For John, BLUF: Before a strong majority goes round the bend we should stop. Nothing to see here; just move along.
Here is the sub-headline:
The early righteousness of the anti-Trump lynch-mob has been deflated.
From National Review, by Mr Conrad Black, 23 May 2018.
Here is how the article begins:
It is now clear that Russian attempts at interference in the 2016 election, though somewhat outrageous, were ineffectual, unconnected with any particular party, a small effort given what a country of Russia’s resources and taste for political skullduggery and chicanery is capable of, and minor compared with the influence many countries, including the United States, have sometimes exercised in the elections of other countries. No serious person could find anything in the conduct of the president that could be construed as obstruction of justice, the all-purpose catch-all of American prosecutors, who can conjure that charge from the most mundane acts.Is there any senior statesman who can say it is time to accept Mr Trump as President and time to move on?
The Trump-impeachers, shuffling grimly forward into the desert like Old Testament slaves to the chant of the ineffable millionaire congresswoman Maxine Waters: “Impeach 45!” will perish in the sand. The vultures will pick their bones in an Ozymandian setting. No president has ever been impeached and removed successfully (though Andrew Johnson, who was not guilty of anything, escaped removal by only one vote in 1868). The required “high crimes and misdemeanors” the Constitution stipulates, have never been clearly defined, but apparently did not include President Clinton’s likely untruthfulness to a grand jury. After two years of exhaustive legal investigation accompanied by intense media innuendos about everything President Trump and his family have done more ambitious than putting on their shoes in the morning (unlike the Clinton case and much closer to the relentless media badgering and defaming of Richard Nixon in the Watergate affair), there is nothing to impeach with, or about.
The statute under which Robert Mueller’s investigation is operating does not give him an open and unaccountable mandate like the old special prosecutors had, and he has wildly exceeded his remit. The reasons for the assurance of even very intelligent and fair-minded legal experts, such as Alan Dershowitz, that the president could be summoned before a grand jury by Mueller, are not clear. President Clinton complied voluntarily and President Nixon eventually responded to a Supreme Court order on a document subpoena. But Mueller has less authority, is outside his mandate, some of his staff have committed significant improprieties, and his operation was set up in the absence of a crime, in response to an illegal leak of an improperly removed document of contested accuracy by ex-FBI director James Comey in retaliation against the president for having been fired on the recommendation of the deputy attorney general (Rod Rosenstein), who then obliged Comey by engaging Mueller as special counsel (having first offered him the FBI position he held before Comey). It is not clear that the Supreme Court would order Trump’s attendance at a grand jury, given the farcical charade that has got us where we are. (Nor is it clear that if Trump declined to follow such an order, the Congress would consider that an offense justifying removal from office.)
The early righteousness of the anti-Trump lynch-mob was deflated when the Steele dossier was revealed as defamatory lies assembled and paid for by the Clinton campaign. The feeble effort at claiming a boozy conversation between a very junior member of the Trump campaign team and a former Australian politician (who had secured $25 million of Australian government money for the Clinton Foundation) as the source of the investigation has crumbled. The origins were earlier, and Christopher Steele and prominent members of the FBI and CIA shopped his inane and scatological dossier around the media to incite the misplaced belief that there were multiple disinterested sources for its contents.
The alternative could be, rather than Impeachment, indictments.
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.
Regards — Cliff