Tag Archives: DOJ

Chaos is Trump’s guiding light

Every single attempt to predict what Donald Trump will do seems to result in head-scratching, hair-pulling, forehead-slapping frustration.

With that, I have to suggest that reporting today that the president might be back away from threats to fire the special counsel and the deputy U.S. attorney general who appointed him is an exercise in futility.

The Hill is reporting that special counsel Robert Mueller and Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein are safe … for the time being.

How does The Hill know this? Beats me, man.

The Hill noted that Trump said during a presser with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that Mueller and Rosenstein “are still here” despite months of conjecture that the president might fire one or both of them.

According to The Hill: That said, predicting Trump’s next move has long been a fool’s errand. Some people in his orbit insist that his underlying anger about the investigation is as strong as ever. 

There you have it. Trump cannot be pigeonholed. He operates in a sort of parallel political universe. The norms that guide conventional political behavior do not apply to this guy.

He seemingly has no one in what passes for his “orbit” who can tell him the truth. There’s no Bobby Kennedy figure, or James Baker consigliere who can tell the president that he’s acting foolishly.

This carnival barker listens only to one voice. His own. I keep circling back to the notion that his prior pre-presidential life was dedicated only to personal enrichment.

The president of the United States does not understand the intricacies of the profession to which he was elected.

None of it!

What will he do with regard to Mueller? Or Rosenstein? Any effort to try to stay ahead of this guy only produces extreme madness.

But … he likes it that way. Right?

Being ‘not aware of plan’ is no reason for comfort

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says she is “not aware” of any plans for Donald Trump to fire special counsel Robert Mueller and/or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

I have to ask: Are we supposed to take that to the bank?

The president operates on a sort of chaotic system of strategy and tactics. He doesn’t tell those ostensibly closest to him anything in advance, or so it appears.

For Sanders to say she is “not aware” of the president’s plans gives me zero assurance that the man for whom she works is going to avoid doing something profoundly stupid.

Firing the special counsel would send Congress into pure apoplexy. Republicans and Democrats alike are urging Trump to let Mueller do his job, which is to get to the bottom of the Russia collusion issue that has dogged Trump since Day One of his presidency.

Trump reportedly has let it be known that he believes he has the authority to fire Mueller, even though he was appointed by Rosenstein.

Which brings me to the other point, which is that firing Rosenstein would be equally apoplectic for members of Congress.

I guess it’s good to remind y’all that Mueller is a Republican; Rosenstein is, too. And, oh yes, Donald Trump was elected as a Republican.

Yet the president keeps yapping “all those Democrats” who insist on the Mueller investigation continuing.

So, will the president let the special counsel and the deputy AG do their jobs? Will wisdom overcome this impetuous individual who seems incapable of listening to wise men and women who know more about government than he ever thought of knowing?

As for the press secretary telling the nation that she is “not aware” of any foolish actions coming up … well, stay tuned, Sarah. You’ll likely find out right along with the rest of us.

Go ahead, make our day, Mr. President

Donald Trump reportedly “believes” he has the legal authority to fire special counsel Robert Mueller.

A part of me wants to caution the president against doing something so patently stupid and political suicidal. Another part of me wants him to cut his own throat politically by firing the man hired by the Department of Justice to probe “the Russia thing.”

Indeed, several key Republican lawmakers are arguing against doing it. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas says it would be “a mistake”; Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa called it “suicide”; Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said Mueller “should be allowed to finish his job.”

Will the president heed those words of wisdom? Does he ever listen to anyone with a semblance of common sense?

He might have the “legal authority” to act with profound stupidity. That doesn’t make it the right thing — or the smart thing — to do.

Mueller was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein because AG Jeff Sessions had recused himself over his connection to Trump’s campaign and his transition into the presidency. Mueller is supposed to determine whether the Trump campaign “colluded” with Russians who meddled in our 2016 election.

Trump calls the Mueller probe a “witch hunt.” He calls allegations “phony” and a product of “fake news.”

Good grief, Mr. President! If it’s phony, if there’s no “there” there, then let Mueller finish his job and issue a report that declares there’s nothing more to do.

Trump, though, insists on acting as if he’s got something to hide. A summary dismissal of Mueller — a former FBI director and a first-rate, meticulous lawyer — would send a signal all around the world that, yep, we’ve got a smoking gun out there … somewhere!

Wouldn’t it just stink of, oh, obstruction of justice?

As President Ronald Reagan once said — quoting another well-known Republican, Clint Eastwood — “Go ahead. Make my day.”

Hey, Mr. POTUS, DOJ is on our side

So sad that the Department of “Justice” and the FBI are slow walking, or even not giving, the unredacted documents requested by Congress. An embarrassment to our country!

I’ll give you just one guess where that statement came from. Time’s up! It came from Donald J. Trump, via Twitter — of course!

