[Continued from PART I, here]
As with Saddam’s disastrous bluff, the “we have enough for impeachment but we’re not going to impeach just yet” dance involves some reckless brinkmanship and depends on corrupt and under the table alliances, with the mainstream media replacing the U.N and its complicit members. So far the media has neglected to educate the public regarding how desperate and absurd the current subpoena tactic is, with its close similarity to the Radical Republicans’ attempt to get rid of President Andrew Johnson by demanding that he obey an illegal law, the Tenure of Office Act. (“Andrew Johnson? Who’s that? You must mean Lyndon Johnson, right? No?”)
As Johnson did, President Trump has a Constitutional obligation to protect the Separation of Powers from a House majority intent on abusing its oversight powers. The House Democrats are simultaneously claiming that they have enough WMDs—lets’ call them WTDs, Weapons of Trump’ Destruction—to take down the President, while they continue to search desperately for what they are lying about having. Thus they are demanding that they see the unredacted Mueller report, which would be illegal, getting Trump’s tax documents, which would be a dangerous abuse of privacy and the oversight function, and forcing the former White House Counsel to reveal privileged information, which he cannot legally or ethically do. The idea appears to be to let these orchestrated controversies distract the public and continue into the 2020 campaign, with the Democrats running on a “he should be impeached, but it’s easier just to beat him” theme.
The only question is whether the news media will be any more successful saving the Democrats from their dishonest and dangerous bluff than the U.N.’s crooks were protecting Saddam. I doubt it. The U.N. had and even now has more credibility than the self-flaying news media, and for good reason.
Last week, for example, two New York Times columnists made foolishly weak arguments that Trump had committed impeachable offenses. For clinically Trump-deranged Charles Blow, for whom every column is a barely restrained primal scream against Trump’s existence, the imagined offense is criticizing the press for being exactly as corrupt, biased and untrustworthy as Blow proves it is every week. His own dishonesty is what distinguishes the column; for example, he writes that a poll (Blow loves cherry-picking polls, a flaw he shares with Trump) found that 49% to 36%, Republicans agree that the news media is “the enemy of the people,” but all other groups say that the media “is an important part of democracy.”
If you are not Trump deranged yourself, you can see immediately the obvious problem with Blow’s dichotomy. The reason why so many Republicans think the current news media is an “enemy of the people” is because a trustworthy, competent and objective news media is so important to democracy, and the current news media is none of those things. Blow himself exemplifies the problem. The Times pulls a cutline from the column that reads “Expression, and the right to publish it, is a right that Trump disregards.” That’s an outright lie: fake news. (Blow suggests that complaining about fake news is also impeachable.) The President has never “disregarded” the press’s right to publish. Dis regarding it would mean interfering with it. He has said, and correctly, that the news media abuses that right.
On the opposite side of the op-ed page is a stunningly dishonest comparison between Trump’s current conduct regarding the Democrat’s sham impeachment inquiry and the real one against Nixon. As has been thematic throughout the Post 2016 Ethics Train Wreck, Democrats accuse Trump of emulating Nixon when the evidence increasingly indicates that it was the Democrats who engaged in Nixon-style abuse of intelligence agencies and illegal sabotage of an opposing Presidential campaign—yes, the impeachment sham is designed to distract from that damaging story as well. The author of this screed, James Reston, Jr, claims that the refusal of Trump and Barr to submit to subpoenas matches Nixon’s attempts to resist turning over the damning White House tapes, which proved his guilt. In this, Reston is counting on (this is also a theme of Post 2016 Ethics Train Wreck) public ignorance of history and law that he knows well.
Nixon was fighting a subpoena for evidence of a White House cover-up of a specific crime that credible witnesses had already testified occurred. The subpoenas of Trump’s taxes is an attempt to find evidence of crimes that only exist in Democratic narratives (the IRS found no crimes) and don’t involve Trump’s Presidency at all. The subpoena of the full Mueller Report is illegal, flat out, unlike any of the Watergate subpoenas.
In his column for The Hill, reproduced on his own blog, Constitutional law prof Jonathan Turley debunks “the only ground cited by the Democrats for contempt, which is Barr refusing to release the unredacted report:
Senate Democrats attacked him at his confirmation hearing for refusing to guarantee public release of the report without redactions. As a witness, I testified that they were asking Barr to commit to a potential criminal act to secure his own confirmation. The report inevitably would contain some grand jury material, which under the law is information that cannot be publicly released without a court order. It is a crime to unveil such information….Faced with a report that rejected the collusion theories of their running narrative, Democrats want to focus on those 2 percent of redactions rather than over 400 pages of findings.
So Congress now will ask a court to find civil contempt for Barr refusing to release grand jury information. The District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals recently rejected a district court claim to have the “inherent supervisory authority” to disclose grand jury matters because of great public interest. To make matters worse, the Justice Department has now said the president has invoked executive privilege over the entire report, making this contempt claim even less likely to prevail over the long run.
Democrats are launching the weakest possible contempt claim against the administration in a civil action with a long track through the courts. In the end, there is utter contempt in this action, but not in the case of Barr.
And all to convince the public that the Democrats have all they need to impeach, when in fact, like Saddam, they don’t have those WTD’s, and in fact never had them.
Where’s that spider hole?