Tag Archives: FBI

‘No obstruction’? Not true, Mr. President

Robert Mueller’s report on “collusion” and “obstruction of justice” says the following: ” . . . if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment.”

Donald Trump has declared, therefore, that the special counsel has determined “there was no collusion, no obstruction” of justice.

Yep. He said that. He also is mistaken.

Attorney General William Barr, though, agrees with the president, which I suppose isn’t surprising, given that Trump nominated him to the post.

The obstruction of justice door remains wide open, based on what I understand Mueller has determined.

It is true — and I accept his findings — that he didn’t have enough evidence to proceed with a complaint against the president or his 2016 campaign team.

Although . . .

Mueller does chronicle several instances where Trump sought to remove key individuals from investigative posts. One of them happened to Mueller himself. Go figure.

Trump fired FBI director James Comey because of “the Russia thing.” Then he bragged about getting rid of him during that infamous Oval Office meeting with Russian officials. He sought to get Justice Department officials to fire Mueller; they wouldn’t do it. Then-White House counsel Don McGahn also declined to carry out the order.

So there isn’t a case that can be prosecuted under the law, Mueller states. He doesn’t exonerate the president. He doesn’t clear him of obstruction. My reading of what he concluded simply is that he didn’t have enough solid evidence to file a formal complaint.

Ahh, but he does leave the door open for Congress to act as it sees fit.

I’m going to let the president crow about the “no collusion” matter. He won that fight. Mueller and his team have concluded that Trump and his campaign did not knowingly cooperate with Russians who hacked into our electoral system and dug up dirt on Hillary Rodham Clinton.

However, the obstruction matter is alive and kicking.

It ain’t over, Mr. President. Not by a long shot!

Support Mueller’s work, however . . . let’s see more of it

I feel the need to reiterate with emphasis: I accept special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings regarding the president of the United States, that he didn’t “collude” with Russians who hacked our electoral system in 2016.

I trust Mueller as a man of high integrity.

However, all the work and the public expense that went into Mueller’s findings compel the attorney general to release the bulk of that effort to the public.

AG William Barr’s four-page summary of what Mueller has concluded reportedly has created an ebullient mood in the White House. At one level, I, too, am glad to know that Donald Trump didn’t commit any crimes related to collusion with Russian government goons.

Mueller, though, has concluded that the president is not “exonerated” from questions about obstruction of justice. So, let’s see the whole thing, shall we?

I have no intention of impugning Mueller’s integrity. I have sought to defend this good man, former FBI director, a combat veteran of the Vietnam War against attacks by those on the right — starting with the president of the United States. I do not believe there is anything in the details of what he uncovered that will change my view of Mueller and the effort he put forth in making his determination.

Americans just have the right to see his findings in as much detail as possible for themselves.

Waiting for that proverbial big shoe to drop

While the nation — perhaps the world — awaits word on what Robert Mueller III concluded in his exhaustive investigation into alleged collusion between Donald Trump’s campaign and the Russians, it is good to understand what we do not yet know.

We don’t know whether special counsel Mueller found any sort of collusion between the Trump team and Russians who hacked into our election system. It’s good to understand that “collusion” is not a crime. Therefore, Mueller isn’t going to charge anyone with committing a criminal offense if they winked and nodded at Russians who claimed to have dirt on Hillary Rodham Clinton, Trump’s 2016 presidential opponent.

Nor do we know whether the president — in Mueller’s eyes — “obstructed justice” when he fired FBI director James Comey in the spring of 2017 because he was conducting a probe into that “Russia thing.” Again, there might not be any criminality involved with Comey’s firing, but there might be an intent that Mueller has identified.

Mueller has been mum on every aspect of his investigation. Thus, we don’t know if he’s going to give Trump the kind of tongue-lashing that Comey gave to Clinton when he concluded the FBI probe into her use of private e-mail servers while she was secretary of state. Do you recall how Comey said Clinton was guilty of “extreme recklessness”? It gave Republican opponents of Clinton plenty of fodder to toss at her while she sought the presidency in 2016. Will there be a similar scolding in store for the president when we see what Mueller has concluded?

It has been said in the past 24 hours that “We don’t know what we don’t know.” To put it another way, it is good to keep our traps shut and stop speculating about what Mueller has delivered to Attorney General William Barr.

Mueller had a narrow mandate when he accepted the special counsel job two years ago. It was to determine the extent — if any — of collusion between Trump’s team and the Russians. His work is done. We don’t know what he has concluded.

Is this the end of it? Does the president now slip/slide away out of the grasp of prosecutors? Umm. No. He’s still got Congress that will be hot on his trail. And let’s not dismiss those prosecutors in New York who are looking at other matters not connected to the Russians.

Mueller’s findings are still to be revealed.

Let’s just wait. Shall we?

‘No report’ from Robert Mueller, Mr. POTUS? You’re joking, yes?

Innocent men and women don’t say things such as what came from the president of the United States late this past week.

