Remember the 2018 midterm elections? Not all that long ago. Remember how Democrats initially reacted to the incoming election results as, if not a total disaster, certainly far below expectations. They did not see it as the predicted “blue wave.”
Then, not too much later, when more election results started pouring in, the picture became dramatically different.
The election results were so much more than a “blue wave,” more like a “blue tsunami” as Democrats took over the majority in the House of Representatives in what approached a historic reversal. As the saying goes, Democrats are at times their own worst enemies and, in this case, almost “snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.”
Lessons learned? Wrong. Jump now to the Mueller Report and the Democrats’ reaction to its long-awaited issuance. Democrats had placed all of their hopes of removing a corrupt and unfit president from office on that report. Democrats were convinced that the final report would provide them all of the ammunition they would need. Democrats were confident that the report would give them with the so-called “smoking gun” that they needed to make their efforts regarding removing the president from office indisputable and even bipartisan. Democrats relied on the Mueller Report to do their jobs for them. That, as it turned out, was not to be the case.
The report clearly was not what was expected and did not provide that “smoking gun” that would have made it so much easier for Democrats to move forward with articles of impeachment.
Even better would have been for the special counsel findings to have resulted in criminal charges against the president. That, too, did not happen. Clearly, the report did not provide the ammunition the Democrats had so hoped for…OR DID IT?
Instead of wallowing in self-pity, Democrats would do a great deal better for themselves and the country if they took a closer look at the report, as did Republican Congressman Justin Amash, and appreciate the absolute gift that lawyer Robert Mueller gave Democrats and the country in his extremely detailed report of findings.
The report, alone, provides in great detail a pattern of wrongdoing on the part of this president to more than justify articles of impeachment. The special counsel in its report identified more than a dozen specific acts on the part of the president that could very well constitute obstruction of justice.
There was President Donald Trump’s demand for loyalty from the likes of former FBI Director James Comey in an attempt to influence the investigation specifically as it related to both the Steele dossier and Michael Flynn.
There was Trump’s request of Deputy National Security Advisor, K.T. McFarland to write an email stating that Trump didn’t direct Flynn to make contact. McFarland, who said she did not know whether Trump had directed Flynn to contact the Russian Ambassador about sanctions, sought advice from the White House Counsel, Don McGahn, and was advised not to write the email.
There was Trump asking Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, and then, CIA Director Mike Pompeo to state that he had no connection to Russia publicly. He later called NSA Director Admiral Michael Rogers, telling him that the investigation is making things complicated and whether there is any way to refute the stories.
According to the report, Trump sought to have Comey “lift the cloud” of the investigation and suggested, “getting that fact out” that Trump was not personally under investigation. After Comey testified before Congress and did not state that Trump wasn’t personally being investigated, Comey was fired.
Then there are the many Trump attempts, according to testimony before the special counsel by White House Counsel McGahn, to remove the special counsel. The fact that McGahn did not follow through with the demand does not make the demand any less an attempted obstruction of the investigation.
Trump attempted to have then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions discredit the special counsel and dictated a statement for Sessions to give publicly which asserted that Sessions had witnessed Trump not colluding with Russia, and that the investigation was very “unfair” that the investigation should focus on ensuring no interference in future elections. Trump also asked Corey Lewandowski, his former campaign manager, to deliver the message with the dictated speech, and according to Lewandowski in the report, to warn Sessions that it would cost him his job if he refused to carry out the order. As with McGahn, the demand was ignored, and the message was never delivered.
It is after this episode, according to the report, that Trump starts publicly maligning Sessions and asks then Chief of Staff Reince Priebus about the possibility of firing Sessions or demanding a resignation. Ultimately, Priebus, like the others, put Trump off, but Trump continued to tweet critically of Sessions.
Then there was the Trump Tower meeting and the associated cover-up by Trump crafting a misleading statement for his son, Donald Trump, Jr., that deliberately misdescribed the meeting as one on adoptions and not to hand over incriminating information on Hillary Clinton by Russian operatives. There are Trump’s incessant demands that Sessions unrecuse himself to regain control of the investigation. “Where’s my Roy Cohn?” becomes an often heard sentiment by Trump. Also, there are the constant demands by Trump that McGahn lie about any attempts to fire the Special Counsel. That is well documented in the report.
The report also provides much detail regarding instances of witness tampering, specifically as it relates to Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen and Michael Flynn, and Trump’s attempts to “influence, delay or prevent” testimony and the associated “dangling of pardons.”
Not enough, you think? How about adding actions by this president that are occurring in real-time in addition to the findings in the report that are a continued assault on the Constitution. There is the ignoring of subpoenas issued by congressional committees. There was his declaration of a national emergency for the sole purpose of circumventing the constitutionally mandated appropriations process which lies with Congress.
Add to this his misuse-make that abuse, of the authority to impose tariffs which, too, lies with Congress and, in so doing, will severely disrupt trade with our trading partners for the sole purpose of flexing his muscle. Where is the master negotiator when you need actual negotiation rather than strong-armed tactics?
Still not enough? Add in the $8 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia, injecting himself into the relationship between AT&T and CNN for purely political purposes, and his continued violation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution to further enrich himself.
Rather than once again snatching defeat from the jaws of victory as it now relates to the gift that Mueller gave Democrats to do their job, Democrats should consider seizing the opportunity and building the case against Trump for the American people as we approach the 2020 presidential election. The most important court proceeding as we approach the 2020 election is the court of public opinion, and no venue will be more persuasive than the televised impeachment hearing of one, Trump, president of the United States…for now.