Tag Archives: Russia probe

Sad for Sessions’ political demise? Hardly, however …

I would be saddened by Jeff Sessions’ loss this week in the race for the U.S. Senate were it not for the fact that I detest virtually his entire political record.

Then again, there’s an element to Sessions’ defeat in the Republican primary in Alabama that does make me a bit, um, chagrined.

Sessions once served in the Senate. He was the first senator to endorse Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy. He is partly responsible for Trump’s election in 2016 to the presidency. Trump appointed him attorney general.

Then he did what Trump wanted him to do. He enforced the separation of children from their parents who tried to enter the nation illegally. He endorsed the president’s call to end protections for undocumented immigrants who came here as children. Indeed, this former senator’s record is replete with efforts to dial back civil rights reforms. He is a throwback to the stereotypical white Southern politician. Sessions was Trump’s guy at Justice.

Then the AG did the unthinkable in the Lawbreaker in Chief’s world: He followed the law by recusing himself from DOJ’s investigation into allegations that Russia attacked our electoral system. His recusal resulted in the hiring of Robert Mueller as special counsel.

Sessions then managed to incur the rage of the man who once hailed him as a legal champion. Donald Trump demanded the AG show him blind loyalty. Sessions said he can’t do that. The law required him to recuse himself, as he couldn’t investigate a campaign in which he was a key player.

Trump was having none of it. He sought to humiliate Sessions. He ranted and raged against him via Twitter. Trump has declared that hiring Sessions as AG was the biggest mistake he has made as president. He fired Sessions, who then ran for his former Senate seat. On Tuesday, Sessions lost the Republican Party runoff to former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville, who Trump endorsed over Sessions.

It’s apparently over for Sessions. He won’t run for political office again. It’s not that I will miss this man’s contributions to public policy. However, I am chagrined that the single noble act he performed resulted in a form of political triumph for an imbecile — Donald Trump — who refuses to accept the reality that Jeff Sessions understood the boundaries he could not cross.

Did POTUS make an unintended admission?

Donald Trump now says the man he selected to be attorney general, Jeff Sessions, didn’t have the mental capacity to do the job.

That’s now the president’s description of Jeff Sessions, who had the bad taste — and the good sense — to recuse himself from an investigation examining whether the Trump presidential campaign colluded with Russians who attacked our electoral system in 2016.

Sessions did the right thing and for that he now is being vilified by the president who vowed to surround himself with the “best people” were he elected to office four years ago.

Has Trump now offered an implied admission that Sessions wasn’t among the “best people”? Did The Donald due sufficient due diligence in looking for an attorney general? If not, then why not? If he did, then why has Trump changed his mind about the quality of the guy he nominated to become the nation’s top law enforcement officer?

Trump offered the criticism of Sessions in an interview with Sheryl Attkisson. “He’s not mentally qualified to be Attorney General,” Trump said. “He was the biggest problem. I mean, look Jeff Sessions put people in place that were a disaster.”

Trump now wants Sessions to lose the upcoming GOP primary runoff in Alabama for the U.S. Senate seat. He has endorsed Tommy Tuberville, the former Auburn University football coach. The winner will face Sen. Doug Jones in the fall election.

I just am astonished as I read and hear Trump talk about men and women he selects to these key jobs, who then decide to do the right thing … and then become unqualified, unfit to the job to which they were selected.

Trump’s ad hominem attacks on these individuals tell me far more about him than they ever say about the men and women he denigrates.

Among the messages I get from these attacks is that Donald Trump doesn’t know what he is doing.

Comparing this criminal to Mandela?

I will not use Michael Flynn’s name in the same sentence with one of the world’s greatest champions.

Yet the Donald Trump cultists who believe Flynn deserves to be treated as a persecuted champion of some glorious cause are committing absolute heresy.

They compare the convicted felon to Nelson Mandela, who spent 27 years in prison because he protested South Africa’s hideous racial policy of apartheid. Mandela was released from prison in 1990 and then became president of South Africa. He stands at this moment as one of the 20th century’s greatest statesmen.

Now we have Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his role in the Russian attack on our election in 2016. Donald Trump hired him as national security adviser, then let him go when he became entangled in the Russia probe launched by the FBI. Now the Justice Department has decided to no longer prosecute Flynn for the felony to which he admitted. Trump has hailed the DOJ decision.

Comparing this clown to Nelson Mandela, though, simply goes so far beyond the pale that I am left speechless. I cannot find the words that express adequately my outrage.

As Essence reported: “Years ago when Nelson Mandela came to America after years of political persecution, he was treated like a rock star by Americans,” John McLaughlin, one of President Trump’s chief pollsters, told The Daily Beast on Thursday. “Now after over three years of political persecution, General Flynn is our rock star. A big difference is that he was persecuted in America.”

