Tag Archives: collusion

Preferring to wait for Mueller report

Let’s see, who should we believe?

U.S. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., says “evidence is in plain sight” that the Donald Trump presidential campaign colluded with Russian government operatives who attacked our electoral system in 2016.

There’s that view.

Then we have U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., who says there is “no evidence” of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian goons.

Clear as mud, right?

I believe I am going to await the findings of the special counsel, Robert Mueller III — the former FBI director and a first-class lawyer — to finish his investigation into the Russia collusion matter.

I also intend to insist that he make his report public. Mueller has spent a several trainloads of public money on this investigation. Thus, the public is entitled to see how its investment has paid off, if it has paid off.

As for chairmen Schiff and Burr, they’re likely viewing this matter through their own partisan prisms. I want to hear from the man who has unique knowledge of what happened.

The nation awaits you, Mr. Special Counsel.

AG Barr now must make good on pledge

U.S. Attorney General William Barr has the potential to emerge as one of the few grownups to serve in the presidential administration of Donald J. Trump.

The Senate confirmed him this week with a 54-45 vote, which I thought was much closer and more partisan than I expected. However, he’s now the head guy at the Justice Department.

AG Barr’s task now is to make good on the pledges he made to the Senate Judiciary Committee during his confirmation hearing.

Barr said he wouldn’t be bullied by the president of the United States; he said special counsel Robert Mueller will be allowed to finish his exhaustive probe into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian election attacks; he has expressed faith in Mueller’s integrity and professionalism.

I have faith that Barr will make good on his pledge. This isn’t his first DOJ rodeo. Barr served as attorney general from 1991 to 1992 during the George H.W. Bush administration. He is a top-notch lawyer. Yes, he’s a partisan, but we should expect that from any AG regardless of his or her party affiliation.

So, Mr. Attorney General, I implore you to be faithful to your sworn statements in front of the entire nation, if not the world.

There’s still that ‘elephant in the room,’ Mr. President

Donald Trump’s second State of the Union speech reportedly went over well with most Americans, who told pollsters overnight they approved of what he had to say.

I was one of those Americans. The pollsters didn’t call me, but I’ll offer this unsolicited view: The president did hit a few good notes and I applaud him for hitting them.

  • Criminal justice reform is a big deal and I am glad to hear him insist on reforming federal laws that punish non-violent criminals too harshly. I was delighted that Gladys Johnson, whose life sentence in prison for a first-time drug conviction that Trump commuted, was there to receive bipartisan applause.
  • Infrastructure repair also is a big deal. We need to fix our crumbling roads, bridges and airports. How we pay for it is another matter, given that it’s going to cost well north of $1 trillion.

That’s about it in terms of supporting the president’s policies.

Trump called for an end to “partisan investigations.” Well, actually, I don’t consider special counsel Robert Mueller’s search for the truth behind allegations of “collusion” with Russians who attacked our electoral system to be a partisan exercise.

It’s an important one. Yes, the president is right to assert that we need unity at home if we’re going to assume our role as world leader. I’ll just offer this notion: Let the special counsel finish his work, allow him to reveal to the public what he found, let us discuss the findings openly and then we can decide what steps — if any — to take before we move on.

Some takeaways from SOTU speech

I won’t get into the body language chatter that has erupted on social media, such as the strange hand-clap given by Speaker Nancy Pelosi or the sitting on hands by congressional Democrats who now comprise a majority of the House membership.

I simply find the president’s pleas to be utterly lacking in sincerity. He says the right words, but I cannot get past the belief that he doesn’t actually believe what he says. Therefore, how can he expect the rest of us to buy into whatever message he seeks to deliver.

Mueller probe causing some heartburn

Robert S. Mueller III is giving me a case of heartburn.

The length of this probe is giving me the willies about its future.

Mueller’s probe into The Russia Thing needs to conclude. I hope it happens soon. My fear is that the longer it goes the greater the chance that Donald J. Trump will do something so profoundly stupid that he will hurl the nation into the mother of constitutional crises.

