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The Left Must Defend Trump

Moral and intellectual consistency requires the left to defend Trump from the legal consequences of this BuzzFeed story.

Gloria Steinem enacted the “One Free Grope” rule in defense of President Clinton. Liberal apparatchiks told us “everyone lies about sex.”  They urged us to “move on” from the Lewinsky scandal and the ensuing impeachment.

Does Trump get a “one free perjury” rule? Are we going to be told that everyone lies about real estate?

In order to discuss the claims of the BuzzFeed article, we have to go back and look at what relevant events have preceded the Trump/Russia debacle in terms of the politics of impeachment.

While I could regale you with a fascinating historical analysis of the Andrew Johnson impeachment, we need not go back even 25 years to find a recent example.

I give you William Jefferson Clinton.  Or as Ann Coulter calls him, the Horny Hick.

We can’t fully appreciate the hypocrisy of the left and the possible hypocrisy of the cult of Trump unless we remember what occurred during the 90s.

President Clinton was subject to a civil suit regarding sexual harassment, because harassment is difficult to prove, judges will permit plaintiffs to introduce evidence of other crimes to establish a pattern of behavior.  Because of this, President Clinton was deposed regarding his conduct with individuals other than Paula Jones.  Clinton admitted his affair with Gennifer Flowers.  When asked about Monica Lewinsky, Clinton denied having sexual relations with her despite a broad definition that was used by the attorneys.  Clinton suborned Monica Lewinsky’s perjury and Lewinsky attempted to suborn Linda Tripp’s perjury. When this information made it to the Independent Counsel’s office, Ken Starr went to Attorney General Janet Reno and Reno expanded the scope of his investigation. All of this was done under a statute enacted by congress and involved the oversight of a three member panel of federal judges.

Now we come to President Trump. Mueller was given the authority investigate basically anything he encounters while investigating attempts to influence the 2016 election.  Appointed by the Deputy Attorney General, Mueller is governed by Department of Justice policies instead of an independent counsel statute.  The BuzzFeed articles says that Trump direct his attorney to lie to congress regarding a tower in Moscow. 

According to the DoJ, subornation of perjury is as follows: “To establish a case of subornation of perjury, a prosecutor must demonstrate that perjury was committed; that the defendant procured the perjury corruptly, knowing, believing or having reason to believe it to be false testimony; and that the defendant knew, believed or had reason to believe that the perjurer had knowledge of the falsity of his or her testimony.”

As Erick Erickson’s latest piece says, if BuzzFeed is correct, impeachment may follow.

I ultimately don’t care what happens to Trump.  I am more excited to see how everyone will react. Those who, for decades told us that lying about sex was kosher, will now be telling us that Trump should be impeached for lying about a tower in Moscow.  It’s like how Joy Behar and the left suddenly became experts on the Emoluments Clause because Trump is an orange dumpster fire while Clinton was busy selling access to the Chinese during the 90s.

Similarly, the cult of Trump, many of whom probably hated Clinton, will be willing to overlook a case of perjury.  No! This isn’t a process crime like Flynn lying to the FBI about a perfectly legal conversation, this is the president directing his lawyer to lie to Congress.  Whatever your opinion of Trump’s hyperbole, none of that matters compared to the prospect that truth has lost its meaning in a legal proceeding. In High Crimes and Misdemeanors, Ann Coulter says, “The importance of truth-telling is of a much higher importance in a judicial proceeding.  There can be no system of justice if people feel no particular obligation to tell the truth under oath.”  Trump can lie to the public until he’s blue in the face, but the minute he lies under oath or directs a lackey of his to lie under oath, he has perverted that bedrock of American justice…truth.

But I’d be willing to cut Trump a little slack since he isn’t a lawyer. Clinton was a lawyer. For lay people, it’s their lawyer’s job to make sure things are done legally, especially in cases where individuals have no clue what the law is.  While Mueller has a wide mandate, perhaps Trump thought that it was immaterial. A building in Russia has nothing to do with the 2016 election.  It’s a coincidence that people will leap on.  This entire investigation has shown an interest in the absurd. Manafort may have had sleazy business practices in the past.  Trump may have screwed Thunder Daniels and paid to cover it up, neither of which have anything to do with Russia and the 2016 election. 

And at least with Starr, he had to get permission to expand the scope of the investigation. Contrary to popular belief, Starr didn’t seek out Clinton’s sex life.  Mueller is looking at whatever comes his way. 

So as we guard against hypocrisy, we should think about the following ideas:

If you were okay with one president suborning perjury, you should be okay with it happening again.

If you were appalled by a president suborning perjury, you should be appalled again.

We can make distinctions between the two cases while not deviating from the principle that truth is a prerequisite for justice.

We can think Trump is wrong to have done this and still think the Special Counsel occupies a constitutional grey area.

We can think that Clinton was wrong and think that the Independent Counsel statute was worse than the appointment of Mueller.

And we can look to Justice Scalia’s lone dissent in Morrison v. Olson to remind us that regardless of what the executive is doing, it’s the executive’s job alone to prosecute and enforce the law.  We cannot ignore separation of powers when we have a perfectly acceptable political means of remedying problems like these.  We don’t need a special counsel when the legislative branch can operate WITHOUT the president (veto override) and can remove him from office (impeachment).

We can also look to the publication that runs stories like these:

“A Man Injected Himself With Semen As A Cure For Back Pain And It Didn’t Turn Out Well.” 

“Complain About Your Ex And We’ll Guess Your Favorite Carb.”

“Want To Know What Zodiac Sign Is Perfect For You?”

“These 25 Gay Glow-Ups Are The Most Inspiring Thing You’ll See Today.”

“21 Photos So Funny You Just Might Pee A Little From Laughing.”

“We Know The First Letter Of Your True Love’s Name Based On What Chinese Food You Order.”

AND… be reminded that the hard hitting journalism of BuzzFeed may not be the best place to get accurate political news.

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