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After a couple bad days, Dems are back in the saddle!

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During all the years I practiced karatedo, I did a lot of fighting, and one thing you learn when you do martial arts is that you’re going to get hit (or kicked) a lot. You hope you also will do at least as much damage to your opponent as he does to you. But the ultimate achievement of a karate fighter is to be able to get back on your feet after you’ve been struck a blow, ready to resume the battle with gusto and determination. That’s grit.

This past week has reminded me of my fighting days. The Barr Letter on the Mueller Report was a hard blow for us Democrats. It was a gut punch. No collusion! No obstruction of justice that could be proven! Trump on the rampage, falsely claiming he had been vindicated, and his base like angry, stinging wasps, on a sugar high of victory, rubbing it in Democrats’ faces.

It hurt.

Well, we had the wind kicked out of us for a spell. But my lessons from karate returned to inspire me. In the words of the old Fred Astaire song,

Nothing’s impossible I have found,
For when my chin is on the ground,
I pick myself up,
Dust myself off,
Start all over again.

We’ve now had four days since Sunday, when we got the bad news. And what remarkable days they’ve been. I wondered early on if this was it for The Resistance. It was hard for me to watch the news on T.V., or even get news alerts on my phone. The Republican gloating, for which to some extent they were justified, was galling.

But now, the scene is shifting. Democrats are regaining our momentum. Yes, we were down and out for a moment or two, but we “picked ourselves up and dusted ourselves off” and faced our opponent again. And I believe, sincerely from the bottom of my heart, we have retaken the initiative.

Americans are still prevented from reading the full Mueller Report because Republicans—mainly McConnell, obviously on Trump’s order—won’t let us. This is an overwhelming fact. By now, everybody realizes that the Barr letter was written by a partisan Trump lackey. Barr, who shamelessly auditioned for his job by fluffing Trump, had little credibility before this episode. Following it, he has none. Democrats have a very easy task before the American public. All we have to do is ask the simple question: What is Trump afraid of?

The American people understand the premise of this question. They know that if Trump really believes the Report is exculpatory he would immediately release it in full. If he doesn’t, it proves that he does not believe it’s exculpatory. It must contain dark, sinister truths that would refocus the spotlight of suspicion upon him and his family.

And this is why Democrats have retaken the initiative. The public is primed to believe that Trump colluded with the Russians and then tried to cover it up. We’ve had two years of evidence, two years of facts delivered over and over again, two years in which one shocking revelation after another came to us proving malice aforethought on Trump’s part. Republicans did their best to deny it, but the facts burst forth with tsunami power. Most Americans still believe that Trump did all sorts of bad things, and that is precisely what Democrats have going for them.

This is why I agree with people as different as Morning Joe and former Attorney General Eric Holder. Scarborough stated the obvious when he observed that even after the Barr propaganda, “Nobody knows anything.” That’s right. Democrats must insist that Barr’s words contain not a shred of truth, as long as he refuses to release the complete Report.

As for Holder, “It would be irresponsible for DOJ to hold on to this kind of information — for any reason,” he said. There’s information in that Report that will give added fuel to House Democratic Committee chairpersons in their investigations. It will not take much to convince the American people that this is far from over. The rightwingers at Breitbart will never be convinced—they’re beyond the fringe. But we no longer care about them. They’ve made themselves irrelevant by their tolerance of an amoral regime.

And so let the fight continue. Let Schumer lead Senate Democrats; let Speaker Pelosi lead House Democrats; let truth rally American Democrats. There can be no doubt that something evil has possessed Republicans. At the same time, we can never doubt the essential decency of America. We remain the country of FDR, JFK and Obama, optimistic, idealistic, hopeful. We currently reside in the shade of an autocratic, foul regime, but our history shows that we can overcome this dark episode. The Resistance continues, more empowered than ever.

  1. Bob Henry says:

    “Americans are still prevented from reading the full Mueller Report because Republicans — mainly McConnell, obviously on Trump’s order — won’t let us. This is an overwhelming fact.”

    My nonlawyerly understanding is the Mueller Report — perforce — has to be redacted of material that is never revealed following grand jury investigations.

    Read on . . .

    Excerpting The Wall Street Journal article posted tonight (March 28, 2019) titled “Democrats Push for Fast Release of Mueller Report”:

    “The full report on the 22-month probe is still under wraps. A person familiar with the matter said it runs to between 300 and 400 pages, not including exhibits. Still unknown is how much of the report Mr. Barr will provide to Congress and to the public and how much will remain secret.

    . . .

    “A Justice Department official said earlier that a version of Mr. Mueller’s report would be available for Congress and the public within weeks with redactions of certain information. In his call with Mr. Nadler, Mr. Barr declined to commit to providing Congress with the unredacted report, House Democratic aides said.

    . . .

    “A resolution that passed the House 420-0 earlier this month called for the release of the full report to Congress, and for a redacted version to the public. Should Mr. Barr not produce the report, Democrats are reviewing next steps, a lawmaker said, which could include subpoenas and going to court.

    . . .

    “The report contains grand jury material, the release of which is restricted by law without authorization from a federal judge. Its publication also could involve questions of executive privilege that would allow the White House to protect communications between the president and his advisers.

    “Mr. Trump said earlier this week he didn’t object to the report being made public.”

    Excerpting The New York Times article posted March 22, 2019 titled “Will the Mueller Report Be Made Public? Answers to 6 Key Questions”:

    “. . . Mr. Barr and his aides will have to review the report to determine whether any information is classified or otherwise sensitive, or protected by privacy laws or executive privilege, which can be invoked for sensitive law enforcement materials.”

    “. . . if the Mueller report includes grand jury testimony, which is protected under federal law, the number of people permitted to see the report shrinks significantly. Mr. Trump, as president, would be permitted to see it in certain circumstances.”

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