Many news stories about Trump lately have been of the _______ is Trump’s _______ variety. As in “Russiagate is Trump’s Watergate” or “Maria is Trump’s Katrina” or most recently and ironically “Niger is Trump’s Benghazi”. The last one, in particular is hilarious because the same people making that comparison didn’t think Benghazi merited any sort of explanation from the presidential administration at the time it happened. Who was that anyway? Bush? Who remembers? Anyway, one of the “Blank is Trump’s Blank” narratives is disintegrating before our very eyes. A cynical person might call it pretty damn funny.
I’ve been following the Uranium One story with great interest. Not so much because I think it will have a great deal of merit. That’s still murky. Instead, I’m looking at it from the angle of how badly it compromises Mueller’s objectivity. This is a matter that deserves investigation for any influence the Russians may have had on the Clinton side of the house and neither Mueller nor Rosenstein (who was involved at the time) can be counted upon to investigate themselves.
Add to this the new allegations, courtesy of the Washington Post (based on anonymous sources, appropriate to add as ever), that the Clinton campaign and the DNC paid for the famous Steele Dossier with its, um, showers of bad intelligence and it’s obvious that there’s a larger scandal at work beyond whether Putin paid for a few thousands of dollars worth of Facebook ads.
As a reminder, the Fusion GPS Anthology of Trump Tales was used by the Obama Administration (partly, though we don’t know for sure how much) to justify FISA warrants against the Trump campaign. It can’t be emphasized enough: the Obama Administration used fake information paid for by the Clinton’s to justify spying on the Trump campaign and then allowed that information to be, um, oh gosh, leaked. This doesn’t look good. I don’t care what you think of Trump, Clinton, or Obama. This looks bad and Congress is going to start digging.
James Comey, the former FBI Director whose agency used the Steele Dossier to pursue Carter Page and others on Team Trump is Mueller’s star witness in any obstruction charge against the Trump Administration (which I still say is doubtful). Does anyone believe that he has any credibility left, with his handling of the Clinton Email Investigation and other matters?
Somebody asked me on here, back when Mueller was first appointed special counsel, how I would rationalize it if Trump fired Mueller. I said that it would depend on the circumstances, but I didn’t believe he could do it. Only Rosenstein can. Well, circumstances have changed. A conflict of interest on Mueller’s part is a justification for his removal and I think there is now sufficient reason to believe that one exists. I confess that it never occurred to me that Mueller’s integrity would be called into question when he was first appointed, but it has come to
piss pass. I’m sufficiently convinced that he’s unfit.
Mueller must step down and we need someone who is untouched by any Clinton or Obama scandal to handle an expanded investigation into both Uranium One and the Steele Dossier along with the original mandate, if that’s even still necessary.
If Trump directed Rosenstein to fire Mueller tomorrow, I’d approve of it. I’d also approve of it if Rosenstein refused and was fired by Trump so Trump could have Sessions his new Deputy AG fire Mueller. It wouldn’t necessarily end the Trump-Russia Collusion investigation or witch hunt or whatever you want to call it either. Rosenstein could even appoint a different special counsel, if he can move fast enough again. That doesn’t let him off the hook for the Uranium One investigation and he may even have to recuse himself, I don’t know.
The point is that I think Trump would be within reason to call for Mueller to go and ensure that all Russian collusion and attempts by other foreign intelligence entities to interfere in the 2016 election is fully and fairly pursued. No matter what Mueller comes out with when–and if ever–his investigation ends, the findings will have no legitimacy. Mueller is too deeply enmeshed in what he’s supposed to be investigating. There is sufficient reason to doubt his ability to finish it.
I sincerely hope that Mueller has the good sense, honor, and grace to do what Comey would not after the election: resign. If he values his reputation and the preservation of the work he and his team have put into the special investigation thus far, he should go willingly.