Saturday, April 27, 2019

Trump goes coup coup

A version of this was published in the Sky Hi Daily News May 1, 2019

After shouting to the world that the Mueller report exonerated  (cleared) him of both conspiracy with the Russians to tilt the 2016 election his way and of obstruction of justice, Donald Trump must have had a sobering moment when he realized that Mueller had not cleared him of obstruction of justice laid out at least ten instances of obstruction of justice committed by Donald Trump and his associates. Mueller then suggested  in  a footnote the remedy was either impeachment by Congress or indictment after he left office.

In his report, Mueller specifically wrote in plain English that Trump was not exonerated of obstruction of justice.  Trump must have hoped his followers had the same lack of reading comprehension skills he had, and they had not read the report themselves, either. In response, Trump played the victim card to explain to his core followers that the Mueller report and the FBI were engineering a coup d’état against him and now Congress wants to engineer another coup, too, by holding hearings that could lead to impeachment. For a prototype wannabe dictator that he is, a coup fits Trump’s view of government that exists for the purpose of putting him in power and keeping him there and a disdain for the rule of law, any investigations into his suspected wrongdoing, and the remedies holding him accountable that are written into our Constitution.  

The writers of our Constitution had a firm grasp of both English and world history and knew when tyranny reigned to the point of being unbearable or the king went off the rails into the land of incompetence, regime change was by a coup and sometimes a bloody one of palace intrigue and military force or civil war. The Game of Thrones is not all fiction.  Usually a coup d’état in modern times, especially in the recent past in South America, Turkey and Egypt, means the military steps in and ousts the person on the throne or presidential office. To avoid such bloody regime changes and to give the people’s representatives a voice in a democracy, our founders devised the impeachment process that is the law that rules.  The House would indict (impeach) and the Senate would convict. They laid out the rules and process, that would remove the president and others before the next election was held. Later the Constitution was amended to provide for removal with consent of cabinet members and much more. The FBI and the Office of Legal Counsel also had rules that prevented indicting a sitting president of a crime and Special Counsel Robert Mueller also followed that rule.  Trump’s appointed Attorney General Bill Barr was of a controversial and not widely accepted opinion that a president could not be convicted of obstructing justice since he was the head of justice and had the right to fire whomever he pleased. Those who disagree say a president could not get away with that that if he had a “corrupt” intent such as keeping himself in power.

To find evidence that could lead to prosecution or evidence of wrongdoing, a special prosecutor was appointed per federal statutes to conduct the investigation. Congress was also granted by the Constitution the power and duty to conduct their own investigations and issue subpoenas, just as they were empowered to impeach (indict) for “high crimes and misdemeanors” however they defined it and whatever the burden of proof they required.  The Supreme Court is cut out of the entire process except for chairing the Senate conviction proceedings.  Currently, Trump is stonewalling any subpoena and a Constitutional crisis is about to happen, with Trump claiming House hearings are conducting another coup attempt.  After the experience with the impeachment process of both Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, changes were made to the process so that the special counsel had to report to the Attorney General. That process has been followed.  Trump loves to claim the whole investigation was illegal, but the letter of the federal law has been followed.

Donald Trump constantly claims even to today that the Russians did not help him get elected.  Mueller lays out in detail in over a hundred pages in his report and in earlier indictment court filings exactly how the Russians operated their propaganda targeting and methods of social media and spies on the US ground. It was not a matter of a few commercials, either. His conclusion: “The Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion.”      Last week, Maria Butina was sentenced to 18 months in prison for being a Russian spy who had made her way into the very top halls of the NRA to help with the Russian interference in the 2016 election.

  Whatever happened to the counterintelligence investigation? It was not included in the Mueller report. Also left out of the Mueller report because Mueller did not investigate it, was whether Donald Trump was beholden to the Russians because of financial entanglements or that there were tapes that would prove an embarrassment to him. It is still a mystery why Trump fawns over Russian president Putin prefers to take Putin’s word over our own intelligence services. Why does Trump  sync his foreign policy with Putin’s desire to make Russia great again, lifting sanctions against Russian incursions into Crimea and eastern Ukraine, and weakening NATO’s mutual defense agreement to stop those Russian  threatened  land grabs into NATO  member territory from Montenegro in the Balkans in the south to the Baltics in the north.


 To confuse his followers throughout the Mueller investigation, Trump had claimed there was no collusion, but Robert Mueller stated in his report that they never investigated whether there was collusion because that was not a term in the criminal statutes.  They investigated whether there was a conspiracy, a term in the criminal law meaning the participants got together and planned to commit a crime.  Mueller ruled no evidence of a conspiracy was found.  In a strange twist, Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer in this matter in a public comment asked in so many words, so what is wrong with collusion, benefiting by evidence or measures, supplied by a foreign government and in a sense justifying the commission of collusion and tacit implying collusion happened.

So long as the law enforcers  were “on his side”, they were seen by Donald Trump as  loyal members of his team, but if they investigated and found some damning evidence, they were a deep state out to get him and conduct a coup to oust him from the White House.  The FBI inadvertently helped him get elected when their then director James Comey twice announced publicly in the late summer and  again Trump ten days before the election than Hillary Clinton was under criminal investigation for alleged misuse of emails and a server (and later said in both instances, there was no evidence found).  At the same time in July 2016 a counterintelligence investigation was underway by the FBI and other intelligence agencies motivated by suspicion that Donald Trump and his campaign associates and his pro-Putin foreign policy had many unexplained contacts with Russian operatives. The FBI kept that investigation secret.   The Mueller report owed the opening of the counterintelligence investigation to a Trump campaign associates’ drunken conversation with an Australian diplomat, who then tipped off the FBI. The  counterintelligence investigation was folded into the Mueller investigation.  In short, the deep state helped Trump win, cleared him of conspiracy with the Russians, and yet did not clear him of obstruction of the investigation into the Russian connection.

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