For Democrats and due process, it’s now or never

By WND Guest Columnist

[Editor’s note: This commentary originally was published by Real Clear Politics.]

By Augustus Howard
Real Clear Politics

The FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago represents the logical next step in the left’s ongoing effort to destroy Donald Trump. The raid also evinces Democrats’ spiral of worry: A successful Trump return, once unthinkable to them, is looking more possible by the day. To stop it, Democrats and their anti-Trump Republican allies are prepared to shred every last norm of American due process.

Consider the January 6 Committee hearings – a one-sided show trial that, instead of “defending democracy,” in fact subverts due process and undermines American politics and justice alike. Why did Nancy Pelosi throw precedent to the wind, denying the minority party the right to seat its own chosen members on the committee? Why does the committee showcase select witnesses and cherry-picked testimony in carefully choreographed, professionally-produced television specials? And at the same time, why does it bury other testimony, potentially unhelpful to the chosen narrative, far from the cameras?

If Pelosi and the Democrats were confident in their case, they would make it without privilege or prejudice for any particular witness. Republican members, chosen by Republican leadership, would have the right to examine and cross-examine everyone who testifies. Ordinary due process would be observed. But the Democrats are clearly far from confident – about their case, but more importantly still, about their electoral prospects. For them, the January 6 hearings had to be a “no-risk” proposition, a fait accompli in which the “defendants” are presumed guilty with no opportunity to “prove” their innocence. Due process, for Pelosi and crew, was simply a luxury that could not be afforded.

At the same time, and for only the second time in half a century, the Justice Department successfully tried an individual for not complying with a congressional subpoena: former Trump aide Stephen Bannon, who originally refused to testify before the January 6 Committee, citing executive privilege. Ordinarily, division-of-power understandings counsel against such a prosecution; the Justice Department usually takes the view that Congress must enforce its own will in inherently political matters. This may be why Obama Attorney General Eric Holder was never prosecuted for defying congressional subpoenas over the Fast and Furious operation, wherein his department supplied thousands of firearms to criminals south of the border. But precedent, and the rules for the Obama Administration, simply do not apply to Trump – and they must not, lest he be able to run again for president. So, Bannon was prosecuted and convicted for defying a subpoena, even though he ultimately agreed to testify anyway. And for all that, Democrats still will not televise Bannon’s potentially inconvenient testimony.

And then came the raid in Palm Beach. For the first time in our nation’s history, Americans saw government agents with guns, at the behest of a sitting president’s Justice Department, enter the residence of his predecessor. The agents turned over the former president’s office and rummaged through the former first lady’s wardrobe, all supposedly to seize classified documents from Trump’s administration. Of course, Trump could have declassified any of the documents at issue while president if he chose to do so. But, as Andrew McCarthy argues in the New York Post, this isn’t about classified documents anyway; the raid was likely just a pretext to further the January 6 investigation. Certainly, it was a continuation of the effort to discredit and remove Donald Trump forever.

Expect such actions to continue and worsen. Recent polls show Trump defeating Joe Biden in a rematch. Biden’s approval numbers remain at historic, embarrassing lows. And Democrats think they will lose control of Congress in the midterms.

With Trump gaining momentum in his own party – he overwhelmingly won a recent CPAC straw poll – Democrats know that the window to stop him is closing. For them and their anti-Trump GOP allies, it’s now or never. Unfortunately, much the same can be said for American due process.

Augustus Howard is a columnist focusing on national politics. His work has been featured in the New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, and other publications.

[Editor’s note: This commentary originally was published by Real Clear Politics.]

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