By Matthew Vadum
Democrats and their media allies are whipping themselves into a frenzy in their quest to impeach the duly elected 45th president of the United States and drive him from office.
It is part of the Left’s collective mental breakdown. These people still cannot accept that Donald Trump defeated the anointed Hillary Clinton in November so they lash out at the president and his successors, often violently, as we’ve seen in recent months. This Trump Derangement Syndrome allows left-wingers to justify a growing laundry list of antisocial behavior in the furtherance of their goal. The same people pushing Trump’s impeachment sat by silently as Barack Obama, the most despotic, overreaching president since the great proto-fascist Woodrow Wilson, committed impeachable offenses nearly every day.
At the moment, the Left’s ire is focused on Trump’s unexpected decision last week to fire FBI Director James Comey. Trump explained to Comey in a letter that his employment was being terminated based on the recommendation of the Department of Justice. Both Republicans and Democrats had been furious with Comey in recent years because the unelected official inappropriately injected himself and the FBI into political matters. But now Trump’s enemies are claiming his termination of Comey’s employment constitutes obstruction of justice because the FBI is investigating far-fetched allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
This push to end the Trump administration came as MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” co-host Joe Scarborough made a case for impeaching President Trump. With his new fiancee, co-host Mika Brzezinski at his side, the former Republican congressman from Florida declared in an authoritative-sounding voice that the president admitted he fired FBI Director James Comey last week “to end an investigation against the president and all the president’s men, which is exactly what happened.”
And I’m not being hyperbolic when I say it, if there are articles of impeachment ever drawn up, the first article of impeachment drawn up against Donald Trump will be the first article of impeachment drawn up against Richard Nixon, and that is obstruction of justice. Because I could find you a thousand Republican criminal defense lawyers across America who could say what Donald Trump has admitted already on national television could rise to the level of obstruction of justice.
This isn’t what actually happened even though the media keeps reporting over and over again that the “real” reason the president fired Comey was specifically to thwart an investigation into the Russian conspiracy theory nonsense.
For example, Dylan Matthews wrote a piece at Vox with the bold headline, “Firing James Comey to impede an investigation isn’t smoke. It’s fire.” But the article itself, which compares the circumstances surrounding the near-impeachment of President Richard Nixon, is a real letdown, rife with leaps in logic.
It takes as a given that Trump admitted he fired Comey for a nefarious, corrupt, self-serving purpose, something that is patently untrue. Nor is it clear that Trump violated any law, as Georgetown Law professor Jonathan Turley, an honest leftist, has said.
The fact of the matter is that without any more information than we already have, we already know Trump’s conduct is almost as outrageous as what Nixon acknowledged in the smoking gun tape. In Nixon’s case, what crossed the line, moving top leaders from his own party to go to the White House and tell Nixon that his presidency was over, was Nixon’s attempt to hamper the FBI’s investigation into Watergate.
And we know, for a fact, that Trump fired FBI Director James Comey because he was upset by the FBI’s investigation into his Russia ties.
We know that because Trump said so himself. Asked by NBC’s Lester Holt why he fired Comey, Trump replied, “I said to myself, I said, ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story, it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should’ve won.'”
But do we know “for a fact” what Matthews claims we know?
Trump’s comment about Russia came during the NBC interview last week and took the form of one of the president’s rambling, stream-of-consciousness answers. In one two-and-a-half segment in the interview, Holt badgered Trump, interrupting him an astonishing nine times, which surely could not have made it easy for Trump – or anyone – to stay firmly on-topic throughout.
“Look, he’s a showboat,” Trump said of Comey. “He’s a grandstander. The FBI has been in turmoil. You know that, I know that, everybody knows that. You take a look at the FBI a year ago, it was in virtual turmoil — less than a year ago. It hasn’t recovered from that.”
After acknowledging he met with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who wrote a detailed legal memo urging Comey’s dismissal, Trump said he accepted Rosenstein’s recommendations but added he was planning to fire Comey anyway.
