February 4, 2018
Trump’s war on the FBI and DOJ are part of his battle to thwart the Mueller investigation. That is now clear to anyone who has read the over-hyped so-called bombshell memo that turned out to be a nothingburger. I am not going to explain why the memo is a nothingburger. Other commentators have done a good job of that. But I do want to talk about WHY Trump and his team of enablers are attacking this FISA warrant with a fiery McCarthy-like feverish energy. Why are they out to tear down THIS FISA warrant in particular? These are the same Republicans who were perfectly fine with the FISA system a few weeks ago when they voted to continue the FISA system without expressing any of the concerns we are now hearing about.
I start with this premise – the president is guilty and many of his close staffers are in on the conspiracy to work with Russians to win the election and afterwards to obstruct justice. Trump knows what he did. He knows he worked with the Russians to get elected. He knows he worked on the wording of Trump Jr’s statement about the meeting in Trump Tower. And he knows much more. I start with this premise that Trump is guilty because it helps us understand the rest of his behavior.
FISA warrants allow agents to tape conversations that are otherwise secret. They are great evidence in court. Witnesses can be badgered and can be challenged by good defense attorneys. Witnesses who are telling the truth can be made to seem as if they are lying. Good defense attorneys can do a lot to cast doubt on the testimony of truthful witnesses. But testimony of the defendant and his co-conspirators on tape is not easily challenged. When you hear the defendant on tape saying things he claims he never said, talking with Russians, for example, or telling Hope Hicks what to tell Trump Jr to say etc. it is GAME OVER. Checkmate.
Tapes are a slam dunk.
That is why Trump is so afraid of THIS FISA warrant. Taped conversations of him saying what we all can guess he did say behind the scenes or what his cohorts like Carter Page have said behind the scenes or even what Papadopoulos got on tape after he was arrested and had about three months to have conversations with the other co-conspirators in the Trump campaign; these are likely to be the smoking guns. Taped conversations shatter the defense. No wonder the president is assaulting this FISA warrant. No wonder he is assaulting the FBI and throwing shade on it. He wants to set the stage for what HE KNOWS is going to come out.
How can he fight back against a taped conversation? We all remember what he did when he was caught on a hot mike talking about pussygrabbing. He tried to say, “that wasn’t me.” He said his taped conversation was not true. Even though we could all hear that voice of his and we knew that Trump had to be lying. But Trump lies all the time. We know that is what he will say if he is caught on the FISA “hot mike” or his co-conspirators are caught on the FISA “hot mike”. He will say the “deep state”, the FBI, was out to get me and they doctored the evidence. He will say: “That was not true.”
The dark and dangerous game that Trump and Hannity and Nunes are playing by assaulting the FBI and DOJ is the set up for Trump’s defense against the revelation of evidence that could come out once the Grand Jury ends its investigation. The Grand Jury is working hard but time is ticking. As time goes on, the President has the opportunity to keep pounding away at the honesty of the FBI and DOJ. There are grave consequences for the country as FBI agents try to do their jobs under assault from the president and his enablers. Trump does not care about that. As always, it is all about HIM. And he has successfully gotten Paul Ryan to cling to him like shit on a shoe. Ryan has gone over to the dark side, along with many Republicans. Trump is moving the needle. It is now uncertain whether the House Intel committee would even vote to impeach the president if they got a slam dunk case from Mueller. Trump’s approval ratings are rising a bit. The PR campaign against the FBI and DOJ seem to be hurting the approval ratings of the FBI.
Republicans might now be complicit if Trump removed Rod Rosenstein and tried to replace him with a toady who would kill off the Mueller investigation. If that happened, we might not get to the truth of the matter. I am not sure how realistic that concern is, but I think it will hinge on whether enough Republicans in the House Intel committee have drunk the Kool-Aid, if and when this moment comes.
So here is the next question I have been thinking about – if I were Mueller would I even bother to refer Grand Jury findings to Congress for impeachment? I don’t think so. If I were Mueller, I think I would want to indict the president. And I would want to do it pretty soon – maybe as soon as this spring if I could – to shut down the chatter that the president and his bevy of enablers keeps harping on: “There is no evidence of collusion. This is a witch hunt.” Nothing would stop that chatter more than hard evidence to the contrary.
And if the president does not agree to sit down with Special Counsel Mueller for an interview, (because now he is going to allege that the whole probe is a witch hunt and that he is already vindicated), I would not be particularly concerned about it. Rarely does a defendant sit down with the prosecutor to do an interview or appear before the Grand Jury. Mueller doesn’t need to trap Trump in section 1001 lies. My guess is that he has enough right now for a slam dunk case on obstruction. We also have evidence that everyone heard from Trump’s own mouth in the interview with Lester Holt, for example, that tells us his underlying state of mind and reveals corrupt intent. So, if I were Mueller I would indict him in the coming months before we get too close to the November elections.
Why indict? Because the evidence from the Information would then be available to the press and the courts instead of risking a potential burial of evidence in the morass that is our current Republican-led Congress. I trust the court system over our dysfunctional Congress. In short, after all the work Mueller and his team have done, I think I would not risk sending Grand Jury findings to this over-heated Republican-led Congress to have the evidence damaged or buried in a mess of partisan bickering..
Some commentators have said that a sitting president should not be indicted while in office. That is not yet a settled question. Nixon was an unindicted co-conspirator in the Watergate case. But there was support for the idea that Nixon could have been indicted. I would indict Trump and then let the attorneys argue the case in court. Let it go up to the Supreme Court. Let the Supreme Court say – no – the president cannot be indicted while he is the sitting president. But during that time the evidence will come out. Yep. I think that is what I would do. Because above all, the American people need to know what happened and who this president really is.
Meanwhile, the hope would be that a Blue Wave could actually happen if the president is finally seen by more Americans to be what he truly is – a con man, a criminal and a Russian asset.
President Trump has raised fears that he is tearing at the credibility of some of the most important institutions in American life to save himself.