The WH Plan to Weaken the Special Counsel Investigation
They are so desperate to do so, they are even looking at ethics rules for a loophole. This must be the first time this WH has considered ethics in four months.
White House is looking at using an ethics rule to weaken the special investigation on Russian meddling, per Reuters. https://t.co/BmXfNZF27O
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) May 20, 2017
There are a number of ways they-and the GOP-are already trying to undermine the Russia investigation. One way is to use the Special Counsel as an excuse to rollback the Congressional investigation.
The argument is that Congress must step back so as not to impede the S. Counsel. This is a totally specious argument as Watergate had both the Special Prosecutor and the Select Committee and ultimately impeachment hearings.
The Special Counsel can only deal with crimes-which apply to everyone but Trump. For Trump to face possible legal sanction, the only avenue is impeachment. This, by the way, is the trouble with the argument for an Independent Counsel.
No-not an Independent Counsel-as they can’t impeach. Impeachment is a political process that can only be undertaken by: Congress.
Till present the only folks I know of speaking up for a Select Committee besides Yours Truly, is John McCain and the Lawfare writers Ben Wittes and Susan Hennessy.
Another thing to watch is Rod Rosenstein. Comey warned that he’s a ‘survivor’-lasting 27 years across lots of Administrations. Ie, he gives Trump what he craves-loyalty. There is more an more ambiguity over what the actual timeline of events surrounding his writing that memo for the firing of Comey.
Now we’re suddenly hearing he was already talking with Jeff Sessions about firing Comey in the Winter before Sessions was even confirmed.
The Huffington Post:
“The Trump administration is exploring whether it can use an obscure ethics rule to undermine the special counsel investigation into ties between President Donald Trump’s campaign team and Russia, two people familiar with White House thinking said on Friday.”
Trump has said that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s hiring of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to lead the investigation “hurts our country terribly.”
“Within hours of Mueller’s appointment on Wednesday, the White House began reviewing the Code of Federal Regulations, which restricts newly hired government lawyers from investigating their prior law firm’s clients for one year after their hiring, the sources said.”
Besides suddenly pretending they care about ethics, the Trump WH also plans to use some good old character assassination against Mueller:
“Mueller’s former law firm, WilmerHale, represents Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, who met with a Russian bank executive in December, and the president’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort, who is a subject of a federal investigation.”
“Legal experts said the ethics rule can be waived by the Justice Department, which appointed Mueller. He did not represent Kushner or Manafort directly at his former law firm.”
“If the department did not grant a waiver, Mueller would be barred from investigating Kushner or Manafort, and this could greatly diminish the scope of the probe, experts said.”
“The Justice Department is already reviewing Mueller’s background as well as any potential conflicts of interest, said department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores.”
“Even if the Justice Department granted a waiver, the White House would consider using the ethics rule to create doubt about Mueller’s ability to do his job fairly, the sources said. Administration legal advisers have been asked to determine if there is a basis for this.”
“Under this strategy, the sources said the administration would raise the issue in press conferences and public statements.”
“Moreover, the White House has not ruled out the possibility of using the rule to challenge Mueller’s findings in court, should the investigation lead to prosecution.”
“But the administration is now mainly focused on placing a cloud over his reputation for independence, according to the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.”
Forewarned is forearmed, folks. This was a major victory just getting a Special Counsel but the next piece is to make sure they don’t subvert this.
James Comey is set to talk about how Trump intended to subvert the Russian investigation. That’s important, that word intended. As Comey well knows, if there was an intention to obstruct justice, that is an impeachable offense.
P.S. As we saw in my poll out last week, the long awaited poll results are in, and right now I’m just 11 points down vs. Peter King (GOP-NY-District 2). And the voters don’t even know who I am yet.
There is nothing more important in getting answers to Trump-Russia collusion than a Democratic House in 2019. Please donate to help me in my part of the effort to fight for a Dem House.
Thank you. We must have a Dem House. And so, we will.