Okay, we exaggerate—Sort of.
Apparently, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, (D-NY) Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, is worried that Special Counsel Robert Mueller won’t find that the Trump campaign (or Trump himself) colluded and/or conspired with the Russians, or that Mueller or the Justice Department might not make the entire Special Counsel report public. So, Nadler is furiously casting a net wide and far, seeking, it seems, anything that might qualify as a high crime or misdemeanor with which to charge the President. He’s already declared on national television that, as far as he is concerned, the President is guilty of obstructing justice so now he is going about the task of proving it. He and fellow Democratic House chairmen are scavenging for all manner of meeting notes, telephone logs, transcripts, correspondence, everything and anything, in an ersatz quixotic search for wrong doing. Miguel de Cervantes would be proud.
Already, Chairman Nadler has “requested” (under threat of subpoena) documents from 81 men and women. The Democrats, smelling blood in the water, are in danger of producing a spectacle that can turn on them over the next twenty months as fast as one can say “And so tonight—to you, the great silent majority of my fellow Americans—I ask for your support,”
Not to be outdone, Adam Schiff, (D-Cal.) Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has brought a former veteran Russian-organized-crime prosecutor and one-time NBC TV legal analyst, Daniel Goldman, to his investigative staff–a clear sign that Schiff isn’t going to rely on Special Counsel Mueller to snare the President. He’s even threatened to subpoena Mueller himself if he finds Mueller’s soon-to-be-completed report to be wanting.
This is extreme over-reach, if not in scope then in timing. Democratic Chairmen Nadler and Schiff have rushed to signal that they have no intention of letting Special Counsel Mueller have the last word on the Trump-Russia imbroglio, or, for that matter, to let alleged collusion with Russia be the last club with which to bash Trump. Limelight opportunities like this don’t come along very often and they’ve apparently decided that Special Counsel Mueller has had his day in the spotlight, and, collusion with Russia or not, now it is their turn. After all, no one has yet seen how thorough Mueller’s report will be, or what specific ground it will cover. Yet subpoena’s are being teed up as we write.
We take no issue with Congress investigating whether or not the President has committed any impeachable offenses. Actually, when all is said and done, that’s the Congress’s responsibility. But the high-profile and widely-covered rush to launch new investigations will prove unsettling to tens of millions of Americans who have been waiting, patiently, to see the evidence of collusion and/or conspiracy with the Russians. Fearing that there may be no evidence of such collusion or conspiracy, the Democrats are signaling that they intend to find something…anything, to justify impeachment or, at least, to keep the voting public focused on President Trump’s real or imagined transgressions.
Well, beware. When the stakes are this high, the American voter will respond better to what he or she perceives as fair play rather than to an off-with-their-heads rush to judgment. What Chairmen Nadler and Schiff are signaling, or appear to be signaling, is that collusion with the Russians was just a door opener, but that they and the Democrats will settle for anything that can be parlayed into an impeachable offense. This is rapidly deteriorating into a feverish search for any case they can bring against the President. And if it does deteriorate into that, it could well backfire. It could, more than anything else, deliver the 2020 election to Donald Trump.
We are at a pivotal point in this sorry affair. Twice before, the US Congress has pursued impeachment of a president. Both times specific episodes, clearly impeachable offenses, had taken place during a president’s term of office. In the case of Andrew Johnson in 1866 the charge was very specific—violating the Tenure of Office Act after Congress over-rode Johnson’s veto of the Act, and his subsequent removal of Edwin Stanton as Secretary of War (the Act was repealed in 1887). President Bill Clinton was impeached for committing perjury and obstructing justice in the Paula Jones matter. Both of these impeachments were beaten back in the Senate.
In the case of President Trump, the Democratic House, it seems to us and we believe will seem to tens of millions of Americans, is in search of an impeachable offense (any offense, it seems, will do) with which to charge the President. One doesn’t have to like the President to dislike what overzealous democrats appear to be rushing to do. In their zeal to impeach him, they may be mightily contributing to his re-election.
President Trump likes to call the investigation into his alleged dealings with the Russians a fishing expedition…a witch hunt. Chairman Nadler’s premature document sweep, and Chairman Schiff’s strident pronouncements, even before Special Counsel Mueller has delivered his report, will go a long way toward strengthening the President’s complaint.
Readers of our weekly essays know we are not Trump apologists (far from it), but nor are we part of the off-with-his-head resistance crowd. Impeaching the President, or digging for reasons to impeach him, is going to backfire and, quite possibly, return him to office in 2020 when the impeachment effort fails in the Senate as it is almost certain to do. Chairman Nadler’s sweeping and premature document search, and Chairman Schiff’s angry threat to subpoena Mueller, tells the American public that democrats in Congress are afraid that the Special Counsel’s exhaustive investigation may come up empty handed, and that they are determined to find something, anything, with which to prosecute the President.
Making matters worse, it seems that every other House committee that can make a case for launching an investigation is doing just that. So far, the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Oversight Committee have also launched their own investigations, demanding any documents, notes, or telephone records that can illuminate President’s Trump’s dealings with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
One doesn’t have to like President Trump to strongly dislike congressional scavenging for something democrats can call a high crime or misdemeanor. Like it or not, Donald J. Trump is President of the United States of America. Believe it or not, he and the people who man our executive agencies have a job to do. Anyone, who doesn’t believe these redundant demands for documents, notes and any other records isn’t horribly disruptive, even crippling, to the conduct of business hasn’t ever been subjected to a government audit or a civil or criminal investigation. Let the American public conclude that the President and the presidency are under siege by petulant political opponents and they will re-elect him, and maybe even re-elect a Republican Congress.
As our readers know, we have found a lot to criticize about this President. However, no White House and no administration can function under these circumstances. We have a tenacious, professional special prosecutor investigating the President. The congressional inquisitors should, at least, let Special Prosecutor Mueller complete his report and stop the premature partisan trolling.
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