What would the president do? He might order the Department of Justice to fire Mueller. Sure, he keeps pledging — sort of — to let Mueller finish his job. However, I trust the president only as far as I can throw a 239-pound individual.

My heartburn worsens when I consider that I also want Mueller to be as thorough as humanly possible before he wraps it up. He has obtained 37 indictments and guilty pleas already. Some of those indictments include the president’s closest campaign aides and key White House staffers. The latest indictment of Trump confidant Roger Stone is providing an sideshow that would make P.T. Barnum proud.

Yes, I want Mueller to pick through the evidence he has collected already into alleged “collusion” with Russians who attacked our electoral system. I want him to pore over every single bit of it.

Time, though, is not Mueller’s ally. A new attorney general, William Barr, is likely to be approved by the U.S. Senate. I hope that confirmation comes soon so that Barr — a former AG during the Bush 41 administration — can take command; he then can push the Trump sycophant, acting AG Matthew Whitaker, out of the way.

But on another level, I want this probe to end so we can move on to the next thing, which is to digest its findings, or at least those findings that Mueller deigns to release to the public. My strongest hope is that Mueller releases virtually all of it, keeping only that information that contains national security information away from public view.

I want it concluded. But not in a hurry-up fashion. I also want the president to keep his hands off of Mueller’s work and I also want Mueller to finish every little detail of this exhaustive work.

Pass the Pepto . . .

Mueller is a pro and he is doing his job well

Robert S. Mueller III doesn’t need a chump blogger such as me out here in the middle of Donald Trump Country to defend him.

I will do so anyway.

The president of the United States and his allies have squawked themselves hoarse — in a manner of speaking — while denigrating the work that Mueller has done in pursuing the truth related to “The Russia Thing.”

Trump calls Mueller’s probe a “witch hunt,” he calls it “rigged,” and asserts that Mueller has found zero evidence of “collusion” between the Trump 2016 presidential campaign and Russian operatives who attacked our electoral system.

I am forced to wonder aloud: How does someone pile up 37 indictments and guilty pleas while conducting a “witch hunt”?

Back when then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia probe, deputy AG Rod Rosenstein selected Mueller — a former FBI director and a crack prosecutor — to lead the investigation. Mueller’s appointment was greeted in the moment by partisans on both sides of the aisle with universal acclaim. Politicians called it an inspired choice and were delighted that Mueller accepted the challenge of getting to the root of the Russia matter.

Then he began sniffing out Donald Trump’s closest aides and campaign advisers. Suddenly Mueller’s name became mud in the eyes of Republicans. Donald Trump has been relentless in his haranguing of Mueller via Twitter.

I continue to believe that this decorated Vietnam War combat veteran, a former U.S. Marine, is the man who partisans hailed when the Justice Department named him special prosecutor.

Having said that, do I want this probe to end soon? Yes! I do! I want Mueller to wrap it up. However, I want him to finish his task without interference from the DOJ, or from William Barr, who’s been nominated by Trump to be the next AG to succeed Jeff Sessions. I have faith that Barr will honor his pledge to let Mueller finish his task under his own power and on his own terms.

I’ll just make one request — yet again — of the special counsel: Release as much as he possibly can of what he finds to the public. We are spending a lot of public money on this probe and the public deserves the chance to see if this money is worth the investment we have made in the pursuit of the truth.

Let’s await Mueller report — and accept whatever it reveals

I have spent a lot of time, energy and emotional capital expounding on the virtues of special counsel Robert Mueller.

He’s a man of impeccable integrity. He is a meticulous prosecutor. Mueller once led the FBI. He has served under Republican and Democratic administrations. He is a former Marine and Vietnam War combat veteran.

Those of you who read this blog understand my feelings about Mueller.

