When the investigation into Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia began, while I was bothered about the double standard applied to Trump vs Clinton. I believed that Trump was being treated normally and Clinton was effectively given a get out of jail free card. While I did not believe the charges and thought he would be cleared, I am not really a Trump fan and if the investigation did find evidence of collusion, that was fine as frankly I would much prefer a President Pence.
As the investigation has dragged on, my main concern is that it is distracting us from more important issues. If, after nearly 18 months, you look past the daily hype and speculation, something has become clear: there is no evidence of collusion. Now, admittedly much of what would be evidence is classified, everyone who has seen the evidence and who has commented on what they have seen, including Democrats, have said they have seen no evidence of collusion. So why is there still an investigation?
To be clear, this is not to claim that Russia did not try to disrupt the election – of course they did. They want to cause problems for our government, and did not care which side won. This is why they have been caught funding the rallies of both sides. They are not interested in one side or the other of our internal domestic politics. They are interested in generating plenty of heat such that we are divided internally and ignoring what they do internationally.
As we have learned more, the origin of the special council is now at best dubious. Former FBI director Comey admitted that he leaked government documents to a friend, so he could give them to the press, hoping the ensuing controversy would spawn a special council, which it did. Then, out of all the people in the country who could have been appointed, Muller, a close friend of Comey, was chosen. So the special council started off with a serious conflict of interest, and that is before one even begins to considers Muller’s hiring of staff whose objectivity is likewise in doubt.
True, Muller has made some indictments, Paul Manafort and General Kelly, but even here there is cause for question. The idea of a pre-dawn, guns dawn raid, where Manafort’s wife is not allowed to leave her bed until she had been searched, is treatment normally reserved for gang members and drug lords, rather than white collar criminals, and thus it is hard not to see this as little more than harassment. As for General Kelly, his interview has been described by those who know, as a classic perjury trap, particularly given that what Kelly is supposed to have lied about to the FBI was not illegal.
Long ago, I became trouble by these perjury traps, particularly when there is no underlying crime. The simple fact is that human memory is not good enough to remember everything perfectly. In fact, it is not uncommon for people to think they remember something and yet find out they were wrong. So it is not difficult to question someone enough and have some sort of inconsistency to occur. Talk to an FBI agent, and you could end up in jail if they want to get you.
And that is the point. With the Clintons and their allies, there were numerous blatant “inconsistencies” that the Justice Department simply ignored. No harm, no foul. That is because they wanted to let her off. They want to get Trump so they use every means possible. Add to this, the report that if Kelly had not agreed to plead guilty, they threatened to go after Kelly’s son, and again one has reason for concern. What would you do to protect your child from a Special Prosecutor with an unlimited budget, and a proven record of using his tools to punish his targets?
So why are we doing all of this? Collusion with the Russians? To date the only actual evidence of one side working with the Russians, has been the Clinton campaign paying for Russian “information” to include as part of a dossier on Trump ,that was then given to the FBI and used to get wire taps on members of the Trump campaign. The results of these wire taps were then sent to the Obama White house where the names were unmasked and leaked to the press.
We are told by Democrats that there was nothing wrong with all this. Really? Is this really the new norm? So in 2020, the Trump campaign can pay for dirt and gossip about the democratic nominee and then use that to get a warrant to wiretap the Democratic campaign? Then Trump’s White House can request the names be unmasked so they can leak them to the press? Is that really the new norm? I sincerely hope not. But it does show the level of hatred toward Trump that would excuse such actions directed against him. A hatred that blinds people to the long term ramifications of what they are doing.
You can also see this in the arguments that it was illegal to fire Comey and would be to fire Muller. Again really? According to the Constitution, all executive authority is vested in the President and as such all officers in the executive branch serve at the pleasure of the President. If Trump cannot fire them, no one can, and they would be accountable to no one. Is that really what we want? That would effectively be a police state, and as benign as it may be now, there would be no guarantee that it would remain so in the future.
Now that Russian collusion appears to have been a dry hole, the investigation seems to be expanding in its effort to find something – anything – on Trump. This week we saw the seizing of the President’s attorney’s papers, something that has never happened before in history. This would have been met with an outcry had it happened to any previous President. But this is Trump, so most, but not all, of the civil libertarians have remained uncomfortably quiet. And if they can do it to Trump, they can do it to anyone.
Yet again the double standard, with the Clintons,is astounding. Ignoring standard practices, guidelines and even ethical standards, the Justice Department allowed Cheryl Mills, an actor in the very things being investigated, to claim attorney-client privilege, a claim they then respected, even though she was not Clinton’s attorney at the time of the investigation.
We are told that the raid was justified because of Cohen’s involvement in a campaign law violation. Yet the campaign laws are so complex and difficult that many politicians run a foul of them in every election and simply pay the fines as a part of doing business.
Following Obama’s election, his campaign was found with millions of dollars in questionable donations and paid a fine of over $300,000 as a result. This is not an indictment of Obama. Because of the number and complexity of the campaign laws, many, if not most campaigns Republican and Democrat, have had to pay such fines. They are often seen as just a cost of doing business and no one pays much attention to them. Given this, and the fact that the fine to the Obama campaign was larger than the payment here, was Cohen’s payment a real concern or just a convenient pretext to seize the President’s papers? If this was anyone other than Trump, the answer would be clear.
So while I began, 18 months ago, thinking that the problem was that the Justice Department had simply gone easy on Clinton to let her off, now I believe that many of our protections and safeguards are being broken down in the attempt to get Trump. I have no doubt that they can get him. Not only have “all sinned and fallen short,” the current laws are so numerous and complex, even contradictory at times, that a determined prosecutor who free forms the normal constraints, should be able to find something on anyone.
What is clear to anyone willing to look, is that we have a highly politicized Justice Department and how you are treated depends on whether they like you or not. If allowed to succeed, they will be left with the tools and precedents which will allow the administrative state to remove any President that they do not like. While many would undoubtedly celebrate Trumps removal regardless, such power and privilege, once granted, is hard to remove but easy to expand and even easier to abuse.