Let the people decide

I recently quoted Seth Lipsky’s unsigned New York Sun editorial “The president in a vise” observing of the Mueller prosecutions: “This is part of an effort by the Democrats and their collaborators to overturn a presidential election that they thought they would win.” The editorial expressed my thoughts exactly. By the same token, so does the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial “Let the people decide: A special prosecutor shouldn’t negate an election.” The Post-Gazette editors write at some length. This long excerpt below concludes the editorial:

Let’s be honest, all of this is about squeezing, delegitimizing, and, if possible, ultimately removing Donald Trump from office. Neither of these cases [against Paul Manafort or Michael Cohen], and none of the case being built with the president as target, so far as we know, are about Russian interference in our elections, or political corruption. They are not about justice. They are about politics. They are about “getting” Mr. Trump.

Many Americans think Mr. Trump should be removed from office for bad manners, for political and personal immaturity, and for degrading our politics and diminishing the presidency. But none of those is a crime, just as cheating on your wife is not a crime and employing snake oil salesmen is not a crime.

The voters elected Donald Trump. Why not trust them to decide if he should have majorities in Congress in 2018 or be removed from office in 2020?

Recall that many of them, a majority in the requisite states, knew he was far from a perfect person when they elected him in 2016. But he has given them lower taxes, fatter 401(k) accounts, a more muscular war on terror and a start at fair trade. Those people feel he has kept faith with them. And they will lose faith in the system if he is hounded from office by a prosecutorial coup.

Remember when candidate Trump said he might not accept the outcome of the election and liberals, properly, were aghast? Remember when he led chants of “lock her up, lock her up” at his rallies and the pundits (properly) said: My God, are we a banana republic in which the losing candidate goes to jail and the justice system is wholly politicized?

Well, what Mr. Trump threatened is actually being done to Mr. Trump by his enemies. The left and the deep state have not accepted the result of the election and have used every available means, including the Justice Department and the justice system, to say, in effect: “Get him out; get him out.”

We go down this road at our peril.

First, there is the matter of prosecutorial excess, which we saw in the case of Bill Clinton and Ken Starr, too. What do bag men and high fliers have to do with Russia interfering with the election? Interference, it should be noted, that no serious person can believe changed the outcome of the election.

Then there is the matter of a prosecutorial society. Do we really want to live in a polity in which a thousand little Javerts are always on a crusade against the sinners and the ne’er-do-wells? The New York prosecutors who broke Cohen reportedly did so in part by floating the possibility of jailing his wife, who had signed joint tax returns. That is known as a “prosecutorial pressure point.” So one wonders, paraphrasing Shakespeare, whether the cure for the disease of corruption is worse than the corruption.

But, lastly, if a special counsel or special prosecutor can negate a presidential election, we really are a banana republic and the republic is truly dead.

Donald Trump is a passing thing. Whatever good or harm he can do is fleeting. Not so the extra-constitutional remedies for him. Those will reverberate and corrode our national soul.

The whole thing here is worth reading.

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