The New York Times has done an awesome job in detailing 2 years of the republican President Donald Trump’s relentless efforts to bully, humiliate, lie in his multiple attempts to obstruct the FBI’s Trump-Russia probe being led by the Special Counsel Robert Mueller III. Read the full article here.
The breaking news reports regarding the FBI’s Trump-Russia inquiry have been numerous on this 19th day of February 2019. For me, the most astounding news tidbit came from a TV news interview where the former fired Deputy Attorney General Andrew McCabe revealed that in the immediate aftermath of then-FBI Director James Comey’s firing in May 2017, he had shared on a bipartisan basis, with the eight US Congressional legislators authorized to have access to classified intelligence data, that the FBI had started a counter-intelligence investigation pertaining to the president’s possible role in Russia’s attacking the US election infrastructure in 2016. There were no objections offered. The US House Intelligence GOP Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, a well known conduit to the White House, was one of the gang of 8 in attendance, which means that the president was informed as to all the FBI shared. This explains in part, the president’s relentless, merciless diatribes against Mr. McCabe.
Here is the rest of the story…
On February 19, 2019, Mark Mazzetti, Maggie Haberman, Nicholas Fandos and Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times penned a lengthy must read report,“Intimidation, Pressure and Humiliation: Inside Trump’s Two-Year War. “This report is several pages long to where the New York Times published a supplemental report, “Takeaways From The Times’s Investigation Into Trump’s War on the Inquiries Around Him”by Eileen Sullivan.
“President Trump has called the Russia investigation a hoax, a witch hunt and fake news. But since he has been in office, Mr. Trump has tried to end the inquiry into his campaign’s possible coordination with Russia during the 2016 presidential election, opening himself up to questions about whether these efforts constitute attempts to obstruct justice.”
“A review by The New York Times found a continuous, behind-the-scenes effort by Mr. Trump to undermine multiple investigations that have touched his presidency. That includes seeking to derail federal law enforcement through targeted political appointments and a public campaign to discredit the Russia investigation, led by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.”
“Here are some takeaways from The Times report about pressure inside the Trump administration to protect the president from those inquiries.”
Mr. Trump wanted to put a perceived loyalist in charge of a federal inquiry in New York related to hush money payments made by his former personal lawyer.
“After subjecting his first attorney general, Jeff Sessions, to protracted humiliation over Mr. Sessions’s decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation and then firing him, Mr. Trump asked his newly installed acting attorney general, Matthew G. Whitaker, if one of the president’s perceived allies could take control of the federal investigation in New York involving him.”
“Mr. Whitaker, a loyalist who had told people that his job was to protect the president, said no. The person Mr. Trump wanted, Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, had already recused himself over another routine conflict of interest.”
Mr. Trump’s public attacks on the Russia investigation have evolved from a public relations strategy to a legal strategy.
The president’s assault on investigators on Twitter and in public interviews moved beyond his typical criticism of individuals into a mosaic of efforts to undermine every facet of the investigation. That includes attacking the investigators, raising questions about the legitimacy of law enforcement investigative tools and discrediting witnesses — most of whom were close allies he once praised.
“The president cheered efforts by Republican loyalists in Congress who began investigations into cases and pressed for details about confidential Justice Department investigative procedures. One loyalist, Representative Matt Gaetz, a second-term Republican from Florida, spearheaded this campaign in July 2017 while he killed time at an airport in between flights.”
“Mr. Trump’s lawyers liked the lawmakers’ campaign to erode Americans’ confidence in the F.B.I., the federal government’s premier law enforcement agency. And they especially liked that Mr. Trump has been a persistent and public participant in it, because, the lawyers say, it is implausible that Mr. Trump could be part of a secret conspiracy.”
White House lawyers wrote a confidential memo about misleading public statements after the firing of Michael T. Flynn, Mr. Trump’s first national security adviser.
“White House lawyers were concerned about the varying public accounts of the reasons behind Mr. Flynn’s abrupt departure. Mr. Flynn resigned on Feb. 13, 2017, after it was reported that he was in touch with Russia’s ambassador to the United States at the end of 2016 and discussed recent Obama administration sanctions. Mr. Flynn said he resigned because he “inadvertently” misled Vice President Mike Pence and other senior White House officials about his discussions with the Russian ambassador.”
The next day, the president and his advisers met in the Oval Office to discuss how to explain Mr. Flynn’s departure. One of the advisers mentioned in passing that the House speaker at the time, Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, told reporters that the president had asked Mr. Flynn to resign. Mr. Trump liked that version better than the explanation Mr. Flynn gave in his resignation letter and instructed his press secretary at the time, Sean Spicer, to “say that” when he briefed the news media.
Mr. Trump believed he put an end to the Russia investigation when he fired Mr. Flynn.
During a lunch with one of his longtime allies, Chris Christie, the former Republican governor of New Jersey, Mr. Trump said that firing Mr. Flynn would end the Russia inquiry.
“This Russia thing is all over now because I fired Flynn,” Mr. Trump said, according to a new book by Mr. Christie.
Mr. Christie disagreed with that assessment. “This Russia thing is far from over,” Mr. Christie wrote that he told Mr. Trump, who responded: “What do you mean? Flynn met with the Russians. That was the problem. I fired Flynn. It’s over.”
Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, was also at the lunch with Mr. Christie and viewed the firing the way his father-in-law did.
Link to entire NYT report: [Read the full article here.]