When Democrats in 2018 wrested control of the House of Representatives from Republicans, they may have set themselves up for a political bloodbath in 2020. Their fate was in their own hands, of course. They could have focused on constructive legislation, giving themselves a record of achievement to take to the American voter in the next general election campaign. Clearly, though, they have little chance of achieving that goal; failing to win a majority in the Senate was a disaster for the Democratic Party and one that put them in their current quandary.
Had the Democrats won majorities in both legislative chambers, they could have done what they promised the people they were capable of doing, which was to both investigate and legislate. A popular phrase among Democrats and media pundits, these days, is that Democrats could – and would – prove they are able to walk and chew gum. As it stands, they have only managed to chew the gum, and the only walking they have done is to the convenience store – to buy more gum.
The Democratic Party would also be in better shape today had it failed, in 2018, to even win a majority in the House. With no ability to either investigate the president or exert control over the legislative agenda, Democrat presidential candidates and those running to retain or win seats in Congress could absolve themselves of any responsibility whatsoever and run as agents of change for the better.
Scorched-Earth Agenda the Only Option for Dems
Having failed, then, to set themselves up with a strong argument for being the party that deserves majority power – including the White House – in 2020, Democrats have placed all their eggs in the basket marked “destroy Trump.” At this point, the opposition party has little choice but to plunge ahead with a scorched-earth policy aimed solely at the annihilation of the executive branch.
They will attempt to do so under the banner of saving the republic and defending the Constitution from a tyrant. It is difficult to recall any time in recent history when so many Democrats have invoked the Constitution so many times. Following the recent House Judiciary Committee vote to move forward with contempt proceedings against Attorney General William Barr, the committee chairman, Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) used the term “constitutional crisis” and, within hours, the party’s media lackeys took up the cry.
The presidential race in 2020 will be determined by other issues but, in the fight for control of Congress, Democrats will make the case that their ability to do their jobs as lawmakers was stifled by the ongoing constitutional crisis created by a lawless and reckless president and his corrupt henchmen.
This explains the fever pitch to which House Democrats have driven their attacks upon this president and members of his cabinet. Ignoring the fact that the administration of former President Barack Obama ignored numerous congressional subpoenas, Nadler and many others in his party are attempting to sell the public on the idea that executive officers failing to comply with subpoenas represents the greatest threat to democracy ever faced by the federal government.
The Mueller Report Farce
The Judiciary Committee chairman wrote a letter to Attorney General Barr – the same attorney general Nadler is so determined to hold in contempt. Referring, in his letter, to President Donald Trump’s decision to assert executive privilege over the unredacted Mueller report, Nadler writes: “The President’s pronouncement amounts to a direct assault on the constitutional order and on Congress’s constitutional oversight and legislative interest with regard to the President and his Administration.”
Several Supreme Court rulings have established that, while Congress has the authority, under Article I of the Constitution, to conduct investigations, that power is limited to the legislative process. In other words, Congress has no authority to conduct any investigations that do not support the crafting of necessary legislation or the amending of laws already on the books. The Mueller report, which Democrats held sacred prior to its release, has nothing to do with legislation beyond the consideration of laws that may make it more difficult, in the future, for foreign meddling in American political and electoral processes.
House Democrats have not made the case that this is why they need to see a completely unredacted copy of the report. On the contrary, they have made it clear that their purpose is to discover conclusive evidence of a conspiracy or of obstruction of justice that – for some unexplained reason – the special counsel decided to conceal within those redactions.
As if the situation were not already sufficiently farcical, Barr’s refusal to produce an entirely unredacted report was based on current law, which states that 6e material – that is, grand jury testimony – may not be disclosed to those not involved in the case being heard by that grand jury. During the House Judiciary Committee discussion of contempt proceedings against Barr, Nadler himself admitted that he had not expected the AG to reveal the 6e information.
Nevertheless, the written demand that Barr should produce the unredacted report made no mention of an exception for this material. In effect, then, the contempt charge against the attorney general, now awaiting a vote on the house floor, is entirely pointless – which may explain why Democrats have become a little evasive on the subject of when the contempt vote will come to the floor.
Democrats have now set themselves on an irreversible course; the destruction of the president must be achieved before November 2020. The hysteria with which they are approaching this task is heightened by the Department of Justice’s imminent deconstruction of the Trump-Russia conspiracy theory and exposure of those who created and perpetuated it.
There is still an elephant in the room, of course: Even if Democrats are able, before the 2020 election, to bury this president under a mountain of subpoenas, contempt charges, investigations, and threats, will the voting public reward them with more political power or punish them for manufacturing a constitutional crisis to destroy a president who has achieved remarkable results?
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