I join Glenn Reynolds — who has the advantage of being a law professor — in not knowing what to make of the federal raid conducted against President Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen. The raid was not conducted under the auspices of Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his ostensible “collusion” investigation but apparently based on a referral by him.
However one is inclined to fall on the question, Ken White is right to insist, “This is a big deal.” And there are basically two possibilities.
The interpretation of the president’s opposition will be that he and his coterie are simply so corrupt that law enforcement is having to engage in extraordinary measures for the sake of the country. Sure, this sort of raid looks bad, but by-gonit the fate of the nation is at stake.
John Hinderaker gives voice to the other interpretation:
It is blindingly obvious that this whole story, and the leak thereof, is a political attack on President Trump by the Democratic Party. There is only one serious question: Didn’t President Trump appoint the current Director of the FBI, Christopher Wray? And the Attorney General, Jeff Sessions? Yes, he did. So why is DOJ making war on the president?
The answer is that Trump and his appointees do not control the departments they ostensibly run. Liberals tell us that at DOJ, it is critically important that political appointees not interfere with the “career professionals” who do all the work. I say, bull****. The “career professionals” are just Democratic Party lifers who have risen to the top of the bureaucracy, often by avoiding any actual, risky work. I’m not talking about FBI agents on the street, or the majority of Assistant U.S. Attorneys. (U.S. Attorneys, of course, are political appointees.) I’m talking about career bureaucrats like James Comey, Bob Mueller, Andy McCabe, and so on.
A milder version would be that Donald Trump and his associates are generally unseemly but have not done anything extraordinarily wrong — meaning nothing that would actually appear unusual to our ruling elite. In that case, the bias of the deep state falls in picking and choosing whose indiscretions are worthy of prosecutorial attention. We’ve seen precedent for this interpretation already in the handling of “collusion,” with Trump associates’ finding themselves charged with lying to law enforcement when Democrat operatives have been let off the hook for that crime within recent memory.
We also have precedent in recent memory for Hinderaker’s interpretation, toward which I lean. Remember the Wisconsin John Doe raids?
Whatever the case, our country is in an extremely precarious position. As Mueller’s activities branch farther and farther from the supposed justification for his appointment, his office is manifestly ceasing to investigate a specific question of national concern and is becoming simply a permanent opposition investigation of the President of the United States. If law enforcement raids against the president’s lawyer prove mainly to fuel a continued stream of leaks, the already strained credibility of the agencies will further erode as the tectonic plates of public opinion pull farther apart.