Saturday, September 28, 2019

I know you are, but what am I?

Donald Trump is accused, in the words of Carl Bernstein, of causing a genuine national security crisis.  Reports are he was angry at the treatment of Donald, Jr., and so he went after the Joe/Hunter Biden story in revenge.  Now he's getting peanut butter in his chocolate and combining the crimes he's accused of and has accused others of, in a grand synthesis of criminality and abuse of power:

“The Trump administration is investigating the email records of dozens of current and former senior State Department officials who sent messages to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email, reviving a politically toxic matter that overshadowed the 2016 election, current and former officials said,” the paper reported.

The scope of the investigation is staggering.

“As many as 130 officials have been contacted in recent weeks by State Department investigators — a list that includes senior officials who reported directly to Clinton as well as others in lower-level jobs whose emails were at some point relayed to her inbox, said current and former State Department officials,” the paper noted. “Those targeted were notified that emails they sent years ago have been retroactively classified and now constitute potential security violations, according to letters reviewed by The Washington Post.”State Department investigators began contacting the former officials about 18 months ago, after President Trump’s election, and then seemed to drop the effort before picking it up in August, officials said.”

Here again we have our genuine 'constitutional crisis' which no one will name, because it is a real crisis, not something breathlessly imagined in order to gin up interest in an otherwise mundane political story.  The crisis is this:  the Constitution specifically forbids what lawyers call "ex post facto" laws.  That is, you can't make criminal an act that wasn't criminal, and then indict or convict the actor of committing a criminal act which wasn't criminal when the act was made.

See?  The government can decide to classify material not previously classified (although it's a fool's errand, obviously).  It's quite another matter to threaten criminal sanctions against people who dealt in previously unclassified material which is classified now.  And of course once again Trump is his own worst enemy:

“To many of those under scrutiny, including some of the Democratic Party’s top foreign policy experts, the recent flurry of activity surrounding the Clinton email case represents a new front on which the Trump administration could be accused of employing the powers of the executive branch against perceived political adversaries,” The Post explained. “The existence of the probe follows revelations that the president used multiple levers of his office to pressure the leader of Ukraine to pursue investigations that Trump hoped would produce damaging information about Democrats, including potential presidential rival Joe Biden.”

So thanks to the impeachment inquiries, Trump throws fuel on the fire because if Hillary did it (or Biden, or Obama), then he can't be guilty unless they are guilty, and if they are guilty he can't be guilty because.....well, the reasoning runs completely aground at that point.  It's Trump's attempt at a Catch-22, but it's no catch at all.  He keeps expanding the issues the House should investigate, but he keeps doing them the favor of making sure it's all tied to him; because in the end he has to be sure it is always by and about him.

Somewhere Richard Nixon wants his "Most Incompetently Corrupt" title taken away and passed on to the living.

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