Join us on a journey behind the scenes of the Department of Justice (DOJ) with none other than former Acting Attorney General of the United States, Matt Whitaker. In this episode of STAND, AG Whitaker reveals the complexities of managing the DOJ amidst a tumultuous relationship with the Trump administration. He shares the shocking stories of what he witnessed in his book, Above the Law: The Inside Story of How the Justice Department Tried to Subvert President Trump.
As we switch gears to the current state of affairs under the Biden administration, AG Whitaker shares his expert perspective on the dangerous rise in human trafficking, the escalating fentanyl crisis, and the crisis at the border.
Lastly, we invite you to ponder on America’s ongoing fight for justice and freedom. How can ordinary Americans contribute to their communities and country? AG Whitaker shares his insights on this, reflecting on the strength of the American people, as exemplified by President Trump’s resilience and intelligence. As we touch upon the weaponization of government and the urgent need for accountability, join us and AG Whitaker in standing firm and strong.
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Kelly Tshibaka: 0:04
Welcome to Stand 100% of your recommended daily dose of courage. We’re here to help equip and empower you to stand for what you believe, to stand for others and to stand for what’s right. I’m your host, kelly Tshibakaa, a former government watchdog and candidate for US Senate from Alaska, and, as always, I’m joined by my best friend and husband, my favorite co-host, niki Tshibaka. Don’t forget to subscribe to our show at the Stand Show on YouTube and on social media. You can follow us at Kelly for Alaska On the website standshow. org. Let’s keep growing our community of standouts. Invite friends and family to subscribe to our show. This week. If you leave a review for the show, you can be our lucky audience member to receive a free hydro flask sticker. So make sure to leave a review. It’s an honor to have with us former acting attorney general of the United States of America, matt Whitaker. In 2004, president George W Bush nominated Matt Whitaker to serve as United States attorney for the Southern District of Iowa, and during his first year in office, matt issued an epic 500 indictments, over half of which were drug prosecutions. In November 2009, he resigned his role as US attorney after President Obama’s nominee for that position was confirmed, but in 2017, he returned to public office when then attorney general Jeff Sessions appointed him as chief of staff for the Department of Justice attorney general. After Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigned, matt became acting attorney general of the United States from November 2018 through February 2019. For those of you who remember those times, he stood firm through several contentious challenges. Matt’s been a tireless and courageous voice for justice and the rule of law. So you can learn more about his time in the Trump administration and a book he wrote above the law the inside story of how the Justice Department tried to subvert President Trump. Purchase it at BarnesandNoblecom or on Amazon. Welcome to Stand, matt. We’re so honored to have you with us.
Attorney General Matt Whitaker: 2:18
Kelly, it’s so good to be with you and Niki, a couple DOJ alums yourself and just really a pleasure to be with you today.
Niki Tshibaka: 2:27
Thanks, matt. It’s great to have you. I’m sure many of our viewers and listeners have seen your face on cable news, have heard your voice on radio shows giving your analysis on significant legally issues, so they know something about Matt the professional. We’d love for them to learn a little bit about Matt the person. Can you tell us something about you that perhaps folks in our audience don’t know? Maybe a fun story or anecdote?
Attorney General Matt Whitaker: 3:01
Well, I have so many fun stories but I mean, I think a lot of people don’t realize that I was mostly paid for my college in law school, in my MBA at the University of Iowa by playing football and I graduated three and a half years from undergrad was in law school, my senior year, and I know many people like kind of think I look like a football player, but I’m not sure they appreciate that that was really my my first love with sports. I still love watching sports. I can’t. At my age it gets a little tough to participate, especially in football. I played adult hockey for a decade. Had a blast doing that. I used to say that my, my drinking team has a hockey problem. We sure it was a great, great group of guys and girls. Actually we had a. We usually had at least one or two women that played on our team as well and we just had. We had a lot of fun.
Kelly Tshibaka: 4:00
The Alaska crowd goes wild. That’s awesome. So you served in the United States Attorney General’s office during an incredibly tumultuous time. When you talk about it in your book above the law, can you tell us about some of the biggest challenges that you face as chief of staff or even as acting attorney general, and how you dealt with them?
