Tag Archives: witch hunt

Preparing for the worst, hoping for something . . . better

I know you’ve said it: It’s good to expect the best but prepare for the worst.

So it is with this ongoing investigation being led by the Justice Department’s special counsel, Robert Mueller III. He appears to be wrapping up his lengthy probe into Donald Trump’s conduct as a presidential candidate and as president of the United States.

Mueller’s probe has focused on allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives who attacked our electoral system. It’s also examining possible conspiracy and obstruction of justice matters, too. There might be a violation or two of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, which prohibits presidents from accepting gifts from foreign kings, potentates and assorted heads of state.

The media are now reporting that the FBI has looked into whether the president acted as a foreign agent for Russia, our nation’s pre-eminent hostile power. This is frightening stuff.

I won’t call it the “best” outcome, but a better outcome would be if Mueller has uncovered the truth into what many of us have suspected all along, that Trump is inherently corrupt. I suspect Mueller will produce a thorough finding of fact and will deliver it to Congress’s doorstep for full public review, absent the redacted material that deals with national security matters.

The worst outcome will be that he has nothing, that Trump has been right all along, that there is “no collusion.” Why is that the worst? Because none of us is going to hear the end of it from the president. He will be in our faces for as long as he holds office and likely beyond that time. He will launch a torrent of Twitter messages that expound on the “witch hunt” allegation he has been leveling at Mueller.

To be candid, it appears that the likelihood that Mueller comes up empty is diminishing. It looks for all the world that he has something, although what precisely it is remains known only to Mueller and his team of legal eagles.

However, if he does reveal that he has nothing, well . . . we all should be ready. Those of us who are critical of the president have praised Mueller’s professionalism in his pursuit of the truth. If that pursuit produces nothing, then we are dutybound to accept those findings.

I don’t believe that will happen. But if it does . . .

‘Witch hunt’ produces another guilty plea

Robert Mueller’s “rigged witch hunt” has reeled in another Big One.

Paul Manafort, the former Donald Trump 2016 presidential campaign chairman — who’s already facing a lengthy prison term because of a prior felony conviction — is going to plead guilty to another felony charge … reportedly.

Mueller, the special counsel assigned to examine the “Russia thing,” has reportedly worked out a deal with Manafort, who’ll plead guilty to avoid another costly trial. The Russia thing, of course, centers on allegations that the Trump campaign “colluded” with Russians who attacked our electoral system in 2016.

Is there going to be a flip?

Here’s the big question that is slated to get answered sometime Friday: Is the former Trump campaign boss going to cooperate with Mueller? Hmm. I don’t know what he’ll do. Mueller ain’t talking, which is his M.O., unlike the president, who likes to blab his brains out via Twitter at every opportunity.

Trump no doubt will fire off yet another “witch hunt” allegation, which of course is nonsense. It would be laughable if the stakes weren’t so high.

The president’s political future keeps looking a bit murkier with every guilty plea, every former aide who rolls over. However murky the future appears to be getting, it doesn’t yet have much form.

Even with the news that Paul Manafort is getting ready to plead guilty, we cannot yet know the impact it will have on the future of the 45th president of the United States.

This much I feel confident in saying: Robert Mueller’s investigation is the farthest thing possible from a “rigged witch hunt.”

As for the next big development, I’ll await the news after the sun comes up in the morning.

Get ready for a serious ‘witch hunt’

Donald John Trump has been calling a detailed investigation into possible collusion with Russian operatives seeking to influence the 2016 presidential election a “rigged witch hunt.”

Of course … special counsel Robert Mueller’s exhaustive and meticulous investigation is no such thing.

However, we might be getting ready to watch the real thing unfold. A serious witch hunt emanating from within the White House as an enraged president seeks to find the identity of the “senior White House official” who wrote an op-ed column published today in The New York Times.

Of course, I have no way of knowing this, but I strongly suspect that Trump has released the proverbial hounds to find the source of the essay. He or White House chief of staff John Kelly will confront everyone they can imagine who might have written such a thing; my money is on Kelly doing the heavy lift, given the president’s inability/unwillingness to confront someone directly.

However, I am quite sure we’re going to witness a serious “witch hunt” that seeks to reveal who has spoken a truth about the Trump administration that many of us have suspected all along.

