Category Archives: COMEY

Time For A Reckoning Against The Anti-Trump Coup Leaders

If we are to remain a nation of laws, then the people who manifestly engineered a coup against duly elected President Trump need to be called to account.

By Wolf Howling

Can you believe that it is 2019 and Trump has, to this moment at least, survived a coup attempt?  I did not expect him to survive the onslaught.  He has to be the cleanest President we’ve ever had in office.  He just survived a three year investigatory equivalent of a general warrant to search anywhere for any crime — something the Bill of Rights made unlawful on December 15, 1791.

Unlike a criminal investigation, which benefits from Constitutional limits and protections, things were different for Trump. Beginning on July 31, 2016, when the FBI launched an investigation explicitly aimed at Trump — and right through and including the Mueller investigation, likewise explicitly aimed at Trump, — every aspect of Trump’s life, his businesses, and finances his finances was pried open under the rubric of a “counter-intelligence investigation.”  That he is clean as a whistle is obvious, for we know that, had the FBI or the Mueller team found anything that could be cast as a crime, whether related to Russia or not, they would have used it to destroy Trump. After all, Mueller’s team, while pursuing their Russia counter-intelligence investigation, used evidence about fraud regarding taxi medallions, something far removed from Mueller’s mandate, to prosecute Michael Cohen.

Anti-Trump actors in the government leaked top-secret information from NSA wiretaps to the press.  Mueller’s team metaphorically raped people around Trump  — including Michael Flynn, George Papadopoulos and Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen — to get them to give some evidence that Trump committed crimes.  The Mueller investigative team actively solicited testimony adverse to Trump, unethically and seemingly without regard to whether true or false.  Trump’s personal attorney was subject to a SWAT-style raid, as was Roger Stone when his arrest played out for all on CNN.  At least one person, Carter Page, was subject to four separate FISA warrants — and under the three hop rule, we can safely assume that means Trump and his inner circle were spied upon as part and parcel of that warrant as well.  They were spied upon under four FISA Warrants for an entire year, beginning in October 2016 and concluding in September 2017.   Indeed, it is hard not to conclude that they were the real target, with Carter Page merely a convenient patsy. Strikingly, despite this total warfare, when it came to Trump, Mueller and Co. produced . . . nothing.

There is no predicate in American law or history for any of this, whether the FBI’s counter-intelligence investigation aimed at Trump, the FISA warrants, or the way in which the DOJ unlawfully authorized Mueller to conduct a criminal investigation under the guise and rules of a counter-intelligence investigation. That is, this did not start with a crime that called for an investigation. This started with an elected president whom Washington insiders both feared and disdained and they used the investigation in the hopes that they could find a crime. The only predicate to this approach can be found in the Soviet Union’s Levrentiy Beria, who famously said, “Show me the man, I’ll find the crime.” It was an abuse aimed at finding anything in Trump’s activities that could force him from office or, during the duration of the investigation, get him to make a mistake, then force him from office on a process crime.

It’s this unconstitutional, Soviet-style, bass-ackwards bullshit that allows Mueller to claim before Congress that there’s meaning to the fact that he has not not proven Trump innocent of obstruction. As others have pointed out, Mueller also failed to exonerate Trump of assassinating Lincoln).  And thus do we now have half of the progressive Congresscritters calling for Trump’s impeachment on the grounds that Trump obstructed an investigation . . . that Mueller says was never “curtailed, stopped or hindered” . . . for a crime or crimes . . . that neither Trump nor anyone in his administration committed.

Folks, this is a top-down, engineered coup to overturn the 2016 election.  It is not enough that the coup be defeated.  We need the disinfectant of sunshine — to make public every single aspect of this attempted coup.  And then we need heads on pikes, metaphorically, and people in prison, for real.  Fīat jūstitia ruat cælum. Let justice be done though the heavens fall.

To that end, these are the questions I believe need to be answered:

I.  How did the Russian counter-intelligence operation aimed at the Trump Campaign originate?

A.  When was the Trump campaign targeted, by which law enforcement or intelligence agencies, and to what end in 2016 and 2017?

1)  We now know that, well before Mueller opened the Russia investigation targeting Trump on July 31, 2016, people who were key players in the Russian collusion hoax sought out and interacted with Trump campaign staffers Carter Page, Stephen Miller, and George Papadopoulos.  These key players included Joseph Mifsud, Stefan Halper and Alexander Downer, along with several women, at least one of whom, Azra Turk, the NYT subsequently identified as a U.S. intelligence agent.  Were any of these individuals acting on behalf of an American intelligence or law enforcement agencies and, if so, what were their orders? Were Mifsud or any of these individuals directed  to make contact with George Papadopolous or Carter Page in a sting operation?

2)  Do transcripts or reports of any sort exist of the interactions between Carter Page and George Papadopoulos, on the one hand, and Joseph Mifsud, Stefan Halper, or Alexander Downer, on the other?  Papadopoulos believes that both Halper and Downer tried to get him to make admissions about Russia collusion and were recording or transmitting the discussions.

3)  Why, if Mueller claims Mifsud lied to his investigators on three occasions, was Mifsud the only person who was not then subject to prosecution for the process crime of lying to the FBI, (in comparison to Michael Flynn, Rick Gates, Roger Stone, Michael Cohen, Alex van der Zwaan, and Paul Manafort)?

4)  Did Comey place a spy in the Trump campaign, transition team, or the White House and, if so, under what justification?  Comey repeatedly testified under oath that he was not investigating Trump personally for conspiring with Russia.  Comey did not have probable cause. Yet Comey refused to state that fact publicly and there is evidence that he placed an agent, Anthony Ferrante, a cyber crime specialist, inside the White House.

B.  Did Russian intelligence hack the DNC Server in April-May, 2016? 

It seems insane to have to ask that question about this pivotal issue three years into the nightmare to which this nation has been subject, and yet . . . Mueller made a very deliberate decision not to examine the origins of the Trump-Russia hoax, part and parcel of which is the alleged hack of the DNC server.  The only thing that we know for sure is that in June, 2016, the DNC announced that it had been hacked by Russia and that this hack was obviously intended to benefit Trump.  We know that Julian Assange somehow received thousands of DNC and John Podesta e-mails, which he then released to the public.  We know that Crowstrike, a cyber investigation agency that the DNC employed, analyzed the claimed hack and gave a redacted draft of that analysis to the FBI.  The FBI never saw the server. Beyond that, as Aaron Mate explains in Crowdstrikeout, we do not have even remotely trustworthy evidence that a hack occurred, nor does the Mueller Report, its bald assertions to the contrary, actually tie the hack to the Russian government.

C.  Was an ambiguous comment by third tier staffer George Papadopoulos actually the basis for opening up a counter-intelligence investigation aimed at Donald Trump and the Trump campaign and, if so, was it a reasonable basis? 

Mueller claims in his report that the reason that the FBI, back in July 2016, opened up a counter-intelligence investigation of the Trump Campaign for conspiring with Russia was because of a statement George Papadopoulos purported made to the Australian diplomat and Clinton friend,  Alexander Downer, who then relayed it to the FBI through unofficial channels. This is troubling.

Taking everything in the prosecution of Papadopoulos and the Mueller Report as true — and see Papadopoulos’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee at p. 21) — nothing Papadopoulos ever said indicated that, before the DNC publicly announced in June 2016 that it had been hacked, he had any knowledge about that hack.  What Papadopoulos did believe in April, 2016 was something that half of America — including FBI Director James Comey — also believed: namely, that Russia possessed some or all of the thousands of emails Hillary generated on her private server while serving as Secretary of State.  Given this publicly held knowledge, how could Papadopoulos’s statement — that Mifsud had told him that Russia had “dirt” in the form of “emails of Clinton,” and that they “have thousands of emails” — standing alone, possibly justify a counter-intelligence investigation into Trump and his campaign that used all of the tools and police power of the U.S. government?  Who signed off on opening this investigation and was Papadopoulos’s statement about commonly held public knowledge the only basis?  Was Papadopoulos’s statement used in any other Court documents to provide probable cause for law enforcement actions as regards Russia, Trump, and his campaign?  Why did Mueller ignore this glaring inconsistency in his report?

II.  Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele and the Steele Dossier:  Their roles in the Russian collusion hoax.

The genesis of the Russian hoax was the Steele Dossier, which the DNC funded as opposition research on Hillary’s behalf. Steele gave it to the FBI and to every major news outlet before the November, 2016, election.  And yet Mueller, in both his report and testimony, all but completely ignored the Dossier and refused to answer questions about it.  Moreover, Mueller even claimed he did not know that Fusion GPS funded the Dossier. It appears that Mueller was tasked by Rosenstein to investigate the Steele Dossier.  There is no rational reason for Mueller and his team to ignore these things in the final report.  The only possible explanation I can see is that, had Mueller acknowledged that the investigation’s genesis was false, unlawful and unconstitutional, his team would have had to halt its fishing expedition (or, if truly honest brokers, redirect the probe from Trump to the Obama administration) without accomplishing the main goal, which was driving Trump from office.

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Before We Go Further, A Short Summary of Dossier Facts

The Dossier is a series of “intelligence reports” compiled between June and December, 2016, making a series of wild and unfounded accusations against Donald Trump and the Trump campaign.  Specifically, it alleges that:

— Trump was an agent of Russia and had been working for the Russian government for eight years before 2016.  Russians paid Trump by providing him with hookers.

— Trump was being blackmailed by a tape held by the Russian government showing him watching hookers urinate on a bed in 2013.

— Trump actively supported the hacking of Democratic Party computers to steal and release stolen emails.

— Trump campaign volunteer, Carter Page, and campaign manager, Paul Manafort, conspired with the Russian government and coordinated with Russia on behalf of the Trump campaign.

— Carter Page traveled to Moscow in early July 2016 to deliver a public speech at a university. The dossier says he met with two top Kremlin operatives and discussed bribes worth billions of rubles for working to lift economic sanctions.

—  Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, secretly traveled to Prague in August 2016 to orchestrate payments with agents of Vladimir Putin to manage the growing scandal of Trump-Russia collusion.

It is notable that the dossier contains some glaring errors: Here are just a few:

— A claim that Russian intelligence network was being paid for in part through a Russian consulate in Miami.  There is no Russian consulate in Miami.

— A claim that Mikhail Kalugin, chief of the economic section at the Russian Embassy was a spy responsible for funding Russian hacking, and that he was whisked out of Washington when the hacking scandal broke in August. His return to Moscow was actually a normal rotation announced ten months previously.

—  The claim that Michael Cohen’s wife was Russian and that his father-in-law was a wealthy Russian developer in Moscow.  Neither fact is true.

— The claim that Michael Cohen had been to Prague in August 2016 collapsed when it became apparent that he had never ever been to Prague.

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A.  Was the dossier, in whole or part, a series of manufactured charges designed to shock the public into supporting Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, and did the FBI and others misuse it to attack the Trump administration?

