Tag Archives: witch hunt

Extra glad Whitaker is on his way out as AG

After watching a good bit of acting U.S. Attorney General Matthew Whitaker’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, I came away with this major conclusion: I am doubly glad he is on his way out as head of the Department of Justice.

Committee members asked him — and pressed him — to answer a simple question: Do you believe special counsel Robert Mueller is engaged in a “witch hunt” of Donald Trump?

FBI Director Christopher Wray has said “no.” So has the AG-designate, William Barr. Both of those men stand firmly behind Mueller’s integrity and professionalism.

Whitaker’s answer? He didn’t want to comment on “an ongoing investigation.” He said it was “inappropriate.”

Hah! It wasn’t “inappropriate” for Wray to comment. Or for Barr. Whitaker, though, is hiding behind some kind of phony, bogus and dubious pretext that he cannot comment on an ongoing probe into whether Donald Trump’s campaign “colluded” with Russian operatives who attacked our electoral system in the 2016 presidential election.

None of the committee members asked him to comment on specifics of the probe. No one wanted him to give away any secrets. They asked a simple, declarative question that required a simple, declarative “yes” or “no” answer.

I happen to believe William Barr is a fine choice as attorney general. I trust him to be professional who will be beholden to the Constitution and not the president of the United States. This ain’t his first DOJ rodeo, given that he served as AG during Bush 41’s administration.

As for Matthew Whitaker, please go far away — as soon as possible.

‘Biggest witch hunt in history?’ Not even close

Donald J. Trump, as is his habit, fired off a tweet today after the indictment of confidant Roger Stone that provided another example of egregious exaggeration.

Special counsel Robert Mueller has indicted Stone on charges of lying about “the Russia thing.” Trump unloaded with a Twitter message that bellowed “NO COLLUSION!” and said Mueller is embarking on the “biggest witch hunt” in U.S. history.

Oops! No, Mr. President. It’s not a witch hunt. Even if it was a witch hunt, it would be far from the “biggest” in American history.

You see, there was a time before the nation was actually founded when they went after women in Salem, Mass., looking for actual witches. They killed these women, Mr. President. In case anyone has forgotten, no one has died in the Mueller probe into whether the president’s campaign conspired with Russians who attacked our electoral system.

So, Mr. President . . . knock off the hyperbole!

Let’s await Mueller report — and accept whatever it reveals

I have spent a lot of time, energy and emotional capital expounding on the virtues of special counsel Robert Mueller.

He’s a man of impeccable integrity. He is a meticulous prosecutor. Mueller once led the FBI. He has served under Republican and Democratic administrations. He is a former Marine and Vietnam War combat veteran.

Those of you who read this blog understand my feelings about Mueller.

That all said, I want to gird us all for the possibility — even though it might seem remote — that when Mueller finishes his investigation into alleged “collusion” between the Donald Trump presidential campaign and Russian operatives — he might come up empty. Mueller’s report might prove to be a serious anti-climax.

I fully intend to accept whatever conclusion Mueller reaches.

Do I want him to come up empty? No. I do not. I believe he has pored through a mountain of evidence of wrong-doing. There might be an absence of criminal activity. There even might be a lack of evidence that the president has committed an impeachable offense.

The way I look at it, if we’re going to stand by the special counsel’s integrity and his character, then we should stand by him even if he doesn’t deliver what many of us think he might — let alone should — deliver to curious Americans.

To be sure, Donald Trump’s supporters already have slung epithets at Mueller. Led by the president himself, they contend he is on a “witch hunt.” That he has surrounded himself with “Hillary-loving Democrats.” That he has found “no evidence of collusion.” Therefore, it appears that if Mueller does produce a damning report that they will shout “rigged!” and “phony hoax!” from the highest rooftops they can find.

I am hoping that those of us on the other side will refrain from that kind of sour-grape bitching if Mueller produces nothing at the end of this investigation.

To that end, I hereby declare my intention to accept whatever Mueller concludes, even if it fails to satisfy what I had hoped would be a different ending. If we believe that Robert Mueller is a stand-up man, then we need to stand by that belief.

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.”

Outrageous.

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.