The controversy over acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker is the inane death rattle of the Democratic addiction to the idea, pushed by the 90 percent-hostile press, that President Trump must remain handcuffed to an endless special counsel inquiry. This conviction persists, despite Robert Mueller’s failure—and the failure of his Justice Department predecessors—to turn up any reason for their investigations in two years’ worth of frenzied efforts to find something damaging about Trump.
Astounding fatuities abound at the U.S. Capitol. Departing senator Jeff Flake, as he finally takes his permanent imitation of a righteous chipmunk back to Arizona, portentously announced he would not support administration judicial nominees or a new attorney general without legislated guarantees of the safety of the Mueller inquiry. Such guarantees have no validity, as even Flake must realize, as the president can fire any employee of the executive branch, or otherwise condense his jurisdiction.
Flake, who snatched Barry Goldwater’s title Conscience of a Conservative for his own book, and was harangued by interlopers in a Capitol elevator to request the Judiciary Committee hear Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s scarcely plausible accuser, seems to be trying for a NeverTrump Indian summer. It won’t happen.
In fact, there is no reason to believe the president now pays any attention to Mueller. Trump is about to send written responses to his questions and there is no visible likelihood that Mueller is going to say or do anything that discommodes Trump at all. The sun is finally rising over the fact that there was never any excuse for this absurd investigation.
Trump-Russian collusion was the most gigantic canard in American political history. The Steele dossier on which the claim was largely based is the dirtiest trick in American political history. Now it is time to put what has recently been called “compartmentalization” into high gear. This is the ability to have a high level of investigative activity contemporaneous with a productive legislative schedule in the Congress.
The president should put forward his nominee as attorney general as soon as he can; he must have been thinking about it for many months. The new attorney general should determine which officials of the FBI, Justice Department, and Clinton campaign appear to have lied to federal officials or under oath to Congress. Apart from former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, whose case is already before the grand jury, the attorney general should commence the enchantments of the American criminal justice process with all those who seem, on impartial examination, to be potentially guilty of criminal misstatements or withholding of facts.
He will have his hands full. There was fairly evidently a number of breaches of impartiality requirements from the intelligence services, a studious refrain from responding to untruthful answers by Hillary Clinton to the FBI (“I short-circuited the truth”), and a materially false Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant application and renewals to conduct telephone intercepts on the Trump presidential campaign. The new attorney general should subsume into his activities whatever, if anything, U.S. Attorney John Huber did for the former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, to chase down the facts on Uranium One and some of the Clintons’ other derring-do.
These broad areas of suspect conduct undertaken when it was assumed the Clintons would be moving back into the White House and would sweep the activities of their over-eager helpers under the rug, were ignored or encouraged by the Obama Justice Department and delayed since then by the whale-sized red herring of the Trump-Russia collusion fable and the clumsiness and tenacity of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Sessions gave inaccurate answers at his confirmation hearing about having spoken with Russians, and atoned by recusing from any Russian matter. His recusal left the president defenseless while this steamroller of malicious defamation rampaged about for nearly two years, and Sessions implacably declined to take the hint that he should perhaps make way for someone who could do his job.
Finally, the failure of Mueller to find anything and the strengthening of the Republican control of the Senate has enabled the president to install a fully capable head of the Justice department. The process of examining, and where appropriate, indicting and convicting those in the Clinton campaign and Obama Justice department, should now begin. I am personally opposed to imprisonment for nonviolent offenders, but a good spell of community service for those who defiled the intelligence and agencies and senior justice positions would be salutary.
This will be the supreme test for compartmentalization. The U.S. government—all branches and both parties—has failed to deal effectively with healthcare, immigration, gun control, decaying infrastructure, and even abortion, though that is at least in a state of tentative resolution. (The Roe v. Wade decision was poorly reasoned and is vulnerable, which is why the pro-abortionists think any judge who has ever set foot in a Roman Catholic Church is a menace. This is not a pressing matter, though the issue will have to be addressed with more judicial or legislative distinction eventually.)
Donald Trump changed parties seven times in 13 years and is not a partisan; he is a New Yorker accustomed to dealing with whomever is there and doing whatever is sensible. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is a skillful recruiter of congressional votes and is under great pressure now to seem relevant in the storm-tossed Democratic Party. Now is the time for both of them to make the system, which has been stalled for so long, work.
The Democrats did the president little harm in taking most of the House districts that had been held by NeverTrump Republicans. The president did the Democrats a favor by intervening heavily enough in Florida, Georgia, and Texas to ensure the defeat of radical leftists Stacey Abrams, Andrew Gillum, and Beto O’Rourke. For the first time since the rise of the democratic-socialist U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, the Democrats are not stampeding off the cliff on the left. There should be room for compromise, and there is certainly a need for it.
Obviously, there has to be tougher psychiatric and behavioral safeguards on the possession of guns and better security around schools and houses of worship. Obviously, the country’s roads, bridges, airports, and public utilities cannot continue to decay, and the renovation of them has to be funded properly instead of just piled onto the deficit. Obviously, there must be an end to massive illegal immigration—in some places by the construction of a wall, elsewhere by other means, but there must be a border, a resolution of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the deportation of serious criminals who are in the country unlawfully, a naturalization process for the rest of the illegals, an end to the scandal of American cities refusing to enforce federal immigration laws, and the ability of constitutionally empowered census-takers to determine how many citizens there are in the United States. And obviously, health care must be improved for the 30 percent of Americans who are inadequately served, but not by recourse to coercion, separating families from their physicians of choice, or lumbering people of modest incomes with skyrocketing medical premiums.
The last time an issue as important and complex as these was successfully addressed was African-American civil and voting rights by Lyndon Johnson and Republican Senate leader Everett Dirksen in the 1960s. All these matters have stalled and have drained the country’s faith in its political system and those who run it.
Donald Trump and Nancy Pelosi have an historic opportunity. They should not squander it. And the admirable penal reform bill agreed to by the bipartisan leadership last week should be only the beginning. Prosecutors should not win 99 percent of their cases, 97 percent without a trial, and the United States should not have six to 12 times as many incarcerated people per capita as Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom. The plea bargain system is a national shame and disgrace.
If the Congress wants its public approval numbers to rise from their present dangerously low level, they should get cracking on all of this. There will be plenty of credit to go round for everyone when the voters are consulted again in two years.
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