Trump Now Knows the Dems Want to Take Him Down
That's the official and appropriate motto of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan — doubly appropriate because the US aircraft carrier fleet is perhaps the single most potent keeper of world peace that exists and because Ronald Reagan was the epitome of a strong leader who understood that strength fosters respect which in turns conduces to peace.
"Peace Through Strength" was also an unofficial motto of Donald Trump during his campaign for president. All signs — his speech at the new U.S. aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford, for example — suggest that he intends to follow through on that injunction during his administration.
I hope that he does. And I hope that he and his team appreciate some corollaries of the phrase. One such corollary is summed up in the dictum "the best defense is a good offense." It has obvious application on the stage of international relations.
It also has application on the stage of domestic partisan politics.
It is that theater that must be of exigent concern to the Trump administration at the present moment.
I believe that Donald Trump has been astonishingly swift and successful during the first 40-odd days of his tenure as president. He has moved with commendable dispatch and energy to fulfill multiple campaign promises on immigration, trade, regulation, cutting the size of government, and other matters. He has assembled a cabinet of scintillating distinction. He has nominated an ostentatiously qualified and non-partisan judge to fill Antonin's Scalia's seat on the Supreme Court. He has even taken concrete steps to shed some illegitimate aspects of executive power —for example, by returning jurisdiction over the question of "transgender" bathrooms to the states.
Notwithstanding his many successes, however, President Trump is everywhere besieged by a juvenile but implacably hostile and unscrupulous opposition -- the Twitter-wielding Lilliputians. Their number includes many politicians with "D"s after their names, of course (along with some "NeverTrump" Republican renegades). But it also includes their faithful lapdogs and public relations department, AKA the mainstream media, the media that (for example) leaked debate questions to Hillary Clinton and declared that Donald Trump was so far beyond the pale that objective reporting was no longer desirable.
The result is a blizzard of misinformation, tendentious claims, and outright lies. The entire "Russia hacked the election" meme belongs in the last category, as do the serial melodramas disgorged by the locusts of the press: Was Gen. Flynn a Russian plant? Did Jeff Sessions lie to comedian-turned-Senator Al Franken? The New York Times, in one of the most shameful exercises in partisan mendacity in recent memory, ran an hysterical (by which I do not mean funny) editorial yesterday under the headline "Jeff Sessions Needs to Go." Watergate! Nixon! Worse than Watergate! "A bombshell of a story."
No it's not.
It is, as Ted Cruz put it, a "nothing burger."
That's all of a sudden becoming clear as, one after the next, Trump's puny attackers are discredited. Sen Claire McCaskill (D., natch, Mo.) leapt onto her rocking horse to denounce Sessions, calling for his resignation. The fact that Sessions was on the Senate Armed Services Committee when he met with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak was no excuse. "I’ve been on the Senate Armed Services Committee for 10 years, and in that time, have had no call from, or meeting with, the Russian ambassador. Ever."
Well, hardly ever. The internet has a long memory, Claire. Don't tell malicious lies. Someone, in this case National Review's Charles Cooke, is going to find you out and publicize your blatant mendacity. There was, for example, this McCaskill tweet from 2013: "Off to meeting w/Russian Ambassador," it began. Or how about this 2015 tweet: "Today calls with British, Russian, and German ambassadors. Re: Iran deal. #doingmyhomework." (Love the hashtag.)
Then there is Nancy Pelosi. She shares a rocking horse with Clare McCaskill. Asked yesterday whether she had ever met with the Russian ambassador, she said, ""Not with this Russian ambassador, no." Oh dear, oh dear, Nancy. You should have kept the photographers out of that meeting you had in 2010 with Kislyak and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
Did you know that Kislyak went to the White House more than 20 times during Obama's tenure? Nor did I. Not that it matters. Presidents, senators, and many other government officials meet regularly with ambassadors from many countries. That's why they are here.
The reason this "nothing burger" should concern Trump is the same reason that Gulliver ought to have been concerned by the swarms of Lilliputians tripping over themselves to bring him down. They might seem like an insignificant nuisance, merely a fog of insects buzzing about one's head. But fall asleep and you find yourself bound in an unbreakable skein of lies and facing a scaffold of archers ready to shoot arrows into your eyes.
Trump needs to fight back. The Democrats and their support staff in the media (and their cheerleaders in academia) have declared war on Donald Trump. He needs to respond in kind. I know he is busy about the nation's business. But he cannot allow himself or people in his administration to be treated like a dartboard by his opponents. The darts must be fired back, and hard.
Andy McCarthy has explained why the title "special prosecutor" is, in 2017, a misnomer. The statute that created the office expired in 1999. But there is something analogous: the Justice Department's Office of Special Counsel. There are many events that might interest that office. Benghazi, for example. Or the serial malfeasance at the IRS under Obama. Or Hillary Clinton's criminal mishandling of (and subsequent lying about) classified information on her homebrew email server. Take another look at that. I'd wager that a "reasonable prosecutor" might indeed be interested.
And then there is the Obama administration's illegal investigation into Donald Trump for eight months beginning in June 2016.
Remember when, during the presidential debates, Trump said that, if elected, he might have Hillary investigated by the Department of Justice? Cries of horrors from the locust gallery. But it turns out that Obama had actually done what Trump only threatened to do: conduct a secret investigation against a political opponent.
As David French reported, and Andy McCarthy elaborated, "the Obama Justice Department and the FBI sought FISA warrants against Trump insiders, and potentially against Donald Trump himself, during the last months and weeks of the presidential campaign."
Indeed, as Andy pointed out in his NR column yesterday, Obama's DOJ sought at least two FISA warrants to investgate Trump and his associates. Regarding the first request, he notes, "the FISA court apparently found the Obama Justice Department’s presentation to be so weak that it refused to authorize the surveillance."
That is telling, because the FISA court is generally very accommodating of government surveillance requests. Unwilling to take no for an answer, the Obama Justice Department came back to the FISA court in October — i.e., in the stretch run of the presidential campaign. According to various reports (and mind you, FISA applications are classified, so the leaks are illegal), the October application was much narrower than the earlier one and did not mention Donald Trump. The FISA Court granted this application, and for all we know the investigation is continuing.
The "bottom line," Andy reports, is that "the Obama Justice Department and the FBI spent at least eight months searching for Trump–Russia ties. They found nothing criminal, and clearly nothing connecting Trump to Russian hacking."
A "nothing burger," yes. But only regarding matters of substance. As a specimen of political warfare it is both blatant and potentially deadly. Just this morning, Donald Trump seems to have noticed this. In a series of angry tweets he spelled out the case:
- Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!
- Is it legal for a sitting President to be "wire tapping" a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!
- I'd bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!
- How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!
I'm glad that this revelation about Obama's political weaponization of the Department of Jusitce has finally got Donald Trump's attention. As Powerline's John Hinderaker points out, "This is the most explosive political allegation in many years, far more explosive than Watergate."
You won't read much about this in The New York Times, The Washignton Post, or other outposts of the Democratic Party's ideological rumor mill. But you'll hear a lot about it from other sources and, more to the point, Gulliver has been roused before the Lilliputians managed to tie him down. Donald Trump is president now. Elections, as Obama once said, have consequences. I suspect that the factions behind these unremitting and partisan efforts to delegitimize a democratically elected head of state are about to discover that two can play at their game. And I'd wager that they are in for a rough time. I certainly hope so.