Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been clinging to her bill of impeachment for one reason: hoping that a judge will rule to release all the evidence and depositions collected by Robert Mueller’s investigation. What’s wrong with that? Mr. Mueller failed to find any prosecutable crimes. That was the sum and substance of his two-year-long exercise in bad faith. In which case, all that material is officially and legally evidence of nothing. Impeachment is a political act and sealed evidence of nothing can’t be released to one set of political actors in a political quarrel for use as a political weapon. More to the point - and to Mrs. Pelosi’s real motive here - the material is not for impeachment but rather to use the Mueller dossier as political opposition “research” for the coming election.
There is no question that from the start of his investigation, Special Counsel Robert Mueller knew that the case was opened under false pretenses, since his very close friend, the erstwhile FBI director James Comey, also knew by early 2017 that all the predicating material was substantially false, and that it was procured by Mrs. Clinton. To carry it beyond that was a scheme by acting FBI director Rod Rosenstein to issue a series of “scoping” letters that increasingly widened Mr. Mueller’s purview to go fishing for crimes in every area and every chronological phase of the president’s life. That smacks of what’s known in Anglo-American law as attainder by process: first declaring someone an outlaw, and only afterward seeking a crime to justify it. Under our system, first crimes are established, then persons liable for them are brought to court to answer charges.
Of course, there’s good reason to suspect that Mr. Mueller himself was a false front for the operation conducted in his name, which was really an intrigue carried out by a claque of Democratic Party Lawfare attorneys led by Andrew Weissmann, Mr. Mueller’s chief deputy. Mr. Mueller’s testimony before two House committees last July revealed a pathetic figure who was unacquainted with the most basic pieces of his own inquiry.
The case for House members to get access to all that backstage Mueller material could go up to the Supreme Court. In the meantime, Impeachment’s second act is about to get underway whether Mrs. Pelosi likes the terms or not. It’s the Senate’s prerogative to decide. These terms appear to be exactly the same as the ones used by the Senate for Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial — which means that each side chooses a team of “managers” to present its case, and then the managers are subject to grilling by senators. The House Democrats are insisting on calling witnesses solely to maintain their court claim for testimony from the White House counsel, with which the aforesaid Mueller material is associated in the case. If the rules eschew witnesses, that case is moot, and the Democrats lose access to a trove of political oppo research obtained for them under false pretenses by their own operatives in the Department of Justice.
Secondarily, the impeachment was designed to get senators in swing states on the record voting to acquit the president in the hopes that it will somehow taint their re-election prospects and possibly flip control of the Senate to the Democrats. That outcome would above all insure that Mr. Trump could not get another Supreme Court nominee confirmed in his second term, nor continue the wholesale appointment of lesser federal district judges. Plus, of course, it would obstruct any other legislative initiative his party brought for four years.
Personally, I would miss the chance to hear from the so-called “whistleblower” who instigated the impeachment phase of the long-running coup against Mr. Trump. Contrary to the disinformation put out by The New York Times and other coup co-conspirators, the “whistleblower” enjoys no right to anonymity. It would also be satisfying to hear how his enabler, Intel Community IG Michael Atkinson, might account for the process that steered the “whistleblower” to Rep. Adam Schiff and his staff — for instance, back-dating the official documents that green-lighted the “whistleblower’s” case. Mr. Atkinson is deeply implicated himself as a player in the earlier 2017 RussiaGate FISA court mischief, since his previous job was agency counsel to DOJ National Security chief John Carlin, who signed off on fraudulent FISA warrants. Mr. Atkinson must have counseled Mr. Carlin to do that. Testimony from Mr. Schiff about the “whistleblower” process would also be edifying. Senators would surely get to see Mr. Atkinson’s so-far-withheld deposition transcript from the House Intel Committee hearings of November. It might establish grounds for Mr. Schiff’s expulsion from the House of Representatives as a serial liar, a salutary measure to restore a sense of legitimacy in American affairs.
If witnesses were allowed in the Senate trial phase of impeachment, the president’s team could haul in scores of former and current government officials implicated in the seditious activities against him to testify. The nation would be well-served and enlightened. The only question is whether their testimony might queer the actual criminal cases pending against them outside the impeachment circus.