Tag Archives: obstruction of justice

It was never a ‘witch hunt,’ Mr. POTUS

Donald J. Trump appears set to ride the “witch hunt” horse all the way to his final day in the Oval Office, which I hope is sooner rather than later . . . if you get my drift.

Special counsel Robert Mueller concluded his 22-month investigation into alleged “collusion” with Russians who attacked our election in 2016. He said there was no prosecutable evidence of a conspiracy to collude. Fine . . . sorta.

Then he left the door open to a possible obstruction of justice complaint brought by someone other than the special counsel’s office. Mueller apparently decided he couldn’t under Justice Department rules file a complaint against a sitting president.

Along the way, Mueller’s team produced many indictments, a few guilty pleas, a number of convictions and some prison sentences for Trump campaign team members.

That is not a “witch hunt.” Yet the president appears intent on hammering away incessantly with the mantra that has been shown to be anything but what he calls it. Attorney General William Barr, for crying out loud, has said that Mueller did not engage in a “witch hunt” as he searched for the truth.

I had hoped against hope that Trump would accept the findings that Mueller reached and then gone on with the task of “making America great again.”

He proclaims himself to be cleared of collusion and obstruction. Yet he continues his loathsome attacks on the character of Mueller, former FBI director James Comey, former CIA director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and a whole host of second-tier officials who — by the way — have been critical of the president.

Witch hunt?

Not a chance. Nothing of the sort.

The more Donald Trump bitches and moans about a legitimate and necessary investigation — and the more the president stonewalls Congress — the more culpable he sounds.

Lying has become ‘tolerable’ among politicians?

Jimmy Carter once promised that he would never lie to Americans if they elected him president of the United States.

To the best of my knowledge and memory, the 39th president kept that promise. Perhaps he didn’t tell us everything in real time about sensitive negotiations with Egyptian President and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin as they crafted a comprehensive peace treaty. He might have held back on what he told Iranian leaders who held our citizens hostage for 444 days in 1979-80.

I don’t believe he lied.

We fast-forward now to the present day. The current president has demonstrated that he cannot tell the truth.

Donald Trump lies at every level. He lies when he doesn’t need to lie. He lies when it is easier to tell the truth. He lies about matters large and small.

I cannot single out the major lies he has told. They usually involve a political foe. He will say something that puts someone in a negative light. If it’s a lie, well, so be it.

The petty lies are equally remarkable. He lied about his late father being born in Germany; Fred Trump was born in New York City. He lied about losing friends on 9/11; he lost zero friends, he attended zero funerals of those who died on that terrible day.

Trump is lying at an astonishing pace. The Washington Post is keeping a running tabulation the falsehoods; it has passed the 10,000 mark so far and the pace is quickening.

I mention all of this because Donald Trump keeps insisting that he has been “totally exonerated” regarding the Russia matter. No, he hasn’t.

Thus, Trump lies even when the public record demonstrates precisely the opposite to be true. Robert Mueller’s report on his investigation into alleged collusion is clear: The special counsel could not clear Trump of obstruction of justice; nor could he prosecute him. Still, Trump lies when he says he has been “totally exonerated.”

How in the world can we accept a single thing this individual says as truth? My view: We cannot. 

No, Mr. Leader, the case is not ‘over’!

Listen to me, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. I’m going to say something you’ve heard already, but you choose to ignore.

The case against Donald Trump is not “over,” as you said on the Senate floor today. There’s more to learn about that obstruction of justice matter.

I get that the collusion case is done. Finished. Special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings on that matter aren’t exactly going down well with all Americans; I’m one of them who wishes he had reached a different conclusion as to whether the president’s campaign conspired to collude with the Russians who attacked our electoral system. He didn’t. However, since I have extolled Mueller’s integrity and professionalism, I am left to accept his findings.

Mr. Majority Leader, the obstruction case is still gaping wide open. We need to get to the bottom of what the president did and how Mueller concluded that he wasn’t “exonerated” of allegations that he has obstructed the investigation into the Russia matter.

You, sir, have added to the disgrace of your own high office. I’ve already said on this blog many times already that the president has disgraced his office. Now it’s your turn, Sen. McConnell.

