What if Trump changes his mind?

The thought occurs to me. Here goes . . .

Donald Trump has said he wants special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on alleged collusion, conspiracy and obstruction of justice to be made public. The president said he doesn’t object to the public seeing what Mueller produces.

But the president is known to change his mind. Sometimes on a whim. On a dime. Without warning.

What might happen if after seeing an outline of the report’s findings the president changes his mind? Suppose he calls Attorney General William Barr and instructs the AG to keep the report from Congress. Don’t release it to the public.

My question: Would such an act constitute an impeachable offense?

Wait for Congress to get Mueller’s findings; then we’ll know

This is just a hunch. I want to share it anyway.

My hunch is that when U.S. Attorney General William Barr releases Robert Mueller’s findings to members of Congress, the lid is going to fly off the report and we’re going to know all there is to know — immediately!

Mueller turned his report over to Barr. It was locked up tighter than a hermetically sealed drum. No one knows its contents.

Barr is going to look it over. He said in a letter to Congress that he might let lawmakers know as soon as this weekend.

That would be great!

I am tired of waiting on these results. I happen to believe that House members and senators who represent us out here in Flyover Country want to do what we demand of them. Put another way, they know they’d better do what we demand . . . or else!

So, if Barr delivers the findings to Congress by the weekend, I expect we all will know what Mueller has concluded about collusion, obstruction of justice, conspiracy, you name it.

Don’t wait too long, Mr. Attorney General.

Wide range of conclusions to draw from Mueller findings

Robert Mueller’s submission today of a final report on alleged “collusion” involving the Donald Trump presidential campaign is fraught with peril or is brimming with joy, depending on whose side you’re on.

The special counsel has turned over a tightly sealed report to Attorney General William Barr. He said he would recommend no further indictments. Donald Trump Jr. is off the hook; so is son-in-law Jared Kushner. By “off the hook,” I mean that Mueller isn’t going to issue any indictments.

We can run all over the field trying to determine what Mueller has produced.

He might have produced a finding of no criminality, no wrongdoing, no unethical conduct, no collusion, no conspiracy. Nothing! Zero. The president can high-five what’s left of his White House staff, unlimber his Twitter fingers and blast away at Mueller.

Or . . . Mueller has determined something quite different. He might find that there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian goons who attacked our electoral system in 2016. He might conclude there was conspiracy to collude. He might have found an obstruction of justice at any number of stops along the way.

There might indeed be nothing worth prosecuting, but there might be enough in that report to conclude that the president has committed an “impeachable offense” or three, maybe four.

Whatever we learn in due course — and I hope it’s soon — I am prepared to accept whatever Robert Mueller has concluded. He is a professional. His integrity is intact. Mueller is a former FBI director whose tenure was extended past the term of a Republican president (George W. Bush) for two more years by his Democratic successor (Barack H. Obama).

I just want the AG to let us know quickly.

There remain many more hurdles for Trump to clear

Robert Mueller III’s submitting of a report to Attorney General William Barr signals the end of a long, national marathon.

The special counsel turned his findings over to Barr today. He’s done. Finished. He can go home now, put his feet up and relax.

I have been watching and listening to cable news broadcasters wonder about the report and whether it means that Donald Trump is home free.

I can answer that one. No! It doesn’t mean that at all!

The wait begins

We don’t know the contents of what Mueller has found. He said today there are no more indictments coming from his office; Mueller didn’t talk about what federal prosecutors in New York might do.

Mueller began this probe two years ago into whether the Donald Trump campaigned “colluded” with Russians who attacked our electoral system in 2016. Has he found collusion? It beats me, man. We’ll know eventually.

If the special counsel finds no criminal activity to prosecute, that doesn’t mean he didn’t find unethical behavior; it doesn’t preclude Mueller scolding the president for conduct that he might find reprehensible.

With no finding of criminality, does that end any talk of impeachment? Well . . . no. The impeaching of a president is a political act. There need not be criminal acts involved for the House of Representatives to impeach a president. The House came within a chip shot of impeaching President Nixon in 1974, but it did not have a criminal charge to hang on him; Nixon quit before the full House actually voted.

The question of impeachment will center on whether Mueller has found enough misbehavior to warrant such a drastic act. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi doesn’t want to impeach the president. Why? She knows the Senate won’t convict him in a trial.

So, where do we stand?

