The headline is based on the time I watched Tropic Thunder on TBS a few years ago.  When they got to the “never go full retard” line, the censor changed it to “full special”.  I thought you’d appreciate it.  Hey, I was proud of that one.  Shut up.

Anyway, I did a GoDuckGo search on the difference between a special prosecutor and a special counsel.  Now that I know (there isn’t really one), I’m sufficiently qualified to post about this new chapter in the story of the goddamingest of presidencies in the history of the Republic.

As you’ve no doubt heard, Trump’s Assistant Attorney General, Ron Rosenstein, has appointed Robert Mueller as a special counsel to investigate all things related to the 2016 Election, Russia’s interference in the same, and anything else that happens to come up.

Many on the Right are upset about this.  Rosenstein is getting a lot of undeserved criticism for doing it.  They should save it for later.  Rosenstein had no choice.  Sessions had recused himself and Rosenstein was the one who drafted the recommendation to fire Comey.  Therefore, he was now a party to the whole thing, even though he had just joined the Administration and hadn’t participated in the campaign.

Thanks to Trump running his mouth and changing the story around about why Comey was fired combined with the fact that Democrats weren’t going to allow any FBI Director nominee get through Congress, the alternative was to let McCabe continue the investigation.  Well, that wouldn’t have been a good idea, considering his history.  Doing this at least allowed Rosenstein to pick who the Administration would be most comfortable assigning the investigation to and who the Democrats could screech the least about.  Mueller was a good choice.

Leave Rosenstein alone.  This is ultimately Trump’s fault and the decision to appoint a special counsel was probably made by Trump himself.  He boxed himself in, in any event.

One thing I’m curious to know is whether or not we can all agree that it’s for the best that Comey was fired.  Does anybody really believe that the there’s any conclusion he could have made in the investigation that would have satisfied even half of the public?  I don’t see it.  The guy’s credibility was shredded.

Mueller doesn’t have Comey’s baggage.  Whatever happens at the end will have legitimacy, whether one party or the other likes it or not.  More importantly, it will bring finality.

Last week, I observed that once Comey was fired, the appointment of a special counsel was necessary.  That doesn’t mean I favored it.  I was bowing to reality.  It just so happened that over the past week, absolutely everything that Trump did or had revealed that he did previously made it more unavoidable and hastier than it might otherwise have been.

If I were Trump, I wouldn’t have wanted this to happen.  But you get what you get.  If you don’t control yourself, you don’t get to control who’s running a major investigation about you either.

I hate to make any predictions about what we can expect now.  Once a special counsel/prosecutor/whatever gets turned loose, anything can happen.  They may uncover an entirely new scandal that dwarfs the initial cause for investigation (Ken Starr and Monica) or they may continue an investigation long past its need only to snare a low-level player for a crime that the investigation itself brought about (Patrick Fitzgerald and Scooter).

So what I’m going to predict is all of this:

  • There’s going to be no quick resolution to the question of whether or not Trump or the campaign colluded with Russia.  I’ll say that we won’t have any word on that one way or the other for the remainder of 2017 and maybe not even a year from now.
  • I don’t expect there to be any proof of collusion found, but it won’t matter because the Big Story will be about something else by the time it wraps up.
  • Mueller will do a better job of controlling leaks from the investigation than Comey was.
  • Mueller will not discover any of the original leakers or even seriously pursue them.  Would be nice if Sessions would get on that though.
  • Flynn will definitely be prosecuted for something.  When you think about how centered he is on this whole shitstorm, it’s unimaginable that he’d come out unscathed.  I can’t say for sure who else.  Wouldn’t be surprised if they get an obstruction charge out of Manafort or somebody we’ve never heard of.
  • Trump can now pick his own FBI Director and he’ll go with someone outrageous and partisan.  Trump might as well go the other direction and get someone who will unleash some payback within the Bureau.

 

Mueller is going to have the same FBI counterintelligence agents working the investigation who already were.  Comey had noted during his last testimony to Congress that if a special prosecutor were appointed, the FBI team would simply stop reporting to him and report to the special prosecutor instead.