“Oh, I was going to fire regardless of recommendation,” Trump said.
According to a transcript at Real Clear Politics, the rest of the conversation went like this with Trump jumping around from subject to subject. Part of the transcript is reproduced below so readers can get a sense of just how convoluted the discussion was.
The relevant part here begins:
TRUMP: They — he made a recommendation. He’s highly respected. Very good guy, very smart guy. And the Democrats like him. The Republicans like him. He had made a recommendation. But regardless of recommendation, I was going to fire Comey knowing there was no good time to do it. And in fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself — I said, you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story. It’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should’ve won. And the reason they should’ve won it is the Electoral College is almost impossible for a Republican to win. It’s very hard because you start off at such a disadvantage. So, everybody was thinking they should’ve won the election. This was an excuse for having lost an election.
HOLT: But were — are you angry…
HOLT: …angry with Mr. Comey because of his Russia investigation?
TRUMP: I just want somebody that’s competent. I am a big fan of the FBI. I love the FBI.
HOLT: But were you a fan of…
TRUMP: …people of the FBI.
HOLT: him taking up that investigation?
TRUMP: I think that — about the Hillary Clinton investigation?
HOLT: No, about — about the Russian investigation and possible…
TRUMP: No, I don’t care…
HOLT: …links between…
TRUMP: Look — look, let me tell you. As far as I’m concerned, I want that thing to be absolutely done properly. When I did this now, I said I probably maybe will confuse people. Maybe I’ll expand that — you know, I’ll lengthen the time because it should be over with. It should — in my opinion, should’ve been over with a long time ago because it — all it is an excuse. But I said to myself I might even lengthen out the investigation [by firing Comey]. But I have to do the right thing for the American people. He’s the wrong man for that position.
A leftist like Vox’s Matthews, who already is out to hurt Trump, can read the man’s words from the interview and come to the over-caffeinated conclusion that there is a smoking gun lying there in that transcript. He will see it because he wants to see it.
A more dispassionate reader might espy in the transcript a relentless boaster from Queens weaving in and out, injecting self-promoting tidbits into the conversation, shaping the narrative to highlight his personal accomplishments, just as he’s been doing for decades. Trump answered Holt’s questions but made sure to get his own talking points on subjects of his choosing on the public record. This is what he does. Trump is always selling and re-selling himself. He likes to brag and tell people, “I told you so.”
Maybe it was politically unwise for Trump to mention the ongoing investigations in the context of his firing of Comey, but that merely makes Trump guilty of juxtaposition, not obstruction of justice.
Meanwhile, the parade of politicians screaming for Trump’s head grows longer.
In Congress, Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) joined Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) on the impeachment bandwagon, citing the firing of Comey and the usual Russian conspiracy nonsense about Trump.
“President Trump is not above the law,” Green said in a statement. “He has committed an impeachable act and must be charged. To do otherwise would cause some Americans to lose respect for, and obedience to, our societal norms.”
“President Trump has committed an act for which he should be charged by the U.S. House of Representatives. The act is the obstruction of a lawful investigation of the President’s campaign ties to Russian influence in his 2016 Presidential Election.”
Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) said last week Democrats were “actually pretty close to considering impeachment.” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said last week that the firing of Comey presents “a looming constitutional crisis” that may lead to Trump’s impeachment.
Other lawmakers have publicly discussed or mused aloud about impeaching the president. The list includes Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hi.), Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), Mark Pocan (D-Wisc.), Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), and Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas).
The branch of the progressive movement known as the mainstream media smells blood and is upping its efforts to bring down the president.
Breathless, unhinged accounts in the media are filled with implausible reporting based on anonymous sources, a.k.a. likely liars. Media reports constantly accuse Trump of ignoring his security briefings and fixate on how often the president hits the golf course. Given that Trump reportedly owns 17 golf courses, it is not at all surprising that he visits them.