What happened to the ‘Dog Days of August’?

There used to be a phenomenon in journalism, where newspaper reporters and editors would bemoan the “Dog Days of August. ”

Congress would go on recess, with U.S. senators and House members scattering hither and yon. Out of sight, out of mind.

Oh, and the president would go on vacation, hiding away with his wife and kids; maybe enjoying themselves with extended family members and perhaps a few good friends.

News days got slow.

No more, man! Not with this president or this Congress. I want to thank Donald Trump and congressional leadership for providing bloggers such as me and full-time print and broadcast journalists with plenty of grist that will carry us through the era known formerly as the Dog Days.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has kept senators on the job through the summer recess. House members have gone about doing whatever it is they when they’re not prowling the Capitol Hill halls of power.

As for the president, he hasn’t let up one bit while he vacations in New Jersey with his wife and son, Barron.

He’s gone after pro football players yet again for protesting police practices against African Americans. He keeps harping on that “witch hunt” that has produced several indictments from the special counsel who’s looking for answers to The Russia Thing. He launched creation of the Space Force, the sixth military branch.

There’s no let-up. We’ll all need to buck ourselves up as we prepare for the home stretch leading toward the highly consequential midterm election.

Let’s all get plenty rest. We’ll need our strength.

‘Witch hunt’ keeps reeling ’em in

The U.S. Department of Justice announced the indictments of 12 Russian military intelligence officials, accusing them of conspiring to meddle in our electoral system.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said he briefed the president “fully” on the grand jury indictment.

So, what does Donald John Trump do? He tells the world yet again today that Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling is a “rigged witch hunt.”

Mr. President, this is the farthest thing possible from a “witch hunt.”

It has produced indictments and confessions of wrongdoing; key Trump administration aides are now cooperating with the Mueller legal team. There has been tangible, demonstrable evidence that Russians have attacked the heart of our democratic system of government.

And the president keeps calling it a “witch hunt.”


Trump’s legal team keeps moving the goal posts

I’ll begin by stipulating the obvious, which is that I am not a lawyer.

Therefore, I am having difficulty understanding the logic of Donald J. Trump’s legal team, which is now insisting that special counsel Robert Mueller produce evidence of a crime before the president agrees to meet with him.

Eh? What? Huh?

Mueller is looking into myriad questions surrounding the president’s conduct. They include possible obstruction of justice, collusion with Russian election meddlers, campaign finance violations and maybe some shady business dealings.

So now we hear that the president’s legal eagles want Mueller to actually have evidence of a crime? Are they suggesting that Muller indict Trump first and then bring him for some Q&A?

What kind of goofy strategy is that?

I’ve always understood that a prosecutor — which is the role Mueller is fulfilling — needs to interview witnesses prior to compiling criminal complaints that might result in an indictment.

Trump’s legal team keeps moving the goal posts. Trump keeps changing his tune: He’ll talk to Mueller, then he won’t; he calls Mueller’s probe a “witch hunt” and a “hoax”; then he’s back to wanting “100 percent” to talk to the special counsel.

The bizarre drama continues.

Meanwhile, the other principal in this saga — Robert Mueller — remains the cool, calm professional. He is saying nothing. He is just doing his job.

DOJ starts journey down a slippery slope

Donald J. Trump has leveled an extraordinarily serious allegation against the FBI: that the law enforcement agency spied on his presidential campaign for “political purposes.”

An investigation into that charge has commenced. The Department of Justice’s inspector general is taking the lead.

I am heartened to some degree that the IG is conducting this probe. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from anything related to the Russia matter, given his own bias as a campaign operative and the role he played in helping formulate the future president’s foreign policy.

The decision to bring in the IG fell to Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, who appointed special counsel Robert Mueller to lead the probe into the Russia matter.

This battle between the president and the FBI has been unprecedented at many levels already. That the president of the United States would condemn the FBI in such harsh terms, let alone doing the same thing to the Justice Department, is unheard of. Some observers have suggested the president’s strategy to discredit the FBI, DOJ and Mueller may be paying dividends for him in the eyes of the public.