That all said, I want to gird us all for the possibility — even though it might seem remote — that when Mueller finishes his investigation into alleged “collusion” between the Donald Trump presidential campaign and Russian operatives — he might come up empty. Mueller’s report might prove to be a serious anti-climax.

I fully intend to accept whatever conclusion Mueller reaches.

Do I want him to come up empty? No. I do not. I believe he has pored through a mountain of evidence of wrong-doing. There might be an absence of criminal activity. There even might be a lack of evidence that the president has committed an impeachable offense.

The way I look at it, if we’re going to stand by the special counsel’s integrity and his character, then we should stand by him even if he doesn’t deliver what many of us think he might — let alone should — deliver to curious Americans.

To be sure, Donald Trump’s supporters already have slung epithets at Mueller. Led by the president himself, they contend he is on a “witch hunt.” That he has surrounded himself with “Hillary-loving Democrats.” That he has found “no evidence of collusion.” Therefore, it appears that if Mueller does produce a damning report that they will shout “rigged!” and “phony hoax!” from the highest rooftops they can find.

I am hoping that those of us on the other side will refrain from that kind of sour-grape bitching if Mueller produces nothing at the end of this investigation.

To that end, I hereby declare my intention to accept whatever Mueller concludes, even if it fails to satisfy what I had hoped would be a different ending. If we believe that Robert Mueller is a stand-up man, then we need to stand by that belief.

AG-designate Barr: Mueller must finish his task

William Barr is saying precisely the correct thing as it regards an investigation into the president of the United States.

The U.S. attorney general-designate has stated that it is “vitally important” that special counsel Robert Mueller be allowed to finish his exhaustive examination of Donald Trump’s conduct while running for the presidency and since he took office.

He will tell the Senate Judiciary Committee that very thing beginning on Tuesday when he sits before the panel that will decide whether to recommend him for confirmation by the full Senate.

Confirmation hearing on tap

What’s more, Barr has let it be known that it is “very important” that Mueller’s findings are released to Congress and to the public. There shouldn’t be any hiding of the facts from Americans who want to know the details of what Mueller’s legal team will have concluded.

At issue, of course, is this matter of “collusion” with Russian operatives who attacked our electoral system in 2016. Did the Trump campaign cooperate with the Russians? If so, to what end? If not, then we need to hear that, too.

Barr, who served as AG during the George H.W. Bush administration, is certainly no stranger to senatorial inquiries. Indeed, he is considered to be a fine lawyer with a stellar pedigree.

For the prospective attorney general to allay the fears of many who thought he might impede Mueller’s probe is welcome news.

I doubt seriously whether the statement that Barr issued today is going to prevent Judiciary Committee members from asking him directly whether he will guarantee that Mueller is allowed to finish his job.

Let them ask. Barr then will go on the record with his assurances.

Yes, Sen. Cruz, Americans do care about ‘Russia, Russia, Russia’

Listen up, Sen. Ted Cruz. I’ve got a flash for you.

Americans do care about what you said is the talk within the D.C. Beltway. You referred to it as “Russia, Russia, Russia.”

I heard you say on “Meet the Press” that Texans don’t care about it. They care about jobs, border security, health care . . . blah, blah, blah.

Listen to me, senator. I am one of your constituents. I didn’t vote for you in 2012 or in 2018. But you were elected and re-elected despite my best efforts to ensure your defeat, especially this past year.

I care about the Russia matter and the implications it carries for the presidency of Donald John Trump Sr. I know many other Texans who care, too. We talk about it on occasion. I hear from some of them who respond to my blog. Sure, some of them are critical of my views, they support the president and his agenda, they support you, senator.

Allow me to make a presumption, senator. You aren’t listening to everything that Texans are telling you. I can state with certainty that Texans care about Russia. Other Americans out here in Flyover Country care, too. The Russia matter isn’t just a “mainstream media” creation, as you suggested this morning on “Meet the Press.”

