Tag Archives: Robert Mueller

No way should Mueller cut off the Russia probe

My ears are about to burst into flames. Or … maybe my head is about to explode, blowing my noggin into smithereens.

Donald Trump’s legal team — led by the likes of Rudy Giuliani and Jay Sekulow — keep yapping that special counsel Robert Mueller needs to call his examination of “The Russia Thing” to a halt. He needs to end it now, they say.

Giuliani suggests Mueller has done something potentially illegal. He ain’t spilling the beans, as if he has any beans to spill.

Look, Mueller is a former FBI director who served under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama. He took office right after 9/11. He is a pro. He is a dedicated public servant. He is a decorated Marine who saw combat during the Vietnam War.

He also is a meticulous lawyer who has been tasked by the Department of Justice to find out whether the Trump presidential campaign colluded with Russians who attacked our electoral system.

Mueller’s appointment by DOJ also was hailed universally by Republicans and Democrats. Don’t you remember that? I damn sure do. He deserved the high praise he got from both sides of the aisle.

What’s changed? Only this, as far as I can tell: Mueller is tightening the rope around the White House and well might have discovered something hinky within the Trump campaign, even though the president keeps declaring there was “no collusion.”

I don’t want to take Donald Trump’s word for it. The president’s penchant for prevarication precludes anyone from taking anything he says seriously.

I prefer to hear the final verdict from Robert Mueller.

That is, if my ears don’t catch fire and my skull doesn’t explode listening to the rants from Donald Trump’s loudmouth legal eagles.

Avoid ‘perjury trap’? Sure, just tell the truth!

The president of the United States is highly unlikely to appear voluntarily before the special counsel who is examining whether the president’s 2016 campaign colluded with Russian hackers who interfered in our election.

I say that wishing Donald Trump would agree to meet with Robert Mueller.

Trump said last year that he was “100 percent” in favor of meeting with Mueller. Silly us, particularly those of us who took the president at his word in the moment. He lied to us then. He likely would lie to Mueller and his legal team.

Therein is the reason why the president won’t agree to meet voluntarily with Mueller. Trump’s legal team fears what they call a “perjury trap.” That is as phony a dodge as anything they have said regarding Trump and this investigation.

The most sure-fire way to avoid committing perjury is for the president to tell the truth. If the special counsel or one of his deputies were to ask him a direct question, he should answer it with equal directness — and with the “whole truth.”

If the president were wired to tell the truth instead of lie constantly, this “perjury trap” nonsense would be irrelevant. Except that this president is wired to prevaricate, to fabricate and to lie through is teeth.

That’s why he won’t meet with Robert Mueller. At least not of his own volition.

Nixon’s resignation now seems oddly relevant

The 44th anniversary of President Richard Nixon’s resignation from office carries an odd poignancy when you consider what is happening in real time — today!

On Aug. 9, 1974, President Nixon handed over his letter of resignation to the secretary of state, walked out of the White House and flew away aboard Marine One. His covering up of the Watergate scandal did him in.

Gerald R. Ford took the presidential oath of office and declared that “our long national nightmare is over.”

I fear we’ve entered into another tempest of nightmarish proportions.

No one knows how the investigation into Donald J. Trump’s difficulty is going to turn out. Special counsel Robert Mueller is deep into his probe of “the Russia thing” and whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russians who attacked our electoral system in 2016.

The president is acting like a man in trouble. He keeps declaring Mueller’s probe to be a “rigged witch hunt.” Mueller, though, is keeping his head down, his shoulder to the wheel and has clamped down on his legal team to protect against any leaks.

His 2016 campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, is on trial for money laundering. Mueller has indicted several other key aides to the president. He has obtained guilty pleas from some of them.

What we have on our hands, dear reader, is a monumental mess. The president refuses to keep his mouth shut while Mueller does his job, sounding for all the world as if he has something he doesn’t want revealed … whatever it is.