I, as one American voter, find Trump’s strategy to be offensive in the extreme. That’s just me, though. You already know how I feel about Trump and his unfitness for the job to which he was elected.

He’s called Mueller’s probe the “worst witch hunt” in U.S. history, apparently ignoring the fact that in the 17th century, women were actually killed because some colonists thought they were, um, witches.

With all the leaks that have permeated this investigation, it’s fascinating in the extreme that Mueller’s team of legal eagles has been hermetically sealed against such leakage. He has remained silent, preferring to go about the task to which he was assigned: to find the truth about Trump’s election-year relationship — if any existed — with Russian goons who meddled in our election.

I want the inspector general to conclude his own probe in fairly short order. My hope is that he he can root out all the facts and make a reasoned, dispassionate finding on what Trump has proclaimed so hysterically.

However, the slope is mighty slippery. Watch your step, Mr. Inspector General.

You aren’t ‘vindicated,’ Mr. President

Dear Mr. President,

Settle down, sir. You need to guzzle a couple more Diet Cokes and then take stock of what has just happened with regard to the “Russia thing” that has you tied up in knots.

The Republican chairman of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee has released a memo that alleges the special counsel, Robert Mueller, and the FBI are “biased” against you. Yet you contend that the memo “totally vindicates ‘Trump'” in this investigation into whether your campaign colluded with Russians who tried to influence the 2016 election in your favor.

I’ll differ with you, sir. The memo doesn’t vindicate — or convict — anyone. It’s been revealed as a fraudulent document. It cherry picks circumstances with the aim of discrediting Mueller’s probe. I hear the Democrats are planning to release a counter memo to refute what Republicans have alleged.

Your continued tweet tirades against the so-called “witch hunt” do not help your assertion, Mr. President, that you are innocent of any wrongdoing. They merely cause many millions of Americans — folks like me — to wonder: Why is the president so damn worked up if there’s nothing to uncover?

Hey, at this point I don’t really care if you keep using Twitter to project your message. I guess it’s become the medium du jour for pols, entertainers and pundits to communicate. In fact, this blog post will be distributed via Twitter as well.

I do care about the messages you send out there, Mr. President.

You say the memo “vindicates ‘Trump'”? No, sir. It does nothing of the kind.

And please, stop referring to yourself in the third person. John Kanelis cannot stand it.

Witch hunt, Mr. President? C’mon!

Donald John Trump awoke from his all-too-brief Twitter nap to bang out a few words of “wisdom” this morning about the latest bit of big news.

The president tweeted: “With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special councel (sic) appointed!”

There was more: “This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!”

Yet another tweet needs to be challenged

Mr. President, I believe I will take issue with you.

Robert Mueller’s appointment this week as special counsel aims to answer some serious questions about the president’s connections with Russian government officials. It also seeks to get to the bottom of whether Trump sought to obstruct justice by “asking” then-FBI Director James Comey to back off his investigation of Michael Flynn, the president’s disgraced former national security adviser and his own ties to foreign governments.

There might be more to uncover.

Witch hunt? The “greatest … in American history!”?

I don’t think so.

Let me cite a couple of recent examples of actual witch hunts that eclipse the examination of the current president.

President Bill Clinton was impeached because he was untruthful about a relationship he had with a White House intern. Did that relationship have any material impact on his duties as head of state and commander in chief? No. But the House of Representatives hounded him incessantly before finally approving articles of impeachment. Clinton went to trial in the Senate and was acquitted. That, Mr. Trump, was a witch hunt.

One more example deserves a look.

President Barack Obama’s legitimacy as commander in chief was questioned by his enemies over a bogus allegation that he was born in Africa and that he wasn’t constitutionally qualified to serve as president. Who led that inquisition? Oh! That would be reality TV celebrity/real estate mogul Donald John Trump. Obama said all along he was born in Hawaii, one of the 50 U.S. states. He produced a birth certificate after badgering by Trump and other arch-enemies of the president. That wasn’t good enough to satisfy them. Finally, while campaigning for the presidency in 2016, Trump said in a single sentence that Obama was “born in the United States.” That was really big of him, don’t you think?

How about knocking off the crap alleging the “greatest witch hunt” in history, Mr. President?

The president clearly is no student of history and doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about — on this or anything else!