Hits and Misses

Hits and Misses

Monday, April 30, 2018

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

President Trump: The Heat's Getting Hotter

In a column dated April 9th, the New York Times' Matt Apuzzo has given a succinct overview of why Trump is ranting and raving about the FBI's raid on the house, office, and hotel room of Michael Cohen, Trump's personal lawyer for over ten years:

"The searches open a new front for the Justice Department in its scrutiny of Mr. Trump and his associates: His longtime lawyer is being investigated in Manhattan; his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is facing scrutiny by prosecutors in Brooklyn; his former campaign chairman is under indictment; his former national security adviser has pleaded guilty to lying; and a pair of former campaign aides are cooperating with Mr. Mueller.  Mr. Mueller, meanwhile, wants to interview Mr. Trump about possible obstruction of justice."

It's important to recognize two points about this FBI raid.  First, the FBI had search warrants, which means a federal judge was convinced that there was probable evidence of a crime.  That means the raid was legal, despite Trump claiming it was a break-in. Second, although Special Counsel Mueller may have uncovered information that led to the search warrants, it was not his doing.  Instead, the raid was authorized by Geoffrey S. Berman, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York (who, incidentally, was a Sessions' appointee [correction:  a statement the day after I wrote this had Mr. Berman recusing himself for undisclosed reasons.  The person who authorized it was Robert S. Khuzani]).

With those points in mind, take a moment to reread Apuzzo's summary:  "The searches open a new front for the Justice Department in its scrutiny of Mr. Trump and his associates: His longtime lawyer is being investigated in Manhattan; his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is facing scrutiny by prosecutors in Brooklyn; his former campaign chairman is under indictment; his former national security adviser has pleaded guilty to lying; and a pair of former campaign aides are cooperating with Mr. Mueller.  Mr. Mueller, meanwhile, wants to interview Mr. Trump about possible obstruction of justice."

The heat is getting hotter.  Given Trump's impulsiveness and irrationality, it's risky to predict what he may decide about being interviewed by Mueller.  But I rather think his overweening vanity may compel him to agree to such an interview.  And since Trump lies as readily as the rest of us breathe, he may well then go up in flames.

Ultimately, however, what is most important is that the legal process goes forward.  Only by careful and methodical application of the rule of law can this nation hope to return to a rational and civil governance, of, by, and for the people.