Attorney General Matt Whitaker: 4:22
Yeah, I think the hardest thing that I dealt with, especially as chief of staff, is, you know, I got there after general sessions, had been in office for about eight months and the relationship with the White House was broken. You know, president Trump obviously was frustrated with Jeff Sessions as attorney general and my job was to, you know, make sure that the trains ran on time at DOJ, make sure that we accomplished the mission the President Trump had given the Department of Justice several very broad, you know, sort of mission statement, and one of those was to reduce crime in America. Another one was to dismantle, or you know, transnational criminal organizations, and those two alone were, you know, a full-time job of keeping DOJ focused. You know, one of the things that I also brought to that role was making sure that we understood where we were going. I think for, you know, it was a little bit because of that relationship with the White House. It was very reactionary and so I tried to make sure that everyone that was, you know, especially Trump appointees, whether it was in the Office of Legal Policy, office of Legal Counsel, you know, the comm shop or the lead shop, you know that all those folks were pulling in the same direction that were consistent with President Trump’s agenda and really what he wanted, which was to you know. You know what President Trump’s like. I mean he wants the American people to prosper, he wants them to be safe from violent crime and so many other things, and so we made sure that we were mission focused.
Kelly Tshibaka: 5:56
Yeah, it was a really challenging time at that point.
Niki Tshibaka: 6:02
You know you brought. You’re talking about dismantling transnational criminal organizations. You know, as a US attorney, your tenure as a US attorney for Southern District of Iowa. You were part of an anti-terrorism task force that focused on child pornographers, or at least that was part of it. Child pornography is, you know, ties directly to human trafficking, which has become a really a growing problem in our country. I mean, a lot of people don’t necessarily realize that there are more slaves today in this world than there ever have been in human history and it’s certainly a major issue in the US. But you were on the front lines of this as a US attorney in that task force. Can you tell our audience about one of the cases that you prosecuted or were a part of as a part of that task force or anything you’re able to accomplish in terms of fighting child sex trafficking at the time?
Attorney General Matt Whitaker: 7:06
Yeah, so we hosted the first human trafficking conference in Iowa when I was US attorney and it was just an issue that I think was not on the forefront in those cases. You know, we had, for example, a Chinese restaurant that brought illegal immigrants into work from China and then wouldn’t let them go. Essentially they kind of kept them in bondage to your point. And right now I think there is a good movement to work on the human trafficking issue and to prosecute that. But I think one of the things that I was able to bring to the main justice in Washington DC, having been a US attorney for over five years, is that we were able to talk that language. I was able to take those 93 US attorneys across the 94 judicial districts and really talk to them about the tools they had. We were able to push more resources out from the Department of Justice to those US attorneys’ offices and really enable them to attack these ever-increasing issues, whether it’s child pornography, whether it’s human trafficking, whether it is the fentanyl crisis. We worked very hard on lowering especially in the districts hit the hardest by the opioid and fentanyl crisis lowering the prosecutorial requirements to bring those cases federally, and so we were able to really address so many issues and a lot of that, and again I don’t take all the credit. It was a massive team effort, but the voice that I was able to provide, especially on the fifth floor in the Attorney General’s Office, was having been a US attorney and knowing how those offices operated and how those US attorneys could be effective in combating some of these major crises we were facing.
Niki Tshibaka: 9:08
That’s amazing. If I could just ask a quick follow-up, would you say that with the open border policy that we’ve had under the Biden administration, that human trafficking has gotten worse?