1)  What was Christopher Steele’s source (or chain of sources, where there are multiple levels of hearsay) for each allegation contained in the dossier?  Which of the allegations were based on legitimate foreign intelligence and which were not?  Given the specificity of the Steele allegations and his evidentiary claims in the dossier, the fact that not a single allegation has been proven in three years is stunning.  It strongly suggests on its face that some or all of the allegations were manufactured out of whole cloth, with the expectation that the media would make them public before the 2016 election and that both the media and the newly elected Hillary Clinton administration would conveniently bury them thereafter.  That would be the mother of all crimes against our democracy.  Is it true?

2)  What role did Clinton political hatchet men Sidney Blumenthal and Cody Shearer play in providing allegations included in the Steele Dossier?  When these two men are involved, their history is so sordid that lone justifies investigating every last detail of their relevant acts.  We know that Blumenthal  funneled Cody Shearer’s opposition research to Steele using a State Department employee, Jonathan Winer, as a conduit.  I would not be surprised at all to find the more lurid, sex-based allegations against Trump originated with Blumenthal or Shearer. We do not know Shearer’s sources nor do we have a copy of his memo.  Was it too provided to the FBI?

3)  Steele lied to the FBI about briefing the media on the Steele Dossier in October, 2016.  Senators Grassley and Graham made a recommendation to the FBI that Steele be investigated and, if appropriate, prosecuted for this.  Mueller ignored the referral and did not address it in his report.  Why?

4)  It’s already been covered ad nauseum that the Steele Dossier, with its myriad of unverified allegations and obvious discrepancies, was the primary basis to obtain the FISA warrants against Carter Page.  We are awaiting a report from Inspector General Horowitz on whether the FISA warrants targeting Carter Page, signed and attested by Director Comey and others, were criminally deceptive and insufficient.

5)  On whom did the FBI spy as a result of the Steele Dossier?  We only know that the FBI spied upon Carter Page because it was convenient for the left to leak that to the media at the height of the Trump collusion frenzy.  Did the FBI also submit FISA warrants on Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos, Michael Flynn or anyone else associated with the Trump campaign?  Did any of the players in this coup leak to third parties, including Fusion GPS, Christopher Steele, the DNC, or the media, any of the information gleaned from these FISA warrants?

5)  What was CIA Director John Brennan’s role, if any, in creating and transmitting the Steele Dossier allegations to the FBI, to Congress, and to President Obama?  Did Brennan perjure himself in hearings before Congress (a) in claiming that he did not know about the Steele Dossier until December, 2016; and (b) in claiming that he determined, based solely on independent CIA-developed intelligence, that people in the Trump campaign were conspiring with the Kremlin in July 2016?  Note that Brennan now contends that he provided that intelligence to the FBI in July, yet in the one place one would expect to see independent corroborating evidence, in the FISA Court applications for a warrant to spy on Carter Page, there is no reference to information from the CIA.  There are simply the bare allegations of the Steele dossier, references to Michael Isikoff’s Sept 2016 article (based on information Steele gave Isikoff), and Steele’s personal reputation for honesty.

6)  Why was Trump Attorney Michael Cohen charged with a campaign finance violation while Mueller ignored the DNC’s, Clinton Campaign’s, and Perkins Coie law firm’s glaring violations of the same laws?  The fact that the DNC and Clinton Campaign used Perkins Coie to employ Fusion GPS, thus hiding behind a wall of attorney-client privilege their machinations with Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele, should make them subject to more stringent investigation on fraud grounds rather than getting Mueller’s free pass.

B.  Why has Fusion GPS’s role in manufacturing a Trump-Russian conspiracy been ignored?

1)  One of the pivotal events in the Trump-Russian conspiracy hoax was the fact that Trump family friend Ron Goldstone, arranged a meeting between Donald Trump, Jr. along with several other members of the Trump campaign team, with a Russian lawyer named Natalia Veselnitskaya. While Veselnitskaya claimed to have compromising material on Hillary Clinton, she didn’t. However, the mere fact of the meeting was played in the press as proof of a Trump-Russia conspiracy.

While Mueller, in his report, expends several pages analyzing the meeting, he ignores the elephant in the room, which is that Veselnitskaya had a business relationship with Fusion GPS and that she met with Fusion GPS’s founder, Glenn Simpson, both the day before and the day after the Trump Jr. meeting.  The Mueller Report fails to explain either Simpson’s role in arranging this apparent sting or how and why Goldstone misrepresented the meeting to Donald Trump Jr. and other Trump campaign workers.

2)  There is  clear evidence that Glen Simpson of Fusion GPS misled and affirmatively lied to Congress about his relationship with Nellie Ohr, wife of high-ranking DOJ official Bruce Ohr.  Why hasn’t Mueller or the DOJ pursued this?

III.  FISA Misuse and leaks of classified information

The Trump administration has been plagued by leaks, including the leaks of Top Secret information from FISA intercepts.  It has been abuse on a grand scale for which no one has been held accountable.  The most egregious example was the unmasking and leak of Lieutenant General Michael Flynn’s conversations with the Russian Ambassador that served as the springboard Sally Yates and team Mueller to politically assassinate him.  What, if anything, has been done to identify those abusing the NSA intercepts and leaking / abusing that information?

That concludes my list of questions.  Please feel free to add any that you think I have missed.  I note that Aaron Mate has some different questions in his recent piece, Here are five big holes in Mueller’s work.  And at the Federalist, Adam Mill questions the Mueller investigation itself, given the apparent degree of Robert Mueller’s disconnect from the investigation.

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The collusion and obstruction investigation indicts others, not Trump

Officially, Mueller investigated Trump’s alleged collusion and obstruction. We now know that there was collusion and obstruction — but not by Trump.

The investigation into Trump’s campaign began with the ludicrous hearsay (in some cases, multiple levels of hearsay) allegations compiled by Michael Steele, paid for by the DNC, provided to the FBI before the 2016 election, and briefed to every major media outlet as part of an “October surprise” that failed to derail Trump.  It is worth quickly reviewing what those allegations were.  To summarize the charges in the original Buzzfeed “report”:

  1.  Trump was a Russian intelligence asset who had been working for Russian intelligence for at least seven years.
  2. Trump, who had no business interests in Russia, was being paid in Russian prostitutes for his services.
  3. Russian intelligence has a tape of Trump inviting prostitutes to his hotel room during the 2013 Miss Universe contest held in Moscow and so they could perform a “golden shower” on the bed.
  4. Trump was handling the payment of Russian assets in New York through a complicated money laundering scheme.
  5. Trump coordinated with Russian intelligence through Paul Manafort, Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, and his private attorney, Michael Cohen.
  6. Carter Page’s business trip to Russia in 2016 was cover for a meeting with Russian intelligence.
  7. The Trump campaign coordinated with Russia for the release of DNC emails hacked by Russian intelligence.  Papadopoulos admitted to knowing this information in near real time, before it was made public by the DNC.
  8. Michael Cohen was subject to Russian influence through his Russian wife (she is not Russian, by the way).  Cohen traveled to Prague to coordinate with Russian intel on behalf of Trump once Russian involvement in the campaign became public knowledge.

All involved denied those allegations. Moreover, Mueller’s $30 million-plus, two year-plus investigation either affirmatively disproved them or was unable to find any facts that might prove them.  None are supported in the Mueller Report.  And indeed, Mueller makes only passing reference to the Steele Dossier.

Now recall that, once it became apparent that the Steele Dossier did not provide probable cause for anything, because all of its wild allegations were affirmatively false or incapable of proof, a story appeared in the NYT  on Dec. 30, 2017, based on a leak, that the investigation was warranted because Papadopoulos in fact knew of the theft of DNC emails before that theft was made public.

There’s only one problem with the NYT’s “bombshell of the moment”: Reviewing the FBI affidavit that supports charging Papadopoulos with the crime of lying to investigators, it is readily apparent that Papadopoulos had said nothing at all that tied the hacked DNC emails to Russia. As I wrote at the time, anyone paying attention to the Hillary email scandal suspected that Hillary’s emails had long before been hacked by foreign intelligence from her time as Secretary of State.

Yet, “even in the FBI’s indictment against Papadopoulos for lying, the “FBI” seems to go the extra mile not to clarify precisely which emails Papadopoulos was talking about.”  In other words, the FBI was assuming without reasonable justification, that Papadopoulos was talking about the Wikileaks emails, not her emails from Secretary of State. The implication then, is that Papadopoulos was in on the Russian hack into the DNC, which he knew about before it went public, rather than his referring to Hillary’s own unsecured server.”

And that factually unsupported indictment was the basis for three years of investigating Trump and placing a millstone around his ability to execute his duties as president?

I wrote the above quoted paragraph when the NYT published its December 30, 2017 report. Since then, the Mueller Report did nothing at all to challenge my conclusions. And today retired DOJ attorney Andrew McCarthy sums up what was really going on — The FBI’s Trump-Russia Investigation Was Formally Opened on False Pretenses:

There is no evidence whatsoever, including in the 448-page Mueller report, that Papadopoulos was ever told that Russia intended, through an intermediary, to disseminate damaging information about Clinton in a manner designed to hurt Clinton’s candidacy and help Trump’s. There is, furthermore, no evidence that Papadopoulos ever said such a thing to anyone else — including Downer, whom he famously met at the Kensington Wine Rooms in London on May 6, 2016.

The claim that Papadopoulos made such a statement is a fabrication, initially founded on what, at best, was a deeply flawed assumption by Downer, the Australian diplomat.

On July 22, 2016, the eve of the Democratic National Convention and two months after Downer met with Papadopoulos, WikiLeaks began disseminating to the press the hacked DNC emails. From this fact, Downer drew the unfounded inference that the hacked emails must have been what Papadopoulos was talking about when he said Russia had damaging information about Clinton.

Downer’s assumption was specious, for at least four reasons.

1) In speaking with Downer, Papadopoulos never mentioned emails. Neither Downer nor Papadopoulos has ever claimed that Papadopoulos spoke of emails.

2) Papadopoulos did not tell Downer that Russia was planning to publish damaging information about Clinton through an intermediary. There is no allegation in the Mueller report that Mifsud ever told Papadopoulos any such thing, much less that Papadopoulos relayed it to Downer. Mueller’s report says:

Mifsud told Papadopoulos that he had met with high-level Russian government officials during his recent trip to Moscow. Mifsud also said that, on the trip, he learned that the Russians had obtained “dirt” on candidate Hillary Clinton. As Papadopoulos later stated to the FBI, Mifsud said that the “dirt” was in the form of “emails of Clinton,” and that they “have thousands of emails.”

(Vol. I, p. 89 & n. 464). In neither the Mueller report nor the “Statement of the Offense” that Mueller filed in connection with Papadopoulos’s plea (pp. 6–7) have prosecutors claimed that Mifsud told Papadopoulos what Russia was planning to do with the “dirt,” much less why. And, to repeat, Mifsud denied telling Papadopoulos anything about emails; Mueller never alleged that Mifsud’s denial was false.

