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Tag: editorial

USA Today to Mueller: Force Trump’s Testimony with Subpoena After He Lied about Hush Money

President Trump

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s stunning admission that he reimbursed his attorney for a $130,000 hush payment to porn actress Stormy Daniels is “monumental” because Trump acknowledged he lied a month ago when he denied any knowledge of the payout, the USA Today wrote in an editorial Thursday night.

The lie “undermines his credibility at a time when special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is reaching a crucial juncture.”

“The Daniels disclosure exposes Trump’s willingness to lie publicly about pending legal matters,” the editorial board wrote. “(Presumably, he is coming clean now because he knows that information seized by authorities from attorney Michael Cohen will reveal the Daniels-related reimbursements.) That only reinforces the urgent need to have him testify under oath in the Russia matter.”

The USA Today argues Mueller should subpoena Trump if he refuses to testify, noting that President Clinton relented and finally testified following a subpoena.

Other Stories of Interest

USA Today: ‘Shamefully Silent’ Republicans Must Protect Mueller with Veto-Proof Bill

President Trump, via the White House.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Donald Trump’s “threatening” rhetoric and “brooding instincts” to fire special counsel Robert Mueller should be reason enough for law-and-order Republicans to join Democrats in passing legislation to prevent the president from pulling the plug on the investigation, USA Today argued in an editorial Wednesday. 

“Most Republicans have been shamefully silent about this prospect, made more plausible in recent days by Trump castigating Mueller by name for the first time,” the politically moderate editorial board wrote.

The USA Today argues that it’s not enough that some Republicans are suggesting they would impeach Trump if he fires Mueller. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., for example, said it “would be the beginning of the end of his presidency.”

“But can we be sure about that?” the newspaper wrote. “Would a GOP-led Congress that can barely agree on short-term government funding coalesce around the monumental and inevitably partisan task of impeachment?”

The USA Today wrote that Trump would give “contrived” reasons for orchestrating Mueller’s firing and “concocted logic might be enough for die-hard Trump supporters in the House to sway squeamish colleagues into blocking impeachment.”

“Given the stakes, it’s not enough for GOP lawmakers to speak up in support of Mueller, a highly respected Republican, former FBI director and decorated Marine,” the editorial reads. “They also have a duty to safeguard his inquiry. Two bipartisan measures, pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee, would protect him. Both provide judicial review of any termination’s legitimacy. One would challenge the firing before it’s carried out, the other afterward.”

The editorial adds: Pass one of them now, by a veto-proof margin, before it’s too late. 

NYT: Release of Controversial Memo Resembles ‘A Partisan Witch Hunt’

By Editorial Board
New York Times

So this is what a partisan witch hunt really looks like.

In a demonstration of unbridled self-interest and bottomless bad faith, the Trump White House and its Republican minions in Congress are on the cusp of releasing a “memo” that purports to document the biggest political scandal since Watergate. To pull it off, they are undermining the credibility of the law enforcement community that Republicans once defended so ardently, on the noble-sounding claim that the American public must know the truth.

Don’t fall for it.

Reports suggest that the three-and-a-half-page document — produced by the staff of Representative Devin Nunes (R-White House), who somehow still leads the House Intelligence Committee despite his own record of shilling for President Trump, and who is supposed to be recused from these matters — has nothing to do with truth or accountability. Rather, it appears to be misleading propaganda from people who are terrified by the Russia investigation and determined to derail it by any means necessary.

Mr. Nunes’s cut-and-paste job ostensibly shows that anti-Trump F.B.I. investigators conspired to trick a federal intelligence court into granting them a warrant to spy on a former Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page, because of his Russian connections — in that way corrupting the entire Russia investigation from the start. How did the investigators manage this feat? By relying on a dossier prepared by a former British intelligence agent, Christopher Steele, but hiding from the court that Mr. Steele’s work was being funded by Democrats, including Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and thus was hopelessly biased.

There’s so much deception and obfuscation going on here that it’s hard to know where to start.

To read more click here. 

Bloomberg: Mueller Comes Under Unfair, Partisan Attacks over Russia-Trump Probe

Special counsel Robert Mueller

By Editorial Board
Bloomberg

Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election is coming under growing attack from those most blinded by partisanship and — in the case of the White House — self-interest. Their motivations do not automatically render them wrong. A dispassionate review of the facts, however, does.

Their assaults fall into three main categories. The first two are easily rebuffed. The third lands a punch — but not the knockout blow they seek.

•    Discrediting Mueller. When President George W. Bush nominated Mueller, a fellow Republican, to lead the FBI in 2001, the Senate confirmed him by a unanimous vote. After he served his 10-year term, President Barack Obama gave him a two-year extension — and Senate support was again unanimous. Few people in Washington serving at the highest level of government can equal Mueller’s reputation for integrity and independence.

Yet critics charge that Mueller is somehow compromised by his longstanding relationship with James Comey, his former deputy and successor at the FBI, who initiated the Russia investigation. Republicans have had a hatelovehate relationship with Comey over the past two years, which says more about them than it does about him. Whatever one may think of how he handled his job, there is no evidence suggesting that Mueller is being influenced by him — or anyone else — in any way.

•    Discrediting Mueller’s work. Critics also charge that Mueller’s team is on a fishing expedition that has found no evidence the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to influence the election –and thus should be shut down. They often cite the indictment of Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, whose charges concern not his campaign activities but his work for a pro-Russian government in Ukraine.

But — leaving aside the seriousness of those charges — Mueller’s mandate is to investigate not only Russian interference in the campaign, including any collusion, but also “any matters that arose or may arise” from the investigation. Manafort’s actions certainly qualify, as do the lies of two campaign officials (both of whom have already pleaded guilty) about their contacts with Russia.