Efforts to impugn Trump’s character have been going gangbusters ever since it became clear in 2015 that he was actually serious about running for president.
Trump Derangement Syndrome is especially strong in journalist David Frum who refers to the president and his staff as “thugs.”
“Every time Donald Trump breathes, David is apparently intent on saying he’s committing a conflict of interest and should be – what – impeached?” Trump supporter Jeffrey Lord said on CNN during a joint appearance with Frum after the election.
After Trump fired FBI Director Comey, Frum tweeted, “It’s a coup.” Except that Trump is already president. How is it a coup? What exactly did the man who already heads the federal government overthrow?
Frum denounced Trump after he canceled an interview with the New York Times. “It’s really a terrible thing that the word of the president-elect of the United States cannot be believed or trusted,” he tweeted. Apparently in Frum’s world, one can never, ever back out of an interview with the newspaper of record.
Frum is obsessed with Trump’s eating habits. He mocked the White House menu for a recent dinner with Chinese President Xi Jinping. “Actually, this menu is not that far from McDonald’s.” Dripping with the elitist condescension that is his trademark, Frum added, “As payback, President Xi should host Donald Trump at a PF Chang’s. Mind you, Trump would probably like it.”
Frum complained after Trump went to a restaurant and received an extra scoop of ice cream for dessert. After Trump was revealed to be a fan of KFC fried chicken, Frum used the opportunity to bash the fast food giant. “If you’re keeping score at home, KFC has ‘worst in the industry’ record on animal welfare[.]”
Left-wing groups RootsAction.org and Free Speech for People created a website, Impeach Trump Now, that promotes the lie that Trump became instantly impeachable when he was sworn in as president. The claim is that Trump is violating the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, which prevents any “Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them” from accepting “any present, Emolument, Office, or Title … from any King, Prince, or foreign State,” by not divesting his businesses.
The fact that a whole bunch of law professors, including Harvard’s Laurence Tribe and Lawrence Lessig, have called for Trump’s impeachment based on the Emoluments Clause, means little. There is a dearth of case law on the topic. Perhaps this is because it’s not a legal question – it’s a political question.
Some left-wingers say if a foreign diplomat stays at a Trump hotel, this is evidence in itself that the Emoluments Clause has been violated. It’s a weak argument. Hotel charges aren’t gifts; they’re fees paid for services rendered. If, say, Trump and the diplomat agreed the latter would pay substantially more than the normal hotel rates, then maybe that would be considered a prohibited emolument. But nobody knows because the issue has never been adjudicated, and may very well be non-justiciable.
Likening Republicans, especially Trump, to Hitler is always a leftist crowd-pleaser. Take the dubious recent report that Trump demanded personal loyalty from Comey during a meeting. The media portrayed this as if Trump was embracing an American version of the Führerprinzip.
There was the since-debunked claim that Trump mocked New York Times reporter Serge F. Kovaleski because of his physical disabilities. Kovaleski is reportedly afflicted by arthrogryposis, a congenital condition that restricts the movement of the muscles in his arms. It is true that Trump gave speeches on the campaign trail in which he made spastic, jerky movements with his arms to mock whomever he was criticizing, but Kovaleski wasn’t singled out. (In TV interviews, Kovaleski is calm and doesn’t actually make the jerky movements Trump imitated.) Trump physically caricatured Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) the same way.
But the most brazen attempt at character assassination has to be the “piss-gate” dossier, the unvetted 35-page document published by cat-video website Buzzfeed. Instead of, say, trying to verify the authenticity of the anonymously-sourced document that claimed Trump hired prostitutes to urinate on a hotel room bed in Moscow, or maybe investigating the claims in it, Buzzfeed, in its own words, published “the full document so that Americans can make up their own minds about allegations about the president-elect that have circulated at the highest levels of the US government.”
This kind of thing has been par for the course for the media ever since Trump was elected.
Left-wing journalists and their Democrat enablers have made sure of that.