An in­ves­ti­ga­tion in search of a crime

Pres­i­dent Trump is jus­ti­fi­ably an­gry about Democrats’ base­less ac­cu­sa­tions

The Washington Times Daily - - OPINION - By Ellen Sauer­brey Ellen Sauer­brey is a former mi­nor­ity leader of the Mary­land House of Del­e­gates.

How is this for a strat­egy? Con­coct a con­spir­acy to ex­plain an un­ex­pected elec­tion loss, put a cloud over the head of the elected pres­i­dent and his agenda, drag out an in­ves­ti­ga­tion for months, stir up hopes of im­peach­ment, and then charge ob­struc­tion of jus­tice when the sub­ject of the mud­sling­ing at­tempts to clear his name.

The strat­egy has now mor­phed into an in­ves­ti­ga­tion of what the pres­i­dent did or said in re­sponse to an in­ves­ti­ga­tion of an un­der­ly­ing crime that never ex­isted.

Af­ter months of dig­ging there is not a shred of ev­i­dence that Pres­i­dent Trump col­luded with Rus­sia. He was told by FBI Di­rec­tor James Comey three times that he was not a sub­ject of in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Nev­er­the­less, for months a col­lu­sion was oc­cur­ring. Anony­mous leak­ers, left-wing me­dia and Demo­cratic politi­cians col­luded to pro­mote a false nar­ra­tive to smear the pres­i­dent and ob­struct his agenda from mov­ing for­ward.

It is hardly sur­pris­ing that the pres­i­dent, know­ing the Rus­sian col­lu­sion story was false, asked Mr. Comey and per­haps oth­ers in the in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity if they could tell the pub­lic what they were telling the pres­i­dent pri­vately and re­move the cloud.

Mr. Comey re­fused to go pub­lic with what he knew to be true. In­stead, he stood si­lent in the face of a bar­rage of fake me­dia sto­ries that he later ad­mit­ted to a con­gres­sional com­mit­tee were “dead wrong.” He was will­ing to let the pres­i­dent of the United States dan­gle in the wind while oth­ers con­tin­ued to lob lies at him. Mr. Comey re­vealed his mo­tive to con­tinue dam­ag­ing the pres­i­dent by telling the con­gres­sional com­mit­tee that he leaked a memo about his con­ver­sa­tion with the pres­i­dent to the me­dia, in order to achieve ap­point­ment of a spe­cial coun­sel.

Fail­ing to find ev­i­dence of col­lu­sion, Democrats dur­ing a pub­lic hear­ing hardly raised a Rus­sia ques­tion but in­stead shifted their fire to ob­struc­tion of jus­tice. And what are the charges lead­ing some to call for im­peach­ment and worse?

• Af­ter fac­ing months of leaks and false sto­ries, the pres­i­dent had the temer­ity to ask for loy­alty. Wow, now that is re­ally grounds for ob­struc­tion of jus­tice.

The pres­i­dent hoped for le­niency for a gen­eral who had given a life­time of ser­vice to this coun­try, had been fired and who, af­ter an FBI re­view of com­mu­ni­ca­tions with the Rus­sian am­bas­sador, had al­ready been found to have com­mit­ted no wrong­do­ing. Though it was within Mr. Trump’s con­sti­tu­tional right to end the in­ves­ti­ga­tion of Michael Flynn al­to­gether, he did not do that. Was this ob­struc­tion, or not want­ing to kick a man who was al­ready down?

• The pres­i­dent fired the FBI di­rec­tor, as Mr. Comey ac­knowl­edged he had ev­ery right to do con­sti­tu­tion­ally. Mr. Trump could have han­dled the fir­ing more diplo­mat­i­cally, but there was no good time to fire Mr. Comey, who had to go. Many of those who are howl­ing for the pres­i­dent’s scalp for that de­ci­sion were call­ing for Mr. Comey’s head just a few months ago.

As Mr. Trump tweeted, “They made up a phony col­lu­sion with the Rus­sians story, found zero proof, so now they go for ob­struc­tion of jus­tice on the phony story.” A frus­trated pres­i­dent, con­vinced of his in­no­cence, has re­acted in a very hu­man way that has some­times been un­wise, but cer­tainly not crim­i­nal.

If the shoe was on the other foot, Demo­cratic of­fice­hold­ers, from sea to shin­ing sea, would be de­fend­ing their pres­i­dent and de­mand­ing an end to the par­ti­san­ship and waste of the tax­payer’s money on a phony in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

And where are the Repub­li­cans? Hid­ing in the bushes or, like Sen. John Mc­Cain, tak­ing pot­shots at their own law­fully elected pres­i­dent. The best way to pro­tect their seats in the next elec­tion is to can­cel their re­cess and demon­strate some ur­gency in ad­dress­ing the key is­sues that Amer­i­cans voted for last year — tax cuts, grow­ing the econ­omy and fix­ing the bro­ken health care sys­tem.

This in­ves­ti­ga­tion is just a fish­ing ex­pe­di­tion to take down a pres­i­dent and pre­vent the pas­sage of his agenda. It is a witch hunt, and it is time to end it.

Mr. Comey re­vealed his mo­tive to con­tinue dam­ag­ing the pres­i­dent by telling the con­gres­sional com­mit­tee that he leaked a memo about his con­ver­sa­tion with the pres­i­dent to the me­dia, in order to achieve ap­point­ment of a spe­cial coun­sel.

IL­LUS­TRA­TION BY GREG GROESCH

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