The Justice Department’s decision to dismiss the prosecution of Gen. Flynn caused left liberal heads to explode. None exploded more loudly than that of Norman Ornstein. He tweeted, “Bill Barr is a fascist.”
No serious analyst would make such a claim, even in the heat of the moment. It’s certainly not fascist to call for review of a case in which a public servant may have been set up for prosecution by his political enemies, and then to drop the prosecution based on a thorough review by a respected U.S. attorney.
If Barr had ordered dismissal of the case against the recommendation of that U.S. attorney, his action would be problematic, but not fascist. It’s also worth noting that Sally Yates, the acting attorney general and no fan of Gen. Flynn or President Trump, was “flabbergasted and dumbfounded” by the FBI’s treatment of Flynn.
The treatment of Flynn comes closer to being fascist than does Barr’s decision, which has nothing to do with fascism. One characteristic of fascist regimes is the tendency to lock up political enemies without affording them due process.
Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, Andrew McCabe, and/or James Comey seem to have desired to set a perjury trap for Flynn, whom they considered a political enemy. Their unwillingness to afford him the process one would expect in a case like this reportedly is what shocked Sally Yates.
This doesn’t mean that Flynn was a victim of fascism. No one forced him to tell the FBI agents what he told them, and Flynn had access to our judicial system. He was represented first by lawyers from a top firm and then by Sidney Powell, the attorney whose tireless efforts paved the way for the dismissal of the case. This is not fascism.
The prosecution played hardball with Flynn, but I don’t believe it behaved illegally. If it did, there are means of redress that don’t exist under fascism.
But fascist or not, the treatment of Flynn was outrageous. I wonder how Norman Ornstein would feel if someone close to him, or even just someone who shares his political leanings, had been pre-selected, in effect, as a potential defendant and then subjected to a staged interview for the purpose of making a prosecution possible? How would he feel if the FBI evaded the normal protocols for interviews with White House personnel and told the interviewee that he didn’t really need a lawyer? How would Ornstein feel if the investigation persisted after the line agents concluded it should be closed?
Fascist or not, this is not how anyone should want the FBI to behave. But apparently it is fine for the FBI to behave this way if, like Ornstein, you’re a left-liberal and the FBI’s target is a political foe.