3) Papadopoulos says the emails he claims Mifsud referred to were not the DNC emails; they were Clinton’s own emails. That is, when Papadopoulos claims that Mifsud told him that Russia had “dirt” in the form of “thousands” of “emails of Clinton,” he understood Mifsud to be alluding to the thousands of State Department and Clinton Foundation emails that Clinton had stored on a private server. These, of course, were the emails that were being intensively covered in the media (including speculation that they might have been hacked by hostile foreign intelligence services) at the time Mifsud and Papadopoulos spoke – i.e., April 2016, when neither Mifsud nor Papadopoulos had any basis to know anything about hacked DNC emails. . . .

The State Department and the FBI Distort What Papadopoulos ‘Suggested’

Downer’s flawed assumption that Papadopoulos must have been referring to the hacked DNC emails was then inflated into a Trump-Russia conspiracy theory by Clinton partisans in the Obama administration — first at the State Department, and then in the Justice Department, the FBI, and the broader intelligence community — all agencies in which animus against Donald Trump ran deep.

There is much more, so I would suggest that you read McCarthy’s entire article.  The main takeaway is that the Fourth Amendment requires probable cause before law enforcement can conduct the type of investigation launched against Trump and his associates. In the absence of probable cause, the Trump investigation was unlawful — a political dirty trick that broke the law, involved misuse of the police power of government on a scale not seen outside a police state, and resulted in a scandal that dwarfs the facts of Watergate.  It also makes the push to punish Trump for “obstructing” this investigation utterly surreal.

If you want to see obstruction in action, look today at what the Left is doing to try and savage Barr and Trump.  Rep. Jerry Nadler has scheduled a vote of contempt against AG Barr for failing to appear before the House Judicial Committee.  Virtually every Democrat is screaming to the rafters that AG Barr lied to Congress and now needs to resign.

Then there is Jim Comey, who is also criticizing Barr.  Let’s not forget him because, if the facts are as I suspect they may be, he is dirty as the day is long.  This from Victor Davis Hanson today:

Comey seems to be prepping his own defense by a transparent preemptive attack on the very official who may soon calibrate Comey’s own legal exposure. Comey should at least offer a disclaimer that the federal prosecutor he is now attacking may soon be adjudicating his own future—if for no other reason than to prevent a naïf from assuming that Comey’s gambit of attacking Barr is deliberately designed to suggest later on that prosecutor Barr harbored a prejudicial dislike of likely defendant Comey.

How ironic that Comey who used to lecture the nation on “obstruction” and the impropriety of Trump’s editorializing about the Mueller prosecutorial team, is now attacking—or perhaps “obstructing”—the Attorney General before he has even issued a single indictment.

Three, Comey somehow remains seriously delusional about the abyss between his sermonizing and his own unethical and likely illegal behavior.

Remember, James Comey assured the nation that the Steele dossier, contra the testimony of his subordinate Andrew McCabe (already facing criminal referrals) was not the chief evidence presented to a FISA court. That is likely untrue. And if it is not, Comey’s other evidence he presented is likely to be just as compromised.

Comey also misled a FISA judge by not admitting 1) that his submitted dossier evidence was compiled by a contractor paid by Hillary Clinton; 2) that ex-British spy Christopher Steele’s work was unverified; 3) that Steele’s relationship with Comey’s FBI has already been severed due to Steele’s unprofessional behavior; and 4) that submitted news accounts of “collusion” were in circular fashion based on the dossier itself. Had Comey’s behavior ever become standard procedure in FISA applications, there could be no longer a FISA court.

Comey also misled about his meetings with President Trump, as memorialized in his now infamous memos. He briefed the president on the Steele dossier—without telling Trump that it had been paid for by Hillary Clinton.

Comey likely also lied in telling Trump he wanted to brief him on the dossier in worries that the press might otherwise report on it first. In fact, his meeting with Trump by design was the necessary imprimatur the press had been waiting for to leak information from the dossier, which shortly followed. . . .

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Random thoughts on the unfolding Russia Collusion hoax

With Barr promising to investigate the Russia Collusion Hoax, it’s a good time to think about the motivations driving those who masterminded the hoax.

Yesterday was another day spent pulling out ivy, a process I found so exhausting, I couldn’t write last night. Not writing, though, doesn’t mean not thinking. I’ve been thinking a lot about the Russia collusion hoax, especially about what drove the major actors to do what they did. After all, even if they thought the risk was minimal because they were banking on a Hillary victory and doing their best to ensure that victory, the power players knew that what they were doing was both illegal and immoral. That’s a pretty big hurdle for otherwise law-abiding people to make.

To get to my answer, I’ll start by looking at what they did (and mine is a slightly different focus than most others), and then I’ll try to answer the question about what powered these people’s engines. Here goes….

I suspect that several of you, like me, remember the Watergate scandal. For any of you young’uns reading this, way back in 1972, while acting on behalf of Nixon and his innermost circle, a bunch of former government operatives broke into Democrat National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex to steal information related to the election.

To give what they did some context, the equivalent act would be for some former 49er football players, acting at the behest of the current coach to break into Seattle Seahawk headquarters to steal the coaching book for the upcoming football season. It’s an aggressive form of cheating in the midst of a fiercely fought rivalry.

With that in mind, we can see that there are some parallels to Watergate in the Russia collusion hoax and some things that differ wildly. It’s easiest to start with the obvious difference, which is that the Russia Collusion scandal did not involve outsiders acting only once to steal a playbook. Instead, it involved permanent government employees embedded deeply in our entire security apparatus — the FBI, CIA, and DOJ — working in concert for months. Watergate was kindergarten and this was post-graduate work.

Moreover, unlike Watergate, after Trump was elected, this collusion scandal morphed into a full-blown government coup intended to take down a duly elected American president. That the Left — from the DNC, to the media, to the people down the block from me — looks upon this complacently instead of with horror tells you that the Left no longer has any allegiance to America, American values, or the Constitution. Every Leftist, no matter where situated, is enthusiastically embracing tin-pot banana republic tyranny. There are no words for how sad and how dangerous this is.

Interestingly, though, I haven’t heard anyone articulate what information these bad actors were seeking in the run-up to the election. I know this sounds like a stupid observation, and it may well be. The obvious answer is that these bad actors were seeking evidence of Russian collusion in order to create an October surprise that would bring down Trump’s candidacy.

The thing is, though, that you and I know that, while a few true believers may actually have thought that Trump and/or people within his inner circle were working in concert with Putin, the reality is that the big bad actors — Comey, Brennan, Clapper, McCabe, Strzok, Page, Priestap, etc. — knew perfectly well that there was no collusion. They knew this because (so far as we know) the only proof they could bring to the FISA court to justify spying on Trump was the Steele dossier.

We also know that these same Deep State players were able to “verify” the Steele dossier only by leaking its existence to a reporter and then, in a nice example of bootstrapping, using his subsequent report to bolster the dossier’s bona fides. Otherwise, there was no evidence whatsoever supporting the hearsay upon hearsay upon hearsay accusations in the dossier. So, no, the Deep State inner circle knew that there was no evidence of collusion sufficient to justify spying on Trump.

That being the case, there were only two things they could have been looking for in the months leading up to the election when they attacked the Trump campaign using six different spying methodologies: The first thing they were probably doing, although  no one has talked about it, was engaging in a purely Watergate-type escapade. That is, they used the instruments of state to go after campaign strategies, private polling results, lists of voters, etc. That would have been bad enough and, indeed, worse than Watergate, given the nature of the actors, the scope of their investigation, and the amount of information they stole.

The second thing they were doing, though, was even worse: They brought America’s entire spying apparatus to bear on the Trump campaign in the hope that they might find an October surprise. In other words, America’s vast, all-powerful, potentially Stasi-like surveillance system was put to use for a fishing expedition against a presidential candidate that the unconstitutional fourth branch of government (that is, the permanent bureaucracy), as well as the president sitting at the head of that fourth branch of government, opposed.

This in turn leads to two questions further questions: First, considering that everyone thought Hillary had a lock on the White House, why would these Deep State players feel the need to spy on Trump? I think they did so because of what an old colleague of mine used to call the “belts and suspenders” mindset. In other words, even if your belt is doing a fine job holding up your pants, should there be even the slightest chance your pants might fall down, you can put on suspenders too.

The “belt” for these Democrat Party operatives was that Hillary polled well and that Trump was a brash outsider with no political experience (except, of course, for working with and against politicians and bureaucracies for 40 years, of course). Given that data, their pants seemed stable. But….

There was the little problem of tens of thousands of people turning up for Trump rallies, while tens of people, or maybe hundreds of people, showed up for Hillary’s rallies. Suspenders seemed called for, just in case.

What the Deep Staters were doing can therefore be likened to the “double tap” that shooters — whether they’re good guys or bad — use against their targets. If you’re a professional doing a job, you make damn sure the job is done right, and that’s true whether your work is legal or criminal.

Second, why did these permanent bureaucracy operatives dislike Trump? I think there are three ways to view this.

Some of it was class based. (Think of Kurt Schlichter’s Militant Normals: How Regular Americans Are Rebelling Against the Elite to Reclaim Our Democracy.) The brash, outspoken Trump was just too tacky — and his supporters were worse. “Deplorables” as Hillary called them. Or as Strzok said, “I can smell them at Walmart.” I bet Strzok pulled this face when that “smell” assaulted his nostrils, knowing that he was on his way to making their votes irrelevant:

Some of it was definitely policy based differences. These guys were Democrats and they wanted to see the Obama legacy continue. They knew, as did every person who voted for Obama and intended to vote for Hillary, that Trump was going to do his best to stop and reverse Obama’s policies. Where Obama opened our borders, Trump would close them. Where Obama squashed our economy, Trump would free it. Where Obama demoralized law enforcement, Trump would respect it. Where Obama turned our military into an under-funded Leftist therapy group, Trump would turn it back into the world’s finest fighting machine. Where Obama coddled Muslim terrorists, Trump would grind them into dust. You get the picture. These Leftist bureaucrats liked the Obama status quo. They wanted Hillary.

Mostly, though, I think it wasn’t love or hate or even politics that motivated our criminal bureaucratic class. It was fear. Trump ran on the promise that he would shrink the government that was sucking up American wealth and (as the Russia collusion hoax itself proved) destroying American liberty — for what can be more liberty destroying than wiping out free and fair elections? These people, therefore knew that two things were at stake for them, and they are the two things that routinely lead people to lie, cheat, steal, and kill: Money and Power.

Money (including those all-important government pension benefits) will always be a driving force in human behavior. In fact, though, I don’t think it was the main driver here. The people who masterminded what began as a major cheat on a fair election and then morphed into a full-blown coup knew that they could get money elsewhere. After all, whether in the Democrat-run media or in a private sector staffed by people who all graduated from the same Leftist academic institutions, they were all eminently employable.

What the Deep State operatives really risked losing was power. Their power optimum would be if Hillary won. She knew their secrets and they knew hers, in a merry waltz that would keep them circling the ballroom even as America collapsed around them.

