Think of all the time that must have been spent by our intelligence agencies in behind-the-scenes maneuvering to manufacture a pretense for investigating Trump. (And, yes, we’re on to them; we’re still working on getting the last few puzzle pieces, but we know they did this.) The many millions of taxpayer dollars spent on prosecuting attorneys skilled in the ways of ruining lives in order to win cases. The show trials designed to intimidate and “flip” a former campaign associate whom the judge knows would otherwise be of no interest to them. The immunity deals. The strategic leaks. The close collaboration with major media outlets, through former government officials such as John Brennan and James Comey, to reinforce a chosen narrative while twisting like a pretzel to excuse blatant examples of lawbreaking by the President’s political enemies. The endless redacting of documents for no good reason other than covering their tracks. So much time, so much money, so much effort. What is it all for?
TO GET RID OF PRESIDENT TRUMP.
Just that. If the people doing these things don’t get rid of Trump, through impeachment or resignation or going after his family or whatever it has to be, then all of their careful strategizing and hard work will have been for nothing. And that is why Trump absolutely must not sit down for an interview with the special counsel. The goal of the questioning will be to get him gone --- even through catching him in the tiniest and most innocent misstatement or mistake. Everything they’ve been doing for months –- years now –- has been leading, in their minds, to this. So they've been working like fiends to figure out how to do it.
The President’s attorney Rudy Giuliani has said a decision will be made “in the next day or so” regarding whether or not Trump will agree to an interview with Robert Mueller. Negotiations continue, and word is that the special counsel is open to reducing the number of questions and allowing some of them to be answered in writing. If Mueller tries to issue a subpoena, assuming he even has the authority to do that, Trump attorney Jay Sekulow says the team will fight it. Sekulow says it would be a first, that such an argument has never been made in court but that there are writings and precedent in Trump’s favor. His attitude seems to be “Bring it on.”
David Rivkin, former White House counsel under both President Reagan and George H. W. Bush and a constitutional law attorney, said Monday in an interview with Melissa Francis on FOX News that it’s not enough just to limit the number of questions relating to obstruction. “The entire obstruction inquiry is fundamentally illegitimate,” he said. “The President cannot constitutionally engage in obstruction of justice while exercising the core constitutional powers of his office.” (Example: Firing FBI Director James Comey; Trump had ample reason and the unquestionable power to can that guy’s sanctimonious behind.) Thus the questions would have to be limited to collusion-related matters, with obstruction off the table. Also, in order to have an interview at all, the special counsel would have to show why it was necessary, considering that essentially all documentary evidence that the special counsel has asked for has been turned over.
Rivkin said he was troubled by media reports saying that the special counsel has said it wants to issue a report on obstruction first, when the official mandate was to investigate collusion. (My thought: they don’t want to have to report that there was no collusion if the plan is to get Trump on obstruction. What, pray tell, would he be guilty of obstructing if there was no crime?)
Rivkin was outspoken about the infamous Trump Tower meeting, too: “As far as the collusion is concerned, I think...such a meeting may have been politically damaging, but the notion that a politician running for office is interested in exploring the possibility of getting some dirt on his or her opponent, I mean, that’s as old as the Republic itself...What do you think the DNC and the Hillary campaign were doing...engaging (through) a law firm a foreigner, a former British agent who went out and hired a bunch of Russians to get dirt on Trump?”
If this were a real investigation into Russia making inroads into our electoral process, the prosecutors would be looking at the Democratic side, too. But it isn’t, and they’re not.
And as Jonathan Turley points out, the President complicates matters when he issues expansively-worded tweets in which the details sometimes change or are inconsistent with statements from his lawyers. That happened Sunday morning with a tweet about the meeting that included Don Jr. at Trump Tower, intended to defend his son but..not helpful. In fact, it was the opposite of helpful. Perhaps he doesn’t think the details are all that important, and in the normal world they might not be, but this is the world of politics. The opposite of normal. In this context, he’s just creating more problems for himself.
Turley is hard on Trump’s tweet about the meeting, and also on those who took the meeting in the first place. “If stupidity were a crime,” he says, “Trump Jr., Manafort and Kushner would serve life sentences for doing so.” But it isn’t, and Turley explains why obtaining damaging information on one’s opponent, in and of itself, is not illegal. An exchange of information is NOT a campaign contribution. The non-lawyers blabbering on CNN that the Trump campaign broke federal election law are part of the effort to GET RID OF TRUMP, and they’re just too full of rage to see how wrong they are.