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What goes around comes around (opinion)


Submitted by Norm Robins

“If men were angels no government would be necessary.”
James Madison, 4th President of the U.S. and father of the Constitution

Kevin Clinesmith, a former lawyer for the FBI was to plead guilty yesterday, Friday Aug. 14, 2020, to charges that he falsified a document to get a FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) warrant to spy on Carter Page, a volunteer working in the 2016 Donald Trump campaign.

Page was in communication with Russians. He was a CIA asset spying on the Russians. The CIA verified this in a document sent to the FBI. Clinesmith altered the document to say Page was not, repeat not, a CIA asset. If he wasn’t a CIA asset and he was talking to the Russians, the FBI told the court they were justified in spying on Page and, hence, the Trump campaign. The FBI asked a FISA court in a sworn document for this permission. They got it. And they spied.

One question concerns whether Clinesmith had the authority to do this on his own, or was he instructed by a superior or superiors to do that. This is where drama becomes theater.

It is an old saw that the first co-conspirator to sing cuts the best deal with the prosecutors. Everyone knows that. There is a strong incentive to be the second or third co-conspirator to sing so you still get a good deal, too. There is a rush to sing, and the singers appear to be the Mormon Tabernacle Choir crowding the stage with lots of talented singers.

The narrative that Donald Trump is a Russian asset has crumbled into an amorphous pile of rubble like an unreinforced brick building in a 7.5 earthquake. Christopher Steele’s primary source for his much vaunted and fictitious “dossier” was Igor Danchenko, Russian born but a Ukrainian and not a Kremlin employee but an employee of the Brookings Institute in Washington, DC. He is a drinker with a police record as such and has a social circle of drinking pals. Danchenko denies that his information was information at all. Rather, he said, it was bar talk, conjecture, and hearsay, no more. He expressed surprise that Steele used it at all.

But Steele, whose animus for Donald Trump is incandescent, peddled this nonsense to the FBI and the left-wing press, notably the New York Times, the Washington Post, and all the mainstream networks, ABC, NBC, CNN, and CBS, who lapped it up like mother’s milk because it fit in with their Trump Derangement Syndrome narrative.  The “dossier” was funded by the Hillary Clinton Campaign and the Democratic National Committee, then under the leadership of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, a Clinton operative. 

The heads of our intelligence agencies, the FBI, CIA, and National Intelligence were all in on it.  They were organized into this attempted coup d’état at a Jan. 5, 2017 meeting in the Oval Office conducted by President Barack Obama with VP Joe Biden present and given Obama’s imprimatur.  Obama is reputed to have said, “Put the right people on it.”

But all this skullduggery has all gone away like dust swept under a carpet. Except that Federal Prosecutor John Durham has just filed his first indictment. So, we may see sparks flying for the next few months complete with harrumphing, apoplectic Democrats and spurned left-wing news reporters, academe, and 99% of the glitterati.

In the meanwhile, Congressman and Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, whose pronunciamentos on the peaceful nature of the riots in our major cities puts him in a category with Mary Poppins and the tooth fairy, is seeking to issue new articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

To their everlasting disgrace all but three Democratic Congressmen including all three from Nevada voted out two articles of impeachment, and all Democratic Senators including our two voted to remove Trump from office based on them.

The Constitution could not be more clear on this procedure. The House may vote out articles of impeachment for treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.  The two articles alleged abuse of power and contempt of Congress. The Supreme Court dismissed the contempt of Congress charge saying it raised serious separation of powers issues, exactly what President Trump contended. This was not a crime, nowhere even close.

The framers of the Constitution debated the abuse of power issue. They decided any faction could claim abuse of power by another faction for simply using power, but one man’s abuse of power may be another’s brilliant use of power.  No, they thought, this is maladministration…maybe, but not criminal. 

It is better to leave judgments on maladministration to the voters, not the legislature.  So, the charge of abuse of power against President Trump doesn’t allege violation of a criminal statute. What Trump did was not criminal. Even when you get a speeding ticket or a parking ticket, the writing officer cites which section of which statute has been violated. Trump got nothing of the sort.

These last bills of impeachment and vote to remove were shameful. 63 million Americans deserve better.

Norm Robins is a retired entrepreneur and ex-engineer whose first love is economics and who has lived and worked all over the world.  He has a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, and an MBA in International Business from the University of California, Berkeley.  He and his wife and one of his three children live in Reno, Nevada.

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