Last night the Department of Justice — with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in the lead — announced that it had appointed ex-FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel to investigate the Russia mess. I hate special counsels. But I will say that unlike the earlier ones, Mueller will operate within the confines of the DOJ, as the atrocious law that allowed all those overreaches into presidencies from Nixon to Reagan, Bush 41 and 43 and Clinton has been allowed to expire. I will say this: Robert Mueller has a spotless reputation. So we will see. The reaction from the President was correct. Said the President:
Statement from President Donald J. Trump
As I have stated many times, a thorough investigation will confirm what we already know — there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity. I look forward to this matter concluding quickly. In the meantime, I will never stop fighting for the people and the issues that matter most to the future of our country.
The dates: April 10, 2016 and July 5, 2016.
The settings: President Obama’s April interview on Fox News Sunday and FBI Director James Comey’s July press conference on the matter of Hillary Clinton’s emails.
Here are the relevant direct quotes from the transcripts of both, bold print supplied:
OBAMA on April 10: “She would never intentionally put America in any kind of jeopardy.”
COMEY on July 5: “…we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws.”
OBAMA on April 10: “…there’s a carelessness, in terms of managing e-mails, that she has owned, and she recognizes.”
COMEY on July 5: “…there is evidence that they (Clinton and colleagues) were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information
First, a hat tip to ex-federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy over at National Review.
Let’s compare this directly to this news account — from anonymous sources in the New York Times — of the Comey memorandum on his conversation with President Trump.
TRUMP: “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”
COMEY: “I agree he is a good guy.”
So? So if this Trump remark to Comey now qualifies as an impeachable offense? Where were the demands last year for the impeachment of President Obama? Where was the media circus surrounding out-in-the-open collusion between Obama and his FBI Director, both out to protect Hillary Clinton?
As Andy McCarthy points out over there in National Review: “Up until now, veiled orders have not been thought the equivalent of obstruction.” Writes Andy:
Could there be more striking parallels? A cynic might say that Obama had clearly signaled to the FBI and the Justice Department that he did not want Mrs. Clinton to be charged with a crime, and that, with this not-so-subtle pressure in the air, the president’s subordinates dropped the case — exactly what Obama wanted, relying precisely on Obama’s stated rationale.
Yet the media yawned.
Of course, they’re not yawning now. Now it is Donald Trump, not Barack Obama, sending Comey signals. So now, such signals are a major issue — not merely of obstruction of justice, but of high crimes and misdemeanors.
Over at Fox News Opinion, Fox anchor and lawyer Greg Jarett has smartly noted the following:
James Comey was lying in wait.
His gun was cocked, he took aim and fired. But his weapon was empty.
Three months ago, the then-FBI Director met with President Trump. Following their private conversation, Comey did what he always does — he wrote a memorandum to himself memorializing the conversation.
Good lawyers do that routinely.
Now, only after Comey was fired, the memo magically surfaces in an inflammatory New York Times report which alleges that Mr. Trump asked Comey to end the Michael Flynn investigation.
Those who don’t know the first thing about the law immediately began hurling words like “obstruction of justice,” “high crimes and misdemeanors” and “impeachment.” Typically, these people don’t know what they don’t know.
Here is what we do know.
Under the law, Comey is required to immediately inform the Department of Justice of any attempt to obstruct justice by any person, even the President of the United States. Failure to do so would result in criminal charges against Comey. (18 USC 4 and 28 USC 1361 He would also, upon sufficient proof, lose his license to practice law.
So, if Comey believed Trump attempted to obstruct justice, did he comply with the law by reporting it to the DOJ? If not, it calls into question whether the events occurred as the Times reported it.
Obstruction requires what’s called “specific intent” to interfere with a criminal case. If Comey concluded, however, that Trump’s language was vague, ambiguous or elliptical, then he has no duty under the law to report it because it does not rise to the level of specific intent.
Thus, no crime.
There is no evidence Comey ever alerted officials at the Justice Department, as he is duty-bound to do. Surely if he had, that incriminating information would have made its way to the public either by an indictment or, more likely, an investigation that could hardly be kept confidential in the intervening months.…
But by writing a memo, Comey has put himself in a box. If he now accuses the President of obstruction, he places himself in legal jeopardy for failing to promptly and properly report it. If he says it was merely an uncomfortable conversation, he clears the president of wrongdoing and sullies his own image as a guy who attempted to smear the man who fired him.
Either way, James Comey comes out a loser. No matter.
The media will hail him a hero.
After all, he gave them a good story that was better than the truth.
Let’s cut to the chase.
This isn’t about a phony case for “obstruction of justice.” Much less for “impeachment.” If it were truly that, Comey would have done so before then-President Obama had vanished from those April airwaves on Fox. And Comey would have done so again the minute he left the White House and his dinner with President Trump. By now Comey would have secured a place in history as the only FBI Director who investigated two successive presidents for the same crime — obstruction of justice. He didn’t do it. Why?
To borrow from Justice Clarence Thomas, who originated the phrase when he himself went through the liberal media maw during his confirmation hearings, this has nothing to do with an obstruction of justice much less evidence for impeachment. What Comey is involved in here and what we are seeing unfold in front of our eyes is a high-tech lynching of an uppity president. To use the Trump phrase, this is what happens when an outsider president arrives in Washington to “drain the swamp.” What we are seeing in this endless series of stories about Trump — all of them from gutless anonymous sources and all of them disputed — is the desperate denizens of the swamp fighting for their survival against the duly elected president of a very angry American people who have had enough of special interest politics and the cronyism and nest feathering that comes with it.
The buddies and cronies of the Swamp want Donald Trump out of the White House. Now.
On Wednesday, President Trump gave the commencement address to the graduates of the Coast Guard Academy and said:
“Over the course of your life, you will find that things are not always fair and that things happen to you that you do not deserve, and that are not always warranted, but you have to put your head down and fight, fight, fight,” Trump said.…
“Adversity makes you stronger — don’t give in and don’t back down and never stop doing what you know is right,” Trump said. “Nothing worth doing ever, ever, ever comes easy — the more righteous your fight, the more opposition you’ll face.”
Newsflash? The fight, the push-back like you have never seen from we uppity supporters of the uppity president, begins now.
Bring it on.