How will Donald Trump spend the windfall of political space resulting from the busted impeachment effort? It now appears that the Senate is ready to put an end to Rep. Adam Schiff’s (D-Calif.) vanity project. The “resistance” will require approximately six weeks to lick its wounds and re-manufacture outrage over yet another Trump “scandal.”
In the meanwhile, an exhausted Congress and media cannot easily pivot to another offensive. The president should use this critical breathing space immediately to correct some of the many outrages perpetrated by his opponents. Yes, as a matter of fact, I do have a wish list.
- Commute Paul Manafort’s sentence. Paul Manafort has spent most of his time in solitary confinement since his arrest in 2017. As noted by the National Review, “Everyone knows this prosecution is politically motivated. [the prosecutor] hates the president and wants to use solitary confinement in a hellhole with violent criminals to squeeze Manafort into testifying against the president.” Reason magazine, no fan of either Trump or Manafort, has called this torture. Enough is enough. He’s served years in brutal conditions for white collar crimes. Commute his sentence.
- Pardon Michael Flynn. I’ve already written thousands of words on the myriad injustices visited upon Michael Flynn by the deep state’s premier vengeance project. But this is Trump’s Department of Justice. He shouldn’t farm out the obligation to do the right thing to a district judge. He should immediately stop this nonsense. While he’s at it, pardon Roger Stone and Papadopoulos too.
- Fire or demote Christopher Wray. Wray seems like a nice guy. But he’s not the right person to reform the FBI. In fact, it’s getting worse under his supervision. As bad as James Comey was, there’s a case to be made that Wray is worse. Since he took office, we’ve had a fresh new round of serious spying misconduct by the FBI and he’s allowed the FBI’s informant program to become even more dysfunctional than it was (to name just two examples.)
- Reassign Brandon Van Grack. Van Grack was appointed the head of the Justice Department unit in charge of prosecuting cases under the Foreign Agent Registration Act. FARA is a vague law that the government uses as a pretext to investigate and surveille political opponents. Van Grack recently lost two FARA prosecutions in court. As a former Mueller prosecutor, he retained his role as the chief prosecutor in the Flynn case. After we learned that the original Carter Page FISA warrant was built on lies, the Justice Department should be reviewing his work in the other 500 warrants issued during Van Grack’s tenure with the Mueller team. He should not be in his current position while that review is conducted.
- Reform the CIA and the FBI. Ok, I know this is a project that will take years, not weeks. But there are some simple things that can be done quickly. We’ve learned in the last 3-4 years that both the CIA and the FBI participated in the Russia collusion hoax even after it was known to be a hoax. Where were the whistleblowers? One answer is that these two powerful agencies don’t rotate their officials the way the military does. Keeping the same power-players working together for decades creates fertile ground for conspiracy. They learn each other’s secrets and come to depend on a kind of “omerta” to their mutual benefit. A few fresh faces will keep these power players more accountable as they will never know whether the new guy will “play ball.”
- Reassign Michael Atkinson. As noted by Julie Kelly, the current Intelligence Community inspector general is (or should be) under investigation for his role in surveillance abuse. Yes, it appears that the guy who is supposed to field whistleblower complaints for surveillance abuse is somebody against whom somebody blew the whistle. In addition to (likely) playing a role in the massive surveillance scandal noted by the FISA court here, Kelly believes he was “involved in handling the FISA warrant on Trump campaign associate Carter Page.” That’s the warrant that resulted in a bombshell OIG report finding numerous deceptions against the court.
- Make the bureaucrats live closer to their areas of responsibility. One problem with Washington, D.C., as demonstrated by the Ohrs (read here for the more complete story), is the intellectual incest. As the ruling class all hang out with each other, coach each other’s kids, and sleep with each other’s wives, they lose the ability to tolerate the “smell” of the peasants they rule. Our largest law enforcement challenges involve drug smuggling and Mexican cartels. So perhaps Dallas is a better location for the FBI headquarters. And why is so much of the CIA, which isn’t supposed to do anything inside the United States, located in Washington? How about splitting it into three divisions with a headquarters in Miami for Latin American affairs; Seoul, South Korea for Asian matters; and Warsaw, Poland for European affairs. The CIA is spending too much time in DC.
- Fire the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. As I noted here, the SDNY led a raid on Cohen’s private law office. Shortly thereafter, audio files of confidential attorney-client communication leaked to the press. There’s no excuse for that. Since then, the SDNY has continued its insurrection by abusing its awesome power to “take down” Trump. That’s not OK. Trump needs a U.S. Attorney who will prioritize law enforcement over political prosecutions.
- Introduce Intelligence Reform Legislation. The best time to reform the Intelligence Community is when the politicians can’t be sure who the IC will next target. A Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), for example, might be interested in voting to prevent a 2020 edition of “Crossfire Hurricane” if he might be the next target. Among the low-hanging fruit is the FISA court which recently issued a decision questioning whether it could rely on FBI affidavits on any of its approximately 1,000 annual FISA applications. The most important job of the FBI is to protect the Constitution, not to meddle in elections and spy on Americans.
The president should take action to exploit this very short window in which his exhausted opponents cast about for their next fake “bombshell.” They’re going to complain about Trump anyway. He might as well give them something to complain about.