Bring in a Hammer to Lead the DOJ

Now is not the time to play nice. Public corruption and domestic terrorism threats need to be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

I have been reading rumors that Merrick Garland may be named Attorney General in the Biden administration. I know from reading his bio that Garland was one of the prosecutors in the Oklahoma City bombing case. He also was involved in the prosecution of the Unabomber and Olympics bombing cases, and a few public corruption cases, most notably the Marion Berry case in D.C.

He was appointed to the federal bench in 1995 by Bill Clinton. He has been on the bench ever since.

Garland may be a fine choice for leading the DOJ, but he is a long time removed from working as a prosecutor.

I understand Joe Biden’s desire to “unite the country” following the horrific Trump years. Personally, I think it’s a bit of a pipe dream, but I do not doubt Biden’s sincerity in making his desire known.

But one place that desire should not carry over is to the DOJ.

Post-Trump, the DOJ needs an absolute hammer at the helm. Someone who is not worried about making sure “we all get along.”

After the corruption of the department under Bill Barr where investigations and prosecutions of bad actors associated with Trump were deferred, buried or defanged, career prosecutors and members of the FBI are ready to go. They want to be unleashed on known targets, including our primary domestic terrorism threats — white supremacists and militia groups.

The public corruption in the Trump administration has been astounding and the failure to prosecute it, particularly since Barr moved into his role, has been equally astounding — and frustrating.

Now is not the time to make nice. The rule of law needs to be reestablished — in a very big way. White supremacist and militia groups plotting violent acts must be pounded into the ground, hard, like tent stakes at Mount Everest base camp. These groups must rediscover that they need to crawl back under their rocks from whence they emerged in the Trump years.

Blatant public corruption must be punished. The dirty dealings of Mike Pompeo and Wilbur Ross need to be aired in court. And never mind the entire Trump family.

Merrick Garland may be a perfectly acceptable choice. My preference is for a hard-nosed career prosecutor who knows how to manage and run investigations and get convictions. Preet Bharara and Sally Yates come immediately to mind. And I’m sure there are others.

Years ago, I had two acquaintances who were FBI agents in Chicago working public corruption cases. When Patrick Fitzgerald was appointed U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, he called a meeting of his prosecution and FBI teams and told them, “We are going after the bad guys.” And they did with great success. My FBI friends said they and their fellow FBI agents in the Chicago office would “run through a brick wall” for Pat Fitzgerald.

That’s the kind of leadership we need now at the DOJ.

After the demonization and morale-crushing of the Trump/Barr years, the Department of Justice needs a by-the-book, hard-as-nails prosecutor to “go after the bad guys.”

Because there are plenty of them, and they need to know that the rule of law has returned.

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