I’m not writing to the people who really would vote for the President if he killed someone on 5th Avenue and we all know people like that. I know someone who thinks it is no big deal for and expected of a President to use his office to target rivals. I’m writing to those who are not in a cult of personality and do have concern for our constitutional order.
Y’all, as I have now written several times, my plan is to vote for President Trump in 2020. At the same time, I think we cannot take lightly that a President may have used his office to pressure foreign governments to pursue investigations against American citizens who are potential political rivals. Again, we are not there in the evidence, but the case is being made and the drip, drip, drip of evidence may point in that direction.
I realize there are a lot of people who will reply that Barack Obama did this to Donald Trump. But isn’t that the point?
Obama also had an IRS that targeted tea party groups and the IRS got smacked by courts for doing that.
If what Donald Trump is accused of doing is true, that takes all of this to a new level. Do you want a Democrat President to take it to another level?
If the President was leveraging the power of the presidency to defeat his 2020 rival, that takes it to third world kleptocracy levels. What comes next? Arresting opponents like Venezuela? It may not be Trump doing that, but what about the next guy?
The precedent keeps building until everyone has had enough and I assure you if the GOP is not willing to stand against a President of their own party abusing the powers of his office against a rival, the Democrats will not with the next President.
Of course, they might not anyway. I realize we live in the age of believing the worst about your opponent. But is the expectation of something worse in the future really an excuse to defend the bad thing now?
Right now, here is what we know:
- The President did not start pursuing Joe Biden until well after Biden became a declared Presidential candidate
- The President encouraged the Chinese to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden
- The President encouraged the Ukrainians to do the same
- The President withheld money from Ukraine that had been lawfully appropriated by Congress
What else is coming? Right now, there appears to be an abuse of office shaping up. Some already believe it is here. What if the President’s advisers testify he did block the money lawfully appropriated by Congress to push Ukraine into a Biden investigation? What if he used his government appointed representatives to pressure an investigation?
At some point you have to worry about the precedent this sets for the next guy. The only way to stop the precedent from being advanced is to take a firm stand.
Republicans are going to need to figure this out. Trying to say Obama did it or even trying to say a President is entitled to use his office to attack his political rivals is just a deflection from a serious question — do you want the President using the powers of his office to pressure foreign governments to harass or investigate political rivals?
For members of congress, the chief power the founders of this country preserved solely for the first branch of government was the power of the purse. Do you want the second branch of government to usurp that to advance their personal political causes?
Think carefully about that as we watch this story develop. There’s not a rush for an answer, but you may have to have one depending on how this shapes up.
As an aside, I am sure some from the left will come over and read this and there is something you need to consider as well. Is it really good form to have a group of embedded bureaucrats in the intelligence agencies running a coordinated campaign against a Presidential Administration? Frankly, that is one reason I am super hesitant to jump to any conclusions right now. This is coordinated and the leaks are pouring out from Democrats and sympathetic Democrat leaning bureaucrats. They are pre-shaping the story and we are not even in an impeachment setting.
This is a really dangerous precedent Democrats are making and it is one Republicans will take advantage of too. If the overreach and precedents matter on one side, they matter on the other side too.