DOJ SOP: Indict Pro-Trump Office Holders After Primary, Before General Election


A pattern appears to be emerging of the Department of Justice dropping federal criminal indictments on pro-Trump office holders after the primary, but before they face their general election opponents.

The DOJ brought criminal charges on early Donald Trump supporters Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., this week and Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., earlier this month.

The moves felt reminiscent of the Obama Justice Department indicting Republican Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio just weeks before he faced re-election in November 2016.

The charges against Hunter and his wife Margaret, who was his campaign manager, stem from alleged campaign funds misuse ranging between two and 10 years ago. The allegations were raised during his 2016 race.

At the time, Hunter responded by conducting an audit, confessing there had been wrongdoing and repaying $60,000 “for what he identified as personal, mistaken or insufficiently documented expenditures,” The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

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Hunter told Fox News Thursday night he believes the DOJ is playing politics.

“This is pure politics and the prosecutors can make an indictment read like an scandalous novel if they want to,” the lawmaker said. “They’ve had a year-and-a-half to do this. There is no way for me to be able to…get this done in court before my election. They’ve had this for a long time. This is a late hit.”

“The prosecutor and the U.S. attorney who issued this court order to search my house and my office (during the 2016 race), they had just attended a Hillary Clinton fundraiser with another U.S. attorney out of San Diego,” he said.

Former Congressman Duncan Hunter, Sr., who held the seat before his son, told KNSD that the U.S. Attorney’s Office is hoping Hunter, Jr. “won’t have a chance to clear his name before the election.”

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Former Ohio Congressman Bob McEwen agrees with the assessment that the DOJ is conducting a political hit job.

“All these charges against Congressman Hunter in California were all adjudicated in the last election,” McEwen told The Western Journal. “He repaid the money. The people voted in the 2016 election. Now for this corrupt Justice Department under Jeff Sessions to bring these charges up shortly before this election shows the partisan gamesmanship that’s being played.”

As was the case with Hunter, the DOJ has apparently been investigating Collins for alleged insider trading for several months. The charges originate from communications he had with members of his family in June 2017, The New York Times reported.

Collins’ lawyers said in a statement following the indictment that the representative had not traded a single share of his own stock after learning of a failed trial of an experimental drug in a pharmaceutical company on which he sat on the board.

“We will answer the charges filed against Congressman Collins in court and will mount a vigorous defense to clear his good name,” they said.

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Collins has announced he will not seek re-election, but plans to serve out of the remainder of his term.

As with Hunter and Collins, the DOJ decided to indict Arpaio, also an early Trump supporter, at a strategic moment in his 2016 bid to serve a seventh term as Maricopa County Sheriff in Arizona.

The man branded “America’s Toughest Sheriff” prevailed over his three GOP challengers by taking 67 percent of the vote in the Republican primary.

However in October 2016, just weeks before Arizona voters went to the polls, the Justice Department filed a misdemeanor contempt of court charge against Arpaio.

The indictment contended that the lawman was not in compliance with a 2013 court order finding his sheriffs had engaged in racial profiling. Arpaio lost the election to his Democrat opponent.

Federal prosecutors chose to file the misdemeanor charge, thus circumventing the need for a jury trial, and a federal judge convicted him in July 2017.

The following month, Trump pardoned Arpaio.

Many political observers also point to the criminal conviction of the late Alaska GOP Sen. Ted Stevens just days before his 2008 re-election as another example of the DOJ seeking to change the outcome of political contests in favor of Democrats.

Federal prosecutors accused the senator of receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of “freebies” from oil company executives, CNN reported. Stevens lost his re-election bid by just over one percent of the vote.

The conviction was overturned just months later, before Stevens was sentenced, after a probe of the DOJ prompted by a whistleblower found evidence of gross prosecutorial misconduct, including withholding exculpatory evidence from the senator’s legal team.

“In nearly 25 years on the bench, I’ve never seen anything approaching the mishandling and misconduct that I’ve seen in this case,” said presiding federal district court Judge Emmet Sullivan.

One of Stevens’ longtime friends, Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, said at the time that the Alaskan senator was “screwed by our own Justice Department.”

Former federal prosecutor Sidney Powell told The Western Journal, “The ‘Public Integrity’ section of the Department of Justice is wrongly named. It is notorious for political prosecutions.”

Powell, who authored the book “Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice” added that the DOJ clearly has “an enemies list.”

In an interview on Fox News on Thursday, Trump lamented the current state of the Justice Department.

“There’s such corruption. Before I got here, it’s from before I got here. It’s from the Obama administration,” he said. “You look at what happened, they surveilled my campaign. It’s very simple.”

Trump added, “When everybody sees what’s going on in the Justice Department, I always put ‘justice’ now with quotes, it’s a very, very sad day.”

It is entirely conceivable that Special Counsel Robert Mueller may follow the DOJ pattern this fall of dropping bombshells close to the general election.

He may not indict Trump, because he is a sitting president, but the special counsel may well issue a scathing October report all but calling for his impeachment, with the (intended?) result of hurting any GOP candidate closely allied with him.

No one wants to believe the worst about the DOJ, in light of the sacred trust of upholding justice fairly and impartially it has been given, but to even the casual observer, an anti-Trump, anti-GOP pattern of election cycle prosecution is clearly emerging.

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Randy DeSoto has written more than 2,000 articles for The Western Journal since he joined the company in 2015. He is a graduate of West Point and Regent University School of Law. He is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths" and screenwriter of the political documentary "I Want Your Money."
Randy DeSoto is the senior staff writer for The Western Journal. He wrote and was the assistant producer of the documentary film "I Want Your Money" about the perils of Big Government, comparing the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Randy is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths," which addresses how leaders have appealed to beliefs found in the Declaration of Independence at defining moments in our nation's history. He has been published in several political sites and newspapers.

Randy graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a BS in political science and Regent University School of Law with a juris doctorate.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Graduated dean's list from West Point
United States Military Academy at West Point, Regent University School of Law
Books Written
We Hold These Truths
Professional Memberships
Virginia and Pennsylvania state bars
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment, Faith