Note: this piece was originally published on Just Security, and was co-authored by Checks & Balances member Stuart Gerson.
When President Trump was elected, one of the most compelling fears expressed by many was that he would use the vast law enforcement powers of the Department of Justice to try to crush political opponents and manipulate elections, mortally damaging our democracy. After all, the President had, during and following his campaign, threatened the prosecution and imprisonment of his opponent in a manner more typical of a tin pot dictator than a free-world leader. He didn’t just do it at political rallies but, but as the Mueller report revealed, he privately tried to get then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions actually to open a case.
Clearly concerned about his then likely opponent in November, the president, with the aid of his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, attempted to coerce the government of Ukraine to investigate and provide dirt on Biden’s son and Biden himself as a quid pro quo for the release of blocked defense assistance appropriated by Congress. This conduct resulted in Trump’s impeachment. Although he was ultimately acquitted, a majority of Senators agreed that the House managers had proved these facts. While attempting to enlist the assistance of a foreign government against the Bidens, the president also asserted that he had the authority to direct the DOJ to launch a criminal investigation against Biden, and indeed referenced Barr several times in his now-infamous call with Ukraine’s president. Now that Biden is the presumptive Democratic nominee, one can bet the farm that Biden and his family will be subject to a constant barrage of the same insubstantial allegations.
Continue reading at Just Security.