If you get your news from NBC, this is what you learned about yesterday’s Unite the Right rally: “Charlottesville White Nationalist Rally Violence Prompts State of Emergency.” That’s right: The problem was white nationalist violence. It was as if the demonstrators had behaved just like Black Lives Matter or masked antifa: looting, burning, stopping traffic, and roughing up bystanders. Of course, what caused the violence was hostile counter-demonstrators, many of them wearing helmets and carrying shields. If they had not been there, there would have been no violence, and the rally would have taken place as planned.
The current issue of Newsweek (yes, it’s still in business!) has a picture of President Trump sitting in a recliner, with snacks and an iPad in his lap, pointing his TV remote at the viewer, blazoned with the headline, “Lazy Boy.”
In 1994, after 40 years in the wilderness, Republicans swept both houses of Congress, running on Newt Gingrich’s “Contract With America,” in which the GOP promised to hold votes on 10 popular policies in the first 100 days. They won, fulfilled the contract, and went on to control the House for more than a decade.
Given the bravery he showed in stepping out front as the first senator to endorse Donald Trump, Jeff Sessions deserves better from his boss than the Twitter-trashing he has lately received.
The attorney general has not only been loyal to Trump and his agenda, he has the respect and affection of ex-colleagues in Congress and, more broadly, of populists and conservatives nationally.
Trump’s tweets about Sessions are only demoralizing his base.
Yet the president is not wrong to be exasperated and enraged.
A yearlong FBI investigation into Russian hacking has failed to produce a single indictment. Yet the president watches impotently as a special counsel pulls together a lethal force, inside his own administration, whose undeclared ambition is to bring him down.
Trump’s behavior suggests that he sees the Mueller threat as potentially mortal.
How did we get to this peril point when there is no evidence that Trump or any senior aide colluded in the hacking? As for the June 2016 meeting with the Russians, called by Donald Trump Jr. when told by a friend that Moscow had dirt on Hillary Clinton, even that was no crime.
Foolish, yes; criminal, no. So, again, how did we get to where talk of impeachment and presidential pardons fills the air?
First, Attorney General Sessions, as a campaign adviser and surrogate for Trump who had met with the Russian ambassador, had to recuse himself from the investigation. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein then assumed oversight authority.
Trump then fired FBI Director James Comey and boasted to Russia’s foreign minister about having gotten the “crazy nut job” off his case. His Oval Office comments leaked. Comey then leaked notes of his meeting with Trump. Rosenstein then washed his hands of the mess by naming a special counsel. And he chose a bulldog, ex-FBI Director Robert Mueller.
Hence, where are we? Despite zero evidence of Trump or his aides colluding in the hacking, a counterintelligence investigation is evolving into a criminal investigation. Mueller is now hiring veteran investigators and prosecutors specializing in white-collar crime.
This is not a witch hunt. It is an Easter egg hunt on the White House lawn, where the most colorful eggs are likely to be the tax returns and the financial records of Trump, who built a real estate empire in a town where winners brag about how they gutted the losers.
Every enemy of Trump is going to be dropping the dime on him to Mueller. Moreover, there is no history of special counsels being appointed and applauded by the press, who went home without taking scalps.
Trump understands this. Reports of his frustration and rage suggest that he knows he has been maneuvered, partly by his own mistakes, into a kill box from which there may be no bloodless exit.
What Trump needs is a leader at Justice who will confine the Mueller investigation to the Russian hacking, and keep Mueller’s men from roaming until they hit prosecutorial pay dirt.
Consider now Trump’s narrowing options.
He can fire Jeff Sessions. But that will enrage Trump’s base to whom the senator is a loyal soldier. And anyone Trump nominates as AG would not be confirmed unless he or she pledged not to interfere with Mueller.
He could direct Rosenstein to fire Mueller. But Rosenstein would assume the Elliot Richardson role in the Saturday Night Massacre, when that AG refused to fire Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox, resigned, and was canonized as a martyr by the Never-Nixon media.
