The Democratic party is in shambles, represented equally by Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf’s urging defiance of federal immigration laws and Broward County sheriff Scott Israel’s swanning on CNN, demanding more power, and saying he has given “amazing” leadership (true in a sense), as it emerges that his department ignored 20 warnings about the school murderer, and then waited outside listening to the gunfire while the shooter continued his massacre. It isn’t fair to saddle that whole party with those two, but they are not unrepresentative. Schaaf and Israel represent the crumbled alliance between the new wave, which reduces the population to atomized, aggrieved sub-groups, and the old hacks who rivet themselves on communities for decades with corrupt urban political machines. Like many other countries, including the United Kingdom and Germany, the United States now has only one party capable of governing the country.
The Democratic party emerged from the Obama interlude, in which political correctness required non-recognition of a flat-lined economy and a pacifist-isolationist foreign policy, to engage in a desperate struggle with a political death-wish. It narrowly resisted a McGovernesque trip into democratic Marxism with Bernie Sanders, and put all its chips on the Clintons. The party chairman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, was forced out by the WikiLeaks hacked revelations that she had done a sandbag job on Sanders, and former chairman Donna Brazile recorded that Hillary Clinton had stolen the nomination by strangling the National Committee.
Practically the entire Democratic party had clambered aboard the Clinton bus, and when it went off the cliff, they all, including the Sanders/Warren reluctant passengers, joined the chorus that the election had been stolen by the Kremlin, with the treasonable complicity of Donald Trump, through a social-media campaign involving thousands of agents and flipping Wisconsin in particular. (This social-media campaign consisted of a few million dollars decrying the state of the country in a $2.5 billion election in which Clinton spent an unheard-of $250 million on attack ads on her opponent.) Trump was alleged to be a penurious debtor of the Kremlin, which promised to acquit his debt in exchange for future sacrifices of the national interest in favor of Russia. Historians of the future will wonder how anyone could take such an asinine narrative seriously, just as they will wonder how the country could have allowed 12 million unskilled foreigners into the U.S. without any process at all.
This was the gambit the Democrats bet on, piously citing the Steele dossier as the main source. CNN took it from BuzzFeed and claimed it was a mighty scoop, and exhumed Carl Bernstein to explain how this was the death knell of the Trump presidency. Hillary Clinton, in her risible novel about how she lost the election, blamed her defeat on treasonable acts by Trump, citing the dossier’s numerous defamatory fabrications as evidence, and concealing the fact that her campaign had commissioned the dossier. It was the dirtiest political trick in U.S. history. The Washington Post called the more than $10 million the Democrats ladled out for this salacious bunk a mere “talking point” for the administration.
The Democrats have been shamed by Mrs. Clinton, who misled the FBI about her illegal use of emails, is complicit in questionable activities at the Clinton Foundation, and suborned the Obama administration to align the FBI and important parts of the Justice Department with the least felicitous aspects of the Clinton campaign. Former FBI director James Comey almost certainly lied in sworn testimony before a congressional committee about when he determined that Mrs. Clinton should not be prosecuted on the email issue (where her claims of inadvertent erasure of tens of thousands of subpoenaed emails strains credulity, to say the least), and about when he learned that the Steele dossier was Democratic-party propaganda, “campaign information” as Mrs. Clinton now calls it. Comey probably committed a felony in removing a memo he wrote to himself about a conversation with the president on January 27 and leaked it to the New York Times, in order to cause the appointment of a special counsel on the Trump–Russian collusion question even though he stated that Trump was not a suspect, stated that the election outcome had not been influenced by Russia, and stated that Trump had not attempted to tamper with the Russian-collusion investigation that had already been in progress for about eight months.
Readers are familiar with the exposés that have occurred of the unprofessional activities of Mueller’s investigators and senior Justice Department officials, resulting in a number of demotions and firings, including, in emulation of his old chief Comey, that of deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe. Mueller continues grimly on and Trump has cooperated with him. Since Mueller’s mandate is everything to do with Russia and there is much evidence of Democratic collusion with Russia, he should be investigating that. Perhaps he will get to it. The president will have to respond to his questions as precisely as he can, under advice of counsel.
Mueller will then have to decide whether to wrap up at least this part of his inquiry and acknowledge the absence of evidence of Trump–Russian collusion, and move on to the Clinton and other aspects of the case, or to cross the Rubicon and try to engage, with former Trump campaign director Paul Manafort, in the great American prosecutors’ specialty of extorting and suborning inculpatory perjury with an immunity from prosecution for perjury and a very soft sentence for the original charges. I doubt that that would work in this case, because I assume Manafort, on receipt of the offer, would trade his evidence of the effort to extort perjured inculpatory evidence for a presidential commutation at least on the scale of Mueller’s offer, and expose the attempt at a corrupt plea bargain. Mueller is entitled to the hopeful presumption that he would not consider such a course, widespread though the practice is.
In the circumstances as they have evolved, the controversy over the surveillance of Carter Page is a sideshow. The Justice Department may have had reason to conduct surveillance on him (though that is unlikely, since he had been a cooperating witness), but if so, it should not have cited the Steele dossier as its reason for seeking the FISA warrant and renewing it. No sane Democrat believes there is any chance of removing the president. But those not in that category, such as Maxine Waters, Adam Schiff, and Jerry Nadler (who got himself elected ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee on his promise to impeach Trump if the Democrats can win a majority of congressmen), at least want to get a Senate trial, though there is no charge except that they profess to find Trump a menace to democracy and the rule of law, and no present chance of the president’s removal.
I doubt the Democrats will win the majority of the House this year anyway. However the Mueller investigation plays out, it should have the welcome effect of severely discouraging frivolous and vexatious attempts to criminalize partisan and policy differences in the nation’s highest offices, an anarchistic and evil habit that got its launch with Watergate. In winding down this nasty collusion fairy tale, Robert Mueller would not be saving Trump, who has nothing to fear from a nonsense-based Waters-Schiff-Nadler impeachment; he would be saving the Democrats from political mutants such as Waters, Schiff, and Nadler.
In their revulsion at Hillary, the Democrats have almost taken off their underclothing for the far Left. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a Clinton protegée, has said that Bill Clinton should have resigned after the revelation of his abuse of women. Only fear of desecrating the unassailable shrine of the American presidency’s supreme objectifier of the once-gentler sex, John F. Kennedy, a rutting satyr in addition to his many more-attractive qualities, has prevented the Democrats from being taken over by militants demanding that the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial be renamed after Kate Millett and Caitlin Jenner.
The Democrats are now an almost completely dysfunctional party.
In the wreckage of the attempt to destroy Trump, whether he is impeached or not, the Democrats will have to decide whether to reassemble toward the center, or go happily to their execution with the Sanders-Warren flat-earth society. All the while, the president is moving with tactical cunning, exposing the Democrats as pro–illegal immigration and pro-sanctuary, but uninterested in the fate of the DACA migrants; anti–Second Amendment but afraid of the NRA; appeasing the Muslims indiscriminately while Trump artfully separates the Saudis and Egyptians from the duplicitous Pakistanis; and babbling hysterically about the Russians (whom Mrs. Clinton handsomely rewarded with contributors’ money), while Trump discreetly hammers Putin’s Russian mercenaries in Syria, killing scores of them two weeks ago.
The Democrats are now an almost completely dysfunctional party, in desperate need of a crushing defeat in 2020 to help them back to their senses. Barring a miracle of messianic reinvigoration from a now invisible source, that is what it shall receive.
[Editor’s note: Mr. Black’s column will return, in the week of March 12.]