Attorney General Matt Whitaker: 9:22
Oh, without a doubt. I mean Niki, you, you, you know, we all see it with our own eyes, right, I mean, we see how many people are pouring across that southern border. But you know, what’s really happening, in addition to the, the human catastrophe and those folks that are being trafficked is the, the, especially the, the, the, the, the people and the payloads that are the paying ones are being put through the areas where post, after the distraction is made by sending these caravans of folks and the hundreds of, you know of groups that maybe hadn’t paid the traffickers as much and were intentionally being caught, they take so much resources that border patrol and and ICE and and DEA and all the folks and the resources we have on the southern border can’t pay attention to these clandestine groups that are then coming in outside of the ports of entry. So really it’s an insidious scheme that is in exact relation to the policies that we’re applying at the southern border. You know, I was able to look at this issue down in Arizona just recently and to see how these trafficking organizations were doing it and to to understand how kind of simple it would be to combat many of these things, not only to secure the southern border but then, to you know, set up a series of checkpoints because there’s only a few roads, especially in Arizona, that are coming out of the southern border and you know, some of that territory is in a an Indian reservation as well. But even coming out of Indian reservation, there’d be so many ways for law enforcement to really, you know, clamp down on so much of this illegality at the southern border. And it’s just, it’s a matter of that. The Biden administration doesn’t want to do that and they never have they, you know, they felt like they were reversing our policies and the Trump administration is somehow was a win, you know, for you know their viewpoint, but at the end of the day, it’s just causing chaos. We’re seeing this in our major cities I mean even New York City, and Mayor Adams are crying uncle. They’re saying we can’t do this anymore, we can’t take this many people, we can’t deal with them. It’s just, it’s madness and chaos right now.
Kelly Tshibaka: 11:30
You’re absolutely right, matt. Once you understand human trafficking, you see it, you can’t unsee it. We can’t be the land of the free unless we’re all free. So now this is everybody’s cause. We’re going to take a short break and after the break we’ll be back with Matt Whitaker, former acting attorney general of the United States of America. Stand by. We’re back, on stand with former acting attorney general, matt Whitaker, making touchdowns for courage. Matt, before the break we were talking about all the things that we were doing, that you were doing, to help stop human trafficking. It strikes me that, as the former person in charge of all prosecutions in the United States, you know a thing or two about prosecutions, ethical responsibilities and the role of a prosecutor. So can you give us your take on how these prosecutions are going, these prosecutors and the prosecutions against President Trump? How are they stewarding their ethical roles and responsibilities? There’s a lot of chatter in the news about it, but you’re kind of the source of authority on this, having led the Department of Justice and been a prosecutor for so much of your life.
Attorney General Matt Whitaker: 12:49
Yeah, kelly, you know, what I would say is something I’ve said several times recently, and that is the path to justice is actually a well-worn path, and you know, when we were, when I was prosecutor and we were doing cases, we were not only following the law, but that law was well established. There was a lot of case law around those statutes, and so we knew kind of where we were going with those prosecutions, what we had to prove, and then you know what we had to do to get folks sentenced and have significant jail time so they could. You know, most times these were people in fact, all the time there were people that deserve to be off the street and were a menace to society and were disruptive to their local communities. That being said, you know, I look at these cases, you know, and just even the most recent case in Georgia, and that is a RICO conspiracy, a racketeering, corrupt organization that you know essentially tries to take something that was, you know, targeted mobsters and gangsters Right and ultimately was then applied to political speech and political activity, and I think that is that’s the kind of you know extension, which is First Amendment language that you just used, Right yeah? And so it’s a lot of speech and activities and so you know it really extends the law If you think of the laws of rubber band it takes it well beyond its stretching point, to its snapping point, and there’s no case law on this because nobody’s ever done a case like this. And you know I can look at you know other, the other, you know series of cases and each one is kind of an aggressive application. You know, for example, the documents case, the Mar-Lago case. You know it’s another aggressive use of the SPI, the Biennial Act, an act that was, you know, trying to catch you know a controversial act In fact, when it was passed during World War One, that was used by Woodrow Wilson to punish his political enemies. And now we’re seeing Joe Biden use the same statute to punish his most likely political opponent in the 2024 presidential election. So you know I look at all of this and I go back to what I said earlier, which is, you know, typically these cases we did at the Department of Justice and prosecuted were cases that you know had had a lot of precedent that had you’ve done these types of cases before, you know you’ve done felon in possession of a firearm, you had done, you know, illegal possession and tend to distribute narcotics. We had done, you know, illegal immigrants, you know that had illegally entered our country more than once and therefore were felons. I mean, there’s so many of these cases that were just, you know, were typical, and each one of these cases is just a unique and really novel extension of where the law is, and by very aggressive prosecutors that really only want to just get Trump.
