E J Donne’s book Our Divided Political Heart: The Battle for the American Idea in an Age of Discontent speaks eloquently about America’s Collectivist History
Chap 1 - A Man of Promising Parts -
Here Burr’s birth and education are covered. He was born in 1756 twenty years before the Declaration of Independence.
Burr was the grandson of Jonathan Edwards and the son of Aaron Burr Sr and Ester Edwards. Aaron Burr, Sr. was the President of Princeton. His parents died when he was about two so he was raised by relatives in Philadelphia. He attended a Presbyterian school in Elizabeth Town NJ where he was a good student; he entered Princeton in 1769 at the age of 13, a couple of years younger than most of his classmates. (In those days, people generally entered college a year or two younger than they do today.)
At Princeton, Burr was generally noted for his small stature, his youth, his writing skills, his speaking skills, and his friendliness. He met several people there who became participants in the Revolutionary War and/or at the Constitutional Convention in Phila. There were two political clubs on campus the Whigs and the Clios, the former favored local government, the latter had a more globalist, centralist, monarchist idea of government. Burr was one of few students who at different times was a member of both clubs. During his time at college, he addressed an assembly of his schoolmates with a talk entitled On Honor. In this talk he addressed, among other things, the practice of dueling (which at the time was being discouraged). At graduation, he was one of the students selected to address the audience. His talk on Building Castles in the Air counseled prudence when making future plans. It was well received. Surprisingly both these talks were remembered by his classmates long after they left school.
Chap 2 - To Concert with my Brother Officers -
After Princeton, Burr traveled to New England where discord with England was heating up. He did not get involved in Bunker Hill but joined Col. Arnold who was taking 1000 men cross country from the Maine coast to Quebec where the British had a garrison. A second group under Gen Montgomery was coming north from New York. The idea was to hurt the British in Canada and hopefully get the Canadians to join the 13 Colonies in their dispute with England.
At Quebec, Montgomery’s force was un-expectantly attacked as it advanced to surprise the British garrison on New Year’s Eve 1775. Unfortunately Gen Montgomery was killed in this skirmish. This event proved Burr’s courage. He was near Montgomery when he was hit and tried to drag the General back to safety or at least recover his body. However, Montgomery was a large man, Burr the opposite, so he was unable. However, became of his behavior in the face of the enemy, Burr became one of the early heroes of the American Revolution just as Montgomery was unfortunately its first general officer lost.
Burr was transferred to Washington’s staff then organizing the defense of NYC. There Burr watched Washington get outflanked by the British. He realized then that Washington was an inspiring figure but lacked real battlefield experience. Burr was then transferred to Gen. Putnam, the hero of Bunker Hill, who was able to devise a plan to get the bulk of Washington’s troops, without most of their heavy guns, over to New Jersey.
The experience of being near Gen. Washington taught Burr a lot as he saw young officers denigrate each other and fawn over higher officers trying to gain preferred appointments and promotions. Burr disliked this behavior and decided to accept a lesser place with no promotion on Gen Putnam’s staff.
Burr next went to the Valley Forge area. There he met Theodosia Prevost the wife of a British officer stationed in Georgia and later Jamaica. Theodosia was American and well off. Her husband was also well off , for instance, his family owned large tracts of western lands in places like Mississippi. Burr actually met Theodosia at an an officer’s ball hosted by Martha Washington. Theodosia liked to entertain American officers at her large home in rural New Jersey where she was raising her children. She and Burr hit it off immediately because both were skilled writers, loved poetry, were good conversationalists, and generally liked people.
Burr was then assigned to the Hudson Valley. This was a secondary area of operation under the command of Gen Putnam. Burr led a night time sneak attack on a larger British force that was asleep in northern New Jersey. They captured the entire enemy unit with few casualties. Burr’s commander was not so lucky. Putnam lost two Hudson river forts to the British and Washington pushed him into semi-retirement. This even though Washington himself had been ordering Putnam to continually send troops to replenish Washington losses in the Valley Forge area of operation. Burr felt Putnam’s force was under strength. Burr’s opinion of Washington was further reduced by what happened to Putnam.
Burr was returned to the main army at Valley Forge in early 1778. The British decided to relocate their main force from NYC to Phila. They were marching across New Jersey when they decided to pause at Monmouth. Washington, after a council with his staff, ordered an attack. Burr participated in the major Battle on Monmouth Court House (June 28, 1778) which ended in a draw. It was fought on blistering hot day. Burr suffered heat stroke which was eventually the stated cause for him resigning his commission.
