Several commentaries on this page, and many elsewhere, have urged that President Donald Trump preside over a peaceful transition of power to a new administration in January.
"His actions over the next 60 days can frame his legacy to date," opined Hugh Hewitt, "and secure his place in U.S. history."
"[T]he president owes the nation a national security transition that can catch what the chaotic transition of 2000 missed: evil stirring in the shadows," wrote Erick Erickson, recalling how the close election 20 years ago didn't allow the George W. Bush administration enough time to identify, recruit, clear and obtain Senate confirmation of key appointees.
"Once the vote is officially certified," wrote Marc Thiessen, "[Trump] needs to invite [Joe] Biden to the White House, cooperate with his transition team and attend Biden's inauguration."
For their part, we agree with them. A peaceful transition, after any remaining lawsuits are concluded, will assure Americans that the Constitution still works — that all the left-wing predictions of coups, of the president staying in power, aren't worth the paper they're printed on.
But it's worth it to remember what kind of treatment the incoming Trump administration received four years ago from the outgoing Barack Obama regime.
And now that same former president is on the hustings telling folks he's "troubled" by the president failing to concede the election and that the president is "denying reality" by not doing so.
Only days after the 2016 election, Obama tried to delegitimize Trump's win by suggesting the election may have been marred by a Russian "attack" and instructed his intelligence community in December to conduct a "full investigation."
The hurried, 20-day investigation concluded that Russia had ordered an "influence campaign," but Obama Director of National Intelligence James Clapper reluctantly later testified it was unclear whether Russian "hacking" changed any votes in the election. Multiple additional investigations could find no such changes.
Before the election, though, the FBI had been spying on Carter Page, a Trump campaign adviser and, with false information paid for in part by the Hillary Clinton campaign, convinced the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) that the advisor was a Russian agent and had consorted with Russia to alter the election results. Obama's FBI director, James Comey, and his deputy attorney general, Sally Yates, had signed the initial FISA warrant.
As it turned out, Page was only one of four Trump associates the White House's intelligence community was surveilling.
On Jan. 5, 2017, Comey briefed Obama — with then-Vice President Biden in attendance — that he was going to ambush Trump the next day with what later was proven to be the false information in the Steele dossier, the information for which the Clinton campaign had helped pay.
The FBI director did just that, and a top Obama official in turn leaked the information about the briefings to Obama and Trump to CNN, which reported — without evidence — that "classified documents included allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump." In the report, an unnamed Obama administration official said he had "a sense the outgoing administration and intelligence community [are] setting down the pieces so this must be investigated seriously and run down."
The Russian conspiracy, thus, was given further life, leading to the appointment of the special counsel several months later and the two-plus year investigation that cleared Trump and his campaign of any collusion.
The Obama administration's other shenanigans included the unethical requests by top White House officials — including Biden — to unmask Trump officials being surveilled, the illegal leak of classified information on the phone calls of incoming national security advisor Michael Flynn and the first renewal of the Carter Page FISA warrant only eight days before Trump was sworn in.
If the preceding administration can get away with what it did four years ago — and nothing more than slaps-on-hands have been meted out in punishment — we don't wonder that Trump thinks it is possible to steal an election.
But we don't believe the fraud that allegedly has been perpetrated in the election is enough to change the result. If it were, it would have been uncovered by now, two weeks having past.
What the Obama administration — with Biden's involvement — did four years ago is a national shame and is still being investigated by the U.S. Justice Department and Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham. But it would be a further national shame if Trump repeated what was done to him by continuing to hold up the mechanics of transition.