Monday, June 12, 2017

Donald Trump Got Elected, Remember?

6/12/2017--What is the political goal right now? It can't be resistance to the policies of President Trump. Not resistance, because he was elected to do bad, but perfectly legal, things. Like withdrawing from the Paris Accord and repealing Obamacare. As to those policies, there can only be political opposition of the normal kind. Otherwise, you are talking about a kind of coup against a legally elected government.

I say this because of the investigation mania in Washington right now. The only justification for impeaching and removing President Trump would be if the President asked, or someone else asked on his behalf, that Russian security hack Democratic Party emails and release them for the President's political benefit. And that apparently did not happen. Even asking the Russian government to release the emails is sort of irrelevant, because President Trump did that publicly during the campaign.

What is the investigation about? Is it illegal for a President to order the FBI to stop an investigation the President considers the hounding of an innocent man? No. That is not obstruction of justice. The President is the ultimate boss of the FBI. It would be like the District Attorney ordering an Assistant District Attorney not to indict when the DA believes the charges unwarranted.

But what if a DA did that for a friend? It would still come down to the good faith of the order. Not to the fact that the order was made.

And here it is clear from Comey's testimony that it was not an order to stop. In these matters, subtlety counts. Telling your subordinate to end an investigation as soon as possible or "I hope you can let this go" is not obstruction of justice even if it is done for bad motives. The answer to such a request is supposed to be, when we know the man is innocent, Mr. President, we will stop the investigation.

And why does Comey get a pass on his manipulation of confidential materials to get an independent prosecutor? Comey's no saint. He mishandled the Clinton email matter, injecting himself into politics by criticizing her when he did not recommend criminal charges (not when later he announced that there were more emails--having boxed himself into a corner, he had to do that). Comey was supposed to say, whether Secretary Clinton did the right thing or the wrong thing is for the American people to decide. My job is to investigate whether she did anything illegal and I believe she did not. If he had said that, President Trump would not have been elected. And now he is a leaker, is he not?

What is really at stake here is Democracy itself. The Republican Party began this process by questioning the legitimacy of President Obama over the absurd question of where he was born. (Hawaii). Before that, both Parties just opposed policies of Presidents. With Obama, the Republicans began to imply that a President was not really President. This time around, Democrats and other opponents are not just implying it. By the use of the term resistance, they are saying it flat out. See Charles Blow in the New York Times today.

President Trump is a disaster in every way, but so far only in the ways the people already knew about. You don't resist that. You convince the people to elect Democrats to stop his policies. You retake Congress and then you elect a Democrat in 2020. But that requires actually talking to people in red states and red congressional districts. And who wants to do that?

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