However, even if a Republican other than Trump had won, they still would have maintained their power. Again, they knew the secrets of all the usual Washington players. They also understood that the usual Washington players, no matter the party and no matter their alleged fealty to “shrinking the government,” once they got a seat in Congress or a state house, never shrank government. Sure, a few regulations here and there or a few low-level jobs might go, but nothing that would threaten these power players. Republican or Democrat . . . government always grew.

But Trump, ah, Trump was a different animal altogether. He was an outsider who had a long-established reputation for cutting through things: He cut through red tape, he cut through bad business deals, he cut through realty-TV, etc. If he said he would do it, he did it and he did it damned efficiently. When Trump said he was going to shrink government, they knew in their guts that their power base was about to be destroyed. This was their own personal Defcon 1 event, one that, in their minds, readily justified jettisoning every American law and principle.

Anyway, the above is what I think Barr’s investigation, if it is an honest one, will reveal.

Of course, the biggest question of all is the one that also ties back to the Watergate years:

There is no doubt in my mind that President Obama was in on this, whether at the very beginning, when he wanted to ensure Hillary’s victory or sometime after the election, when he wanted to ensure a re-do. In other words, Obama was either amenable to using the instruments of government to cheat in a presidential election or was amenable to bringing down the United States government because his anointed candidate lost.

I hope Barr has the courage to answer Sen. Baker’s question. I think the American people deserve to know.

(I know that some of you are troubled by trolls in the comments. I therefore want to remind you that Disqus allows you to block those people, even when I cannot do so thanks to their weasel tactics with IP addresses. To block someone, look to the far right of their name, where you will see a little down arrow. Click on that arrow to bring up a menu. One of the choices is to block that person. It’s such an efficient blocking mechanism that you won’t even see them showing up in your emails.

Incidentally, I recommend using this very sparingly. Getting outside our bubbles for a debate about ideas or an exchange of facts if a good thing. I use this only for people who are obscene and abusive without any offsetting value.)

The post Random thoughts on the unfolding Russia Collusion hoax appeared first on Watcher of Weasels.

Comey is right that there are questions — but he’s asking the wrong one

Jim Comey is now claiming his firing was obstruction of justice.  Apparently, Comey must hear those “walls [that were supposed to be] closing in” on Trump.
By Wolf Howling

Jim Comey was part and parcel of several events that could end up with him in prison.  One was the DOJ / FBI cover-up of crimes by Hillary Clinton under the cover of an ostensible investigation.  That cover-up almost certainly involved the crime of spoliation of evidence.  Next was his involvement in the FISA abuse predicated on the unverified Steele dossier.  Lastly, there was his release of potentially classified information to the person whom he employed to leak his anti-Trump screed to the NYT.

Those are just the things we know in the public domain.  So it’s no surprise that Comey, a man who has been silent of late, apparently felt like a man lost in the woods . . .

. . . when his carefully choreographed effort to give Trump the Lavrentiy Beria treatment (show me the man, I’ll find you the crime) ended with Robert Mueller’s complete exoneration of President Trump on charges of collusion with Russia and punting the decision on obstruction of justice back to the DOJ.  They have since decided.  Comey knows how this goes.  No reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.

To quote Scooby Doo, “Ruh-Roh.”

And thus it was no surprise to find Comey on NBC Nightly News pushing the canard that Trump’s decision to fire Comey was in fact obstruction of justice:

FBI Director James Comey said in an interview Wednesday that President Trump may have obstructed justice in his decision to fire him.

Comey’s remarks came via a clip from his NBC Nightly News interview, during which Lester Holt brought the conversation back to early May 2017, when Comey testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

During that hearing, Comey spoke on a variety of topics, including the Hillary Clinton email investigation.

“But you declined to answer questions specifically about evidence of collusion at that point. A couple days later, you’re fired,” Holt said.

“A few days after that, I sit down with President Trump,” he continued. “He says, ‘when I decided to just do it,’ talking about firing you, ‘I said to myself, I said you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story.’ What did you think when you heard that?”

Comey replied: “I thought that’s potentially obstruction of justice and I hope somebody is going to look at that.”

A swing and a miss, but it’s all Comey has left.  Now its someone else’s turn at bat.  This today from Fox:

President Trump was enthusiastic about the idea of appointing a second special counsel to review the origins of the Russia investigation when it came up during a meeting Tuesday with Republican senators, a source familiar with the discussions told Fox News.

The president was specifically reacting to GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham’s call for another special counsel as well as the senator’s vow to look into issues like the alleged abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act at the dawn of the Russia probe. The source told Fox News that the president seemed excited about that course during a Senate GOP lunch on Capitol Hill, which Graham and other senators attended.

All I can say is it’s about time.

To date, the collusion narrative has resulted in enough criminal activity (filing of false reports, FISA warrants, unmasking) and likely perjury (Christopher Steele to the FBI, Glenn Simpson to the House) to more than justify appointment of a special Counsel.  Since we now know definitively that there was no “collusion” on the part of Trump or anyone associated with him, that leaves the question of whether this was an outrageous and unlawful political dirty trick designed to throw the 2016 election to Hillary Clinton, then  afterwards, to destroy Trump’s Presidency, in essence overturning the results of the 2016 election.

In that spirit Sharyl Attkisson has listed The Many Unanswered Questions About the Trump Investigation she would like answered.

If, in the end, Mueller found no convincing evidence that Americans colluded with Russia, how did top current and former U.S. intel officials supposedly become so convinced otherwise?  In fact, one might ask, were they really convinced, or were they promulgating a narrative they knew was at best unproven and quite possibly false?

How and why did ex-MI6 spy Christopher Steele come to meet with certain Russian sources close to President Vladimir Putin in 2016, as they supposedly passed on the wildest sort of rumors about Trump, which Steele then wrote up in his “dossier” for Glenn Simpson’s Fusion GPS?

Did these Russian sources, Steele, and Simpson conspire to influence the 2016 campaign?

How did the former UK ambassador to Russia, Sir Andrew Wood, learn about the “dossier,” and how was it that he then told Sen. John McCain and McCain’s onetime adviser David Kramer about it as they attended a security conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in November 2016?  Did this contact qualify as an additional foreign attempt to influence our election?

Who at the FBI and Justice Department believed that the dossier, funded by Democrats and the Hillary Clinton campaign, passed the credibility test without even minimal verification?

Who further determined that the dossier merited inclusion as evidence in an application to wiretap Trump campaign adviser Carter Page?

Who thought it was a valid idea to continue to wiretap Page, time after time after time, as if he were a Russian agent, while they apparently turned up no evidence that he was?

Did any Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judges question the FBI’s relentless pursuit of Carter Page and the dragnet the wiretaps allowed them to secretly cast for those around him, including, quite possibly, Trump?

Who was behind the campaign of anti-Trump leaks—frequently including false information—that became ubiquitous in the news media?

Who worked to make the entire false conspiracy theory about Russia colluding with Trump or the Trump campaign dominate our news and political landscape day in and day out?

What does it say about the judgment of some of our one-time top intel officials if they really believed Trump colluded with Russia? This includes former CIA Director John Brennan, former FBI Director James Comey, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former national security adviser Susan Rice, and former ambassador Samantha Power.

What other mistakes did they make, and what actions did they take based on any such mistakes?

Were any of the “unmaskings” of American citizens by these intel officials in 2016 politically motivated?

[Samantha] Power reportedly told Congress that many of the hundreds of “unmasking” requests made in her name in 2016 were not made by her. It should be simple to track where those requests originated and who signed her name to them. Has anybody attempted to learn who committed this alleged national security crime?

What did the Justice Department ever do about the criminal referral Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) made against Steele in January 2018?

What happened to the criminal referral made by the Justice Department inspector general almost a year ago against former FBI official Andrew McCabe over his alleged lying to investigators about his media contacts?

Has anyone been held accountable for the FBI’s supposedly lost or accidentally erased text messages and emails relevant to the investigation?

Were some of those involved in furthering the false Trump–Russia collusion narrative trying to deflect from real crimes or other wrongdoing? If so, what?

Did Mueller’s investigation touch upon or attempt to answer any of these questions as his work led him to conclude that Trump–Russia collusion never happened?

I think that we’d all like those answers.

The post Comey is right that there are questions — but he’s asking the wrong one appeared first on Watcher of Weasels.

[VIDEO] Magnificent Trump victory dance — and no mercy

Some say Trump should be grateful he was “exonerated” and let bygones by bygones. I say, “NEVER!” The wrongdoers MUST be punished and Trump MUST dance.

On a more serious note, I can see where “reconciliation” might be appropriate response when an entire sector of society has engaged in immoral behavior over the course of decades or its entire history. Punishing each individual is time-consuming and there’s a serious question as to whether there’s any judicial process that can properly identify all individuals who deserve punishment or that can prevent the process from being used to wage private vendettas.

In this case, however, very specific individuals in government (or, in Hillary’s case, trying to be in government once more), acting with media assistance, deliberately engaged in highly illegal acts to destroy the integrity of an American election, solely in order to keep power for themselves and their cronies. This wrong-doing cannot be countenanced. It cannot be green-lighted by “turning the other cheek.”

Indeed, if you’ll recall, Trump tried to make a peace-offering the moment he was elected when he did not immediately prosecute Hillary for her blatant and extreme national security violations, fire Comey for his gross dereliction of duty, prosecute Lois Lerner for breaking strict IRS laws, etc. The Left did not respond with forbearance. Instead, it redoubled its efforts to stage a coup against Trump.

No mercy. No forbearance. No turning the other cheek. No letting bygones be bygones. No truth and reconciliation.

When you are faced with specifically identifiable people who knowingly committed acts of extreme criminality and immorality, you must punish them. Otherwise, the rule of law is meaningless and any semblance of a stable, civil society, one in which people rely upon and respect the law and each other, is over FOREVER.

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Fisking the Left’s escalating demands for Trump’s impeachment

Even though Mueller has totally vindicated Trump, you can expect cries for impeachment to intensify. Learn here how stupid those impeachment demands will be.

One of the Progressives on my real-me Facebook feed contends that she never wanted Trump to be impeached because, as Nancy Pelosi said, “he’s just not worth it.” However, now that the Mueller Report has finally dropped, she’s suddenly changed her mind and says that impeachment is the only way to rein in Trump’s power. In other words, now that the Progressive’s primary nefarious scheme to reverse the 2016 election has failed, it’s time to move on to the next nefarious scheme.

To support her new tack, the Progressive cites to The Atlantic’s March 2019 issue entitled Impeach Donald Trump : Starting the process will rein in a president who is undermining American ideals—and bring the debate about his fitness for office into Congress, where it belongs.  The article is certainly timely insofar as its publication conveniently coincides with the Mueller Report. The Progressive says the article is totally believable because the author, Yoni Appelbaum, is a “moderate,” albeit one with a “little bias.”