Kelly Tshibaka: 15:34
I think that’s a really a point you made. You were following precedent and so many times we see articles and commentary on these cases saying these are unprecedented and the rule of law is based on precedent.
Attorney General Matt Whitaker: 15:47
Right, yeah, exactly, and I guess, to my point, these cases, each one is probably going to find their way to a higher court, whether that’s a course of appeal or ultimately the Supreme Court, and that’s the first time they will have ever seen these statutes applied to this set of facts in any kind of you know, close kind of way. So it’s going to be, it’s going to be a very interesting twisting and turning time and, you know, in the coming months, yeah, you know Professor Alan Dershowitz, former professor of criminal law at Harvard Law School.
Niki Tshibaka: 16:23
You’ve seen him on talk shows and he’s talked about how, if you’re going to prosecute a former president, you better have an airtight, strong, robust case, and his criticism has been to your point that these, these cases are such a stretch and it’s. It sets a very dangerous precedent. And so, following up on that, you know you referenced how there there’ve been multiple indictments of President Trump that are historically unprecedented and, we’re hoping, haven’t changed how politics in our country is done, but it looks like they may have, and there are millions of Americans across the country who are beginning to believe our constitutional republic has now become a banana republic and they’re thinking to themselves or this is something at least I’ve thought to myself. I’ve mentioned to Kelly recently. You know I’d love to see, you know, make America great again, policies out there but man, right now we just need to make America America again. So just question for you what would you say to folks who are feeling that sense of real cynicism or disappointment or despair or concern about the trajectory of our nation and how law enforcement is being used in the sphere of politics? How do we pull back from this precipice, or have we already plummeted over it at this point?
Attorney General Matt Whitaker: 18:05
Yeah, I think the first, my initial gut reaction to that is we need to go back and study our history. I think our founding fathers were very concerned about factionalism and this partisan we win, you lose, kind of binary choice. And I think the way we come back from this, niki, is really it’s we need more statesmen and stateswomen, people that put the country first, obviously have a set of ideologies that lend themselves to one party or the other, but ultimately are doing what’s in the best interest of the American people. Because I think one of the things that was really the key to Donald Trump’s success and especially in my home state of Iowa, for example is he spoke to what’s oftentimes called the forgotten man, but to small town America, the folks that don’t live in big cities, that don’t want all the big city hassles of crime and traffic and those types of things and are probably oftentimes willing to sacrifice a little high speed internet for that in exchange. But I think really we just we need. We need more statesmen and stateswomen, folks that are going to put away their partisan ideologies. And I look at on the left especially. I mean there’s not a single person of good faith that I could name right now that doesn’t just hate Trump so much, that has Trump derangement syndrome, that just want to get him, however they can, off the national stage and it’s really. It’s a shame because Donald Trump did so many good things in his first term as it relates to the American worker especially, and to America’s strength both nationally and abroad, and there are just there were so many policies that he was able to implement that really a lot of Americans succeed. Now, with inflation unreasonably high, hard to tame right now, I think a lot of Americans are feeling a significant pinch, and especially those that are either on fixed incomes or that are working hard but can’t seem to get ahead.
Kelly Tshibaka: 20:16
Yeah, I think a lot of people are feeling that, a lot of people feeling discouraged, but it sounds like you’re saying there is still hope because there are normal people out there who can, who do put country first and who can do something about it.
Attorney General Matt Whitaker: 20:32
Speaking of the other thing, Kelly, not to interrupt, but I’m sorry. But one of the other things that comes to mind is because of how awful the mainstream media is and how they treat especially candidates on the right. Our best and brightest are oftentimes not willing to run. It’s just, it’s not worth it, and I go back to our founding fathers so often. But they really wanted folks that would sacrifice for their country, that would serve for a limited time and then go back to the communities in which they lived and live under the laws they passed, and this whole movement for career politicians and I know you have this in Alaska, some problem we have in Iowa but it’s these career politicians that have known nothing other than being elected and they haven’t oftentimes haven’t signed the front of a paycheck and they haven’t lived in the real world in a meaningful way in decades, and I think that’s one of our biggest problems right now as a country.
