Amer­ica’s bru­tal war with it­self

Woonsocket Call - - BLACKSTONE VALLEY - Pa­trick J. Buchanan is the au­thor of “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Bat­tles That Made and Broke a Pres­i­dent and Di­vided Amer­ica For­ever.”

The war in Wash­ing­ton will not end un­til the pres­i­dency of Don­ald Trump ends. Ev­ery­one seems to sense that now. This is a fight to the fin­ish. A post­elec­tion truce that be­gan with Trump con­grat­u­lat­ing House Mi­nor­ity Leader Nancy Pelosi – “I give her a great deal of credit for what she’s done and what she’s ac­com­plished” – was an­cient his­tory by night­fall.

With the forced res­ig­na­tion of At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions and his re­place­ment by his chief of staff, Matthew Whi­taker, the long-an­tic­i­pated con­fronta­tion with Robert Mueller ap­pears at hand.

Ses­sions had re­cused him­self from the over­sight role of the spe­cial coun­sel’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Rus­si­a­gate. Whi­taker has def­i­nitely not.

Be­fore join­ing Jus­tice, he said that the Mueller probe was over­reach­ing, go­ing places it had no au­thor­ity to go, and that it could be leashed by a new at­tor­ney gen­eral and starved of funds un­til it passes away.

Whi­taker was not cho­sen to be merely a place holder un­til a new AG is con­firmed. He was picked so he can get the job done.

And about time.

For two years, Trump has been un­der a cloud of un­proven al­le­ga­tions and sus­pi­cion that he and top cam­paign of­fi­cials col­luded with Vladimir Putin’s Rus­sia to thieve and pub­lish the emails of the Clin­ton cam­paign and the Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee.

It is past time for Mueller to prove these charges or con­cede he has a busted flush, wrap up his in­ves­ti­ga­tion and go home.

And now, in T.S. Eliot’s words, Trump ap­pears to have found “the strength to force the mo­ment to its cri­sis.”

His at­ti­tude to­ward Mueller’s probe is tak­ing on the as­pect of An­drew Jack­son’s at­ti­tude to­ward Ni­cholas Bid­dle’s Sec­ond Bank of the United States: It’s “try­ing to kill me, but I will kill it.”

Trump has been warned by con­gres­sional Democrats that if he in any way im­pedes the work of Mueller’s of­fice, he risks im­peach­ment.

Well, let’s find out.

If the House Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee of in­com­ing chair­man Jer­rold Nadler wishes to im­peach Trump for forc­ing Mueller to fish or cut bait, Trump’s al­lies should broaden the de­bate to the real mo­ti­va­tion here of the de­feated es­tab­lish­ment: It de­tests the man the Amer­i­can peo­ple chose to lead their coun­try and thus wants to use its po­lit­i­cal and cul­tural power to ef­fect his re­moval.

Even be­fore news of Ses­sions’ de­par­ture hit Wed­nes­day, Trump was sub­jected to an an­tifa-style has­sling by the White House press corps.

One re­porter be­rated the pres­i­dent and re­fused to sur­ren­der the mi­cro­phone. Oth­ers shouted sup­port for his an­tics. A third de­manded to know whether Trump’s ad­mis­sion that he’s a “na­tion­al­ist” would give aid and com­fort to “white na­tion­al­ists.”

By pick­ing up the cre­den­tials of CNN’s Jim Acosta and boot­ing him out of the White House, Trump has set a good prece­dent.

Free­dom of the press does not mean guar­an­teed im­mu­nity of the press from the same kind of abuse the press di­rects at the pres­i­dent.

John F. Kennedy was beloved by the me­dia elite. Yet JFK can­celed all White House sub­scrip­tions to the New York Her­ald Tri­bune and called the pub­lisher of The New York Times to get him to pull re­porter David Hal­ber­stam out of Viet­nam for un­der­min­ing U.S. morale in a war in which Green Berets were dy­ing.

Some jour­nal­ists have be­come Trump haters with press passes. And Trump is right to speak truth to main­stream me­dia power and to ac­cord to the chron­i­cally hos­tile press the same ac­cess to the White House to which Robert De Niro is en­ti­tled. Since the days of John Adams, the White House has been the pres­i­dent’s house, not the press’s house.

Pelosi ap­pears the fa­vorite to re­turn as speaker of the House. But she may find her com­ing days in the post she loves to be less-than-happy times.

Some of her in­com­ing com­mit­tee chairs – namely, Adam Schiff, Max­ine Wa­ters and Eli­jah Cum­mings – seem less in­ter­ested in leg­isla­tive com­pro­mises than in rum­mag­ing through White House files for doc­u­ments to dam­age the pres­i­dent, start­ing with his tax re­turns.

To a world watch­ing with fas­ci­na­tion this death strug­gle con­vuls­ing our cap­i­tal, one won­ders how at­trac­tive Amer­i­can democ­racy ap­pears.

And just how much di­vi­sion can this democ­racy stand?

We know what the left thinks of Trump’s “base.”

Hil­lary Clin­ton told us. Half his sup­port­ers, she said, are a “bas­ket of de­plorables” who are “racist, sex­ist, ho­mo­pho­bic, xeno­pho­bic, Is­lam­o­pho­bic – you name it.” Lately, Amer­ica’s pop­ulist right has been called fas­cist and neo-Nazi.

How can the left “unite” with peo­ple like that? Why should the left not try to drive such “racists” out of power by any means nec­es­sary?

This is the think­ing that bred an­tifa.

As for those on the right – as they watch the left dis­par­age the old heroes, tear down their mon­u­ments, purge Chris­tian­ity from their pub­lic schools – they have come to con­clude that their en­e­mies are at root anti-Chris­tian and anti-Amer­i­can.

How do we unify a na­tion where the op­pos­ing camps be­lieve this?

What the Trump-es­tab­lish­ment war is about is the soul of Amer­ica, a war in which a com­pro­mise on prin­ci­ple can be seen as a be­trayal.

PAT BUCHANAN

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