This battle also caused Gen. Charles Lee, Washington’s number two, to be court martial’ed for basically failing to say “yes sir” when Washington proposed an attack at Monmouth. Burr in his private correspondence admitted Lee had a cutting wit and blunt way of speaking, but he felt the punishment was not proportionate to any infraction that might have been committed. One of Burr’s friends said of Lee - “he has been Putnam-ized”.
Before leaving the army, Burr was reassigned to the Hudson Valley under a General McDougall where he had direct command of many troops. He was a Lt Col by now and charged with maintaining order in Westchester County where farmers grew a variety of crops and raised animals for sale in NYC. The difficulty here was that many American troops were in the habit of stealing these good food items from the farmers and that the British were in the habit of raiding into the area to obtain the same items. Burr became adapt at meeting out justice to wayward Americans and attacking raiding parties of Britishers coming out of the city for fresh food. It is likely that Burr learned his marksmanship while policing this “rough stuff” in Westchester County.
In meeting out justice to wayward Americans, Burr would often deviate from the Army’s code of punishments saying that mercy was warranted because the theft was small or the guilty soldier was a first time offender. Burr also insisted that offenders ask the forgiveness of the people they stole from. Burr was never known to order corporal punishment (e.g. flogging).
Burr was a very orderly person and insisted his troops be orderly. There was grumbling but over time the men liked the system. Burr felt the entire war effort would go better if it was conducted in a more systematic, well ordered way. One soldier under his command noted “everyday offered some new lesson of instruction”. Not surprising, after all, his father and grandfather had been ministers and teachers.
Chap 3 - Such are the letters I Love -
This chapter deals with Burr’s marriage to Theodosia and his admittance to the bar in NY (1780 to 1788). Burr prepared for the bar exam but studying at his brother-in-law’s office. He also had short periods of study at two other law offices.
Burr and Theodosia stayed in close touch. Some say they were having an affair. In any event when word came that Theodosia’s husband had succumbed to an infectious disease in Jamaica, it was natural that Theodosia and Burr would marry. Theodosia was sickly and ten years Burr’s senior in age. They had one child that survived; she was named after her mother. Unfortunetly Theodosia Burr died in 1794 just 12 years after she married Aaron Burr in 1782.
The Burr’s were well suited to each other. They both believed in woman’s rights They both like to write poetry, Burr himself loved to describe situations and people using words. Burr was always keeping a journal and he like to write the entries as though he was writing to a close female relative. For years he wrote to his sister Sally ...”S” for short, then it was Theodosia. Near the end of his life, it was his daughter. It is clear from the dates in his journal entries that Theodosia Prevost was the object of his attention before her husband’s death; he referred to her as his new sister “T”.
Burr’s courtship of Theodosia and his admission to the bar occurred within a few days of each other in 1782.
Chap 4 - An Unprejudiced Mind
This chapter explores Burr’s introduction to the practice if law in NYC.
The British had vacated the city and NY passed a law forcing Tories out of the practice of law which meant the few lawyers, who were supporters of the revolution, had a lot of business. The turnover of real estate was steady as pro British Tories sold out to patriots looking for bargains. Burr benefitted from all this buying and selling. The rest of Burr’s practice was the usual mix of divorces, breach of contract, etc. He had a reputation for representing Patriots of modest means. Hamilton who was also practicing law in NYC had a practice focused on the wealthy.
Burr was very busy and he began to do a little real estate speculation to augment his income. The Burrs were able to afford large homes in good neighbors. Theodosia’s natural facility for entertaining also helped her husband’s law practice.
Burr, like all lawyers, had some interest in politics. He was a political moderate who leaned to the left, so he aligned himself with the Anti-Federalists. In NY the Anti Federalists were divided into two large groups. One was led by Gov. George Clinton another was led by Robert Livingston, the head of the NY Chancery Court. The Clinton group was most strongly opposed to a strong central government. The Livingston group was more moderate in their position but they too were suspicious of central control. When the Constitution was proposed in 1787, George Clinton was adamantly oppose whereas Livingston was willing to discuss revisions.
The opposing Federalist group, that strongly favored central control, was led by Alexander Hamilton and his father-in-law, Phillip Schuyler, a wealthy businessman.
