June 16, 2017

Looking for Trump’s Supposed Obstruction

Mueller’s investigation, plagued by leaks, inevitably expands to look into obstruction of justice during the investigation.

Beginning with the surprise of Donald Trump’s November election, the narrative woven by Democrats and the media was that his shocking triumph was illegitimate because he worked with the Russians to “hack” and otherwise rig the election. Thus, we’ve endured months of speculation about the likelihood of Trump’s impeachment, a rumor that reached fever pitch when recently-fired FBI head James Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee a week ago. The only problem? Comey had no smoking gun the Democrats could use to incriminate the president on the charges of Russian collusion — although there was plenty of ammunition from Comey that could be trained the Democrats’ way.

But Democrats have gotten additional mileage out of the collusion narrative over the last few months by crippling the Justice Department. It’s rather unusual to have the attorney general recuse himself from an investigation or for a special prosecutor to be appointed so soon in an administration. Yet both are now the case under Trump as Jeff Sessions — perhaps unnecessarily — backed away from the Russia probe and former FBI head Robert Mueller was appointed by Sessions’ underling, Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, to probe the entire Russian mess.

As Comey admitted in his testimony, his intent in leaking his own memos was to bring about a special prosecutor. And there’s little doubt he hoped his vindictive move would lead to an obstruction of justice investigation.

Indeed, though Comey provided no evidence of actual wrongdoing by Trump, the focus of the Mueller probe is now shifting toward the more nefarious charge of obstruction of justice. The scummier-than-ever Washington Post reports, “Investigating Trump for possible crimes is a complicated affair, even if convincing evidence of a crime were found. The Justice Department has long held that it would not be appropriate to indict a sitting president. Instead, experts say, the onus would be on Congress to review any findings of criminal misconduct and then decide whether to initiate impeachment proceedings.” Once again, they’re bringing up the “I” word, and this time it has nothing to do with Russia. (Remember, Comey closed that door in his testimony by confirming that Trump was not under investigation in the Russian election probe.)

The speculation on obstruction was further fueled by the revelation of who Mueller’s investigators would be speaking to next: Dan Coats, director of national intelligence, Mike Rogers, head of the National Security Agency (NSA), and Rogers’ former NSA deputy Richard Ledgett. Moreover, Mueller is certainly receiving assistance — and perhaps well-placed leaks — from leftist careerists in the Justice Department that seem to be playing the part of a “shadow government.” Those leaks are one key reason some of President Trump’s supporters are calling for Mueller to be fired, regardless of the political cost. Another reason is his longtime close friendship with the aggrieved (and now disgraced) Comey.

While sacking Mueller may satisfy the “drain-the-swamp” crowd, it won’t remove the black cloud from over Trump’s head. A better idea may have come from former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy, who believes Mueller’s investigation can and should be limited in scope. Otherwise, if Mueller is given free rein, and if history is any indication of special investigators from both parties, we may see a fishing expedition.

And the media would love nothing better than to relive its glory days of the early ‘70s, when they brought down a resoundingly re-elected Republican president.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that the careerists in the Justice Department who are now leaking like a sieve apparently had no interest in policing themselves during the previous administration. One thing Barack Obama never had in eight years of office, despite frequent calls for one, was a special prosecutor, and Jonathan Tobin explains why:

> Special prosecutors are rarely interested in giving the public the information that their efforts were supposed to produce. That’s why the Obama administration steadfastly refused to appoint a single such prosecutor during their eight years in office, even though there was no shortage of scandals: the IRS’s misuse of its power to harm conservative groups; the Fast and Furious gun-walking affair involving the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the massive fraud and incompetence at Veterans Affairs hospitals; the spying on James Rosen and other journalists; and, of course, Hillary Clinton’s e-mails. Obama knew that setting a prosecutor with unlimited power loose on his government would ultimately create, fairly or unfairly, some Democratic casualties, and he wanted no part of it.

The whole point of a special prosecutor like Mueller isn’t to find that everyone is as pure as the driven snow. Someone has to be found guilty, and someone has to pay for crimes they may have unwittingly committed — perhaps during the investigation. Chances are, though, it won’t be one of the lawbreaking leakers (unless they can find another low-level dupe like Reality Winner), nor will it be anyone associated with the “Deep State” that continues to plague this administration.

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