Friday, May 04, 2018
If Donald Trump does not wish to collaborate in the destruction of his presidency, he will refuse to be questioned by the FBI, or by a grand jury, or by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his malevolent minions.
Should Mueller subpoena him, as he has threatened to do, Trump should ignore the subpoena, and frame it for viewing in Trump Tower.
If Mueller goes to the Supreme Court and wins an order for Trump to comply and testify to a grand jury, Trump should defy the court.
The only institution that is empowered to prosecute a president is Congress. If charges against Trump are to be brought, this is the arena, this is the forum, where the battle should be fought and the fate and future of the Trump presidency decided.
The goal of Mueller's prosecutors is to take down Trump on the cheap. If they can get him behind closed doors and make him respond in detail to questions -- to which they already know the answers -- any misstep by Trump could be converted into a perjury charge.
Trump has to score 100 on a test to which Mueller's team has all the answers in advance while Trump must rely upon memory.
Why take this risk?
By now, witnesses have testified in ways that contradict what Trump has said. This, plus Trump's impulsiveness, propensity to exaggerate, and often rash responses to hostile questions, would make him easy prey for the perjury traps prosecutors set up when they cannot convict their targets on the evidence.
Mueller and his team are the ones who need this interrogation.
For, after almost two years, their Russiagate investigation has produced no conclusive proof of the foundational charge -- that Trump's team colluded with Vladimir Putin's Russia to hack and thieve the emails of the Clinton campaign and DNC.
Having failed, Mueller & Co. now seek to prove that, even if Trump did not collude with the Russians, he interfered with their investigation.
How did Trump obstruct justice?
Did he suggest that fired NSC Advisor Gen. Mike Flynn might get a pardon? What was his motive in firing FBI Director James Comey? Did Trump edit the Air Force One explanation of the meeting in June 2016 between his campaign officials and Russians? Did he pressure Attorney General Jeff Sessions to fire Mueller?
Mueller's problem: These questions and more have all been aired and argued endlessly in the public square. Yet no national consensus has formed that Trump committed an offense to justify his removal. Even Democrats are backing away from talk of impeachment.
Trump's lawyers should tell Mueller to wrap up his work, as Trump will not be testifying, no matter what subpoena he draws up, or what the courts say he must do. And if Congress threatens impeachment for defying a court order, Trump should tell them: Impeach me and be damned.
Will a new Congress impeach and convict an elected president?
An impeachment battle would become a titanic struggle between a capital that detests Trump and a vast slice of Middle America that voted to repudiate that capital's elite, trusts Trump, and will stand by him to the end.
And in any impeachment debate before Congress and the cameras of the world, not one but two narratives will be heard.
The first is that Trump colluded with the Russians to defeat Hillary Clinton and then sought to obstruct an investigation of his collusion.
The second is the story of how an FBI cabal went into the tank on an investigation of Clinton to save her campaign. Then it used the product of a Clinton-DNC dirt-diving operation, created by a British spy with Russian contacts, to attempt to destroy the Trump candidacy. Now, failing that, it's looking to overthrow the elected president of the United States.
In short, the second narrative is that the "deep state" and its media auxiliaries are colluding to overturn the results of the 2016 election.
Unlike Watergate, with Russiagate, the investigators will be on trial as well.
Trump needs to shift the struggle out of the legal arena, where Mueller and his men have superior weapons, and into the political arena, where he can bring his populous forces to bear in the decision as to his fate.
This is the terrain on which Trump can win -- an us-vs-them fight, before Congress and country, where not only the alleged crimes of Trump are aired but also the actual crimes committed to destroy him and to overturn his victory.
Trump is a nationalist who puts America first both in trade and securing her frontiers against an historic invasion from the South. If he is overthrown, and the agenda for which America voted is trashed as well, it may be Middle America in the streets this time.
Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, "Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever." To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com.
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