How’s This Working Nancy?

How’s This Working Nancy? by James Howard Kunstler

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been clinging to her bill of impeachment for one reason: hoping that a judge will rule to release all the evidence and depositions collected by Robert Mueller’s investigation. What’s wrong with that? Mr. Mueller failed to find any prosecutable crimes. That was the sum and substance of his two-year-long exercise in bad faith. In which case, all that material is officially and legally evidence of nothing. Impeachment is a political act and sealed evidence of nothing can’t be released to one set of political actors in a political quarrel for use as a political weapon. More to the point — and to Mrs. Pelosi’s real motive here — the material is not for impeachment but rather to use the Mueller dossier as political opposition “research” for the coming election.

There is no question that from the start of his investigation, Special Counsel Robert Mueller knew that the case was opened under false pretenses, since his very close friend, the erstwhile FBI director James Comey, also knew by early 2017 that all the predicating material was substantially false, and that it was procured by Mrs. Clinton. To carry it beyond that was a scheme by acting FBI director Rod Rosenstein to issue a series of “scoping” letters that increasingly widened Mr. Mueller’s purview to go fishing for crimes in every area and every chronological phase of the president’s life. That smacks of what’s known in Anglo-American law as attainder by process: first declaring someone an outlaw, and only afterward seeking a crime to justify it. Under our system, first crimes are established, then persons liable for them are brought to court to answer charges.

Of course, there’s good reason to suspect that Mr. Mueller himself was a false front for the operation conducted in his name, which was really an intrigue carried out by a claque of Democratic Party Lawfare attorneys led by Andrew Weissmann, Mr. Mueller’s chief deputy. Mr. Mueller’s testimony before two House committees last July revealed a pathetic figure who was unacquainted with the most basic pieces of his own inquiry.

The case for House members to get access to all that backstage Mueller material could go up to the Supreme Court. In the meantime, Impeachment’s second act is about to get underway whether Mrs. Pelosi likes the terms or not. It’s the Senate’s prerogative to decide. These terms appear to be exactly the same as the ones used by the Senate for Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial — which means that each side chooses a team of “managers” to present its case, and then the managers are subject to grilling by senators. The House Democrats are insisting on calling witnesses solely to maintain their court claim for testimony from the White House counsel, with which the aforesaid Mueller material is associated in the case. If the rules eschew witnesses, that case is moot, and the Democrats lose access to a trove of political oppo research obtained for them under false pretenses by their own operatives in the Department of Justice.

Secondarily, the impeachment was designed to get senators in swing states on the record voting to acquit the president in the hopes that it will somehow taint their re-election prospects and possibly flip control of the Senate to the Democrats. That outcome would above all insure that Mr. Trump could not get another Supreme Court nominee confirmed in his second term, nor continue the wholesale appointment of lesser federal district judges. Plus, of course, it would obstruct any other legislative initiative his party brought for four years.

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James Howard Kunstler

James Howard Kunstler says he wrote The Geography of Nowhere, “Because I believe a lot of people share my feelings about the tragic landscape of highway strips, parking lots, housing tracts, mega-malls, junked cities, and ravaged countryside that makes up the everyday environment where most Americans live and work.” Home From Nowhere was a continuation of that discussion with an emphasis on the remedies. A portion of it appeared as the cover story in the September 1996 Atlantic Monthly. His next book in the series, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, published by Simon & Schuster / Free Press, is a look a wide-ranging look at cities here and abroad, an inquiry into what makes them great (or miserable), and in particular what America is going to do with it’s mutilated cities.