Having looked at Appelbaum’s article, I have to say I disagree with the article’s title, with every argument contained within it, and with my friend’s assessment that Appelbaum is a “moderate.” It therefore struck me as an article ripe for the fisking. Before I do so, though, I want to do three things. First, even before addressing Appelbaum’s argument, which on its face gives the lie to any claimed “moderation,” I’d like to address Appelbaum’s record, which also gives the lie to any claimed “moderation.”

Appelbaum is an editor at The Atlantic, so he doesn’t write a lot. When he does . . . well, here are most of Appelbaum’s videos or articles over the past couple of years:

I don’t know about you, but I’m not seeing political moderation in Appelbaum. Instead, I’m seeing monomaniacal hate against Trump from a hard-Left perspective.

Second, before diving into Appelbaum’s article, it’s worth remembering what the Constitution has to say about impeachment (Art. II, Section 4; emphasis mine):

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

After Friday’s news drop, I think we can confidently say that, with Mueller refusing any indictments, treason is off the table. (Also, considering Trump’s morning joie de vivre, I doubt that the report says, “Trump should be indicted, but the DOJ has to wait until he leaves the White House before beginning the process.”) The question, then, is whether Appelbaum can make an argument for “Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

Third, as we dive into Appelbaum’s reasoning, I’d like to remind you that surrounding a bad argument with endless historical facts and analysis will not remedy the false data and poor analysis lying at the article’s heart. Appelbaum, a history major, likes to tout his erudition. That erudition, however, does not offset the flat-out lies he advances, nor does it offset his illogical and often hysterical take on Trump’s presidency.

Now, let the fisking begin:

Appelbaum’s first two paragraphs say that President Trump swore to uphold the Constitution and, instead, has blatantly violated it, running roughshod over the separation of powers, the rule of law, and civil liberties (implying that Trump is a racist, misogynistic  Muslim hater). Well, at least we know what Appelbaum believes he will prove. Whether he meets his self-imposed burden of proof remains to be seen.

Things start falling apart immediately because, in his third paragraph, Appelbaum goes directly to a tried and true fallacy, namely the appeal to authority. In this case, his authority is two well-known #NeverTrumpers; namely, failed presidential candidates McCain and Romney:

This is not a partisan judgment. Many of the president’s fiercest critics have emerged from within his own party. Even officials and observers who support his policies are appalled by his pronouncements, and those who have the most firsthand experience of governance are also the most alarmed by how Trump is governing.

“The damage inflicted by President Trump’s naïveté, egotism, false equivalence, and sympathy for autocrats is difficult to calculate,” the late senator and former Republican presidential nominee John McCain lamented last summer. “The president has not risen to the mantle of the office,” the GOP’s other recent nominee, the former governor and now senator Mitt Romney, wrote in January.

The reliance on McCain tells us why, even though McCain is dead, Trump continues to attack him. As Shakespeare said, “the evil that men do lives after them.” Now that he’s dead, and Americans cannot be repulsed by the real man, McCain is a better Leftist sword than he ever was during his life.

And why do I say “repulsed by the real man” regarding this former POW? I do so because he ended up being a a vicious, unprincipled, hate-filled, dishonest political panderer. McCain, who was not running in the 2016 race, nevertheless tried to destroy Trump by spreading the debased and debunked Steele dossier, which was itself a product of Hillary’s campaign and the Russians. Then, when Trump won, McCain was so maddened by his hatred for Trump that he reneged on his promise to the American people to help defeat Obamacare. Trump supporters — who pretty much constitute most of the Republican base now — would never look at McCain as an authority for anything but raw hatred, dishonor, and possibly brain-tumor induced insanity. Please remember that the fact that someone suffered for his country, or that someone suffered at all, does not confer upon that person moral purity nor does it stand as a permanent barrier to attacks on that person’s character.

Romney, despite his clean-cut looks and business success fares no better as a respectable politician. It was this milquetoast candidate who handed Obama a second term in the White House who viciously attacked Trump in 2016, then made nice with Trump in 2018 so that Trump would support Romney’s senate candidacy, and then promptly attacked Trump again, all the while cuddling up to those suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome. In the Senate, he has abandoned his conservative principles in order to block Trump’s initiatives.

Bottom line: While McCain and Romney may suddenly be reliable sources for the Left (who attacked both crudely, dishonestly, and vigorously when they were running for president), true conservatives do not consider them go-to sources for objective analysis about Trump or his presidency. You really don’t have a good authority when you’re appealing to someone hated by everyone except for those who need them at a given moment for expediency’s sake.

Appelbaum’s first direct attack on Trump focuses in Trump’s refusal to divest himself of all his money or to disclose his income taxes (neither of which he is required to do by any law on the books):

The oath of office is a president’s promise to subordinate his private desires to the public interest, to serve the nation as a whole rather than any faction within it. Trump displays no evidence that he understands these obligations. To the contrary, he has routinely privileged his self-interest above the responsibilities of the presidency. He has failed to disclose or divest himself from his extensive financial interests, instead using the platform of the presidency to promote them. This has encouraged a wide array of actors, domestic and foreign, to seek to influence his decisions by funneling cash to properties such as Mar-a-Lago (the “Winter White House,” as Trump has branded it) and his hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue. Courts are now considering whether some of those payments violate the Constitution.

Stripped down, the above is a silly re-hash of the Emoluments Clause attack the Dems have made against the President. As always, let’s start with the source, which is the Constitution. At Art. II, Section 1, it states as follows:

The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.

It scarcely needs to be said that Trump’s businesses, to the extent they provide him with money, do not constitute payments from either the federal government or the individual states. Incidentally, Trump, unlike any other president before him, donates every penny of his salary to charity.

The Constitution also bars any person — including the president — “without the Consent of the Congress” from accepting “any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.” (Const. Art. I, Section 9.) Again, Trump’s profits do not fall into this category. Indirect income from foreign nationals using Trump hotels fall into that category, since any monies are so diffuse they can only be incidental to his overall wealth.

Although Progressives are obsessed with the Emoluments Clause, despite its patent inapplicability to Trump and even though no president has ever before been required to divest himself of his personal wealth, the better (i.e., actual legal analysis) argument says that this position is too dumb for words. Rather than clotting this fisking with another person’s argument, I’ll refer you here for a good analysis.

It’s also worth pointing out here that the Clintons and Obamas came into office with upper-middle class wealth and left office as multi-multi-multi millionaires. Trump, meanwhile, has seen his net worth drop while in office. Believe me, he’s not president to make bank.

What else did Trump do wrong? He asked that the employees who report to him under Art. II of the Constitution be loyal to him. Yes, yes, he did:

More troubling still, Trump has demanded that public officials put their loyalty to him ahead of their duty to the public. On his first full day in office, he ordered his press secretary to lie about the size of his inaugural crowd. He never forgave his first attorney general for failing to shut down investigations into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, and ultimately forced his resignation. “I need loyalty. I expect loyalty,” Trump told his first FBI director, and then fired him when he refused to pledge it.

Regarding the first claim, I can just see the Articles of Impeachment: “High on the list of Bribery, High Crimes and Misdemeanors is the fact that President Trump disagreed with the hostile media’s crowd estimates and told his press secretary to support his preferred crowd estimates.” Imagine the outrage if Trump had told a blatant, substantive, provable lie such as “If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor.” Oh, wait. Don’t bother. Been there, done that. No outrage.

Regarding the second claim, yes, Trump was exceptionally unkind to Sessions. On the other hand, unless there’s a deep-laid movie-style plot that saw Sessions act as the hapless, bumbling AG for the cameras, all while working diligently behind the scenes to line up a series of indictments against the Democrats who worked with Russia to affect the 2016 election or who, as Hillary did, violated national security laws for their own profit and privilege, Sessions did almost nothing as Attorney General. Moreover, Sessions’ decision to recuse himself on the Russia matter was awful. There was no factual or legal basis for him to do so. Instead, he did it out of some over-developed need to demonstrate purity in the face of the Democrat mob.

The real bottom line is that the Attorney General serves at the discretion of the Executive Branch. If the boss is unhappy with the job he or she is doing, the Attorney General goes. The other bottom line is that, despite ridding himself of someone he deemed a bad employee, Trump did nothing whatsoever to interfere with Mueller’s probe.

Finally, regarding the third claim, Trump did not fire the execrable Comey because the latter refused to give Trump a loyalty pledge. Per the Rosenstein memo, Comey got the boot because his egotistical, illegal, unethical, and disgraceful conduct regarding Hillary brought the entire FBI into disrepute. The first two paragraphs in the Rosenstein memo give a flavor of Comey’s wrongdoing — and that’s impressive enough when one remembers that the memo doesn’t even touch upon the fact that Comey illegally passed confidential information to an unsecured source to trigger the now-pretty-much-discredited Mueller investigation:

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has long been regarded as our nation’s premier federal investigative agency. Over the past year, however, the FBI’s reputation and credibility have suffered substantial damage, and it has affected the entire Department of Justice. That is deeply troubling to many Department employees and veterans, legislators and citizens.

The current FBI Director is an articulate and persuasive speaker about leadership and the immutable principles of the Department of Justice. He deserves our appreciation for his public service. As you and I have discussed, however, I cannot defend the Director’s handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Secretary Clinton’s emails, and I do not understand his refusal to accept the nearly universal judgment that he was mistaken. Almost everyone agrees that the Director made serious mistakes; it is one of the few issues that unites people of diverse perspectives.

And again, the boss can fire a bad employee, including an employee who repeatedly stabs him in the back. If Comey’s monumental ego and self-righteousness hadn’t taken the place of any residual decency he might have had and if he really had a legitimate beef with the legality of Trump’s actions, Comey would have quit before being fired and then made a principled stand by openly raising his concerns about the president. (And that, my friends, one of the few times you’ll see the words “Comey” and “decency” in the same sentence.)

Following the above weak and ignorant sauce, Appelbaum moves on to the claim that Trump violated the rule of law . . . by whining. Trump could have shut down the whole Russian collusion investigation thanks to his authority under the Constitution. Instead, he left it untouched and limited himself to complaining about how the Department of Justice was treating him — and please keep in mind, both as you read this post and as you listen to the upcoming attacks on Mueller, that Mueller staffed his team entirely with Clinton cronies and other Trump haters:

Trump has evinced little respect for the rule of law, attempting to have the Department of Justice launch criminal probes into his critics and political adversaries. He has repeatedly attacked both Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Special Counsel Robert Mueller. His efforts to mislead, impede, and shut down Mueller’s investigation have now led the special counsel to consider whether the president obstructed justice.

It takes a special kind of stupid to elevate whining to a “high crime and misdemeanor” justifying impeachment.

Appelbaum also conflates complaints with police action in the next paragraph of “indictments”:

As for the liberties guaranteed by the Constitution, Trump has repeatedly trampled upon them. He pledged to ban entry to the United States on the basis of religion, and did his best to follow through. He has attacked the press as the “enemy of the people” and barred critical outlets and reporters from attending his events. He has assailed black protesters. He has called for his critics in private industry to be fired from their jobs. He has falsely alleged that America’s electoral system is subject to massive fraud, impugning election results with which he disagrees as irredeemably tainted. Elected officials of both parties have repeatedly condemned such statements, which has only spurred the president to repeat them.