This is why I’ve been arguing with some of you that Comey’s firing had no impact on the TrumpRussia investigation.  But, again, nobody was going to accept the findings of the investigation under those circumstances, were they?

In other words, I think the whole thing is going to go the same way and for the same amount of time it was if Comey hadn’t been fired.  With the exception of the leaking, of course.  The only difference is that Comey’s taint won’t be all over the outcome (eww, right).

Anyway, don’t hold me to all that too closely.  It’s time to buckle up because this ride is going to be wild.

35 comments

  1. Flynn was being paid by the Turks. Wonder if he’ll have to give any of that money back…

    Manafort was the creepy underside of the Trump campaign. Dirty deals were his specialty.

    Mueller most likely won’t find anything impeachable on the Russian front. He seems to have been the right choice for the job so far.

  2. He just played here last night. Lots of friends were at the show (we went to see TFF and H&O, instead,) some got backstage and he seemed fine, but rumour here says it was suicide.

  3. Back on topic,
    A. From what I’ve read this was not Trump’s idea, in fact he only got 30 minutes warning.
    B. There’s a non-trivial chance that Trump fires Muller before this is over. Since the independent prosecutor law expired, he has the legal authority to do so and we all know how well thought out all of his decisions are. I wonder what you guys will say, if this happens. Would you still find a way to rationalize?

  4. Very sad about Chris Cornell, didn’t see that one coming.

    (we went to see TFF and H&O, instead,)

    Awesome! How was the show? My very first concert was Hall & Oates waaaaay back in fourth grade.

  5. Great show, much better match between the two bands than I expected. But you could definitely tell the two groups of fans apart.
    TFF did a cover of Creep and H&O did ‘You’ve lost that loving feeling’ 🙂
    It was a bittersweet night because it’s probably everyone’s last show ever at the old Red Wings arena. The sound was great for TFF, but a really bad mix for H&O, could not hear the keyboards, at all. Not sure if that’s some quirk of the two headline band approach, or just because Joe Luis always has bad sound, much as we will all miss it once it’s gone.
    But He&O still put out an incredible set, even with the sound issues.

  6. A. Maybe, maybe not. We’ll have to see what Trump says publicly. The short public statement put out after the fact indicates that it was not his idea, but I’m not sure yet.

    B. Trump can’t fire Mueller. Normally, Sessions could but he’s recused himself. That means the only one who can fire Mueller is Rosenstein. Trump would have to fire Rosenstein and then replace him with somebody else, which the Democrats in Congress will block and the Republicans would go apeshit.

    So I think it’s probably moot.

    However, let’s say he could fire Muller and did. I’d call it a bad decision.

    First, let me say that his base would love it. They don’t support the use of a special counsel and they see it as a fishing expedition (and these investigations usually do end up that way).

    On the other hand, I say it would be bad because he’d be stuck with McCabe conducting the investigation. It’s waaaay better to have Mueller doing it than McCabe for a lot of reasons from Trump’s point of view, I would think.

    If Trump does terminate the special counsel, the way I’ll either criticize or rationalize it would depend entirely on when it’s done and the reason for it (assuming he can stick to one reason).

    For example, if this is still going on after a year and Mueller refuses to say whether or not there’s any evidence of collusion while he’s prosecuting a low-level aide for perjury, I’d say Trump would be justified in firing Mueller. Other factors would be whether the investigation has veered way off course and is clearly becoming a snipe hunt.

    If he does it next week, I can’t rationalize it. It’s not in his best interests and the optics would be horrible.

  7. He just tweeted his views on this. It’s a witch hunt and why didn’t they have a ‘special councel’ for Obama. Keep up on your talking points…

  8. One thing I didn’t include in my predictions is when (not if) Trump pardons Flynn. Does he do it when charges are filed, after Flynn is convicted, or wait until the end of his term?

