The long-awaited Inspector General report into the Obama Department of Justice has been finished, with the early draft being released to those whom it names. According to The Wall Street Journal, “Multiple subjects of a report on the Justice Department’s handling of a 2016 investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email use have been notified that they can privately review the report by week’s end.”
Rumors are flying over exactly who is named in the report, but a quick search of social media shows that Sally Yates and John Brennan have been doing a lot of explaining recently. For Yates and Brennan, being named in the IG report would be a touch of irony, as they both have accused President Trump of lawlessness.
Yates, the former No. 3 official in the Obama administration’s DOJ, became a left-wing heroine in early 2017 after she was fired for refusing to enforce President Trump’s so-called Travel Ban. While Yates claimed that the ban was unconstitutional, a unanimous Supreme Court disagreed with her.
Brennan, the head of the CIA under President Obama, has been an outspoken critic of President Trump, launching criticism to a degree unusual for a former intelligence chief.
In addition to Yates and Brennan, former FBI officials James Comey and Andy McCabe are rumored to be named in the IG report. Both men have admitted under oath to leaking sensitive information to the press. Both men tell contradictory stories involving their roles in politically-sensitive investigations that took place in the final years of the Obama presidency.
This report will now push U.S. District Attorney John Huber into the spotlight. Huber will be the prosecuting attorney for any cases opened by the Trump DOJ.
A New York Times puff piece from Wednesday, describing the DOJ’s side of the story, attempted to get ahead of the IG report, but it may have backfired for Trump’s opponents. Buried in the middle of the story is the admission that the FBI had a spy in the Trump campaign. While it has long been known that the Obama administration wiretapped the Trump campaign, having a spy in the Trump campaign raises the stakes much higher that the Obama Justice Department broke the law.
This spying will naturally cause people to compare the Obama DOJ scandal to Watergate. Let us remember that Watergate was not the first example of a president abusing power to investigate, or even imprison, political opponents. Presidents Lincoln, Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Kennedy, and Lyndon Johnson abused law enforcement authority long before Watergate.
While Trump’s opponents may compare the president to Nixon, a better historical comparison is Obama to the long and bi-partisan list of presidents who abused power to target political opponents.