AG Barr is believed to be preparing to decide in fairly short order whether to release the findings to Congress and then to Americans out here among us.

I hope he makes as much of it public as possible.

If the AG does the right thing, then we’ll know all we need to know.

Lieberman makes a case that McCain would not

Joe Lieberman served with John McCain in the U.S. Senate. They were of different political parties, but they were dear friends.

The late Sen. McCain, a Republican, has been in the news of late, courtesy of the hideous attacks mounted by Donald Trump. Lieberman, who entered the Senate as a Democrat but then became an independent, has declared that Trump’s criticism of his friend is unconscionable.

He has written an essay in defense of McCain, saying that his friend wouldn’t answer Trump directly. As McCain’s friend, Lieberman said “I will.”

So he has.

You can read his response here.

Sen. Lieberman speaks for many Americans — even those of us who didn’t cast our votes for McCain as president in 2008 — who believe the senator was a heroic warrior and a dedicated public servant.

We also believe the president has been shameful in his attacks.

Now . . . the wait begins

Robert Mueller III has handed off the report the world has been waiting for to Attorney General William Barr.

Well . . .

His work is finished! Now it’s up to the attorney general to do the right thing, which is to say that he must release Mueller’s findings to Congress and to the rest of us. That would be you, me and the rest of Americans whose money paid for this two-year-long probe into allegations of “collusion” between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russians who interfered with our election in 2016.

Mueller has submitted a letter to Barr. He hasn’t revealed a single thing about what’s in the report. The AG likely has a good idea of what’s in it; he likely knew what it contains even before he received it.

I understand that there are limits to what the AG can and should release. He doesn’t want to implicate individuals who aren’t charged with crimes, if anyone has been implicated in potential criminal activity.

However, now that Mueller’s work is done, it should not take the attorney general very long to determine how much to divulge to Americans — such as me — who are waiting to know what Mueller has found.

To borrow a Watergate-era phrase: Do not, Mr. AG, keep us twisting in the wind.

Amarillo ISD complaint offers opportunity for ethics lesson

A constituent of Amarillo’s public school system, has peeled away the shroud from a story that has been brewing in the community for several weeks.

Marc Henson has filed a complaint with the Texas Education Agency against a member of the Amarillo school district board who, according to Henson, interfered with a high school coach’s ability to do her job. The board trustee, Renee McCown, badgered former Amarillo High School volleyball coach Kori Clements, griping about the playing time being given to the trustee’s daughters.

Clements quit after a single season coaching in one of Texas’s most storied high school athletic programs.

There’s a lesson to be learned, no matter how this story plays out.

It is that elected officials — be they school board members, city council members, county commissioners, college or university regents — have no business meddling in the day-to-day work of the staff members who serve the public.

I am going to presume that Renee McCown received that advice as she was preparing to become an Amarillo public school trustee. If she never received those words of wisdom from senior school administrators or fellow trustees, shame on them for neglecting to inform her.

If she got that advice and then ignored it, then shame on her.

I am acutely aware that all of this is an allegation. However, it rings more credible to me — and to others who are much closer to the matter than I am — every time I consider it.

McCown hasn’t denied anything publicly. Clements’ resignation letter set the table for a heated community discussion. Marc Henson’s complaint to the TEA has blown the lid off the alleged culprit in this bizarre story.

As for the lesson to be learned, it is a simple one. Read my lips: Elected officials set governing policy and then let the paid staff implement that policy. Period. End of story.

Any involvement in the implementation of policy beyond that simple mandate smacks of unethical conduct and must be dealt with sharply.

Resign from AISD board, Mme. Trustee

You are entitled to call me an interloper, an outsider, a peanut-gallery spectator if you wish, but I want to get this off my chest right now: Renee McCown, a member of the Amarillo Independent School District Board of Trustees, needs to resign her seat and disappear from school politics.

I’ll now get this off my chest as well. I am not an entirely nosy outsider. I lived and worked in Amarillo for 23 years. I spent most of those years commenting on public school affairs from my post as editorial page editor of the Amarillo Globe-News. Yes, I’ve moved away, but I retain a deep interest in the affairs of the community.

McCown has been named in a complaint filed by an Amarillo ISD constituent, Marc Henson, who has submitted his gripes to the Texas Education Agency. He has accused McCown of acting unethically by pressuring a former Amarillo High School girls volleyball coach, Kori Clements, into giving her daughter more playing time. McCown reportedly was unhappy that her children weren’t getting enough time on the court and told Clements to do better by her daughters.

