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The Saturday Night Massacre, DOJ’s Last Profile in Courage

February 2024

The Saturday Night Massacre, DOJ’s Last Profile in Courage

The stunning indictment of Mr. Smirnov for lying (he was a long-time FBI confidential informant on many matters, including Biden family corruption), a federal judge releasing him from custody, an immediate second indictment on the same charges, and arrest at his lawyer’s office begs the question – what the hell is going on at the Department of Justice (“DOJ”)? If the DOJ has real evidence of Smirnov’s lies, it should immediately give it to several House committees investigating the president and his son. Or, is this another DOJ ruse to justify pardoning Hunter Biden and hide the president’s criminal activities?                        

Looking back at the DOJ over the last half-century, it is difficult to find many shining examples of its integrity. The last serious bout of DOJ integrity occurred on  October 20, 1973, the night history refers to as the Saturday Night Massacre.

Since then, the federal government has lost the American people’s trust. Only 16% of Americans trust it. A majority of Americans believe the federal government is corrupt. Worse, a University of Chicago poll finds nearly one in three Americans believe it may soon be necessary to take up arms against the government.

The federal government teeters on the “Eve of Destruction.”  It is destroying the United States with its corruption, and the DOJ is its architect. The DOJ was created to uphold the rule of law and keep citizens safe. Unfortunately, it has created a lawless two-tier system of justice that puts all Americans at risk.

How did the DOJ lose its integrity?

On May 26, 1973, Archibald Cox, a bow tie-wearing, preppie-looking, strong-willed man of immense integrity, was appointed by the DOJ as the Special Counsel to investigate the criminal activities of the Nixon White House.

On October 20, 1973, Cox was fired for issuing a subpoena requesting the president to turn over secret tape recordings. Nixon refused. Instead, he ordered Richardson to fire the Special Counsel. The Attorney General resigned, stating he promised Cox and Congress that the investigation would be independent of politics. Next, Nixon ordered Deputy Attorney General Ruckelshaus to fire Cox. He also resigned.

Next in line was the Solicitor General Robert Bork, who by statute became the acting Attorney General. Bork obeyed Nixon’s orders and fired Archibald Cox after he refused to obey the president’s order to accept a summary of the tapes and cease all attempts to subpoena them.

Nixon then abolished the Office of Special Counsel and transferred its functions to DOJ.  An aggravated Congress almost immediately initiated impeachment proceedings.

After his firing, Cox noted: “Whether ours [government] shall continue to be a government of laws and not of men is now for Congress and ultimately the American people.”

For carrying out Nixon’s orders, Bork believed he was promised the next seat on the Supreme Court.

The contrast between Cox and his refusal to abandon the rule of law and Bork’s willingness to do whatever the President wanted to maintain a high position in government can be viewed as DOJ’s transition from profiles in courage to profiles in corruption.

Since 1973, there have been too many examples of DOJ corruption to put in a single article. A few examples sufficiently illustrate its corruption.

A typical example of the DOJ’s misconduct is its regular refusal to provide information to Congress when conducting investigations of its activities, as illustrated by its false filings to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The DOJ refused to provide Congress with the documents to prevent Congress from uncovering its criminal activity. By declining to provide such information, the constitutional powers of Congress and the courts were rendered worthless.

The DOJ and its FBI aggressively force private companies to act illegally. The FBI regularly demanded Twitter, a private company, ban what it deemed misinformation about the President’s son (the Hunter Biden laptop), although it knew the information about the President’s son was truthful. While these actions violate citizens’ First Amendment rights, they were also direct election interference to help Biden win the 2020 election.

The DOJ refused to acknowledge Hunter Biden’s crimes. When the crimes were proven by Congress, i.e., tax evasion, fraud, failure to register as a foreign agent, money laundering, and cocaine, the DOJ attempted to grant Hunter Biden immunity from all crimes, even future crimes. Fortunately, an honest federal judge blocked the immunity agreement. Now, however, after the DOJ’s indictment of Smirnov, the DOJ will likely drop the criminal cases against Hunter Biden.

President Biden is personally compromised based on his son’s laptop information. Moreover, several IRS whistleblowers testified that the DOJ prevented them from reviewing significant evidence incriminating Biden.

The federal government is a tyrant to average citizens without political connections. A Navy officer took photographs of a nuclear submarine he worked on and was imprisoned for improperly handling national security secrets. During the same period, a presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, of the same party as the sitting President, destroyed, using bleach bit, significant amounts of national security materials on her unauthorized home computer. She also destroyed similar information on her cell phone by using a hammer. DOJ never prosecuted Clinton.

The most recent illustration of the DOJ’s corruption is implementing a two-tier justice system. For the first time in American history, the DOJ launched several prosecutions of a presidential candidate during an election. DOJ aims to both put Trump in jail and remove him from the presidential ballot, actions only taken by corrupt autocrats.

Concurrently with the Trump prosecutions are the DOJ’s prosecutions of the Trump supporters involved in the January 6th riots. While the riots only lasted several hours, the DOJ launched the most extensive nationwide dragnet in its history to capture every protester. The dragnet was even more extensive than the combined investigations of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack that killed over 3000 Americans and all the mass shootings in the U.S. The DOJ seeks to punish everyone who even strolled peacefully into the Capitol on that day. Yet, Black Lives Matter and other domestic terrorist groups loyal to the Biden administration burned down several cities and attacked federal buildings for over five months. All remain free.

