Presidential Campaign

Don’t mourn the FBI’s integrity — disillusionment leads to reform

FBI
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FBI

Recently, a jaw-dropping “October Surprise” fell into the laps of all Americans — FBI Director James Comey wrote to members of Congress revealing that his agency was reviewing more emails related to Hillary Clinton. Voters — and even pundits — were gobsmacked.

{mosads}What did it mean? Didn’t Comey just recently refuse to punish Hillary for her wrongdoings? What had the FBI found to warrant this sort of interference in a United States presidential election? What about all the people who had “early voted?” Should the Democrats replace their top-of-the-ticket with someone who isn’t under criminal investigation?

When it was revealed that the emails were found after examining disgraced Congressman Anthony Weiner’s computer, the entire political world let out a collective sigh. It was the “most 2016 moment” of 2016. Of course, this crazy political season would end up here … in a strange combination of sex, corruption, and lunacy. Sunday, of course, Comey announced that he stood by his original conclusion. No prosecution awaited Hillary Clinton.

This doesn’t do much for the “rule of law,” a concept which has been waning in recent years. Powerful politicians have been breaking the law with impunity for years. With the Wisconsin Doe investigations, the Texas attacks on Ken Paxton, the IRS attacks on conservatives, and many others, the law has been weaponized against non-elected citizens and politicians who challenge the existing power structure.

The FBI’s investigation of Clinton hasn’t been an exercise in excellence either. 

Hillary’s email issues have been swept under the rug from the start. Servers were “bleached,” devices destroyed with hammers, lies told to the American people. 

Then, Attorney General Loretta Lynch met secretly in a jet on a tarmac with former President Bill Clinton while Hillary was under investigation by the FBI. Comey shortly thereafter set forth a perfect legal case against her, ticking off every statutory element of the crimes committed.  Then, in the next breath, he recommended no prosecution. 

There are a multitude of examples of individuals prosecuted by the federal government for much smaller infractions. Hillary Clinton was not prosecuted because she is a prominent, national figure, running for the presidency and her party controls the legal apparatus. 

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We used to be “united” around the idea that we are a nation based on the rule of law. From the smallest, most insignificant traffic laws, to the most serious laws, they apply equally to everyone.  Rich and poor, famous or unknown, majority or minority, powerful or weak, the laws are meant to apply equally to every man and woman. But that confidence is waning.

As Chris Cillizza wrote in the Washington Post:

“The result of the FBI-as-political-football narrative is nothing but bad for the Bureau.” 

He later extrapolates that it’s bad for America, because now the institutions in which we used to have confidence are derided and mocked around our nation’s water coolers. 

A recent Gallup poll revealed that Americans used to have confidence in the Supreme Court — in 1988, 56 percent of us did; in 1998, 50 percent. However, now only 36 percent have confidence in the nation’s highest court. While 53 percent of us had confidence in banks back in 2004, now only 27 percent of us do. Back in 1975, 68 percent of people had confidence in the Church, but now only 41 percent confess to that faith.

But there’s a silver lining in our newfound doubt in our federal institutions: They were never that great anyway. As our expectations now line up more closely with the reality of our fallible, corrupt, inept government, Americans are — more than ever — uniting in our desire to limit the role of the federal government in our lives.

Even our founders realized that a gigantic federal government will never voluntarily restrain itself. That’s why that gave us Article V right there in the Constitution, to give the people the power to restrict the federal government without permission of Congress or the president.

Maybe 2016 is the moment when Americans collectively give up their hope in the government. That disillusionment — as painful as it is — could be one of the most patriotic sentiments with which we could collectively be afflicted.

Meckler is the president of Citizens for Self-Governance, founder of the Convention of States Project, and a leading constitutional grassroots activist.


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