Tag Archives: special counsel

Rep. Gohmert shows why he sits on the GOP fringe

U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert sits on the fringe of the Republican Party’s congressional caucus for a reason, as he has demonstrated once again.

The East Texas member of Congress thinks special counsel Robert Mueller should be fired. He doesn’t like that the former FBI director and a crack lawyer is investigating Donald J. Trump on several levels. He is concerned that the counsel might actually find some criminality in his probe into whether the Trump presidential campaign colluded with Russian goons who meddled in our 2016 election.

I need to point out here that the GOP leadership wants Mueller to continue. Even some of the back bench members of both the House and Senate GOP caucus know the consequences if the president gets Mueller removed.

Actually, Gohmert the Goober knows it, too. He said, “The only reason that he is not going and the president is not going to fire him and that I am not calling for him to be fired now is … because of all the establishment Republicans that think they would have to come after Trump if he were fired.”

Oh, really? The Republican congressional leadership would “come after” the president for, oh, obstructing justice or for abusing the power of his high office? Is that what he means?

If that’s the case, then the Republican leadership would be correct to sound the impeachment bugle and Rep. Gohmert is utterly wrong in calling for Mueller to be fired.

Mueller was given a broad mandate when Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed him special counsel; the task fell to Rosenstein after AG Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia matter after serving as a Trump campaign and presidential transition official with ties to Russians who had contacted the Trump political organization.

Rosenstein’s appointment of Mueller was hailed by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Gohmert, though, says he had trouble with Mueller’s selection from the get-go.

I’ll offer this bit of advice to Gohmert, which I’ve also offered to the president: If there is nothing to be found — which Trump insists is the case — then let Mueller reach that conclusion and announce it to the world himself.

Meanwhile, Louie Gohmert needs to settle down and let Mueller do his job.

Dear Mr. POTUS: Let Mueller do his job

Dear Mr. President:

I won’t take long to make this point, sir.

You are getting a snootful from your fellow Republicans, the real Republicans who serve in Congress. They’re giving you some advice you need to heed and follow.

Do not do anything to force the ouster of special counsel Robert Mueller.

I say this hoping that you have a half a brain under that hideous comb-over on top of that noggin of yours. If you do you’ll understand that the crisis any such effort would launch. And from where I sit, it likely would not end well for you.

I am presuming you’ve heard from one of the leading Senate Republicans, John Cornyn of Texas, who told Politico that “the consequences would be so overwhelming” if you force Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to kick Mueller to the curb.

Hey, I’m not so sure Rosenstein would obey the order. He’s said already — and you’ve heard that, too — that he doesn’t anticipate firing Mueller unless there’s “cause.” Mueller, Rosenstein, said, is doing a fine job as special counsel.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also has said Mueller needs to finish the job. Same with many other leading Republicans.

Furthermore, if I were you, Mr. President, I wouldn’t take Sen. Ted Cruz’s silence on this matter as an endorsement of you or your conduct. Cruz says he doesn’t comment on tweets, which is likely a reasonable position to take. He said he won’t “focus on the political circus” that is unfolding in Washington.

Whatever. Others are willing to speak out. You ought to heed them.

I don’t expect you to act on what I have to say, or what other critics of you have to say. Democrats are p***ing into the wind.

You preach fealty to Republicans, Mr. President. Now is the time to heed your own advice.

Trump protests too much

Does it make sense to you that someone who denies wrongdoing should keep firing broadsides at those who are investigating allegations of misbehavior? Donald Trump is at virtual war with Robert Mueller.

Trump is the president of the United States. Mueller is a special counsel assigned to look into whether the president did something wrong.

The president denies in one breath that he did anything wrong. In the next breath he rakes Mueller over the coals, calling his probe a “witch hunt” and assorted other pejoratives.

Mueller is examining the president on several fronts. He was selected by the Department of Justice to look into allegations that Trump’s presidential campaign colluded with Russians who interfered in our 2016 presidential election. He is trying to determine whether there is any obstruction of justice efforts aimed at blocking the investigation. Mueller also is now looking at the Trump Organization’s business dealings with Russian interests.

Trump is howling. He is bellowing. He is tweeting his rage at Mueller.

Why is the president so angry? Why is he so enraged that Mueller — a former FBI director and by most people’s estimation a stand-up, first-class, meticulous lawyer — is doing the job he was charged to do?

Mueller is keeping his mouth shut. He is not talking publicly about his investigation. He is acting professionally. He has assigned his team of legal eagles to pore over the mountains of data they have collected.

Trump is doing quite the opposite. He is yapping, yammering and yowling daily — if not damn near hourly — via Twitter about Mueller’s probe. Is that a logical response of someone who is in the clear? I don’t believe it is.

It would seem more appropriate for the president to do two things: Keep his trap shut and then give the special counsel every bit of information he seeks.

Instead, every Trump tweet or public statement about Mueller only heightens the suspicion that he well might have something to hide. He might say he is innocent of wrongdoing. The president’s actions, though, suggest something quite different.

