These things can both be true:
(1) Democrats have placed and nourished deeply embedded partisans in the White House who have participated in “The Resistance” since November 9, 2016.
(2) President Trump has contemplated, attempted, and in at least one case, apparently committed impeachable acts in office.
This puts America in a dangerous time, and a dangerous place. We are caught between the Genie and the Coup.
If we allow point (1) to justify or nullify point (2), we then admit that any president who is subject to prolonged efforts to “catch him” in illegal or abusive acts can merely claim “they had it in for me.” Imagine if Bill Clinton was allowed to do this, instead of trying to weasel his way out of every scandal and malfeasance.
Imagine if Bill boldly said “So I slept with Monica Lewinsky, and she fellated me in the Oval Office. Why should that matter after four years of a Whitewater witch hunt?” Imagine if the media, the Democrats and his base agreed and said “Yeah, let’s let this whole lying under oath thing go because Republicans have had it in for Clinton since he took his oath.” Imagine if he wasn’t impeached, even though it became a partisan vote and Clinton survived in his second term.
Imagine a future Democrat president in a first term claiming that Republicans had it in for him/her since the election, and are trying to overturn the election, despite committing very obvious and heinous violence to the Constitution and abusing the office for political and personal gain.
Once we let the “justified” or “nullified” genie out of the bottle, how do we propose to put it back in?
We also can’t ignore the first point entirely, regardless of what was done in office. The Founders purposely set up a high bar for impeachment (“high crimes and misdemeanors”) to prevent impeachment for purely political vengeance or a pocket coup.
But our federal government has grown to the point that one chief executive in the White House has myriad opportunities to commit abuses, “high crimes and misdemeanors” in the course of discharging normal duties. Making deals with foreign powers; negotiating with business leaders, media, and state officials; enforcing criminal laws and investigating individuals or organizations; collecting taxes; and employing military force are all part of the president’s job–any number of these could be used or framed as abuse.
For example, was it impeachable if we learned that Obama knew about Lois Lerner’s persecution of Republican/conservative groups by the IRS? If Republicans had deeply embedded partisans in the government, reporting on everything said in private Obama meetings (not his silky public speech), would that president have survived two terms unscathed by impeachment?
For a previous administration, or over the course of many administrations, to build a permanent Praetorian Guard, a political presence in the executive branch and the White House itself, composed of career bureaucrats, lawyers, military officers, and intelligence analysts, whose allegiance is to the opposing party, is a recipe for a coup.
Democrats have constructed such an apparatus, and whether you call it the “Deep State” or simply a bias in Washington’s permanent civil servant corps, it exists, and it has been singularly energized to capture Donald Trump in some impeachable act. If the coup de grâce is administered by Democrats in Congress, along with 19 Republicans in the Senate, then it could be said that the “Deep State” has upended the 2016 elections, and robbed the electorate of its voice in 2020.
Or they could delay the event until after November 2020, and keep an “insurance policy” that Trump will never complete his second term if re-elected.
America cannot survive if this kind of structure exists. We have a 25th Amendment to remove a president if his own cabinet agrees that the man is incompetent to discharge his duties, and 2/3 of the Congress must agree. At least that road allows those closest to the president to weigh in, versus being hauled in for endless inquiries before partisan Congressional committees, many times on fishing expeditions.
It’s a dangerous time, because simultaneously, we have the Genie begging to be let out, with Trump’s constant beating of the “Witch Hunt” drum, giving him carte blanche to do whatever he pleases–while setting a precedent for a future president to do the same. We also have the coup engineers sitting by, throwing every possible charge up to see which one rises on its own.
Neither option is appealing, and both are very dangerous. I hope we engage very carefully to avoid these dangers. Make the whistleblower testify publicly. Expose every leak and coordination between Rep. Adam Schiff and the media and individuals embedded in the administration. And still, hold President Trump accountable for his actions in office, especially the arm-twisting quid-pro-quo to get dirt on a political opponent.
If all these things are true, then we must address them all in the bright light of public scrutiny. Then let the voters decide.