Step aside and let your colleagues in the Senate and down hall in the U.S. House of Representatives complete their probe into obstruction, per Mueller’s suggestion in his lengthy report.

The case isn’t over.

Just keep saying it, Mr. POTUS; it’s still a lie

Donald Trump must believe in the theory that if you say something often enough — regardless of its fallacy — that people will eventually believe it to be true.

I refer to “no collusion, no obstruction,” the mantra of the moment for the president of the United States.

I am running out of ways to say this, but I’ll try it yet again.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s 22-month-long investigation into alleged “collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russians who hacked into our electoral system came up empty. Mueller didn’t find sufficient evidence of conspiracy to collude with the Russians. That particular case is closed.

I do get that. Honestly. I really do.

The obstruction matter is wide open. Mueller has said so. He said in his 448-page report, which Attorney General William Barr has let the world see, declares that Mueller’s team could not conclude that Trump and his campaign team did not obstruct justice; if they could have done so, they would have, Mueller said.

So, the obstruction issue remains an open — and quite inviting target — for Congress to pursue.

I’ve got some social media contacts who keep yapping at me because I won’t acknowledge that Mueller found no evidence of “obstruction.” One of those contacts actually is a friend of mine . . . who happens to be a Trumpkin. Hey, I still love my good buddy.

I regret, though, that he has bought into the Trump mantra of “no obstruction.”

To my dear friend and to others who happen to read these musings from me, I just need to reiterate for the umpteenth time: The case for obstruction of justice is far from being settled. Those 500 or so former federal prosecutors — who worked for Democratic and Republican administrations — all signed that letter that declared that had Trump not been president, he would have been indicted for obstruction of justice.

Let’s allow this matter to run its course.

370 former prosecutors all say it: Trump committed crimes

Three hundred-seventy former federal prosecutors can’t all be wrong . . . can they?

They all have declared, according to Politico, that Donald Trump would have been indicted for obstruction of justice if he were just an ordinary citizen — and not the president of the United States.

Hmm. You know what that means? It means that when special counsel appears before congressional judiciary committees — in both the House and Senate — he should be asked this set of questions:

Did the president commit a crime of obstruction of justice? If yes, why — specifically — did you decide not to file a criminal complaint? If the answer is no, then show us the evidence that led you to that conclusion?

Mueller is a cautious, careful and highly skilled professional prosecutor. He won’t fly off the handle.

However, the former prosecutors who have signed on to the notion that Trump would have been indicted had he not held the highest office in the land must not be discredited, dismissed, or disparaged.

Which is what Trump surely will do as he seeks to ridicule them.

Trump tempts political fate by ordering witnesses to stay silent

I just have to ask: Is Donald Trump committing an act of potential political suicide by refusing to allow witnesses from his administration to testify before congressional committees?

Another president, Richard Nixon, sought to play the same card in 1974. It cost him bigly. President Nixon told House Judiciary Committee Chairman Peter Rodino he would get nothing more from the administration regarding the Watergate matter.

Rodino wouldn’t accept that. He was able to force the president to turn over pertinent material related to the break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters in June 1972. The rest, as they say, is history. The Judiciary panel approved articles of impeachment and then the president resigned.

Forty-five years later, Donald Trump is seeking to play the same hand. He is telling the current House Judiciary chairman, Jerrold Nadler, that he will withhold information from that panel as it seeks to uncover the truth into allegations of obstruction of justice into the Russia matter that’s been in all the papers of late.

Nadler doesn’t strike me as being any more likely to cave in to this president’s demands than Rodino was in 1974 when Richard Nixon tried to bully him.

I among those Americans who does not favor impeaching Trump. I want the House and the Senate to do their work. Special counsel Robert Mueller appears headed to Capitol Hill eventually to talk to both legislative chambers.

I want Mueller to state on the record whether he believes Trump committed a crime, whether he obstructed justice. If he won’t say it, well, we need to accept what we won’t get. Then again, if he says that president did commit a crime of obstruction, but that Mueller just couldn’t commit to issuing a criminal complaint, well . . . then we have a ballgame.

Richard Nixon’s stonewalling ended badly for his presidency in 1974. Donald Trump’s reprise of that strategy well could doom his own presidency.