Another Trump campaign nut case emerges

No one had heard of Sam Nunberg until special counsel Robert Mueller decided to subpoena him to testify before a federal grand jury.

So what does this guy do? He blusters and bellows that he won’t answer the call to testify before the panel that is looking into whether Donald Trump’s presidential campaign colluded with Russians who meddled in our electoral process.

And then …

Nunberg has second thoughts. He says he might testify after all.

Oh, but first he went on cable news broadcasts — CNN, Fox, MSNBC — to offer lots of goofy bluster about how he “laughed” at the subpoena.

My initial question was this: Who in the hell is this guy?

I have learned that he attended some meetings and has some inside information about what Donald Trump might know. He has said some disparaging things about his former boss.

This clown is playing with some seriously hot fire if he intends to stiff the special counsel. Mueller is no fool. He’s not a partisan hack. He is a former FBI director and a first-class lawyer. Mueller is known to be meticulous in his approach to evidence-gathering and highly circumspect about what he says in public.

A loudmouth like Nunberg is the antithesis of Mueller. Sadly, he is the kind of clown with whom Donald Trump has surrounded himself.

Come to think of it, he mirrors the Big Man himself.


Now this: Mueller indicts Russians for meddling

Let’s see. If we’re keeping score, the tab is piling up against Donald Trump’s claim that the Russians didn’t interfere in our 2016 presidential election.

The nation’s top spooks, the folks who run our intelligence agencies, say in unison that the Russians meddled in our election.

Now, today, we get word that special counsel Robert Mueller has indicted 13 Russians and three Russian companies for — drum roll! — interfering in our election.

But … the president of the United States is willing to take the word of a former KGB boss, Vladimir Putin, that he didn’t do what our intelligence experts say he did. Donald Trump is the lone denier in all of this.

To be clear, the indictments don’t suggest any collusion from the Trump campaign. The president might take some solace in that knowledge, although there’s still more to be determined by Mueller’s legal team as it pores through all the material that has piled up.

Nor do the indictments say that the Russian hackers’ activity actually affected the outcome. They did not determine the outcome. I get that, too.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who announced the indictments, said the Russians did accomplish their mission in their meddling, which was to cause “discord” and to throw doubt over our nation’s electoral process.

When will the president ever acknowledge what is now widely known? My hunch: He’ll take his denial with him to the grave.


Not all in GOP are buying into Nunes memo

I am happy to acknowledge that the Republican Party’s ranks of power players aren’t singing off the same hymnal page as it regards Russian interference in our electoral process.

Donald John Trump and many of his GOP “friends” in Congress have released a memo that accuses the FBI of bias in its investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., isn’t one of them.

He has released a blistering statement telling Trump that the memo is doing “Putin’s job for him.”

McCain’s statement, issued prior to the release of the memo from the House Intelligence Committee’s Republican members, said, in part: “In 2016, the Russian government engaged in an elaborate plot to interfere in an American election and undermine our democracy,” McCain said. “Russia employed the same tactics it has used to influence elections around the world, from France and Germany to Ukraine, Montenegro and beyond.”

According to the Huffington Post: McCain said Russia’s interference has, at best, sown political discord and succeeded in “dividing us from each other.” Attacking the intelligence community is not how to fix the discord, he said.

I am acutely aware of Sen. McCain’s longstanding antipathy toward Donald J. Trump. The then-GOP presidential candidate disparaged McCain’s heroic service during the Vietnam War. The men haven’t made peace yet.

That doesn’t diminish the importance of what McCain is saying about the release of the memo, written by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif. The intelligence community opposed its release, as did the FBI leadership.

McCain wrote further: “The latest attacks against the FBI and Department of Justice serve no American interests ― no party’s, no President’s, only Putin’s,” McCain added. “The American people deserve to know all the facts surrounding Russia’s ongoing efforts to subvert our democracy, which is why Special Counsel (Robert) Mueller’s investigation must proceed unimpeded. Our nation’s elected officials, including the president, must stop looking at this investigation through the lens of politics and manufacturing political sideshows. If we continue to undermine our own rule of law, we are doing Putin’s job for him.”

This is not how you protect the interests of the people you were elected to govern, Mr. President.

FBI set to clash with POTUS over memo

This is a new one.

The director of the FBI, Christopher Wray, is now clashing openly with the man who nominated him, the president of the United States.

At issue is the release of a Republican-authored memorandum that alleges FBI misdeeds relating to a dossier that suggests improper relations between Donald J. Trump and the Russian government.

GOP House committee members want the memo released, suggesting it contains “evidence” of a “secret society” within the FBI. Wray disputes the idea. He is standing foursquare in defense of the agency he has led for just a few months. He’s also taking on the president himself, urging him against releasing the memo.

Trump has let it be known he is inclined to release the memo, which could undermine the FBI with critics of the document say doesn’t tell anywhere near the whole story of what the FBI knew and when it knew it. White House chief of staff John Kelly has said the memo will be made public “pretty quick.”

We might be witnessing something virtually unprecedented. Trump might fire the second FBI director in less than a year, unless Wray quits beforehand. And standing with Wray is the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, who appointed special counsel Robert Mueller — another former FBI director — as special counsel to examine the “Russia thing.”

