Wrapping It Up
How long will the "Russian collusion" circus continue imploding before it reaches critical mass and leaves nothing but wreckage across the liberal D.C. landscape?
At this point, no other outcome is conceivable. Any hope that the investigation would land a glove on Donald Trump has been long abandoned by any rational onlooker. This conclusion became inescapable when Robert Mueller humiliated himself in a court of law by attempting to indict individuals and companies that didn't exist (when life begins to look like metaphors, it's time to quit). We can throw in the pitiful May 18 Washington Post op-ed by former agent Asha Rangappa claiming that the spies were emplaced in the Trump campaign to "protect" him. (As an editor, I would have gone with a different title – something like "Please Don't Hit Us.") The attempt to valorize Comey as a national hero through his book "Hustler's Honor," or whatever it was titled, fizzled out in the midst of a failed book tour.
What's telling, and almost difficult to credit, is how flipped the whole operation has become. What must have appeared the slam-dunk of nailing the brash, boisterous Donald Trump has, in little over a year's time, inverted itself, as if it had slipped through some other dimension, so that every shot fired at Trump boomerangs and hits somebody in the Mueller-Comey posse. It seems that not a week goes by without yet another clown being hoist on the "collusion" petard, to dance across the public stage with his (or her) britches on fire before being dispatched into retirement or an assignment to the FBI's Point Barrow office. While Trump leaps from one triumph to the next, each unimaginable coming from any other president since Reagan, his pursuers' reputations have been crushed, their careers destroyed, and even the futures of the agencies sponsoring the witch hunt – Justice, the FBI, the NSA, CIA – placed in jeopardy.
But now it is over, and all that remains is the endgame – who does the time and how much. Mueller likely has the power to wiggle out with few legal consequences, but the rest – Strzok, Page, Ohr, and certainly McCabe and Comey – must be battling lack of sleep, jumping at sudden noises, and utilizing whatever stress relievers are at hand – obsessively putting into a glass, brutalizing the dog, slipping into the bottle – as they wait for the I.G. report to drop. It's a certainty that the disposable phones of the big boys – Clapper, Brennan, probably even Jarrett and Obama – have been burning hot and heavy.
In fact, there's more than the endgame ahead. One other important, in fact necessary, series of events remains to be unfolded.
There's an often overlooked concept in fiction called the "validation." This is the final statement made after the action climaxes, underlining the meaning and moral of the story. It can be as simple and straightforward as "Well, Sheriff, you done good" or as ambiguous as "Forget it, Jake...it's Chinatown." It's a necessary element for a narrative to work. If you ever set down a book or left a theater vaguely dissatisfied at what seemed by all rights to be a great story, it was probably lacking a validation. (Here's looking at Martin Scorsese...)
What Collusiongate, this bizarre, grotesque, uncalled for, and historically unique episode, requires is a validation – for all sorts of reasons.
First, we need to gather and identify the loose ends – and playmates, as there are more of those in this story than they've got at the thread and yarn shop.
- Obama – What was the Lightbringer's role in all this? There's been plenty of speculation, here on AT as elsewhere, that this scheme is part and parcel of the "resistance" that Obama was jabbering about after the election. What has been overlooked is that this is exactly how things are done in Indonesia, the most corrupt country on Earth, where Obama spent his formative years.
- Planning – Who sat down and worked it all out? Did they use government resources to accomplish this? If not, then who paid for it?
- Contacts – How was it all put together? Who did the legwork? Who made the connections? Who vouched for whom, and for what reason?
- Money – The concept of funding this operation with money from the government fisc would stand as brilliant if it weren't for how abysmally stupid the execution has been. But that money was provided to Mueller and others, and it was spent. Millions have been wasted on this, millions of our dollars, taken from our revenues paid to our government and intended for our purposes. Every last dime must be accounted for, and whatever can't be adequately explained must be taken out of the hides of those responsible.
Who were the intermediaries among the DNC, the Hillary campaign, MI6, the FBI, the Department of Justice, Stefan Halper, etc.? We have a bare outline from our end, but on the U.K. (and, for that matter, Australian) side, we know next to nothing. A good strong searchlight needs to be shone in that corner. If a gang of Philbys and Burgesses are trying to manipulate the U.S., we'd damn well better find out about it.
How far does this cabal extend outside government, and who is involved? We need a complete flow chart. (Though not limited to them, one example would be the anonymous "ten millionaires" who ponied up $50 million to keep the pot boiling.) These would-be Bond villains need to be identified and exposed, at the very least.
