The president has declared that he has “complete power to pardon,” which may be almost true in a narrow legal sense (asserting power to judge his own case is dubious). He may yet pardon his son, son-in-law, and who knows who else. He may be able to remove Robert Mueller, and that would be a major crisis if Congress did not respond forcefully. But the larger issue for a democratic republic in which consent of the governed is inalienable is this: what’s our next move as citizens? We who are citizens and voters have the final power to grant reprieves and pardons in the larger sense. Some of us, perhaps clinging to a confirmation bias, believe the president is trying to make things better, if only it weren’t for the swamp-dweller lobbyists/Democrats/leftists/snowflake slackers/deep state. Some of us, that is, are not yet ready to let go of our pleasant fantasy of victimhood, even when our political party controls the presidency, the House and Senate, and the highest court. Others of us, suffering from unpacified forgetting, are still fighting over the 2016 Democratic primaries. My hope is that most of us, who are hoping above all that the government will be focused on serving, protecting, and increasing opportunities for as many Americans as possible, will bother to let our representatives know how we feel, and then vote at every opportunity to renew and refresh our government, showing no reprieve and no pardon for those who have unrepentantly abused the public trust.
“Circumstantial evidence” is in the news today. As I heard it, Congressman Adam Schiff, Democrat of California, says he has evidence, not just circumstantial, of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russians. Henry David Thoreau wrote that “some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk.” I would say where we are right now re Trump/Russia is that we have seen the trout in the milk. Some people are anxious or eager for even more evidence. I imagine Schiff is sitting on evidence even stronger than trout in the milk. Not sure if it will impress or convince everybody who needs to be convinced and impressed, but there is already more than enough smoky milky trout for me.