- - Sunday, September 15, 2019

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Thomas Jefferson said, “When angry, count to ten before you speak; if very angry, a hundred.” The nation could have benefited from such simple wisdom in 2016 when Donald Trump was elected president rather than Hillary Clinton. Her dumbfounded supporters numbering many millions flew into a rage and have yet to return to Earth. Instead of counting to 10 or a hundred, the always-angry are counting on copious investigations to knock President Trump out of the White House.

Democrats dream of nipping the Trump era in the bud, and impeachment of the president is viewed as the most direct path to that goal. The donkey-run House Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved procedures for launching probes aping Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s fruitless Russian collusion investigation. Though Mr. Mueller found no criminality on the part of Mr. Trump during two years of searching, committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler of New York vowed to go “well beyond the four corners of the Mueller Report” to unearth impeachment treasure that others missed.

“This committee is engaged in an investigation that will allow us to determine whether to recommend articles of impeachment with respect to President Trump,” Mr. Nadler said in a written statement. “Some call this process an impeachment inquiry. Some call it an impeachment investigation. But let me clear up any remaining doubt: The conduct under investigation poses a threat to our democracy. We have an obligation to respond to this threat.”

The chairman also banished any remaining doubt that, despite House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s practiced pose of resistance to impeachment, he and fellow committee Democrats intend to recommend an impeachment vote in the full House by the end of the year.

That intent, say Republicans, is set in stone, or brick. “What we have is a walk down the yellow brick road,” said the committee ranking member, Doug Collins of Georgia. “The Emerald City is impeachment and my colleagues are desperate to get there.”



The bulk of the inquiry, or investigation, or whatever term the committee fancies, involves supposed obstruction of justice, since the Mueller report found little to support its original suspicion that Mr. Trump colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election.

Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski is expected to make a committee appearance next week. It is former White House counsel Don McGahn, though, who Mr. Nadler longs to interrogate over whether the president’s purported criticisms of Mr. Mueller’s objectivity amounted to obstruction of his investigation. It is a question that the special counsel declined to answer in the affirmative. By characterizing the president’s conduct as “a threat to our democracy,” Mr. Nadler appears ready to do it for him.

Other committees are primed to do their part to keep Mr. Trump under fire through Election Day 2020. The Financial Services and Intelligence committees are seeking records of the president’s dealings with numerous banks, including Deutsche Bank AG and Capital One Financial Corp., in search of clues that the billionaire might have been involved in suspicious financial activities. The president’s lawyers are appealing a court order directing the banks to comply.

The House Ways and Means Committee is attacking from another angle, asking a Washington federal court to order the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service to produce Mr. Trump’s tax returns for the past six years.

And the Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform committees are busy stretching the U.S. Constitution’s emoluments clause, which prohibits federal officials from receiving gifts from a foreign state, to wrap around Mr. Trump’s neck. Democrats suspect he might have violated the measure this summer when Vice President Mike Pence stayed at Trump International Golf Links and Hotel in Ireland, and an Air Force crew spent a night at a Trump resort in Scotland while their C-17 refueled.

The president’s familial relationship with Melania, who originally hailed from faraway Slovenia, has not been similarly targeted for an emolument inquiry — yet — perhaps because other investigations crowd the House’s to-do list.

While more than half of the House’s 235 Democrats back a formal impeachment inquiry, Americans have tired of the incessant presidential harassment. A Monmouth University poll conducted last month found that 59 percent of respondents believe the president should not be impeached and removed from office.

Rather than counting on hounding him from office, the president’s enemies would do well to take Jefferson’s anger-control advice and count to 10, or a hundred, or even a thousand.

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