Tag Archives: Robert Mueller

New House chairman says ‘no’ to Russia probe

U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy isn’t going to join the hunt for the truth into the “Russia thing.”

You might not believe this, but this news doesn’t upset me.

Why, you ask? Well, Gowdy — the new chairman of the panel — says he is going to let special counsel Robert Mueller lead the probe. What’s more, Gowdy’s committee is only one of several congressional panels charged with looking at this matter. The others are the Senate Intelligence and House Intelligence committees, and Senate and House Judiciary committees. They appear to be on the hunt.

So, it’s fair to suggest: Who needs the House Oversight and Government Reform panel to do the same job?

The “Russia thing” deals with the Trump presidential campaign’s alleged relationship with the Russian government. Russian goons hacked into the 2016 presidential election and they have generated considerable congressional interest.

Gowdy will have a role to play anyway. He serves on the House Intelligence and Judiciary panels. He won’t remain silent.

Still, his decision to forgo any hearings is at odds with what his predecessor as chairman, former Rep. Jason Chaffetz, wanted to do. Chaffetz wanted the panel to be more active in the probe.

I am not discouraged that we’re going to root out the issues related to this matter.

You go, special counsel Robert Mueller!

Mueller hires pro-Democrats? What’s the big deal?

Donald J. Trump is busy trying to impugn the integrity of special counsel Robert Mueller.

The president told “Fox and Friends” that Mueller has hired lawyers who are friendly to Democrats, who have given money to Democratic candidates. Why, they’ve even supported Hillary Rodham Clinton, he said. He calls Mueller “an honorable man,” and then wonders if he can conduct a truly independent investigation into the Russian government’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election.

Wait! Hold on!

So has Donald Trump! The president himself has acknowledged giving money to Democrats. He used to be friends with Bill and Hillary Clinton. Aren’t there pictures out there showing Trump and the Clintons chumming around at parties? I believe I’ve seen ’em.

So, what is the point about Mueller’s legal team? The president has forgotten — willfully or otherwise — about his own past.

Top lawyer ‘lawyers up’; more to come, maybe?

If you’re keeping score, it’s good to know how many of Donald J. Trump’s key administration staffers have hired lawyers to represent them.

You have the president’s son-in-law and senior public policy adviser, Jared Kushner seeking outside counsel; Vice President Mike Pence has hired a lawyer to represent him and might be able to use campaign funds to pay for the counselor’s advice; today we got word that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has joined the lawyering-up club.

And oh yes, the president himself has hired a team of lawyers.

Why all this legal eagle activity? You know the reason, but I’ll mention it anyway. Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating whether the Trump campaign worked in cahoots with Russian hackers, who tried to influence the 2016 election outcome.

Of all the people mentioned here, I find Sessions’ decision to be most interesting. He’s the nation’s top lawyer. He runs the Department of Justice. He also has recused himself from anything to do with the Russia investigation.

Throughout all of this Russia investigation, we hear the president toss out terms like “witch hunt” and “fake news.” He doesn’t condemn the notion that Russian government goons might have sought to influence the election.

The special counsel has a lot of information to sift through. The former FBI director, James Comey, told Senate committee members that the president pressured him to back off a probe into the Russia matter. The president launches into those tweet tirades that seem to undermine his own message, not to mention his legal defense against whatever might be tossed at him.

We’re a long way from knowing the truth behind all of this.

The high-priced legal community is riding a serious gravy train, thanks to the concerns being expressed by the president of the United States and some among his senior team members.

Trump doth protest too much?

You’ve heard it said, no doubt, that someone with something to hide “doth protest too much” at the hint of questions about whatever it is he or she might be hiding.

It’s a Shakespearean statement, coming from “Hamlet.”

So it could be with Donald John Trump, who’s forgoing his “unity” pledge with another series of tweet tirades against special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian operatives to influence the 2016 presidential election.

The president detests Mueller. He wants him out, or so many have speculated. Trump just might do something seriously foolish by asking deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to remove Mueller. Or, he could do something even more foolish than that by removing Rosenstein and Mueller in one fell swoop.

Here’s my Trump question of the day: If the president is innocent of any of the allegations leveled against him, why not let Mueller do his job — after releasing every single shred of information he would ask of the president, his campaign team and his White House organization?

If he’s clean, the record will show it. Isn’t that how it works?

Don’t even consider it, Mr. President

A back-bench congressional Democrat has issued a warning to the president of the United States.

Rep. Ted Lieu says Congress will start impeachment proceedings if Donald J. Trump fired special counsel Robert Mueller and the fellow who picked him for the job, Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Message to the president? Don’t even think about it.

I’m not yet sure how Rep. Lieu knows what the House leadership would do. It’s run by members of the other party. Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan would be the key member to set impeachment proceedings into motion. I am not yet convinced Ryan has the fortitude to do the right thing if Trump were to commit what could be considered an impeachable offense.

I also have mixed feelings about an impeachment in the first place.

It’s clear to you, I am sure, that I don’t believe Trump is fit for the office to which he was elected. What would we get if Trump were impeached and then convicted in a Senate trial? Vice President Mike Pence is more of a “true conservative” than Trump. He seems competent enough, whereas Trump can’t find his backside with both hands when it comes to understanding the complexities of government.

OK, I didn’t support the Republican ticket in November 2016. I do take some solace, though, in realizing that I am a member of a majority of voters who endorsed the other major-party candidates.

But … back to my point about impeachment.

We’re a long way from even thinking about that — unless the president does something seriously foolish by firing Mueller and Rosenstein.

No ‘fishing expeditions’? Sure thing, Sen. Cruz

Ted Cruz doesn’t want special counsel Robert Mueller to go on a “fishing expedition” in his search for answers relating to Donald J. Trump’s relationship with Russian government officials.

