The Unshakable faith of the Trump-colluded conspiricists.

It is astonishing the degree to which seemingly intelligent people hold an unshakable belief the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to win the election. Blind to the trumped up narrative unraveling all around them, oblivious to the absence of any evidence or substantive claim of a deal between Trump and Russians, unmoved by every scandal and error the media makes trying to ram the story into public acceptance, they simply know it’s true. They smugly sneer and disdain anyone who points out the holes in the story.
Last week’s guilty plea by Trump’s short lived national security advisor Michael Flynn is a prime exhibit of the critics’ unshakable faith in The Narrative. Michael Flynn pled guilty to a single count of lying to the FBI. Instantly the Never Trump lynch mob was high fiving and laying bets how soon the trail would lead to Trump and cause his exit.
 
ABC’s Brian Ross breathlessly blurted that Flynn was cooperating with Muller, and would testify that, during the campaign, Candidate Trump had directed him to contact the Russians. The mob went wild. Smoking gun! Collusion! Treason!
 
By the next day, Ross and ABC had to backpedal in disgrace: The direction to Flynn came after the election, not before. That is, it was about transitional diplomacy on behalf of an incoming administration, not about hacking emails or rigging the vote for a candidate in an upcoming election.
 
In deed, the information released by Muller the next day was explicit: Flynn was to engage the Russians about improved relations, about considering opposing a UN resolution, and about cooperating to fight ISIS. There was simply nothing untoward about those contacts. Why Flynn would have lied to FBI investigators about having them is something of a mystery. But he pled to lying about things that were right and proper, not wrong and collusive
 
That didn’t stop CNN’s Errol Lewis from bleating: It’s time to start talking about impeachment.
 
What Lewis either didn’t understand or deliberately withheld from CNN’s readers is that Flynn’s plea had nothing to do with pre-election collusion. They probably wouldn’t believe him anyway. In the fever swamps of the Never Trump Zealots, there is no fact or information that shakes their conviction. Trump and Putin stole the election from Hillary Clinton.
 
They’re actually missing quite a bit of interesting news. They have probably forgotten that CNN had to fire three reporters for fabricating a Trump-Russia story. They probably have not heard that Muller had to fire one of his top aids from the investigation because the aide had exchanged anti-Trump and pro-Clinton texts with another FBI agent.
 
They almost certainly haven’t heard that the FBI is stonewalling Congress’s attempts to learn more about the aide’s involvement in the case, as well as the FBI’s role in procuring and distributing the infamous Russia Dossier, and that Committee Chair Devin Nunes is threatening to pursue contempt charges.
 
 
None of the drip drip drip of The Narrative leaking away soaks their sweet dreams of perp walks and impeachment and an orange president in an orange jumpsuit.They should probably pay a little more attention to the news.
 
 

Senators keep gunning for nominees’ religious beliefs.

We have posted before about Senate Democrats on the Judiciary Committee exhibiting hostile attitudes toward nominees’ religious faith. One of the most aggressive, Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse apparently wants to become the committee’s chief spear carrier in that regard.
 
In his questioning of Leonard Steven Graszn, nominated to the US Court of Appeals, Whitehouse spent the end of his time exploring the appropriate role of religion in judicial rulings and in the committee’s consideration of judicial nominations. Grasz and Whitehouse appeared to agree that religion per se should play no role in either. Rulings should be based on the law, and approval of a nominee should be based on his or her qualifications.
 
Whitehouse concluded with a seemingly reasonable sum up question: Is it appropriate for the committee to try to assure itself the nominee will adhere to that standard, and keep personal religious beliefs out of his rulings? Yes, Grasz agreed.Watch the exchange starting at 5:25 in the YouTube link below.
 
The problem with this seemingly arm’s length accord is that it opens the door for all manner of personal probing about what those beliefs are and how they might influence a nominee. This would be an unusual and insidious direction for examinations to go. There have always been nominees of various faiths. Many have come from churches with traditional views on the sanctity of life, family and marriage structure, freedom of religious practice against government regulation. The fact of the diversity of religious views has not previously been an invitation to senators to cross examine nominees about the details of their doctrines. Doing that smacks of an agenda to intrude, to expose, to isolate, and to ridicule. This is particularly troubling where Sen. Whitehouse appears to have precisely that agenda.

Indeed, in the hearing, he argued that “there’s simply no way to prevent a judge’s . . . personal beliefs from influencing” the judge’s rulings It appears Whitehouse is setting up a one-two. Ask questions eliciting any belief in a doctrine that does not comply with current legal trends, then argue the nominee will be unable to follow the law. Rather he’ll be improperly influenced by his church’s teachings.
 
Reinforcing this concern, the ABA investigator who gathered information for the ABA’s report to the Senate questioned Grasz about why he sent his children to a private religious school. That is not relevant fact gathering. An ill wind blows.