Which is the Greater Crime?
Every day, we are bombarded by ABC/NBC/CBS commentators who breathlessly tell us the latest on the impeachment process. We see articles in newspapers quoting unnamed sources that the president committed an impeachable offense.
The barrage of sound bites and articles remind me of the first two years of the Trump presidency when the news was dominated by stories about how Trump and his campaign staff colluded with the Russians to win the election. It was the narrative that the Democratic National Committee, the Clinton campaign and leaders of the Democratic party wanted us to believe. It was the only way Hillary could have lost.
Yet, the Mueller report concluded that while Russian intelligence agencies attempted to interfere with the U.S. election process there was no evidence of collusion. What did emerge was evidence that senior members of the FBI, and our intelligence community attempted to embroil the president in an impeachable controversy and force him from office. The words “soft coup” come to mind as a way to describe the effort.
Now we know the FBI misled the FISA court to get a warrant to surveil U.S. citizens and the Mueller investigation was based on the specious Steele dossier. The result is that there are two Federal investigations that have been expanded and will determine what, if any crimes were committed. Most impartial observers believe indictments are coming.
Unlike the Russian investigation, neither Attorney General Barr nor his subordinates are appearing frequently on TV solemnly stating that there is clear evidence that senior leaders of the FBI, the DNC, the CIA and maybe even members of the Obama administration were involved in a conspiracy to overturn the election. Nor do the same media commentators have any interest in the story. Assuming indictments are handed down, this may be the biggest political scandal since Watergate
Instead, we have is the same game plan with a different story with the mainstream media playing a familiar role. It is called impeachment of the president over a quid pro quo. So far, despite his pronouncements, Congressman Schiff doesn’t have much. All one has to do is read the transcript that is the basis of the inquiry. Schiff is the same man who several times a week told us that there was clear evidence of a conspiracy between the Russians and the Trump campaign to win the election. He continued to spin this narrative even after the Mueller report was out.
Yeah, I get it. The president is accused of asking a foreign leader to have his government investigate a political rival in turn for aid. Yet, while in office Vice President Biden asked the same leader to fire an official who was leading an investigation into his son’s activities and end the investigation in return for aid. He did and foreign aid was provided. Where’s that investigation? Oh, I forgot, he is a Democrat and by definition, untouchable by the media.
What bothers me about the impeachment investigation besides being a politically motivated witch hunt designed to discredit the president is that none of the witnesses who have testified have first-hand knowledge that the president actually asked for a quid pro quo. The whistleblower had, at best, second-hand information. None of the president’s advisers who participated on the call have said a quid pro quo was offered.
Ever since the United States emerged on the stage as a world power at the beginning of the last century, U.S. presidents have praised, congratulated, scolded and threatened leaders of other governments. They also made ‘back office” deals that that bypassed the Constitution. President Roosevelt’s covert and overt agreements with the U.K. in 1939 and 1940 before we entered the war come to mind. There are others.
So, I come back to which is the greater crime? A coup that attempted to overturn a national election or another failed politically motivated impeachment attempt on a quid pro quo that didn’t happen?
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