Even if Trump finds a Justice Department loyalist to play the role of Solicitor General Robert Bork, who carried out Nixon’s orders and fired Cox, this would only mean Mueller’s departure. Mueller’s staff of prosecutors and investigators would still be there, beavering away.
When Archibald Cox was fired, Nixon ordered his entire office shut down. Yet, within days of the firestorm, it was up and running again with a new special prosecutor. And impeachment resolutions were blossoming in the House.
Another Trump option would be to leave Mueller alone and hope for a benign outcome. But from reports of his rage at the recusal of Sessions and unwillingness of Rosenstein to restrict Mueller to the Russian hacking scandal, Trump seems to sense that an unrestricted investigation represents a mortal threat to his presidency.
And all the talk of impeachment and pardons suggests that this city can also see what lies over the next hill. After all, we have been here before.
From his history, Mueller is not a man to be intimidated by charges of bias. These will only steel his resolve to pursue with his subpoena power every document he wants, including tax returns, until he has satisfied himself.
The president is unlikely to view this process with indulgence, and patience does not appear to rank high among his virtues.
We are headed for a collision between President Trump and Director Mueller.
Idealists may not like it, but politics is a transaction. I support politicians I think will do something for me and the people I care about. Therefore, I could not be less interested in the endless parade of accusations and speculations about what certain Russians might or might not have done to help elect Donald Trump. No matter what the answer is, I don’t care. J.M. Bernays at The Baffler has convincingly described the liberal frenzy over this:
[A]t this point, the empirical question of whether or not it happened is secondary to the deeper psychological need for media pundits, policy wonks, and the professional-managerial strata to maintain their sense of self when the objective historical conditions in which they flourished are being actively dissolved. For liberals, the continued libidinal investment in the drama of the as-yet invisible Trump-Russia scandal actively blocks any realization that the neoliberal order they are trying to restore is already dead on its feet, and that Trump is the uniquely bizarre American expression of a visible worldwide trend: the virulent, deepening nationalist backlash against a financially-integrated global economy based on the relatively free movement of commodities and people. His ascent is a death knell for an entire era and the basic assumptions about economic and political life that shape the worldview of contemporary liberals.
Mr. Bernays is wordy, but he’s right. Liberals want the verdict to be treason because Mr. Trump would be removed and, they hope, things would go back to normal. Just like Republicans who wanted to believe Barack Obama was born in Kenya, they think that by revealing this one key truth the damage of the last election will be undone!
If it will help the media and liberals get over this delusion, let me be clear: I and the overwhelming majority of Trump-supporters don’t care at all about this Russia business. Even if—and it sounds unlikely—Russia undermined American democracy to help elect Mr. Trump, I still don’t care.
Mr. Trump and Russia do not want to bring hordes of Muslims into our cities. They will not pass “hate speech” laws that could put me in prison. A President Trump elected by Russians is still better than a Hillary Clinton elected by “Americans.” I want my grandchildren to live in a country where they are not a despised and oppressed minority. A President Clinton would have done everything to ensure that happens.
Should we set aside our petty differences since we are all Americans and we all believe in the democratic system?
No. It’s only by inertia that is still one country. If each state, or even each region, magically became a sovereign nation tomorrow, there would be no movement to unite into one bigger nation. The only thing that keeps us together is that secession is messy.
At the American Renaissance office, we sometimes get phone calls and email from folks threatening to kill us. They are never from Russians. They are almost always from blacks, and sometimes from white ethno-masochists. I would rather not live in the same country with those people; the United States should have dissolved long ago.
Conservatives talk about “civic nationalism” or “patriotism,” but what do those words even mean? I would rather my children went to a public school in Moscow as the only American, than to a public school in Washington DC or Los Angeles as the only white. In the current year, “citizenship” is just a social construct.
Maybe the next time a liberal complains about Russians stealing the election, I should say, “Boy I hope they did. It’d be comforting to know there’s a powerful white nation looking out for us.”
