- - Tuesday, May 14, 2019

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

“To everything there is a season,” the Good Book counsels, and for diehard critics of Donald Trump, clinging to their belief in his sinister designs, it’s always open season on the president. To “a time to be born, a time to die” they have added “a time to accuse, a time to face accusation.” For the president’s adversaries, that time has arrived.

James Comey, the former director of the FBI whose firing set off the futile Russia collusion investigation, took to the stage at a CNN townhall the other day to persuade an audience that he, and not President Trump, is on the side of the angels. He’s still determined to find that unicorn in the garden who will smoke out the perpetrators of interference in the 2016 presidential election.

When the moderator asked whether he thought Mr. Trump acted with corrupt intent, he replied that “it sure looks that way.” Despite the inconvenient fact that the president was cleared of colluding with the Russians, Mr. Comey now says the president ought to be indicted for obstructing the Mueller probe once he leaves office.

Mr. Comey has dwelled on the dark side of Washington since he schemed to delegitimize the Trump presidency and was fired for it two years ago. Attorney General William Barr examined special counsel Robert Mueller’s 448-page report of his investigation into Russia-Trump collusion and concluded that there wasn’t any.

Mr. Comey’s noise offensive distracts attention from accumulating evidence that the Obama administration relied on a bogus dossier alleging the Trump campaign team schemed with Russians to fix the 2016 election. The dossier, compiled by onetime British intelligence agent Christopher Steele, persuaded the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to authorize government spying on Trump associates.



Convictions unrelated to Russian collusion persuaded 57 percent of Americans surveyed by Quinnipiac University pollsters that Mr. Trump himself committed crimes before becoming president. Guilt by association rarely proves guilt.

While the open season on President Trump expires, a new one blooms, revealing the roots of the scheme to get Mr. Trump by any means necessary. Recently uncovered documents show Obama officials concluded that the Steele dossier was a weak evidentiary link that should never have been used in court. A memo obtained by Citizens United shows that Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kathleen Kavalec met with Mr. Steele days before the dossier was submitted to the FISA court, and concluded, according to The Hill newspaper, that his material was politically motivated and intended to tarnish Mr. Trump prior to Election Day.

Nevertheless, law enforcement officials vouched for the dossier’s authenticity, anyway. To their disappointment and dismay, the two-year assault that followed left Mr. Trump unbowed and his accusers struggling to justify their specious work. Attorney General Barr now vows to determine the who, what and how of all this.

Democrats who thought the Mueller inquiry would deal the president a mortal blow have not given up. The Democratic-controlled House Judiciary Committee last week held Mr. Barr in contempt of Congress for refusing to provide an unredacted copy of the Mueller report, prompting the president to invoke executive privilege to shield pages protecting grand jury proceedings, as required by law, to remain confidential.

Having watched the confrontation with the White House, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi now waits for the right moment to unleash impeachment proceedings against the president, insisting with straight face that “it has nothing to do with politics.” “Love,” in the fatuous sentiment of the ‘60s, “means never having to say you’re sorry,” and there’s never any love lost in Washington. It’s the sordid practice of politics for which apologies are seldom heard.

The president’s enemies may soon regret their obsession with impeachment, at a time when they could be working to find a winning candidate for next year. Removing a president from office without suffering blowback is difficult, as Republicans discovered in trying to send Bill Clinton back to Arkansas a generation ago. The season for dwelling in the past and the 2016 election is done and gone, but the season of reckoning for Mr. Trump’s irresponsible accusers is at hand.

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