Tag Archives: Justice Department

Mueller’s job appears safe … for now

I am going to give Donald John Trump the benefit of the doubt on what’s being reported about special counsel Robert Mueller’s immediate future.

Mueller will continue his probe of the president’s campaign and its alleged contact with Russian government goons/hackers who sought to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

Trump has decided — as I understand it — that he won’t ask a deputy U.S. attorney general to fire Mueller.

Did sanity overcome the president? Has he been infected with the “sound judgment bug” required for those who occupy the highest office in America? Did someone tell him about the horrendous political consequences were he to engineer Mueller’s ouster?

Trump’s staff reportedly talked him out any cockamamie notion of firing Mueller. He’s already canned the FBI director, James Comey. The Justice Department picked Mueller to provide a semblance of integrity to an investigation that needs to be done thoroughly.

Mueller’s on the job

I continue to be utterly flabbergasted at the president’s inability to control the messages that pour out of the White House. What’s more, he cannot find capable, competent staff members to operate his White House communications department.

These reports get leaked out about the president considering a patently and profoundly stupid act … which would be firing the special counsel.

Democrats and Republicans all over Washington are highly complimentary of Mueller, his reputation, his record and his dedication to detail.

Let the man do his job, already!

‘Law and order’ pledge takes a back seat

I can’t take credit for posing this question, but I’ll pass it on here.

How does a “law and order” candidate for president of the United States fail to appoint a single federal prosecutor after firing all of those who hadn’t resigned already when he took office?

The question comes from the New York Times editorial board.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/06/opinion/us-attorneys-trump.html?ref=opinion&_r=0

Donald Trump got elected president partly on his pledge to battle international terrorism. He vowed to combat the “scourge” of drugs. He promised to prosecute and deport immigrants who are here illegally. Who, then, carries the president’s agenda forward? It would be the federal attorneys assigned to represent judicial districts throughout the nation.

As the Times editorial notes: “United States attorneys are responsible for prosecuting terrorism offenses, serious financial fraud, public corruption, crimes related to gang activity, drug trafficking and all other federal crimes.”

They aren’t on the job. Trump emptied all their offices. He’s been busy with, um, other matters related perhaps to the “Russia thing” that just won’t go away.

The Times does posit a possible reason for the president’s inability to find prosecutors: “It’s possible that Mr. Trump is having a hard time luring competent, experienced candidates to work for an administration mired in perpetual chaos and widening scandal. Since Mr. Trump considers loyalty the highest qualification for federal office, that might be. But United States attorney is a highly coveted job under any president, and there should be no shortage of people eager to be considered.”

But … who out there would be “eager to be considered” for a job in a judicial system that isn’t working?

Yep, the Russians are laughing at us.

Donald J. Trump tweeted the following, apparently early this morning: “Russian officials must be laughing at the U.S. & how a lame excuse for why the Dems lost the election has taken over the Fake News.”

It’s rare that I agree with the president, but I have to endorse part of the message he fired off today.

They’re laughing at us, Mr. President … just not for the reason you tried to articulate in this nonsensical Twitter message.

The Russians are laughing at the chaos they have created by hacking into our electoral system and by seeking to swing the 2016 presidential election in Trump’s favor.

To be fair, nothing has been proven — yet — about what they might have accomplished. However, every intelligence agency and expert in many countries agree with the premise that the Russians tried to influence the election.

Look at what has happened since Trump took the presidential oath.

The FBI has said it is investigating whether the Trump team colluded with the Russians; the president’s son-in-law has become the subject of another probe; the Justice Department has appointed a special counsel to examine the “Russia thing”; Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from anything to do with Russia; Michael Flynn was fired as national security adviser because he lied about his own Russian contacts.

They also might be chuckling and chortling over the president’s refusal to call the Russians out publicly for what all those intelligence agencies have concluded about their meddlesome ways.

Are the Russians laughing at us? You’re damn right they are!

Jared Kushner is no RFK

I keep hearing chatter that compares Jared Kushner’s lack of experience to Robert F. Kennedy.

I must now take up the cudgel for my first political hero … and it’s not Jared Kushner.

Kushner is under investigation by the FBI and Congress for something related to his father-in-law’s 2016 presidential campaign. He allegedly had some contact with Russian government officials that might be improper, it not illegal.

One of the arguments being offered is that Kushner doesn’t have any experience with government or public policy. They note that his father-in-law, the president, got around federal anti-nepotism laws when he appointed Kushner to be a senior policy adviser in the West Wing of the White House.

It’s the RFK thing all over again, some of them insist.

