Both Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) have intimated that their preference is NOT to have a real impeachment trial that includes traditional trial witnesses and evidence presentation complete with cross-examination. Their doing so is to “get on down the road” in legislation. In fact, Senator Graham added this: “When you are about to receive an innocent plea, you don’t want to go through additional trial actions.”
I get all that. But if these two Senators who wield tremendous Senatorial power proceed that way, they will commit severe damage. That damage will be to their party, President Trump, members of his administration, and his family who have all been excoriated for scads of wrongdoing for 3.5 years. There needs to be a public environment that any Americans can witness in which each of the “questionable” players who factored into the establishment and perpetuation of all processes intrinsic to the President Trump investigation will testify about their specific parts — all under oath. Americans deserve to not only get the truth but to confirm that our government and our representatives within our government are held to the same standard of truth as are all others under U.S. law.
Some will point to the fact that impeachment is not a criminal process, but a political process and, therefore, should be exempt from much of an ordinary civil or criminal trial process. Quite the opposite is exact. This trial more than any other cries for 100% transparency and full disclosure of every part of the process that led us to this place. That means questions and answers about every part of the FBI surveillance of the President’s staff and operations, the alleged collusion with Russians by the Trump Campaign, and all details of the four FISA warrants the FBI presented to the FISA court for surveillance warrants. Anything short of that would be a travesty. It would show that government employees and contract workers fly high above everyday Americans and are bound by different standards than are all other Americans.
What’s At Stake
Let’s be honest: Americans have less trust and far more mistrust in Government than at any time since political pollsters have gathered those numbers. Why is that? It happens almost exclusively for the reality or perception — whichever it may be — that those in the U.S. Government operate and live in an alternate American legal reality than do all other Americans. “Equal justice under the law,” as seen in the Hillary Clinton email server debacle, was NOT equal. Can you imagine a reality in which you or I, as a government employee — the Secretary of State — unilaterally decided to conduct all of our email correspondence on a private email server? What would be our consequences for not registering that server with State Department IT experts, and those experts had not tested it and given it security clearance? That meant that all emails sent and received to and from that server for dissemination contained classified information. We would have been guilty of multiple violations of federal law for which each violation was a felony. What would have happened if we decided after receiving subpoenas for all the emails to delete hundreds of thousands of those emails using Bleach-Bit, a computer hard drive scrubbing software program? The answer to all of these questions is simple: we would have been prosecuted to the fullest extent of federal law and would likely be in prison.
One question that seems to never come up in this is precisely what did President Obama know about the investigation into the Trump Campaign? In a Sept. 2, 2016, text from Lisa Page to Peter Strzok about preparing talking points for then-FBI Director James Comey to give to President Obama, Page said it was essential to do so because “POTUS wants to know everything we’re doing.” He knew. But how much and when?
Ironically, so many intelligence operation matters were secretly changed by members of the Intelligence Community under Barack Obama. And there are many. As explained by Yale Law professor Jack Balkin in 2009:
The FISA Amendments Act of 2008, effectively gives the President – now President Obama – the authority to run surveillance programs similar in effect to the warrantless surveillance program [secretly implemented by George Bush in late 2001]. That is because New FISA no longer requires individualized targets in all surveillance programs. Some programs may be ‘vacuum cleaner’ programs that listen to a great many different calls (and read a great many e-mails) without any requirement of a warrant directed at a particular person as long as no U.S. person is directly targeted as the object of the program.
Also, since the spying against Team Trump began as a counterintelligence operation, Obama would have been updated regularly via the President’s Daily Intelligence Brief.
The Durham Investigation
I’m beginning to think that Washington bureaucrats — even some of the Republican Congressional leaders — are using the Durham Investigation (that has been announced to be a criminal one) as a diversion. Though it is underway, its secrecy prevents any outsiders from knowing what is underway. Under Robert Mueller, James Comey, Rod Rosenstein, and others, the cloak of investigative secrecy only applied to average Americans. Those in the FBI and DOJ who wanted the information to spill into the American media pool made sure it became public. And most of the time it was stated that information originated from “unnamed” or “anonymous” sources. Those leaked news stories almost always contained disclaimers like this: “Anonymous sources have stated….” or “Confidential sources on the promise of identity secrecy have stated…” More often than not, we have learned that these “anonymous” and “unnamed confidential sources” were just other media outlets! Here’s how it works:
- One media source puts out a story that starts with this: “Unnamed sources have just reported that Donald Trump walks naked through the Rose Garden at night.”
