Dress Rehearsal for Impeachment

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court was approved on an 11-10 party-line vote Friday in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Yet his confirmation is not assured.

Sen. Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, has demanded and gotten as the price of his vote on the floor, a weeklong delay. And the GOP Senate has agreed to Democrat demands for a new FBI investigation of all credible charges of sexual abuse against the judge.

Astonishing. With a quarter century in public service, Kavanaugh has undergone six FBI field investigations. They turned up nothing like the charges of sexual misconduct leveled against him these last two weeks.

In his 30 hours of public testimony before the judiciary committee prior to Thursday, no senator had raised an issue of a sexual misconduct.

But if Brett Kavanaugh is elevated to the Supreme Court, it will be because, in his final appearance, he tore up the script assigned to him. He set aside his judicial demeanor to fight for his good name with the passion and righteous rage of the innocent and good man he believes himself to be.

He turned an inquisition into his character and conduct as a teenager into a blazing indictment of the Democratic minority for what they were doing to his reputation and his family.

Rather than play the role of penitent, Kavanaugh did what Clarence Thomas did 30 years before. He attacked the character, conduct and motives of his Democratic accusers.

And did the judge not speak the truth? With few exceptions, all four dozen Senate Democrats are determined to defeat him, even if that requires them to destroy him.

They rejected Brett Kavanaugh the day he was nominated.

Why? Because the judge is a conservative and a Catholic, hence an unreliable vote to sustain Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that discovered hidden in the Constitution a woman’s right to abort her unborn child.

The verdict on the judge came down in the hearts and minds of his enemies the moment that he was named. They had him convicted, before they met him. And once his fate was decided, the only remaining issues were where to find the dirt to bury him with, and how to make it look like they had given Kavanaugh a fair hearing.

Contrast how Kavanaugh, who has served his country with distinction for decades, was treated Thursday, and how Dr. Christine Blasey Ford was treated.

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Ford was greeted with courtly courtesy by Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley. No Republican senator asked her a question. Rachel Mitchell, a prosecutor of sex crimes brought in from Arizona, quizzed her as though she were a 15-year-old girl who had just been attacked, not a 51-year-old woman whose uncorroborated accusations were designed not only to defeat a Supreme Court nomination but to destroy the career, family and future of a federal judge.

After each five-minutes of polite questioning by Mitchell, Democratic senators took turns lauding Ford’s courage, bravery and heroism in agreeing to appear.

Ford’s testimony as to what she says happened in 1982 did seem credible and compelling. Yet, to allow her accusation of attempted rape to stand without tough and thorough cross-examination, given the stakes involved, was a dereliction of Senate duty.

Consider. Ford does not recall how she got to the party where the alleged assault took place. She does not know where the party was held. She does now recall how she got home.

None of the other four she said were at the party recall being there. Her best friend, whom she apparently left behind as the lone woman in a house with a pair of drunken rapists, does not recall any such party. Nor does she recall ever having met Kavanaugh.

Consider the other charges leveled against Kavanaugh in the last two weeks: Exposing himself in the face of a freshman girl in a dorm at Yale. Participating in a series of at least 10 parties in high school where planned gang rapes of drunken and drugged women were a regular feature, with the boys lining up outside bedrooms.

In six FBI background investigations of Kavanaugh, interviewing countless friends and contemporaries from high school days, none of this wild and criminal misconduct of the early ’80s was mentioned.

“This is the most unethical sham since I’ve been in politics,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, “I hope that the American people will see through this charade.”

They had best do so. For what is being done to Kavanaugh is, if Democrats take control of Congress in November, a harbinger of what is to come. The assault on Kavanaugh, converting a man known for his integrity into a youthful Jack the Ripper in 10 days, is the playbook for what is planned for Trump.

The Kavanaugh lynching is a dress rehearsal for the impeachment of Donald Trump. And the best way to fight impeachment is the way the judge fought Thursday.

In defending yourself, go after your malevolent accusers as well.

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The Huge Stakes of Thursday’s Confrontations

The Huge Stakes of Thursday's Confrontations

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Thursday is shaping up to be the Trump presidency’s “Gunfight at O.K. Corral.”