Hold the phone!

President-elect John F. Kennedy picked his brother to be attorney general shortly after winning the 1960 election. JFK joked at the time that a government job would give his brother some valuable experience when he decided to go into law.

I want to make a couple of points about Robert Kennedy.

One is that he had government experience. He had served as legal counsel to a Senate committee chaired by the infamous Sen. Joe McCarthy. He also served as a legal staffer working with his brother, Sen. JFK, on  a Senate committee that looked deeply into organized crime within the labor movement.

After that, Bobby Kennedy then managed his brother’s presidential campaign. Sen. Kennedy won the presidency by a narrow popular vote and Electoral College margin over Vice President Richard Nixon.

Compared to the absence of any government exposure as it regards Kushner, RFK brought much more experience to his job as U.S. attorney general.

And, indeed, he used his Justice Department office as a bully pulpit against organized crime and in the fight to enact civil rights legislation. Oh, and he also played a significant role in heading off nuclear war with the Soviet Union during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

With that, I shall now cease listening to any further comparison between Jared Kushner and Robert F. Kennedy.

There is no comparison to be made, except to point out how utterly unfit Kushner is to perform the duties to which he’s been assigned.

Timing well could spell doom for Trump

James Comey apparently prefers to write memoranda to record important events.

When the then-FBI director met with Donald J. Trump in the White House — and when the president allegedly “asked” Comey to shut down an investigation — Comey wrote it down.

This occurred in February. The Trump administration was just a few days old. Comey was looking into the activities involving the just-fired national security adviser, Michael Flynn.

Fast-forward to this past week. Trump fired Comey from his job as FBI director.

So, is there a connection? Is there linkage between the president’s so-called “request” for Comey to end the Flynn probe and Comey’s dismissal? Are the events tied together?

It looks that way to me. Does it to you? You don’t have to answer.

This is where this latest blockbuster revelation gets its legs. This is how a conversation threatens to swallow the president of the United States.

There are many more dots to connect. What about the former acting attorney general, Sally Yates, who Trump also fired? She warned the president that Flynn could be blackmailed because he had some sort of connection with Russian government officials. Then she’s out! Is there linkage to that dismissal as well to what we are learning today about what the president reportedly sought from the FBI boss?

At this point, absolutely nothing — not a single thing — is going to surprise me as this story continues to evolve.

I will not predict the president is going to pay a hefty political price. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m out of the predicting business.

This story, however, ain’t lookin’ good for the president.

So, ‘wiretap’ doesn’t mean wiretap?

The White House has issued one of the strangest “clarifications” in modern political history.

It was that Donald J. Trump didn’t mean “wiretap” when he referred to it in a series of tweets regarding an allegation he leveled at President Barack Obama.

He had said that Obama had ordered a “wiretap” of his Trump Tower offices during the 2016 presidential campaign. Yes, he used  a very close variation of that word.

But, but, but …

The White House said today he didn’t actually mean “wiretap.”.

Do you follow me? I didn’t think so. I cannot follow it, either.

Here’s one of Trump’s tweets: “How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!”

OK, so he didn’t use the word “wiretap” in this tweet. “Tapp my phones,” though, means the same thing. Doesn’t it? I thought so.

Oh, but no-o-o-o. The president didn’t mean it, according to the White House press office.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department has asked for a bit more time to provide proof — presuming that some might exist — that backs up the president’s scurrilous accusation that former President Obama broke the law.

By all means, let’s investigate this wiretap malarkey

I just answered “yes” to one of those “online polls” posted on MSN.com’s home page.

The question was this: Should there be an investigation of Trump’s allegation of wiretapping by the Obama administration?

Why “yes”? Why endorse the idea of a probe?

It’s simple. I don’t believe for an instant, a nanosecond, that President Obama was in any way responsible for any kind of wiretap of Trump Tower. I believe that Donald J. Trump made it up. He fabricated an allegation to divert attention from other matters plaguing his administration.

This is the president’s modus operandi, as he’s demonstrated time and again since announcing his candidacy in the summer of 2015. The heat gets too warm under his backside, he fires off a tweet making an outrageous declaration.

He did so again this past weekend with that ridiculous tweet accusing President Obama — with zero evidence — of “ordering” a wiretap, which of course he cannot do legally. Someone, according to Trump, tapped his Trump Tower offices looking for evidence that his campaign had inappropriate or illegal contact with the Russian government, which intelligence authorities have concluded sought to influence the 2016 election, to help Trump get elected.

