WASHINGTON – It’s the kind of crazy scenario that only Washington could invent: Democrats are now accusing the president of covering up a non-crime.
The good news for President Trump is that the Russia collusion scandal appears to be dying because there is no evidence.
The bad news is, an obstruction of justice scandal is just heating up, even though there was no apparent wrongdoing or collusion by his team with Russia.
And now, with the Democrats pushing the bizarre notion there was a cover-up, even if there was no crime, one of the nation’s top political minds says there is only one way to stop the endless cycle of attacks on the administration: switch from defense to offense.
Writing in National Review, former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy suggests President Trump should flip the script on his inquisitors in three bold moves that would turn Democrats from hunters into the hunted:
- Appoint a special counsel to investigate political spying, including unmasking and leaks to the media.
- Have Congress hold hearings on whether the Obama Justice Department colluded with the Hillary Clinton campaign to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
- Have Congress hold hearings on collusion between the Clinton Foundation and Russia.
McCarthy contends those investigations could succeed where the Trump-Russia collusion investigation failed, because, unlike the latter, there is evidence of actual wrongdoing.
What follows in an explanation of how Washington has gotten to the point where Democrats are now accusing the president of covering-up a non-crime.
When former CIA Director John Brennan testified before the House Intelligence Committee Tuesday that he did not know of any evidence of collusion, coordination or conspiracy between Trump and the Russian government, that made it virtually unanimous.
As WND has reported repeatedly, top Democrats have all admitted investigators have not found any evidence of any collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign or administration.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who serves on the Senate Judiciary and Intelligence committees, said twice that she had seen no such evidence. Other Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee have said they don’t expect to find any evidence of collusion.
Fierce Trump critic Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, has had to admit there is no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Obama’s own former director of national intelligence, James Clapper, as well as former acting CIA Director Michael Morell, have said they have seen no evidence of collusion between the Trump team and the Russian government.
Brennan’s testimony pretty much completed the circuit. Even more so, because his testimony did explain how the whole investigation into Russia began in July 2016, without any evidence.
Essentially, the former CIA chief said he saw no signs of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. But he saw some contacts. And he was worried that might lead to collusion. So the Obama administration spied on the Trump team and had the FBI launch an investigation.
“I know what the Russians try to do,” testified Brennan. “They try to suborn individuals and they try to get individuals, including U.S. persons, to act on their behalf, either wittingly or unwittingly.”
“And I was worried,” he continued, “by a number of the contacts that the Russians had with U.S. persons and so, therefore, by the time I left office on Jan. 20, I had unresolved questions in my mind as to whether or not the Russians had been successful in getting U.S. persons, involved in the campaign or not, to work on their behalf, again, either in a witting or unwitting fashion.”
McCarthy wrote, “That’s a weasel’s way of saying he’s got nothing.”
Nonetheless, Brennan then concluded, “And so, therefore, I felt as though the FBI investigation was certainly well-founded and needed to look into those issues.”
Rush Limbaugh saw that, and Brennan’s entire account, as an admission of political spying by the Obama administration.
On his radio show Wednesday, the talk-show giant said, “When you read between the lines of what Brennan was saying these past couple of days, it sounds to me like Brennan acknowledged they were spying on the Trump campaign and individuals in it.”
Limbaugh thought the former CIA director inadvertently admitted to that spying because, “in all the double-talk that Brennan was using, he said that there was no evidence of any collusion, but there was a basis to start a CIA-FBI investigation. Now, what would the basis be if there’s no evidence?”
The talk-show host believes the Obama administration actually used a joke by Trump on July 27, as the basis to launch the Russia investigation.
“When Trump publicly cracked that joke asking the Russians for help in finding Hillary’s 30,000 missing emails, I actually believe these humorless, dryball people really, really, in their minds and hearts really believed that Trump was asking the Russians is to hack Hillary’s server to find her emails, and that got them started,” asserted Limbaugh.
“There’s no evidence, but there’s a basis, I think that’s the basis, one of them, for this whole investigation.”
And that lack of evidence brings the story back to the Democrats’ current dilemma of a scandal without a crime.
That lack of evidence of Russian collusion, now admitted by virtually all top Democrats, has put them in a bind. Their supporters think there is evidence of Trump collusion with the Russians, thanks to a steady stream attacks on the president by the mainstream media. And they expect Trump to suffer consequences.
In fact, 59 percent of Democrats actually believe Russia hacked the November vote to give Trump the election, according to an Economist/YouGov poll, conducted from May 20-23.
