Fox News legal and political analyst Gregg Jarrett has written Witch Hunt: The Story of the Greatest Mass Delusion in American Political History, a second blockbuster bestseller on what he calls — correctly — the “dirtiest trick in political history.”
His previous book, The Russia Hoax: The Illicit Scheme to Clear Hillary Clinton and Frame Donald Trump, has effectively served as an encyclopedia of one of the biggest scandals in American history.
Over here in last weekend’s Wall Street Journal is a column by Trump non-fan Holman W. Jenkins Jr. Writing about the impeachment spectacle, Jenkins says that a central problem in all this is the “Democrats’ and the media’s astonishing and studied obliviousness to the bonfire they made of their own credibility with the Russia hoax.”
With precision and in detail, Jarrett lasers in on the specifics of this witch hunt.
Right off the bat, Jarrett gets to something that is at the very core of not only this get-Trump witch hunt but that also poses a serious threat to democracy in the American republic. He says,
The peril to democracy today is not a foreign force but a malignant force of unelected officials here at home. Armed with immense power and often lurking in the shadows, they have revealed themselves capable of uncommon corruption. Their allegiance is not to the Constitution and the rule of law but to themselves. Personal animus and a voracious appetite for authority are what motivates their zeal. Anyone like Trump, who might jeopardize their hold on power, must be immobilized by any means and at any cost. To neutralize this threat and achieve their desired ambitions, they politicized their agencies, weaponized law enforcement, and persecuted people without respect for law or process.
That is exactly what is unfolding this minute with the impeachment “whistleblower.” As RealClearInvestigations’ Paul Sperry has reported on him, he is
a registered Democrat held over from the Obama White House, previously worked with former Vice President Joe Biden and former CIA Director John Brennan, a vocal critic of Trump who helped initiate the Russia “collusion” investigation of the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.
In other words, this “whistleblower” is (yet another!) quite vivid example of Jarrett’s description of the “malignant force of unelected officials” who have conjured this witch hunt in the first place.
Not to be lost here is Jarrett’s point when it comes to the media:
The mainstream media, riven with bias and easily exploited, enabled the hoax and became witting accessories to the witch hunt. Their disdain for Trump, both the man and his policies, influenced their adversarial reporting on a daily basis.
Bingo — again!
Jarrett pulls no punches here, naming the names of the leading witches and wizards who have ridden their brooms and waved their wands to conjure this brew of turmoil and chaos, documenting every flight and spell.
* There is Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee, combined with the Washington, D.C., law firm Perkins Coie.
The first two supplied the bucks for the third, which then funneled money to “Fusion GPS and its founder, Glenn Simpson, for any negative information they could drum up against Clinton’s opponent, Trump.”
* There is a superb recounting of what Jarrett correctly calls the “attempted coup” against the president, describing the specific actions of FBI Director James Comey and his Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, both of them fired. Comey was fired by the president, McCabe by the Department of Justice after it was concluded by the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility in a report to the DOJ inspector general that, in the words of then–Attorney General Jeff Sessions, “McCabe had made an unauthorized disclosure to the news media and lacked candor — including under oath — on multiple occasions.” Which is to say, McCabe was accused of lying.
* Then there is Robert Mueller. Reviewing not just Mueller but also his method of operation, Jarrett is nothing if not specific on how the Mueller investigation proceeded. He notes that the once vaunted Mueller report
did manage to conclude that “no members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” It never happened. Neither the president nor anyone on his behalf engaged in criminal acts with Russia, notwithstanding the constant two-year barrage of accusations to the contrary by the media and Democrats.
It appears increasingly evident that Mueller and his prosecutors were driven by personal and/or political animus toward Trump.
Indeed. And underlying the incredible power of Mueller’s unchecked witch hunt were
19 lawyers and roughly 40 FBI agents, forensic accountants, and intelligence analysts. His team issued in excess of 2,800 subpoenas and executed roughly 500 search warrants. Approximately 230 orders for communications records were obtained, and 50 pen registers were secured, allowing intrusive access to telephone and other electronic information. An astounding 500 witnesses were interviewed, and 13 foreign governments were involved. Millions of pages of documents were examined. Throughout the endeavor, the special counsel was armed with vast power and unlimited resources, spending more than $30 million.
Jarrett goes on to point out that Mueller had two assignments and with all of these resources accomplished only one. On collusion — there was none. Obstruction of justice? The lawyer Jarrett writes that Mueller
booted it. It was a shameful abdication of the trust and obligations vested in him…. To put it plainly, he was hired to make decisions.
As Jarrett also notes, this mystified Attorney General William Barr, who said of Mueller’s decision,
I’m not really sure of his reasoning … we [the AG’s office] didn’t really get a clear understanding of the reasoning.
In short, the whole “Mueller report” exercise was merely one more chapter in the witch hunt to get the president.
* From my perspective, in a book filled with one delicious, serious detail after another, the pièce de résistance of Witch Hunt is the chapter titled — accurately — “The Media Witch Hunt.”
The chapter opens with this memorable reminder from the classic film The Wizard of Oz. It’s a short back-and-forth between Dorothy and the Scarecrow, which goes this way, bold print supplied:
Scarecrow: I haven’t got a brain … only straw.
Dorothy: How can you talk if haven’t got a brain?
Scarecrow: I don’t know. But some people without brains do an awful lot of talking, don’t they?
Dorothy: Yes, I guess you’re right.
Then there’s this from a Jarrett sit-down with the president of the media’s assault on him:
I think the media has been hurt by this political witch hunt hoax, maybe more than anybody else.
The president is right. In fact, as someone who gets out on the speaking trail or is recognized from television appearances as I walk around Pennsylvania, I am stopped time after time by fellow Americans venting furiously about the president’s treatment by the media. Suffice to say, they are furious, vowing in particular not to watch the cable news outlet whose coverage they find most dishonest. This is anecdotal, but not anecdotal in the least are all those stories about various liberal cable networks seeing their ratings crash, notably after the Mueller report failed to live up to its hype.
Jarrett lays out the media’s role in this aspect of the witch hunt in one detailed recounting after another. It is indeed a star-studded chapter recounting the scurrilous behind-the-scenes in the leaking of the phony “dossier.” Leaking to a media that, obsessed with hatred for Donald Trump, promptly filled its self-constructed echo chamber with the wildest of bizarre stories that, in the end, wound up damaging no one more seriously than itself and its once-very-real credibility for, to borrow from the New York Times, being “the paper of record.” Or the cable news outlet of record.
One could go on here. But the central fact is that when this moment in history finally passes, history will have Gregg Jarrett’s Witch Hunt to remind — on the record — of what really happened and who, really, was responsible for this disgrace.