Michael Flynn wasn’t “persecuted.” He admitted to committing a felony. He told the judge in open court that he was pleading guilty because he did the deed. There was no coercion. And there damn sure wasn’t any persecution.

Disgraceful. Again!

Trump to Sessions: I don’t love you any longer

This is a political story I don’t recall ever seeing … until now.

Donald Trump’s presidential re-election campaign has told U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Sessions to cease saying that he’s a 100-percent Trump supporter as he campaigns for election to the Senate from Alabama.

You see, Sessions once served as attorney general in the Trump administration. Then he recused himself — properly, in my view — from any active role in the “Russia thing” involving allegations of collusion with Russians who were interfering in our 2016 presidential election. He enraged Trump, who fired him.

Sessions had served previously in the Senate. He was the first senator to endorse Trump. He and Trump were joined at the hip.

That was then. The seat he once occupied is now filled by Democratic Sen. Doug Jones. Sessions has been declaring how much of a Trump fan he remains. The president is having none of it. He wants Sessions to stop using the Trump name in his campaign ads.

Trump’s campaign says the president does not favor Sessions’ election to the Senate. He has backed Tommy Tuberville, a former college football coach at Auburn and Texas Tech.

I just want to note that none of the Sessions ads I have seen has said a word that declares that Trump wants the former AG back in the Senate, only that Sessions is with Trump all the way.

Hmm. I guess the grudge-bearing president wants to make a point that one would figure he wouldn’t need to make.

Prosecutors exhibit courage in quitting this probe

Four prosecutors who recommended a seven- to nine-year prison term for a convicted felon who’s also a friend of Donald John Trump have quit.

Why? Because the attorney general of the United States, William Barr, has said he wants to reduce their recommendation to send Trump pal Roger Stone to the slammer for as long as nine years.

Does this seem like political meddling in the criminal justice process? It does to me.

And who, pre-tell, ordered this recommendation? It might have come from, oh let’s see, the White House.

Stone is awaiting sentencing for lying under oath and for hindering the investigation into the Russian collusion matter that ended up on special counsel Robert Mueller III’s desk.

Trump called the career prosecutors’ sentence recommendation a “miscarriage of justice.” My question now is whether Barr acted on the president’s Twitter rant. If so, then it looks for all the world to me as though we have yet another case of presidential meddling where it does not belong.

The prosecutors who quit have shown considerable backbone and grit in walking away from their responsibilities in this matter. They remind me of when AG Elliot Richardson and his deputy William Ruckelshaus resigned rather than follow President Nixon’s order in 1973 to fire special prosecutor Archibald Cox as the Watergate scandal began to spin out of control.

These four prosecutors today can stand tall for the principle they have endorsed.

William Barr: biggest disappointment of Trump Cabinet

I wanted William Barr to be a stellar choice to become U.S. attorney general. I wanted him to demonstrate that Donald Trump was capable of selecting someone with high honor, integrity and gravitas.

He has disappointed me in the extreme.

Barr came to the AG post after serving in that position for President Bush 41. He distinguished himself well serving as the head of Justice Department near the end of President Bush’s single term. My hope when he emerged as the successor to Jeff Sessions was that he would do so yet again.

Instead, he has done so many things that have shattered my misplaced optimism.

He disagreed with the inspector general’s findings that the FBI was not motivated by partisan bias when it began its probe into the Russian attack on our electoral system; he continues to insist that the FBI “spied” on Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign; he misrepresented special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings into “The Russia Thing”; he said Mueller cleared Trump of “collusion,” when Mueller did nothing of the kind.

Former AG Eric Holder has said that Barr is “unfit” to serve as attorney general. I fear he is right.

William Barr took an oath in effect to be the people’s lawyer. He has become the president’s personal legal bag man.

He is the No. 1 disappointment to emerge from the Trump morass.

FBI director might be headed for the exits … yes?

When the person who appoints you to an important job refers to you as the “current” individual doing that job, then you might want to consider your next career move.

So it might be with FBI Director Christopher Wray, to whom Donald Trump referred as the “current director.” Why the qualifier? Well, Wray has backed up the findings of the Justice Department inspector general who said that the FBI did not launch its probe into the Russia election interference with any political bias.

Here is what Trump said via Twitter about Wray: I don’t know what report current Director of the FBI Christopher Wray was reading, but it sure wasn’t the one given to me. With that kind of attitude, he will never be able to fix the FBI, which is badly broken despite having some of the greatest men & women working there!