So it is with a certain sense of dread that we look back 44 years to when another president, Richard Nixon, was given the grim news from his fellow Republicans. It was that he didn’t have enough Senate support to acquit him if an impeachment went to trial. Then it fell to GOP Sen. Barry Goldwater of Arizona to tell the president he had to quit.

The president followed Sen. Goldwater’s advice. President Ford reminded us that “our Constitution works.” Yes, it did then.

It will work again, no matter what happens with this president.

Waiting for many more ‘other shoes’ to drop

As I watch the Donald Trump administration continue to writhe and twist itself into something unrecognizable, I keep thinking about all the things we don’t know about the president’s campaign and some of the baggage it is lugging around.

We have those Trump tax returns, which the then-candidate refused to release in 2016, flouting four decades of political tradition.

Nor do we know whether there’s been any violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, the provision that prohibits presidents from taking gifts from foreign governments.

We have all those questions about possible campaign violations regarding the payments to (a) a porn star who alleges a one-night stand with the future president and (b) a Playboy centerfold model who alleges she had a nearly yearlong affair with the same future president. Trump paid these women big money to keep quiet — about relationships that Trump said never occurred. Go figure.

Is “collusion” with the Russians against the law or not? If not, then what about conspiracy, obstruction of justice?

I will continue to have faith that the special counsel, Robert Mueller, will be able to figure all this out in due course.

If he’s allowed to do the job he has been appointed to do.

Proceed, Mr. Mueller.

Trump tweets making our heads spin

I fear that I am going to lapse into a Linda Blair impersonation, the one in the film “The Exorcist” where her head spins round and round.

Donald J. Trump’s head-spinning reversal of previous lies about a meeting with Russians who reportedly were offering dirt on Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign has my head about to spin right off my shoulders.

The president denied the meeting was called to talk about his campaign against Hillary. He then reportedly dictated a statement that came out under Don Trump Jr.’s name; the statement said the meeting dealt with the adoption of children. That was a lie!

Now the president say, yep, the meeting was called to talk about the Clinton campaign.

He lied. Now he’s telling some version of the truth?

The question now centers on what special counsel Robert Mueller is going to do with this information.

Is the noose tightening? Is the special counsel headed into a blind alley? Have we caught the president in the lie to end all lies? Might there be a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Emolument Clause, which prohibits presidents from accepting gifts from foreign governments?

I’ll circle back to something I was taught when I was a youngster: Tell the truth all the time and you won’t have to worry about the lies catching up with you.

If there was nothing wrong …

It’s fair now to ask a key question.

It goes like this: If there was nothing wrong with Donald Trump Jr. meeting with Russians who had “dirt” on Hillary Rodham Clinton, why did Don Jr. and his father, the president of the United States, lie about it?

We now at this moment that Don Jr.’s meeting with the Russians in 2016 was meant to deliver the goods on Hillary Rodham Clinton. Junior said at the time that there was nothing to it. He also said the meeting was called to discuss “Russian adoption.” Daddy Trump said the same thing. Oh, he also reportedly dictated the statement that Don Jr. released to the public declaring the phony Russian adoption dodge.

Special counsel Robert Mueller is looking carefully at all of this. He will tell us eventually where all this will lead.

I just need to say that the view from the cheap seats tells me there’s something quite fishy going on and that Mueller may be getting ready to hook “the big one.”

Conspiracy to collude, anyone?

Anyone?

Does the special counsel have those Trump tax returns?

I keep getting this throbbing in my trick knee that suggests that special counsel Robert Mueller might be able to answer the question that has been bugging millions of Americans like me.

What is in Donald John Trump’s tax returns, the returns he refuses to release for public inspection?

That ol’ trick knee of mine suggests that Mueller has obtained those returns as part of his investigation into “The Russia Thing.” Trump won’t release them, making some sort of phony claim about being under audit by the Internal Revenue Service.

