Saturday, January 27, 2018

No Mulligan From Mueller

     (By American Zen’s Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari)
"President Trump (sic) ordered the firing last June of Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel overseeing the Russia investigation, according to four people told of the matter, but ultimately backed down after the White House counsel threatened to resign rather than carry out the directive." - New York Times, 1/25/18
As ledes should be, that one says a mouthful and the abstract fact that Trump tried to fire Robert Mueller a month after the Special Counsel's investigation was put into motion by Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein could be Trump's political death knell.
     It would mean, as if his prior and future actions haven't already proved, obstruction of justice on Trump's part. Obstruction of justice is an impeachable offense. Obviously in between tweets, Trump hadn't had that part read to him of the "President of the United States" Wikipedia page. As tacit proof of that, White House sources are telling CNN that Trump's fuming about the latest disclosure and, in spite of denouncing this latest bombshell as "fake news", now wants to fire Rosenstein.
     You don't need to be a Poli Sci major or political historian to see the similarities between the current brewing scandal and what happened during Watergate, especially during the Saturday Night Massacre. To put it in a nut shell, the Attorney General, Elliot Richardson, was ordered by Nixon to fire the Special Prosecutor he'd appointed to investigate Watergate, Archibald Cox. Cox had just asked Nixon to hand over the Oval Office tapes and Nixon refused, citing Executive Privilege. Nixon then laughably offered a "compromise": Handing over the tapes for review and summarization to Mississippi's Senator John Stennis, who was famously hard of hearing. Cox rejected this.
     That's when Nixon ordered Richardson to fire Cox and he refused and resigned in protest. Working his way down the chain of command, Nixon then ordered Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus to fire Cox and he refused, also resigning in protest. Finally, Nixon had Solicitor General Robert Bork limousined to the White House to be sworn in as Acting Attorney General, whereupon his first act of office was to write the letter firing Cox.
     It ought to be said that a Special Prosecutor should not be fired unless there's clear evidence of malfeasance or "gross improprieties" on the part of the Special Prosecutor. In Archibald Cox, a highly respected attorney, there plainly was none. And, less than five months into his abbreviated second term, Richard Nixon set the stage for the rest of the Watergate scandal and his presidency. It proved indelibly the political truism that the only thing worse than the original crime is the subsequent coverup.
     Fast forward 45 years into the future: Less than five months into his first term, Donald Trump then moved to have Special Prosecutor Robert S. Mueller III, the highly-respected attorney and former FBI Director, fired tribally to keep his tiny hands clean. He ordered his Chief White House Counsel, Don McGahn II, to do his hatchet work by writing a letter to the DOJ demanding Mueller's termination and McGahn threatened to quit if Trump pushed the issue. Even a dimwit like Trump realized that without his White House Counsel running interference for him, he was defenseless against Mueller's investigation.

The Ladies Man Doth Protest Too Much
Trump's three assertions impugning Mueller's fitness to lead an investigation into his dealings with Russia, financial malfeasance and money laundering and obstruction of justice were quite risible even by Trump World standards.
     First it was a dispute over fees between Mueller and the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, VA, of which he was a member. Mueller eventually canceled his membership. Then Trump tried to claim that Mueller working for the law firm that had once represented his son in law Jared Kushner meant he couldn't be impartial (You would think Trump would think that was a plus but this is Donald Trump we're talking about). Then Trump, clearly grasping at straws with his tiny little hands at this point, tried to claim Mueller couldn't be impartial because he was interviewed to take over the FBI as Director again (A situation Trump himself created by firing Comey on May 9th) the day before he was named by Rosenstein to be Special Prosecutor.
     By last fall, the Tangerine Shitgibbons' brain-damaged surrogates were reduced to demanding Mueller be fired over a handful of anti-Trump texts by two of Mueller's staffers who were nonetheless terminated because of them. Obviously, Trump cannot use the Nixon-era excuse of "gross impropriety" to fire Mueller, who, by all accounts is running a very tight ship regardless of Trump's own legal team attempting to prove political bias on the part of the Republican Special Prosecutor.
     Don McGahn, a woefully mismatched attorney who specializes in campaign finance law, was nonetheless enough of a lawyer to know that even asking the Justice Department to dismiss Mueller (we still haven't any idea what Trump's relayed rationale would've been) would've triggered much the same Constitutional crisis as Nixon's removal of Archibald Cox had caused.
     As recently as the Davos Economic Forum Let's Slice the Planet Up into Slices and Laugh at the Proles Fighting to the Death for the Crumbs Shindig, Trump called the NY Times' revelation about his move to fire Mueller, you guessed it, "fake news". Sean Hannity made the mistake of taking his cues from Trump and also swiftly denounced the breaking exclusive as fake news before having to admit that it was backed up by credible sources then mysteriously having his Twitter account temporarily deactivated.
     If you're a well-informed voter and news consumer, you don't need me or anyone else to reconstruct the timeline of desperate behavior and attempted illegal actions of this so-called President from the very start of his first and only term. These are things that only a guilty man would do, Trump is using or trying to use his attorneys to either fire Mueller or do opposition research on the Special Prosecutor who is making serious inroads to building a multi-pronged case against him ranging from money laundering to Russian collusion to obstruction of justice.
     Let me say that one more time: Only a guilty man acts like this.


At January 27, 2018 at 5:55 PM, Blogger Harry Hamid said...

Years back, I remember a review of the show "The West Wing" criticizing the show because "Most of these things have happened to a President/White House in our history, but never to the SAME President/White House in a few month span."

It seems the same way right now. For every awful, inexcusable thing that happens, people can point to something in our history that compares (usually Nixon). But it's only been a year, and we have to search through our 240-year history to find equivalents.

At January 27, 2018 at 8:19 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

You're right, Harry. There's no historical precedent because we've never (with Putin's help) elected anyone this cruel and stupid before.


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