The most important takeaway from this weekend’s release by Attorney General William Barr of the conclusion of Special Counsel Robert Mueller that there was no evidence of any American colluding with Russia to interfere with the Presidential Election of 2016 is the President’s pithy comment.
President Trump called the now discredited charges of collusion, an “illegal takedown that failed.”
While CNN and, apparently most Democrats purported to wonder what he meant by that, the President’s meaning was clear, as was his suggestion that someone should look into “what the other side did.” The “other side” to which the President referred was, of course, the Clinton campaign, and not purported Russian miscreants.
It is now time for the Justice Department to pursue what is becoming increasingly evident to objective observers and that is that the suggestion of “Russian Collusion,” was a fabrication by Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, by officials in the Obama Justice Department, FBI, and intelligence agencies, before and after Trump’s election. This was, apparently, the “insurance policy” that Peter Strzok and Lisa Page spoke of that they believed could take out the President if he somehow triumphed in the election.
This conspiracy, if that’s what it was (and it certainly now seems so), literally to obstruct Justice and, it would appear, frame the President on charges of conspiring with a foreign power, has been described by some commentators as the worst scandal in American political history, and, if it happened, this is surely correct.
If Obama administration officials knowingly misled other officials and the American public into believing that the 2016 election was compromised, then they were aiming at nothing less than the subversion of the Constitution and popular sovereignty itself. Donald Trump, we now know, was the legitimately elected President of the United States, even if his enemies refuse still to accept that.
In the early days of our republic there were actually two rebellions against the government of the United States, one in 1794 in Western Pennsylvania, and one in 1799 in Eastern Pennsylvania. Neither is much discussed these days, but it took armed intervention by federal troops to quell those two disturbances, and while the perpetrators were eventually pardoned by Presidents Washington and Adams, during their trials it was explained to the defendants that by rebelling against our government, they were actually rebelling against the people themselves. Something similar ought to be said about those who concocted the canard of Russian collusion.
We don’t yet know who these miscreants were, but many names have been floated. Michael Goodwin, of the New York Post, believes that, “Getting to the bottom of it would mean a criminal probe of [Former FBI Director James] Comey and his former deputy, Andrew McCabe,” and that, “A criminal probe would also mean uncovering any role played by the reprehensible John Brennan, then head of the CIA, James Clapper, head of national intelligence, and Susan Rice, Obama’s national security adviser, in creating the [original] FBI probe [into purported Russian collusion].” Inquiries can also be expected into when and if President Obama knew about or was involved in what will likely prove to be this criminal conduct.
March 24, 2019, the day that Barr’s summary of the Mueller investigation was released, will go down as a turning point in American history, as the end of a period of national deception. President Trump’s enemies and his assorted nemeses among the Democrats such as Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Jerald Nadler, and Adam Schiff cannot be expected to go back gentle into the night, but their utter shamelessness has now been unmasked.
William Shakespeare almost always has the right observation for a period of turmoil, and what we’ve recently gone through was how the Duke, in "Measure for Measure," described a lawless Vienna. “Liberty plucks Justice by the nose,” he said, “The baby beats the nurse, and quite athwart Goes all decorum.” By that, the Bard meant that laws were ignored, unbridled license was rampant, and the essential foundation of the rule of law was destroyed. What Mr. Trump’s enemies, blinded or crazed by opposition to the man and the policies he represented, sought was to bring us close to that situation.
Remarkably, many on the right believed that Robert Mueller, because he assembled a team that apparently included so many Democrats and Clinton partisans was himself a creature of the deep state out to get the President. The deep state may still be out there, but Mueller has actually helped in the effort to defeat it.
Stephen B. Presser is the Raoul Berger Professor of Legal History Emeritus at Northwestern’s Pritzker School of Law, the Legal Affairs Editor of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture, and a contributor to The University Bookman. He graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School, and has taught at Rutgers University, the University of Virginia, and University College, London. He has often testified on constitutional issues before committees of the United States Congress, and is the author of "Recapturing the Constitution: Race, Religion, and Abortion Reconsidered" (Regnery, 1994) and "Law Professsors: Three Centuries of Shaping American Law" (West Academic, 2017). Presser was recently appointed as a Visiting Scholar in Conservative Thought and Policy at the University of Colorado's Boulder Campus for 2018-2019. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.