Of course, Mueller has substantial authority to get a lot of information that doesn’t come out through regular channels.

I’m waiting with some anxiousness for Mueller to finish this probe while telling us what many of us want to know: Are there business dealings in Russia that Trump wants to keep hidden from the public?

WH provides phony cover for Trump

White House senior aides are swilling the Kool-Aid that makes them lie for the president of the United States.

They keep saying that Donald J. Trump is just dying to talk to special counsel Robert Mueller’s team that is examining whether the Trump presidential campaign colluded with Russians who attacked our democratic system in 2016.

Does anyone really believe Trump wants to talk to Mueller? Does anyone believe that he can skate through an interview with a meticulous lawyer who has been working for more than a year in search of the truth behind this matter?

I do not believe it for a minute. Indeed, Trump has been getting plenty of armchair legal advice from Republicans to stay as far away from Mueller as possible.

That is far closer to the truth than the fiction being tossed out there by the White House staff and by Trump’s legal team.

Mueller appears to be closing in … on something or someone! I have no clue where he is going with this probe.

If the president were to ask me for my advice, I likely should say: Don’t do it, Mr. President. Then again, given that I detest the president, maybe I would succumb to the mischievous angels on my shoulder and tell him: Sure thing, go for it!

However, I am nowhere near the center of this tumult. I do believe that the Trump/White House legal team is lying about the president’s so-called “desire” to talk to Mueller.

An ‘order’ or an ‘opinion’?

Let’s take another brief look at that tweet from Donald John Trump that’s gotten everyone’s attention.

He wrote: This is a terrible situation and Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further. Bob Mueller is totally conflicted, and his 17 Angry Democrats that are doing his dirty work are a disgrace to USA!

I want to dissect a section of the Twitter message. Did the president issue an order to the attorney general or was he merely stating an opinion?

I keep reading it and I keep coming up with the former. It looks like an order to my eyes. It would sound like an order were he to say it to me directly.

The Hill reported: (Former Watergate special prosecutor Jill) Wine-Banks argued that Trump’s tweet on Wednesday calling for Sessions to immediately end the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election was sent with the intention that Sessions obey it and that Trump has “undermined” the probe from the beginning.

The so-called explanation offered by White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders just doesn’t add up. She said Trump merely was offering his “opinion” about the nature of Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in our electoral system.

Thus, the president might have committed a bald-faced act of conspiring to commit obstruction of justice with that message to the AG. Did he issue an order to Sessions to end an investigation into what he — the president — might have done?

This is unprecedented. It’s also, dare I say it — to borrow a malapropism once offered by Trump himself — very “unpresidented.”

Who’s more believable: The Marine or the liar in chief?

As I watch and listen to Donald J. Trump’s incessant harangue against special counsel Robert Mueller, I keep circling back to the histories of both men.

Trump was born to wealth and parlayed his birthright into a business career staked by a large stash of money from his father. The Vietnam War was raging when he became old enough to serve his country. Young Donald chose to pursue student deferments and received a medical deferment based on some sort of “bone spur” ailment that kept him out of harm’s way.

Trump then went into business and spent his entire professional life in pursuit of self-enrichment, self-aggrandizement and self-adulation.

Mueller also was born into wealth. He went to college, then to law school. But before he entered the legal profession, he decided to enlist in the Marine Corps. He served in Vietnam. He earned a chest full of medals, including the Bronze Star and at least two Purple Hearts. He fought with valor in defense of the country that sent him into harm’s way.

He got out of the Corps, entered the legal profession, served as a prosecutor and then eventually became director of the FBI, again in service to his country.

Trump has spent the past year and a half disparaging Robert Mueller. He calls him corrupt, says Mueller is engaging in a “witch hunt” while he conducts an investigation into whether the president’s 2016 campaign colluded with Russians who had attacked our electoral system.

Who in the name of dedicated public service should we trust to do the right thing?

I will go with the Marine.