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Thoughts on the Future Less Vivid, With Some Scraps of Advice for President Trump

Anyone who has waded through first-year Latin will remember future-less-vivid conditional phrases. Those are the “if he were to, then I would” conditions in which Latin uses the present subjunctive: “If the President were to release the Congressman’s Memo, the Left would go stark raving mad.”

Well, he did, and they did, which I guess means we have moved into the indicative. I have some other conditionals that I’d like to present to the President for his consideration—if you have his ear, I’d appreciate it if you would bring them to his attention—but first a few words about The Memo and The Madness.

The virtual ink wasn’t dry on the much-anticipated Memo—a four-page summary of “Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Abuses at the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation” prepared by the GOP majority of the House Intelligence Committee—before a cataract of commentary flooded the airwaves and cyber hustings.

Among the best commentary on the Right were “Worse Than Watergate” by Chris Buskirk at American Greatness, “Why Did the Democrats Lie So Baldly About the Memo?” by my PJ colleague Roger L. Simon, “Trump Triumphs with Release of House Intel Memo,” byDavid Goldman (another PJ colleague), and Mark Steyn’s withering  “Uncandid in Camera.” Andrew McCarthy did his usual service of providing a patient and meticulous legal analysis of the memo and what it means for the key players based on what we know so far.

The “so far” is important. For these are early days in the memo-publishing biz. The Democrats, claiming that the GOP “cherry picked” and distorted the findings of the Committee’s findings,  are preparing to release their own summary. And Devin Nunes, the GOP chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has described Friday’s memo as merely “phase one.” “We are in the middle of what I call phase two of our investigation,” Nunes said on Fox News, “which involves other departments, specifically the State Department and some of the involvement that they had in [the Trump-Russia investigation].”

There has been such a blizzard of accusation and counter-accusation that it is a little difficult to keep clear on what all the sound and fury is about.

Taken together, the columns I link to above provide a pretty comprehensive guide for the perplexed. But boiling it all down for prime time I would say the issue is this: did the Obama administration weaponize the police apparatus of the U.S. government (the DOJ and the FBI) in order to spy on its political opponents, aid the campaign of Hillary Clinton, and then, after she lost, sabotage the incoming administration of Donald Trump?

Put thus baldly, it sounds like an improbable plot for a political thriller, Shack of Cards, say.

This is where the future less vivid comes in. Consider this list of allegations, drawn from his reading of the memo, compiled by Chris Buskirk. “Based on what we know now,” Buskirk wrote,

[T]he conspiracy to undermine candidate Trump and later to destroy President Trump may have been limited to the Justice Department and FBI. That would be bad enough—and a serious threat to representative government striking, as it does, at the efficacy of our elections—but it may also have extended to the West Wing where U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power and National Security Adviser Susan Rice, at a minimum, used “national security” as a rationale to insert themselves into the election.

If these things were true, what then?