Senior counsel for House Democrats wants to criminalize any contact whatsoever with 'Russian persons'

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Published by: Dan Calabrese on Tuesday January 09th, 2018

The definition of collusion must be expanded until no one is innocent.

Remember when Democrats laughed at Mitt Romney for saying in a debate that Russia was American's number one geopolitical rival?

Remember even further back, when Democrats objected to Senator Joseph McCarthy's attempts to smear anyone who'd had dealings with Russians as communists?

Good times.

The mocking of anti-Russian sentiments only lasted as long as they were politically useful to Democrats. As soon as the supposed Donald Trump/Russia nexus came to be seen as the Democrats' way back to power, all that history was brushed aside. And when Democrats think they've got a path to power, no pursuit of that path is too extreme.

So sure, shrieking about Russia seems to have promise. Might as well take it to its logical extreme, and there's no reason to make truth or legality a concern. The favorite tactic of Democrats is to endlessly investigate their political rivals. You never have to prove they did anything wrong. You just investigate the hell out of them while leaking innuendoes that they're probably guilty of something. And one of the most effective ways to do that is to use your demands for information as a way of implying certain things are suspect.

What to cast aspersions on someone who eats strawberries? Demand an accounting of all incidents of strawberry consumption! Huh. Must be a reason they want to know about that.

Yeah. There is. So you'll think there's a reason for it. See how that works?

So House Democrats are now using this tactic to expand the definition of "collusion with Russians". How so? Simple. Have ever talked to a "Russian person"? A ha!. Provide the committee with details of these incidents in full, you traitor:

Ms. Doss was writing to Robert Barnes, an attorney for Charles C. Johnson, the controversial and unpleasant alt-right blogger. Mr. Johnson’s interactions with Julian Assange inspired some in the media to speculate last year that Mr. Johnson had served as a back channel between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks. There’s still no proof, but in July the Intelligence Committee sent a letter requesting Mr. Johnson submit to them any documents, emails, texts or the like related to “any communications with Russian persons” in a variety of 2016 circumstances, including those related to “the 2016 U.S. Presidential Campaign.”

Mr. Barnes seems to have wanted clarification from Ms. Doss about the definition of “Russian persons.” And this would make sense, since it’s a loose term. Russians in Russia? Russians in America? Russians with business in the country? Russians who lobby the U.S. and might be affected by the election—though not in contact with campaigns?

Ms. Doss’s response was more sweeping than any of these: “The provision we discussed narrowing was clarifying that the phrase ‘Russian persons’ in [the committee letter] may be read to refer to persons that Mr. Johnson knows or has reason to believe are of Russian nationality or descent” (emphasis added).

If this stands, Democrats will have gone far beyond criminalizing routine government contacts with Russians, which is disturbing enough. Trump transition and administration officials have been smeared and subjected to exhaustive investigation merely for doing their job, which includes interacting with Russian officials or diplomats. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has spent the past year having to justify why, as a U.S. senator, he shook hands with the Russian ambassador. The running joke in today’s Washington is that one risks a subpoena merely for ordering a salad with Russian dressing.

But the definition in the Doss letter potentially takes all this much further. It could be that Ms. Doss was simply trying to prevent a recalcitrant witness from evading legitimate requests. But it could mean you are now officially under suspicion by the U.S. government—subject to requisitioning your emails and texts or getting your own subpoena—if your parents or even great-great-grandparents were Russkis. By some estimates, the Russian-American community is more than three million strong, and quite a few of them are Mr. Warner’s congressional colleagues, including Bernie Sanders.

If it seems absurd to you think this definition would actually be applied, I have bad news for you. It already has been. It's the reason Attorney General Jeff Sessions was successfully pressured to recuse himself from this whole stupid Russia investigation - because when he was a senator and a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, he had contact with a Russian diplomat. That is about as innocuous as a thing can be, but in the age of the new Russia Inquisition, it's tantamount to an admission of treason.

None of this is serious. None of this is sincere. None of it reflects an earnest belief on the part of Democrats that these contacts between Americans and Russians really present a problem. All of it is political opportunism and nothing else. And yes, Democrats are prepared to use the federal government's investigatory power to harass you for things that broke no laws and cause no problems - if it assists them in returning to power.

That said, we do have video of one American promising the Russians to give them favorable treatment once he was done convincing voters he would do otherwise. And here it is:

Dan writes Christian spiritual warfare novels and does all kinds of other weird things too. Follow all his activity by liking him on Facebook!