That day, the fates of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and much else, may be decided.

The New York Times report that Rosenstein, sarcastically or seriously in May 2017, talked of wearing a wire into the Oval Office to entrap the president, suggests that his survival into the new year is improbable.

Whether Thursday is the day President Donald Trump drops the hammer is unknown.

But if he does, the recapture by Trump of a Justice Department he believes he lost as his term began may be at hand. Comparisons to President Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre may not be overdone.

The Times report that Rosenstein also talked of invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump suggests that Sen. Lindsey Graham had more than a small point on “Fox News Sunday”: “There’s a bureaucratic coup going on at the Department of Justice and the FBI, and somebody needs to look at it.”

Indeed, they do. And it is inexplicable that a special prosecutor has not been named. For while the matter assigned to special counsel Robert Mueller, to investigate any Trump collusion with Russia in hacking the emails of the Clinton campaign and DNC, is serious, a far graver matter has gotten far less attention.

To wit, did an anti-Trump cabal inside the Department of Justice and the FBI conspire to block Trump’s election, and having failed, plot to bring down his presidency in a “deep state” coup d’etat?

Rosenstein’s discussion of wearing a wire into the Oval Office lends credence to that charge, but there is much more to it.

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The story begins with the hiring by the Clinton campaign, though its law firm cutout, in June 2016, of the dirt-divers of Fusion GPS.

Fusion swiftly hired retired British spy and Trump hater Christopher Steele, who contacted his old sources in the Russian intel community for dirt to help sink a U.S. presidential candidate.

What his Russian friends provided was passed on by Steele to his paymaster at GPS, his contact in the Justice Department, No. 3 man Bruce Ohr, and to the FBI, which was also paying the British spy.

The FBI then used the dirt Steele unearthed, much of it false, to persuade a FISA court to issue a warrant to wiretap Trump aide Carter Page. The warrant was renewed three times, the last with the approval of Trump’s own deputy attorney general, Rosenstein.

Regrettably, Trump, at the request of two allies — the Brits almost surely one of them — has put a hold on his recent decision to declassify all relevant documents inside the Justice Department and FBI.

Yet, as The Wall Street Journal wrote Monday, “As for the allies, sometimes U.S. democratic accountability has to take precedence over the potential embarrassment of British intelligence.”

Thursday’s meeting between Trump and Rosenstein will coincide with the Judiciary Committee’s hearing into the charge by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford that, as a 15-year-old, she was sexually assaulted by 17-year-old Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court.

This weekend brought fresh charges, from a Yale classmate of Kavanaugh, Deborah Ramirez, that at a drunken party in their freshman year, Kavanaugh exposed himself.

Kavanaugh has fired off a letter to Sens. Chuck Grassley and Dianne Feinstein, chairman and ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, calling the accusations “smears, pure and simple.”

Kavanaugh continued: “I will not be intimidated into withdrawing from this process. The coordinated effort to destroy my good name will not drive me out. The vile threats of violence against my family will not drive me out. The last-minute character assassination will not succeed.”

What is at stake in Thursday’s appearance by Kavanaugh and Ford is huge. A successful defense of his good name could mean Kavanaugh’s swift elevation to the high court, a historic victory for the GOP’s judicial philosophy, and the culmination of a decades-long campaign dating back to the Earl Warren era of the Supreme Court.

As for the judge himself, the issue is not just his behavior as a teenager and university student, but his credibility and honor as a man.

He has asked friends and allies to trust and believe him when he says that he is a victim of a character assassination steeped that is rooted in ideology and lies.

Thus far, no credible individual has come forward to corroborate the charges against him when he was at Georgetown Prep or at Yale. And almost all who knew him testify to his character.

We are often told that the moment we are in has historic significance and will be long remembered. Yet, how many can still recall what the “resister” in the Trump White House or Cabinet wrote in his or her anonymous op-ed in The New York Times?

How Kavanaugh conducts himself Thursday, however, and whether he is elevated to the court, could decide the fate of constitutional conservatism and the Republican Congress in 2018.

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Will War Cancel Trump’s Triumphs?

