You've got to hand it to this administration. It doesn't spring surprises. It is, instead, consistently corrupt, or incompetent, or both. It never fails to live up to our every expectation.
And on occasion it even folds a little ingenuity into its corrupt incompetence, such as opening whole new creative vistas in criminal jurisprudence. For instance rather than offering immunity to just one or two potential defendants among a herd of contemptible wrongdoers, why not immunize -- and while they're at it, with no legal authority to do so -- virtually the whole bloody lot of them? That oughta crack the case, for sure.
The reporting on this Keystone Cop affair has been cornered -- almost amusingly -- into the realms of high understatement and cognitive dissonance. The State Department's incompetence -- or deliberate criminal malfeasance: "Don't worry, boys, we know how to screw this investigation up beyond all legal repair" -- was so stupendously imbecilic, it left journalists with the untidy task of trying to nonjudgmentally frame the department's idiocy, while also having to judgmentally offer a peek into the idiocy's certain denouement.
Before delicately noting that "usually, people suspected of crimes are not given immunity," the New York Times characterized the nevertheless-proffered immunity as "a potentially serious investigative misstep that could complicate efforts to prosecute the company’s employees."
You think? Well, you think right. Because elsewhere the paper noted that "the courts have made it all but impossible to prosecute defendants who have been granted immunity since the appellate court reversals of the Iran-contra affair convictions against John M. Poindexter, a former national security adviser, and Oliver L. North, a national security aide, who had each been immunized by Congress."
The intentional mess has also left Congressional Democrats flummoxed, though for the life of me I can't understand why (see this column's opening lines). But rather than joining journalists in high understatement, their reaction has been to stage only the customary high theatre in the typical two acts: outrage, followed by no follow-through, willful impotence and indecent resignation.
Senator Patrick J. Leahy, for instance, "issued an angry statement." Oh my. Said the Judiciary chairman, "In this administration, accountability goes by the boards. If you get caught, they will give you immunity. If you get convicted, they will commute your sentence."
He neglected to add: Then they'll give you the Medal of Freedom. Or is it the Iron Cross, First Class. I forget.
What the good senator also neglected to take into public consideration, however, is that when it's the criminals themselves in charge of accountability dispensation, one can't really expect said accountability to go anywhere but "by the boards."
As I recall, that's why the Framers charged Congress with a little something called oversight -- checks and balances, co-equal powers, all manner of elaborate pushbacks; and if things get too far out of control, removal from executive office.
These weren't mere and gentle suggestions, Senator Leahy. They were constitutional imperatives: "The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office" when they're found to be a lawless bunch of thugs, to mix the verbatim with the vernacular.
Hence accountability cuts both ways, Senator. So as you and your colleagues (with the notable exception of integrity-laden Dennis Kucinich) fail to live up to your end of the constitutional bargain, you might want to put a lid on the empty outrage. It's insulting to those with respect for the constitutional imperatives going by the board, and right "off the table."
by clicking above in support of p m carpenter's commentary -- and many thanks for your thoughtfulness