Everyone is entitled to an opinion. Those tasked with administering the law are obligated defer their opinions to the impartiality of the Constitution. Some people at the Justice Department prefer to tug on Lady Justice’s blindfold. Mr. Mueller’s investigation into Russian collusion, so called, casting a shadow over the administration of Donald Trump since Inauguration Day, is fraying badly at the edges. The badge, the symbol of authority, must give way to the broom.
The Justice Department came under the glare of overdue scrutiny when several key officers, including agents of the FBI, were demoted or transferred for intolerable transgressions of political bias. First there was the revelation that Peter Strzok, the top FBI investigator, was evicted from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russian collusion team for exchanging anti-Trump and pro-Clinton text messages, along with Lisa Page, an agency lawyer and, incidentally, his inamorata.
Bruce Ohr, a senior Justice Department official, was demoted for failing to disclose his involvement with the dodgy anti-Trump “dossier” that propelled the Russian-collusion investigation. Mr. Ohr was identified in several news accounts as having had met with Christopher Steele and Glenn Simpson, the principal sources of the unverified dossier, since trashed, that accused Mr. Trump of unlikely transgressions as a tourist.
Most damning to the integrity of Mr. Mueller’s investigation is the report that his deputy, Andrew Weissmann, attended Hillary’s election night party in New York that turned out to be not very festive. His animus could not have been clearer in his email to Sally Yates, the Obama holdover who as acting attorney general refused to administer President Trump’s travel restrictions as set out in an executive order. “I am so proud,” Mr. Weissmann told her. Taking pride in his membership in the Trump resistance movement is his right, or course, but it renders him unfit to participate in the Russian “collusion” investigation.
Why wouldn’t President Trump hear footsteps behind him? During the presidential campaign his associates were set upon by domestic spies trolling for anything to undermine the campaign. His White House has been plagued by leakers thinking up unlikely grounds for impeachment. The president used the Peter Strzok case as reason to lash out at the FBI’s performance, tweeting: “After years of Comey, with the phony and dishonest Clinton investigation (and more), running the FBI, its reputation is in Tatters — worst in History!”
The new FBI Director, Christopher Wray, gamely tried to defend the reputation of the bureau in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, applauding the “brave men and women who are working as hard as they can to keep people they will never know safe from harm.” But it’s not the bravery of the brave men and women that events have called into question, but the basic integrity of their leaders.
Now that Americans are peeking behind the shield that adorns the Justice Department seal and discovering ethically compromised employees like Peter Strzok, Miss Page, and Messrs. Ohr and Weissmann, they’re not feeling the gratitude that Mr. Wray argues is their due.
All of this ought to busy the broom of the nation’s top lawman, but U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who recused himself from any dealings with the Russia investigation, can only watch as the central controversy of the day rages on. The nation won’t rest easy until the leaders of law enforcement can demonstrate their foremost allegiance is to be sure their work is fair and honest.