- Media source Two reports: “An anonymous source has confirmed that President Trump has been seen walking naked through the Rose Garden after dark.”
- Media source Three reports: “Multiple sources have confirmed that President Donald Trump has been recorded multiple times walking naked after dark in the White House Rose Garden.”
Source One made-up the story using “Unnamed sources” as the story’s origination; Source Two uses the account from Source One (which is called “an anonymous source”) verifying the truth of Source One’s sources; Source Three states their confirmation of the story from “Multiple Sources.”
Just as the above story of Donald Trump’s naked walks in the Rose Garden, we can expect for news leaks to begin regarding John Durham’s criminal investigation. And in reporting those leaks, expect stories to be worded in the exact way or similarly as the above examples.
Americans desperately seek the truth in this investigation. As of today, most Americans feel there’s been some “adjusting” of facts and evidence under the James Comey FBI, the Loretta Lynch Department of Justice, and the Barack Obama Administration regarding the investigation of Donald Trump. Most Americans do not trust that Democrats have been fair in their impeachment inquiry’s operations. For that, many question the validity of what things have been said under oath and subsequently by Representatives Adam Schiff and Jerrold Nadler.
Americans want the truth. Americans want the reality presented to them objectively with evidence — no matter if damaging to Mr. Trump or not — that allows the consideration and development of an accurate picture of what went on, who was involved, and whether or not any laws were broken in the process. Americans additionally want any of those who may be guilty of law-breaking to be held accountable. And that means everyone involved.
I feel strongly that we need to have every person involved to testify under oath before the Senate in open hearings. They should each be asked the hard questions to exact truthful evidence that supports or bashes the Trump impeachment allegations. If Mr. Trump committed impeachable offenses confirmed to be so, he should pay the penalty for doing so. But if he did not, he deserves to be publicly vindicated. That will require a full impeachment trial.
To that end, I on Monday wrote and sent the following letter to Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), urging them to guarantee the Senate does not hurry to get a “not guilty” verdict on impeachment. Americans want every person who was involved in the FBI Trump investigation, the Mueller investigation, and the subsequent impeachment matters to face Americans under oath.
Here’s what I feel will happen if U.S. Senate leadership decides to hurriedly conduct preliminary discussions and rush to get a vote NOT to convict the President:
- Americans — and not just Republicans — will be angry that the truth was not publicly detailed. Republicans certainly want vindication for the President and for fellow Republicans for supporting Donald Trump.
- Democrats want finality in what is alleged in the two articles of impeachment passed by the House. That finality is removal from office of Donald Trump.
In either case, the United States of America needs to put this all to rest based solely on facts. So far, there has been plenty of hearsay, innuendo, and allegations of impeachable offenses. Our nation needs a resolution to happen so that healing can begin. Whether or not that includes removing the President for his commission of Bribery, Treason, High Crimes, and Misdemeanors or closes the door with his exoneration, America needs to move on. Let’s face it: there are many good things initiated during the Trump presidency that have us far down the road of economic recovery we have so badly needed. And the effects of that recovery are being felt by virtually all Americans.
If a new president moves into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, he or she will face many challenges that are standard parts of the job. But the latest fight will come as a direct result of the rending of the fabric of Equal Justice Under the Law promised to all in our Constitution that has been yanked away by this impeachment.
Either way, it’ll take some time to repair that fabric — and some hard work.
To express my concerns regarding a quick Senate impeachment trial without the comprehensive sworn testimony of those involved, here’s a letter I sent to Senators Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham on Monday, December 16, 2019:
Members of the U.S. Senate: Let’s get this resolved through a comprehensive trial!