Again, let’s break it down:

No, Trump did not ban admission to this country based upon religion. Instead, he looked at an Obama-era report identifying those nations most likely to harbor anti-American terrorists. To the extent most of those countries were Muslim, you can either blame the individual countries for harboring this type of criminality, you can blame Islam for promoting this kind of criminality, or you can blame Obama for being anti-Muslim. But you cannot blame Trump for coming up with a list of terrorist countries that happened to be Muslim.

Trump relied upon this Obama list to issue an order banning citizens from those terrorist-sponsoring countries from entering America. The theory behind the ban was reasonable: If Obama says they’re the most terrorist-prone regions in the world, a smart president, intent on saving Americans of all colors, creeds, races, etc., would stop them at the border saying, “Not so fast, buddy. Based upon my predecessor’s analysis, we’re going to triple-check you. After all, we don’t want another Boston Marathon bombing, do we?” (It’s more intriguing that Obama did not implement the ban, but that’s dirty water under the bridge.)

No, Trump did not violate the First Amendment’s mandate that “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom . . . of the press. . . .: First, Trump is not Congress. Second, Trump did not use his authority to create a pseudo law, in the form of a regulation or executive order, “abridging the freedom . . . of the press.” Third, unlike his predecessor, who spied on the media, Trump has not used the instrumentalities of government or the police state to attack the press.

No one in the media has been silenced, threatened, tortured, imprisoned, or executed, either covertly or overtly. Instead, the media has puffed itself up to an extraordinary amount and gone on the type of “anti-President” spree that could only happen in a truly free country headed by an executive officer who is committed to the principles of liberty, including a free press.

So really, the charge about Trump’s allegedly unconstitutional attacks on the media boils down to the complaint that “the President said mean things!” In that regard, as even the WaPo acknowledges, President Trump was in good company. Thomas Jefferson too, while acknowledging that a free press is an essential component of a free state, nevertheless waged his own war of words with the media — and even went a step further, trying to use his power as president to silence the press:

“Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper,” Jefferson said then.

[snip]

“In his second term, in response to serious criticism from the New England newspapers … he instructed the state attorney generals in New England to prosecute the newspaper editors for sedition in the same way he had opposed such behavior when it was done by the federal government,” said Ellis, the historian.

The move further alienated Jefferson from the journalists, as well as the clergy.

It was during his second term in 1806 that Jefferson wrote to U.S. Rep. Barnabas Bidwell of Massachusetts, “As for what is not true you will always find abundance in the newspapers.”

The next year, Jefferson made his opinion known in a letter to John Norvell, a politician, lawyer and journalist who had written to him about plans to start his own newspaper.

“To your request of my opinion of the manner in which a newspaper should be conducted, so as to be most useful, I should answer, ‘by restraining it to true facts and sound principles only,'” Jefferson said. “Yet I fear such a paper would find few subscribers. It is a melancholy truth, that a suppression of the press could not more completely deprive the nation of it’s [sic] benefits, than is done by it’s [sic] abandoned prostitution to falsehood.

“Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle.”

Jefferson’s presidency ended in 1809 — but his frustrations with the press did not.

In 1814, he said, “I deplore with you the putrid state into which our newspapers have passed, and the malignity, the vulgarity, and mendacious spirit of those who write for them.”

A year later, he wrote to James Monroe: “A truth now and then projecting into the ocean of newspaper lies, serves like head-lands to correct our course. Indeed, my skepticism as to everything I see in a newspaper, makes me indifferent whether I ever see one.”

And then again the next year: “From forty years’ experience of the wretched guess-work of the newspapers of what is not done in open daylight, and of their falsehood even as to that, I rarely think them worth reading, and almost never worth notice.”

Monticello historian Christa Dierksheide said Jefferson was lamenting the press he envisioned when he first fought for its freedoms.

“As an idealist, he continued to hope that the press would overcome its partisan leanings,” she told The Post. “But that never happened.”

And finally, pardon me while I try to stop laughing before I address the risible claim that Trump must be impeached because he was prepared to challenge Electoral College results if they proved to be the product of voter fraud. Okay. Okay. I’m done laughing. Back to my discussion.

First, we know there is voter fraud, although the scale is questionable, with Republicans believing there is more voter fraud than Democrats believe exists. Second, all I’ll say is Hillary Clinton and her “why I lost” tour. Third, this comes from the same side of the political aisle that is celebrating Stacy Abrams, who still refuses to accept her defeat in Georgia. And fourth, for the last month or so, as part of its preparation for the 2020 election, the entire Democrat Party is viciously attacking the Electoral College.

Before I fisk further, let me summarize Appelbaum’s indictment against Trump to this point: According to Appelbaum, Trump fired employees for not doing their jobs or for violating the law, wanted loyal employees, complained about the Mueller witch-hunt but did not act on those complaints, relied upon Obama-era conclusions to block potential terrorists from entering the country, refused to impoverish himself or make public his tax returns, complained about but did not lay a hand on the media, and said that he was concerned that the 2016 election could be marred by fraud. The above, believe it or not, are the only substances issues Appelbaum adduces to justify impeachment.

Having established to his own satisfaction that there are multiple bases for impeaching Trump, Appelbaum then describes the purpose behind the impeachment process:

The electorate passes judgment on its presidents and their shortcomings every four years. But the Framers were concerned that a president could abuse his authority in ways that would undermine the democratic process and that could not wait to be addressed. So they created a mechanism for considering whether a president is subverting the rule of law or pursuing his own self-interest at the expense of the general welfare—in short, whether his continued tenure in office poses a threat to the republic. This mechanism is impeachment.

Appelbaum’s word choice — “subverting the rule of law or pursuing his own self-interest at the expense of the general welfare” — is very careful and remarkably anodyne. I prefer the way the Heritage Foundation phrases it (emphasis mine):

Because “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” was a term of art used in English impeachments, a plausible reading supported by many scholars is that the grounds for impeachment can be not only the defined crimes of treason and bribery, but also other criminal or even noncriminal behavior amounting to a serious dereliction of duty. That interpretation is disputed, but it is agreed by virtually all that the impeachment remedy was to be used in only the most extreme situations, a position confirmed by the relatively few instances in which Congress has used the device.

To expand on the Heritage Foundation’s point, there is an ancient and still respected legal principle (one that Appelbaum relies upon later in his article) called “ejusdem generis.” Black’s Law Dictionary defines it as follows:

Of the same kind, class, or nature. In statutory construction, the “ejusdem generis rule” is that where general words follow an enumeration of persons or things, by words of a particular and specific meaning, such general words are not to be construed in their widest extent, but are to be held as applying only to persons or things of the same general kind or class as those specifically mentioned.

For example, if a municipal code says residents can keep “dogs, cats, and other small animals,” that lead-in that specifically mentions dogs and cats, both of which are traditional home-based domestic animals, means that the phrase “other small animals” cannot be read to include feral, non-domestic small beasties such as honey badgers.

When applied to the Constitution, the ejusdem generis doctrine means is that high crimes and misdemeanors must fall into the same exalted wrongdoing category as treason (punishable by death when the Constitution was ratified) or bribery, which the Founders saw as a reasonable basis for dissolving their bonds with Britain’s incredibly corrupt political class and starting a nine-year shooting war. It’s doubtful that the Founders would have recognized “he hurt my feelings,” or “he insists that the crowd was larger than we insist it was” as an existential threat to America.

Nevertheless, according to the easily overcome and highly overwrought Appelbaum, “Trump’s actions during his first two years in office clearly meet, and exceed, the criteria to trigger this fail-safe.” Yeah, right.

In fact, as he proceeds with his article, it’s apparent that Appelbaum recognizes that his justifications for impeachment are pathetic. He therefore tries to dumb down the constitutional standards:

It is absurd to suggest that the Constitution would delineate a mechanism too potent to ever actually be employed. Impeachment, in fact, is a vital protection against the dangers a president like Trump poses. And, crucially, many of its benefits—to the political health of the country, to the stability of the constitutional system—accrue irrespective of its ultimate result. Impeachment is a process, not an outcome, a rule-bound procedure for investigating a president, considering evidence, formulating charges, and deciding whether to continue on to trial.

Let me translate: We know that Trump has not committed “high crimes or misdemeanors” that rise to the serious level of treason and bribery, both of which can destroy the nation. Instead, because we’re from the opposing political party and dislike his policies, and because it’s totally unfair that our candidate didn’t win in 2016, disliking his politics alone is enough to justify impeaching a duly elected president.

I’m ignoring a bit of blah-blah and throat-clearing to move to Appelbaum next substantive (if you can call it that) point.

That . . . ahem . . . substantive point is Appelbaum’s claim that, because Democrats picked up House control in the mid-terms, the voters were asking for impeachment. Indeed the only thing stopping this voter mandate is the fossils heading the Democrat party:

Democrats picked up 40 seats in the House of Representatives in the 2018 elections. Despite this clear rebuke of Trump—and despite all that is publicly known about his offenses—party elders remain reluctant to impeach him.

Under this line of argument — a switch in party control over the House — Republican House members were derelict in their duty not to impeach Obama in 2010. And they were likewise remiss when they did not impeach Clinton in 1994. And of course, you can say the same about slacker Democrats who didn’t act against Bush when the House flipped during his administration.

Following his own logic to its natural conclusion, Appelbaum cannot understand why Democrats, especially older ones like Pelosi or people running for president, aren’t all gung-ho for impeachment and seem to want to talk about stupid substantive issues instead:

Many Democrats avoided discussing the idea on the campaign trail, preferring to focus on health care. When, on the first day of the 116th Congress, a freshman representative declared her intent to impeach Trump and punctuated her comments with an obscenity, she was chastised by members of the old guard—not just for how she raised the issue, but for raising it at all.

Having identified a failing, Appelbaum comes up with a cause: For the old folks in the House, the ones who aren’t young and hip and angry and totally immune to facts, the problem is that they were scarred by the Clinton impeachment fiasco, not to mention being scared off by the inconvenient little fact that most of the country thinks impeachment is a bad idea:

Pelosi and her antediluvian leadership team served in Congress during those fights two decades ago, and they seem determined not to repeat their rivals’ mistakes. Polling has shown significant support for impeachment over the course of Trump’s tenure, but the most favorable polls still indicate that it lacks majority support. To move against Trump now, Democrats seem to believe, would only strengthen the president’s hand. Better to wait for public opinion to turn decisively against him and then use impeachment to ratify that view. This is the received wisdom on impeachment, the overlearned lesson of the Clinton years: House Republicans got out ahead of public opinion, and turned a president beset by scandal into a sympathetic figure.

The problem with the Democrats, Appelbaum concludes, is that they’re planning to forego the red meat of impeachment with the fake meat of just irritating Trump with endless investigations into his taxes and other stuff. Moreover, these cowardly Democrats are content to let federal judges intervene in Trump’s carrying out his executive mandate. And of course, as of the time Appelbaum wrote his article, these same weak and passive Democrat fossils still had their hopes pinned on Mueller.

