Special counsel’s plate getting quite full

Robert Mueller keeps getting more information than he can digest at a single sitting.

Yep, the special counsel assigned to examine Russian government meddling into our electoral process and allegations that the Donald J. Trump campaign colluded with the Russians is getting a good bit more, um, complicated.

The Washington Post is reporting, for instance, that the president told Donald John Trump Jr. how he should describe a meeting Don Jr. had with a Russian lawyer who invited him to meet so he could receive some alleged dirt on Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The president’s lawyer denies the story outright. Other Trump defenders accuse the Post of conveying “fake news.”

But, oh, this is the stuff of serious political intrigue.

Don Jr. supposedly reported the meeting was to be about “Russian adoption policy.” That wasn’t the case, according to the Post, which reports that young Don got instructions from Dad the President on what to say.

I believe that might constitute a serious obstruction of justice matter … if it’s true. The Post, of course, stands by its story, while the White House denies all of it.

Don Jr. isn’t talking. Imagine that.

Recall that another special counsel, Kenneth Starr, started looking into a real estate deal involving President and Mrs. Clinton. Then more tidbits began flying over his transom. Eventually, Starr got wind of a relationship Bill Clinton was having with a young White House intern. Starr poked around a little more and, well, the rest is history.

Mueller has the same latitude as Starr as he pursues the Russia matter. Stories such as the one published by the Post give him even more grist to pore through as he continues his pursuit of the truth behind the Russia story.

Happy Trails, Part 34

A word to the wise: Read road signs very carefully when traveling far from home. If you fail to do so, you might find yourself tooling down some road to nowhere … but it will cost you!

My wife and I returned home this past weekend from our latest sojourn across the United States of America; we opened our mail and found a notice from the Interstate 495/95 Express Lanes toll authority in northern Virginia.

We had been assessed a “toll violation” because in June we found ourselves driving in the “express lane” with no way on God’s Earth to get off.

The violation won’t cost us an arm and both legs, so we’ll pay it. I called the toll authority this morning to “protest” the notice. I was told after explaining to the robotic-sounding “customer service representative” that the “invoice is still valid.”

I applaud the toll authority for being so efficient in its handling of my call. Believe me, I actually doubted I was conversing with a living, breathing human being even though she gave me her name when she picked up the phone on the other end of the line. That’s the good news.

The bad news, if you don’t mind my calling it that, is that the toll authority representative didn’t quite grasp the nature of the “protest” I was filing. It’s not that my wife and I don’t think we broke any rules; we did when we ended up on that express lane. It’s just that the highway was under construction, rendering the GPS on our truck virtually useless, the signage was imprecise, traffic was heavy and we found ourselves — quite by accident — on a toll road without the proper “express pass” tag attached to our vehicle.

Furthermore, we had to travel several miles southbound from suburban Washington, D.C., toward our RV campsite before we could exit the express lane.

This all happened while we were visiting our niece and her husband, who live in Washington. We drove to a metro train station, and rode the train into the district each day of our visit. We would return to the Franconia-Springfield Station, drive our truck out of the parking garage and then head back to our RV site.

Somehow, on this particular evening, we got a bit befuddled by the road construction. On June 12, zigged when we should have zagged and got caught in that seemingly endless journey along an express lane.

Hey, that kind of thing happens to out-of-towners, am I right?

I told Robot Lady we’d pay the fine. She offered nothing in the way of a word of sympathy for our anxiety or frustration over the signage, heavy traffic and road construction. She merely instructed us to “stay away from the left lane when you see those white signs.”

Gee. Thanks. Will do.

Don’t try to predict what God intends

Don’t you just love it when evangelists try to predict what’s on the mind and in the heart of The Almighty?

This little video snippet suggests two points to me.

One is that no one — no matter how godly he claims to be — should try to predict what God is going to do, or how he’s going to act if you do something that displeases him.

The other is that it’s perilous to meld spiritual matters into political ones, particularly when they involve the current president of the United States of America.

The video here is of Jim Bakker, the once-famous televangelist who’s pitching something called the “Trump Prophecies.” He says something about how Americans should be wary of what God will do if they go against the president’s agenda, his purpose in leading in the country — whatever the heck that all means.

Trump is doing God’s work on Earth, Bakker seems to suggest.

How does this guy know these things? Earth to Bakker: God’s work defies humankind’s meager, fallible ability to make bold predictions.

That’s why he’s God and none of us mere mortals — and that includes Jimmy Bakker — are not. Got it? Good!

My second point simply is that it continues to baffle me to the max why certain evangelical leaders remain faithful to Donald John Trump Sr. Can anyone out there point me to an example of how this man ever demonstrated a commitment to the Lord’s teachings prior to his being elected president of the United States?

This guy says things about women that should flummox evangelicals. He politicizes a speech at the Boy Scout Jamboree, injecting politics into an event aimed at paying tribute to the kindness and good work of the Boy Scouts of America. He continually demonstrates a level of narcissism and self-aggrandizement that run absolutely counter to the way Jesus lived during his brief time on Earth.

But these evangelicals love this guy!

Go figure, man.

If you can comprehend this, then y’all are far better individuals than I ever thought of being.

What? It’s only been 193 days?

One hundred ninety-three days ago, Donald John Trump Sr. placed his hand on a Bible and took an oath as president of the United States.

Is it me or does it seem like an eternity? Why does it seem as though we’ve endured this man’s fumbles and foibles for an interminable length of time?

I’m wondering how the nation will be able to suck it up for the next nearly four years.

The White House chaos is exhausting even for those of us out here, hundreds of miles away. How does the president of the United States manage to keep his head in the game? How in the world does his staff cope with the utter pandemonium that pervades virtually every action within the White House?

It has only been 193 days? I’m worn out already. I need to catch my breath, get my second and third winds, and trudge on watching this drama continue to play out.

Oh, that POTUS, what a card

Newly minted White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders sought to tamp down criticism of Donald Trump’s call for cops to rough up suspects.

The president was “making a joke,” Sanders said.

Oh, now I get it. Why didn’t I realize it in the moment when the president told cops in Long Island, N.Y., that they shouldn’t have to presume that criminal suspects are innocent until a court proves them guilty?

I know why it didn’t dawn on me — or on police chiefs across the nation. It’s because no one took it as a joke. They took it as a statement of principle from Trump. They issued statements individually and collectively that police shouldn’t rough up criminal suspects; they also condemned the president’s statements on the subject.

They are sensitive to police relations with the communities they serve, owing to repeated incidents of police-involved shootings in connection with the deaths of African-Americans.

But, hey! He was joking, said press secretary Sanders.

“I believe he was making a joke at the time,” Sanders said during today’s White House press briefing.

Actually, the president did make a reasonable call for the end to the notorious gang MS-13, in his remarks to police in Suffolk County, N.Y. Then he twisted off into this rough-’em-up rhetoric.

“When you see these towns and when you see these thugs being thrown into the paddy wagon, you just see them thrown in. Rough, I said. Please don’t be too nice,” Trump said. “Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head, you know? The way you put their hand over. Like, don’t hit their head, and they’ve just killed somebody? Don’t hit their head? I said, ‘You can take the hand away, OK?’”

Nice try, Sarah Sanders. You might “believe” the president was joking. Many of the rest of us — including the men and women who lead local police agencies — don’t see it that way.