A Desperate Trail of Breadcrumbs

April 25, 2019 Updated: April 25, 2019

Commentary

In a recent interview on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) indicated that he believes the Mueller report obstruction of justice allegations against President Donald Trump are “impeachable.”

House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) told CBS’s “Face the Nation” that even if an effort to impeachment Trump might not succeed, “there comes a point in life where we all have to make decisions based upon the fact that it is our watch.”

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) also raised the possibility of impeachment against the president.

While there is virtually no chance that the president will be removed from office, Volume II of the Mueller report was nothing more than an intentional and desperate trail of breadcrumbs left for the inherently biased Democratic-controlled House Judiciary Committee to re-kindle impeachment talk against President Trump.

The re-energized push for impeachment should come as no surprise to anyone. Democrats have been pushing the impeachment narrative for years. The fact that neither Mueller nor Barr found enough evidence to charge the president didn’t serve as a deterrent. That’s precisely why they sought (and continue to seek) the release of the entire Mueller report.

Specifically, Volume II gave them the opportunity to pick and choose specific “breadcrumbs” in hopes of re-igniting the impeachment issue. In reality, as Mark Levin opined on Fox News, Volume II was merely a 200 page op-ed.

In Volume II, Mueller laid out several issues and events relative to his obstruction of justice “investigation,” summaries of which were published in The Atlantic. Of paramount importance is that after two years of investigations, Mueller was unable to find enough evidence to recommend charges or an indictment against the president. Mueller’s inability and unwillingness to recommend charges should have ended the inquiry.

Predictably, it did not, and congressional Democrats demanded the entire Mueller report. Upon release of the redacted report, congressional Democrats began to attack the president for acts and comments he allegedly made, as set forth in Volume II. However, Mueller’s “findings” in Volume II are problematic in and of themselves for several reasons.

First, as Levin pointed out on Fox News, “This report, Volume II, doesn’t have a syllable of legal significance. There’s not a syllable of law in it. … None of it’s been tested in a court of law. There’s been no challenge to it. No cross-examination. Nothing.”

While the standard of proof for impeachment is lower than that of a criminal trial, both still require reliable, corroborated, and credible information. In other words, although impeachment doesn’t require the level of proof for an “indictment” (i.e., beyond a reasonable doubt), it still requires each member of Congress to use his or her moral compass to determine whether a high crime or misdemeanor (in this case) has occurred.

Herein lies the second problem. Mueller’s “findings” in Volume II are being evaluated and interpreted by a body that, in the majority, is inherently biased against the president.

First, congressional Democrats have made it glaringly clear that they would love nothing more than to impeach or remove President Trump. Volume II of Mueller’s report predictably gave them additional ammunition to run with and to “interpret” as they saw fit. Their inability and unwillingness to review the information objectively is seriously undermined by their interminable and unsubstantiated calls for impeachment and their false Russia collusion narrative that was recently debunked.

Speaking about Volume II, Levin opined, “This is a political document that he should never have written. … He knew CNN would be obsessed with it. He knew that MSNBC would be obsessed with it. … This is a 200-page op-ed. No prosecutor—if they didn’t want to be disbarred—would ever produce anything like this. … That’s why prosecutors are not supposed to write essays.”

Levin’s point has some teeth when viewed in the proper context. For example, while some congressional Democrats have pointed to Trump’s decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey as potential obstruction, it’s difficult to view this conclusion as objective and morally sound. Trump was well within his rights to fire Comey in accordance with the Constitution. He also could have fired Mueller, had he decided to do so. The fact that he utilized his constitutional authority, in and of itself, does not constitute obstruction of justice.

Trump, arguably, also had a legitimate reason to shut down the investigation that would not necessarily amount to obstruction. More particularly, from the beginning, Trump knew the investigation was a witch hunt and was getting tired of the costs and length of the investigation and the impact that it had on the nation and his administration.

As Daniel McCarthy in The National Interest argued:

“Trump wanted to get rid of Mueller and Rosenstein to spare himself the distraction and indignity that other presidents suffered through, not to obstruct justice. He knew, as everyone in Washington knows, that such investigations inevitably become protracted, expensive, politically damaging, and ultimately pointless ordeals.

“No one would want to go through what Bill Clinton went through, and he was actually guilty of something. Why then is it to be expected that Trump should subject himself to a ‘Starr chamber’ when constitutionally he is not required to do so and has the power to prevent it? Yet after firing Comey, Trump played along with the ritual indignity, however much he hated it, and may have mused to [White House Counsel Donald] McGahn about ending it. …

“Trump was unwise to fire Comey when he did: that doing so would only make him look like he had something to hide and give his enemies new leverage was entirely predictable. But that action and his subsequent champing at the bit to be rid of the investigation were expressions of agony and impatience, not Machiavellian plotting.”

The obvious problem here is that the majority of congressional Democrats, who will ultimately decide on whether or not to prepare articles of impeachment, strongly dislike the president and harbor an immense level of bias against him. As such, they are unlikely to consider any possible explanation that does not align with their ultimate goal.

There’s an inherent conflict.

The fact that the House Judiciary Committee has refused to subpoena the individuals and records relating to, among other things, the allegedly illegally obtained FISA warrants, and the uncorroborated and paid-for Steele dossier speaks volumes about the committee’s “alleged” commitment to oversight and its ability to be morally objective. To the contrary, it paints a picture of a committee that, in the majority, is focused on bringing down the president.

Fortunately, things could change dramatically when the inspector general’s report comes out in the not-too-distant future.

Elad Hakim is a writer, commentator, and attorney. His articles have been published in The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, The Western Journal, American Thinker, and other online publications.  

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

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