Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

A Multi-Front War

The Corner
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by Victor Davis Hanson// National Review
The House Intelligence Committee fights, the Susan Rice revelations, the stale Russian collusion story, the Gorsuch battle, the Bannon battles, the end of the filibuster, etc. are all different fronts of the same existential struggle: the unlikely Trump victory is unpalatable for the Left and its dangerous ramifications for the entire progressive project must be stopped by any means necessary.
I think it was understandable (though I might disagree with that decision) — after acting on whistleblower information and bringing the non-Russian-related intercepts, unmasking, and leaking to the attention of the committee and the country that otherwise likely would never have seen the light of day — that Chairman Devin Nunes both stays on as chair on the Intelligence Committee, but like Jeff Sessions in the matter of the Justice Department, temporarily recuses himself from directly investigating the various charges. In this entire hysteria, Nunes has acted ethically and was done an injustice by those who acted unethically and who will now only be emboldened.
The opposition is still desperately trying to make messengers and process the messages rather than the facts, and for obvious reasons — and they will never forgive Nunes for bringing to light the information from whistleblowers that has proven explosive and changed the entire course of the investigations. Representative Schiff, who has stated without evidence that he has seen information that warrants a grand-jury investigation about Russian collusion, and then has not followed up on those explosive charges, should do likewise in recusing himself from the Russian collusion/improper intercepting and leaking investigations.
At some point, an outside body may have to come in. Special prosecutors are an anathema, given their sordid history of overreach and politicization, but this entire scandal in the public mind is becoming a binary narrative of Russian collusion vs. improper intercepts/unmasking/leaking, with the two sides aligned accordingly — a replay of FBI Director Comey’s politicized schizophrenia of last year predicated on the campaign cycle, which finally led to the fate of Hillary Clinton’s improper behavior being settled politically rather than legally.
Which story then is likely to gain traction — Russian collusion, improper surveillance/illegal leaking, both, or neither?
So far an enormous amount of media attention and investigations about direct Russian collusion with Trump have found no evidence, but for now very little attention has been given to improper unmasking of surveillance and leaking, and yet has already far more credibility — given the strange contradictory statements of Susan Rice, the reported data on unmasking, the expansion of access to intercepts, and the stranger behavior of journalists at the New York Times, Washington Post, and major media who must have been relying on classified information illegally leaked to them for months to advance a narrative that was deemed advantageous for both the Obama administration and sympathetic media but otherwise never caught on because it was unproven.
After the Lawrence Walsh and Patrick Fitzgerald abuses, Republicans are certainly right to resist an outside investigator, but they might discover that ironically their Democrat opponents privately oppose a third-party investigation in fact even more than Republicans do in theory — and for obvious reasons that, if done professionally, the results will not be welcome.

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/446498/devin-nunes-recusal-house-intelligence-committee

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About Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor of Classics Emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services. He is also the Wayne & Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History, Hillsdale College, where he teaches each fall semester courses in military history and classical culture.

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