Donald Trump continues to call Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged “collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russians who interfered in our 2016 election “illegal.” He calls the probe a “witch hunt.” He says now that there should be “no Mueller report” issued to the attorney general, let alone released to the public for its review.

Is that what an innocent man would say?

I don’t know what the special counsel has compiled. No one outside Mueller and his team of legal eagles knows what he’s going to submit to Attorney General William Barr. Donald Trump doesn’t know. The AG himself might not yet know.

As for the legality of Mueller’s investigation, I happen to believe — as do most Americans — that Mueller is conducting a perfectly legal and appropriate investigation.

A witch hunt doesn’t produce the indictments, guilty pleas and prison terms that have come from this investigation.

Robert Mueller is as former White House lawyer Ty Cobb described him; he is an “American hero.” He is a dedicated prosecutor, a former FBI director, a man of impeccable standing and reputation. Mueller has worked diligently for presidents of both political parties.

Mueller embodies many of the qualities that Trump lacks. Let’s try a dedication to public service. Or perhaps we can compare Mueller’s combat service in the Marine Corps in Vietnam to the bone spurs that kept young Donald Trump out of the military (allegedly) during the Vietnam War. Let’s also examine the air-tight manner in which his investigation has proceeded, compared to the sieve-like environment that plagues the White House.

Donald Trump doesn’t sound like an innocent man when he continues to rant about Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Let the man finish his task, Mr. President. If the POTUS is innocent, we’re all going to know about it in due course.

Mueller probe coming to an end? Let the public see its results

U.S. Attorney General William Barr reportedly is set to announce the end of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged “collusion” between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russian operatives who attacked our 2016 electoral system.

He might do so next week, according to CNN.

Well now. I hope the reports from CNN are correct. I want this probe to end. I am weary of it. And I haven’t lifted a finger to aid in it, although I’ve lifted plenty of fingers commenting on it.

Transparency matters a lot

The future of Donald Trump’s tenure as president hangs in the balance. If Robert Mueller has come up empty, we’ve got Trump for at least until January 2021. If, however, he has something else — such as the goods on the president — then all bets are off.

Barr reportedly has said he intends to be a transparent as the law allows. He supposedly is getting set to prepare a final report for Congress.

Here’s my fondest wish: Let the public see as much as possible. I understand the need to protect national security secrets. That is all we should protect.

I want to reiterate that this is a publicly funded exercise. Mueller has spent a lot of public money poring through mountains of evidence into Trump’s conduct as a candidate for president and as president of the United States. That’s our money. Yours and mine.

Thus, the contents of this report belong to us.

I am prepared fully to accept whatever Mueller concludes. Yes, even if it exonerates the president of any wrongdoing. I trust Mueller — a former FBI director, a former Marine, a Vietnam War combat veteran — to do a thorough job.

However, I do not want the results hidden in a vault somewhere. It’s ours to review and to determine what — if anything — we need to do about the president of the United States.

Nothing ‘illegal’ about 25th Amendment

Former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe has gotten the nation’s attention.

“60 Minutes” interviewed McCabe; the program aired Sunday night. McCabe revealed that immediately after Donald Trump fired FBI director James Comey, a senior Justice Department official — Rod Rosenstein — tossed out the notion of invoking the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This is the one that allows for the removal of a president if a majority of the Cabinet deems him unable to perform the duties of his office.

What was Donald Trump’s response to McCabe’s allegation? He called it “illegal”; he said McCabe was “treasonous’; he called McCabe a “disgrace” to the FBI and to the country.

Sheesh, already!

Let’s back up for just a moment.

Trump fired Comey over “the Russia thing”; Trump said so himself in a 2017 interview on NBC. The “Russia thing” is the investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump presidential campaign and Russians who interfered in our 2016 election.

He later said Comey’s firing was greeted with praise from within the FBI ranks. McCabe said Sunday that is false. He said Comey was highly respected by his staff, by field agents and everyone who knew him at the FBI.

As for the “illegality” of what McCabe said was discussed, there is nothing illegal about invoking an amendment to the nation’s governing document. A majority of Congress sent the amendment to the states; it was ratified in February 1967. It’s all legal!

There is some dispute over whether deputy AG Rosenstein actually proposed such a move.

However, the president is popping off with utter ignorance once again about the legality of an actual constitutional amendment.

Don’t believe what you see and hear!

Donald Trump thinks he governs a nation of rubes, boobs and goofs.

Why in the world would he tell the nation that the video it saw and the audio it heard of intelligence chiefs disputing the president’s assertions about national security threats were doctored, made up, taken out of context?

Their U.S. Senate committee testimony was “totally misquoted” he said by the media that are in the business of conveying “fake news.”

According to The Huffington Post: “Now the president contends that was not their testimony. “They said that they were totally misquoted . . . it was taken out of context. . . . They said it was fake news,” he said Thursday. He encouraged reporters to “call them.”

Huh? What the . . . ?

