February 21, 2024

Twenty-four hours after a New York jury handed Donald Trump an $83 million invoice for once more defaming author E. Jean Carroll, Rep. Darrell Issa was the featured speaker 2,740 miles away at a GOP candidates discussion board.

On stage at Ramona Mainstage, Issa centered Saturday on the border disaster, the Homeland Safety chief’s pending impeachment and even defended his attendance on the assembly of wealthy execs at Davos, Switzerland.

Nary a phrase on Trump’s authorized woes.

However calling himself a “mainstream conservative,” the East County congressman decried the “Injustice Division” in answering questions from Instances of San Diego.

Within the live performance venue’s foyer, I requested Issa how he would reply to fears of a president perceived by many as authoritarian.

“How do I say President Trump will lead and attain some nice issues? As a result of he had 4 years of doing it,” mentioned Issa, who labored for Trump between his Congress stints and has endorsed him for 2024.

What about fears of Trump weaponizing the Division of Justice?

“After all, we need to be certain that DOJ does its job and that’s one of many issues that he’s occurring Day One to take a look at,” Issa mentioned, contending the company that features the FBI is constant to be “mainly working for Obama.” 

Issa, 70, mentioned Trump, whose re-election he predicts, “goes to have to choose an lawyer normal who’s going to actually dig in and do much more than [Jeff] Classes or [William] Barr did.”

The longtime Home member referred to as out the DOJ for not punishing Hunter Biden and “overdoing it and charging folks together with … Peter Navarro. So I desire a Division of Justice that works for all of us. It doesn’t proper now, and I do know [Trump] desires the identical factor.”

Two Republican candidates for Superior Courtroom decide — deputy district attorneys Brian Erickson and Valerie Summers — parried related questions after their Ramona appearances.

“I’ve a number of confidence in our judicial system and I imagine in it and that’s why I need to proceed to be a part of it,” Erickson instructed me.

So far as Trump’s defamation verdict, “it’s not the top of the street,” mentioned the veteran prosecutor. “When you really feel that you simply haven’t been handled pretty, you get to attraction and transfer on to the following factor, which makes the system much more truthful.”

However Erickson wouldn’t touch upon Trump’s claims he’s the sufferer of a political witch hunt,

“I’ve seen lots of people in his state of affairs … need to declare that — however the system is open, you recognize, for each side to file no matter they need.”

If Trump regains the White Home, I requested the 56-year-old prosecutor, would you will have any issues concerning the weaponization of the DOJ?

“Effectively, I believe that each side accuse either side of that,” he replied. “And I don’t actually really feel that snug answering that query — simply because I believe it’s an excessive amount of of taking a coverage stance and I believe our judicial canons wouldn’t allow us to.”

In any case, Erickson famous that he’s misplaced at trial however doesn’t go away courtroom pondering he’s didn’t get a good deal.

“I received a [fair] deal as a result of I received a platform to state my case,” he mentioned. “And the jury received to resolve,  which is the idea of our democracy. So I stand by it 100%.”

Working in a unique decide race, Summers received related questions.

Has the system handled Trump justly?

“I’ve nice confidence within the judicial system,” she mentioned. “Our judicial system is one of the best on this planet and we’ll must see how issues play out.”

However what about fears Trump would pervert the American system of justice?

“I can’t inform the longer term on one thing like that,” Summers mentioned.

Professors Share Critiques

Video of the Issa and decide exchanges was shared with authorized and political specialists at Loyola Marymount College.

Michael Genovese, creator of “The Fashionable Presidency,” is president of the Los Angeles college’s World Coverage Institute.

He mentioned my YouTube video (above) was instructive in revealing the contrasting temperaments of the would-be judges and veteran politician.

“Each judicial candidates have been cautious and even reluctant to talk to the problems, seemingly extra anxious to keep away from than reply questions,” Genovese mentioned by way of e-mail.