  9. Mostly in agreement here. I think Flynn goes down. Maybe one or two others. But the Trump investigation eventually turns up little implicating him directly. Mueller’s a good choice. The Democrats will kvetch but he has enough credibility that they won’t be able to make too much hay of it.

  10. Mueller has had an illustrious career serving presidents in both parties. He is held in high regard throughout the Justice Department and FBI, Mueller is highly respected among everyone really.

    So naturally Trump should start attacking his character at every opportunity as soon as possible. Because of course.

  11. Ron Rosenstein, has appointed Robert Mueller as a special counsel to investigate all things related to the 2016 Election, Russia’s interference in the same, and anything else that happens to come up.

    Actually, because there was so mush sturm and drang around exactly who or what was being investigated, let’s be specific. He’s taking over the Comey investigation – specifically including:

    Any links and/or coordination between the Russian Government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump
    Any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation
    Any other matters within the scope of 28 CFR 600.4

    So, yeah, he’s investigating Trump.

  12. Actually trump can fire mueller. Nothing in our constitution can stop him from doing that. It would be wildly unpopular and would involve trump needing to publicly repeal rosenstein’s authority to do so himself but transparency is the only thing that was put in place to temper the special powers of the president from doing so.

  13. No, he can’t. He has to have Rosenstein do it. Rosenstein won’t do it. And if Trump fires Rosenstein or drives Rosenstein to quit, there’s no way Congress will approve a replacement for him knowing full well that he’ll make that new Deputy AG fire Mueller. Trump is stuck with Mueller.

    Link to the law: https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/28/600.7

  14. So, Flynn is refusing the subpoena (yes, I know, like Hillary’s server guy and the IRS lady,) Trump still talks to him and wants to hire him back ‘as soon as he is cleared.’ (This is the guys who decided against an ISIS offensive because Turkey was opposed to the plan *and* Turkey was paying him a retainer at the time…)
    Meanwhile, Trump is about to give a speech on Islam written by Stephen Miller.
    I wish I could enjoy this more, but the sense of impending doom is getting in the way.

  15. What I should add though is that the only people under CRIMINAL investigation at this time are Flynn and Manafort, not Trump.

  16. In the unlikely event that Flynn is cleared, it would be completely hilarious if he got hired back. Not sure how Pence would feel about it though.

  17. My left wing sources say that’s what Trump wants, to make it up to Flynn for firing him.

  18. Read that Twitter conversation. The source said Trump’d have to first repeal the law. Congress has to do it. They won’t.

  19. Replying to mashav on the other two threads, which I have now locked….

    RE: the motivation of the Trump blabbing leakers.

    I don’t know how you can come to any other conclusion than that the leakers did not want Trump to share intelligence with Russia. The message has been sent that if Trump does this, he will pay a price.

    Seriously, if sharing intelligence with Russia even when it is to cooperate on ISIS is evil, our intelligence community is full of some wrongheaded fucks.

  20. Also, I disabled comments for this post because I know that a couple of you are smartasses.

    Mah nigga.

  21. That’s not how I read it. The deep state stopped Obama from compromising with Russia on Syria. I am not aware of what he is referring to, will read up.
    But I don’t think that’s driven by a dislike of Russia. The deep state is clearly motivated by a desire for war in the Middle East ay least as much as dislike of Russia.
    I don’t disagree that they are trying to take Trump down, I just don’t like your narrative of lovable ole’ Donny trying to make friends with Vladdie and the mean kids won’t let them play together. This is not Pretty in Pink and Trump is not Blane (he is what Steff grew up to be) and Vlad is sure as hell not Andie.

  22. The deep state is clearly motivated by a desire for war in the Middle East ay least as much as dislike of Russia.

    This is correct, I think. However, with Russia’s alignment with both Syria and Iran it’s unavoidable that we’d come into some form of conflict with them as well. If not an actual military conflict, there would be other actions.

    I just don’t like your narrative of lovable ole’ Donny trying to make friends with Vladdie and the mean kids won’t let them play together.