That number is notable in light of the fact given that both the FBI and NSA have debunked the notion that the Russians affected the election outcome in any way.
But Democratic Party voters sure got that impression somewhere. And Democrats are now under pressure to deliver on a scandal for which they have admitted there is no evidence.
Left-leaning political analyst Glenn Greenwald saw that coming two months ago and warned, “Key Democratic officials are clearly worried about the expectations that have been purposely stoked and are now trying to tamp them down. Many of them have tried to signal that the beliefs the base has been led to adopt have no basis in reason or evidence.”
He warned, “Many Democrats have reached the classic stage of deranged conspiracists where evidence that disproves the theory is viewed as further proof of its existence, and those pointing to it are instantly deemed suspect.”
Last week, Democrats began a public and coordinated effort to dampen expectations and to quash talk of impeachment.
The New York Times reported “liberal activists are courting a backlash of their own as they demand of their lawmakers nothing short of driving the president from office by any means necessary.”
The paper said Democratic officials fear they will invite a backlash “for overpromising about what was possible.”
So, with a base clamoring for the president’s head but no evidence of a scandal, Democrats have switched tactics. They are accusing the president of obstructing justice, even if it’s by allegedly trying to cover-up a non-crime for which there is no evidence.
As Byron York wrote Monday: “The Trump-Russia case could become the ultimate illustration of the old Washington saying that it’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up. In this case, there might be no underlying crime at all.”
York recited all the innuendo that had recently made Washington Post headlines: that Trump had fired Comey because of “this Russia thing”; that Comey now claims to believe Trump tried to get him to call off the investigation; that Trump asked the director of national intelligence and the head of the National Security Agency to help “push back” against the FBI investigation and to “publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election.”
All of this has morphed into the new media narrative of obstruction of justice, even if Trump was allegedly trying to stop a probe into a non-existent scandal. The lack of evidence no longer matters. It’s the appearance of obstruction that is driving the new story line.
“[N]ow, after the Comey sacking,” York explained, “the investigation has taken what is for Trump a more ominous turn. Focusing on alleged obstruction, the president’s enemies no longer have to find an underlying crime on his part to attempt to remove him from office.”
York concludes: “More and more, day after day, Trump’s adversaries believe that, when it comes to bringing down the president, it might not matter if collusion occurred or not. A cover-up would be enough to do the job.”
McCarthy also makes those points in his National Review article on Wednesday. But the former federal prosecutor also offered a way to fight back.
“Merely calling Democrats out on this farce is not going to end it,” he wrote, adding that he had three suggestions:
First, the Justice Department should appoint a special counsel to investigate the potential abuse of government surveillance powers for the purposes of political spying and leaks to the media. The investigation should scrutinize all unmasking of Americans to determine whether it conformed to court-ordered restrictions. The president should immediately announce that he is ordering U.S. intelligence agencies to cooperate fully. He should add that he is willing to declassify forthwith relevant reports and the identities of officials involved in the unmasking of Americans – with the caveat that important intelligence secrets will be safeguarded. It should be made clear that any official who had access to classified information that was leaked to the media should expect to be summoned for grand-jury testimony about his or her handling of it.
Second, the appropriate committees of Congress should convene hearings on whether the Obama Justice Department sought to influence the outcome of the 2016 election, and whether it colluded with the Clinton campaign toward that end. The committees should examine, compare, and contrast the Justice Department’s treatment of the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified information and destruction of tens of thousands of government files, versus its treatment of the investigation of suspected collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. The review should include such matters as whether an effort was made by Obama-administration departments and agencies to downgrade the significance of classified information found on Mrs. Clinton’s servers, while a simultaneous effort was being made to inflate the significance of suspected Trump ties to Russia.
Third, the appropriate committees of Congress should convene hearings on collusion between the Clinton Foundation and Russia, focusing especially on payments by Russian interests to Bill Clinton and to the foundation, and actions taken by then-secretary of state Hillary Clinton that benefited Russia (including approval of the sale to a Kremlin-tied energy company of major U.S. uranium assets). The committees should compare and contrast the concrete evidence of Clinton Foundation collusion with Russia versus unproved suspicions of Trump campaign collusion with Russia.
McCarthy emphasized that such extreme measures were needed because, “Democrats are not fighting for advantage. They are fighting to annihilate their opposition – not just the Trump administration but the Republican Congress. It is not enough to say they are not fighting fair. Everyone knows that.”
He concluded with a warning: “You either fight back against this sort of thing or you get rolled over by it.”