Kelly Tshibaka: 21:32
I think those are all really good observations. I appreciate that you’re someone who, despite all the bad stuff the media has done to you, you continue to stand up and do something, and that’s a large part of what our show is about. Bad stuff will happen, but, just like you said, that didn’t deter the people who founded our country. You know they pledged their lives, their fortunes and their reputations. They said their sacred honor. But we’ve inherited what we have because of what they did and we’re looking for, as you said, people who love something more than just their creature comforts and the convenience and anonymity of their life, who are willing to do something more, and that could be something as simple as going to your local city council meetings and showing up to vote and maybe taking a bold stand at a school board meeting. Those kind of things actually do make a difference, because you don’t accomplish anything by sitting down on a sofa. You do accomplish things by taking the journey that you’ve taken to just continue to fight for justice and fight for what’s right, and then you end up taking over the Department of Justice, and that’s kind of how that happens. But ordinary Americans can do extraordinary things by just doing a little extra and that’s how we get there. We’re coming up on a quick break, but when we come back I want to continue to talk about these prosecutions that have turned political, because that’s kind of one of the things that wasn’t ever supposed to happen in America. As you said, they talk about that in the Federalist Papers and it’s supposed to be one of the things that distinguishes us from other countries and it really gets to that heart of the weaponization of government against the people and turning our law enforcement organizations against us. And getting your take on that. I think it’s really important. So we’ll be right back with former Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker and you can follow us at the Stand Show on YouTube or stand with Niki and Tshibaka on on your favorite podcast platform. We’ll be right back. Welcome back to Stand. We’re with Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker and he tackles cowardice. Matt, you’ve been in the room with President Trump when he’s had to make really big decisions. Can you tell an audience a story about former President Trump that reflects what you really respect or like about him?
Attorney General Matt Whitaker: 24:01
Yeah Well, I mean, I like his toughness, but I also think he does not get enough credit for how smart he is and how good his questions typically are. He can get to the essence of an issue quicker than anybody I’ve really seen. And he can smell. I guess this is a G-rated show. He can smell BS a mile away, so I’ve been really impressed with that, I was in a couple of meetings in the Situation Room during the government shutdown. That was one of the other great things I was able to do was lead the Department of Justice through. I think it was a 40-plus day shutdown. It was a difficult time and really keep the troops rallied, because here we had, for example, federal law enforcement agents that were willing to sacrifice their life for their country. They were being told they were essential, but we weren’t paying them, and so I think that was a real problem. But going back to Donald Trump, I was in this meeting, chuck Schumer was there, dick Durbin was there, nancy Pelosi was there, and I saw just how tough he was but at the same time trying to negotiate to get a deal accomplished, and I was really impressed with how he handled that situation.
Kelly Tshibaka: 25:18
Yeah, that’s amazing. I totally agree with you. I remember the first time I met him in person to get the endorsement for the US Senate campaign and I’d gone through training like this in law school, even though I’ve never actually argued in front of the US Supreme Court. They muted us as if that one day would happen, and President Trump grilled me like a Supreme Court justice. You know where you think that you’re going to answer a question, but you only get about 20 to 30 seconds in before you’re cut off and you’re asked another extremely sharp, brilliant question and I was always waiting for the apprentice you’re fired. It’s going to happen any second and fortunately that’s not what happened. But yes, he’s quite likely one of the most brilliant people I’ve ever met and he can smell BS from a mile away. You’re absolutely right. Okay, yeah, Niki, you had a great question that you wanted to ask.
Niki Tshibaka: 26:13
Yeah, I wanted to talk about the president’s mugshot for a minute, because if Fannie Willis, the district attorney for Fulton County in Georgia, if she was hoping to humiliate President Trump with that, she totally failed. I mean, it was a masterful example of political jujitsu on his part. I mean, the expression on his face in that mugshot, I think, reflects how tens of millions of Americans across the country are feeling right now. They’re more determined than ever now to use their voices and their votes to ensure there isn’t a transfer of power from the people to we, the bureaucrats, which is what it feels like right now. Any thoughts or words of advice or encouragement you’d have for those folks out there whose hearts are reflected in that expression that President Trump had as saying, basically, I’m not going anywhere, I’m standing my ground, I’m determined to see America prosper and continue to be free.