    It doesn’t matter if you like it or not. It’s true. Trump has made it clear that he’s going to work to improve relations with Russia and the “mean kids” are actively doing everything they can to thwart that policy.

    To you, it’s “oh, that awful orange jerk just won’t take their advice!” Well, if he took their advice then he’d be bombing Assad senseless, sending in several battalions to maintain a safe zone, and directing the air force to shoot down any Syrian or Russian aircraft over Syrian airspace.

    This is the relationship with the leakers:

    Trump: “I’d prefer for the US to have closer relations with Russia. There is room for cooperation on ISIS and the war against radical Islamic terrorism elsewhere.”

    Deep State Guy: “We ‘advise’ that you not do that. Assad should be overthrown immediately. Additionally, we need to expand NATO as far east as possible, increase sanctions against Russia, undermine the Putin government, and the like.”

    Trump: “No, I’m not going to do that. Instead, I’m going to tell the Russian ambassador about ISIS efforts to improve their explosives and make them easier to smuggle onto airliners.”

    Deep State Guy: “Hello, Washington Post? Donald Trump is giving the Russians classified information! Here are all of the specific details about the intelligence; including where the source is, which nation he works for, all of the code words, and everything else. Oh, but don’t publish all of that, because it’s classified. Oh, and you might mention that we’re doing this because we’re mad that the president isn’t doing what we want him to do.”

    Then there’s you cluelessly saying, “Aw, that’s so sad. Those brave, dedicated patriots are just trying to do their jobs and drag us into another regional conflict in the Middle East and maybe a major one in Eastern Europe on behalf of the military industrial complex. But Trump won’t let them because he’s too concerned about his planned golf course in Leningrad or whatever.”

    The message that the spies are sending is one of two things, mashav. Maybe it’s both. One is that Trump can either start following their preferred policies or face political obliteration. The other is that they really hate Trump, are upset that he was elected, and want him out of office. They will abuse all of their resources available to them for defending our country to instead undermine its elected government.

    Those are both horrifying, or should be to anyone who believes in the rule of law.

    You can like my “narrative” or not as it suits you, but if you want to support these anonymous, criminal leakers whose motives aren’t known to you as they try to undo a presidential election; then please say so proudly. Tell us that you support all manner of lawlessness on the part of completely unaccountable spies because Trump says hurtful things on Twitter.

    My narrative at least doesn’t justify treason, no matter what else you think of it.

    Really, tell me. Why do you think these leakers are justified in committing felonies instead of coming forward as whistleblowers through the appropriate processes? Why don’t they have to comply with the law? Is it because they’re hurting Trump or do you think there’s something else that’s special about them?

    Please explain why you favor this criminality.

  23. Take a step back.
    I am with you in favoring a more isolationist policy in Syria, I think we should get the hell out. Under Trump we have more boots on the ground and bombing. This is not the deep state sneaking troops in, it was authorized by the President.
    Telling Russia about an Israeli spy in Syria does nothing to defeat ISIS. It, in fact, hurts that effort.

    Which brings us to the only thing that leaking to Russia actually accomplishes – being better friends with Russia. You assume that Trump is driven by some friendly impulse and just wants everyone to get along. I do not. But lets set Trump’s motivation aside.
    I don’t see Russia as benign. We don’t need to put boots on the ground in the Ukraine, sure, but lets not pretend that there is no war, that a huge chunk of land has not been occupied, that the country does not have a horrendous track record when it comes to human rights, that they did not mess with the elections, etc.
    I don’t want us to be better friends with the current government in Russia. And I definitely don’t want us to gain that friendship at the cost of compromising anti-ISIS assets.

    As for the rest, I now have blisters on my fingers from typing over and over again that I know that the leaking was criminal and that I am, at best, of two minds about it, like Deep Throat and Snowden. You can keep accusing me of favoring criminality, but that’s not actually true.
    You can make the case that I am justifying their actions by explaining them, fine. But at no point did I say that they should not be prosecuted. Again, I just don’t think that the leaking is the bigger story than the shit show in the WH or the potential collusion with a foreign state.

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