I will expand on this soon, but for now, let us agree that Rep. Schiff’s intended investigation of President Trump’s business activities before he was Presient, while legal, is unethical, and will do great damage to the structure of our democracy.
Let us also stipulate that it was the Republicans who opened this Pandora’s box with the Whitewater investigation into the Clintons’ always fascinating financial machinations. The Democrats have now taken that tactic to new depths, with the thinly veiled—is it veiled at all?—purpose of preventing an elected President whose existence they deplore from doing the job he was elected to do. If I never admire Donald Trump for anything else, I will admire him for fighting this destructive and unconscionable attempt by the Democrats to undo the will of the people., and doing so with all the tools at his command, as well as some that aren’t really his to command.
There are few, if any, high ranking politicians in either party who could withstand the kind of scrutiny being focused on Trump. That is, of course, the whole idea. If this continues, whether the fishing expedition uncovers anything or not, a precedent of tit-for-tat and cyclical vengeance will be established, with every President subjected to the same obstruction and constant attack, resulting in the position of President being permanently crippled and sullied. Maybe that is what the Democrats want; maybe destroying Trump’s Presidency is worth destroying them all to them—as part of a general tantrum, vengeance for spoiling Hillary’s coronation, or perhaps as a first step in establishing the progressive totalitarian regime many Democrats yearn for.
Whatever their motive, they should be clear that their methodology will not stop with President Trump, and will be aimed at te next Democratic President as well. I believe that Republican leaders should state this explicitly, not as a warning, but as a statement of fact.
19 thoughts on “Yes, The House’s Investigation Of The President’s Business Dealing Is “Presidential Harassment,” And We Will Pay Dearly For It”
Do we have to start worrying about the timing of the Mueller Investigation resolution? If Mueller doesn’t have a drop-dead date of September 30, 2019 and he goes past that, it will creep into everyone’s mind (good or bad) and it will take center stage like never before. The release, then, would probably be considered akin to Comey’s disclose / don’t disclose; does this affect the election / does the public need to know this before they vote, etc. I dunno…thoughts? Or is it just what it is?
Lately I’ve been wondering if Mueller will ever have a “resolution.” I vaguely suspect it will just continue to plod along, periodically indicting some Trump-adjacent business or political figure for some run of the mill dirty dealings that everyone will pretend is shocking and NEVER how politics works.
Once Trump is out of office (presumably following either the 2020 or 2024 election, impeachment fantasies to the contrary) it will be allowed to slowly run down and fizzle out, forgotten. Trump will beat the rap but not the ride, and general public opinion will calcify around Trump as “probably a Russian collaborator, or something, I guess” and nobody will care.
Why would Mueller allow it to happen? Is he a Trump foe deliberately using the ongoing investigation as reputation poison? An idealist who thinks there must be something to find if he just keeps digging long enough? A coward who’d rather stall for time and run out the clock than face the Comey-esque firestorm that would hit him for actually coming to a conclusion? I have no idea, and at this point I don’t know if his reasons even matter.
He’s probably got a bit of the same MacArthuritis Comey had, so it’s probably a combination of all those factors: he’s a Never Trumper just like all those other deep staters who refuses to see Trump as anything other than a charlatan who doesn’t belong among the genuine statesmen, he’s been built up as the last honest man after Comey’s fall, he’s just certain there must be a “there” there, and he saw what happened to Comey after he came up empty. He also knows that the Democratic Party is counting on him to keep Trump in check and ultimately to achieve some lasting damage, and that they’ll eat him alive if he doesn’t. It’s a tough spot to be in, with one party telling you to get on with it already, the other to tell you to keep looking until you find something, and the potential to end up angering both of them or not pleasing either of them enough.
