I am not a Trump supporter, but a hard-core leftie who supported Green and Justice Party candidates in the past two presidential elections. Yet I stand with supporters of President Trump in their distrust of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
We make a grave mistake when we surrender our democracy to federal bureaucrats like Mueller, no matter how reasonable and fair-minded they may seem. The men and women who rise to the top jobs at the FBI, CIA, and the Pentagon understand that their true masters are not the people, but money and power — and they are not above partisan politics and careerism.
Mueller was the FBI director who, in February 2003, went before Congress to help the Bush administration sell the Iraq war, repeating administration talking points about weapons of mass destruction. Scores of people have died in Iraq. But many others grew rich during the past 15 years of perpetual war, and Mueller’s career continued to advance.
Mueller is not alone. Here in Chicago, we had U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who was always willing to bend the rules to serve political ends and career advancement. I have observed this firsthand in two cases where I defended the accused in federal court.
First, in 2013, Fitzgerald’s prosecutors were chastised by our ultraconservative, pro-prosecution federal appellate court for lying in order to convict a longtime resident of a Chicago housing project of being part of large-scale drug-selling network, a crime that could have gotten my client a life sentence. Despite these undisputed and unexplained findings of misconduct, Fitzgerald imposed no sanction on the lying prosecutors, sending the clear message that it is okay to lie if you are on the side of the government.
Another victim of Fitzgerald’s win-at-all-costs careerism is former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, D-Ill. In pursuing Blagojevich, Fitzgerald followed the same mandate given to special counsel Mueller: We all know this guy is dirty, find a way to take him down.
Blagojevich was placed under intensive federal investigation for nearly the entirety of his five years in office. Paid informants were used to obtain extensive wiretapping of every private conversation between the governor and his family members and subordinates. These recordings show that Blagojevich never enriched himself or his family in office; he never asked for a bribe or a kickback, and he never took a penny from his campaign fund. Contrary to the many lies told about him by federal prosecutors, Blagojevich never promised anything to any prospective donor in exchange for a campaign contribution.
To convict Blagojevich and send him to prison for 14 years, a sentence that even his political enemies find draconian, Fitzgerald’s prosecutors literally re-wrote the law, which had previously set a high bar to convict a politician of “extortion” based on requests for campaign contributions which, of course, are part of the job of a politician in our system of privately financed election campaigns.
My point is that it is dangerous to rely on the machinery of federal law enforcement to remove an elected leader, no matter how much fear and hatred that leader might provoke in others, especially in the establishment figures. In their eyes, Trump is not a reliable steward of money and power. Sure, he has lowered corporate taxes and reduced regulation. But still he is not trusted. Too often, he speaks out of turn and fails to follow the establishment line, like when during the campaign he called out the liars in the Bush administration and the CIA who brought us to war in Iraq. Or like when he now threatens to make peace with Russia or North Korea, contrary to the interests of the weapons makers and war merchants who rely on continued hostility with these nations to justify trillion-dollar war budgets.
If you hate and fear Trump, vote him out of office in 2020. But don’t delegate the job to bureaucrats in the Department of Justice.