Across the nation, Americans appear to sense that several political scandals – or alleged political scandals – are coming to a head. Whether correct or not, there is a perception, among many, that events are unfolding at an ever-quicker pace. The special counsel investigation, the post-mortem of the FBI’s handling of the Clinton investigation, and the issue of the FISA warrant obtained to spy on Carter Page all seem to be racing toward a reckoning. The most recent development is a letter sent Wednesday to the Department of Justice. Signed by 11 House Republicans, the letter refers several former high-ranking government officials for investigation over “potential violations” of various sections of the United States criminal code.
Representative Ron DeSantis of Florida appears to have been the main author of this letter. It was addressed to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, FBI Director Christopher Wray, and John Huber, a District Attorney from Utah who was appointed by Sessions to investigate potential FBI misconduct.
The Usual Suspects
Hillary Clinton, James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Loretta Lynch, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page are all named in the letter as individuals who should be investigated. Additionally, the eleven Republicans call for the investigation of “all DOJ and FBI personnel responsible for signing the Carter Page [FISA] warrant application that contained unverified and/or false information.” This would include current Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
DeSantis posted the letter on his House web page along with brief statements from himself and others who signed it:
“The political elite are [sic] not immune from the rule of law, and those in positions of high authority should be treated the same as any other American. If former officials, including Hillary Clinton and James Comey, broke the law then they need to be held accountable. We ask that the Department of Justice move swiftly to ensure that violations of federal statutes by high officials are identified and prosecuted.”
Echoing the now-famous memo released by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee – but with more detail – the letter catalogs alleged transgressions committed during the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server and the obtaining of a FISA warrant to spy on former Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page.
The Evidence and Potential Charges
Each section of the six-page document outlines, for each individual named, the statements and actions that warrant investigation, along with the relevant statutes that may have been violated. Those statutes, collectively, include perjury, making false statements, campaign finance violations, obstruction of justice, and deprivation of rights under color of law.
Democrats and other opponents of the president, along with most establishment media pundits, no doubt, will see this letter as little more than a partisan stunt: a piece of theater and an attempt to deflect heat away from Donald Trump. The letter cites certain newspaper articles in its presentation of the evidence, which may leave it somewhat open to dismissal. That being said, the articles in question were published in newspapers such as The New York Times and the Washington Post: media outlets not exactly known for printing stories designed to protect the president.
The Department of Justice is already overseeing probes into several issues mentioned in the letter, but the Attorney General is in no position to simply brush this off without comment. The letter must – and will – elicit a formal response from the Department of Justice, including explanations of why any of these alleged criminal acts will not be investigated, should such determinations be made.
It seems, then, that whispers of collusion between Trump and Russian officials – intended only to cast doubt on the legitimacy of a duly elected president – formed the key to a Pandora’s box that many opponents of this president may come to wish they had never opened.