“Rep. Issa however, whereas cautious within the early a part of his reply, in direction of the top —as his partisan juices started to movement — gave the ‘tribal’ reply, accusing the DOJ underneath Democrats of politicizing justice and arguing that that needed to be reversed.”

Genovese mentioned Issa was extra involved with Hunter Biden than with former President Trump’s a number of alleged crimes.

County GOP-endorsed Brian Erickson is working for Workplace No. 41 towards state assistant normal Jodi Cleesattle, endorsed by the county Democratic Social gathering. Picture by Ken Stone

“Issa … merely repeated party-line rhetoric and didn’t actually reply the query. He — like Mr. Trump — appeared to imagine that one of the best protection was offense, and that quite than talk about how Trump has overtly argued ‘for’ the weaponization of justice if/when he’s elected, selected as a substitute to reverse the query with a ‘whataboutism.’”

The actual reply, Genovese mentioned, ought to have been that the weaponization of justice is incorrect regardless of who does it.

“However our tribal blinders distract as a substitute of enlightening us on this and so many different areas,” he mentioned. “Two wrongs don’t, as my mom used to inform me, make a proper. Whether it is incorrect when Democrats do it, it’s simply as incorrect when Republicans do it.”

Justin Levitt teaches regulation on the Catholic college — and has expertise in each the Justice Division (underneath Obama, 2015 to 2017) and the Biden White Home (2021 and 2022).

Each judicial candidates sounded very affordable to him, he mentioned. However every “sort of ducked the questions” — as he mentioned many candidates do.

Levitt mentioned that, fortunately but in addition “mildly unsurprisingly,” Erickson and Summers expressed religion within the judicial system.

“So I used to be really heartened by what I’d take as a given for many judicial candidates, however which isn’t at all times a assure this present day,” he mentioned, noting their judicial temperament for the formally nonpartisan workplaces.

However Levitt mentioned he was a bit of stunned by Summers not addressing fears of Trump utilizing the DOJ to assault his enemies.

A greater reply, he mentioned, could be: “That might be terrible. And I … hope that received’t occur.”

GOP-endorsed Valerie Summers is running against county Democratic Party-endorsed attorney and law professor Koryn Sheppard for Office No. 43.
County GOP-endorsed Valerie Summers is working towards county Democratic Social gathering-endorsed lawyer and regulation professor Koryn Sheppard for Workplace No. 43. Picture by Ken Stone

“She didn’t specific an opinion on the very actual issues about perversion of justice by a president who doesn’t respect the rule of regulation,” Levitt mentioned. 

Levitt, who was senior coverage adviser for democracy and voting rights within the Biden White Home (the primary ever in that function), wasn’t stunned that Issa’s feedback have been “not of the identical measured tenor.”

Issa’s Views ‘Regarding’

He referred to as Issa’s replies “underinformed as a result of not solely did he have a really completely different view of what the justice system must be doing, however he had a really completely different view of what the justice system in actual fact does or is doing or has completed” — with DOJ allegedly taking orders from Obama.

“That’s extra regarding,” he mentioned, given Congress’ oversight function on DOJ.

Levitt famous the “extraordinarily robust firewalls” between DOJ and the White Home.

“I had two conversations ever throughout that point with the White Home,” he mentioned. “And neither one in every of them was concerning the conduct of a case. And once I labored on the White Home, I had conversations with DOJ about normal coverage issues (however not) conduct of a case…. So the truth that these conversations have been strictly off-limits wasn’t one thing to be lamented.”

Levitt was extra forgiving of decide candidate Summers: “It doesn’t shock me that she would have declined to reply to a future set of occasions.”

However Levitt hit Issa’s perception that Hunter Biden is being handled gently by DOJ.

“I believe that there’s fairly ample proof really that the system doesn’t work the way in which that Rep. Issa was implying within the easy reality of the federal prosecution of the president’s son,” he mentioned.

“For any particular person case the place an individual’s liberty is on the road, I believe you need the broad traits of partisan politics to remain as far-off from that as potential.”