No matter what view a person may have of President Trump, the Mueller investigation or of replacing Attorney General Jeff Sessions with his Chief-of-Staff Matthew Whitaker, it should be obvious to all that Trump has decided to no longer lay back while the legal, political and media folks circle over him like a kettle of vultures.
Like the Mueller investigation itself, Trump held his cards to his chest in the lead up to the midterm election. With the vote over — even though some races are still being counted — Trump started to move. Unlike past – and more traditional presidents – Trump does not deal in obtuse statements that are only uttered after they had been carefully crafted, drafted, edited and vetted into political pablum. He brings the world into his office – figuratively and literally – and says whatever happens to be on his mind at the moment. That does not mean he is without plans and strategies.
His BIG first move was to remove Sessions and put into place a guy who has no desire and no reason to recuse himself from oversight of what was once known as the “Russian investigation.” Oh, I know that Democrats are in a transcendent tizzy, demanding that Whitaker recuse himself. But why? Because he expresses opinions in the past that the Mueller investigation may be straying too far from its objective? That is neither wrong nor unusual.
Try to find an appointee to any major office who has not expressed opinions previous to their nomination. In fact, they are almost always appointed BECAUSE of their opinions. It is important to keep in mind that Sessions did NOT recuse himself because of his past opinions. He recused himself because he had meetings – social and innocuous as they were – with Russian officials and he could have been called as a witness.
Just in case you forget, the ENTIRE reason for the naming of a special counsel was to investigate the level of Russian diddling in our 2016 election. And at the time, most of the evidence suggested that Putin’s people diddled for and against Trump – and for and against Hillary – just to muck things up.
The Democrats and their media sales force were successful in shifting the public spotlight to the dubious – albeit politically beneficial – question of collusion with Russians by the Trump campaign. As an oilman would put it – that was a hole that turned out to be so dry that you would need to drill it with a dust mop.
For some reason that has never been fully explained, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein – who was tapped to fill in for the recused Sessions – commissioned Robert Mueller to investigate Russia AND jump down any rabbit holes he may come across in the course of the investigation. Well … once you give a prosecutor unlimited money and an enormous staff, he is not only going to stumble across a few rabbit holes, but will use his unlimited time and money to explore them.
Mueller actually did a good job at finding the Russian diddling, and he indicted a whole bunch of Ruskies in the process. But as far as the Democrats and the media are concerned, that was just the sideshow. They had Trump in the prosecutorial crosshairs – if no collusion was to be found, they at least wanted an indictment for obstruction justice. In other words, obstructing Mueller & Co. in their pursuit of a non-existent crime.
With the appointment of Whitaker – who could be legally the Acting Attorney General for the better part of a year – Rosenstein loses his control over the Mueller investigation. It is now in the hands of Whitaker.
The Democrats and the left-wing press not only believe Whitaker must recuse himself, they claim that he is not even fit to serve as Acting AG. They say he has not been properly vetted and never approved by the Senate. They say that even though he was put before the Senate as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa – a position considered one of the stepping stones to the office of Attorney General. Of course, we cannot expect the snobby, arrogant east coast establishment to even know Iowa exists.
What the left fears more than anything is that Whitaker may reign in Mueller. To them, that is a high crime, misdemeanor, treason and an otherwise bad thing to do. Democrats in Congress are already hyperventilating at the prospect. After spending two years accusing Trump of attacking the good folks at the Department of Justice, the Democrats are now unleashing their own attack on the institution.
They fear that Whitaker will take back all those blank checks given to Mueller. They fear that he will not allow Mueller to subpoena the President (and it is unlikely that Mueller would do so anyway). They fear that he will not make the final Mueller Report public – although it is likely to leak out even before it reaches Whitaker’s desk.
Democrats have been pushing for a law that will protect Mueller from being shut down by the President or the Acting Attorney General even though such a law is very likely to be struck down by the Supreme Court as in intrusion by the Legislative Branch into the powers of the Executive Branch. While Democrats pound their chest in proclaiming that the Congress is a constitutional check on the White House, they seem oblivious to the fact that the Executive is also a check on the Legislative.
With little chance of preventing Whitaker from doing anything within his legal and constitutional powers, the left plays out its favorite end-run around the deliberative process – taking to the streets. With the promotional help of the media, the newly minted “nobody is above the law” movement – a spinoff of the parent #NeverTrump Resistance Movement – has brought out the usual mob of Trump haters to demand Mueller’s investigation be protected.
Since it is widely anticipated that the Mueller investigation will be wrapping up between now and the first of the year, all the major action is likely to be described in the past tense before the Democrats take control of the House. They cannot stop the appointment of Whitaker. They cannot make him recuse himself. And there is damn little they can do to influence his oversight of the Mueller investigation. For now, the Democrats are still left with holding their breath and pounding their feet as their most propitious option.
So, there ‘tis.