Have you or any of us ever seen a president of the United States of America disparage our federal law enforcement community in such a manner? Have any of us seen a president show such utter disregard for the professionals who toil in the trenches or who make command decisions on behalf of the country they all take an oath to protect?

He keeps disparaging Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He continues to undermine the field agents of the FBI, as well as their bosses at the Hoover FBI Building. He torpedoes the work of career prosecutors who work for the Justice Department.

He does so using social media, which if you consider the way he is using it to proclaim his distrust and distaste over policy matters, ought to be renamed. There’s nothing “social” about the way Trump uses — and abuses — this particular medium.

I’m tellin’ ya, the man is a disgrace to his office.

Is Sessions seeking to get canned?

I have to pose the question out loud: Is the attorney general of the United States trying to get himself fired by the president?

It wouldn’t seem to make sense. AG Jeff Sessions could have provoked Donald J. Trump to fire him by refusing to fire Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe just before he was to retire from the government; he fired McCabe anyway.

Then again, Sessions did recuse himself from anything to do with the Russia probe, given his previous work on the Trump presidential campaign and on its transition after the 2016 election.

Sessions’s recusal enraged the president, who has mocked, threatened and disparaged him ever since. Indeed, Sessions acted properly by recusing himself, which I consider to be a highly principled decision — something that is quite foreign to the president.

Now comes the latest move to poke Trump in the eye. Sessions has selected a Utah prosecutor to assist in the probe of allegations of abuse at the Justice Department. Political conservatives wanted him to appoint a special counsel, which is what Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein did when he selected Robert Mueller to lead the investigation into whether Russia meddled in our 2016 presidential election.

Trump is quite likely angry about Sessions’s refusal to pick a special counsel, which begs the question: What is the president going to do about it? More to the point: What would he dare do about it?

Given that Trump has virtually zero self-awareness, or sense of irony, or virtually any principles on which he relies (other than what works to his political advantage), I would put nothing past Trump.

He could fire Sessions on Easter. He could do it via Twitter, which is the way the “stable genius” handles these sensitive personnel matters.

The president and the AG have what has been called charitably a “complicated relationship.” It appears to be getting more complicated each day, or whenever the attorney general does something that suggests he works for the public — and not just for the man who appointed him.

Bump stocks banned: it’s a start

The U.S. Justice Department has acted — finally! — on a measure that well could start us down a more rational, sane world regarding firearm regulation.

DOJ announced it is going to implement a ban on bump stocks, those devices that turn semi-automatic firearms into fully automatic killing machines.

While the nation has been fixated since Valentine’s Day on the Parkland, Fla., high school massacre, let us remember an earlier slaughter.

A lunatic opened fire in Las Vegas with a semi-auto rifle he had converted into a machine gun, killing 59 people attending a music festival at Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino. He eventually killed himself.

The debate over bump stocks was joined immediately.

Is this measure going to strip legitimate firearm owners of their right to “keep and bear arms”? Not in the least. It is going to potentially deter future madmen from doing what the Las Vegas shooter did, which is turn a semi-automatic rifle into a virtual weapon of war.

In announcing the Justice Department directive, though, we had to leave it to Donald Trump to lay blame on his made-up nemesis, Barack Obama, for “approving” bump stocks.

Trump’s tweet is sort of correct, at a certain level. The decision to allow bump stocks was done at an administrative mid-level at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. The president or the attorney general, Eric Holder, had no direct input on the deliberations being undertaken.

Leave it to Obama’s successor, though, to forgo a forward-looking statement and to assess blame on someone else on a problem that needed to be fixed.

So, the Justice Department has acted. It will ban bump stocks. It will seek to prevent gun owners from creating machine guns.

This is by no stretch of anyone’s imagination a decision that launches us down any sort of slippery slope. It makes sense.

Rep. Gohmert shows why he sits on the GOP fringe

U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert sits on the fringe of the Republican Party’s congressional caucus for a reason, as he has demonstrated once again.

The East Texas member of Congress thinks special counsel Robert Mueller should be fired. He doesn’t like that the former FBI director and a crack lawyer is investigating Donald J. Trump on several levels. He is concerned that the counsel might actually find some criminality in his probe into whether the Trump presidential campaign colluded with Russian goons who meddled in our 2016 election.

I need to point out here that the GOP leadership wants Mueller to continue. Even some of the back bench members of both the House and Senate GOP caucus know the consequences if the president gets Mueller removed.

Actually, Gohmert the Goober knows it, too. He said, “The only reason that he is not going and the president is not going to fire him and that I am not calling for him to be fired now is … because of all the establishment Republicans that think they would have to come after Trump if he were fired.”

Oh, really? The Republican congressional leadership would “come after” the president for, oh, obstructing justice or for abusing the power of his high office? Is that what he means?

If that’s the case, then the Republican leadership would be correct to sound the impeachment bugle and Rep. Gohmert is utterly wrong in calling for Mueller to be fired.

