The danger of overreaching

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Democrats should tap the brakes, because voters will judge Trump next year.

"CHAIRMAN NADLER and his fellow Democrats have embarked on this fishing expedition because they are terrified that their two-year false narrative of 'Russia collusion' is crumbling. ... Democrats are harassing the President to distract from their radical agenda of making America a socialist country, killing babies after they're born, and pushing a 'green new deal' that would destroy jobs and bankrupt America. ... The Democrats are more interested in pathetic political games and catering to a radical, leftist base than on producing results for our citizens. The Democrats are not after the truth, they are after the President."

So said a statement issued last week by White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, in response to a massive document demand from Rep. Jerry Nadler, the new Democrat chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

AND, FOR A CHANGE, this woman who usually fills a dual role of attack dog and truth bender delivered a well-aimed blow that millions of people will conclude scores a direct hit on President Trump's opposition.

The Judiciary Committee's sweeping demand is stunning in scope. Not only is the committee asking for almost everything on everybody surrounding Trump during the 2016 campaign and after he took office - which, by the way, clearly falls within the purview of congressional oversight - but also for all things Trump before his time in politics, including material on his business and his family.

So in one overreaching moment Democrats have risked turning the narrative sharply in Trump's favor, allowing the White House to claim harassment and victimization. Democrats have not learned the first rule of investigation - incrementalism works. Follow the facts, gathering evidence slowly and methodically, until a case either is built - or disproven. By leaping headlong over this cliff, Democrats have played into Sanders' claim they "are not after the truth, they are after the President."

LET US MAKE this clear: We definitely are not trying to absolve President Trump, who may yet be shown to have committed the kind of high crimes and misdemeanors spoken of by the Founders in the United States Constitution. This crude, crass and impetuous president who has up-ended so many norms deserves serious oversight by the Article 1 representatives of the people.

We're just not persuaded these Democrats are capable of slowing down, dispensing with the grandstanding, to gather information and evidence in what the nation can accept as a fair and measured process.

That's always the danger when an election sweeps out the old rascals and sweeps in the new rascals. Suddenly, the newcomers become convinced the country has fallen in love with them and has handed them a mandate for a radical swing from one agenda to another. That's rarely true. The country remains split almost down the middle. There is no mandate. In our view, the 2018 election was a plea for the political class to heal divisions and deliver responsible, effective government.

Instead, the people always get - as Sanders said - the "radical, leftist base."

Or, the radical, rightist base.

Most people would like to be rid of both.

LOOK, FAIR OVERSIGHT of the executive branch is a constitutional obligation of Congress, and we're all for it no matter who occupies the White House.

But check the political agendas long enough to absorb reality. Even if House investigations find some level of serious wrongdoing that traces right to Donald Trump's desk, any articles of impeachment brought by the House would be destined to die in the Republican-controlled Senate. There is no way 67 senators will vote to remove Trump from office. Impeachment talk will blow up in Democrats' faces.

In just over a year the people will go to the polls again. President Trump - assuming he runs again, which is not a sure thing - either will be re-elected by the people or evicted from the White House.

So throttle back the engine of investigation, and move methodically and with much less hype gathering what facts and evidence may exist.

Meanwhile, see if the people's representatives can get something done on all those important issues unrelated to Trump but important to the country.

The American people are scheduled to judge Trump in November, 2020. Trust them.

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