Who were the contacts between the outside elements and government officials?
A second reason is to inform the public. It is no less than astonishing how many citizens of this country have no awareness that an attempt has been made to snatch their government away from them. Andrew McCarthy and "Sundance" have kept our side informed, but McCarthy and Sundance do not appear on CNN. Most people have some vague notion that President Trump is in trouble and the Russians are in on it somehow...and that's it. This must be quite similar to how it was in the late Roman Republic or Milan under the Sforzas. Our honest media have not only not reported on events, but promoted them. We need a clear and concise record on what actually occurred that can be quoted and referred to, lest the entire business get buried the same way. Fast and Furious, Benghazi, and the IRS scandal have been
Lastly, we need to root out the last remnant of the people responsible. The Deep State is a characteristic of banana republics, and in examining their records, we find that they constitute a chronic and inheritable disease – the same aristos, industrialists, and military and security figures running entire societies for generations, if not centuries. Here they may wear tailored suits rather than uniforms festooned with fake medals, but it's the same mentality.
We have no room for this. It cannot be tolerated in this republic.
We have seen some of the faces – Comey's dead-eyed gaze, McCabe's junior accountant on the make, Page's petulant little-girl pout. We need to see them all. They must be rooted out and isolated permanently from government at any level. If they're not, they will try it again, having learned from their mistakes, and possibly with a much weaker and less confident president than Donald Trump. A solution here might be a modified version of Harry Truman's Loyalty Program of 1946-47. Rather than have government workers swear they are not communists, as Truman's program demanded, they should be required to swear that they have made no effort to undermine the administration or misuse their offices for political purposes. Then prosecute the most egregious liars, and the rest will quickly decamp, as occurred in the late '40s.
But the overall American solution is simple: a commission. What we need to put this episode to rest is an official commission, appointed by the president and tasked with answering all the questions detailed above: the people involved, what the hell they were up to, and what needs to be done about it.
An independent commission would immediately solve many of the problems facing us now. It would remove the matter from the bureaucrats, from Congress, from officials whose loyalty is suspect and who can't be trusted. It would put to rest suspicions concerning the agendas of the individuals now involved, ranging from Sessions to Gowdy and, for that matter, Mueller himself. It would put things into the hands of individuals who have nothing to gain and nothing to lose.
Such a commission should have full investigatory and subpoena powers; as much of a budget as needed (no matter how much it spends, it won't come near to matching the Mueller travesty); and, if possible, complete freedom to examine any and all documents with no FOIA requirements. It should have full independence, reporting to no one less that the president himself. Contact by anyone involved in the scandal must be forbidden and enforced. The commission members should be guarded at all times by military personnel under trusted, experienced officers. Some legally sound method of making binding recommendations for prosecution and/or firing should, if possible, be provided. They will find plenty of reasons, of that there's no doubt. If this is not possible, simple public exposure would probably be sufficient. We can be certain that the public will be ready to blow a gasket by the findings of any such commission.
I'm sure we'll agree that the major challenge will be personnel. We can't make the same mistake as was made with the 9-11 commission, chaired by the sincere but doddering and pliable Tom Kean and featuring the one American most responsible for the success of the attacks, Ms. Wall herself, Jamie Gorelick. The findings of that outfit were always going to be problematic at best. (It's a disquieting fact that Gorelick is today the personal lawyer for Jared and Ivanka Kushner.)
Such a commission should not be dominated by lawyers, but should feature individuals from the serious professions including historians, retired judges, retired military officers, trusted pols, and businessmen. It would probably be wise to relegate lawyers to hired positions. More than a couple of ordinary Americans would also be advisable.
Cries of "bipartisanship," which always arise when the Democrats find themselves officially targeted, can be stifled by recruiting Joseph Lieberman, at loose ends since his own party stabbed him in the back. There may be other Democrats of the same stature, though no names spring immediately to mind.
The commission should take its time, issue interim reports to stifle rumors and conspiracy theories, avoid the media, and assure that every "t" is crossed and every "i" dotted.
If any narrative ever needed a validation, it's this one. There are many things that need to be said, many morals that need to be underlined: that the United States is not a plaything. That you defy its norms and traditions at your peril. That evil is fundamentally stupid. That career bureaucrats are a frail reed under all circumstances. And oh, yeah...that you should never try to take on Donald Trump. He'll clean your clock every time.