Attorney General Matt Whitaker: 27:26
Yeah, I think there’s a lot of words of encouragement and actually I just am reminded almost every day as I travel this country that for 247 years of American history, our greatest asset and our greatest days have never been because of our government. Our government has never been the strongest thing about America. The strongest thing about the United States of America is its people. These people that are hardworking, that are determined, that oftentimes are come from a hardy, almost pioneer stock that we’re willing to go out into the unknown and to set up in Homestead, and so we all inherited that can-do nature. And I think the American people are going to be the answer for all of this. And I think, as I look at this great country, some of our states are not well led. Our politicians to my point earlier have been in the jobs oftentimes too long and are making decisions that are only in their own self-interest instead of their people’s interest. But I do believe a renaissance is about to happen in the United States. I think a revival is about to happen. I think God will continue to bless this great nation who, unfortunately, we have oftentimes turned away from him. But I think we are turning back and slowly but surely, and I think we will get back to that beautiful shining city on the hill that Ronald Reagan described as the ideal for the United States of America.
Kelly Tshibaka: 29:05
Hmm, I’m really encouraged by your hope. I want to circle back probably our last question, but I want to talk about the book you wrote Above the Law, the inside story of how the Justice Department tried to subvert President Trump. Can you tell our audience why you wrote it and why the information in it is so important for them to know?
Attorney General Matt Whitaker: 29:24
Yeah. So I think as I looked at my career at the Department of Justice and as I sort of was paying attention to how I was being covered, I thought that people need to understand more where I was coming from first and then needed to understand some of the decisions that I made in the role. But I wanted to put it in the broader context of what I was fighting for the time at the Department of Justice, and so it just made sense to put some thoughts down on paper and I was lucky to have a publisher that was interested and obviously it was hard to do, especially as COVID was happening kind of in real time. But, all that to be said, I’m very proud of that book. I think it stands the test of time, especially as the Durham report came out and other reports have come out from Congress and the like, and so I think it’s a really historically accurate book. But at the same time it’s kind of my experience, both before I got there and what I was doing and how I was sort of my mindset going into that job and how I developed that mindset, and at the same time what the broader accomplishments of the Trump administration.
Kelly Tshibaka: 30:44
I think it’s really important, not because it’s an insider expose, a contemporaneous account of the weaponization of our law enforcement agencies that, since, has been externally validated. It’s like peer reviewed right by the Durham report, the Inspector General report, who’s also there inside the Department of Justice the Watchdog. That’s actually where I started my career. It was in that office and I think that that’s really important. It also validates for us, though, in the audience, that not every DC bureaucrat is actually the problem. You wrote this book from your perspective as someone who was a prosecutor in the DOJ, was a US Attorney in the DOJ, was the Chief of Staff in the DOJ, was the Attorney General. A lot of us would like to point our finger at, quote that guy and say, well, he’s the deep state. You actually weren’t the deep state, you exposed it. I think for all those reasons, this is a really important book. So please, audience, check it out above the law. The inside story of how the Justice Department tried to subvert President Trump. You can get it online. You can get it at BarnesandNoble. com. Matt, thank you so much for being with us today. You’re truly an inspiration to so many of us across the country. You know how much I love watching you in the videos of you testifying before Congress. If you haven’t seen those audience, check it out on YouTube. We really appreciate the bold stand that you’ve taken for justice and for the American people and please do come back. We really enjoy having you on the show.
Attorney General Matt Whitaker: 32:10
Well, thank you so much, Kelly and Niki. It’s great to join you today and I look forward. You know, alaska is one of the two states I have not been to and I can’t wait to get up there soon.