At this point he’s probably going to just try to run out the clock until after next year’s election. If Trump wins, then he can keep on digging, with periodic announcements that he’s getting close to something, but never quite getting there, until Trump leaves office at the end of his second term. If Trump loses, the purpose of the investigation will fade away and he can just go quietly back into retirement
The thing is, like every other thing, this kind of drilling into everything about the president, including stuff he did before he was president, is a double standard, especially as far as the media is concerned. I said a lot of this when Jack commented on David Brooks’ political hit job on Fred Trump, but I think George W. Bush said it best in his speech to the Dallas police: “Too often we judge other groups by their worst examples, while judging ourselves by our best intentions.” To the media and the left generally, the GOP and anyone supporting Trump will be those other groups – typified by corrupt paranoids like Nixon, heartless plutocrats like Rockefeller, and creepy near-pedophiles like Roy Moore, and where even the decent ones/genuine heroes like GHWB and great achievers like Reagan are just too flawed to be accepted. After all, if they WERE genuinely decent, they’d all have gone to the post office and reregistered as Democrats a long time ago. On the other hand, the left and the media are those people who’ve ceaselessly toiled since before FDR and before the civil rights movement just trying to make this country, and the world, a better place for everyone. Occasionally they’ve stumbled and some of their ideas didn’t pan out, but they’re the party of equality, transparency, and everyone getting a piece of the rising standards of living. They can never go wrong, right?
The sad fact is that no politician I can think of could have withstood this level of scrutiny with a press that will not cover up their wrongdoings. Perhaps Donald Trump really does deserve to be President.
There is no doubt in my mind that this Hatfield-McCoy scenario. We are already seeing tit-for-tat tactics from the Right digging up old social media posts to shine the spotlight on prominent Leftists. This will not end well.
What you do to others can be done to you. I can’t imagine the Left doesn’t understand this. For some reason, they must have thought there’d never be another Republican President that would take Obama’s expansion of power precedent and run with it. And they don’t seem to acknowledge that there could be a Democratic President that will be treated the same way they are treated President Trump.
They don’t care. Critical thought is racist. They should run the country without ANY rules except what they make up in the moment, and change on a whim.
What you do to others can be done to you.
Perhaps a new saying should be “Live by the screen, die by the screen” as it appears no one is immune from a public flogging by the pearl clutching elite & their phone zombie minions, regardless of party. I wonder if anyone will ever host the Oscar’s or hold political office again without an eventual investigation into every aspect of their personhood.
When will the money laundering organization known as the Clinton Foundation be investigated? Nevermind.
When the law is so unethically unevenly applied, it usually leads to very unpleasant things. (The insane Clinton impeachment was one of them.)
In the process of creating a totalitarian presidency, they cripple it from ever being effective….
What a depressing conclusion! “There are few ….. politicians in either party …… who could withstand the type of scrutiny being focused on Trump.” !! Well for the sake of the US and the safety of the world I really hope you can find some ….. and quickly.
I had hoped the unavoidable lesson coming through for decent western politics is that it is a waste of time voting into high office shady, untrustworthy, deceitful, lying types whether you like their politics or not. Once the inevitable scrutiny comes on them, they are likely to become distracted keeping their complex sets of balls in the air and themselves and their families out of jail.
You and others withheld a decent character reference from Trump but it seemed that the US electorate either didn’t care or weren’t listening. Of course that was their prerogative.
Of course maybe you see the future more clearly. Just turn the lights off and agree to look away? That’s an understandable attitude from the cynical ‘Realpolitik’ school. How very depressing however to see this on an ethics blog.
“I had hoped the unavoidable lesson coming through for decent western politics is that it is a waste of time voting into high office shady, untrustworthy, deceitful, lying types whether you like their politics or not.
You’re talking about Obama, yes?
Of course he is. Lefties are all about morals and ethics unless one of theirs did the deed in question.
The really depressing thing is that MOST politicians the world over are worse than our corrupt domestic variety: their countries were never free in the first place. They are sheep who are used to being fleeced.
Any snark about America by an outsider rates a ‘bite me’ at a minimum.
Impress me: publish a critical newspaper article about your politicians, buy a gun, and place your recyclables in the trash. Better yet, burn your trash. If you are not prosecuted in your country after that, you MIGHT understand 10 percent of the freedom we enjoy in, say, Ohio.
Texas would blow your mind: we can own TANKS and shoot artillery within an hours drive of my house. I hunt for my meat on my own property. I can carry a rifle in my truck, in public, without a second glance from anyone but a few refugees from less prosperous states who have not gotten the memo yet.
I can drive all day and never have to show authorities my papers. (Hell, I can drive all day and never leave TEXAS, if I want to visit another state)
Try that in Europe, or anywhere in Asia, Africa, or South America.
