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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Sounds like these guys don’t have enough to do in their daily responsibilities. They wouldn’t last 5 minutes in private business.
Consider the possibility that the House Democrats are doing nothing more than sending a message to the President that unless the Mueller report is fully disclosed (without interference from the Justice Department and/or the White House) there will be an enormous and crippling investigation covering the same (or even more) ground that Mueller has covered.
Remember that the President has always viewed the Justice Department as a department that should protect him. And that Attorney General Barr has expressed the view that the Special Counsel is not an appropriate device.
Even if your observations of Nadler and Schiff are spot on, what would you expect of those who are so sickened by this White House?
This feels like rage, run amok. This is a trial for all thinking Americans. I include the ones who don’t even care.
It feels like a malignant virus that is widespread for which there is no medication.
Hal is absolutely correct The excessive and malicious investigations conducted by Democrats should backfire on them.
After all, in one of the all-time Freudian slips, Chairmsn Nadler stated that his intention was to “steal the election” from the President.
Thank you, Steve Marcus. That is the crux of the issue.
Hal, I don’t disagree with where you are going with this blog message — I disagree strongly with the route you took to get there. It is dangerous and misguided to excoriate Adam Schiff and other House Chairpersons. They are finally able to do the jobs they were elected to do. (Refer back to Steve Marcus’s comment). The White House will not be the victim here. The Democrats just need the right candidate.
THANK YOU ,STEVE MARCUS… FOR YOUR REBUTTAL LETTER .!!
Please send your blog to nadler and Schiff. We don’t need the president to be able to appear the victim. We saw his approval numbers actually rise last week after he had one of the worst weeks of his administration. People were feeling sorry for him.
IN RESPONSE TO SHEILA AND STEVE MARCUS:
We have a somewhat different take on Representatives Nadler’s and Schiff’s positions. First, we would urge extreme caution in releasing information from the Mueller Report that deals with “targets” who Mueller decided not to charge.
Representatives Schiff and Nadler could have, and should have, waited to see what the Mueller Report illuminates before rushing to the television cameras to announce their own separate initiatives. The optics, in our judgment, are terrible. They may play well in New York and California, but in much of the rest of the country it will appear that they have already determined that Trump has to go, and that they are rushing to show him the door. We suspect President Trump relishes their premature rush to judgment.
“We suspect President Trump relishes their premature rush to judgment.“
That is a perfect way to sum this up. Trump has proven he can play politics better than the politicians. He has consistently beat them at their own game, and under their own changing rules. Now here comes potentially yet another softball into Trump’s wheelhouse by the Dems who are convinced they are throwing heat.
Until as a society we stop glorifiying Teflon Dons and relishing the TV ratings of second/third/etc. chances given to serious offenders, we can expect for Trump’s reign to continue or for his replacement to be yet another unqualified, inexperienced, media-savvy and brashly outspoken candidate.
Whether or not the Democrats “rush” to investigate Trump, etc. will affect their chances in 2020 may or may not be true. One can speculate either way, and it strikes me that it is a fool’s errand, given that the election is still 20 months away. However, since the Republicans refusal to conduct any real oversight of the administration while they controlled both the House and the Senate, it seems more than appropriate for the Democrats to become more aggressive. To quote Michael Gerson from his remarks on this past Friday’s PBS NewsHour, the investigations are justified given the amount of “slime” associated with the Administration and the Republicans failure to conduct any real oversight. “The Republicans brought this on themselves.”
While we do not disagree with Mike Swirnoff’s basic point, we believe the manner in which the Democrats are proceeding will redound to President Trump’s benefit.
Taking a high road, in my view, would be to wait and let Mueller do his thing. Once all the Mueller information is out, none of the congressional mishagos being done now may even be necessary. And if the report points to the need for additional information, then prudent measured responses will be warranted. Right now, it feels a little like a low
road feeding frenzy.
Many of the liberals among you are so obsessed and intoxicated by the notion of destroying Trump that amazingly you seem blind to a larger threat emerging within your own party! Namely, antisemitism.
One of your own freshmen representatives Ilhan Omar a Somali from my wonderful home state of MN., as you undoubtedly now know, has made repeated strident antisemitic remarks privately and prominently in the media. Rather amazingly, despite her prior public statements strongly condemning Isreal she was named to the important House Foreign Affairs committee by Rep.Pelosi where she is privy to top-secret foreign intelligence. Many in the Democratic party have jumped to defend and support her despite her outrageous and intentional remarks. This week in a House resolution that was largely provoked by her remarks Democratic colleagues protected her by not naming her as the instigator and watered down the resolution making it a sweeping denouncement of all hate and bigotry, a cowardly subterfuge.
Liberals wake up! Put down your swords and arrows aimed at Trump and tend to this huge emerging threat happening right under your noses that could directly impact us all. Help your party recognize the horrible memories this invokes.
I agree with Paul Silverstein… you are so right and on! I truly do not understand what it is that others…. do not see whats going on? I consider myself to be liberal yet skeptical and do not understand why we can’t learn from our history of antisemitism… many of my Jewish friends do not see what coming our way….
Response to Judy: MostJews do recognize a dog whistle when they hear it. This was especially true when President Trump was so loath to condemn the KKK and the American Nazis after Charlottsville, and then only after three days when he condemned hate on the left and the right – essentially, the exact same watered-down condemnation that Pelosi approved. And then there was his refusal to disavow the support of David Duke, claiming he didn’t know enough about David Duke to disavowal his support. Clearly untrue as a years-earlier video showed Trump condemning Duke long before Trump entered politics. Trump is certainly no anti-Semite, but he was loath to lose their support.
Thanks Hal, for defining this issue for me. I cringe every time I see them grandstanding and “stirring the pot” even more. I find them offensive for all the reasons you mentioned and I thank you for speaking out. As always you are wise and fair
I am sorry to see that my Temple in Bevery Hills is presenting “Congressman Adam Schiff in conversation with Rabbi Bassin”. I can’t be there but I probably would not go anyway—or would I. I hope someone there speaks out as loud and clear as you do.