8 November 2018
Cogito Ergo Non Serviam
The day after suffering the biggest electoral defeat for Republicans in Congress since 1974, President Trump fired Attorney-General Jeff Sessions. Mr. Trump has never accepted Mr. Sessions' decision to recuse himself from all things related to Russia and the Trump campaign, despite clear legal and ethical requirements that he do so. Mr. Trump has put in his place as acting A-G a lackey named Matthew Whitaker, the chief of staff for Mr. Sessions. This is probably illegal, but that is the least of Mr. Trump's legal concerns. Robert Mueller's investigation continues, and the panic on the left about the administration curtailing it now that Mr. Sessions is out of office is ridiculous. With Democratic control of the House or with the First Amendment, it is too late to stop the inquiry.
The concern all along as been that Mr. Trump would fire Mr Sessions, put someone in his place who is not recused from things Russian who then pulls the plug on the Mueller investigation or circumscribes it to the point of uselessness. This is a needless worry and it always has been.
Mr. Mueller has been investigating the Russian-Trump conspiracy to defraud the United States of America for many months now. Indictments, guilty pleas and guilty verdicts have come in with surprising speed. Moreover, the investigation has handed off loads of work to other investigative bodies such as the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York. If Mr. Mueller stopped all work today, these investigations would continue, and they would lead to wherever they lead.
Moreover with the Democrats in control of the House of Representatives starting at the beginning of January, all the various committee chairs need only to summon Mr. Mueller and his people to the Hill, swear them in, and ask them their questions. It could be done in camera, but this journal would prefer televised hearings. Classified information clearly could not be divulged, but consider the impact of Mr. Mueller answering in the affirmative and under oath to the question "Did you find clear and convincing evidence that members of the Trump campaign conspired with the Russian government or operatives?"
Of course, the drama there might not be necessary. If Mr. Trump arranges for Mr. Mueller's investigation to end or if he is fired, there is absolutely nothing stopping him from holding a press conference that very day and taking questions from the media. If fired, the administration would have absolutely no hold over him. As for the threat of non-disclosure agreements and official regulations requiring secrecy, they do not apply if a crime is being reported.
Mr. Trump simply does not understand the rules of the game. The Attorney-General is not the president's lawyer. He is the lawyer for the American people. There are plenty of lawyers in the White House whose job it is to protect the president and the presidency (which are different things). But he said months ago, "Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else."
His mistaken belief that Mr. Sessions should have been protecting him has colored everything he does in response to the investigation. He has handled it very badly, and he has made himself weaker for his efforts.
Above all, if he were to arrange for the firing of Mr. Mueller or the curtailment of his investigation, the question of what he's hiding would never be answered to the satisfaction of all concerned. His one hope has always been an exoneration after a full investigation. Of course, that presumes he's innocent of wrongdoing. His business record in New York and elsewhere suggests that may not be so. In which case, the firing of Mr. Sessions could be obstruction of justice.
© Copyright 2018 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.