Mueller was given a broad mandate when Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed him special counsel; the task fell to Rosenstein after AG Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia matter after serving as a Trump campaign and presidential transition official with ties to Russians who had contacted the Trump political organization.

Rosenstein’s appointment of Mueller was hailed by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Gohmert, though, says he had trouble with Mueller’s selection from the get-go.

I’ll offer this bit of advice to Gohmert, which I’ve also offered to the president: If there is nothing to be found — which Trump insists is the case — then let Mueller reach that conclusion and announce it to the world himself.

Meanwhile, Louie Gohmert needs to settle down and let Mueller do his job.

Dear Mr. POTUS: Let Mueller do his job

Dear Mr. President:

I won’t take long to make this point, sir.

You are getting a snootful from your fellow Republicans, the real Republicans who serve in Congress. They’re giving you some advice you need to heed and follow.

Do not do anything to force the ouster of special counsel Robert Mueller.

I say this hoping that you have a half a brain under that hideous comb-over on top of that noggin of yours. If you do you’ll understand that the crisis any such effort would launch. And from where I sit, it likely would not end well for you.

I am presuming you’ve heard from one of the leading Senate Republicans, John Cornyn of Texas, who told Politico that “the consequences would be so overwhelming” if you force Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to kick Mueller to the curb.

Hey, I’m not so sure Rosenstein would obey the order. He’s said already — and you’ve heard that, too — that he doesn’t anticipate firing Mueller unless there’s “cause.” Mueller, Rosenstein, said, is doing a fine job as special counsel.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also has said Mueller needs to finish the job. Same with many other leading Republicans.

Furthermore, if I were you, Mr. President, I wouldn’t take Sen. Ted Cruz’s silence on this matter as an endorsement of you or your conduct. Cruz says he doesn’t comment on tweets, which is likely a reasonable position to take. He said he won’t “focus on the political circus” that is unfolding in Washington.

Whatever. Others are willing to speak out. You ought to heed them.

I don’t expect you to act on what I have to say, or what other critics of you have to say. Democrats are p***ing into the wind.

You preach fealty to Republicans, Mr. President. Now is the time to heed your own advice.

How do we trust this guy?

Republican and Democratic politicians say the same thing. So do conservative and progressive commentators. Same for the White House.

Their message? Donald J. Trump should not seek the ouster of special counsel Robert Mueller; the White House says the president isn’t considering it, hasn’t mentioned it, he has no intention of giving Mueller the boot.

Here is my concern: We’re dealing with the Liar in Chief, the Serial Prevaricator, the Man With No Guiding Compass.

Mueller is trying to root out the truth behind allegations that the Trump campaign colluded with Russians who meddled in our 2016 electoral process. He is trying to ferret out whether Trump has obstructed justice by firing FBI Director James Comey, pressured former deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe. Mueller wants to determine if Trump’s financial dealings in Russia have any connection to this mess.

Technically, the president cannot fire Mueller. He can order Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein — who selected Mueller — to do it. Would he dare? Would the president be willing to precipitate a political earthquake not seen in Washington since the infamous Watergate era?

When I hear a White House press official declare that the president doesn’t “intend” to act foolishly or stupidly, I hear someone say that the president has no intention in the moment, but that could change in the next 45 minutes.

As for the president’s previous statements that he hasn’t discussed firing anyone, let alone someone with the political heft of Robert Mueller, well … I just don’t believe him. He has demonstrated more times than any of us can count a shameless willingness to dissemble and lie.

We have come to this point. Americans have elected someone who cannot be trusted implicitly to tell the truth. He is fully capable, in my mind, of saying anything if his aim is to destroy someone else’s credibility or to provide himself sufficient political cover.

We well might be hurtling toward a serious political crisis — if the president of the United States cannot control his impulse to invite chaos.

Trump politicizing probe … except that he’s mistaken

Donald J. Trump’s latest rampage on Twitter is making yet another ridiculous assertion.

The president accuses special counsel Robert Mueller of stacking his legal team with Democrats who were loyal to whom he has referred to as “Crooked Hillary” Clinton.

It’s part of Trump’s effort to discredit, disparage and disrespect the team Mueller has assembled to examine some serious issues relating to the president’s campaign team’s alleged relationship with Russians who sought to meddle in our 2016 presidential election.

It is true that most of the lawyers working for Mueller are registered Democrats, as if that by itself is going to taint the investigation — which cannot be stated with any degree of certainty on its face.

Oh, but wait! What about Mueller? And what about the guy who appointed him special counsel, Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein?

This is where I can say that Mueller, a former FBI director, is a registered Republican. Rosenstein, who was appointed to his deputy AG post by Donald Trump himself, also is a registered Republican.

The two top dogs in the Russia investigation are Republicans, man! Does that matter? Does that tilt the investigation toward the Top Republican, Trump?

No. I am going to put my faith that Mueller will do his job in accordance with what the law and the U.S. Constitution allow. The special counsel knows a lot more about both than the man — Donald Trump — who keeps hectoring him.