Kelly Tshibaka: 32:20
Well, you are always welcome and invited. We know exactly the places to go fishing and hunting, so please, Fantastic Two of my favorite things. Yes, you’re welcome to come back and be invited to come hunting and fishing with us and to our audience. Please remember we’re coming back right after this break for discussion with me and Niki, so stand by in the meantime. Subscribe to the show and with Niki and Kelly Tshibaka. Find us on your favorite podcast platform or on YouTube at the stand show and on our website, standshow. org. Make sure to share this episode with Matt Whitaker with your friends and family, who’d be interested in hearing all of the interesting things he shared today. Stand by, we’ll see you right after this break. Welcome back to stand, where we were just wrapping up our interview with former Attorney General Matt Whitaker under the Trump administration. That was fascinating. I really enjoyed that interview Imagine you did too because we love the Department of Justice. That’s where we had the start of our legal careers. Something I think is interesting is just the things that he shared in the premise of his book above the law how the Justice Department tried to subvert President Trump when they actually had him as their executive he was the head of the government and one of the things that we’ve been hearing a lot lately from Jack Smith and others is quote nobody is above the law and how the Justice Department, the FBI, which is in Justice Department are all these sort of neutral arbiters of truth who just go and carry out truth in an even-handed way. And yet you hear, you have the former acting attorney general and US attorney who’s the head prosecutor for a whole region saying actually, here’s my firsthand account as somebody who was on the inside and in charge of how some of the leaders and bureaucrats actually don’t do that and in my experience and in this case, this is how they abused their power systematically and what they did intentionally to try and undermine their leadership, which is a complete miscarriage of justice on the one hand, but also goes against the oath of office that they take to defend and protect the Constitution of the United States, because they do have obligations under the executive branch powers of the Constitution, and also it goes against what they I mean you did the same oaths and stuff that I took as a federal government employee. Like we have to execute our duties faithfully, regardless of who takes power. There are plenty of political appointees and presidents that I work for that I don’t agree with, but when I sign up to serve and carry out their mission, that’s my job and so, so interesting to hear an attorney general come in and say actually interesting that when it’s under the Trump administration we don’t carry out justice in an even hand away. But now that it’s two years into a different administration, every single political appointee is carrying out justice equally, with complete you know the spokespeople completely ignore the inspector general report. Michael Horowitz has not changed and know him and worked with him in DC. His politics don’t align with Trump’s. He has not changed. His report came out and said actually that’s not what we found. Lady Justice has taken her blindfold off and that’s not what the Durham report found. Both of those reports were consistent in saying the Justice Department’s really messed up. All those reports and Whitaker’s book all say the same thing. The question that I think is looming huge right now is why isn’t anything being done? And so I’m grateful that you see these House committee hearings happening. You see new questions being asked, but what I would like to see and I think that you started to get into this with your questions is I’d like to see a rallying of common thinking Americans, regardless of politics, coming around saying government is actually accountable to the people it all starts out with we, the people, and we can’t allow our federal agencies to just run without accountability over us. The reason why Congress is supposed to hold the executive branch accountable is because those elected members are actually accountable to us voters. So the way the entire hierarchy is supposed to work is the FBI, the DOJ, etc. Are ultimately supposed to be held accountable by the people, and I would just like to see a little bit more of that, which is what I think his book was supposed to expose, so that people would know, and I thought all of that was really encouraging.
Niki Tshibaka: 37:28
Yeah, I thought it was too and I look back to our days when we were there. Yeah, you know, there are thousands of just amazing people there, just of both parties, all parties, who love our country, love the law and every day go to work seeking to do the right thing and see justice done.
Kelly Tshibaka: 37:52
Yeah, I mean that’s faithfully execute their duties.
Niki Tshibaka: 37:54
Yes, and it’s just those few people who, unfortunately, not only ruin the reputation of the agencies because of how politicized they’ve become, but also are undermining the institutions themselves and our republic. I think you know me, having grown up in countries where coup d’etats happened and having family who have experienced what it’s like to be under an authoritarian regime, which isn’t what we have today in America.
Kelly Tshibaka: 38:33
I’m not saying that, but it’s a slippery slope.
