Post-Midterm Meltdowns

Not even a week had elapsed after the midterm elections before there were eruptions of foolishness in Washington and abroad that do not augur well for an improved climate of relations in domestic or international affairs.

CNN has sued the president and his entourage for revoking Jim Acosta’s White House press pass. This is the perfect illustration of the presumptuousness of the fake news press. This description “fake news” was furnished by the president when CNN took the Steele dossier public and asked the president if he had participated in a festival of urination by a group of prostitutes in a Moscow hotel room because the Obamas had slept there. In those early days of the administration, Wolf Blitzer claimed immense enterprise by CNN to unearth the dossier (that the Democratic National Committee, which paid for it, was shopping desperately to the media). CNN elaborately portrayed this now infamous hack-job as the work of an eminent retired British espionage official.

After Acosta attempted to filibuster the president’s post-midterm press conference and engage him in debate, the revocation of Acosta’s pass was an appropriate measure. CNN has many other accredited representatives and could nominate a replacement, but the network’s media director, Brian Stelter, a foaming-at-the-mouth Trump-hater, instead has sued the president.

A moron—and presumably any lawyer the cable network consulted—could see that there is no statutory basis to a presidential press conference. They were rarely held prior to FDR and are given entirely at the pleasure of the president, who also has ultimate authority over whomever is admitted to the White House. It perfectly illustrates the mad egotism of the demented Trump-hating media that CNN purports to believe it has an unlimited right to send whomever it wishes to presidential press conferences in the White House and to behave as obnoxiously as they wish, and that a temporary pass granted by the White House is a lapidary, irrevocable, and inviolable status constitutionally conferred. This is a psychiatric case more than a legal one.

Macron’s Foolish Attack
To judge from the Veterans’ Day observation of the centenary of the end of World War I in Paris on Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron may be losing touch with reality. Two days earlier, Macron said that Europe should build its own army for defense against the United States, Russia, and China—an astonishing foray for a leader of a country that so under-invests in defense, and against the most unlikely threats imaginable: an attack on Europe by the continent’s liberator and defender, the United States, and from China across the entire Eurasian landmass. It appears that Macron’s judgment may be eroding under the current pressure of national labor strife and economic problems. (If France and Germany commit no more to such a venture than they are contributing to NATO, it would not deter Belarus from attacking Europe.)

Further, Macron’s attack on nationalism as a betrayal of patriotism was a little reckless in his otherwise thoughtful, if rather wordy, address to assembled world leaders at the Arc de Triomphe on Sunday. In French, as in English, nationalism can be bigoted, aggressive, and xenophobic, but when the word is used without further definition, it can be taken in both languages as pride of country and promotion of its legitimate interests, and does not imply any disrespect for other countries. Macron’s use of the word without qualifications invited the misinterpretation of the Trump view of American nationalism as thoughtless chauvinism. In fact, as the president has made clear many times, the Trump version of nationalism is nothing more than a determination not to have the country’s pockets picked or its legitimate interests trampled.

In the circumstances, with Macron in a domestic political crisis and the European Union which he champions as a supranational institution, under great pressure, the French president should have been more careful of the sensibilities of his distinguished guest, representing a country that rendered irreplaceable service to France in both world wars. More interesting than American press comment on it is what Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was present, thought of it all.

The reputable and unaggressive Trump version of American nationalism enjoys the support of a very large number of his countrymen. Macron has his own problems and might not have had any idea how Trump’s critics, foreign and domestic, would seize and rend the raw meat Macron served them. The comment was, predictably, interpreted as a slight, but Trump didn’t pay much attention to it until he had a taste of the reaction of his domestic critics.

No one in the United States cares a jot what a French president thinks about anything, and President Trump did not imply that he did either. But he could not resist pointing out that Parisians were studying German before the arrival of the Americans. This controversy will settle down quickly and Trump did a great deal more damage to Macron in the French media than Macron did to Trump in the eyes of his own electors.

Democrats Ready for War
Meanwhile, in response to the midterm votes, the Democrats appear to be drinking their own bathwater and imagining that they can alter significantly the course of public policy from their paper-thin majority in the House of Representatives.

Of course, they can organize the committees and inflict Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), and Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) on the country as committee chairmen, but they should not imagine that any of them in their tedious monotone of rabid partisanship, will wear well with the country.

Nadler has been whining and Waters screaming about impeaching Trump since the night of the 2016 election, and Schiff has been the faithful mouth of all the vapid, sanctimonious claptrap of his more egregious Hollywood constituents. They are already speaking of a “subpoena cannon” which does not inspire confidence that their motives have much to do with impartial justice. They can summon administration witnesses with some assurance that they will appear, but they have no ability whatever to compel administration compliance with frolics into frivolous, vexatious, and propagandistic public replications of whatever special counsel Robert Mueller may be doing privately in his Inspector Clouseau charade as it burbles determinedly toward its third year of unmitigated redundancy.

The Democrats ultimately will owe the country an apology for what they thought they were doing unloading the deranged canard of Trump-Russia collusion on Trump and the country.

If this bumptious awkward squad of Democratic committee chair-people-presumptive demonstrates anything like the fervor in the chair of their committees that they have as the leading Democrats there, they will provoke a shattering response from the post-Sessions justice department. The most febrile of Democratic media cheerleaders have been very animated in their well-founded concern that the president’s inability to mount any legitimate counter-attack from the justice department against the many leading Clinton campaign and Obama Administration officials who tormented him may be ending. A broad swath of the Clinton campaign and Obama justice department is tainted by false answers to federal officials and to the Congress under oath or false applications to the FISA court.

The administration lost its most hostile NeverTrump Republican senators (Jeff Flake and Bob Corker), and picked up a net two Senate seats, to bring them to 53. Thus, even if the unreliable Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Ben Sasse of Nebraska wobble, Trump can still afford to lose a third senator and rely on the vice president to get across what he needs done in the Senate, including the confirmation of a new attorney general.

It has only been Jeff Sessions’ numbing passivity that has prevented the skullduggery of the Democrats being examined seriously. Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz is working on a second analysis of the conduct of senior officials, and John Huber, U.S. attorney in Utah, whom Sessions charged with looking into some of Hillary Clinton’s activities, presumably will report something eventually. On what is known to the public, there is plenty to send many Clinton campaign and Obama Justice Department officials to the grand jury. It is a well-practiced guessing game to speculate when the implications of the changed circumstances will enlighten and soften the bellicosity of the Schiff-Nadler-Waters spear-carriers.

They have the House majority and Nancy Pelosi has the power to deal. But if she chooses to make war, Trump now has the ability to counterattack with great force.

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Photo Credit: Carl Juste/Miami Herald/TNS via Getty Images

About Conrad Black

Conrad Black has been one of Canada’s most prominent financiers for 40 years, and was one of the leading newspaper publishers in the world as owner of the British telegraph newspapers, the Fairfax newspapers in Australia, the Jerusalem Post, Chicago Sun-Times and scores of smaller newspapers in the U.S., and most of the daily newspapers in Canada. He is the author of authoritative biographies of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Richard Nixon, one-volume histories of the United States and Canada, and most recently of Donald J. Trump: A President Like No Other. He is a member of the British House of Lords as Lord Black of Crossharbour.

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