At the G-20 in Hamburg, it is said, President Trump was isolated, without support from the other G-20 members, especially on climate change and trade.
Perhaps so. But the crucial question is not whether Trump is alone, but whether he is right. Has Trump read the crisis of the West correctly? Are his warnings valid? Is not the Obama-Merkel vision of a New World Order a utopian fantasy?
At the monument to the patriots of the Warsaw Uprising, Trump cited Poland as exemplar of how a great people behaves in a true national crisis.
Calling the Polish people “the soul of Europe,” he related how, in the Miracle of the Vistula in 1920, Poland, reborn after 12 decades of subjugation, drove back the invading Red Army of Leon Trotsky.
He described the gang rape of Poland by Nazis and Soviets after the Hitler-Stalin pact. He cited the Katyn Forest massacre of the Polish officer corps by Stalin, and the rising of the Polish people against their Nazi occupiers in 1944, as the vulturous legions of Stalin watched from the safe side of the river.
When the Polish Pope, John Paul II, celebrated his first Mass in Victory Square in 1979, said Trump, “a million Polish men, women and children raised their voices in a single prayer. . . . ‘We want God.’ . . . Every Communist in Warsaw must have known that their oppressive system would soon come crashing down.” And so it did.
The crisis of the West today, said Trump, is akin to what Poland faced. For it is about the survival of a civilization, rooted in Christianity, that has made the greatest of all contributions to the ascent of man.
What enabled the Poles to endure was an unshakable belief in and a willingness to fight for who they were — a people of God and country, faith, families, and freedom — with the courage and will to preserve a nation built on the truths of their ancient tribe and Catholic traditions.
Given the threats to the West, from within and without, said Trump, we need such a spirit now. What are those threats?
“The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive. Do we have the confidence in our values to defend them at any cost? Do we have enough respect for our citizens to protect our borders? Do we have the desire and the courage to preserve our civilization in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it?
“We can have the largest economies and the most lethal weapons anywhere on Earth, but if we do not have strong families and strong values, then we will be weak and we will not survive.”
Trump professed confidence in the West’s will to survive. But whether the West still has the character seems an open question.
Across the West, the traditional family has been collapsing for decades. Not one European nation has a birth rate that will enable its people to survive many more generations. Uninvited migrants in the millions have poured in — are pouring in — from Africa and the Middle East. The elite of Europe have been gladly surrendering their national sovereignties to transnational institutions like the EU.
Christianity is more of a dying than a thriving faith on the Old Continent. And as the churches empty out, the mosques are going up. Before our eyes, the West is being remade.
In June, gays and lesbians celebrated in Berlin as the German Parliament voted to approve same-sex marriage.
In Moscow, from May to July, a million Russians stood in lines a mile long to view and venerate a relic of the 4th-century bishop, St. Nicholas, on display in a glass case in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, rebuilt under President Putin.
Liberated from Leninism, Russia returns to the old faith, as Germany returns to Weimar.
At that G-20 gathering in Hamburg, hundreds of criminal thugs went on a three-day rampage — rioting, burning, looting and battling police, some 300 of whom were injured.
Were the autocrats of the G-20 — Xi Jinping of China, Vladimir Putin of Russia, Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, Narendra Modi of India — impressed with the resolute response of Angela Merkel — the media-designated new “Leader of the West” — to mobs rioting in Germany’s second city?
At Harvard, Alexander Solzhenitsyn described what was on display in Hamburg: “A decline in courage may be the most striking feature which an outside observer notices in the West in our days. . . . Such a decline in courage is particularly noticeable among the ruling groups and the intellectual elite.”
Secularist and hedonist, New Europe worships at the altars of mammon. Handel’s “Messiah” cannot compete with moonwalking Michael Jackson’s “We are the World.”
Once Europe went out to convert, colonize and Christianize the world. Now the grandchildren of the colonized peoples come to Europe to demand their share of their inheritance from a West besotted with guilt over its past sins that cannot say “No!”