In 1998, America saw President Bill Clinton impeached by the House of Representatives for perjury and obstruction. While Clinton was spared by the cowards in the U.S. Senate, we never thought we’d see something like that again. Certainly, no Congress would want to go through another impeachment trial after the media thrashing, but even still, it was a dark time for the country and one hoped it would never reoccur.
Who would have thought that 16 years later we would look back on Bill Clinton’s crimes as being almost quaint. Barack Obama has taken lawlessness to a whole new level culminating in his illegal (though it’s debatable) deal to free an American “hostage” soldier in exchange for 5 dangerous Taliban criminals. Former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy says this goes beyond statues and veers straight into dereliction of duty.
As I demonstrate in Faithless Execution, high crimes and misdemeanors are not primarily statutory offenses. They are the political wrongs of high public officials—the president, in particular—in whom great public trust is reposed. When the commander-in-chief replenishes the enemy at a time when (a) the enemy is still attacking our forces and (b) the commander-in-chief has hamstrung our forces with unconscionable combat rules-of-engagement that compromise their ability to defend themselves, that is a profound dereliction of duty.
That’s what we ought to be outraged about. The chitter-chatter about a 30-day notice requirement is a sideshow. Yes, the president has once again violated a statute. And as I said in yesterday’s column, he undoubtedly did so in order to get the swap done before public and congressional protest could mount. But in the greater scheme of things, that’s a footnote to the real travesty.