Tag Archives: collusion

Did POTUS make an unintended admission?

Donald Trump now says the man he selected to be attorney general, Jeff Sessions, didn’t have the mental capacity to do the job.

That’s now the president’s description of Jeff Sessions, who had the bad taste — and the good sense — to recuse himself from an investigation examining whether the Trump presidential campaign colluded with Russians who attacked our electoral system in 2016.

Sessions did the right thing and for that he now is being vilified by the president who vowed to surround himself with the “best people” were he elected to office four years ago.

Has Trump now offered an implied admission that Sessions wasn’t among the “best people”? Did The Donald due sufficient due diligence in looking for an attorney general? If not, then why not? If he did, then why has Trump changed his mind about the quality of the guy he nominated to become the nation’s top law enforcement officer?

Trump offered the criticism of Sessions in an interview with Sheryl Attkisson. “He’s not mentally qualified to be Attorney General,” Trump said. “He was the biggest problem. I mean, look Jeff Sessions put people in place that were a disaster.”

Trump now wants Sessions to lose the upcoming GOP primary runoff in Alabama for the U.S. Senate seat. He has endorsed Tommy Tuberville, the former Auburn University football coach. The winner will face Sen. Doug Jones in the fall election.

I just am astonished as I read and hear Trump talk about men and women he selects to these key jobs, who then decide to do the right thing … and then become unqualified, unfit to the job to which they were selected.

Trump’s ad hominem attacks on these individuals tell me far more about him than they ever say about the men and women he denigrates.

Among the messages I get from these attacks is that Donald Trump doesn’t know what he is doing.

Trump to Sessions: I don’t love you any longer

This is a political story I don’t recall ever seeing … until now.

Donald Trump’s presidential re-election campaign has told U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Sessions to cease saying that he’s a 100-percent Trump supporter as he campaigns for election to the Senate from Alabama.

You see, Sessions once served as attorney general in the Trump administration. Then he recused himself — properly, in my view — from any active role in the “Russia thing” involving allegations of collusion with Russians who were interfering in our 2016 presidential election. He enraged Trump, who fired him.

Sessions had served previously in the Senate. He was the first senator to endorse Trump. He and Trump were joined at the hip.

That was then. The seat he once occupied is now filled by Democratic Sen. Doug Jones. Sessions has been declaring how much of a Trump fan he remains. The president is having none of it. He wants Sessions to stop using the Trump name in his campaign ads.

Trump’s campaign says the president does not favor Sessions’ election to the Senate. He has backed Tommy Tuberville, a former college football coach at Auburn and Texas Tech.

I just want to note that none of the Sessions ads I have seen has said a word that declares that Trump wants the former AG back in the Senate, only that Sessions is with Trump all the way.

Hmm. I guess the grudge-bearing president wants to make a point that one would figure he wouldn’t need to make.

Russia, Ukraine … which one attacked us in 2016?

Donald John Trump’s defense team today introduced, albeit gently, the notion that Ukraine might have joined its mortal enemy Russia in attacking our 2016 presidential election.

Trump is on trial for his job in the U.S. Senate. The House of Reps’ managers gave it their best shot in their opening argument. Now it’s Trump’s turn.

So what did the legal eagles representing the current president offer? They suggested that Ukraine might have attacked the U.S. election in 2016. But wait!

Russia and Ukraine are at war. Russia re-annexed Crimea, a part of Ukraine. Russia-backed rebels are fighting Ukraine government forces. Thousands of people have been killed.

An alleged Ukrainian attack on our election, of course, is a Russian propaganda talking point, which Republicans in the Senate and House have been parroting. Moreover, U.S. intelligence experts have concluded unanimously that Russia acted alone in attacking our system in 2016, even though Donald Trump keeps denying their findings and disparaging their expertise.

I have to ask: Does it make any semblance of sense for Ukraine and Russia to — and pardon the expression — “collude” to interfere together to influence the outcome of a U.S. presidential election?

My head is spinning.

Trump’s hypocrisy on full display … imagine it!

Donald Trump now is insisting that “the whistleblower” whose comments have helped trigger the move toward presidential impeachment must testify in public. He or she must sit in front of Congress and answer questions out loud.

Written testimony “is not acceptable,” according to the latest version of Trump’s doctrine.

Really? He said that?

