Since the first Mueller indictments (Manafort, Gates) and the Papadopoulos plea have been announced, I’ve sensed a further skewing of our people’s positions (if that’s possible). Surfing the channels on October 31, I passed Fox News to see a teaser, “‘Witch Hunt – the Plot to Take Down the President” – tonight on Hannity.” I found it truly disappointing. I have three thoughts …
First, if attacks on Mr. Mueller’s probe and impartiality intensify – despite the fact that he was appointed FBI Director by a Republican, had his term as Director extended by a Democrat, and has his current post due to an appointment by an official of the Trump Administration — I ask this: if you were in Mr. Mueller’s position, what would be most important to you? I can only answer for myself; but although I am no fan of the President, if I was charged with responsibility for conducting the investigation, the enormity of the importance of the task to our nation would immediately extinguish any personal feelings I had about the President or his policies. Since the way I performed this task would be my legacy, what would drive me wouldn’t be what the result was; it would be whether History (and my grandchildren), looking back on my service, would be able to say that I had performed my responsibilities competently … and even more importantly, with impartiality, honor, and integrity. If that reaction resonates with you when you put yourself in Mr. Mueller’s position, why would you think that Mr. Mueller would feel differently?
Second, as to the attacks on Hillary Clinton: as law students, we were reamed out by professors when we didn’t distinguish the “relevant” from the merely “interesting.” I have no problems with Mr. Mueller’s team investigating the Clintons’ contacts with Russia … but would suggest that the President’s, his team’s, and the conservative outlets’ emphasis on the Clintons’ alleged contacts to Russia — as a counterweight to the team’s investigation into the Trump Campaign’s activities — is an exercise in false equivalence. From the standpoint of the wellbeing of the nation, any findings that the Mueller team develops about the Clintons will be interesting, but not relevant for the simplest reason: she’s not President, and won’t be. On the other hand, Mr. Trump is President; determining what he and his people did or didn’t do is more than relevant – it’s vital, given their ability to affect the wellbeing of our nation. If she was President, an investigation into her activities would be relevant, and an investigation into his, merely interesting. If one could find one politically neutral citizen in this country, I would wager that s/he would agree that any attempt to liken the importance of the legality of the activities of a defeated candidate to those of a sitting President is … misplaced.
(This is obviously a “politically-focused” rather than a “foreign-policy-focused” post; the security threat that Russian activities are posing to our nation could be the subject of another note. I have no way of knowing what activities we are undertaking to combat Russian activities, but I hope they are aggressive.)
Finally: Are we “a nation of laws” – do we indeed believe that no one should be above the law – or “a nation of men [and women :)]”? If the former, our concern as citizens should be that the appropriate Constitutional and other legal processes are being followed in the investigation of the Trump team’s activities, and no more. This is such a fundamental principle that whether the subject of an investigation belongs to a political party or espouses a policy agenda one agrees or disagrees with should not play a part in one’s assessment of the legitimacy of the process. I consider President Nixon to have had the finest foreign policy mind of the second half of the last century; but he broke the law. He had to go. I hope all Americans would agree that if President Trump and/or members of his team are proven to have broken the law, he and or they … will have to go.
Although I haven’t yet populated the “Guiding Principles” section of this blog, I make note of one Principle here that will be included, which is intended to apply to this and all posts to this site: that I, or anybody else that enters a post, has to be willing to concede that anything s/he enters might be insightful … but could likewise be haywire!