Wow! If you have been following recent revelations concerning possible collusion of the Trump campaign staffers with Russian agents, it has been an eventful last two weeks. I hardly know where to start, but I know the result – Donald Trump is “lawyering up”. For Trump, who thinks he can talk his way out of everything, this is a blatant admission that he knows he is in a lot of very hot water. He also knows that the first thing that any good lawyer is going to tell him is shut up and quit tweeting about the “fake news” Russian investigation before he hurts himself further. This means that if he is going to make best use of his newly acquired legal advice, he essentially has be willing to give up his most effective communication tool for keeping his base in line just when the drip, drip, drip of negative revelations is starting to resemble a monsoon. I have serious doubts that he can do it.
The eventful two weeks started with Donald Trump firing FBI Director James Comey, the person who is investigating him and his campaign staff for possible collusion with Russian agents. Trump’s mouthpieces, including the Vice President, initially insisted that Comey was fired because of recommendations by Attorney General Jeff Sessions (who had supposedly recused himself of all involvement with Russian investigation) and the Deputy Attorney General, Rod J. Rosenstein. In particular they pointed to a damning memo written by Rosenstein as the principle reason for the Comey’s firing.
The day after he fired Comey, Trump had the audacity to invite Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, and Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak, to the White House for a little chat, supposedly at the request of none other but Vladimir Putin himself. Trump barred US reporters and photographers from the meeting in the Oval Office. However, he apparently allowed Russian photographers in because the next day Russian news agencies released several pictures of Trump greeting and laughing with his Russian visitors. With those pictures Trump figuratively extended his middle finger towards anyone concerned that he had the day before he attempted to put an end to the FBI’s Russian investigation.
It was then revealed that Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein threatened to resign if the President didn’t make it clear that his memo was not the reason behind Comey’s firing.
Trump apparently took Rosenstein’s threat seriously because he soon revealed in interview that he essentially fired Comey to stop the Russian investigation. Later leaks from the White House revealed that Trump told the Russians during their White House visit that Comey was “a nut job” and that “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off” – both admissions that he fired Comey to end the Russian investigation. Both incidents can easily be interpreted as evidence of obstruction of justice.
Then the media reveled that Trump gave Top Secret information about ISIS provided to the US by the Israeli intelligence services to his Russians visitors, likely endangering the lives of the Israeli intelligence sources. In the process he ignored all protocols which are designed to insure that shared intelligence is provided only to trustworthy sources and which save guard the sources and methods of countries who share intelligence with us. In the process Trump made it such intelligence sharing less likely in the future, endangering our own citizens.
Media sources also recently revealed that early on Trump asked Comey to drop the Flynn investigation and tried to extract a loyalty oath from him. It was also reported that conversation immediately Trump asked the Vice President and his new National Security Advisor to leave the room. Comely recorded this conversation in a memo, establishing contemporaneous evidence of the incident and also discussed the conversation with friends shortly thereafter. This is further evidence of obstruction of Justice. The best may be yet to come as Comey now seems eager to tell his entire story before an open session of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Apparently he prepared many other memos after conversations with Trump.
Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein, a Trump appointee, then stunned everyone by appointing former FBI director Robert Mueller as a special prosecutor to lead the Russian investigation. Apparently Rosenstein thought it necessary to remove Trump and anyone Trump could control from authority over the investigation. This doesn’t speak well for his opinion of Trump’s integrity. The appointment of Mueller was praised by Republican and Democratic Congressmen alike because to the man’s sterling reputation, another bad sign for Trump considering the wide ranging power of a special prosecutor.
ABC News then reported that “National Security Agency (NSA) Director Mike Rogers had been asked by Trump to publicly push back against the probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election by the FBI and possible collusion by Trump associates.” This is yet further evidence of possible obstruction of justice by the sitting president.
Yesterday former CIA Director John Brennon revealed in open session before the House Intelligence Committee that intelligence evidence of Trump campaign staff member’s contacts with Russian agents disturbed him sufficiently to cause him turn the intelligence reports over to the FBI and ask them to investigate the matter for possible collusion with the Russians.
Michael Flynn, Trump’s disgraced and fired National Security Advisor, was subpoenaed to appear before the Senate and House Intelligence Committees. His business documents with relevance to his contacts with Russian entities were also subpoenaed. Flynn refused to appear before the committees invoking his 5th Amendment rights and has refused to turn over the subpoenaed documents. Please recall that Donald Trump said during the campaign that taking the5th is not indicative of someone with nothing to hide. The Congressional committees may yet hold Flynn in contempt of Congress in an attempt to obtain his documents.
And then to add insult to injury, when Donald tried to hold Melania’s hand on their trip , she swatted his hand away in full view of the cameras. The video has gone viral. Life’s hell when on top of everything that going badly, not even your wife is happy with you, and everyone knows it.
As I said it has been a busy two weeks so I apologize if I have left out any important events or revelations. It is as if the damn suddenly burst and revelations which were previously leaking slowly through cracks came pouring forth through gaping holes in the concrete. What is truly amazing is the number and seriousness of Trump’s self inflicted wounds. He is at last discovering that the reckless and lawless manner in which he ran his businesses doesn’t play well on the biggest national stage.
Meanwhile Trump, his staffers, and his loyal defenders in Congress, which had to date have aggressively pushed back at each new alarming disclosure, now seem overwhelmed. They are reduced to issuing denials, bitching and moaning about the leakers, and offering the weak argument that no one has come forward with absolute proof of conclusion with the Russians. They ignore the fact that the FBI, the only agency which would have such proof if it exists isn’t talking. They also ignore the fact that Trump’s own appointee found it necessary to protect that FBI with a special council so it can continue its investigation unmolested.
Meanwhile to those who would disregard the old saying, “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire”, remember this – if there is enough smoke it will kill you just as surely as a fire.