Scattered signs emerged this week that Republican leaders and activists would continue scorched-earth legal tactics against Hillary Clinton and other Democrats — even as President-elect Donald Trump called for a smooth presidential transition.
Jason Chaffetz, the Utah congressman finishing his first term leading the powerful House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, made clear the partisanship of the presidential campaign "is not going to go away," as the Washington Post reported in Top House Republican says he’ll continue probe of Hillary Clinton’s private email server.
“It would be totally remiss of us to dismiss [the email investigation] because she’s not going to be president,” Post reporter Lise Rein quoted Chaffetz (shown in an official photo) as saying of the Democrat's defeated nominee. “I still have a duty and obligation to get to the truth about one of the largest breaches of security at the State Department,” he said. “Tens of thousands of documents still have not been turned over to Congress.”
Meanwhile, Trump's leading surrogates Chris Christie and Rudy Giuliani, both former federal prosecutors, were well positioned to help implement the chants of "Lock her up!" that they helped lead against Clinton at Trump's campaign rallies nationwide. This was despite the ostensible comity after the election that others in the Trump campaign are voicing.
On the Fox News Bill O'Reilly Show, Giuliani called for continuing investigation of Clinton. “There’s one tradition in America, right? Election is over. We forget about it," Giuliani said. "There is another tradition in America, which is ‘equal justice under the law,’” Giuliani said. “And it would depend on how bad the violations are.”
Today, we survey these developments and conclude that a radical right infrastructure that thrives on using the legal system to investigate and prosecute Democrats is not likely to stop.
Demonizing the Clintons goes hand-in-hand with besmirching an Obama presidential legacy that has had fewer financial scandals than most. The attacks go a long way to ensuring success for a Republican Party that verged on disintegration just a week ago, at least in the minds of many centrist pundits now proven wrong.
Here is a vital point almost never reported by the mainstream media:
The modern GOP and radical right have a track record of never-ending investigations that demonize and immobilize their Democratic targets. The Whitewater-style special prosecutor investigations throughout the 1990s resulted in relatively little evidence against them personally, aside from the last-ditch and unrelated Monica Lewinsky scandal.
But the continuous probes and headlines kept the Clintons on the defensive and forced hordes of staffers to hire expensive defense counsel for no valid purpose while taxpayers spent millions. Parallel to that was the continuous clamor that Clinton was not the nation's legitimate president because he did not win 50 percent in a three-candidate race, which had its parallels in the "birther" claims that Obama was born in Kenya.
In a similar technique, the Bush Justice Department (including then-New Jersey U.S. Attorney Chris Christie) indicted vast numbers of Democrats on sometimes flimsy evidence, thereby destroying the opposition particularly in Southern and swing states.
Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, one of the Deep South's most popular Democrats, is still imprisoned after being framed for 1999 "corruption" that was not even a crime, properly considered, as we and others have often reported.
Not coincidental is that one of Siegelman's first persecutors and prosecutors was Alabama Attorney Gen. William Pryor, who announced an investigation, aka "fishing expedition," during Siegelman's first month in office in 1999 to try to find corruption.
Authorities never investigated the obvious corruption of Siegelman's trial judge Mark Fuller, chief federal judge in Alabama's middle district of Montgomery. Fuller is shown smirking in chambers in a photo by freelancer Phil Fleming immediately after the Siegelman verdict avoided a hung jury on corruption charges in Siegelman's second trial. Fuller was a Republican partisan forced to leave the bench in 2015 because of a wife-beating scandal.