The Corner

Politics & Policy

A Multi-Front War

The House Intelligence Committee fights, the Susan Rice revelations, the stale Russian collusion story, the Gorsuch battle, the Bannon battles, the end of the filibuster, etc. are all different fronts of the same existential struggle: the unlikely Trump victory is unpalatable for the Left and its dangerous ramifications for the entire progressive project must be stopped by any means necessary.

I think it was understandable (though I might disagree with that decision) — after acting on whistleblower information and bringing the non-Russian-related intercepts, unmasking, and leaking to the attention of the committee and the country that otherwise likely would never have seen the light of day — that Chairman Devin Nunes both stays on as chair on the Intelligence Committee, but like Jeff Sessions in the matter of the Justice Department, temporarily recuses himself from directly investigating the various charges. In this entire hysteria, Nunes has acted ethically and was done an injustice by those who acted unethically and who will now only be emboldened.

The opposition is still desperately trying to make messengers and process the messages rather than the facts, and for obvious reasons — and they will never forgive Nunes for bringing to light the information from whistleblowers that has proven explosive and changed the entire course of the investigations. Representative Schiff, who has stated without evidence that he has seen information that warrants a grand-jury investigation about Russian collusion, and then has not followed up on those explosive charges, should do likewise in recusing himself from the Russian collusion/improper intercepting and leaking investigations.

At some point, an outside body may have to come in. Special prosecutors are an anathema, given their sordid history of overreach and politicization, but this entire scandal in the public mind is becoming a binary narrative of Russian collusion vs. improper intercepts/unmasking/leaking, with the two sides aligned accordingly — a replay of FBI Director Comey’s politicized schizophrenia of last year predicated on the campaign cycle, which finally led to the fate of Hillary Clinton’s improper behavior being settled politically rather than legally.

Which story then is likely to gain traction — Russian collusion, improper surveillance/illegal leaking, both, or neither?

So far an enormous amount of media attention and investigations about direct Russian collusion with Trump have found no evidence, but for now very little attention has been given to improper unmasking of surveillance and leaking, and yet has already far more credibility — given the strange contradictory statements of Susan Rice, the reported data on unmasking, the expansion of access to intercepts, and the stranger behavior of journalists at the New York Times, Washington Post, and major media who must have been relying on classified information illegally leaked to them for months to advance a narrative that was deemed advantageous for both the Obama administration and sympathetic media but otherwise never caught on because it was unproven.

After the Lawrence Walsh and Patrick Fitzgerald abuses, Republicans are certainly right to resist an outside investigator, but they might discover that ironically their Democrat opponents privately oppose a third-party investigation in fact even more than Republicans do in theory — and for obvious reasons that, if done professionally, the results will not be welcome.

NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author, most recently, of The Case for Trump.

Most Popular

Law & the Courts

The FBI’s Corrupt Cops

White-collar criminals should hope for one thing this Christmas: that they get to live under the Horowitz rules. Michael Horowitz has testified that he found no evidence of political bias on the part of the decision makers who, under the Obama administration, relied on hilariously implausible “evidence” ... Read More
Law & the Courts

The FBI’s Corrupt Cops

White-collar criminals should hope for one thing this Christmas: that they get to live under the Horowitz rules. Michael Horowitz has testified that he found no evidence of political bias on the part of the decision makers who, under the Obama administration, relied on hilariously implausible “evidence” ... Read More
Elections

Diversity Panic Hits the Democratic Field

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. An Asian guy, two black guys, three white women (one of whom spent much of her life claiming to be Native American), a Pacific Islander woman, a gay guy, a Hispanic guy, two elderly Caucasian Jews (one a billionaire, the other a socialist), a self-styled Irishman, and a ... Read More
Elections

Diversity Panic Hits the Democratic Field

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. An Asian guy, two black guys, three white women (one of whom spent much of her life claiming to be Native American), a Pacific Islander woman, a gay guy, a Hispanic guy, two elderly Caucasian Jews (one a billionaire, the other a socialist), a self-styled Irishman, and a ... Read More
Film & TV

A Film for All Christians

‘The growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts,” wrote George Eliot in Middlemarch, “and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.” The passage provides the title ... Read More
Film & TV

A Film for All Christians

‘The growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts,” wrote George Eliot in Middlemarch, “and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.” The passage provides the title ... Read More
White House

Is Trump the Only Adult in the Room?

Donald Trump certainly is mercurial at times. He can be uncouth. But then again, no president in modern memory has been on the receiving end of such overwhelmingly negative media coverage and a three-year effort to abort his presidency, beginning the day after his election. Do we remember the effort to ... Read More
White House

Is Trump the Only Adult in the Room?

Donald Trump certainly is mercurial at times. He can be uncouth. But then again, no president in modern memory has been on the receiving end of such overwhelmingly negative media coverage and a three-year effort to abort his presidency, beginning the day after his election. Do we remember the effort to ... Read More