A Slickwilly. I don’t seek to make any anti US ‘snark. Quite the contrary. It is for me quite inspiring how the US institutions – particularly the Justice Department and the 4th estate are standing up. You are right. There are plenty of corrupt politicians worldwide. What differs is that in so many territories they can relax as they enjoy their power and ill gotten gains. Where other than in the extraordinary US might any ethics blogger have reason to complain about the ‘President’ being ‘harassed’ by the cops or the press?
Delusional comment about Justice and the 4th estate. Do us a favor and pay attention. Enjoy your woke (sleeping) state Wakeling.
Let the Fifth Estate speak . . . 🙂
Andrew Wakeling writes:
I agree with you that there is a great deal of corruption in US politics. I think it safe to say that the corruption cycle is on the increase. If this is so, it is imperative for citizens to see it, label it, and communicate it. My personal view — which I can defend rationally — is that the primary engine of corruption in US politics is closely related to the military powers. Industry and military essentially that have usurped their proper position and have far too much influence, an influence that is *para-governmental* and *para-democratic*. If one wants to see that and talk about it, one can and should. If one does not wish to see it, then one will dismiss it.
But I also suggest that it is the *ultimate patriot’s conversation*. It is not a fringe topic. The popular movement in America has a long history and it is the popular movement that has best held to the democratic ideals of the American republic. The sectors that now have power are anything but popular, and they are definitely not *American-Patriotic*. But they control the Third Estate. They own it.
I wanted to respond just to this part though: “You and others withheld a decent character reference from Trump but it seemed that the US electorate either didn’t care or weren’t listening. Of course that was their prerogative.”
I highly recommend a book that just came out: “National Populism: The Revolt Against Liberal Democracy” (Roger Eatwell and Matthew Goodwin; Penguin, 2018) In order to understand the rise of what seem to be anti-liberal movements all throughout the Occidental world, it is imperative to understand the *popular* reasons.
I would suggest that the motivations on the part of the segment of American that voted for Trump needs to be better understood. It is essentially rooted in *anxiety* about what elite managers are doing and about the contrast between their own value-system and that of the popular sector, and these are not the same. People on this blog talk about ‘the Democrats’ as if speaking of Satan himself. They see the machinations of a manipulative party and a manipulative tendency, but they fail to recognize that the entire system is corrupted.
At a popular level, and for very good reasons, and completely in accord with democratic principles, groups of people throughout the corrupted liberal West are developing resistance strategies. These groups are represented by the Third Estate as ‘extremist’ and ‘anti-democratic’, and they engineer suspicion and hatred against them. At the least Eatwell and Goodwin make an effort to explain their angst as well as their diminishing tolerance of an elite, corrupt class whose designs do not accord with popular will.
Trump is truly a puzzle. On one hand he aligns himself with popular will and seems to serve them (or respond to them, or perhaps merely to *use* them), while on the other he merely continues what have been essentially the elite-managerial policies of the corrupt class.
If you look only as *surface* though this will be disregarded.
PS: Slick is wrong about South America. I actually have my own jet fighter and the latest array of laser weaponry installed on my roof.
I meant to say: “But they control the Fourth Estate. They own it.”
I wrote Third Estate.
This is the point where I tell Facebook friends–and people like Chris—that they have forfeited the privilege of being taken seriously. Translation: I don’t like the decision my fellow citizens have made regarding our executive leader in a democracy, and therefore I feel I should be able to ignore, undermine, and try to reverse that decision. That breaks the social contract. We have a democracy, and elections matter. The ad hominems on Trump are all based on information available to voters long before 2016.
No one can withstand the scrutiny that we’re seeing these days. People with skeletons in their closet will suffer exposure of every peccadillo, no matter how remote in the past. People who are basically decent and scrupulous, who have always cared about their reputations will be “Kavanaughed”, with the desperate and unhinged vomiting forth disgusting allegations that can’t be disproven. As a result, the only people who would dare run for public office are those narcissists so shameless that they can brazenly endure public approbation, and so mendacious that they can bullshit their way past any accusations based in fact.
How is the proposed investigation going into new depths unprecedented by the Whitewater investigation?