If Kevin McCarthy wants real justice, he should want Trump cases to be heard
The Fresno Bee Editorial Board
For much of July, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has used his Twitter account, @SpeakerMcCarthy, to claim that America is operating with a “two-tiered” system of justice.
As proof of this, the Bakersfield Republican, who also represents Clovis and parts of Fresno County, has claimed in his tweets that the misdemeanors levied on President Biden’s son Hunter for not paying taxes on time were nothing more than a slap on the wrist. At the same time, the Biden Justice Department indicted former President Donald Trump over his mishandling of presidential records.
“Justice is supposed to be blind,” McCarthy says in a July 15 tweet. “But it’s obvious to everyone that Biden Inc is getting a special deal that puts them above the law.”
As further evidence of how seriously he sees this state of affairs, McCarthy is now talking about an “impeachment inquiry” into Biden on the basis of congressional investigations into the president and his son. Nevermind that McCarthy cannot detail what Biden would be charged with, nor when such an inquiry might start.
Nonetheless, McCarthy is trying to create the impression that he cares about justice and that no one should be above the law.
If that were true, then McCarthy would also support the special counsel’s indictment of Trump in the documents case. Justice is based on facts and whether lawbreaking occurred. McCarthy should want the truth to come out.
But McCarthy has blasted that inquiry as a “weaponization” of the justice system, despite how that case has yet to be heard.
The case against the former president must be carried out and seen for what it is: serious allegations including espionage against an ex-president who refused to comply with the law for records in his possession.
The House Oversight Committee examining Hunter Biden’s tax evasion case should also perform its due diligence. If it uncovers a double standard in how his matter was handled, the GOP-led committee would have an opportunity to make its argument. If President Biden has truly done something wrong, he should be held accountable.
Trump and documents
Federal law says that when presidents leave office, they are to turn over to the National Archives all papers, documents, mementos and other materials they accumulated during their time in office. All such materials belong to the people of America, not the departing president.
Former Attorney General Bill Barr was interviewed by National Public Radio on the case of the documents. When asked why Trump held onto so many records, Barr said this:
“He was going to show them that no one was going to push him around and that he was, in effect, still the president and could do what he wanted and get away with it.”
Barr said Trump committed “a willful violation that was effectively flipping the bird at the government.”
That is the perspective of a Republican who served as the head of the Justice Department under Trump.
The Bee Editorial Board sent these questions to Speaker McCarthy about his contention of two-tiered justice:
▪ If Speaker McCarthy is concerned with effective justice, why does he call the investigations into Trump the “weaponizing” of government?
▪ Is it not right for those charged with the rule of law to investigate possible wrongdoing by the former president?
McCarthy’s staff answered by referring The Bee Editorial Board to a July 18 tweet by the speaker. In it, McCarthy says this:
“President Trump just increased his lead in the polls. So what does the Biden administration do next? Weaponize government to go after President Biden’s number one opponent. This is not equal justice. It’s wrong, and the American public is tired of it.”
‘Two tiers’ benefits Trump
If there is any unequal justice, it is in the favor of Trump.
An organization called Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has compiled a database of criminal offenses that Trump is accused of committing since he first campaigned in 2015. The list, updated last in April before the case of the documents was brought, consists of 56 offenses.
Trump has been able to delay charges by tying up cases in court with extensive maneuvering. That requires having scores of lawyers working the legal angles, something only a person with wealth like Trump can afford to do.
He also benefits from political allies like McCarthy, whose words undercut Americans’ confidence in their justice system.
Maybe McCarthy is right about two tiers to justice — the one for Trump, and the one for average Americans.