Clements quit the vaunted AHS Sandies program after a single season and accused the board and the AISD administration of failing to give her the backing she needed to do her job as an educator.

If this is true, and I believe the accusations are credible, then the trustee has committed a serious ethical breach of conduct by interfering in the duties of an educator who answers to administrative staff and to the board of trustees.

Is McCown actually guilty of what has been alleged? I don’t know. I do know that she hasn’t spoken out publicly on the matter. Her silence — along with the silence of her board colleagues and administrators — speaks volumes about what Henson has alleged in his complaint to the TEA.

There have no denials. No responses of any sort.

I happened to be in Amarillo recently and I had the pleasure of attending an AISD board meeting in which Clements’ resignation was the topic of the evening. Several school system constituents admonished the board for its conduct in the matter. They scolded trustees and administrators for failing to give Clements the support she deserved.

I was struck by the amazing body language of trustees. Several of them — including Renee McCown — refused to look their “accusers” in the eye. They all kept their heads down, looking at something on the dais in front of them.

It was an off-putting display of arrogance, not to mention cowardice. It also appeared to my eyes to be highly instructive of what was being said to them directly by the people whose taxes pay for operation of the public school system.

I do not know Renee McCown. However, I know enough about this story to make a couple of presumptions.

  • Her standing is likely damaged beyond repair, given what has been discussed openly and what has been alleged officially at the agency that governs public education in Texas.
  • It will be impossible for her to continue functioning effectively as a steward of Amarillo’s public school system, given all that has transpired to date.

She needs to resign. Moreover, a public apology to the coach and to her constituents would be in order as well.

Jared used personal e-mail for government work? Lock him . . . up?

What’s going on here?

Republicans all over America have been chanting “Lock her up!” in reaction to Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal e-mail server when she was secretary of state. They’re still hollering it, although not in the numbers or with the volume they did in 2016 when Clinton was running for president of the United States.

Now there’s this: Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of Donald Trump has been using a private, personal server to send e-mails relating to government business.

More questions arise

Do we start the chant to “Lock him up!”?

The info comes from Abbe Lowell, Kushner’s lawyer, who has told the U.S. House Oversight and Reform Committee about Kushner’s use of personal e-mail servers to conduct official government business.

I’m straining to hear something — anything — from the GOP side of the political divide. I’m listening for chants to toss the president’s daughter’s husband into the slammer.

Silence! That’s what I’m hearing.

GOP remains silent as Trump trashes a party statesman

Donald Trump has taken the Republican Party hostage, tossed its leaders into a dungeon and is disparaging one of its longstanding, long-serving and long-admired political figures.

The president keeps hammering away at the memory of the late U.S. Sen. John McCain, the former Vietnam War prisoner and two-time candidate for president of the United States.

He said most recently that he never received a “thank you” from the senator’s family for granting him the funeral he deserved. Yeah, sure thing, Mr. POTUS. Except that you had nothing to do with the funeral McCain received. Yep, you lied about that one, too!

It just baffles me that the late senator’s friends in the Senate and elsewhere have remained largely silent about the classless, crass and juvenile attacks against him by the drafter dodger in chief.

Yes, some of them have offered some pulled-punch rejoinders. Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of Sen. McCain’s best friends in the Senate, has been largely mute; Arizona GOP Sen. Martha McSally, who is sitting in the seat McCain once occupied, has offered tepid criticism.

GOP Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia has spoken out, as has Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

But the vast bulk of the nation’s Republican establishment keeps enabling the president to keep up his idiotic bitching about a senator who died of brain cancer in August 2018.

McCain developed many friendships over the course of his three decades in Congress. His Democratic friends have been quite outspoken against the president’s rants; but that’s to be expected.

I would have expected more outrage from Republicans as well, given the stated and understood admiration for a man who endured five-plus years of torture as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam before being elected to Congress.

These chicken-hearted politicians act like they fear the president who took over their party by storm in 2016 without ever devoting a single minute of his prior life to public service.

Someone needs to launch a rescue mission to free those GOP hostages, release them from their dungeon and tell them it’s OK to speak ill of the guy who captured them in the first place.

Oh, wait! We have an election coming up. Maybe that’ll do the trick.

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