It should be obvious what the Democratic Party’s game plan is now, especially since Robert Mueller’s testimony yesterday dashed hopes that he would blow wind into the limp sails of the SS Overthrow The Republican. Instead, the ostensible Special Prosecutor made the case for “high crimes and misdemeanors” look weaker and more contrived than before. One by one, the weak, weaker and weakest “resistance” plans to remove President Trump have fallen into various states of hopelessness and ruin, and the bitter-enders are now resorting to denial or impeachment rationalizations unmoored to anything at all, like this guy, who says that “history demands” an impeachment. [Pointer: Zoltar]
The Democrats will just keep the impeachment fires burning until the election, hoping that 1) one of the horrible candidates Democrats get to choose from will defeat Trump, which looks like a Hail Mary at this point (but who knows what the President will tweet next) or 2) the Democrats will take control of the Senate, and 3) the public will tolerate them spending another 4 years trying to overthrow an elected President without getting disgusted and turning the House back over to the GOP. Does this sound rational and responsible to you? I wonder why it sounds reasonable to Democrats.
Meanwhile, I was beginning to think the Ethics Alarms list of coup theories had maxxed out at Q, plan #17. [ The most recent updated list is here] But somehow I knew, deep in my heart, that Rep. Adam Schiff, who has lied, puffed, exaggerated and grandstanded all manner of impeachment justifications that didn’t exist in fact or law, but somehow isn’t walking around Washington D.C. with his head in a bag, would be equal to the daunting task of coming up with a new plan. And so he has.
Perhaps anticipating the Mueller Meltdown, Schiff unveiled Plan R in his opening statement as Chair of the House Intelligence Committee. His theory? President Trump was “disloyal”:
“Disloyalty to country. Those are strong words. But how else are we to describe a presidential campaign which did not inform the authorities of a foreign offer of dirt on their opponent, which did not publicly shun it, or turn it away, but which instead invited it, encouraged it, and made full use of it? That disloyalty may not have been criminal. But disloyalty to country violates the very obligation of citizenship, our devotion to a core principle on which our nation was founded, that we, the people, not some foreign power that wishes us ill, we decide, who shall govern, us.”
Schiff then began to head into Cloud Cuckoo Land, a favorite spot of his, fulminating that Trump and his campaign’s leadership were driven by “money,” “greed” and “corruption,” and that Trump’s goal in running for president was not to win the election but to make money by building a “gleaming” Trump Tower in Moscow.
Right. Makes sense to me!
Then he concluded,
“But worst of all, worse than all the lies and the greed, is the disloyalty to country, for that too continues. When asked, ‘If the Russians intervene again, will you take their help, Mr. President?’ ‘Why not?’ was the essence of his answer. ‘Everyone does it.’ No, Mr. President, they don’t.”
This is another occasion where I am moved to quote the estimable Sidney Wang, from Neil Simon’s “Murder By Death”…
To be precise, Schiff, who really is a disgrace to his party, his state, and the House, overlooked several very important points:
1. What constitutes loyalty is a matter of subjective judgment. I would say, for example, that it is acting in the best interest of the nation to discover undisclosed misconduct by a Presidential candidate and her party, which is what the hack of the DNC computers revealed. By what logic is it better for the public not to know about DNC cheating and Clinton Foundation influence peddling?
On the other side of the loyalty coin is a political party deliberately undermining an elected President and trying to overturn an election for three years. I regard that as flagrant disloyalty, and opposing it a patriotic duty. Perhaps that’s why, as Schiff says, that there is no law requiring “loyalty.” Such a law would be unconstitutional, like, oh, just to pick a random example out of the air, impeaching a President without any Constitutional grounds to do so.
2. Even if we accepted Schiff’s manufactured loyalty theory, the conduct he is talking about did not occur while Trump was President. The impeachment clause has consistently been interpreted to mean that a President must have committed “high crimes and misdemeanors” while in office. Otherwise, Congress could impeach an elected President for being “disloyal” in college.
3. What does Schiff think was the Russian assistance that Trump made “full use of”? There is no evidence that Russia provided any intelligence to the campaign. Is he saying that the hypothetical votes that may have been moved his way by social media-planted Soviet trolling constituted active collaboration with the Russians since Trump accepted them? If not that wacky theory, what is Schiff claiming? What was the tangible assistance that Trump invited,encouraged, and used? There wasn’t any. Schiff is just making stuff up, though to be fair, the American public should be used to that by now.
4. Finally, it wasn’t Donald Trump who was responsible for stopping the Russian election interference. He had no power to do so. It was the President in 2016, Barack Obama, and we now know that he and his administration knew about the Russian efforts [Correction alert! The original read “Soviet.” Sixties flashback...] , and deliberately chose to do nothing. Obama had an oath to live up to. He had a real duty to intervene, not Schiff’s theoretical one he’s imposing on candidate Trump.
Plan R is stillborn crap.