Initially, Burr was only mildly interested in politics, but over time he was identified by anti-federalist leaders as the kind of person they wanted in office. He was recruited to run for the NY State legislature on a local ticket organized by his old army friend Gen Alexander McDougall. Burr was elected in 1784. He began to travel back and forth to Albany. He took his cases files along to study. In Albany his personality and wide knowledge and education won him a wide friendship. In Albany he served on a Special Committee created to review all of NY laws in light of the separation that had occurred from England. Burr proposed that slaves be freed in NY. He also wanted some way to compensate patriots who had suffered a loss because of the war.
When the Constitution came to NY in 1787 for ratification, it encountered tremendous opposition. However as time passed: 1) word came that more and more states had ratified and 2) assurances came via the Federalist essays that were being published in the newspapers; these articles managed to gave the Constitution’s many provisions a “benign” meaning. 3) there was much talk of a Bill of Rights which was to be attached to the Constitution shortly after its ratification.
The pressure built to have NY ratify. The NY delegates to the State ratifying convention finally gave in and ratified (30 to 27). NY was the 11th state to ratify.
The Inauguration of Washington occurred in NYC and it was a pro-Federalist affair. Burr and his friends had profound reservations. After the Inauguration, a committee was set up to make suggestion to President Washington for appointments to Federal positions in NY. The committee was stacked against the Anti-Federalists; Burr was the only Anti-Federalists appointed.
After George Clinton almost lost his re-election campaign in 1787 to a Phillip Schuyler man, he decided to use his appointment power to build a stronger political organization. He selected Aaron Burr to be Attorney General. Over two years, Burr handled 158 cases for the State of New York, this effort took him all across the state where he made many more friends.
Phillip Schuyler had been elected by the state legislature to be the first Senator from NY, but his term was for only one session of Congress. He had to run for re-election again in 1790 to begin his first full 6 year term in 1791. The Anti-Federalists decided to run Burr against Phillip Schuyler. Of course, Burr was a popular Attorney General and had many friends in the legislature from his time of service there. Burr defeated Hamilton’s father-in-law 32 to 27 in the lower chamber and 14 to 4 in the upper chamber.
Although Hamilton and Burr had sparred a bit in the army and later a little in the courtrooms of NYC, this election marks the official outbreak of open hostility directed by the Hamilton faction toward Burr and his supporters.
Theodosia was to die two years into Burr’s Senate term. After her death his political judgements seem to become less nuanced, but that’s for the next installment. .... (prepared by Hugh Murray on 4/2/18 )
Chap 5 - A Certain Little Senator
Burr took office in the US Senate during the Spring of 1791. He entered a capital city controlled by Federalists, and they felt the arrival of Anti Federalists was a threat to their power and more broadly a threat to the country. There was a lot happening that alarmed the Federalists.
There was the Genet affair where a French ambassador had come to US and attempted to build support among Americans to help France fight Britain, This upset Washington because America was officially neutral. It all ended when the French revolution got ugly and everyone agreed that if Genet returned to Paris he would likely be killed; so he was allowed to stay in the US .
The Gallatin matter involved an elected Anti-Federalist Senator from Pa that had not been a citizen the required 9 years to be elected. He had only been a citizen 8 years and 363 days when he was elected. Burr defended him in the Senate procedure to see if he could be seated. Burr’s arguement was “he was an honorable patriot and a well educated immigrant from Switzerland, who acted like a citizen for years before he applied for citizenship and should be welcomed as a Senator”. Burr’s argument did not carry the day, As a side note Gallatin later was appointed by Jefferson to his cabinet and became the longest serving Treasury Sec’y in history (13 years).
There was the Jay affair were an appointed emmissary had gone to negotiate with Britain a treaty to regulate relations between American ships and British ships. The resulting treaty was terribly one sided. It even sanctioned impressment of American sailors taken off American ships.
Most important was the Whiskey Rebellion in western Pennsylvania where producers of corn whiskey refused to pay Federal excise tax on their production. The whiskey producers argued that whiskey was easier to transport to Phila than the corn that had been used to make it and that the tax simply inhibited their efficiency in getting their crop to market. This event triggered the mobilization of 15,000 troops lead by Hamilton himself that marched to western Pa to suppress the activity, collect taxes, and imprison the leaders.
All the foregoing simply describers the atmosphere that pervaded Washington in 1791 and the Federalists who had been riding high following the ratification of the Constitution.
In 1799 there was a pistol duel between John Church (a Hamilton sidekick) over defamations aimed at Burr’s character. Church apologized after he missed with his first shot. There was also a sword duel between Samuel Bradhurst (another Hamilton henchman) and Burr.