From my vantage point, I believe we are witnessing a big-time train wreck that is going to produce more than its share of collateral damage.

One of the casualties — if Trump releases the memo to the public — might be Rosenstein. Wray might hit the road. Oh, and what about Mueller, the man who was universally praised when Rosenstein selected him to lead the Russia investigation after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself?

I keep circling back to the president’s assertion that there’s no evidence of “collusion” between his campaign and the Russians who hacked into our electoral system in 2016.

If that is the case, then let Mueller’s investigation proceed. If there’s nothing there, then let the special counsel make that determination. The more protests that come from Republicans — and from the president — the more I am inclined to suspect there’s a fire burning under all that smoke.

As for Wray, he told senators he would be unafraid to challenge the president if the need arose.

The need has arisen.

Is lying an impeachable offense? Maybe

The discussion about the investigation into the “Russia thing” has taken a fascinating new turn, thanks to none other than an independent counsel whose probe into Bill Clinton resulted in the former president’s impeachment.

Kenneth Starr said this morning that special counsel Robert Mueller ought to consider the impact of Donald Trump’s apparent lie about firing Mueller.

Speaking on ABC News’s “This Week” talk show, Starr noted that Trump’s repeated statements that he has never considered firing Mueller are exactly counter to what the New York Times and other media are reporting: that Trump actually decided to fire Mueller but backed off when the White House counsel threatened to quit.

How does Starr’s credibility on this matter stack up? In 1998, he said that President Clinton’s public denials about an affair with Monica Lewinsky formed one of the bases for his eventual impeachment.

Do you get it? If Trump has lied to the public about whether he wanted to fire Mueller and the news accounts prove to be accurate, are there, um, grounds for impeachment?

Starr said the president has broad authority to fire anyone. “He can ask for Mueller to be fired for any reason,” Starr said on “This Week.” “The president’s power is extremely broad, as long as he’s not engaged in discrimination or accepting bribes.”

But would his decision to fire Mueller — if it’s true — be because of an intent to block an investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russians who hacked into our national electoral system? If so, does that constitute an obstruction of justice?

Let me think. Oh yeah! President Clinton was impeached, too, for obstruction of justice.

And the drama continues to mount.

WH counsel saves Trump’s bacon

Oh … brother. Donald John Trump keeps stumbling toward, oh I have no idea at this point!

The New York Times has uncovered yet another blockbuster story. The president actually ordered the firing of special counsel Robert Mueller — but backed off when White House counsel Don McGahn said he would resign rather than carry out the order.

Can you say, Saturday Night Massacre II?

The “massacre” occurred in 1973 when President Nixon ordered then-Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire special counsel Archibald Cox; Richardson quit. Then the president turned to William Ruckelshaus to fire Cox; Ruckelshaus quit as well. Up stepped Solicitor General Robert Bork to carry out the order; Bork did it. The rest, as they say, is history.

I believe in my heart of hearts that Donald Trump owes McGahn a huge debt of thanks for saving him from himself.

Can we ever keep the president’s stories straight?

He says Mueller is conducting a “witch hunt.” Then he pledges complete cooperation with Mueller’s probe into whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian seeking to influence the 2016 election outcome. The president expresses anger that Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia probe. He says there’s not reason to talk to Mueller. Then he says he’ll submit to questions “under oath.” He said he has no intention to fire the special counsel.

Now comes this report that Donald Trump actually ordered Mueller’s firing, only to challenged openly by the White House’s lawyer.

Does this man — the president — have any clue as to the political destruction that would occur were he to actually fire Mueller?

My hunch is much of that damage might be done with this report.

And the saga continues …

Mueller: still trustworthy

Robert Mueller must have grown a second head.

He must also have been seized by demons, or brainwashed by enemy terrorists.

The special counsel whose appointment by the Department of Justice drew bipartisan praise has become the bogeyman that congressional Republicans have feared.

Thankfully, not all GOP congressional members have bought into the fear being fanned by those on the far right wing of their party. U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, says Mueller should be trusted to do the right thing as he continues his probe into allegations that Donald Trump’s presidential campaign colluded with Russians seeking to influence the 2016 election outcome.

This paranoia among some in the GOP suggests that Mueller isn’t the “friendly” party they envisioned when the DOJ appointed him.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia probe, given his role in the Trump campaign and its transition into the presidency. The task of finding a special counsel fell to Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, who selected Mueller, a former FBI director with impeccable credentials.

Don’t you remember the high praise that poured forth from both sides of the political divide? I damn sure remember it. I joined in that praise, given Mueller’s reputation for meticulous preparation and deliberate purpose.

Even the subject of his probe — Donald J. Trump — is alternately combative and cooperative as it regards Mueller. At this moment, allegedly, the president is willing to talk “under oath” to the special counsel if he gets asked to be questioned. I hope the president doesn’t turn combative again.

As for Mueller’s reputation, I believe it should remain intact. He’s still the same man that Justice Department officials selected for this important and complex job.

So … let the man do his job.