“Donald Trump,” Victor Davis Hanson writes, “has been subjected to nearly 20 months of unprecedented venom and fury.” Yes, Trump’s past associates are uncouth if not criminally minded, and Trump himself can be shockingly course and apparently undisciplined in his private life.
… none of which justifies the allegations that he has committed high crimes and misdemeanors while in office.
More important, we have never threatened any president with impeachment primarily for purported wrongdoing before he took office.
We are in danger of establishing a precedent that in the new American politics, the way to defeat an oppositional leader is not to wait for the next election but to warp the criminal-justice system, normalize violent rhetoric against the person of the president, and consider the president guilty of whatever crime from his past is most convenient. Crudity will become tantamount to high crimes and misdemeanors. And the new rules will demand that when a president-elect enters office, he does not begin a new political life, but rather is subject to new legal inquiries about everything that he has done previously.
Trump polls well among blue-collar “Trump voters” largely because of efforts to equalize trade, restore U.S. deterrence, and end illegal immigration. A record-high stock market, near-record peacetime unemployment, and likely annualized GDP growth of 3 percent or more is evidence of a robust economy.
Minority joblessness is also at a near-record low. The startling fact is that a so-called buffoonish real-estate developer hit upon a calculus to restore robust economic growth in a way that all the degreed experts of the prior administration had not.
His judicial picks belie predictions that Trump would not keep his vows to appoint strict constructionists. There have been no David Souter–like or Harriet Miers–like nominations to the Supreme Court. His national-security team at Defense, State, the National Security Council, the CIA, and the UN is better than any seen in prior postwar administrations. Mike Pompeo is not Hillary Clinton, … and Jim Mattis is not Chuck Hagel. Nor is Nikki Haley playing the role of Samantha Power at the U.N., or sending in countless requests to unmask the names of those swept in FISA warrants.
In his determination to delegitimize President Trump, Robert Mueller is applying the law unequally, apparently ignoring comparable or greater crimes in plain sight, Mr. Hanson reminds readers
For every crime — collusion, perjury, obstruction, fraud — that Mueller seeks to use to delegitimize Trump, there is a comparable or greater crime in plain sight that he ignores. The asymmetry is not insignificant and involves not the often-disreputable political class as much as the supposedly professional bureaucratic hierarchy.
Deluding the FISA court, implanting spies in a political campaign, unmasking and leaking the names of surveilled citizens, not reporting campaign expenditures funneled through fronts such as Perkins Coie and Fusion/GPS to employ a foreign national to smear a political opponent, destroying subpoenaed documents, lying to Congress, lying to federal investigators, and far more all go unnoticed. The onus is on Mueller’s team to explain by what criterion a losing presidential candidate gains immunity from legal exposure while the winning one earns legal scrutiny.
As cynics, we have grown accustomed to personal shenanigans from politicians — a JFK, LBJ, Clinton, or Trump; we do not expect flagrant lying, obstruction of justice, conflicts of interest, and violations of the law from our “professional” overseers at the CIA, FBI, DOJ, and NSC. And yet in the last year of the Obama presidency, they were unleashed to use likely illegal means to destroy a perceived threat, assured that a Clinton presidency would provide de facto amnesty.
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