By Jennifer Rubin. WAPO. 5/30/19
Some advocates of at least beginning the impeachment process understand that until public opinion moves, the House will not move. Two videos, one by Protect Democracy (a nonpartisan group active in litigating against President Trump’s unconstitutional overreach) and one by Republicans for the Rule of Law (in conjunction with Protect Democracy) aim to explain Trump’s misconduct and the findings of the Mueller report.
Here is Protect Democracy’s effort
And here is Republicans for the Rule of Law
In our latest video created with @protctdemocracy, former Republican federal prosecutors Donald Ayer, @RosenzweigP, and Jeffrey Harris discuss the findings of the #MuellerReport and the episodes of obstruction it uncovered. #CaseOpen
The videos are must-watch, not just because they present the essential findings of the Mueller report in clear, non-lawyerly language but also because they feature apolitical prosecutors. The notion that this is a “witch hunt” depends on the legal consensus that there is no there, there. To the contrary, about a thousand former prosecutors believe there is more than enough evidence for an obstruction charge.
The first volume of the Mueller report deserves explanation too, perhaps from former national security officials. It should answer these basic questions:
- What triggered the counterintelligence investigation? Credible evidence from a foreign diplomat who overheard George Papadopoulos discussing efforts to get dirt on Hillary Clinton.
- Were the affidavits under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act correct and complete? Yes, as we found out after the memo from Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) was thoroughly debunked.
- What did Mueller find that the Russians did? He revealed a comprehensive, complex plot to interfere in the election in Trump’s favor.
- What did Trump and his flunkies do to encourage Russian help? They responded to invitations to get dirt on Clinton. Donald Trump Jr. for example held a meeting under the impression that he would get opposition research. Trump publicly called for Russia to find and release of hacked emails and then he made WikiLeaks’ revelations a key issue in the closing days of the campaign. No one from the campaign ever contacted authorities.
- How were Trump team’s actions interpreted by Russians? Russians saw a green light to continue their activities.
- How did Trump help Russian avoid accountability for their actions? He repeatedly and publicly took Russia’s side denying concrete evidence of Russian interference. To this day, he insists the Russians wanted to help Clinton. Trump has resisted efforts to secure our election machinery against hacking.
- Is this a crime? Mueller found that because there was no agreement between the Trump campaign and Russians, a criminal conspiracy charge could not be brought. There is no crime of “collusion.” Mueller explicitly said this was not something he looked for. To take another colloquial term, Trump aided and abetted Russians and tried to help conceal their crimes.
- Can Congress pass a law to make sure conduct of the type exhibited by Trump and his team is illegal? Yes, campaigns can be required to report contacts with foreign governments and their operatives. Receipt of “dirt” from a foreign power on one’s opponent or encouragement to find dirt can be criminalized.
- Did the FBI do anything illegal or improper? Current FBI Director Christopher A. Wray, appointed by Trump, says there was no “spying.” An inspector general’s report already found the investigation was not influenced by partisanship or personal bias. Had the FBI not acted to investigate, it would have been grossly negligent and contrary to its officials’ oaths of office to defend the Constitution.
- Shouldn’t the Trump campaign have been warned about Russian interference? It was.
- If this isn’t a crime, why is it a big deal? The premise of our democracy is that Americans choose their leaders at the ballot box. Allowing foreigners to put their finger on the scale in favor of a candidate steals from us this fundamental right. A candidate who assists theft of our sovereignty in any fashion becomes beholden to a foreign government that helped them and, moreover, obtains power by circumventing democracy. That is unacceptable and certainly grounds for impeachment.
I figure a video could cover all that and keep viewers’ attention, easily.
Trump is an expert media manipulator who depends on his supporters’ complete dependence on Trump-friendly media. Break that monopoly on Trump TV and you will begin to shift weak-Trump supporters.