Last Friday, card-carrying members of the ACLU cheered as the FBI conducted a pre-dawn raid of the home of a political operative who stands accused of laughably non-violent offenses — mainly, just lying to Congress. But since Roger Stone once worked for Trump and qualifies as an odious political enemy, liberals didn’t mind Mueller’s overkill, which is his latest straining attempt to make his investigation look weightier than it actually is. On his supposed mandate, Mueller continues to spin his wheels. He didn’t charge Stone with any acts of collusion or uncover any direct contact between Stone and WikiLeaks, which isn’t even a Russian government entity anyways.
What did Mueller find? Inaccuracies in Stone’s testimony before Congress, which may or may not be lies. But liberals told us, after James Clapper got caught out in blatantly false testimony to Congress, that such offenses are minor and not even worth prosecuting. Mueller is an odd hero for the left, which normally reviles excessive prosecution and generally supports taking laws off the books. The same liberals cheering Mueller’s FBI raid say that border enforcement is ugly and unjust. They favor sanctuary cities in which felonies far more serious than lying to Congress go unpunished. They favor the de-criminalizing of drug laws and the expansion of pro-abortion protections to de facto infanticide. The only thing they cheered louder than the news of Stone’s heavy-handed arrest was Andrew Cuomo’s decision to light up the One World Trade Center in pink after he signed legislation in favor of late-term abortion.
During the Clinton years, we heard a lot from the left about the “criminalizing of political differences.” We don’t hear those laments anymore. But could there be a more obvious illustration of that phenomenon than Mueller throwing Paul Manafort into solitary confinement and subjecting Stone to a pre-dawn raid? Woe to anyone who works on a political campaign that official Washington targets for scrutiny. The Mueller investigation hasn’t so much discovered crimes as put pressure on people within Trump’s orbit to commit them. As Alan Dershowitz points out, Mueller’s indictments fall into three underwhelming categories:
First are process crimes such as perjury, obstruction, false statements, and witness tampering that have resulted from the investigation itself. That does not make them any less serious, but it is relevant to evaluating the overall success or failure of the primary mission. Second are crimes that occurred before Mueller was appointed but that cover unrelated business activities by Trump associates. The object of these indictments is to pressure the defendants to provide evidence against Trump. Third is one indictment against Russian individuals who will never be brought to justice in the United States. This indictment was largely for show.
Most of the crimes arising out of the investigation itself are baffling, insofar as they constitute strangely purposeless lying. What would it have mattered if Stone had said that he had been conferring with various people about the activities of WikiLeaks? He wasn’t even working for the campaign at that time and such communications aren’t illegal. Stone never did manage to talk to Julian Assange, just people who had talked to him, which makes Mueller’s intense scrutiny of the matter look even more desperate.
Were the Hillary campaign the target of such obsessive retrospective inquiries, liberals would be the first to describe them as a McCarthyite attempt to criminalize normal campaign activity. According to the media, Hillary’s use of foreigners as opposition researchers was a perfectly legitimate campaign expense. Out of that coordination came a full-blown lobbying effort directed at the FBI which resulted in an investigation of her opponent’s campaign. Talk about “election interference.” But somehow we are supposed to find it more dangerous to our democracy that a former Trump consultant was ineffectually reaching out to WikiLeaks?
According to former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the Trump campaign couldn’t have colluded with the Russians even if it had wanted to. It was too disorganized, he says, for a “Tom Clancy operation.” It could barely “get field people hired in places like Pennsylvania.” But of course liberals have known this the whole time. Indeed, they use to tell us that Trump had no intention of winning in the first place and was as surprised as anyone by his victory. They champion Mueller not because he is protecting “our sovereignty,” as one Hollywood starlet recently put it, but for the simple reason that he is tormenting their political opponents.
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