Newt Gingrich tells the Washington Post that the White House and its allies are “preparing for war” with Mueller, as the anticipated report on obstruction of justice draws nearer by the day. Would one expect any other analogy from a team as self-important as that made up by Trump, Gingrich, Giuliani, Nunes …I could go on, but the question remains, do you expect anything different? “War”?
The word reveals more than one originally thinks, indeed, it reveals near everything.
Most obviously, use of the word “war” reveals an attitude that “facts be damned, we are going to fight, and fight in a “war” where, by definition, generally one party gets bludgeoned to either death or submission.” Already they have framed the matter: A) Wrong, and B) In a context that favors them. They have framed this as “personal,” driven by an agenda outside the facts, as applied to law. It should be a fierce examination of facts, not a “war” between factions.
William F. Buckley, the too-brilliant conservative who founded modern “real conservatism” (which has nothing to do with what the freedom caucus or any self-referenced conservative believes nowadays) wrote a book called The Right Word, in which the man famous for his devastatingly genius vocabulary emphasized the importance of precision in choosing the “right word” to convey one’s exact meaning, rather than lazy use of “seemingly similar” words that often convey something wholly different. This is a classic example.
Anyone who has spent time in the legal world is used to hearing; “We will fight these charges to the end.” It is a perfectly acceptable retort. Indeed, the entire criminal procedure set up by our founding fathers presumes a hotly contested examination of the facts.
We are not used to hearing that the defense is going to war.
Newt Gingrich, unlike Trump, Giuliani, Nunes, Stone, et. al. does have a brilliant side, and he chose this word purposefully. He chose the most accurate word. They intend to make war with Mueller, meaning they will go beyond fighting the factual charges, they will fight Mueller, tear him down, tear his team down, tear down departments, tear down faith in the law, tear down the idea of truth, and they will use any weapon at their disposal including lies, personal information, threats and illegal behavior. That one word conveys it all, and believe me, they have already laid the predicate for their sympathizers, their supporters, to believe that theirs is a “defensive war.”
The have told us that the investigation is “unconstitutional,” a democratic plant, started by “enemies” (we mentioned that “word” in an earlier column today), they are being “framed,” it is all a plan to steal the presidency, a “coup,” even Dershowitz flat lied this morning about Manafort being jailed “without a hearing.” It took Jeffery Toobin to slap down the previously respected professor, indeed Manafort had two hearings.
This nation is about to be tested.
Know your facts. First, know that Mueller’s report on obstruction of justice is fundamentally different than other parts of his report. Mueller doesn’t believe he can indict a sitting president. He believes there is one constitutional remedy for such a crime – impeachment. Therefore, this first “report” will focus on crimes committed while in office, primarily obstruction of justice. It will not be an indictment, but a report to Congress.
Mueller does believe that he can indict a president for crimes committed prior to taking office. The question becomes do the indictments sit in abeyance until the president is no longer in office. Or, does he press the indictments against a sitting president, we don’t know, and probably won’t for some time. There is a third aspect to Mueller’s investigation that is more nebulous, secretive. Little information is out, I am not going to speculate. But it won’t be in a report any time soon.
For now, the only report expected soon is the report to Rosenstein on obstruction of justice. Rosenstein will surely refer the report to Congress, and will be pressured to release the report to the public. I expect that Rosenstein will want to release the report, but will be fired if he does so – it’s war, after all. If the report got to Congress, it would go to Nunes or Ryan, not necessarily to every member. Expect them to attempt shelve it, thought he political pressure would be overwhelming to release it. It is possible that only then will there be a “leak” and the report will reach the public. Or, Mueller office can do as it has done before and “refer” charges to state Attorneys General.
One way or another, expect the report to be released to the public. From there, one can be near certain that no matter how clear the charges, the House as currently constituted, will not impeach Trump. However, that doesn’t mean that the House – as constituted next January couldn’t vote on the matter, sending it to the Senate. I do not expect you’ll find the 15-18 Republican Senators needed to reach 66 votes to impeach on obstruction of justice.
But, the crimes regarding possible conspiracy (the crime that is collusion), which could involve tax evasion (near certain), money laundering, conspiring to win an election, those charges will come out, too. The impact of those charges will depend upon how hard the obstruction charges hit. That is why the White House is preparing for “war” on obstruction, to weaken the impact of “the big ones.”
The White House knows that Trump will not be impeached by a Republican Senate over obstruction, the nation is now too lawless, not the mature republic it was when Nixon was president. Trump will likely be censured heavily.
BUT, even if the charges don’t arise to impeachment, if the evidence is given real credibility, taken very seriously, then Trump knows he’s sunk when Mueller gets around to the real crimes, the financial ones that Cohen and Manafort know all about.
That is why they are preparing for “war” now. They want Mueller “dead” – figuratively. They want Mueller’s team’s word to carry no weight. They will use all means at their disposal, and that weaponry is far more varied that we Americans are used to dealing with. It is highly likely that – if Mueller indicts Trump on financial crimes, or conspiracy to steal an election – the charges will necessarily implicate other powerful people, up to and including Vladimir Putin and the Crown Prince of the House of Saud. I don’t want to go overboard here, but do know, these people fight “wars” with different tools than those used in the American justice system.
Both Putin and Mohammed bin Salman have both killed and tortured. This might just be one of the many reasons that Manafort has not cut a deal to keep him out of prison, yet. It is possible that Manafort has fears beyond a life in prison. Witnesses in these matters best be very careful, ideally they are already protected.
These adversaries also routinely bribe people to get what they want – so does Trump, as we have seen already. No one is going to bribe Robert Mueller, nor anyone on his team. But, what about news organizations? What about reporters, witnesses, and other people of “influence”?
Gingrich means what he says when he states they are ready for “war.” That means we must be, also. It doesn’t mean we fight like they do, we need not do that, we have the truth on our side, whatever it might be, even if the report clears Trump – we simply want the truth. But, we can also fight by looking for the “not so obvious.” If we see a Dershowitz caught in a flat lie on TV, ask ourselves why that might be. If we hear a criticism of Mueller that seems just absurd, and yet they have “evidence.” THAT is what we must be prepared to fight, be prepared to assume that this is the “war” we have been promised.
Our country is about to be tested unlike never before. The civil war was a greater test, whether the country would exist at all. This test will be more like the civil rights movement, in that it will determine the type of country we choose to be. In the civil rights movement, we turned away from official American apartheid. This year, this term, with this president, we will be tested whether we remain committed to the rule of law, or will we become just another nation continually bending to brute political force of will, even in the face of overwhelming corruption? A banana republic?
They declared war. We need only defend what we know to be right. But, we must be ready, and ready in ways we never contemplated. Our beach-head is more than solid, it has already passed every test. Look at the convictions, the courts.
Oh, and in case you think there’s nothing for any one person to do, you’re wrong. You can vote. Just as important, you can use your voice. When you hear two conservatives speaking about the lie they heard, simply say “that’s actually not true, and it’s rather easy to prove it is not true” – we will provide citations here at Politizoom, and so will many others.
There is a herd mentality to these “wars.” But herds can be pretty easily separated simply be letting the herd know that they’re not ubiquitous, nor beyond question.
There’s more, but this is enough for today. Get ready. It is about to start. They declared “war.”
***Thank you to the amazing twitter response, thousands of re-tweets of articles, and tremendous support. I promise fun, too. This is 2-way twitter, the best kind. I’d be honored if you followed me, @MiciakZoom
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.