Will War Cancel Trump's Triumphs?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Asked what he did during the French Revolution, Abbe Sieyes replied, “I survived.”

Donald Trump can make the same boast.

No other political figure has so dominated our discourse. And none, not Joe McCarthy in his heyday in the early ’50s, nor Richard Nixon in Watergate, received such intensive and intemperate coverage and commentary as has our 45th president.

Whatever one may think of Trump, he is a leader and a fighter, not a quitter. How many politicians could have sustained the beatings Trump has taken, and remained as cocky and confident?

And looking back on what may fairly be called The Year of Trump, his achievements have surprised even some of his enemies.

With the U.S. military given a freer hand by Trump, a U.S.-led coalition helped expel ISIS from its twin capitals of Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in Iraq, driving it back into a desert enclave on the Iraq-Syria border. The caliphate is dead, and the caliph nowhere to be found.

The economy, with the boot of Barack Obama off its neck, has been growing at 3 percent. The stock market has soared to record highs. Unemployment is down to 4 percent. And Trump and Congress just passed the largest tax cut since Ronald Reagan.

With deregulation, which conservative Republicans preached to deaf ears in the Bush I and Bush II eras, Trump and those he has put into positions of power have exceeded expectations.

Pipelines Obama blocked have been approved. Alaska’s National Wildlife Refuge has been opened to exploratory drilling. We have exited a Paris climate accord that favored China over the U.S.

Though Beijing’s trade surplus with us is returning to record highs, a spirit of “America First” economic nationalism is pervasive among U.S. trade negotiators,

The one justice named to the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch, appears in the Antonin Scalia tradition. And under Chairman Chuck Grassley, the Senate judiciary committee is moving conservatives and strict constructionists onto U.S. appellate and district courts.

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Politically, however, the year brought bad news, with portents of worse to come. In November, the Republican Party was thrashed in Virginia, losing all state offices, and then lost a Senate seat in Alabama.

Given polls showing Trump under water and the GOP running 10 points behind the Democratic Party in favorability, there is a possibility the GOP could lose the House in 2018.

And though Democrats have three times as many seats at risk in 2018, the GOP losing the Senate is not beyond the realm of possibility.

Should that happen, the conservative dream of a recapture of the U.S. Supreme Court could swiftly vanish.

Recall: Democratic Senates turned down two Nixon nominees and Reagan’s nomination of Robert Bork, forcing both presidents to name justices who evolved into moderates and liberals on the high court.

But it is in the realm of foreign policy where the real perils seem to lie. President Trump has been persuaded by his national security team to send Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine, for use against the tanks and armor of pro-Russian rebels in Donetsk and Luhansk.

Should Petro Poroshenko’s Kiev regime reignite the war in his breakaway provinces bordering Russia, Vladimir Putin is less likely to let him crush the rebels than to intervene with superior forces and rout the Ukrainian army.

Trump’s choice then? Accept defeat and humiliation for our “ally” — or escalate and widen the conflict with Russia.

Putin’s interest in the Donbass, a part of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union for centuries, is obvious.

What, exactly, is ours — to justify a showdown with Moscow?

In this city there is also a powerful propaganda push to have this country tear up the nuclear deal John Kerry negotiated with Iran, and confront the Iranians in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and the Persian Gulf.

But how much backing would Trump have for another U.S. war in that blood-soaked region, after Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria?

Who would stand with us, and for how long?

When Trump declared Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel and pledged to move our embassy there, we had to veto a unanimous U.N. Security Council resolution condemning us. Then the General Assembly denounced the U.S. in a resolution supported by all our key NATO allies, Russia and China, and every Arab and Muslim nation.

A day later, Trump complained on Twitter that we have “foolishly spent $7 trillion in the Middle East.”

What then would justify a new $1 or $2 trillion war with the largest nation on the Persian Gulf, which could send oil to $200 a barrel and sink the global economy?

Cui bono? For whose benefit all these wars?

The Korean War finished Truman. Vietnam finished LBJ. Reagan said putting Marines into Lebanon was his worst mistake. Iraq cost Bush II both houses of Congress and his party the presidency in 2008.

Should Trump become a war president, he’ll likely become a one-term president.

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