Barr squanders the benefit of the doubt

I’ll be honest. I was willing to give Attorney General William Barr the benefit of the doubt when he released the redacted report compiled by special counsel Robert Mueller into whether Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with Russians and/or obstructed justice in the search for the truth.

No longer.

Today’s hearing before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee told me something I was reluctant to accept: that Barr is seeking to provide cover for Donald Trump and shield him from those in Congress who want to impeach the president of the United States of America.

I fear the worst may be unfolding before our eyes.

Barr’s dodge-ball game with Senate inquisitors today tells me that his harshest critics are correct. He cannot be an impartial referee in this ongoing investigation into whether Donald Trump — at the very least — attempted to obstruct efforts to derail Mueller’s exhaustive investigation.

This wasn’t a good day for William Barr, who I should add has declared that he will not appear Thursday before the House Judiciary Committee. The committee chairman, Jerrold Nadler, said he believes Barr is “afraid” to be questioned. He has accused Barr of attempting to “blackmail” the House panel.

I’ve said all this, however, while standing behind a desire to avoid impeaching the president until this congressional probe is completed.

Impeachment plays into Donald Trump’s strengths. He will use such an effort to rally his base. There remain some more traps to run before we to get to that drastic point. There damn sure needs to be some signal that Senate Republicans would be willing to convict the president in a trial should an impeachment resolution clear the House of Representatives.

However, the AG did not help his political benefactor — the president — with his lame obfuscations.

The drama continues.

No one stands up for Trump’s character?

I’ve been watching the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing today with Attorney General William Barr and am left with an early takeaway.

It is this: Republican senators on the committee aren’t standing up for the president of the United States. They aren’t declaring that Donald Trump is of such upstanding moral character that he never would collude with a hostile foreign power to undermine our electoral process; that he is so mindful of the law that he would ensure that he avoid obstructing justice.

Senate Democrats, of course, are targeting the president and the AG. They are leveling serious allegations of obstruction of justice against the president and, by association, against the attorney general.

The “defense” from the GOP side of the aisle is aimed at the accusers’ credibility, their motives, their intentions.

No defense of the president has come forth.

Hey, I am just thinking out loud.

‘No obstruction’? Not exactly

I respect Hugh Hewitt, a noted conservative pundit, columnist and Donald Trump fan.

However, I believe he is mistaken when he repeats the president’s mantra about the findings released by special counsel Robert Mueller. Hewitt wrote this in an essay published in the Washington Post: 

“Last week’s message from a booming economy should have rocked the Democratic field. Alas, the party seems collectively intent on poring over the Mueller report yet again in the hope that, somehow, someway, there’s something there. But the probe is over. No collusion. No obstruction.”

Whoa! Let’s stop there for a moment.

I concur with the “no collusion” finding. The “no obstruction” assertion is a figment of Donald Trump’s imagination and that of Attorney General William Barr and millions of Trumpkins around the country.

The special counsel did not conclude there was “no obstruction.” He left it wide open. It is unanswered. Indeed, Mueller instead cited several instances where Trump sought to obstruct justice. Mueller said the president sought to fire the special counsel, but that White House counsel Don McGahn and other key aides resisted.

Mueller left it up to Congress to make whatever determination it will make regarding obstruction of justice.

As much as I respect Hugh Hewitt’s intellectual wattage, he is getting way ahead of himself — right along with the president — in asserting that there was “no obstruction.”

I am willing to wait to see what Congress determines. The president’s base should do the same.

Blocking testimony would be ‘obstruction’?

So, how is this supposed to play out?

Don McGahn, the former White House counsel, has emerged as the star witness in an upcoming House Judiciary Committee hearing that would examine whether Donald Trump obstructed justice during Robert Mueller’s tedious probe into alleged collusion with Russians who interfered in our 2016 presidential election.

But wait! The president is threatening to block McGahn’s testimony. He doesn’t want McGahn, who now is a private citizen, to speak to House lawmakers about what he knows. He won’t let him answer a couple of key questions: Did the president order him to fire Mueller? Did the president order staffers to lie about it?

Simple, yes? It sure is.

However, if the president succeeds in blocking McGahn from testifying under congressional subpoena, does that constitute an obstruction of justice?

Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler thinks it well could be a case of obstruction.

Hmm. In that case, there might be an impeachable offense in the making.