The name-calling, mistrust and outright hatred with which the former president and his supporters face the execution of the warrant of execution at his Mar-a-Lago home/complex three weeks ago – and the less than – from the current administration’s productive responses – illustrate the toxic and dysfunctional state of American political discourse.
Former President of the United States of America calls the FBI “hackers and thugs” in the wake of August 8 search of his accommodation at the seaside resort of Mar-a-Lago pursuant to a lawfully executed warrant. The incumbent President of the United States returns the insult by calling the support for his predecessor “semi-fascism.”
It’s hard to see things improving anytime soon.
I am one of many Americans who have criticized the abuse of power by the FBI and other federal agencies in recent years. In fact, our country has (or hasn’t) dealt with this problem for three decades, at least since the Justice Department-initiated tragedies in Ruby Ridge and Waco in the early 1990s. of the incumbent Congress, I was a harsh critic of the FBI and ATF during the 1995 oversight hearings into the Branch Davidian debacle.
Today, nearly two decades after those hearings revealed serious abuses of power by the Attorney General, the FBI, the ATF and our military, FBI leadership is increasingly showing deeply infected with partisan politics and institutional hubris.
Contrary to popular belief, however, and contrary to the opinion of many friends and colleagues, there are ways to resolve these issues, even with a House of Representatives and Senate unable to break the partisan deadlock to conduct a semblance substantial control of Congress. (the ridiculous January 6e committee was a joke in this regard).
Holding government agencies accountable, especially those as entrenched and imperious as the FBI, takes time, persistence, knowledge and professionalism – all attributes in worrying shortage in Washington, D.C. on both sides of the aisle. Politics. It has become much easier to simply name and launch legal motions bordering on the specious than to engage in the daunting task of monitoring, collecting votes, taking legal action and shaping public opinion. in the necessary direction.
No one on the public policy scene today is more adept at insults and superficial legal maneuvers than Donald Trump, and no one is less adept at bringing people together than President Joe Biden. . And that’s where we’re stuck.
Mar-a-Lago is the last “hill” on which the former president has decided to wage a major political battle.
For example, the former president and his ever-changing team of attorneys are loudly lamenting that the search was flawed because the FBI allegedly took Mar-a-Lago documents that constitute privileged attorney-client communications. If this has happened, it is far from unprecedented, and the federal courts are well equipped to handle such claims without the need for hams or unreasonable demands.
An even more fundamental complaint made by the former president is that there was no legitimate basis for issuing the search warrant in the first place, rendering all subsequent actions irretrievably tainted. In this scenario, of course, there is no room or reason for constructive action or dialogue – only backyard brawls.
Whether Trump or his defenders ever recognize it or admit it, a legitimate and ongoing investigation is underway into the mishandling of highly sensitive government documents and the obstruction of justice. Such problems should concern us all and at the same time generate support for the use of federal courts to ensure that actions beyond name-calling and partisan posturing will prevail.
At the same time, having learned never to put all our eggs in one basket (especially alongside an FBI whose leaders display a penchant for partisan shenanigans), we must continue to support candidates running for office in November Congresses who pledge to change the toxic trajectory we are now on, and perhaps rekindle the lost art of true congressional oversight.
Finally, we need to speak directly to the American people in a way that neither Trump nor Biden show interest – as adults who care more about America and the rule of law than they or their party.
Bob Barr represented Georgia’s Seventh District in the United States House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003. He served as the United States Attorney in Atlanta from 1986 to 1990 and served as a CIA official in the 1970s. He now practices law in Atlanta, Georgia, and leads the Liberty Guard.