Why do you suppose he refused to answer questions posed to him directly by former special counsel Robert Mueller III during the investigation into alleged Russian collusion during the 2016 presidential campaign? Why, the president only responded in writing to Mueller’s team of investigators.

Hypocrisy, anyone?

DOJ embarks on, dare I say it, a ‘witch hunt’?

The Department of Justice is now launching what has been called a criminal inquiry into — get ready for it — the investigation into whether Russia interfered in our 2016 presidential election.

What DOJ expects to find is not clear. Attorney General William Barr has appointed a seasoned prosecutor, John Durham, to lead the probe. This one puzzles and concerns me greatly.

Don’t politicize DOJ

Every leading intelligence official within the Donald Trump administration has said the same thing: Russia interfered in our election and sought to elect Donald Trump as president in 2016. Trump, of course, has debunked that notion; he also has denigrated our intelligence agencies’ ability to reach the conclusion they all reached.

When former Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia probe, his deputy AG, Rod Rosenstein, appointed former FBI director Robert Mueller to be special counsel and lead the investigation into the Russia matter.

Trump has hurled some harsh language at Mueller’s investigation, which concluded in May with a partial exoneration of Trump of “colluding” with Russians; he left open the question of whether Trump obstructed justice in the pursuit of truth behind that interference.

Now we have DOJ entering the scene.

To what end will this probe conclude?

I just hope that John Durham, the experienced federal prosecutor who has drawn praise from partisans on both sides of the aisle, will be able to withstand political pressure that might emanate from the top of the Justice Department.

Still, I fear how this probe will proceed. I smell a “witch hunt” in the making.

Trump mounting strange defense

Donald Trump’s reaction to the looming impeachment decision in the U.S. House of Representatives reminds me of the tactic he employed when special counsel Robert Mueller was examining The Russia Thing.

The president then chose to denigrate, disparage and all but defame Mueller’s probe, all the while proclaiming he did nothing wrong during the 2016 campaign.

My thought then was: If he is innocent of wrongdoing, why not just turn everything over and let the proverbial chips fall? He didn’t. Mueller finished his work, essentially absolving Trump of colluding with Russians who attacked our electoral system, but leaving the door open for Congress to decide the obstruction matter.

Now the House is marching toward impeaching the president. He calls the House action “unconstitutional,” which of course it isn’t. He has declared he won’t cooperate in any way, then changed his mind and said he would cooperate if the House treats him “fairly,” whatever that means.

My question today is similar to what it was then: If he did nothing wrong, is he hiding something he doesn’t want anyone to see?

Just cooperate, Mr. President, and let the House do the job that the U.S. Constitution empowers it to do.

Watching the name-calling … oh, my

I am having another one of those blogger’s out-of-body experiences.

I posted an item about Robert Mueller, Donald Trump and the report the former special counsel filed about his lengthy probe into alleged “collusion” with Russians who attacked our election in 2016.

Two readers of the blog responded. They are lefties. A rightie responded to one of them. One of the lefties responded to the rightie.

One of the respondents started bastardizing one of other’s names. Then came the profanities. They started using foul language in describing each others’ intelligence.

Me? I’m staying out of it. Not my fight.

The arguments stayed (more or less) on topic, although not entirely.

I guess this is my way of wishing these respondents would cease the personal attacks on each other. None of that furthers anyone’s argument. They end up talking past each other.

I might be spitting into the wind on this one.

A lot of folks take rebuttals quite personally. In the exchange that has been occurring over the past couple of days, I totally understand how either side can take offense at what the other guy is telling them.

Witnessing all of this as if I’m sitting in the peanut gallery just fills me with resolve to try like the dickens to stay civil with those who criticize my musings.

So … the beat goes on.

Mueller said it … in so many words: Trump obstructed justice

Let me be crystal clear: Robert S. Mueller III told congressional questioners that Donald J. Trump, the nation’s president, obstructed justice.

No, he didn’t say the words: “Donald Trump obstructed justice.”

But he made a couple of key points that need to be reaffirmed. So I will do so.

He said in May that if there were grounds to “exonerate” the president of obstruction of justice in the Russia investigation, “we would have said so.” He didn’t.

Then this past month, in testimony before the U.S. House Judiciary and Intelligence committees, Mueller was asked whether he would indict Trump were he not president. He said “yes” both times.

So, the way I interpret the former special counsel’s findings is that he believes the president obstructed — or sought to obstruct — justice while he was looking for nearly two years into whether the Trump presidential campaign conspired to collude with Russian goons who attacked our electoral system in 2016. He couldn’t prove conspiracy. I accept that finding.

