The next couple of days may prove to be “the deep breath before the plunge.” Not to be melodramatic, but as Gandalf told Pippin, “the board is set, the pieces are moving.” I believe the weeks ahead, between now and the 2020 election, are some of the most critical our country has faced. As many of our past leaders have noted, our greatest dangers come not from external enemies, but rather from within.
So how is the board set, and what pieces are in play? First, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in a public statement today, finally publicly directed her party’s committee chairs to begin drafting formal articles of impeachment against President Trump, despite the fact any fair observer of the “inquiry” thus far would note it has hurt, rather than helped, their case.
House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler announced the committee will hold hearings toward that end, beginning Monday morning. But that’s not the only piece moving on Monday. That same day, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz is scheduled to finally release the report on his investigation into possibly serious improprieties by the previous administration to justify spying on the Trump campaign in 2016. These are suspected to include, according to many sources, FBI personnel tampering with interview documentation and concealing potentially exculpatory evidence from their requests to the FISA Court for warrants on various Trump allies. The IG’s semiannual report to Congress at the end of September noted it had 48 open cases regarding official misconduct by Department of Justice employees. It’s not unreasonable to think that might be related. The new report due Monday is rumored to be around 1,000 pages. As some commentators have noted, it doesn’t take 1,000 pages to say there was no wrongdoing. But if one is making a detailed case… or in fact has already referred charges to U.S. Attorney John Durham for prosecution, such a lengthy report would be expected.
The release of the report will be followed by an appearance by IG Horowitz before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, two days after the report’s release. These two dates — December 9th and 11th — have been public for a while. So it’s likely not a coincidence Speaker Pelosi told her House to get moving with impeachment today. The Democrats’ own day of reckoning may be imminent, and it’s been clear this week they’ve been counter-programming the public narrative against any potential negative revelations.
What I can’t understand is why the Democrats would formally impeach the president, forcing a trial before the GOP-controlled Senate. The Democrats have been patently unethical in their conduct of the “inquiry” to date, refusing to allow the GOP to call their own witnesses (with one exception), limiting GOP members’ access to interviews and documentation, and generally riding roughshod over any notions of fairness to the accused. This, of course, is now standard procedure for the Left (see: Brett Kavanaugh). Pelosi’s partisans deliberately have presented a warped, one-sided perspective of the issues at hand (much as they’re alleged to have done with the FISA Court), and their allies in the press have been their megaphone. Representative Nadler’s opening assertion that “the facts are not in dispute” is about as true as “the science is settled” when it comes to
global warming climate change climate crisis.
The Senate, as the Founders intended, tends to be more sober and dignified about such things, so there’s not likely to be a “payback is a b–ch” approach to their own proceedings when the ball lands in their court. But I strongly suspect there’ll be a concerted effort to make sure America gets, in the words of the late Paul Harvey, “the rest of the story.” That possibility alone should make the Democrats think twice about handing off the baton to the Senate. There’s already enough evidence that’s been made public that puts the lie to the narrative they’re selling. But as Glenn Reynolds has said repeatedly about the odds of a Trump reelection, “all the Democrats have to do is not act crazy… and they can’t even do that.” So here’s hoping they try to hand the Senate a lit stick of dynamite, only to have it blow up in their own face, like Wile E. Coyote.
While I could be wrong, I only see two possible outcomes at this point. One is that the president is removed from office. Such a result will, I believe, only convince many (including me) who love this country that it no longer represents them and will not tolerate them interfering with the agenda of their self-declared betters. The Democrats underestimated the anger that helped propel Trump into office. I don’t think they have any notion of the anger that would result from his removal, either.
The second outcome is for the administration to successfully pull the covers off the Deep State shenanigans that began even before Trump took office, and to do so in a way the public and press cannot ignore. There is every reason to believe that if a full public accounting took place, the outcry for justice would be deafening.
Either way, the result will occur in a nation that is armed to the teeth. I generally see that as a good thing. But given the chasm that has opened among us, it’s also a sobering thing to remember. Sure, the “side” I identify with likes to joke that we have most of the guns since the Left finds them icky. I enjoy ribbing the other side as much as the next guy. But as a historian I also know in 1860 both the Union and Confederates held each other in martial as well as social contempt, convinced the war would be quick and easy over their “deranged” opponents. How’d that work out for them? Most wars start with such ill-considered bravado.
The day may come when ballots fail and bullets are required, if we are to remain free. Americans have faced such situations before, and must be prepared to face such again. But let no one kid themselves about what that may mean for all we hold dear.
So I ask that this weekend be one of prayer — a deep breath before the plunge of next week. Prayer for the truth to be fully revealed, no matter where it leads. Prayer that our country will once again value truth over shading information for partisan or personal advantage. Prayer for our leaders — on both sides of the aisle — that they will be honest with us, sober, and careful with the governance of our nation. Prayer that our disputes will be resolved peacefully, rather than in the streets (*). Prayer that for each of us, God may guide our words and our actions, balancing the requirements of justice and mercy, passion and restraint. And most importantly, prayer that the Spirit may bring revival in this land, restoring the fellowship and discipleship of repentant believers that was so vital to its founding. For everything, we are told, there is a season. May God show us what this season is, and what is required of us in response.
God bless you, and God bless America.
(*) I believe many in our nation fail to realize how the peaceful resolution of the disputed election in 2000 was a historical anomaly for the world, and a testament to the strength of our society. We should never take such for granted.