DOJ was established as the primary American institution to protect the rule of law. Attorneys General like Richardson and Ruckelshaus, who radiated integrity, are long gone. DOJ is now led by men like Merrick Garland, who, like Bork, follow orders without concern for the rule of law, the Constitution, or the citizens who pay his salary.  The Garland’s and Bork’s are the perfect examples of “Profiles in Corruption.”  Their desire to hold “power” as individuals, not as trustees of the Constitution, tears the Republic apart.

The Saturday Night Massacre was the DOJ’s last act of courage to preserve the rule of law.  Election day, November 5, 2024, maybe the people’s last chance to save the Republic by removing those government officials who exemplify “Profiles in Corruption.”

William L. Kovacs has served as senior vice president for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, chief counsel to a congressional committee, chairman of a state environmental board, and a partner in law D.C. law firms. His book Reform the Kakistocracy won the 2021 Independent Press Award for Political/Social Change. He can be contacted at [email protected]










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  • Use Immunity: Congress Can Find Truth by Forgoing Punishment

Use Immunity: Congress Can Find Truth by Forgoing Punishment

William L. Kovacs

May 2023

Use Immunity: Congress Can Find Truth by Forgoing Punishment

As investigations of the Biden administration and related activities proceed in the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and the FBI are not cooperating with the Committees.  These agencies will not even produce a specifically identified, unclassified Form FD-1023 that is a record of a payment scheme involving then vice president Biden and a foreign national. Moreover, the special counsel’s investigation of Hunter’s taxes and foreign business dealings has been listless since starting in 2018. The Committees can continue attempting to squeeze information out of a stone wall or answer the existential question – what is more critical to the nation, the truth about the government’s actions or punishment for its criminal activities?

If punishment is the desire, Congress, as the legislative branch, can’t impose it. If Congress exposes the corruption, DOJ will not prosecute it, as evidenced by the Horowitz and Durham reports of government corruption.

Since the DOJ and FBI are impeding the congressional investigations, the only viable option left for the Committees is to secure the testimony of all relevant witnesses by granting “use immunity” to the Biden family, Hunter’s business associates, and the past and present leadership of the DOJ and FBI. Congress has this power under 18 U.S.C. sec 2005.

Once receiving use immunity, the witnesses can testify free of prosecution for any testimony concerning their criminal activity. A refusal to answer subjects the witness to Contempt of Congress and could result in imprisonment.

Congress has the sole discretion to grant use immunity. Moreover, neither the DOJ nor the courts can interfere with the grant of it. Title 18 USC sec. 6005 authorizes either House of Congress to grant use immunity once an individual refuses to give testimony or provide other information based on his privilege against self-incrimination.

Historically, Congress is reluctant to grant use immunity since it usually results in an inability of the DOJ to prosecute criminals. DOJ describes the dilemma:

Congress may now be forced to choose between granting immunity to exercise its oversight and investigative functions and forgoing a grant of immunity to allow the prosecution of key witnesses.

In the present situation, however, Congress is not facing a dilemma since DOJ is unwilling to prosecute any of the involved parties.

In the Watergate trials, like today, the DOJ refused to cooperate with Congress. The US Senate sought to grant use immunity to witnesses. DOJ asserted it, and the court has the power to block the grant of immunity. Chief Judge Sirica upheld the Senate’s power, writing:

Immunity is the fixed price which the government must pay to obtain certain kinds of information, and only the government [Congress] can determine how much information it wants to ‘buy’ in light of the fixed price.

Obtaining an immunity order from the district court is straightforward. In this instance, a duly authorized representative of the House of Representatives or the Committee seeking the testimony shall request a court order to require a witness to give testimony. The House or the concerned Committee must give ten days’ notice of the request to the Attorney General.

The district court must grant the congressional request if it finds:

  1. In the case of a proceeding before either House of Congress, the request was approved by a majority vote of the members present, or
  2. In the case of a proceeding before a committee, the request for such an order was approved by two-thirds of the members of the Committee; and
  3. That the Attorney General was given ten days’ notice. The Attorney General can request another twenty days to “insulate from the immunity grant any incriminating data already in his files prior to the witness’s testimony.”

Once these conditions are met, the statute is mandatory. “The court shall” issue the order. Chief Judge Sirica held section 6005 casts the role of the court as ministerial, and the Attorney General is deprived of his normal discretion concerning the granting of immunity.

Judge Sirica concluded: “[There is a] power of the Congress to inquire into and publicize corruption, maladministration or inefficiency in agencies of the Government.” Quoting President Wilson, he notes the informing function of Congress should be preferred even to its legislative function.

The American people are owed the truth about corruption in their government. The House of Representatives has the power to obtain the truth. What is more important to the nation, truth or the false hope of punishment?

William L. Kovacs has served as senior vice president for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, chief counsel to a congressional committee, and a partner in law D.C. law firms. His book Reform the Kakistocracy is the winner of the 2021 Independent Press Award for Political/Social Change. He can be contacted at [email protected]