We think the Roman Republic ended with Caesar crossing the Rubicon or with Octavius being declared the first Emperor. In fact, until Diocletian, the Roman Emperor still pretended to keep the trappings of just a first among equals citizen. And before Caesar, there was Sulla, a dictator who reformed the Senate and then left power. Sulla inspired Caesar who thought Sulla nuts to have surrendered power willingly.
Rome kept the resemblance of a republic long after it had actually become a dictatorship in various ways and I am afraid that might be our trajectory. Our Rubicon may have been crossed and we need some honest, sober reflection. Instead, we will get partisan sniping with one side adamant it is not true and the other adamant it is. Truth, in a post-modern America, is hard to come by.
But the reality is this: if FBI agents collaborated to fabricate or exaggerate allegations about Donald Trump and/or tried to bring down his Presidency through partisan motivations, it is game over on the republic. If the civil institutions we have put in place to ensure law and order apart from politics are infiltrated by politics, there really is no turning back. We are already at a "they started it" mentality in our politics and this will just escalate the breakdown. We have already seen this in the IRS twice in the past fifty years, first with Nixon then with Obama, and the second time was largely given a pass by press.
There are now real and troubling allegations stemming from text messages that include agents meeting to discuss an "insurance policy" and agents meeting in a secret society. There are possible missing or willfully deleted text messages.
To be sure, and this is very important, there is also a lot of partisan exaggeration by people trying to protect the President. There is a lot of conflation. But there are serious allegations and there is enough evidence now that we need an investigation. I do not believe we need a special counsel as it would only serve to undermine the existing special counsel and would be seen as such. The Department of Justice should investigate and fully and publicly release its findings.'
Frankly, a closed meeting of congressmen without TV cameras to play to would be advisable as well. The tendency on both sides is to play to cameras to try to keep each side's base motivated for the mid-term elections. Turn off the cameras and take this seriously.
There is another angle to this too. If Republican partisans in Congress are raising these issues to undermine the FBI merely to support their party and the allegations are not true, the Republican Party itself needs to be shut down. The actions of the agents, if true, and the actions of the congressmen if not true are messing with the very integrity of our republic and its civic institutions.
This is no laughing matter. I take the allegations made by Congressmen Gowdy, Ratcliffe, and others to be serious and substantive. The media needs to treat those allegations with the gravity they deserve instead of turning this into a Republican vs. Democrat fight. If this is true, the activity within the FBI must be ruthlessly exposed and publicly stamped out. Otherwise we will see complete trust in government and the institutions of law and order collapse. If this is not true, the activity within the Republican Conference in the House must be ruthlessly exposed and publicly stamped out through Congressional censure and public discipline. Otherwise we will see complete trust in government and the institutions of law and order collapse.
Unfortunately, there are very few, if any, organizations left in this country that both sides view as honest brokers. The partisan sniping in both Houses of Congress and the leaking from Democrats to the press over the past few months leaves the nation without a reservoir of trust on either side.
These then are dangerous times and we need serious answers without all the partisan b.s. I cannot emphasize enough that one side or the other is in the wrong on this and whichever side is wrong must be ruthlessly stamped out for the basic, foundational institutions of our government to preserve integrity.