Homeland Security

A Pitiful, Helpless Giant?

The fired former editrix of the New York Times, Jill Abramson, seems to think Robert Mueller and James Comey outrank the president of the United States. No, really:

Congressional Republicans who stick by Trump and protect him will be remembered as the villains of Washington’s unfolding drama. They are the ones enabling an epic White House end run around the constitution. Instead of holding Trump to account, Republicans are joining him in a cynical attempt to tarnish the FBI and undermine the criminal investigation into Russian election meddling.

The Republicans want to destroy the public’s faith in the impartiality of the FBI, in order to undermine Mueller. Their aim is to insulate Trump against the obstruction of justice charges the special counsel is said to be contemplating. This is political poison. It is toxic to democracy. It goes beyond anything contemplated by Richard Nixon and his supporters during Watergate. What can prevent the poison from infecting the country’s lifeblood?

Granted, this appears in the Guardian, one of Britain’s most prominent far-left lunatic outlets. But the notion that some abstract “higher authority” has a place in our constitutional system is just crazy. Still, it’s a core belief on the Left, which from the 1960s on has gone running to the courts to overturn state laws it doesn’t like, and to reverse lower-court decisions it ideologically abhors. Sure, most of them are atheists, but their faith in a Higher Power (call it the “arc of history”) is touching.

The FBI is not a perfect institution. Like all big federal agencies, it is riven by factionalism. Like all law enforcement professionals, FBI officials can be overzealous. But it is crucial to the functioning of the law. Many people who have made their careers at the FBI are feeling undermined by a president who has contempt for their work. Many of Trump’s recent tweets have assailed the FBI.

I await Mueller’s findings of whether the president broke the law in dealing with Russia and the fallout of the election. Only he has anything approaching the full picture. That’s why upholding the legitimacy of his investigation – and investigators – is so important.

As the Republicans continue their campaign to discredit the FBI, it’s important to remember a piece of history. Without Deep Throat, the Washington Post’s secret source, the Watergate scandal might never have been exposed. Deep Throat, we learned in 2012, was Mark Felt, the No2 official at the FBI.

The constitution owes him, and those who have followed in his footsteps, a giant debt of gratitude.

Oh, please. Felt was a disaffected, self-aggrandizing coward who hid behind anonymity in order to extract revenge on a president who’d passed him over for promotion. Meanwhile, Andrew McCarthy, who actually knows what he’s talking about, weighs in:

Let’s cut to the chase: Donald Trump should not agree to be interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller — and President Trump should not even be asked.

In June, Trump ordered his White House counsel, Don McGahn, to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, which McGahn refused to do . . . so Trump dropped the idea and took no action.

There is no reason to doubt the veracity of the story produced by two veteran New York Times reporters, Michael S. Schmidt and Maggie Haberman… Trump, like all of us, longs to do things within his power that it would please him to do, but that would be really stupid to do, and so in the end he refrains from doing them. More importantly, the Times report is harmless in its substance. A decision is not made until it is finally made. Trump still hasn’t fired Mueller… if there has been no crime, and if a president believes the deleterious effects of an investigation on his capacity to govern outweigh the political damage from terminating the prosecutor, that is a reasonable choice to make — under circumstances in which, as a matter of constitutional law, the president does not need a reason at all. Since firing the prosecutor would not be obstruction of justice, it is obvious that thinking about but deciding not to fire the prosecutor is nothing close to obstruction of justice.

Further, re Mueller:

A president of the United States should never be the subject of a criminal investigation, and should never be asked to provide testimony or evidence in a criminal investigation, in the absence of two things: solid evidence that a serious crime has been committed and a lack of any alternative means to acquire proof that is essential to the prosecution. There is a simple reason for this: The awesome responsibilities of the presidency are more significant to the nation than the outcome of any particular criminal case.

I really don’t see why this is so hard for the Left to understand. But hey… arc of history.