I realize a congressional investigation — which Trump is seeking — would be costly. I also realize it would divert members of Congress from the myriad other tasks that await them, and for which the public already is paying them good money to address.

You know, things like the budget, national defense, public education — not to mention the many individual concerns that can be found that are unique to each of 435 congressional districts and in each of the 50 states.

If such a probe is done in a bipartisan manner, then I truly believe it would expose Trump to be the fraudulent, petulant liar many millions of us believe him to be.

Not that it would dampen Trumpkins’ enthusiasm for their guy.

Just get it on the record.

Still waiting for the outrage over mosque fire

This just in … investigators have determined that an arsonist set a fire that destroyed a mosque in the Texas coastal city of Victoria.

That silence we’re hearing from Washington, D.C. — namely from the Oval Office — over this despicable act is, well, a bit deafening.

Donald J. Trump hasn’t said a word publicly about it. Nor has our nation’s Department of Justice. Our national security adviser hasn’t uttered a peep; then again, what does one expect from Michael Flynn, who has called Islam a “cancer”?

Yes, we’re at war but supposedly not with Islam. We’re at war with terrorists who have perverted a religion.

I’m gratified, though, to read how the Victoria community has rallied behind the congregation that is suffering in the wake of the fire that destroyed the mosque in late January. I also am glad to know that federal authorities have joined state and local investigators in searching for the culprit who did this deed.

Victoria residents and leaders are teaching a valuable lesson of compassion and empathy that I wish would be heard by those who sit around the offices in the West Wing of the White House.

It’s interesting, too, that authorities have issued a press release that says this: “At this time, the evidence does not indicate the fire was a biased crime.”

According to the Texas Tribune: “Federal, state and local agencies are investigating the Jan. 28 blaze, which grabbed international headlines in part because it roared through the mosque hours after President Donald Trump signed his executive order barring refugees from entering the country and restricting travel from seven Muslim-majority countries.”

Coincidence?

Keep looking, folks. Something tells me you’re going to find something that does indicate “bias.”

IG takes aim at FBI boss

James Comey is under the microscope yet again.

The Justice Department’s inspector general is launching an investigation into the FBI director’s conduct in the days immediately preceding the 2016 presidential election.

At issue is whether Comey’s 11th-hour letter to Congress about Hillary Rodham Clinton’s e-mail controversy had a direct impact on the election outcome.

Clinton believes it did. Donald Trump, who won, is dismissing the impact of the letter. Wow! Imagine that.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/dems-outraged-with-comey-after-house-briefing/ar-AAlQa9c?li=BBmkt5R&ocid=spartandhp

What gives this upcoming probe its legs is that the IG works also for the Justice Department, the same agency that employs the FBI director.

Comey’s letter is believed by many to have stalled Clinton’s momentum in the final days of the campaign. Trump’s team contends that their guy was gaining momentum anyway and would have won with our without Comey’s intervention.

Of course, it should be noted that Comey said a few days after announcing he had sent the letter to Congress that his agency determined — as it had done in the summer of 2016 — that Clinton didn’t commit a crime in her handling of the e-mails.

The Clinton team, though, believes the damage had been done.

Comey has drawn intense and angry fire from congressional Democrats who believe his letter — which he revealed 11 days before the election — was directly responsible for Trump’s victory.

My hope for this probe is that Trump will let it go forward. If he calls off the DOJ dogs — or fires Comey — after he takes office, the president-elect will unleash yet another storm of suspicion that he has something to hide.

Let’s answer the question: Did the FBI director act improperly when he injected himself and his agency directly into an intense campaign for the presidency of the United States?

This inquiring mind wants to know. I am quite certain I am not alone.

Trump gets ahead of himself over Clinton inquiry

prosecutor-800x300

Donald J. Trump perhaps thought he was being magnanimous in declaring he wouldn’t seek a special prosecutor to examine whether Hillary Rodham Clinton broke any laws while she served as secretary of state.

Except for one thing … or so I understand.

The president-elect has no actual authority to make such a ruling.

That process starts and stops with the Justice Department and the FBI. Moreover, I am pretty sure the feds have determined already that Clinton didn’t commit any crimes while she used a personal e-mail server.

The FBI actually has made that declaration twice.

FBI Director James Comey said in July that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring charges against Clinton. Eleven days before the election, Comey then said he was examining some newly discovered e-mails to see if they contained any new information. Nine days after that, Comey said his initial conclusion stood.

Of course, that didn’t stop the future president-elect from convicting Clinton of crimes she didn’t commit. He vowed to pick a special prosecutor.

Now he says he won’t.

That’s not his call to make.