Though I’m very grateful to readers who take time to offer their thoughts about my commentaries on the “deep state” (and, yes, that element is there), it’s always somewhat disheartening to go through them. That’s because I share your frustration about the lack of a unified system of justice, and it’s hard not to be overtaken by cynicism when it seems nothing is ever going to be done to mend it.
But as the details of the scheme to exonerate Hillary and manufacture an investigation into Donald Trump grow clearer with each passing day, one can’t help but hold out hope that “the truth will out.” Legal expert Andrew C. McCarthy has a new piece in NATIONAL REVIEW that just lays it all on the table. He acknowledges that if there had been evidence that Trump himself had anything to do with Russian interference in the 2016 election, an investigation into that would have been essential, even if it compromised his time in office. But he goes on to make the point that we have never been told this is the case, let alone been shown the evidence itself.
And the time to establish that there was evidence of a crime would have been in the very beginning, before the appointment of a special counsel.
Just how did we end up with a special counsel, anyway? As I recall, every Democrat in Washington went on every talk show in America, screaming about “Russia, Russia, Russia” and loudly calling for one. It seems every one of them got the memo. The motivation was huge –- they knew exactly what would be unleashed if they could get Trump investigated from every angle. They wanted those tax returns. They wanted privileged information. They wanted personal gossip. They wanted to tie his hands legally, to keep him from making appointments –- especially to the Supreme Court. They wanted him under oath, caught in a perjury trap and, of course, impeached or induced to resign. The appointment of a special counsel would be the first step.
But it’s not supposed to be a first step. ESTABLISHING EVIDENCE OF A CRIME COMES FIRST.
If deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had evidence of a crime, he didn’t offer it. And at this point, as McCarthy points out, millions of taxpayer dollars have been poured into the special counsel probe. Those targeted for investigation –- and even just the witnesses –- have been ruined financially by the cost of compliance with the special counsel and other courts. They’ve all got to have sharp, as in high-priced, legal representation before going before a grand jury or special counsel interrogator.
Just ask Michael Flynn, who naively spoke to questioners without a lawyer present. He ended up being charged with lying to investigators who didn’t even think he’d lied. He lost his home –- he’s living with relatives now –- plus his job as national security advisor, and some would say his reputation, although his reputation remains sterling as far as I’m concerned. This is a man who served his country, and look how he has been treated, just because he happened to be working for this President.
That’s another problem with starting an investigation and knocking people down like dominoes to get to the President. Who’s going to want to serve in government if that’s the likely scenario? It’s just too much of a risk. There are plenty of prestigious, high-paying jobs in the private sector for talented, educated individuals who want to do well in life. The only people who will be attracted to this horror-show environment are power mongers who enjoy gaming the system.
So it’s time for everyone to look beyond their personal view of Trump and see what this is doing to our government. I supported Trump as the nominee of my party, and I’m quite pleased, even somewhat amazed, by his long list of accomplishments to date, especially given the pack of legal pit bulls chasing him and the mindless resistance from left-wing crazies. Who else would be able to stand up to all of that and still do his job? His energy and resilience are stunning.
McCarthy takes a hypothetical look at how this might have unfolded if the President were a Democrat, and he sees something very different from what is going on with Trump. He says that the question before commencing an investigation would simply be: Have the laws and rules been satisfied? (With Trump, they have NOT.) The FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election would be “aggressively pursued until its conclusion” –- after all, we do know there was some of that going on –- but a special counsel would not be deemed necessary and therefore would not be authorized.
If the counterintelligence probe happened to turn up evidence that the President had participated in a crime, it would be appropriate AT THAT TIME for a special counsel to be appointed. The regulations for special counsels do not authorize appointment for counterintelligence cases, only criminal cases, which require evidence of a crime. The attorney general (or his deputy) does not get to appoint a special counsel just because of a lot of political yammering from people who hate the President.
Are you listening, Mr. Rosenstein? Surely someone with your legal background knows this. I know this. Gregg Jarrett, in his book THE RUSSIA HOAX, makes the same point with crystal clarity. Why in God’s name did you appoint Robert Mueller?
As if that weren’t enough, for a special counsel to be appointed, there’s supposed to be a conflict of interest within the Justice Department that interferes with its ability to investigate Russian interference. But if there were, Mueller wouldn’t have passed on the two actual cases he had to the U.S. attorney’s office in DC and the National Security Division of the DOJ. At the same time, there’s plenty of conflict within the group that Mueller appointed to serve on his team; we’ve been all over that for months. McCarthy makes a great point: “...How is it appropriate to staff a special counsel probe, which is premised on avoiding a conflict of interest, with lawyers who were top officials in the Justice Department whose conduct of the same probe is under investigation?”
He spells out what we intuitively know –- that if the President were a Democrat, this would not be happening. The Democrats and the media (but I repeat myself) would be screaming bloody murder that there was no conflict of interest warranting the appointment of a special counsel. And they’d be right! But the Republicans always just get run over. Why is that? Why aren’t they demanding an answer?
Rosenstein and Mueller’s team have even had the nerve to say the guidelines for special counsels are merely that –- guidelines –- and not enforceable. So, the special counsel is God, not answerable to any rule? It gets to be as secret as it likes –- hang what it does to the President’s ability to perform his job?
McCarthy has a word for this: “preposterous.” He points out that in every special counsel since Watergate, the President and the public have been told exactly what crimes led to the investigation. In August of 2017, Rosenstein did give Mueller a memo --- still mostly secret --- offering something of a factual basis for the probe. But McCarthy says that from what we know of it, the memo simply offers allegations, not evidence that they are true.
At some point, Mueller will issue a report, which may offer fevered Democrats some excuse to impeach the President, not for crimes but for subjective behavior they just don’t appreciate. That’s not the way it’s supposed to work. Mueller is supposed to report on decisions relative to crimes; that is, should they or should they not be prosecuted? That is his assignment.
As McCarthy eloquently puts it, “Mueller is a prosecutor working for the Justice Department, not counsel for a congressional impeachment committee.”
For much more detail, read his entire column. The drumbeat is getting louder, but it still isn’t nearly loud enough. This travesty has to end. Take a lesson from Democrats and make yourself heard, but this time in defense of the Constitution and our endangered justice system. Come on, Republicans, shout it with me: “Mr. Rod Rosenstein...where’s the evidence of a crime?!”
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