There was almost a duel between James Monroe and Hamilton over Hamiton’s accusation that Monroe had disclosed damning information (about Hamilton’s “irregular” business dealings with a certain Mr. Reynolds and Hamilton’s affair with Reynold’s wife) to a hack scandal writer named Callender. Monroe denied making these revelations so Hamilton went further and accused Monroe of lying. Monroe was ready to duel over the accusations. Hamilton extracted himself from the situation by writing a long explanation that exonerate Monroe and put the best possible face on the huge scandal.
This time also saw Burr and Hamilton cooperating on a Committee to prepare defenses for NYC’s harbor. Federalists thought France would attack, Anti Federalist thought Britain would be our next enemy. Pres Adams wanted to appoint Burr quartermaster general, Washington was against it saying Burr “is a man of intrigues”. Washington hardly knew Burr so this must have come from Hamilton.
After Burr’s service in the US Senate, he was elected to to the NY General Assembly in Albany in 1797.
Burr had several troubled investments in this period. He made a very bad investment in upstate NY where the organizer had secretly placed large loans on the assets before Burr and others invested. When the project went broke, a large debt fell partly back on Burr’s shoulders. Additionally, he offered to help a long time friend who was the port customs collector in NYC, this friend was honest but an underling stole over $100,000 in customs receipts. Burr’s friend had to be make it up. Burr sold his Richmond Hill Estate to John Astor, who later subdivided it to create Greenwich Village, and Burr’s 17 yr old daughter married a rich slave-owning South Carolinian planter, Joseph Alston, who also helped Burr out of his difficulties.
In this period Burr’s defended an immigrant, NYC newspaper publisher who was prosecuted under the Alien and Sedition acts because he published negative views of the Adams administration foreign policy.
The author here devotes several paragraphs to Burr’s and Hamilton’s different ideas about honorable behavior. Hamilton believed it was “ok” to spread false and damning rumors and lies about opponents, whereas Burr had a more traditional idea of honorable behavior. The difference shows in Hamilton’s 11 duels verus Burr’s 3 duels all against Hamilton himself or Hamilton allies.
Chap 6 - The Statesman and the Soldier
Hamilton attempted to help a western NY company (Holland Land Co.) extend its life to 2023. The company’s charter was coming to an end because it was a foreign company in NY that owned land. He failed because he required a $250,000 payoff to his father-in-law’s canal lock company.
Then Burr took on the project and got it through the Assembly, but he had to instruct Holland to spread around about $10,000 to key politician. Burr himself took a $5,500 loan from Holland. This became big issue later.
There was a NY group that tried to acquire undeveloped Canadian land with a possible future eye to taking the land away from Canada and eventually bringing it to the US. (Sam Houston did something like this later with Texas.) Anyway Burr, while not directly involved, knew these people fairly well.
Burr helped found a water company (Manhattan Water) in NY to get good water to citizens. He had the stock offering price and min purchase amount lowered so that middle class people could buy shares. Also he folded a small depositor bank into this water company so middle class people could get loans and low cost services. This small “water company’s bank” eventually grew into the Chase Manhattan Bank There were two lawsuits on which Hamilton and Burr collaborated with other lawyers representing high profile clients: 1) They helped defend the owner of a large amount of cotton and indigo that had been held for 5 years in a NYC warehouse. The warehouse owners wanted an excessive payment for the storage. 2) They also defended a construction worker who was accused of killing a young woman he had been dating.
In both cases, Hamilton did a lot of grandstanding but trained observes said it was Burr’s careful, reasoned statements during trial/appeal that carried the day.
Burr’s personal papers were lost in a shipwreck near the time of his death, but a NYC paper happened to publish a verbatim account of Burr’s closing argument in the worker’s trial. It reads like a well written work of literature and was no doubt persuasive . The jury acquitted after a 5 minute deliberation.
Burr had run unsuccessfully in 1796 for VP with Jefferson who ran for President. The Federalist John Adams was elected with 71 electoral votes to 68 for Jefferson while Burr ran far behind Jefferson getting only 30 electoral votes. Burr recalled that all of Virginia’s and North Carolina’s electors who voted for Jefferson refused to cast their second vote for Burr.
At that time, most electors were selected by legislative enactment. So control of a state legislature generally determined who that state’s electors would be and by extension which candidate(s) would get that state’s electoral votes.
