Evidence continues to show that we are looking at the biggest political scandal of our lifetime. Namely, that the federal government used its enormous intelligence and law enforcement power to attack the presidential candidate of the opposing party during the campaign and undermine his presidency, illegally misleading the FISA Court along the way to obtain permission to spy on American citizens who were part of that campaign/administration.
It’s extraordinary and a pointed commentary on the sad state of our politics that Democrats and the media are downplaying its significance and working to hinder efforts to fully investigate it. Apparently, they are ignoring the fact that, unchecked, the shoe could easily be on the other foot next time. But it seems that resistance to Trump is all that matters. Democrats and the media are treating this like it’s some kind of exercise in political one-upmanship, but it’s not a game; it’s as serious as it gets. And it’s no exaggeration that the integrity of the country is at stake. Focus on what’s actually on the table in the simple summary above; the rest is noise.
Take the latest Memogate moves. As predicted, the Democrat memo was submitted for approval loaded with classified sources and methods, all designed to force Trump to reject it on national security grounds and give Democrats their talking points that Trump was trying to cover up something. They even prepped the battlefield by claiming in advance that any holdup would be politically motivated by Trump to cook the books. Democrats compared what was likely to happen to Trump’s approval of the GOP memo in spite of “FBI objections.” Trump said he wanted the memo out, but noted the national security issues in the Democrat memo and called their bluff by offering to have the intel community work with Democrats to clean it up, which apparently is underway.
The Democrat response was priceless. With their game exposed, they turned their rhetoric to — you guessed it — Russia! With the national security argument gone, they now claimed that Trump didn’t want the full memo out because it would dispute his claim the GOP memo “fully vindicated” him in the Mueller probe. Both are silly. The GOP memo doesn’t say anything about the Mueller probe of Trump, so where he got the vindication conclusion is a mystery. But the Democrat spib is equally ridiculous, even though Trump handed it to them. Can we please just release all the underlying information and put this side show to rest?
As we sort through all this, it’s always useful to be reminded of how everything got started. The entire “Russian collusion” theory was invented out of whole cloth by Clinton operatives as an excuse for their losing an election they had no business losing. It was a career rehab exercise for the staff and a lifeline to Hillary to remain politically relevant. Remember, it was Obama who repeatedly stated during the campaign that Russia had nothing to do with the outcome of the election. He didn’t want to tarnish the certain Hillary victory. But somehow, after she lost, the “Russians did it.” The cynic in me also believes that all the thumbs on the scale for Hillary throughout the intel/FBI (and now it also seems at the State Dept. too) was a career-enhancement exercise driven by the belief that the Clinton way was to reward that kind of too-cute-by-a-half “bending the rules” rather than some holier-than-thou true believer stance that Trump was bad for the country.
And now we get the Susan Rice email to herself the day of the inauguration in which she notes that in a recent meeting of senior staff, which included Comey and Yates, Obama told everyone to conduct any Trump/Russia investigations “by the book.” The innocent explanation of that is simply that Rice wanted to be sure she documented stuff that went on during her tenure so she could accurately portray it in future communications or memoirs. Could make sense; we all email reminders like this to ourselves from time to time. But does anyone believe that? First, why would Obama have to remind his team to play by the rules? It’s more likely that everyone knew they hadn’t, but wanted to plant a document they knew would be discovered to take Obama off the hook. And who better to act as messenger than the same person who lied to carry Benghazi water for the Obama administration on national TV?
As more evidence surfaces, calls for a special counsel and full prosecution of anyone involved are increasing. As much as my sympathies go in that direction, the reality is that, as the Rice email implies, Obama is hip-deep in all of this, including his not-too-subtle rule change at the end of this term that opened unmasking opportunities up to a vastly larger audience and contributed to the FISA abuses. I continue to believe that the infamous Bill Clinton tarmac meeting was set up to convey a Team Hillary mutually assured destruction message to Obama. And since all roads lead back to the Obama White House, anyone tipping over the first domino would have to realize that Obama would eventually be dragged in.
The fact is that no one wants to go there; the fallout would be too negative for the country given the partisan atmosphere we have, as noted above. Sadly, there would be no Democrat wise men like Baker in the Nixon matter to get everyone to come clean for the good of the country and be sure this would never happen again. Legacies are too important, and Trump too dangerous; it’s all they have. As the evidence grows that there is no “there there” in the Russia Mueller probe and the books were cooked by Obama/Hillary disciples after Obama set them free, pressure will grow for Democrats to let the whole thing go, and Mueller will get the message. The GOP will certainly be tempted to return the original favor, but the reality of what that would entail will keep the lid on that effort as well. Some heads will roll, and enough mutually assured destruction messages will be received — the 24/7 racist rhetoric from Democrats and the media would make the Charlottesville aftermath look like Sunday school — to make this fade away. Sometime after the IG report and before the November elections, we will have moved on to something else. Unsatisfying, but that’s reality in today’s political climate.