Democrats want to impeach President Donald Trump for inviting Ukraine to investigate 2020 election rival Joe Biden. But then why are they opposed to investigating whether Democrats used Russian disinformation to get the FBI to investigate Trump in 2016?
That’s the double standard now on gaudy public display over multiple news reports that U.S. Attorney John Durham’s review of the origins of the Russian fiasco of 2016 has become a criminal probe. Attorney General William Barr this year appointed Durham, a highly regarded and veteran prosecutor, to examine this part of the Russia tale that special counsel Robert Mueller chose to ignore.
Yet you’d now think, judging from the political reaction, that Durham was Rudy Giuliani.
“These reports, if true, raise profound new concerns that the Department of Justice under AG Barr has lost its independence and become a vehicle for President Trump’s political revenge,” said a joint statement from Democratic impeachment investigators Jerrold Nadler and Adam Schiff. “If the Department of Justice may be used as a tool of political retribution, or to help the President with a political narrative for the next election, the rule of law will suffer new and irreparable damage.”
This is called preemptive political damage control. Democrats know the Hillary Clinton campaign paid Fusion GPS to dig up dirt on Trump, and Fusion hired former British spook Christopher Steele, who compiled a dossier of allegations about Trump from Russian sources that turned out to be false.
Worse, Fusion funneled the dossier to the FBI, which used it to persuade the secret FISA court to issue a warrant to eavesdrop on Trump official Carter Page. Democrats now want to discredit any attempt to hold people accountable if crimes were committed as part of this extraordinary dirty trick.
But how can you be appalled about one form of foreign intervention in U.S. politics while whitewashing another? Based on the public evidence so far, Trump wanted Ukraine to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden’s activities in 2016. Trump may also have delayed U.S. aid as leverage to persuade Ukraine’s new president to open an investigation. Yet the aid did flow again starting Sept. 11, even though Ukraine never opened the investigation of the Bidens that Trump wanted. In other words, Democrats want to impeach Trump for asking Ukraine to investigate an opponent, even though he failed.
By notable contrast, the Clinton campaign’s invitation and payment for foreign intervention in 2016 against Trump succeeded. Russian disinformation was used by America’s premier law enforcement agency to justify investigating an American presidential campaign. This is what Durham is looking into, and thank heavens someone finally is.
Regarding potential crimes, Sens. Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham referred Steele to the FBI and Justice Department “for investigation of potential violation(s)” in 2018 related to the dossier and Steele’s public comments. Devin Nunes, former head of the House Intelligence Committee, also sent eight criminal referrals to Justice this year related to the Russia probe, including leaks of “highly classified material.”
Durham may decide not to charge anyone with crimes in the end, and that’s fine. What Americans deserve to know is what happened, including who in the Obama administration or FBI worked with Fusion GPS, whether the White House or CIA were involved, and what James Comey’s FBI told the FISA court. People need to be held publicly accountable so reforms can be made and to serve as a deterrent so this doesn’t happen again.
Trump’s actions regarding Ukraine will be investigated to a fare-thee-well, and it seems inevitable that Democrats will impeach him. They have wanted to do so since the day he was elected. But they and their media friends can’t then object with a straight face to an investigation into the Clinton campaign’s solicitation of Russian misinformation in 2016. Their double standard is impeaching the credibility of their impeachment of Trump.