Resistance (At All Costs): Don’t resist it

Kimberley Strassel is the Wall Street Journal columnist and editorial board member who has chronicled the wrongdoing of the unprecedented efforts to undermine the Trump administration inside the government and in the media. Her book Resistance (At All Costs): How Trump Haters Are Breaking America is a journalistic account of the phenomenon. The book was published on October 15, the date on which I bought it. Having now read the book, I want to bring it to your attention with a few comments.

Strassel addresses the counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign that continued into his presidency. Her account of Brennan, Comey, the Steele Dossier, and the Mueller miasma forms the heart of the book (chapters 3-6). The account makes for a useful reminder of the highlights and lowlights of the affair that continues in the form of (U gotta be kiddin’ me) Ukraine and the impeachment farce today.

Strassel is one of only a few reporters and analysts who have substantially contributed to our understanding of the Russia hoax. She names and credits the others in her acknowledgments: Byron York, Mollie Hemingway, Chuck Ross, Catherine Herridge, John Solomon, and Sara Carter.

Andrew McCarthy is the preeminent among this band of journalistic brothers and sisters. Strassel’s excellent book is shorter and more superficial than McCarthy’s Ball of Collusion. Moreover, she has set herself the task of placing the counterintelligence investigation into the larger context of the multifaceted Resistance to the Trump presidency. By enlarging the picture, however, Strassel saves the phenomena. There is no substitute for her account. It makes for an incredibly timely contribution to understanding current controversies.

Throughout the book Strassel makes good points. In her chapter on the Mueller miasma, for example, Strassel reminds us that Mueller makes this point:

The argument that Mueller was obliged to pursue any crimes he came upon is…undercut by his decision to ignore wrongdoers — when it suited him. The special counsel never brought a single prosecution for leaking, even though the leak of the classified Flynn information remains, to this day, the only known “crime” of the time period Mueller was asked to investigate.

Even if this statement needs some fine tuning, it is substantially true and devastating. It’s not like the parties involved in the leak cannot or haven’t been identified.

If you seek one book to understand the Russian hoax, McCarthy’s is the one I would recommend. McCarthy’s book is detailed and it gets the details right (Strassel errs in a trivial detail or two, I think, as in her attribution of grand jury secrecy to a federal statute rather than to the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure). McCarthy’s book footnotes sources (Strassel’s does not). As I noted in my review of McCarthy’s book on Power Line, McCarthy draws on his professional experience to deepen our understanding of the events and related legal issues. I want to emphasize, however, that Strassel’s book makes for an excellent companion to McCarthy’s.

Given their cognate nature, McCarthy’s and Strassel’s books have shared a certain fate. They have both been ignored by the mainstream media. It is as though the media are laboring to keep the information from their audience, cannot deal with the cases made by them, or are carrying on the Resistance that Strassel portrays by suppressing news of the books. As Publishers Weekly puts it in its note: “[Strassel’s] stinging critique of the anti-Trump establishment hits its targets often enough to pose a bracing challenge to mainstream political narratives.” (Publishers Weekly’s obligatory reservation about the book is ridiculously off-base.) What we have here is the biggest scandal by far in American political history.

In his terrific interview of Strassel (accessible via Kim’s tweet below), Mark Levin asked if Meet the Press or other network shows had shown any interest in her book. “No one has shown any interest in it,” Kim responded. (I’m writing from memory, but that is the gist of it.)

Coincidentally, as I was working on these remarks this morning, we received this email message about Kim’s book from former SWIFT CEO Leonard Schrank. Writing from Brussels, Mr. Schrank noted:

I was in Boston a week ago for an MIT workshop on Cybersecurity. I had time to hop the MTA to Harvard Square and its famous book store (three floors, classical music playing) at the Harvard Coop. The main floor had table after table featuring the latest books from the usual constellation of liberal/progressive authors. I browsed them all but no Kim Strassel. I finally asked the always helpful Information desk who queried his computer and directed me way up to the third floor “domestic affairs” section. I had to ask for help again on this floor and we finally located three copies buried on the bottom row of a bookshelf. I grabbed my copy and paid.

Being an MIT alumnus, I call this Resistance cubed: Resistance to Resistance about the Resistance.

As Strassel establishes in this valuable book, the tentacles of the Resistance reach wide and deep.

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