I suggest, senator, that you keep a wide-open mind. Robert Mueller is going to release his report. I hope it’s sooner rather than later. I want you — indeed, I demand it of you — to look carefully at what this meticulous lawyer and former FBI director has concluded. If it exonerates the president, then fine. I’ll accept his findings.

I hope you’ll do the same if Mueller reaches a vastly different conclusion.

Until then, stop the mind-reading game you’re playing with those of us out here who care a lot more about Russia than you are willing to acknowledge.

Our nation will survive — and flourish

Make no mistake about it: I am alarmed at the accelerating crisis in Washington, D.C.

Some Republican lawmakers, such as U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, might believe that “no one outside the D.C. Beltway cares” about Russia and Donald J. Trump’s alleged involvement with the nation’s pre-eminent adversary. I, though, do care about it. So do millions of other Americans, senator; you’re just not listening to us.

Does my alarm extend to my fear for the resilience of this system of government of ours? No. Not for an instant.

I remain an eternal optimist that we’ll get through all of this, no matter what the special counsel’s report reveals to us. Robert Mueller could exonerate the president of any wrongdoing. Or he could lay out a smorgasbord of questions that call into fact-based suspicion about the president’s fitness for the job.

Whatever happens, I feel compelled to remind us all that this country has survived equally serious — and more serious — crises throughout our history. We endured the Civil War; we engaged in two worldwide wars; we also endured a Great Depression; we have watched our political leaders gunned down by assassins; Americans have rioted in the streets to protest warfare; we witnessed a constitutional crisis bring down a president who resigned in disgrace; we have entered an interminable war against international terrorism.

Through it all we survived. The nation pulled itself together. It dusted itself off. It collected its breath. It analyzed what went wrong. The nation mobilized.

Our leaders have sought to unite us against common enemies. We responded.

Here we are. The special counsel is preparing — I hope — to conclude a lengthy investigation. There have been deeply troubling questions about the president’s conduct. One way or another I expect the special counsel, Robert Mueller, to answer those questions. They might not be to everyone’s satisfaction. Indeed, I can guarantee that the findings will split Americans between those who support the president and those (of us) who oppose him.

But we’re going to get through it. We might be bloodied and bruised. It might take some time to heal.

It’s going to happen.

The founders knew what they were doing when they crafted a government that they might have known — even then — would face the level of crisis it is facing today.

Rudy needs to settle down and let this probe play out

Rudolph Giuliani reportedly was an excellent federal prosecutor back in the day. I believe the man known formerly as America’s Mayor has lost his edge.

Giuliani now represents the president of the United States, Donald J. Trump. He now says a most remarkable thing.

He said that Trump’s legal team should be allowed to review special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings into the “Russia thing” and “correct” whatever “mistakes” they find in it.

Wow! Where do I begin with this one?

I’ll start with this observation. Imagine federal prosecutor Giuliani getting a request from a criminal defendant who has been indicted by a grand jury. The defendant’s legal team wants to review the criminal complaint and correct what it considers to be “mistakes” in the evidence compiled in the complaint. How do you suppose Rudy would react to that? He would laugh in the lawyers’ faces! As he should!

No can do, Rudy

That’s the reaction I am having today as I read what Giuliani is proposing now with regard to the Mueller investigation.

I am acutely aware that Mueller’s findings will not constitute a criminal indictment, so there’s no direct parallel to be made. There’s enough of a parallel, though, to make it a reasonable comparison.

Mueller’s work should be released to the public upon its completion. Sure, there ought to be some redactions made, blocking public review of findings that deal with national security. I am fine with that. The rest of it should be exposed to the public for our review, for our analysis and for our determination into whether the president did anything wrong while running for office. We should be allowed to determine whether there’s “collusion” or “conspiracy” or an “obstruction of justice.”

Trump’s legal team led by Rudolph Giuliani need not touch that report until we all get to see it at the same time.

For the former New York mayor to make such a request out loud is laughable on its face. Except that it ain’t funny.