Sunday, February 4, 2018

Panic in Memo Park: The Vindication of Robert Mueller

The good news is that, finally, the president and I agree: The release of the Nunes memo represents a national disgrace and shows that the investigation into the Trump campaign's relationship with Russian intelligence remains a troubling and possibly illegal action that necessitates Robert Mueller's continued action. Further, the president and I agree that the memo does vindicate the actions of the Special Prosecutor because it clearly demonstrates that members of the campaign, the president's family and possibly the president himself might have broken United States law and obstructed justice.

Well, OK, maybe we don't agree on all the facts, but this does represent a national disgrace and a vindication of the investigation's existence. It also clearly shows that the president is in a panic as the investigation swirls closer to the Oval Office and his reasons for firing FBI Director James B. Comey.

And as a public relations event, this couldn't be more of a disaster for the president. After weeks of puffing up this Potemkin memo, the House released it on Friday night, which is a dead zone for news, and there's no, well, smoking gun. The argument that this whole investigation is rotten because the Democrats paid for a dossier of information that purportedly has damaging information about Donald Trump is not convincing. It doesn't tell the whole story, and the real issue is that the investigation of Trump's campaign actions began before the dossier's release and the request to follow Carter Page because of his interactions with the Russian, which were, in fact, rather extensive. And then there's the information we already know about Micheal Flynn, Jared Kushner and others who have lied about their contact with the Russians. So the whole argument that this is a Democratic Kampaign Kaper falls off the bone like a good barbecue rib.

As with most scandals, it's what's missing that's the most important. The GOP memo leaves out a great deal of other information that would provide counterpoint, context and nuance, things that the GOP doesn't seem to care about. It also leaves out the possibility that the salacious material contained in the Steele Dossier might be...gasp...accurate. or accurate enough to show what we already know: That the president is an immoral womanizer, a suspect businessperson, a liar and susceptible to flattery and blackmail.

That's why there's clearly panic underneath the talk of exoneration. The president knows that this doesn't exonerate him. It's an attempt to shut down the investigation and to win the public's support in anticipation of his trying to again fire Robert Mueller. That's not going to happen. If the president clearly knows that he and his campaign are innocent, then his best approach would be to praise the search for truth, support the FBI and condemn all Russian interference in any campaigns. I know, I know, you can stop laughing now.

As this investigation gets closer to the president, there will be more, and more forceful actions that attempt to sully Mueller's reputation and blame the Clintons. That's how we know we're getting close to the truth.

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