Niki Tshibaka: 38:35
But what I’m getting at exactly is that we have to be so careful with our freedom and our freedoms and the structure of what we have here in America. It’s so easy to take for granted and you talk to anybody who’s lived under any kind of other government that’s been, let’s say, not as free and more authoritarian. They’ll say guard your liberties, because they can be easily lost. And so these folks who have gotten so focused on their hate of a person that they’re willing to undermine certain basic norms of how we’ve approached things, it’s really short-sighted and it’s really dangerous. And I just get concerned about the vicious cycle because I don’t want to see what’s being done to President Trump being done to somebody of another party, like we don’t want to get into this tick for tack back and forth, and that’s why I appreciate what Matt said when he said we need to get more statesmen and stateswomen of either party who put the country first and not their own sort of partisan interests. There’s a quote by Martin Luther King Jr who I’ve always loved and admired and has been a great intellectual influence and spiritual influence on my life. He said injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We’re caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. So in other words, those are the folks who are, say, cheering on all of these indictments and all of these politicized attacks on the president and think that somehow it’s advancing a good cause, should take a pause and realize that this is actually undermining their freedoms too. They just don’t see it again. That was what Martin Luther King Jr was warning against is like, don’t think that if you go this kind of a route, of sort of perverting justice, that it won’t boomerang back. We have to be careful.
Kelly Tshibaka: 41:02
I think one of the things I hear you saying in that that you and I’ve talked about a lot is we can’t love basically being pragmatists at the expense of losing our principles, once you sacrifice principles like the Constitution or Liberty or Freedom because you think the ends justify the means. No, the means or the process, if you will, the principles, actually what has to be protected? We either love First Amendment rights for everybody, even if we, for example, don’t like what’s being said or we don’t like the person saying it, or we don’t like their religion or fill in the blank, or we find ourselves in these situations through history that we all universally condemn and say let’s never go back to that. But when we do things, like you said, personalize it or partisanship it, or choose to erase history and forget some of the lessons that we should have learned, we find ourselves repeating it and going back to the human rights atrocities and the civil rights violations, the civil liberties violations that we have fought so hard for. And I think one of the things that really grieves our hearts and disturbs us, things that we need to take a stand for, are remembering the people who have fought, who have died, who have suffered, who have been tortured and traumatized and imprisoned for these principles that we need to take a stand for. So it doesn’t help for us to be silent and be muted. And well, I want my life to go easy. Your life’s not going to go easy. That one thing we can guarantee is this life’s going to have hardship and suffering. It will have more if you send it on the sidelines and be quiet while you see a significant erosion happening of these principles that other people have fought and held so dear for. You can fill in the blank whether it’s free speech, freedom of expression, of religion, things that Matt was talking about, like justice. Fill in the blank. You know some of the things that we’re seeing right now happen in culture, like the advancement of women’s rights, and then some of those things just really being revoked right now. If you don’t stand and just do even your little part of saying, actually this is where I stand and I’m not going to move on this, then what’s going to happen is it’s going to affect you and your bubble, your family, your community, your children, and that’s why you’re going to pay.
Niki Tshibaka: 43:43
And that’s why we’re seeing our grounds swell, I think, across party lines of people just saying, hey, enough’s enough. We have our differences. We may always have our differences, but this isn’t how we sort them out. We’re Americans, we need to find solutions, exactly.
Kelly Tshibaka: 43:59
Yeah, and that’s what our country is supposed to do different. You know, when I think about the story of your family and everything that you guys have been through, I think about the story of America and everything we’ve been through, that our country has actually made up of people who’ve been through the changes of other countries and all their suffering. And I like the hope that I hear in stories like Matt’s, where he’s optimistic about the future, because I think we all can be, but it takes us standing there’s always hope as long as we’re standing.
Niki Tshibaka: 44:28
As long as we’re standing.
Kelly Tshibaka: 44:30
And that’s where it comes back to you, our standouts in our community. Thanks for standing with us. You’ll find us at the stand show on YouTube. Make sure to subscribe. Also on your favorite podcast platform, stand with Niki and Kelly Tshibaka. You can send this out to your friends and family. Make sure to share the episode so that they can hear all this wisdom from Matt Whitaker, the former attorney general, and you could be our lucky winner this week of a free hydroflask sticker. If you leave a review, we’ll be happy to send you one. If you’re selected as our lucky winner, we’ll see you next week. Make sure to stand firm and stand strong. Sometimes, the winning comes just from the standing.