When then-candidate Donald Trump ran for president, he promised his voters extreme vetting of immigrants. Instead, it was the president himself who became extremely vetted. This proves him superbly qualified to deliver on another of his campaign promises: to drain the swamp.
When Attorney General Bill Barr presented the findings of the Mueller report in a press conference, he stated that the level of scrutiny of President Donald Trump was “unprecedented.” No other president in American history has been investigated for misconduct to such a degree.
The Chief Executive who perhaps comes closest is President Richard Nixon. Indeed, the Watergate incident became such a national trauma that it is an idiom for massive government scandals of crime and corruption.
Although Watergate started with the arrest of five intruders on June 17, 1972, it was not until April 30, 1973, that Attorney General Elliot Richardson appointed Archibald Cox as a special prosecutor. A little over a year later, after the infamous “Saturday night massacre,” a Supreme Court ruling, and impeachment proceedings on charges of obstruction of justice, Nixon resigned on August 8, 1974.
There are striking parallels between Watergate and the Russian collusion conspiracy theory, but not what most people expect. On the surface, the Mueller probe reflects the timeline and elements of Watergate. That is probably why so many adversaries of the president make this connection.
However, the better connection is this: A political opponent was illegally spied upon by the party in power, with links to the White House. The evidence suggests that this happened with Trump as the victim. He was spied upon based on the fake Steele dossier, which was paid for by the Clinton campaign, and it was used to weaponize the FBI against a political opponent.
Thus, so far only the victim has been scrutinized. The real culprits in Russia collusion have yet to be thoroughly investigated and brought to trial. Future historians may refer to this scandal as Spygate or Russiagate.
The other U.S. leader who has been investigated is President Bill Clinton, due to his sex habits in the Oval Office. He ultimately was impeached for perjury, after having lied under oath about his sexual relations with a young intern. Nevertheless, the investigation was limited in scope and did not involve Mueller’s aggressive strategy of setting perjury traps, and no one was charged or sentenced for crimes outside the scope of the original investigation. In terms of scrutiny, the Clinton scandal did not rise to the level of the Mueller probe.
Draining the Swamp
The unintended side effect of the Mueller report is that Trump now is the most extremely vetted president in U.S. history. We now know that not only did he not collude with Russia or obstruct justice, but no other criminal activity relating directly to Trump, his family, and his organization was uncovered, despite vigilant efforts by Mueller and his team.
If we consider the fact that Trump has been a celebrity businessman for most of his adult life, it makes sense that he has always acted under the assumption that he was under surveillance or that he could be audited or investigated. As such, out of pure self-interest, he would likely want to keep clean in order not to be subject to blackmail or adversaries who wish to take him down.
Paradoxically, this brazen, rough-mouthed New York businessman may, therefore, be the most qualified president to drain the swamp and defang the Deep State.
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