In NY, Burr realizing the composition of the new legislature elected in Ap 1800 would be critical in determining who NY’s electors would be in Nov 1800. Accordingly he carefully and secretly assembled a slate for the Anti-Federalists (now called the Democratic-Republicans or Republicans for short). His slate included a retired Revolutionary War General and a mix of “well liked” people from both working class and mercantile groups. Burr’s slate won and everyone in the nation suddenly realized NY’s electors would be supporting the Jefferson faction in the fall Presidential election.
Jefferson’s allies felt they needed to get a running mate for Jefferson from the North or North East, preferably from NY to provide regional balance.
Hamilton was worried, he realized the sweep organized by Burr spelled trouble for the Federalists. He wrote Gov. Jay suggesting the “lame duck” Federalist legislature in Albany pass a bill changing the date on which the legislature selects electors to a date while the “lame duck” legislature was still in session thus allowing Federalist rather than Republican electors to be selected. Even the Federalist Gov. Jay would not go along with such a blatant power grab.
All this was in both Jefferson’s and Burr’s minds when they explored the idea of Burr becoming Jefferson’s running mate again. Burr agreed to run with Jefferson again, but he wanted electors instructed to remain faithful to both candidates, he didn’t want to be embarrassed again.
The 1800 election was the last election run under the original rules set out in the Constitution. Under those provision the person with the most electoral votes became President with the runner up becoming the vice president. In 1796 John Adams had become President and his principle opponent Thomas Jefferson became Vice Pres.
In Nov. 1800, Thomas Jefferson and Burr each got 73 electoral votes, Adams got 65, and Chas Pinckney got 64. The Federalists had the foresight to have an elector in Rhode Island throw his second vote to Gov. Jay from NY. The Democratic - Republicans had not thought ahead so the election process immediately moved to the House of Representatives.
The House in the 1799 to 1801 period had a 60 to 46 Federalist majority. The new House elected in 1800 had a 68 to 38 Democratic - Republican majority but they had not yet taken office. The country had experienced a landslide against the Federalists. However, the members of the old house with a Federalist majority were now required to select the new President. However, they were required to vote by states with each state getting only one vote.
Kentucky, Vermont and Tennessee had been added to the original 13 states by this time so there were 16 states, 9 were needed to elect a President. There were 36 ballots before the Federalists decided Jefferson should be President, the vote was 10 states Jefferson to 4 states Burr with 2 states where the delegation tied. The Federalist generally had a distaste for Jefferson who had been the leader in the opposition to Federalist policies during Adams’ administration so they were originally inclined to Burr. They even approached Burr about a deal whereby Burr would become a Federalist in exchange for Federalist support in the House voting. Burr rejected the deal and restated his commitment to Jefferson. .
All along, Hamilton strongly opposed Burr and kept saying things like “Jefferson was an honorable opponent, but Burr is nothing but a scoundrel”. Hamilton was a prominent New York Federalist and had many personal dealings with Burr, so his persistent denigration of Burr was believed and eventually paid off.
Chapter 7 - The Ruin of the Vice President
Jefferson and Burr were sworn in Mar 4, 1801. During the ceremony in the Senate Chamber, Burr gave up his elevated Vice President’s chair for Jefferson. During the first several months, Jefferson and Burr were on close terms. However, when Burr submitted his suggestions for Federal patronage appointments in New York, they were often shelved or rejected. It seemed two younger party men from NY, DeWitt Clinton, the nephew of the older George Clinton, and John Armstrong, seemed to have Jefferson’s ear. Burr particularly wanted Matthew Livingston Davis appointed Naval Officer for the Port of New York. Jefferson shelved Burr’s man and in 1803 finally appointed a different man.
NY Republicans quickly realized Burr lacked any ability to influence patronage for New York and that the Clinton/Armstrong group had Jefferson’s attention. Burr ability to shape the course of the Republican Party on NY was handicapped.
This set back was compounded by a one page broad- sheet against Burr which the Federalists distributed in NY and forwarded to other states. This broadsheet accused Burr of being a sexual depraved person. Implied he was a bi-sexual, that he had worked aggressively to deprive Jefferson of the Presidency, and had been involved in shady business deals.. The sheet compared him to Cataline, a Roman traitor who organized an army to overthrow Rome.
The Clinton/Armstrong group organized a newspaper to be their mouthpiece. The paper, called the American Citizen, was run by a great wordsmith, an emigre’ named James Cheetham. This paper continually attached Burr in the same way the Federalist board sheet had.
