Republican charges of weaponization, however, constitute a textbook case of what psychologists call “projection”: displacing one’s own unacceptable motivation to another person or persons.
The Department of Justice, it seems clear, was obliged to investigate potential crimes arising out of attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election and Trump’s failure to return government documents he removed from the White House. In 2022, Judge David Carter ruled that John Eastman, one of Trump’s lawyers, could not invoke executive privilege because Trump had likely committed felonies in obstructing Congress and Vice President Mike Pence from certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Bill Barr, Trump’s Attorney General, maintained there probably was a legitimate basis for the DOJ to indict the former president, if he was “consciously involved in misleading the department, misleading the government, and playing games after he had received the subpoena for the [classified] documents.”
Thus far, in fulfillment of Garland’s pledge to bring justice, “without fear or favor” to everyone who is “criminally responsible for interfering with the peaceful transfer of power … the fundamental element of democracy,” the DOJ has charged 978 people connected to the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan 6, 2021
President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey because Comey refused to pledge personal loyalty to him or publicly declare that Trump was not a target of the investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Trump urged the FBI to investigate more than two dozen of his critics, including several Democratic members of Congress. He complained when the DOJ filed charges against two GOP congressmen shortly before the 2018 midterm elections. In 2020, Trump pushed the DOJ to prosecute Hunter Biden. After his defeat in November, Trump pressured Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen to participate in his scheme to discredit the results of the election.
Expert practitioners of “whataboutism,” MAGA Republicans will surely claim that turnabout is fair play. Even though it isn’t — and despite strong evidence that they own the patent on partisan weaponizing.