(Pardon me. I need to interrupt this post for a happy schadenfreude moment. Aaaaahhhh. I feel sooo good.)

Still, says Appelbaum, you can’t just rely on federal prosecutors to get the job done when it comes to destroying a duly elected president. Worse, the longer you wait to impeach, the more Trump will get done and that’s BAD. This is especially bad because you can’t rush impeachment. So, the sooner you start the process, the better in terms of making sure Trump does not get things done.

For those squeamish readers who might think that it’s a bad thing for Congress to try to overthrow a presidency, Appelbaum assures them that an impeachment attack is good for the presidency — and then he comes up with a piece of slimy intellectual jiujutsu that is extraordinary, so let me break it out carefully.

Keep in mind that, up until this point, Appelbaum has been arguing that Trump is a dangerously powerful maniac who is engaged in conduct that, unless stopped via the extreme remedy of impeachment, will destroy America. He follows this up by acknowledging people who are concerned that, by decapitating such a powerful leader, Congress will accrue to itself way more power than it should have. Appelbaum’s counter to this concern is to negate everything he said before. Thus, Appelbaum counsels concerned citizens that they shouldn’t worry because Trump has in fact been a weak executive and only impeachment can restore the executive office to its appropriate high level of power, one that is co-equal with Congress. And no, I’m not making up that upside-down line of reasoning:

Critics of impeachment insist that it would diminish the presidency, creating an executive who serves at the sufferance of Congress. But defenders of executive prerogatives should be the first to recognize that the presidency has more to gain than to lose from Trump’s impeachment. After a century in which the office accumulated awesome power, Trump has done more to weaken executive authority than any recent president. The judiciary now regards Trump’s orders with a jaundiced eye, creating precedents that will constrain his successors. His own political appointees boast to reporters, or brag in anonymous op-eds, that they routinely work to counter his policies. Congress is contemplating actions on trade and defense that will hem in the president. His opponents repeatedly aim at the man but hit the office.

Orwell would be proud of this doublespeak. “War is peace.” “Freedom is slavery.” “Ignorance is strength.” “A president who deliberately reduces government power is so powerfully dangerous Congress must destroy him to return the presidency to its all powerful role.”

Nor should Democrats fear the backlash Republicans experienced when they went after Clinton, argues Appelbaum. Unlike Trump, who is undermining America by shrinking government, hurting reporters’ feelings, and relying on his predecessor’s working to identify countries that pose a threat to America, all of which justify impeachment, Republicans in the 1990s stupidly used impeachment to go after someone who engaged in criminal conduct while in office. That earlier Clintonian criminal conduct, insists Appelbaum, had nothing to do with “undermining the integrity of office, disregard of constitutional duties and oath of office, arrogation of power, abuse of the governmental process, adverse impact on the system of government” — all of which Appelbaum points to as reasonable justifications for impeachment per a 1974 House Judiciary Committee report.

Again, having satisfied himself with his own bass-ackwards, internally contradictory argument, Appelbaum insists that Trump is “attacking the bedrock of America democracy.” That language, incidentally, is hyperlinked to another Atlantic article from October 2017, entitled Will Donald Trump Destroy the Presidency? Don’t worry that I’m going to fisk two articles here. I won’t.

The quick summary of that second article, which is rich in invective and poor in facts, is that Trump, a mere nine months into his presidency, was destroying democracy because he issued an executive order based upon Obama-era information that banned open immigration from a small number of countries that posed serious terrorist threats to America; because of the (now-discredited) Russia Collusion claim; and because he insulted reporters and leftist judges. In other words (and boy, that article has lots of other words, most of them mean), Orange Man Bad.

After reiterating through a link to own magazine that Orange Man Bad, Appelbaum acknowledges that impeachment won’t actually work. Thus, if the House moves to impeach Trump, there’s no way a 2/3 Senatorial majority will vote to remove him from office despite all the compelling “proof” Democrats have amassed. Instead, it turns out, the whole reason Appelbaum wants impeachment is because of its public relations benefits over the next year and a half:

The process of impeachment itself is likely to shift public opinion, both by highlighting what’s already known and by bringing new evidence to light. If Trump’s support among Republican voters erodes, his support in the Senate may do the same. One lesson of Richard Nixon’s impeachment is that when legislators conclude a presidency is doomed, they can switch allegiances in the blink of an eye.

Lest you think Appelbaum’s calculation is too crude and obvious, he promises that votes in 2020 aren’t really the issue. It’s for the good of the country, he offers in high-minded terms:

The country will benefit greatly regardless of how the Senate ultimately votes. Even if the impeachment of Donald Trump fails to produce a conviction in the Senate, it can safeguard the constitutional order from a president who seeks to undermine it. The protections of the process alone are formidable. They come in five distinct forms.

Let me summarize those “five distinct forms” of “protections of the process”:

1. “The first is that once an impeachment inquiry begins, the president loses control of the public conversation.” I won’t quote Appelbaum’s tedious argument, which is replete with pointless historic references intended to make him look smart. The short version is that for two years Trump has used Twitter like a red dot on the wall to inflame the crazy cats in both Congress and the media, thereby bypassing them to send his messages directly to the voters.

By implementing the impeachment process, Appelbaum promises that Democrats can finally silence the President. He’ll be so afraid he will no longer speak up for himself and, most importantly, he’ll be too cowed to use his counter-punching technique. (When I refer to that technique, I mean that Trump never attacks first; but if you attack him, he’ll make sure he pounds you into the dust.)

2. Trump will be unable to govern. Or, as Appelbaum says, “As Trump fights for his political survival, that struggle will overwhelm other concerns. This is the second benefit of impeachment: It paralyzes a wayward president’s ability to advance the undemocratic elements of his agenda.” As you read those words, please think about just a short list of the results of Trump’s governance to date:

  • A soaring economy.
  • Fair trade agreements with an increasing number of nations, with China coming closer to the negotiating table.
  • Low unemployment, including the best numbers ever for Hispanics and the best numbers in decades for Blacks.
  • A sustained battle to enforce existing laws governing American immigration.
  • The cessation of North Korean nuclear testing, along with the promise of disarmament.
  • A reinvigorated military that is being shaped to win wars rather than appease social justice warriors.
  • The end of ISIS.
  • Support for the Second Amendment.
  • Support for fetal rights.
  • Support for Israel.
  • Respect for Trump in the Muslim world.
  • A federal bench (including the Supreme Court) that is being filled with judges who respect the Constitution and written laws of the United States, rather than governing from feelings.
  • Energy policies that sustain the economy and keep us from returning to the squalor, death, and decay of a pre-modern era.

Looking at that list, which out-Reagans Reagan, no wonder the Left is anxious to kneecap this President by any means possible. Every one of those achievements is a disaster from the Democrat policy perspective, whether it’s convincing minorities that they can do better than government dependence; barring the next generation of illegal Democrat voters from entering the country; showing that a strong American military can win wars; supporting gun rights against tyranny; shining a light on the Leftist death cult of abortion; supporting the only liberal nation in the entire Middle East; imposing the rule of law on our courts; and supporting energy policies that block the return of a Stone Age “nirvana.” Sheesh, no wonder the Left hates Trump so much.

Even Appelbaum is forced to concede that “Some of Trump’s policies are popular. . . .” Nevertheless, he claims, impeachment is necessary to stop in their tracks some of Trump’s more outré initiatives — all for the public good, of course. And what are these “orange man bad” initiatives?

What’s funny is that the first thing on the list of alleged bad policies is the Russia collusion issue. Why it’s funny isn’t just that Friday’s events — when it became clear, because of the lack of indictments, that there is no collusion — knock the pins out from under this argument. It’s funny because Appelbaum insists that impeachment will finally give the Russia collusion story the intention it deserves. Really:

[I]mpeachment would raise the scrutiny to an entirely different level. In part, this is because of the enormous amount of attention impeachment proceedings garner.

Considering that, for the past two years, it seems as 90% of reporting from CNN, MSNBC, The New York TimesThe Washington Post, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and all the other mainstream media outlets has been about Russian collusion, it’s difficult to imagine bringing “scrutiny to an entirely different level.” When you’ve reached the stratosphere already, where else are you going to go?

3. After some more erudition preening, Appelbaum moves on to his third process protection: “The process of impeachment can also surface evidence.” If you read through two paragraphs of pointless digression about Nixon, you learn that Appelbaum has nothing to offer in the way of new evidence about Trump. He’s just hoping that impeachment will be the ultimate fishing expedition, over and above the Mueller inquiry and myriad House investigations.

4. Benefit number four is a profoundly dishonest one: Impeachment, says Appelbaum, will help America by “defusing the potential for an explosion of political violence”:

This is a rationale for impeachment first offered at the Constitutional Convention, in 1787. “What was the practice before this in cases where the chief Magistrate rendered himself obnoxious?” Benjamin Franklin asked his fellow delegates. “Why, recourse was had to assassination in wch. he was not only deprived of his life but of the opportunity of vindicating his character.” A system without a mechanism for removing the chief executive, he argued, offered an invitation to violence. Just as the courts took the impulse toward vigilante justice and safely channeled it into the protections of the legal system, impeachment took the impulse toward political violence and safely channeled it into Congress.

Of course, Appelbaum is dishonest about his argument. After the erudition preening of quoting Franklin, he points out correctly that political terrorism escalated on Nixon’s watch and acknowledges that this terrorism came from the Left. Today, though, it’s different, insists Appelbaum:

The current moment is different, of course. Today, the left is again radicalizing, but the overwhelming majority of political violence is committed by the far right, albeit on a considerably smaller scale than in the Nixon era.

You’ll notice that there are no hyperlinks to his claim that “the overwhelming majority of political violence is committed by the far right.” That is because there is no proof whatsoever to support that claim. If you look at America’s streets and campuses, the violence is from Antifa and its ilk. If you look at America’s restaurants and other retail outlets, it’s not conservatives throwing foods and drinks at people, snatching their hats, driving them out of venues, etc. Again, that’s all from the Left.

To call things by their true labels, Appelbaum lied. That’s not a good sign about an argument’s integrity, is it?

5. The fifth benefit Appelbaum advances in favor of a pointless impeachment process, one that won’t end with in Trump’s leaving office, is once again a crude political calculation: It will help ensure that a Democrat candidate wins in 2020. Indeed, Appelbaum speculates, looking at Ford and Gore, the impeachment process might even keep Pence from ever becoming president, should he so desire.

In sum, looking at the five “benefits” Appelbaum puts forward, it’s obvious that he doesn’t want the impeachment process because it will remove a genuinely corrupt and damaging man from political office. Instead, he wants it to handicap a duly elected president and ensure that a Democrat will get the White House in 2020. Appelbaum’s isn’t a principled argument; it’s a crude political calculation dressed up in high-minded language and meaningless historic references.