Trump has alleged that former FBI Director James Comey was biased against him when he began examining allegations that Russia attacked our electoral system in 2016. He fired Comey in 2017. The IG was brought in to determine whether the probe began because of bias against Trump.

The IG, Michael Horowitz, said the FBI did not act with political prejudice, although he did scold the FBI for committing serious mistakes in seeking warrants involving one of Trump’s campaign aides. Political bias? Prejudice? Not there, said Horowitz.

And so now we are left to wonder whether Christopher Wray, whom Trump selected to succeed Comey, is headed for the proverbial political guillotine.

I have lived long enough to remember a lot of internal political battles. I’ve watched them from some distance. Even during Watergate, when the FBI got caught up in that hideous scandal, I don’t ever recall an embattled President Nixon refer to the FBI boss in terms that the current embattled president is using against Wray.

What does this do to morale among the troops in the trenches? How does it affect their performance? How do they concentrate on the myriad investigative duties required of them while the director is being singled out by the president?

The chaos persists. The bad news is that it is quite likely to worsen.

DJT: Hardly the master of impeccable timing

Talk about bad timing, bad optics, bad messaging.

On the very day that U.S. House of Representatives Democrats reveal articles of impeachment against him, Donald John Trump decides to welcome Russian foreign ministry officials into the White House.

Bad timing, optics and messaging?

Well, consider that the president is being impeached by the House over his withholding of military aid to Ukraine, which is fighting rebels backed by — get ready for it — those nasty Russians! He withheld the aid in exchange for a political favor he sought from Ukraine, asking them to announce an investigation into alleged wrongdoing by Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

So what does the president do when the impeachment articles are announced? He invites Russian diplomats who work for a government is benefiting materially from the very action for which the House is impeaching him.

Remember, too, that he brought these clowns into the Oval Office in 2017 the day after he fired FBI Director James Comey who, not coincidentally, was investigating the “Russia thing.”

It makes my head spin.

Meanwhile, the IG makes some big news

While members of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee today were making spectacles of themselves with their posturing about this and that regarding Donald Trump hideous behavior, the Justice Department’s inspector general managed to make some real news.

Michael Horowitz, who is known to be a non-partisan straight shooter, released a report today that debunks Trump’s assertion that the FBI acted properly in instigating its investigation into Russia’s attack on our electoral system in 2016.

Boom! Bingo! There you go!

The president has been yammering seemingly forever that the FBI was prompted by partisan political concerns to launch a probe into the Russians’ attack on our system. The IG said today the FBI report was done properly and with justification.

To be fair, the IG did scold the FBI on some procedural matters involving some aspects of the information gathering it completed. The IG said the FBI committed “errors” while wiretapping a member of Trump’s campaign staff. The big stuff? The conspiracy that Trump and others have sought to perpetuate? No deal, man! Ain’t nothing there, according to the Horowitz.

Of course, Attorney General William Barr has criticized the report. He is holding onto the notion that the FBI conspired to ensnare the president with an investigation based on specious allegations that President Barack Obama ordered the wiretapping of the Trump campaign offices.

The inspector general has cleared the FBI of the idiotic allegations that Trump and others have leveled at the world’s premier investigative agency. This is a big deal that, to my mind, eclipses the posturing many Americans today witnessed by members of a key congressional committee.

The inspector general’s report likely won’t silence Donald Trump. He’ll keep hammering away with his Twitter account that the FBI was inspired by partisan concerns to undermine his election as president. The IG says otherwise.

I am going to stand with the inspector general.

Sen. Kennedy: ‘I was wrong’ about Russia’s attack

What do you know about this?

It appears — and happily so — that Donald Trump’s penchant for refusing to apologize when he messes up isn’t contagious among fellow Republican politicians.

One of them, U.S. Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana, said over the weekend that Ukraine might have attacked our electoral system in 2016. The TV interviewer, Fox News’s Chris Wallace, asked him directly who he thought was responsible for the hack into the Democratic National Committee server. Kennedy said it could have been Russia, or it could also have been Ukraine.

Wallace pushed back, telling Kennedy that the U.S. intelligence community said uniformly that Russia was responsible. Kennedy didn’t take the bait in the moment.

The “Ukraine mighta done it” narrative has become a talking point among GOP politicians seeking to divert attention away from Russia and from Trump’s bizarre affection for Russian strongman Vladimir Putin.

Then Kennedy had second thoughts about what he told Wallace and told CNN’s Chris Cuomo he was wrong. Sen. Kennedy said he misheard Wallace’s question, then affirmed that Russia was responsible.

That didn’t hurt a bit, I’ll bet.

If only the nation’s top Republican, Donald Trump, could swipe a page from Kennedy’s book of contrition.

Alas, it won’t happen. Not ever.