Thursday, May 18, 2017
Tweets His Own
This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!
And shortly thereafter, this Trump-tweet followed: “With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special counsel appointed!” Is there a strategy behind tweets like the ones above? Engage the base to pressure their Congressional representatives to make sure that no Republican in his right mind would ever entertain initiating an impeachment process? Or another angry couple of Trump shots from the hip? The official response from the White House, which looked forward to a “quick resolution” (yeah, right!), was this Trump quote: “As I have stated many times, a thorough investigation will confirm what we already know - there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity.” But the tweets followed that reasoned quote. “Loose lips sink political careers.”
But The Donald, who continually and mysteriously repeats that he hopes this inquiry will be resolved “quickly,” told a White House gathering of television news anchors, shortly before his departure for his first overseas trip, that the appointment of that special counsel “hurts our country terribly, because it shows we’re a divided, mixed-up, not-unified country.” Gee, Donald, how did we get that way?
With Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused from the “Russian investigation,” the highest level Justice Department official on that matter is now Deputy A.G. Rod Rosenstein. Yup, the same Rosenstein who wrote a memo that gave Trump the initial justification to fire then-FBI Director, James Comey, Jr. The same Rosenstein that Donald Trump called a “very good guy, very smart guy…” And the same Rosenstein who, on May 17th, named former FBI-director Robert Mueller, III – appointed to that earlier post by George W Bush and continued for almost 13 years with the approval of Barack Obama – as the special prosecutor to investigate any potential criminality in the very controversial question of any possible unlawful connection between the Trump campaign and Russia. Mueller’s experience and credentials were praised on both sides of the aisle. What happened?
Once Trump made the following statement in an NBC interview, after having put the onus on Rosenstein as the primary justification for the Comey-firing, Rosenstein seemed to be sufficiently angered to escalate the issue and move the controversy to a clearly independent and credible level: “Knowing there was really no good time to do it [fire Comey]. And in fact when I decided to do it, I said to myself, I said you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story; it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.” Yet the Democrats, as the clear minority party, were in no position to force much of anything without GOP support. That Trump-admitted linkage between the Russian connection and Comey’s firing just might have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.
The litany of events – the purported Trump request that Comey drop the investigation of fired Trump’s national security advisor General Michael Flynn or the request of Comey for an affirmation of “loyalty” to Donald Trump, that Flynn may have actually informed the Trump campaign of the pending investigation of his contact with Russia, to the occurrences above – seemed to lead to a “pass the buck” to a credible independent investigator and take the pressure off even GOP legislators over this never-ending chaotic drama in the White House. How could this happen?
Donald Trump is said to have inherited somewhere between $40 and $300 million, which he invested heavily in real estate during the period of American history in which real estate has had the greatest value growth. Almost everybody who bought big chunks of American real estate during that era… until 2008 (revived again in 2010)… made fortunes. One wag at Goldman Sachs allegedly said, “Had Donald Trump invested that same amount in the stock market, he would be worth a whole lot more than he is today.” Trump’s forays outside his core investment strategy (mostly real estate in apartments and office buildings, hotels and resorts) – like that nasty sidestep with Trump University – did not fare particularly well, and he had to be bailed out on more than one occasion when excess debt threatened to take him down. Luck vs competence?
His fiery personality, a bully on steroids, built his global visibility through “reality television.” He’s the stuff of network dreams. And he is a genius at one thing, for sure: self-aggrandizement. But if you add up all of these elements, you slowly begin to realize that there’s no “there” there. He’s just one of those folks who made gobs of money too fast and too easily – a symptom of more than a few self-made billionaires who were in the right place at the right time – and who has come to believe that he knows everything and can do well at everything he tackles. While there was a very brief moment after Mueller’s appointment where the Trump-tweets seemed to stop – I would think under advice of counsel – it did not take Trump long to dive back into Twitter-land.
Harsh reality Donald: there is plenty of evidence of communications between your team and Russia. Reuters (May 18th) discovered: “Michael Flynn and other advisers to Donald Trump's campaign were in contact with Russian officials and others with Kremlin ties in at least 18 calls and emails during the last seven months of the 2016 presidential race, current and former U.S. officials familiar with the exchanges told Reuters.
“The previously undisclosed interactions form part of the record now being reviewed by FBI and congressional investigators probing Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election and contacts between Trump's campaign and Russia.
“Six of the previously undisclosed contacts described to Reuters were phone calls between Sergei Kislyak, Russia's ambassador to the United States, and Trump advisers, including Flynn, Trump's first national security adviser, three current and former officials said.
“Conversations between Flynn and Kislyak accelerated after the Nov. 8 vote as the two discussed establishing a back channel for communication between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin that could bypass the U.S. national security bureaucracy, which both sides considered hostile to improved relations, four current U.S. officials said.
“In January, the Trump White House initially denied any contacts with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign. The White House and advisers to the campaign have since confirmed four meetings between Kislyak and Trump advisers during that time.” That is simply what we know now that has leaked out. What else is there?
There are two kinds of “damage control” advice from good lawyers: 1. A solid presentation of legal risks and requirements. 2. A practical analysis of strategic choices with either strong recommendations or a simple admonition to act knowing the risks. Some clients listen. Others poo-poo the recommendations, follow their guts and, if things go wrong, blame others. I have to say that, in my experience, those who have ignored my advice have, over 85% of the time, been “awarded” with the bad consequences. Sometimes very bad consequences. Some of these clients have been billionaires.
Yes, Donald, it can happen to you. You’ve got great lawyers. Listen to them or simply keeping going the way you have and make a case for Robert Mueller. Digging a deeper hole is not particularly brilliant… especially when it could be your own grave. I have two words for you Donald: Mike Pence. Guess whom the GOP leaders like a whole lot more than you?
I’m Peter Dekom, and as Shakespeare (Macbeth) and the Bible (Proverbs 16:18) have reminded us, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”