I now shall remind the junior U.S. Republican senator from Texas about another fishing expedition that once suited GOP members of Congress just fine. It involved Kenneth Starr’s probe into an Arkansas real estate matter; they called it Whitewater.

Starr, the special counsel appointed to look into that deal, then went on a fishing expedition of his own. He wandered far afield and then discovered that President Bill Clinton was involved in a tawdry relationship with a young White House intern.

A federal grand jury summoned the president to talk about that relationship. The president didn’t tell the panel the truth.

Boom! Congressional Republicans then had their grounds for impeaching the president. The House did it. The Senate then acquitted him.

So, you see? Fishing expeditions can turn into something consequential.

Mueller is a pro and deserves latitude in his search for the truth.

I just find it laughable that Cruz would issue a warning against Mueller, a former FBI director and a man fairly universally respected as a thorough and meticulous investigator. Indeed, Cruz called Mueller a “good and honorable man.”

One can imagine if a Democratic president faced the kind of scrutiny that is being leveled against Donald Trump. What do you suppose the Cruz Missile would say then?

I get how political consideration — and leanings — are driving the analyses of the Mueller investigation.

My own take on Robert Mueller’s probe is that if he uncovers something that is, um, illegal, he is bound by his oath to pursue it to the very end.

POTUS under investigation for obstruction of justice, after all

If you doubted whether James Comey’s testimony in front of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee got anyone’s attention, a report in the Washington Post has provided your answer.

The Post has reported that Donald John Trump, the 45th president of the United States, is under investigation for “possible obstruction of justice.”

Who is doing the investigating? That would be special counsel Robert Mueller, appointed to his job by Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Why the deputy AG? Because the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, recused himself from anything to do with the Russia matter that is swirling all around the president.

This is getting a bit, um, testy … don’t you think?

Trump fired Comey because of what he called “the Russia thing,” and after Comey reportedly told Trump that the president wasn’t personally under investigation by the FBI. At issue, in case you don’t know, is whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian hackers who sought to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential campaign.

We will need to hold on with both hands as this probe continues.

Mueller has enormous authority to proceed with this probe. There will be many traps to run, many leads to pursue, many tips to ferret out.

Many of us are wondering: Did the president ask Comey to shut down his probe of former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s relationship with Russian officials? And did that request constitute an obstruction of justice?

I should note, too, that Mueller also is a former FBI director, so the man has some serious investigative chops.

In the midst of all this are reports circulating that Trump considered firing Mueller, but was talked out of it by senior White House staffers.

Oh … brother. Let’s all hang on.

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!

Let’s end the debate over whether Russians hacked us

Here’s a thought to ponder going ahead: Let’s all just stop arguing over whether the Russians — government agents or “patriots” — hacked into the U.S. electoral system while seeking to influence the 2016 election outcome.

Let us now settle on the fundamental question: Did the Donald John Trump presidential campaign commit treason by colluding with the Russians?

Former FBI Director James Comey had much of the nation enthralled for two hours today as he testified before the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee. He confirmed what 17 intelligence agencies have determined already: The Russians sought to influence the election. Russian President Vladimir Putin — one of the more untrustworthy individuals on the planet — said that Russian “patriots” might have been responsible for the deed.

Now we get to the Main Event. The Seventh Game. The Bottom of the Ninth Inning.

Special counsel Robert Mueller has been handed a huge mound of information to digest from his former colleague, Comey.

The president had said Wednesday when word of Comey’s testimony leaked out that he felt “vindicated” by what he heard. After today, I’m betting real American money the president feels a whole lot less vindicated.

No one can know with any degree of certainty whether Mueller is going to produce evidence of criminality on the part of the campaign or the president himself.

Comey’s dismissal as FBI director, as he was investigating the Trump campaign-Russia allegations, was shocking all by itself. Then came the crap storm of motives, reversals, changes in story and contradictions — from the president himself.

And in the midst of all this, Donald J. Trump — of all people — called Comey a “grandstander” and a “showboat.”

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/06/08/james-comey-robert-mueller-trump-case-file-239319

Kettle, met pot.

I do not believe a grandstanding showboat appeared today before he Senate panel. I believe the nation saw a meticulous lawyer and administrator who defended the agency he led from unfounded attacks by the president of the United States.

James Comey, moreover, has handed Robert Mueller a full arsenal of ammunition to use as he continues his arduous task of determining whether there was collusion with an foreign adversary to undermine our nation’s electoral process.

Comey delivers … almost

If you thought former FBI Director James Comey was going to assert that Donald Trump committed a criminal act, well, take a breather.

He didn’t do it. He didn’t tell Senate Intelligence Committee members that the president “obstructed justice.” He did say the president “lied” and that he “defamed” the FBI and himself.

However, any assertion of criminality is going to come from the special counsel, Robert Mueller — Comey’s longtime friend and former professional colleague.

Still, Comey’s testimony today appears to have affirmed what many Americans have thought — if not known — about the president. It’s that he doesn’t understand the intricacies of governance and of the need to keep his hands off important investigations.

http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/337031-comey-delivers-dramatic-rebuke-of-trump

Comey has painted a disturbing portrait of the man who now calls the shots at the top of the government’s executive chain of command.

He has laid down a predicate — perhaps — for the special counsel to pursue the answers to questions on the minds of millions of Americans:

Did the president’s campaign collude with Russian government agents to influence the outcome of the 2016 election? If so, did the campaign act on the president’s direct orders? Did he have knowledge of it? If there is no collusion — and if the president’s team knew about the Russian hacking, why didn’t Trump’s team move to stop it?

More to come …