I’ll skip entirely Appelbaum’s discussion about how impeachment works and what the standards are. I don’t care whether he’s accurate or not, because his words, again, are merely intended to dress a risible political attack in the respectable clothes of rules and constitutionality. The one thing to note is that Appelbaum concedes that the only hook on which Leftists can hang their hat is “high crimes and misdemeanors,” a concept I already discussed. After trawling through bits and bytes of constitutional history, he pretty much comes out where I did by discussing the ejusdem generis doctrine and the Heritage Foundation summation.

Where Appelbaum gets interesting again is when he goes full Lavrentiy Beria. As most of you know, Beria was Stalin’s head of secret police and famously said “show me the man and I’ll find you the crime.”

To fully understand the horror behind Beria’s statement, you need to think about how America’s criminal justice system works. It’s based upon a very specific order of events: First, a crime occurs. Only then do we look for and prosecute the culpable party. Totalitarian states have a different order. First, the dictator identifies a person whom he wishes to destroy. Then the police state combs through every aspect of that person’s life to find something — anything — this person did that might have violated any one of thousands of laws and regulations. Armed with that information, the state destroys the person.

That’s going full Lavrentiy Beria and that’s exactly what Appelbaum says impeachment should be used for (emphasis mine):

Some democrats have already seen enough from the Trump administration to conclude that it has met the criteria for impeachment. In July 2017, Representative Brad Sherman of California put forward an impeachment resolution; it garnered a single co-sponsor. The next month, though, brought the white-nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and Trump’s defense of the “very fine people on both sides.” The billionaire activist Tom Steyer launched a petition drive calling for impeachment. A second resolution was introduced in the House that November, this time by Tennessee’s Steve Cohen, who found 17 co-sponsors. By December 2017, when Representative Al Green of Texas forced consideration of a third resolution, 58 Democrats voted in favor of continuing debate, including Jim Clyburn, the House’s third-ranking Democrat. On the first day of the new Congress in January, Sherman reintroduced his resolution.

These efforts are exercises in political messaging, not serious attempts to tackle the question of impeachment. They invert the process, offering lists of charges for the House to consider, rather than asking the House to consider what charges may be justified. The House should instead approve a resolution authorizing an impeachment inquiry and allocating the staff, funding, and other resources necessary to pursue it, as the resolution that initiated the proceedings against Richard Nixon did.

Please keep in mind that, when the impeachment process against Nixon started, we already knew — absolutely for sure and certain — about the Watergate break-in, which was a crime. Here, Appelbaum’s “indictment” is nothing more than “I don’t like him, his policies, or his personal style.” Based on this indictment, he is insisting that the House convene an extraordinary constitutional process to find a crime or anything else on Trump’s part that amounts to wrongdoing sufficiently extreme to make the nightly news. If you don’t find that troubling, perhaps you’re a Leftist.

At this point, perhaps realizing how far out on a totalitarian limb he’s placed himself, Appelbaum concedes that, on the rare occasions Congress has gone the impeachment route, it likes to start with a crime onto which it can hang its hat.

Despite the consensus of constitutional scholars that impeachable offenses need not be crimes, Congress has generally preferred to vote on articles that allege criminal acts. More than a third of representatives, and an outright majority of senators, hold law degrees; they think like lawyers. Democrats are thus focused on campaign-finance regulations, obstruction of justice, tax laws, money-laundering rules, proscriptions on bribing foreign officials, and the Constitution’s two emoluments clauses, which bar the president from accepting gifts from state or foreign governments.

Appelbaum even concedes that the whole Russia collusion farce probably won’t be enough of a “crime” to justify impeachment. Even if Mueller came up with something — which he didn’t — wrongful acts Trump may have committed before entering office do not justify impeachment. When he was writing his article, Appelbaum was also filled with hope that Mueller would come up with something that could be grounds for impeachment.

Too bad, so sad, that didn’t happen. Still, Appelbaum dreams and in his dreams he sees a successful House process that sends articles of impeachment to the Senate.

And then, suddenly, the members of the United States Senate will be forced to answer a question that many have long evaded: Is the president fit to continue in office? There will be no press aides to hide behind, no elevators into which they can duck. Some Democrats have already made their opinions clear. Others will have to decide whether to vote to remove a president backed by a majority of their constituents. For Republicans, the choice will be even harder.

If you’re wondering how a Republican majority senate, representing a Republican base that strongly supports the President, will answer the question Appelbaum poses, please refer to the list I compiled, above, detailing just a few of the things Trump has accomplished during his presidency.

Question asked and answered as we lawyers like to say.

Appelbaum must at some low-level in his brain understand that Trump is governing wisely and well, even if not in a way Democrats like, because he suddenly backtracks wildly from his previous line of reasoning (if one can call it reasoning) and announces that impeachment is necessary, not because of high crimes and misdemeanors, but simply because Trump is unworthy:

This is where the dual nature of impeachment as both a legal and a political process comes into sharpest focus. The Founders worried about electing a president who lacked character or a sense of honor, but Americans have long since lost the moral vocabulary to articulate such concerns explicitly, preferring to look instead for demonstrable violations of rules that illuminate underlying character flaws. It is Trump’s unfitness for office that necessitates impeachment; his attacks on American democracy are plainly evident, and should be sufficient.

In this regard, may I point out that Kennedy, Clinton, and FDR were sexual predators; FDR and Kennedy lied to the American people about their health and drug use; and Johnson was a man who abused dogs (although he did not eat them), debased his employees while talking to them as he defecated, and communicated with endless crude obscenities.

And then there’s Obama. Obama invited into the White House anti-Semites, singers who sang anti-white songs, and singers who supported murdering police. Obama also talked about kicking people’s asses, sending people to the back of the bus, and bringing guns to fights. Because the media adored him, and not enough decades have passed for people to start speaking the truth, I suspect there’s more there in terms of Obama’s behavioral abuses while in the White House. We just haven’t heard it yet.

I’m going to skip most of Appelbaum’s discussion about the effort to remove Andrew Johnson in 1868. The point that Appelbaum is trying to drive home is that Trump is another Johnson: a populist (although Johnson was a Democrat) who hated blacks and, while comfortable with seeing slavery gone, wanted to ensure that blacks continued as second-class citizens without the benefits of civil rights:

The case before the United States in 1868 bears striking similarities to the case before the country now—and no president in history more resembles the 45th than the 17th.

[snip]

A remarkable number of Americans looked at the president and saw a man grossly unfit for office. Johnson, a Democrat from a Civil War border state, had been tapped by Lincoln in 1864 to join him on a national-unity ticket. A fierce opponent of the slaveholding elite and a self-styled champion of the white yeomanry, Johnson spoke to voters skeptical of the Republican Party’s progressive agenda. He horrified much of the East Coast establishment, but his raw, even profane style appealed to many voters. The National Union Party, seeking the destruction of slavery and the Confederacy, swept to victory.

No one ever thought Johnson would be president.

[snip]

In federal efforts to establish racial equality, they saw antiwhite discrimination.

[snip]

The question facing Congress, and the public, was this: What do you do with a president whose every utterance and act seems to undermine the Constitution he is sworn to uphold?

[snip]

It was the campaign of white-nationalist terror that raged through the spring and summer of 1866 that persuaded many Republicans they could not allow Johnson to remain in office.

[snip]

But the euphoria [at Johnson’s failed impeachment] proved short-lived. The New York Times urged Johnson’s supporters to look at the bigger picture: “Congress has assumed control of the whole matter of reconstruction, and will assert and exercise it.” Any effort to wrest control back from the House and Senate was held in check by the specter of another impeachment, which haunted Johnson’s remaining months in office.

[snip]

The chorus of experts who now present Johnson’s impeachment as an exercise in raw partisanship are not learning from history but, rather, erasing it. Johnson used his office to deny the millions freed from bondage the equality that God had given them and that the Constitution guaranteed. To deny the justice of Johnson’s impeachment is to affirm the justice of his acts. If his impeachment was partisan, it was because one party had been formed to defend the freedom of man, and the other had not yet reconciled itself to that proposition.

To understand the above narrative from Appelbaum’s perspective, you must believe that President Trump — who has brought blacks more economic success than any president in history and who is working hard to keep out illegal aliens who primarily compete with blacks for jobs — is nevertheless a member of a new, secret KKK.

Although Appelbaum doesn’t mention Charleston, we know that the only piece of so-called “evidence” the Left has that Trump is the reincarnation of the racist Andrew Johnson is Trump’s alleged support for White Supremacists in Charlottesville. That alleged support is a hoax. I will not explain the hoax here but will, instead, direct you to Scott Adams, John Nolte, and Steve Cortes, all of whom have irrefutably rebutted that gross and complete canard. Take out the hoax, and there is nothing that justifies trying to analogize Trump, who’s never been racist in his life, to Johnson.

In fairness, here’s Appelbaum’s conclusion to his article, which I’ll follow with my own conclusion:

Today, the United States once more confronts a president who seems to care for only some of the people he represents, who promises his supporters that he can roll back the tide of diversity, who challenges the rule of law, and who regards constitutional rights and liberties as disposable. Congress must again decide whether the greater risk lies in executing the Constitution as it was written, or in deferring to voters to do what it cannot muster the courage to do itself. The gravest danger facing the country is not a Congress that seeks to measure the president against his oath—it is a president who fails to measure up to that solemn promise.

Nothing that Appelbaum asserts against Trump rises to the level of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” His assertions aren’t even low crimes and misdemeanors. Parsed, Appelbaum’s indictment boils down to attacking Trump for seeking loyalty from his employees, firing people who are corrupt or incompetent, calling out the media on its partisanship and dishonesty, shrinking government’s role in citizen’s lives, refusing to turn himself into a pauper in order to hold office, and successfully bypassing the media in getting his message to America.

Moreover, the benefits that Appelbaum asserts flow from impeachment proceedings have nothing to do with addressing alleged high crimes and misdemeanors. Instead, he is open about the fact that they are intended to entangle Trump in process so seriously that he can no longer govern. Appelbaum also hopes that the proceedings smear Trump so completely that he’ll not only lose in 2020, but that Pence will be forever tarred with the same brush.

In other words, Appelbaum doesn’t make a case for impeachment. Instead, he proves that he’s just another garden-variety, biased, monomaniacal member of the “Resistance,” so deeply infected with Trump Derangement Syndrome that he’s incapable of realizing that what comes out of his mouth is a fetid combination of politically biased garbage and nonsense, infused with meaningless historic references, and neatly packaged in the rotting remnants of a once-reputable magazine.

One more thing. Although The Atlantic is pretty much a joke today whenever it gets on politics (groveling at Obama’s feet and snapping at Trump’s), it still has significant reach. If you think my post has some virtue in tearing down Appelbaum’s argument, please think about sharing it. And of course, if you don’t, quickly pass over my post and pretend you never read it in the first place to spare me the shame of ignominiously showcasing my own ignorance and bias.

The post Fisking the Left’s escalating demands for Trump’s impeachment appeared first on Watcher of Weasels.