by Robert Bridge, Strategic Culture:
In the time-honored tradition of Machiavellian statecraft, all of the charges being leveled against Donald Trump to remove him from office – namely, ‘abuse of power’ and ‘obstruction of congress’ –are essentially the same things the Democratic Party has been guilty of for nearly half a decade: abusing their powers in a non-stop attack on the executive branch. Is the reason because they desperately need a ‘get out of jail free’ card?
Due to the non-stop action in Washington of late, few believe that the present state of affairs between the Democrats and Donald Trump are exclusively due to a telephone call between the US leader and the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. That is only scratching the surface of a story that is practically boundless.
Back in April 2016, before Trump had become the Republican presidential nominee, talk of impeachment was already in the air.
“Donald Trump isn’t even the Republican nominee yet,” wrote Darren Samuelsohn in Politico. Yet impeachment, he noted, is “already on the lips of pundits, newspaper editorials, constitutional scholars, and even a few members of Congress.”
The timing of Samuelsohn’s article is not a little astonishing given what the Department of Justice (DOJ) had discovered just one month earlier.
In March 2016, the DOJ found that “the FBI had been employing outside contractors who had access to raw Section 702 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) data, and retained that access after their work for the FBI was completed,” as Jeff Carlson reported in The Epoch Times.
That sort of foreign access to sensitive data is highly improper and was the result of “deliberate decision-making,” according to the findings of an April 2017 FISA court ruling (footnote 69).
On April 18, 2016, then-National Security Agency (NSA) Director Adm. Mike Rogers directed the NSA’s Office of Compliance to terminate all FBI outside-contractor access. Later, on Oct. 21, 2016, the FBI and the DOJ’s National Security Division (NSD), and despite they were aware of Rogers’s actions, moved ahead anyways with a request for a FISA warrant to conduct surveillance on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. The request was approved by the FISA court, which, apparently, was still in the dark about the violations.
On Oct. 26, following approval of the warrant against Page, Rogers went to the FISA court to inform them of the FBI’s non-compliance with the rules. Was it just a coincidence that at exactly this time, the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter were suddenly calling for Roger’s removal? The request was eventually rejected. The next month, in mid-November 2016 Rogers, without first notifying his superiors, flew to New York where he had a private meeting with Trump at Trump Towers.
According to the New York Times, the meeting – the details of which were never publicly divulged, but may be guessed at – “caused consternation at senior levels of the administration.”
Democratic obstruction of justice?
Then CIA Director John Brennan, dismayed about a few meetings Trump officials had with the Russians, helped to kick-start the FBI investigation over ‘Russian collusion.’ Notably, these Trump-Russia meetings occurred in December 2016, as the incoming administration was in the difficult transition period to enter the White House. The Democrats made sure they made that transition as ugly as possible.
Although it is perfectly normal for an incoming government to meet with foreign heads of state at this critical juncture, a meeting at Trump Tower between Michael Flynn, Trump’s incoming national security adviser and former Russian Ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak, was portrayed as some kind of cloak and dagger scene borrowed from a John le Carré thriller.
Brennan questioning the motives behind high-level meetings between the Trump team and some Russians is strange given that the lame duck Obama administration was in the process of redialing US-Russia relations back to the Cold War days, all based on the debunked claim that Moscow handed Trump the White House on a silver platter.
In late December 2016, after Trump had already won the election, Obama slapped Russia with punitive sanctions, expelled 35 Russian diplomats and closed down two Russian facilities. Since part of Trump’s campaign platform was to mend relations with Moscow, would it not seem logical that the incoming administration would be in damage-control, doing whatever necessary to prevent relations between the world’s premier nuclear powers from degrading even more?
So if it wasn’t ‘Russian collusion’ that motivated the Democrats into action, what was it?
From Benghazi to Seth Rich
Here we must pause and remind ourselves about the unenviable situation regarding Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State, who was being grilled daily over her use of a private computer to communicate sensitive documents via email. In all likelihood, the incident would have dropped from the radar had it not been for the deadly 2012 Benghazi attacks on a US compound.
In the course of a House Select Committee investigation into the circumstances surrounding the attacks, which resulted in the death of US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other US personnel, Clinton handed over some 30,000 emails, while reportedly deleting 32,000 deemed to be of a “personal nature”. Those emails remain unaccounted for to this day.
I want the public to see my email. I asked State to release them. They said they will review them for release as soon as possible.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) March 5, 2015
By March 2015, even the traditionally tepid media was baring its baby fangs, relentlessly pursuing Clinton over the email question. Since Clinton never made a secret of her presidential ambitions, even political allies were piling on. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), for example, said it’s time for Clinton “to step up” and explain herself, adding that “silence is going to hurt her.”
On July 24, 2015, The New York Times published a front-page story with the headline “Criminal Inquiry Sought in Clinton’s Use of Email.” Later, Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post candidly summed up Clinton’s rapidly deteriorating status with elections fast approaching: “Democrats still show no sign they are willing to abandon Clinton. Instead, they seem to be heading into the 2016 election with a deeply flawed candidate schlepping around plenty of baggage — the details of which are not yet known.”
Moving into 2016, things began to look increasingly complicated for the Democratic front-runner. On March 16, 2016, WikiLeaks launched a searchable archive for over 30 thousand emails and attachments sent to and from Hillary Clinton’s private email server while she was Secretary of State. The 50,547-page treasure trove spans the dates from June 30, 2010 to August 12, 2014.