Last year I wrote, “There is one of two ways we can look at our elected officials, particularly those occupying or vying for the highest office in the land: That they are somehow above the law, as President Richard Nixon famously once said—’If the president does it, that means it’s not illegal,’ or we can expect that all Americans be subject to the same laws no matter their title or political station.”
At the time, I was talking about Hillary Clinton who was being investigated by the FBI for the misuse of classified emails. Democrats howled that it was pure politics. Republicans praised the decision and chanted, “lock her up!” at Donald Trump rallies.
It was reasonable for Hillary supporters or anyone else to wonder if the Clinton’s investigation was politically motivated. But it was also logical to believe that she really might have done something illegal, and that her actions deserved to be investigated.
That’s often all an investigation is: to determine exactly what happened. It is not a charge. Obviously it doesn’t look good for the person being investigated, but it does not necessarily amount to an indictment.
Did Clinton deserve to be investigated? Every conservative I know thinks so.
Now, particularly with the appointment of a special counsel, does Trump deserve to be investigated?
A common refrain from Trump supporters during the election was that if Hillary Clinton won she would be the most scandal-ridden president in history. Just four months in, Trump’s presidency has been a scandal machine. The Washington Examiner’s Jim Antle surmised on Saturday, “As Trump embarked on his first foreign trip, he left behind a full week of scandals and a Russia investigation that increasingly has the White House under siege.”
“Each day brought new revelations that had Democrats smelling blood in the water,” Antle observed, “Trump is watching his White House leak like a sieve and Republicans keeping waiting for the other shoe to drop.”
If you talk to Trump defenders, you will be told that the president has done nothing wrong and is being attacked groundlessly by not only Democrats, but a Deep State that has had it out for the Commander-in-Chief since day one.
“The destroy-Trump media is one of five powerful forces aligned against the president,” Sean Hannity writes. “They are joined by the destroy-Trump Democrats, the Washington deep state establishment, weak, establishment Republicans and never-Trumpers.”
“These groups are working together in an unprecedented attack against a sitting president,” Hannity insists.
I have sympathy for some of these defenses of the president. Obviously Democrats will do anything to undermine this president, the old GOP guard does not like this interloper sitting atop their party, and there does exist a Deep State, a sub-government of unelected bureaucrats and intelligence workers who have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. Trump is an unconventional president and the notion that the pre-existing federal political apparatus would work overtime behind-the-scenes to undermine anyone who challenges it is not necessarily a farfetched scenario.
But neither was it farfetched to believe that Clinton’s investigation announcement was timed politically, weeks before the election. Mrs. Clinton still blames the Comey letter for her loss, as do many Democrats.
What’s the truth?
Most don’t care. Right now you have Republicans who were chanting “lock her up!” a few months ago who are outraged that anyone would even consider pursing the notion that the president might be guilty of wrongdoing. These Republicans get mad at anyone who even raises questions about Trump’s potentially criminal conduct, of which there are just so many at this point.
How is this any different from the attitude Clinton supporters exhibited when it was announced she would be subject to investigation? Obviously both cases aren’t exactly the same, and Democrats will tell you Hillary did nothing wrong, just as fans of The Donald will say the same about their man. It’s circular illogic.
“It’s one thing to demand the evidence; it’s another in lieu of that evidence to smear everyone around you as a collaborator in an effort to destroy the president,” Rare’s Matt Purple writes. “How many more scandals does Trump need to weather before his defenders admit that maybe he’s part of the problem?”
Still, again, does anyone care about the truth anymore?