Michael Flynn arrives at federal court to plead guilty to lying to the FBI. Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/ Reuters
Stelter also noted the dramatic u-turn by Newt Gingrich, a Trump cheerleader and former House speaker who once described Mueller as a” superb option to be special counselor” and said ” his reputation is impeccable for honesty and unity “. On Wednesday, Gingrich opined:” Mueller is corrupt. The senior FBI is corrupt. The system is corrupt .”
Other media outlets, including
the Wall Street Journal and Breitbart News, have joined in the Mueller-bashing. Joel Pollak , senior editor-at-large of Breitbart, contends police investigations is an attempt to undermine the legitimacy of last year’s presidential election.
” There are some conflicts of interest that are very unusual ,” he said in an interview.” The deputy us attorney general Rod Rosenstein, for example, is both a witness in police investigations and is overseeing the investigation .”
Mueller has far outperformed his mandate by delving into Trump’s financial records and details about who drafted particular media statements, Pollak believes.
” There is a lot of frustration that much of what police investigations is doing has nothing to do with Russia. At the moment it looks like a political witch hunt, in accordance with the rules President Trump has framed it. Certainly the Democrats are attaining no secret of using it for moving towards impeachment. They’ve been trying to do that for a long time .”
But there is nothing that warrants impeachment, according to Pollak.” If Mueller merely says there was an attempt to collude, I don’t think the president’s advocates would abandon him. They would defend him. If Mueller says we think there was actual collusion, it depends what that collusion was. There’s no statutory felony of collusion and I imagine Trump supporters would defend him. I would.
” If they can find an actual misdemeanour, I reckon people will say it’s time to reckon with this. If it’s something minor, like a mistake on a tax return in 2006 or something, that is not grounds for impeachment. Even if Trump did something illegal during the campaign, I think you’d find his supporters- including me- would say that is not grounds for impeachment because it was the campaign , not when he is president .”
‘The distraction machine’
Bergmann of the CAP Action Fund is confident Mueller will create evidence of vast collusion and recommends Democrat to press the issue with voters in 2018.
” There’s no doubt there’s a concerted Republican strategy to try to discredit the Mueller investigation, fling sand in the eyes of the public and the press and bring up all sorts of ancillary issues ,” he said.” When the heat gets turned up, the distraction machine kicks into gear on the Republican side .”
This has ranged from a hunt for leakers, to a row over “unmasking”, to claims that Comey was politically biased, to
a faux scandal over a uranium deal involving Clinton and Russia” trying to provide a Russia whataboutism ,” Bergmann said.
” Now we’re watching an effort to say:’ Oh my God, there was a Democrat in the FBI ‘, to try to say it’s all biased when
Robert Mueller himself is a registered Republican, appointed by George W Bush, who served in Vietnam .”
All of it could save Trump’s skin, Bergmann said.
What are the most serious allegations ? b > div >
The investigation into Trump and his squad appears to encompass allegations of
collusion, obstruction of justice, abuse of power and charges specific to Trump aides and former aides.
Any case along these lines against the president “wouldve been” historic. Both of the presidents to face impeachment proceedings in the past century, Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon, faced blockage of justice and abuse of power charges.
Is there anything we don’t know ? b > div >
It’s important to note that the work of the
special counselor is secret, and the public has no way of knowing for certain what accuses lawyers may be weighing against the Trump team or, in what would be an extraordinary development, against the president himself.
What can the special counseling analyse ? b > div >
Mueller is authorized to investigate “any links and/ or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump” and related issue. In other terms, potential collusion during the 2016 election.
But so-called ” collusion” is only part of it. The
special counsel has the broad authority to build a prosecution wherever the inquiry may produce. The investigation has already resulted in charges against former Trump aides such as tax fraud that do not relate directly to election activity.
Anything else ? b > div >
In the course of the investigation, Trump’s past business practices have also
come under scrutiny. With his first indictments of people in Trump’s orbit, the special counseling has demonstrated an craving for the prosecution of alleged white-collar crimes. The chairperson has denied all wrongdoing.
Photograph: Charles Dharapak/ AP
” Should the Mueller investigation find evidence of collusion or other crimes, it’s going to be the Republican who are going to have to make a decision on impeachment. Fox, which has effectively been a country news network, is cementing the base that will stay with Trump. If the base holds, it’s going to be very hard for Republican to hop ship .”
Matthew Miller , a partner at strategic advisory firm Vianovo and former justice department spokesman, concurred.
” The chairman has been trying to delegitimise the justice department going back to the summer ,” he said.” In the last couple of months we’ve seen the rest of the Republican party join in and follow his lead.
” There have been two goals. First, to kick up dust so there is something else to talk about after the president is under scrutiny. Second, to delegitimise the Mueller investigation so the president can burn him or Congress can dismiss his conclusions if he finds Trump broke the law .”
Mueller still has the public’s trust” but I’m not sure that matters to Republicans in Congress”, Miller said.” They’re more and more not accountable to public opinion. If “youre living in” a gerrymandered district where your biggest concern is a primary challenger, you’re no longer concerned about what other people believe .”
Donald Trump with his son-in-law Jared Kushner. Photo: Michael Reynolds/ EPA
Trump may consider aborting Mueller sooner rather than later, Miller said.” He likely flirted with get rid of Mueller and I reckon[ his lawyer Ty] Cobb told him:’ If you merely cooperate it will be over by the end of the year .’ But when January rolls around and Bob Mueller is not just not finished but closer to the president than ever before, there’s a very good chance he’ll look at it again.
” Six months ago I imagined there would be a bipartisan outcry, but you merely have to watch Fox News for five minutes to understand the partisan message that Mueller is on some kind of witch hunt. A lot of the Republican members live in an alternative reality where Fox dictates the terms of the debate.
” That seeps in and, if Trump is found to have colluded with Russia, I would not be surprised if Republicans let him get away with it .”
Bill Galston , a former policy adviser to President Bill Clinton, remains hopeful that Mueller’s authority is holding against the onslaught of conspiracy hypothesis and bilious punditry.
” They’re doing their best but so far they haven’t succeeded ,” he said.” The data shows there is solid and pretty stable majority support for the Mueller investigation. My bottom line opinion is that his recommendations will be given significant public weight. I suppose his reputation both predates him and strengthens him .”
As for Hannity’s diatribe, Galston, a senior chap in governance analyses at the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington, find dryly:” If you throw that various kinds of mud into a gale force breeze, it’s likely to come back in your face. I’m sure Mr Hannity knows a dishonor when he understands one and that’s in the mirror where reference is shaves every morning .”
https :// www.theguardian.com/ us-news/ 2017/ dec/ 10/ robert-mueller-trump-special-counsel-russia
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