This is how you put together a politically charged Department of Justice with its sights on former President Donald Trump and turning the Jan. 6 rioters into convicted criminals while depicting them as all 74 million Trump voters who are the top threat to America.
First, name an attorney general who would be on the Supreme Court today if not for Republicans blocking his way. Place as one of his counselors the wife of the White House national security adviser who as a Hillary Clinton campaign operative pushed Trump-Russia conspiracies.
Fill the deputy attorney general seat with someone who worked at the White House for Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama and punched a ticket at an influential Democratic consulting firm.
And at the FBI, where holdover Director Christopher Wray runs the all-powerful federal enforcement brigade, place as chief of staff a longtime Democrat who once ran an investigative firm.
This is what President Biden did.
He assembled just about the most partisan Department of Justice possible, one willing to mesh his anti-conservative rhetoric with SWAT team raids, arrests and indictments. Raiding a former president’s home on a classified documents dispute, where a civil case would suffice. Besieging a pro-life Catholic father of seven with a swarm of FBI agents over a minor scuffle a year ago at an abortion clinic.
Label as domestic terrorists parents concerned over a Democratic Party-aligned teachers union agenda. All the while, doing very little about bands of left-wingers attacking anti-abortion pregnancy centers or abortion rights activists who harass Supreme Court justices at their homes.
Here is how not to put together the Department of Justice as Democrats, the press, the FBI and a collection of Hillary Clinton handlers, lawyers and agents preyed on Mr. Trump with a stack of lies about Russian collusion.
Name as your attorney general a senator and campaign adviser who would bow out of any Russia matter almost as soon as he won Senate confirmation. Select a deputy attorney general who had absolutely no connection to the president or Republican Party.
That’s what Mr. Trump, a Washington rookie, did in early 2017 as his presidency hung in the balance.
The Department of Justice went dark on Mr. Trump. No one was there to tell the White House in early 2017 that the FBI Russia inquiry wasn’t going anywhere.
The FBI under James Comey: His troops were wielding the infamous Democratic Party dossier to cut a wide swath of through Trump territory. Mr. Comey for some reason announced at a March 2017 House intelligence committee hearing that the entire Trump campaign was under investigation.
Odd, because by early 2017 the FBI knew Christopher Steele’s work was bogus. Key source Igor Danchenko, in a round of debriefings, told agents it was based on gossip and bar talk. The CIA told the FBI that the Kremlin was able to penetrate Mr. Steele’s work with lies such as this blockbuster: Michael Cohen traveled to Prague to meet with Vladimir Putin’s emissaries.
Mr. Trump’s pick for attorney general, former Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, had recused himself from the Russia matter, so he was no help. The vacuum left the top man overseeing the investigation temporarily as Dana J. Boente, a career government lawyer who would in 2018 become the FBI’s top lawyer. He served from February to April as acting-deputy attorney general. He was briefed, he later told the Senate Judiciary Committee, “that there was no evidence of collusion with the Trump campaign.”
That gem would have been critically important to the White House. Mr. Comey’s broad announcement that March irked Mr. Trump, who let it simmer to a boil. He fired Mr. Comey that May. It was a mistake.
By late April, Rod Rosenstein, Mr. Sessions’ pick for deputy attorney general, had arrived at Justice. He was now in charge of Trump-Russia. A career Justice Department lawyer and prosecutor, he had no history of inner workings with Republican circles.
Mr. Rosenstein quickly named a Russia special counsel, Robert Mueller, who staffed his team with nearly 20 Democratic Party-aligned prosecutors. Mr. Mueller, over two agonizing and White House-disruptive years, finally determined what Mr. Trump had been saying was true.
At the time, Mr. Rosenstein’s Senate testimony later showed, he was essentially clueless on Trump-Russia in those early days. He did not know the dossier was funded by partisan Democrats. He did not know Mr. Danchenko had all but disavowed the document in FBI interviews.
Had Mr. Trump held off on firing Mr. Comey, none of this would have happened. Mr. Comey said that when he left the FBI in May, agents still had not found a conspiracy. The investigation likely would have exhausted itself later that year. Mr. Trump, in effect, poured gasoline on a smoldering dossier.
After his election as president, Mr. Biden made no such personnel mistakes. In Mr. Garland, he named an attorney general whose 2016 nomination to the Supreme Court by Mr. Obama languished in the Senate. He was willing to follow the aggressive law enforcement wishes of Biden‘s White House partisans.
In contrast to Mr. Rosenstein, his deputy attorney general, Lisa Monaco, is a loyalist. At the White House, she advised Mr. Obama on counterterrorism. She was a paid analyst on anti-Trump CNN. And she landed a spot at WestExec Advisors, a Biden-in-waiting consulting firm founded by now-Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
One of Mr. Garland’s key counselors is Margaret “Maggie” Goodlander, wife of White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan. The political activist clerked for then-federal Judge Garland. She called Vice President Al Gore’s failed effort to overturn the Florida presidential election “an extraordinarily damaging moment for the Supreme Court,” according to an article by the New Hampshire Bar Association. She was a co-author of House Democrats’ report justifying the impeachment of Mr. Trump. (The Justice Department says she stays away from John Durham’s inquiry.)
As a Hillary Clinton campaign adviser, Mr. Sullivan made headlines by accusing Mr. Trump of maintaining a covert channel of communications with the Kremlin via Alfa Bank. He repeated the false claims on cable TV after the election. Mrs. Clinton decided at a big powwow that she would blame Russia and a traitorous Mr. Trump for her loss.
The “secret channel” cyber evidence came from Clinton supporters. It turned out to be as wrong as the dossier.
At the FBI, in place since December 2021 as Mr. Wray’s chief of staff, is Jon Lenzner. He is a longtime Democratic Party operative.
He worked for Democrats on Capitol Hill. He is the son of the late Terry Lenzner, a famous Republican adversary who ran Investigative Group International (IGI) in Washington. Son Jon directed the same firm from 2013 to 2018. The Washington Post said Terry ran a “scorched earth” operation. For one, he investigated Bill Clinton’s girlfriends during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
The FBI is very, very important to Mr. Biden as he demonizes and convicts Trump voters and sends signals he wants his son Hunter Biden and his bag money left alone.
That’s the history. Mr. Trump had no strategic plan for invading and capturing the all-important Justice Department at a pivotal time. Mr. Biden did.
• Rowan Scarborough is a columnist with The Washington Times.