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2020 Senate Race Featured Montana Politics Steve Daines

Steve Daines Calls for the Attorney General to Enforce the Rule of Law and Check an Abusive President

One of the seven robotically-programmed talking points that Senator Steve Daines employs is his support for the idea of the “rule of law.” When an African-American was President, Daines was convinced it was being broken daily, even though repeated, wasteful Republican investigations into President Obama never turned up a whiff of scandal or impropriety other than the President’s decision to wear a tan suit and enjoy some dijon mustard.

But now, with a President facing serious accusations about misconduct in the Oval Office, Senators Daines seems to have lost his passion for the rule of law.

Consider the change. Daines opposed experienced, effective litigator Loretta Lynch (also a woman of color) as Attorney General under Obama, citing this set of concerns:

“After carefully considering Ms. Lynch’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, I am not confident, nor do I believe, that she will be an independent voice or nonpartisan leader that will defend the rule of law. I have serious doubts and concerns regarding Ms. Lynch’s ability to maintain the balance of power set out by our Constitution and will instead be malleable when the President seeks to extend and overstep his powers.” (emphasis mine)

It’s hard to read that quote from four years ago and not wonder at the spectacle of how Daines has comported himself with the current Attorney General, whose willingness to bend for the President is perhaps unmatched since Watergate.

Attorney General Barr seems almost certainly to have lied to the Senate Judiciary Committee when he claimed not to have been pressured to investigate anyone by President Trump, improperly and inaccurately summarized the Mueller Report in an effort to exonerate the President, and failed to recuse himself from the whistleblower complaint evaluation even though he was named in that very complaint.

Some respect for the rule of law and the balance of powers there.

Barr, of course, is no stranger to being a toady for those in power. Even though the Iran-Contra affair was another clear violation of law by Republicans, Barr tried to undermine that investigation as well.

And Steve Daines, who was somehow convinced before she became AG that a woman of color could not be fair and would bend to led the President abuse his powers? Silent and hiding.

Instead of reading and evaluating the whistleblower complaint or considering the possibility that the President’s team is engaging in what appears to have been a cover-up of the cover-up, Daines posted a gif on his Twitter account and started running from the press and from the people of Montana.

When Daines voted to confirm Barr, he voted to confirm someone who, like himself, would gladly trade integrity and respect for the rule of law for just a little bit of attention from the mad King. Daines, like Barr, has ignored a President willing to break the law on matters as trivial as altering a weather map to as serious as violating the emoluments clause without a hint of shame or contrition.

So, Senator Daines, spare us the lectures about the rule of law. Your support for it seems to depend much more on the complexion of the people in office than their conduct. And your conduct, sir, is unbecoming of a member of the Senate.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.


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  • Pretty sure this is all code for Barr and Trump to declare martial law. Saw several comments on Twitter last night to that effect. We are very close to having a government in place that mirrors one of a third world country. I pray for those dogged federal employees, those civil servants, who try their hardest to keep the wheels on the bus.

  • I acknowledge in advance that this is pure speculation and probably (hopefully) beyond any probability.

    I can easily see the so-called president’s paranoia leading him to conclude that the Secret Service is of questionable loyalty (to him!) and insufficiently prepared to protect him. That conclusion might well lead him to decide that he needs a special guard force, dedicated above all else to him. Such a body could easily be formed by soliciting volunteers from ICE and CBP. Those agencies have amply demonstrated their willingness to disregard any qualms that might arise from ethical, or even legal, considerations.

    Such a force would, naturally, be paramilitary in appearance and practice. They would, of course, require a special uniform to reflect their supremacy in devotion to their principal. Epaulettes with a pair of stylized lightning bolts would be dramatic and symbolic I expect.

    There would even be corollary benefits to such a dedicated cadre. If Congress went so far as to involve law enforcement agencies in their ridiculous insistence on their Constitutional authority of oversight and investigation, this regiment of loyal heroes could provide the ultimate protection of the president-for-life.

    There’s even a name/title for such a force – Praetorian Guard.

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