The Very Serious People in Washington — the same people who supported the war in Iraq, always consider deficit-reduction a top priority, thought Hillary Clinton was entitled to the presidency, hold no grudge against torturers, and believe Democrats and Republican have become equally extreme — long ago concluded that any talk of impeaching Donald Trump was ridiculous, flaky, and delusional.
It’s not. By any normal standard, Trump has committed numerous impeachable offenses. Special counsel Robert Mueller is almost assuredly going to tell us about many more. And if impeachment is the remedy to a manifestly unfit president, it’s long overdue.
But members of the Washington media elite take themselves Very Seriously.
This is more than a bit off topic, but I was just reading this Washington Post op-ed by Erik Martin, a former policy advisor for President Obama’s Office of Science and Technology Policy.
He calls for a “fresh infusion of public media” onto the internet, paid for at least in part by federal and state government – then distributed by some form of government fiat on major tech platforms.
I am wary of any government involvement, and outright mistrustful of government regulation in this area.
But I share Martin’s enthusiasm for some internet analog to 1967’s Public Broadcasting Act, which funded the development of noncommercial radio and TV programming “responsive to the interests of people.”
So what vacuum left by corporate media would an “American Public Internet” fill?
Special counsel Robert Mueller owes Congress and the American public a full report on the extent of the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election and any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts.
This is not simply my opinion. I’ve taken everything but the first ten words of that paragraph directly from former FBI director James Comey’s March 2017 description to the House Intelligence Committee of the ongoing investigation that two months later was turned over to Mueller.
This was at heart a counterintelligence investigation. The potential filing of criminal charges was literally an afterthought, placed in the second-to-last paragraph of Mueller’s remit:
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler has previously indicated that impeachment proceedings were a reasonable probability. Just not quite yet.
“There are several things you have to look at,” Nadler said in December. “One, were there impeachable offenses committed, how many, et cetera? And, secondly, how important were they? Do they rise to the gravity where you should undertake an impeachment?”
Nadler took a big step toward impeachment on Tuesday by announcing that he has hired Norman L. Eisen and Barry H. Berke as “consulting counsels” — two men who already have answers to those questions.
Eisen, as the chairman of the investigative watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), has been arguably the most prolific and high-profile chronicler of Trump’s many ethical violations. He has written dozens of op-eds for the New York Times, the Washington Post, USA Today, and other outlets.
In fact, he and Berke, a white-collar criminal defense lawyer – along with CREW executive director Noah Bookbinder – authored a voluminous compendium, now in its second edition, of the evidence that Trump obstructed justice, published by the Brookings Institution.
They lay out the legal arguments supporting Trump’s impeachment and indictment, and broadly hint at which they consider preferable by calling indictment the “option of last resort”. They write:
In many ways, the question has become less about whether there is a case that Donald J. Trump obstructed justice, and more about whether and in what form the rule of law will be followed.
How you can report on that interview and not use the term “delusional” is beyond me. See, i.e. "I’ve actually had, because they’ve done things that are artificial. So there’s been more of a burden on me than other presidents." https://t.co/oBmXCp8fpA
It’s time to declare press relations with this White House a total loss.
The latest news is that members of the White House press corps are so desperate that they are demanding that Sarah Sanders spend more time insulting them, lying to them, and not answering their questions.
White House Correspondents’ Association president Olivier Knox called the White House’s abandonment of regular briefings a “retreat from transparency and accountability” that “sets a terrible precedent.” Washington Post media critic Margaret Sullivan wrote that the briefings “show reporters at least attempting to get at the truth by questioning those in power.”
But the practice under Sanders has been so perverted and debased that there’s simply no point asking for more.
As with so many other important, valuable presidential practices that Trump has smashed to bits,