It’s reasonable to expect Mueller to conclude the investigation in a timely fashion. But Congress cannot permit the White House to short-circuit his work.

To read more click here. 

Dallas Morning News: Why We Can’t Trust the FBI to Protect Us from Criminals

The FBI’s current headquarters in Washington D.C., named after J. Edgar Hoover.

By Editorial Board
Dallas Morning News

Will the nation have to suffer through another criminal tragedy before agencies get on the ball and start reporting  information to the FBI in a timely manner? The latest snafu occurred right here in Texas when Gregory McQueen received approval to be a foster parent for abused and neglected children. While he initially appeared to be a good candidate, it turns out he had no business caring for children in the foster community.

McQueen, who served in the Army, pleaded guilty to more than a dozen military charges for attempting to run a prostitution ring in Fort Hood. His actions resulted in a demotion, two years in prison and naturally, a dishonorable discharge.

The state says the record should have kept him out of the foster-care program, according to reporting by The Dallas Morning News’ Terri Langford.

Why was McQueen not flagged? Because the Army never submitted the information to the FBI so it could update the database states rely on for criminal background checks.

If this sound familiar, it should.

 To read more click here.

LA Times: Congressional Republicans Ignore Facts to Protect Trump

U.S. Capitol

By Editorial Board
Los Angeles Times

Following President Trump’s questionable lead, some congressional Republicans are trying to sow doubt about the integrity and impartiality of the FBI and the investigation led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. That investigation already has resulted in an indictment of Trump’s former campaign chairman and a guilty plea by his first national security advisor, and it shows no sign of concluding.

On Thursday, four days after Trump tweeted that the FBI’s reputation was “in tatters,” Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte (R-Va.), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, told FBI Director Christopher A. Wray: “We cannot afford for the FBI — which has traditionally been dubbed the premier law enforcement agency in the world — to become tainted by politicization or the perception of a lack of even-handedness.”

True enough, but the question is whether such a perception is fair or the result of politically motivated exaggeration by the president and his supporters. So far the evidence points strongly in the latter direction. That comes as no surprise — the attacks on the FBI fit a clear pattern of misdirection and deflection by the Trump administration and its GOP allies on the issue of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

To read more click here.

Baltimore Sun: Trump’s Tweetstorm Slamming FBI Rings Shallow

By Editorial Board
Baltimore Sun

It’s not every day that a sitting president savages as “in tatters” the reputation of the federal government’s top law enforcement arm, but it is a fairly common practice for those who have something to fear from police and prosecutors to attack them as biased, ineffectual or dishonest. Given that Donald Trump’s extraordinary claim that the agency’s standing is the “worst in history” came not long after his former national security adviser admitted to lying to an FBI agent about his conversations with the Russian ambassador, Americans can draw their own conclusions as to what’s going on.

Nothing much surrounding President Trump’s latest frenetic Twitter storm is especially shocking. Not Michael T. Flynn’s guilty plea. Not the prospect that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is closing in on the president’s inner circle. And certainly not Mr. Trump’s customary counter-punch strategy directed mostly at familiar targets, former FBI Director James B. Comey and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. What would have been far more surprising would have been for Mr. Trump to remain silent and not give the nation further reason to suspect that he is seeking to obstruct justice.

Perhaps the most notable moment of all came Sunday when Mr. Trump’s attorney, John Dowd, took responsibility for an especially problematic Saturday tweet in which the president admitted he knew Mr. Flynn had lied to the FBI before he fired him — which strongly suggests he knew his adviser had committed a crime when he asked Mr. Comey to go easy on him after the firing (something Mr. Comey testified to under oath before Congress). Mr. Dowd said he dictated that particular tweet and sent it to the White House social media director to be posted.

Does anyone seriously believe Mr. Dowd actually did that? Or was he just protecting his client from a criminal charge (keeping in mind that the tweet in question was one of 10 on the subject of the Russia investigation from Mr. Trump’s account)?

Also in classic Trumpian fashion, the president took a small development and blew it entirely out of context.

To read more click here.

L.A. Times: Mission of Justice Department Is Not ‘Lock Her Up’

Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Attorney General Jeff Sessions


By Editorial Board
Los Angeles Times

We live in a country of laws and no one should be above them. That includes the president. And it also includes Hillary Clinton, the president’s former campaign opponent. Where there is reason to believe wrongdoing or self-dealing has occurred in violation of the laws there should be an investigation and if necessary a prosecution.

But the calls by some Republicans for a special counsel to investigate Clinton smack of something other than a desire for evenhanded enforcement of the law. Rather, they are part of a desperate effort by the president, his allies in Congress and the right-wing media to take the focus off the tangled investigations into the Trump campaign’s conduct, and particularly into any possible collusion with Russia.

Earlier this month Trump tweeted: “Everybody is asking why the Justice Department (and FBI) isn’t looking into all of the dishonesty going on with Crooked Hillary & the Dems.” Meanwhile, Republican members of Congress have offered up a grab bag of incidents and insinuations they claim justify the appointment of a special counsel.

This dubious bill of particulars includes Clinton’s (minimal) role as secretary of state in the approval of the purchase by a Russian company of a controlling stake in Uranium One, a uranium company whose major investor had contributed to the Clinton Foundation; the investigation of Clinton’s use of a private email server (yes, they’re still on about that); and the Democrats’ funding of the so-called “dossier” about Trump and Russia, which some Republicans theorize was the genesis of electronic surveillance of members of the Trump campaign.

On Tuesday Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions told the House Judiciary Committee that any decision to name another special counsel would be guided by law, not politics. But his comments were only partly reassuring.

To read more click here.

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