Burr’s good friend, Albert Galatin, who was now Treasury Sec’y., tried to divine what Jefferson was “up to” frustrating Burr’s attempts to keep the Republicans organized in NY. Galatin finally came to the conclusion that the Virginia Republicans feared Burr because of his intelligence, organizational ability, and ability to make and keep friends. Jefferson had determined that Madison should follow him into the Presidency and he saw Burr as the only man who was more attractive than Madison.
Burr was a widower at this point and had some short term and some longer term relationships with woman. Burr confided all this in letters to his married daughter in So Carolina. But he clearly preferred longer term involvements and sought well read women with whom he could exchange poetry and letters on both light and serious subjects. Burr was an early feminist and always preferred the company of women who were his intellectual equal. He insisted his daughter be raised to be his intellectual equal, a couple of his friends remarked “he raised her like you’d raise a young man”. Rumors circulated the Burr had illegitamate children from this period.
Hamilton had been spreading false stories about Burr ever since 1792. Hamilton had even used surrogates to do the same. Burr had fought two duels with Hamilton surrogates earlier. One he wounded with a sword, the second had ended when the opponent apologized. However, Hamilton remained unrepentant.
Then a letter to the editor appeared which recounted a long conversation the author had about Burr with Hamilton at some event. In the letter, Hamilton was said to have used the word “despicable” to describe Burr. (At that time, the word “despicable” had a particularly odious meaning something like “throughly without any redeeming qualities”.) Burr sent Hamilton a letter asking that he explain or apologize. Hamilton refused to do either instead he wrote back talking about ways one might quantify degrees of “despicable-ness”. Burr wrote that Hamilton’s effort was unsatisfactory. So Hamilton replied by defending his remarks saying they were acceptable within the normal “give and take” of political discourse. Again Burr wanted a clear public withdrawal of the statement and an apology. Neither man would relent. So a duel was held on July 11 in New Jersey where dueling was still legal.
In his final Apologia, written the night before the duel, Hamilton said he was going to waste his first shot, but his actions on the field indicate he was anxious to get an accurate shot off. He check the shadows caused by the slanting morning light and put on eye glasses. All agreed there were two shots fired in perhaps a second. Burr’s friend, who had rowed him across the Hudson, thought Hamilton fired first. Hamilton’s two friends felt Burr fired first with Hamilton firing wildly as he fell.
In any event, Hamilton was badly wounded and died late the next day. Hamilton had not been a church goer, but called an Episcopal Bishop and also an Episcopal priest asking for communion. At first they denied him communion, but later the priest returned and gave him communion. Hamilton had a tremendous funeral and Gouverneur Morris gave Hamilton’s eulogy. Morris had known Hamilton fairly well over many years. Morris later wrote in his diary that he had difficulty preparing a meaningful eulogy that didn’t mention Hamilton’s illegitmate roots, or his womanizing, or his haughty, abrasive personality.
Burr was charged with murder in NY and later NJ. But he flied first to Phila and then to the far South where most leaders felt he had acted honorable, given Hamilton’s disgraceful behavior. Once cooler heads prevailed, the charges against Burr were dropped and he returned to D.C. to preside over the impeachment trial of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase. We will take up Burr’s performance as a presiding judge in our next segment. ..... ...... (prepared by Hugh Murray on 4/22/2018)
The investigation of Trump is evolving into an equally strong attack on Obama and his advisors. If this further evolves into a situation where the current President and the former President (our only black President) spend months shredding each other, with the media egging them on, any hope for national reconciliation will be lost for decades.
What is needed now is for the adults in Washington to work out a back room deal where Mueller agrees to close down his investigation while Nunes and Gressley agree to stop looking into Brennan, Clapper, Lynch and rest of that cast of characters. (There may have to be a secret report from the IG to Session so some process and personnel changes can be made in a low keyed way within the Justice Dept., the FBI, and certain Intelligence Agencies.)
Transparency is normally a laudable thing. However, America today is so divided, and the signs of corruption are popping up in so many places, and the various groups are so unwilling to accept truth if it is critical of their heroes, full transparency will probably destroy this country’s residue of cohesion.
Think of it. Say full transparency reveals that Obama approved placing “spies” inside the Trump campaign and say full transparency reveals that Trump’s son plotted with Russians to rig the US election. Blacks and minorities will never accept the first fact. While middle class and working class whites will probably never accept the second fact. What are the odds that these two huge groups of Americans, already somewhat at odds, are going to come together even over the next decade? The odds are little or none.
No, these investigations have to stop if we want to keep a united country. .... .(prepared by Hugh Murray on 5/22/2018)...............