- - Sunday, February 9, 2020

Impeachment has come and gone, but beware lest it comes around again. Like “Groundhog Day,” the fantasy film in which Feb. 2 is relived in an endless loop, the president’s enemies show every intention of subjecting him to a recurring nightmare marked by accusation, investigation and a call for termination. Most Americans would not care to relive either Impeachment Day or Acquittal Day. Preventing a repeat of the illegitimate domestic surveillance that started it all would help.

Determined mischief-makers have left little doubt that their anti-Trump fervor is forever. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tore through Congress‘ veil of decorum when she dramatically ripped up the president’s State of the Union speech Tuesday night, in full view of lawmakers and 37 million TV viewers, hours before his inevitable acquittal on two articles of impeachment. “He shredded the truth, so I shredded his speech,” she boasted to fellow Democrats the next morning.

Mrs. Pelosi also shredded the U.S. Constitution. Tackling corruption, the item in Mr. Trump’s phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that raised Democrats’ hackles, is part of his job description. Corruption isn’t off-limits simply because it might entangle a political rival. And uncovering abuse doesn’t rise to the level of “high crimes and misdemeanors” owing solely to the fact that the rival is former Vice President Joe Biden. By acquitting Mr. Trump, the Senate picked up the pieces of the nation’s founding document and glued them back together.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, of course, and truth to which the speaker lays claim is weighed within the heart. An emotional core filled with fury over her failure to dispatch her nemesis is a tainted instrument of judgment. If Mrs. Pelosi is praying for Mr. Trump and his presidency, as she has frequently assured, his triumph shows it’s clearly working. If anyone is likewise supplicating the Almighty on her behalf, it’s obviously not.

Her best move is to pray harder. Perhaps with that in mind, the speaker appeared at the annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington on Thursday, occupying a head-table seat within shouting distance of the president, who summed up his own emotions by holding up a copy of The Washington Post that read in bold letters: “Trump acquitted.”



Later, Mr. Trump held a “celebration” in a crowded East Room of the White House, where he unloaded his unvarnished thoughts about the course of events that rambled through the Russia collusion charges, the Mueller investigation exoneration, the Ukraine collusion hearings, the Senate impeachment trial, and ended with his convincing acquittal on Wednesday. “We’ve been going through this now for over three years,” he said. “It was evil, it was corrupt, it was dirty cops. It was leakers and liars, this should never happen to another president ever.”

His congressional district looks out on New York Harbor where the Statue of Liberty lifts its lamp, but House impeachment manager Jerrold Nadler is groping in darkness for fresh charges of presidential wrongdoing. Questioned about his next move, the New York Democrat said, “Yeah,” he is interested in subpoenaing former Trump National Security Adviser John Bolton. According to snippets from his unfinished tell-all book, Mr. Bolton reportedly knows a thing or two about Ukraine.

Even as he condemned the roguery that made him only the third U.S. president to be impeached, Mr. Trump acknowledged that his political enemies — in particular, fellow New Yorker Mr. Nadler — could return with fresh attacks: “Nadler I’ve known him much of my life. He’s fought me in New York for 25 years… If they find I happen to walk across the street or go against the light or something, ‘Let’s impeach him.’ We’ll probably have to do it again because these people have gone stone-cold crazy.”

If the president’s adversaries renew their siege on the White House, they should get no help from the sort of unwarranted domestic spying that touched off their prolonged onslaught. FBI Director Christopher Wray is under close scrutiny as he reinforces requirements for warrant applications presented to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA). And Congress must do its part by buttressing the role of FISA amicus curiae, independent watchdogs empowered to challenge spy warrant requests, when authorizing legislation within the Patriot Act comes up for renewal in March.

Americans shouldn’t be subjected to an impeachment and acquittal replay of “Groundhog Day.”

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