The impeachment trial may now be history, but the Mueller investigation and the impeachment investigation and trial have set new norms for our federal government. Last month Victor Davis Hanson wrote about this in what he called “The New Post-Trump Constitution.” Here are just a few of them.
First, private presidential phone calls will be leaked and printed in the media. This is how the impeachment inquiry started, and it seems likely that this will happen again and again.
Second, impeachment of a president now has become a casual affair. It doesn’t have to be due to “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” It doesn’t necessarily have to have overwhelming public support. It doesn’t even need bipartisan support. We might also add that apparently there is no time limit on an impeachment. You can put the articles of impeachment on the shelf and pull them out weeks or even months later.
Third, it appears that the leadership of the FBI, the CIA, and the NSA are immune from any reasonable oversight. Surveillance (what most of us would call spying) was justified with the thinnest of evidence. So far there haven’t been any repercussions for an FBI director or anyone in the intelligence community lying to Congress. No indictments, much less convictions, have been brought against anyone involved.
Fourth, the FISA courts have been misused and abused but no one has been held accountable. They may now be used as agencies to grant the FBI or the DOJ power that can be used against candidates and officeholders.
This is the new political climate brought about by politicians and bureaucrats who wanted to investigate and remove the president. Ironically, some of them now want to seek refuge and relief in the customs and norms they previously abolished. But it may not be possible to undo what they destroyed.