by Robert Romano
President Donald Trump is riding high after a triumphant State of the Union Address and full acquittal by the U.S. Senate in his impeachment trial, and with a great, booming economy, it is looking increasingly unlikely whoever the Democratic nominee is will be able to defeat President Trump in November.
Trump’s opponents can blame themselves as in many ways. The President’s durability is a phenomenon of his opponents’ own making. The President has had to endure unending, sequential trials by fire since he was elected, attempts to either to prevent him from taking office or to promptly remove him once he did — only to emerge stronger each time.
In 2016, the Trump campaign was under active intelligence agency and FBI investigation and surveillance on false allegations the Trump and members of his campaign were Russian agents complicit in the hack of the Democratic National Committee by Russia and putting the emails onto Wikileaks.
This false rumor was used in a failed attempt to overturn the Electoral College in Dec. 2016.
It led to the malicious targeting of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn by the FBI in Jan. 2017.
The investigation itself was used to force the recusal of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions in March 2017.
When former FBI Director James Comey was fired for repeatedly lying to President Trump about the extent of the investigation, it led directly to the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
But even then, the Mueller report ended up exonerating President Trump and his campaign of being Russian agents, finding, “[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities,” and “the evidence does not establish that the President was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference.”
On obstruction of justice, Mueller punted the question to the Justice Department and the Attorney General, who found no crime: “the evidence developed during the Special Counsel’s investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense… without regard to… the constitutional considerations that surround the indictment and criminal prosecution of a sitting president.”
Meaning, even if the Justice Department could have prosecuted a sitting president — it can’t, but assuming it could — the President would not have ever been charged in the Russiagate affair.
After that, it was immediately on to the next thing for the President’s opponents, this time the failed impeachment falsely alleging the President criminally, temporarily held up military assistance to Ukraine to force Ukraine to launch an investigation into the Bidens.
Ultimately, Trump was acquitted, namely because 1) the conduct he was accused of was not criminal in nature and therefore not impeachable under the Constitution; 2) the military assistance was ultimately released before the end of the fiscal year and there was no quid pro quo and only a presumption that there was by one ambassador; and 3) Trump never told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the Bidens, he told Zelensky that Ukraine should take a second look at the Burisma natural gas firm for corruption because former Vice President Joe Biden had had the prosecutor who says he was looking at the company fired, prematurely ending the investigation.
There was no allegation that the Obama administration did not have the power to leverage the loans or the Bidens broke a law that Ukraine needed to investigate, only that the investigation into Burisma might have been cut short and may need to be further explored by Ukraine.
Moreover, if the question is the Bidens the government does have a compelling legal interest to ensure that Americans do not profit from Ukrainian oligarchs from the Yanukovych regime. Burisma was run by a Yanukovych energy minister who allegedly awarded natural gas exploration rights to himself.
Congress even passed a law, which the President must faithfully execute. Under 22 U.S.C. Section 8904(a): “The Secretary of State, in coordination with the Attorney General and the Secretary of the Treasury, shall assist, on an expedited basis as appropriate, the Government of Ukraine to identify, secure, and recover assets linked to acts of corruption by Viktor Yanukovych, members of his family, or other former or current officials of the Government of Ukraine or their accomplices in any jurisdiction through appropriate programs, including the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative of the Department of Justice.” Meaning, if Hunter Biden and other Americans who worked at Burisma were profiting off of Yanukovych era corruption, they could owe the money back in the least. Either way, it does not matter that Hunter Biden is politically connected to former Vice President Joe Biden. As Democrats remind us daily, no one is above the law.
Overall, impeachment was an effort doomed to fail from its inception, particularly owing to the fact that Republicans have a majority in the Senate — something the House should have taken into serious consideration before rushing to bring the charges without all the evidence or witnesses on the record they wanted. They botched their own prosecution by relying on uncalled mystery witnesses that the Senate was under no obligation to furnish. They should have litigated their subpoenas, but they were in a rush. Oh well.
Now, the matter is past us, too. The Senate has acquitted Trump of all charges. He’s not guilty.
In short, President Trump has prevailed against everything his opponents have thrown at him: Russiagate, Mueller, impeachment and so forth.
Combine the President’s stamina with the lowest peacetime unemployment in modern history, sustained economic growth, new trade deals with Canada, Mexico, China, Japan and South Korea, and new tax cuts and deregulation, which the President highlighted in his State of the Union Address, and you have a solid recipe for reelection in 2020.
This is a President who never gives up and will never surrender. He keeps winning, so why would 2020 be any different?
The real question is: Will Democrats ever accept as legitimate the verdict of the American people if and when Trump wins again?
– – –
Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government.