Mueller left the obstruction of justice matter up to Congress.

Therefore … he concluded that Trump obstructed justice.

Is any of this impeachable? It is likely that there are grounds for impeachment somewhere in this mess.

The bigger question facing House members, though, is whether there are sufficient grounds to move congressional Republicans — namely those in the Senate — off their stubborn resistance to doing what they must, which is to impeach the president and then convict him of those deeds in a Senate trial.

If the answer is “no,” then there is no point to impeaching this con artist/clown/carnival barker.

In defense of Robert Mueller III

I feel the need to defend Robert S. Mueller III, although he doesn’t need little ol’ me to stand up for him against critics of his daylong testimony before two congressional committees.

Right-wing critics have said the former special counsel sounded lost, almost feeble, not in charge of the facts, he was hard of hearing.

Left-wing critics have expressed disappointment that Mueller didn’t provide them with the “aha moment” they were expecting.

Let’s get a grip here.

Mueller conducted that lengthy investigation into allegations that the Donald Trump presidential campaign conspired to collude with Russian election hackers. He didn’t find enough evidence of collusion. He also looked into whether Trump obstructed justice.

He said in his report and again on Wednesday that he didn’t clear Trump of obstruction. He said that the president committed crimes. He just couldn’t indict him because he happens to be the president of the United States.

I thought Mueller did precisely what he said he would do. He was a reluctant witness. He said in May that the report would stand as his “testimony” were he summoned to appear before Congress. His delivery this week kept faith with what he declared in May.

I thought the ex-special counsel/former FBI director/career prosecutor/decorated Vietnam War combat Marine behaved with decorum and dignity. I should point out that during the two years of his Russia probe he maintained his stone-cold silence in the face of constant harangues, harassment and hassling from Donald Trump and his sympathizers.

Robert Mueller remains, as one of Trump’s former lawyers once called him, “an American hero.”

So what if he didn’t deliver the impeachment goods? He told us weeks ago we should not expect such a thing.

I shall remind everyone, though, of a critical point that Mueller made. It is that the Russians attacked our electoral system in “sweeping and systematic” fashion and are doing so at this moment in advance of the next presidential election.

The villain here is the president who refuses to acknowledge what the rest of the nation already knows. To that end, I want to thank Robert Mueller for reminding us yet again of the danger that Donald Trump poses to this nation.

Impeachment without conviction: a non-starter

The idea of impeaching Donald John Trump with next to zero hope of obtaining a conviction is to my mind the classic recipe for a non-starter.

That appears to be the calculation that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has made in her reluctance to launch impeachment proceedings against the president of the United States.

I happen to agree with the notion that an impeachment by itself will do nothing constructive for those who believe as many of us do: that they want Donald Trump removed from office. Impeachment is the easy part. Democrats need a simple majority to impeach the president. Conviction is different. Republicans control the Senate, which would need 67 votes to convict the president. Will that happen? Hardly.

The daylong testimony by former special counsel Robert Mueller this week was seen as the “aha” moment for congressional Democrats. It wasn’t. Mueller stuck to his script. He said he wouldn’t speak beyond what his lengthy report concluded about Trump and he was generally faithful to that pledge.

Mueller’s report concluded that his 22-month probe produced insufficient evidence to charge Trump with conspiring to collude with Russian election hackers; nor was he able to indict the president on obstruction of justice, following Office of Legal Counsel rules and guidelines.

Despite all that, Mueller laid it out there: Trump likely committed a crime. That has gotten Democrats slathering over the prospect of impeaching him.

Hold on! What is the point of impeaching the president if the Senate won’t convict him of high crimes and misdemeanors and thus, remove him from office?

I am now believing more strongly than ever — and it pains me to say this — that impeachment is off the table. The only path left is for Trump’s opponents to focus solely on the crimes he committed as a candidate for the office and as president and use the knowledge they have obtained to pound Trump senseless on the 2020 presidential campaign trail.

I wish there was a way to remove the president before the election. I don’t see it developing. The man sickens me at a deeply visceral level. I want him gone. I had hoped that Robert Mueller would have changed minds, that he could have gotten those obsequious Republicans to move off their fawning fealty for Donald Trump.

It ain’t gonna happen.

The time is coming for Democrats to prepare instead for a presidential campaign for the ages.