What in the world is this individual thinking, smoking or ingesting?

CIA Director Gina Haspel, FBI Director Christopher Wray and DNI Dan Coats all said the same thing: Donald Trump is wrong by saying ISIS is defeated, that North Korea is no longer a nuke threat and that Russia isn’t involved in attacking our electoral system.

I heard ’em say it, Mr. President. I heard ’em with my own ears and saw ’em with own eyes.

I believe our intelligence chiefs. Not you!

Intel chiefs providing ‘fake news’? Are you serious, Mr. POTUS?

Donald J. Trump’s penchant for prevarication has taken a stunning new turn. Yes, it’s stunning even for this president of the United States.

He now says that his intelligence brain trust — three individuals he appointed to their posts — are providing “fake news” while challenging his own (false) assertions about the U.S. effort at combating terrorism around the world.

Trump’s handpicked appointees — Gina Haspel at CIA, Christopher Wray at FBI and Dan Coats as director of national intelligence — all say that North Korea still poses a nuclear threat, that ISIS is not defeated, that Russia interfered in our 2016 election and is planning to do the same thing in 2020.

Trump now says they were quoted “out of context” and that the media twisted their comments.

Huh? What the . . . ? Is this clown for real?

Good, ever-lovin’ grief! I’ve heard their complete comments given this week during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing. They weren’t taken out of context. There was nothing to dispute.

They have spoken, as the saying goes, “truth to power.” They are challenging Trump’s assertion that “ISIS is defeated,” that North Korea is “no longer a threat” and that Russian strongman Vladimir Putin has “denied” Russian interference in our election.

Simply astonishing!

New ‘grownups’ emerge in Trump administration

I was mistaken when I wondered whether former Defense Secretary James Mattis would be the “last” grownup who could serve in the Donald Trump administration.

Mattis quit as defense chief, citing Trump’s impulsiveness and the profound differences the president and the defense secretary had on their view of the world. He planned to stay until the end of February; but then Trump showed him out at the end of 2018, declaring that he “essentially” fired Mattis.

More of grownups have emerged. They are FBI Director Christopher Wray, CIA Director Gina Haspel and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.

These three counter terrorism experts have contradicted the president on the threats posed to the world by the Islamic State and the North Koreans.

And yet the president insulted all of them collectively. He insulted the agencies they run. The president hurled insults at the professional men and women who work day and night protecting us from forces that seek to do us harm.

Wray, Haspel and Coats need to stay put. They need to protect us not just against foreign forces and enemies of the state, but also against the ignoramus who masquerades as the president of the United States.

Trump has denigrated Wray, Haspel and Coats in their assessment of the threats posed to this country. The president said ISIS has been defeated. He said North Korea no longer poses a nuclear threat. He is wrong on both counts. The three intelligence experts said so, but Trump responded by calling them “naïve” and said they need to be “educated.”

No, they do not. The president of the United States has demonstrated yet again that he is unfit to hold the office to which he was elected.

Trump tosses needless insults at intelligence brass

Try for a moment to wrap your arms around this bit of idiocy.

Donald J. Trump, the guy admits to not wanting to read policy briefings, has declared that the nation’s top-level intelligence command is “naïve.”

He wrote this on Twitter:

The Intelligence people seem to be extremely passive and naive when it comes to the dangers of Iran. They are wrong! When I became President Iran was making trouble all over the Middle East, and beyond. Since ending the terrible Iran Nuclear Deal, they are MUCH different, but….

….a source of potential danger and conflict. They are testing Rockets (last week) and more, and are coming very close to the edge. There economy is now crashing, which is the only thing holding them back. Be careful of Iran. Perhaps Intelligence should go back to school!

These individuals, all seasoned political figures and national intelligence experts, have contradicted the president’s assertions about Iran, North Korea and the Islamic State.

CIA Director Gina Haspel, a career spook who has spent her entire career with the spy agency, says Iran is complying with previous restrictions enacted designed to keep the Islamic Republic from obtaining nuclear weapons. Trump calls Iran an existential threat to the Middle East.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, a veteran U.S. senator from Indiana with serious foreign policy chops, said the Islamic State poses a dramatic threat to the civilized world. Trump says the United States and our allies have “defeated” ISIS in Syria.

FBI Director Christopher Wray, who’s forged a career in law enforcement and counter-terrorism, joined his colleagues in suggesting that North Korea is still looking to develop nuclear weapons. Trump has said that North Korea is no longer a threat.

Who do you believe? The seasoned, experienced and serious intelligence professionals? Or do you believe a political novice with zero experience in anything even remotely connected with intelligence, counter-intelligence or counter-terrorism? The serious public servants or the man who spent his entire public life devoted to self-promotion, self-aggrandizement and self-enrichment?

I am going to go with the intelligence and law enforcement pros.

Now I must ask: How much of this denigration of their skill, knowledge and experience are they going to take from the carnival barker who managed to get elected president of the United States?