of what liberals are doing on other issues, particularly immigration.
Irrespective of one’s political beliefs on immigration, nobody can deny that our immigration laws are clear and that they are constitutional. Congress has the authority to determine who can come into this country and under what circumstances they may enter. Yet liberals, because they believe deportations are “immoral” and that we should no longer have immigration laws, are now nullifying the laws without going through the proper channels. First, we had executive amnesty. Now we have states like California simply saying they will harbor criminal aliens and even prosecute those who cooperate with federal law. We have members of Congress openly thwarting immigration laws and bringing illegal aliens into the Capitol.
Likewise, we now have judges saying they don’t care about immigration laws and that courtrooms exist for their sense of compassion and morality.
Similarly, in places like Baltimore, where the former mayor and city prosecutor believe that criminals have valid grievances and that the police are evil, criminals were given “space to destroy” during the riots of 2015.
What we are seeing from the Left is the complete breakdown of the rule of law and that the ends justify the means – no matter what the law or the Constitution says.
Conservatives, on the other hand, are always willing to pursue the legitimate processes by which to change the law, even when we believe the current law is not only immoral but against the original meaning of the Constitution. The Convention of the States movement is tediously trying to get the support of 33 state legislatures to convene an Article V convention to make the changes they support. But the Left engages in an ad hoc constitutional convention from the bench, an office in the FBI, or from a state office. The rule of law no longer matters.
The real constitutional crisis: The inmates running the asylum
But it’s worse than that. It would be bad enough to have lawless individuals – those for whom the ends always justify any means – in elected office. The problem is the Left is seeking to keep their lawbreakers as permanent fixtures in the deep state and the judiciary in order to overpower and sideline Congress and the president.
For years, we have seen how the Left has transformed the judiciary into the supreme and sole arbiter of every social, political, and even philosophical question. That way they can immunize their fundamental lawbreaking from the electoral process through the lifetime appointment of judges. Correspondingly in the executive branch, they have created a concept of “independent commissions” and permanent civil service employees who are protected from the firing power of the chief executive, contrary to the very essence of Article II powers.
Now, they are taking their progressive constitution to the next level. Over the weekend, Democrats were threatening everything short of a civil war if Trump decides to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for his role in approving FISA applications to spy on the political opposition. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., suggested it “would precipitate a constitutional crisis.” They are now asserting that a president can’t fire his own appointee!
This is insane. Democrats have the right to say they will not vote to confirm a replacement. But they cannot affirmatively force upon the president any particular personnel.
But that is not all.
They believe that the FBI is such a strong institution that it should be completely sealed off from presidential executive authority or congressional oversight. The DOJ and the FBI are now “investigating” Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., and the committee for doing their jobs. Fox News’ legal analyst Gregg Jarrett reports that Rosenstein threatened to subpoena texts and emails of Intelligence Committee members in order to get them to stop the investigation of DOJ, which is a violation of federal law.
Folks, it is not illegal for a president to fire executive branch officials; it is his job. It’s not illegal for Congress to investigate executive agencies; it is their job. It is illegal, however, for executive staff to violate FISA laws, obstruct justice in the Hillary email scandal, and hamper congressional investigations. Yet, we have the inmates running the asylum.
Devin Nunes stands for re-election this fall. If Democrats don’t like how he is exercising his constitutional powers, they can work to defeat him and the GOP majority in the fall. That is why he has such power – precisely because he stands for election. Which is the reason why unelected judges and bureaucrats do not have such power – because they do not stand for election.
James Madison in Federalist #39 defined a republic as “a government which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people, and is administered by persons holding their offices during pleasure, for a limited period, or during good behavior.”
We no longer have a government that is of, by, and for the people. We have a government that operates of, by, and for itself and only serves the ever-changing mythical constitution of the progressive Left. And we are now being told that there is not a darn thing we can do about it.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.