This is sure to persist, though, if the Flynn-Russia matter accelerates—and if the reluctant House and Senate do begin investigating the matter in earnest. If the language surrounding the investigation remains florid and purple, if Democrats try to please their Trump-hating constituents by screaming impeachment and liberal media tries to garner audience by jumping openly and vociferously on the bandwagon, the Trumpians will respond in kind by stirring the pot through their media and their argumentation.
The result might well be violence. Not rhetorical violence. Actual violence. Actual political violence. Actual conflicts between anti-Trumpers and Trumpers. At demonstrations. In the streets. Of our cities. Political violence of a sort we haven’t seen in 50 years, and maybe haven’t really seen in this country in the modern era. Those who believe Trump is a unique menace whose threat to our democratic way of life will be met with those who believe the elites are using illicit means to oust the legitimately elected president. This is not a fantasy. This is one possible future. And every rational person who cares about the future of the country should be mindful of it, and should work to forestall it.
The counsel to forestall conflict that might spiral out of control is prudent, and I too dread how congressional investigations could play in polarized social-media channels. Yet, I worry as much about Congress abdicating its oversight role. What if a credible accounting of the truth is the course most likely to forestall crisis and congressional fact-finding is best positioned to produce that account? In its absence might the executive branch continue its dangerous dysfunction, with an erratic president, competing factions of backstabbing aides, and alarmed intelligence professionals continuing to fight via alternative accountings?
Noah Millman thinks so.
Thus he wants an investigation. “I completely understand why a Republican Congress would be reluctant to do this,” he writes at The American Conservative. “There’s not only the risk that they’d cripple their own party’s presidency; there’s the very real risk of retaliation by the Trump administration, and the President taking steps to mobilize his supporters against members of Congress that threaten him.”
Nevertheless, “it looks like major elements within the national security bureaucracy are prepared to create a constitutional crisis in response to what they believe is a serious and real threat to American national security from the White House itself,” he argues. “And there is really only one way to avoid such a crisis: for Congress to step up and begin the necessary investigations of the Trump administration.” If Trump and his senior team is cleared of wrongdoing, they’ll be able to govern all the better without the strong appearance of corruption clouding them while a bureaucracy spreads lies in order to undermine their actions. If Trump or his team did coordinate on the DNC leaks, or are otherwise beholden to Vladamir Putin or Russian financial actors, what’s more urgent than knowing?