(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)
On Wednesday the White House Counsel sent a letter to the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee informing him that Congress has no right to a ‘do-over’ of the Mueller investigation and that therefore all access to records and testimony by current and former White House staffers will be denied. The ‘legal’ foundation of this stance appears to be that Congress is not a law enforcement agency and does not have a legitimate purpose to pursue its investigations, an argument that was also used by Trump’s lawyers who are trying to quell subpoenas for documents from Trump’s tax preparer and Deutsche Bank. With the letter the White House’s reasoning has reached a new low. Since the Special Counsel could not charge Trump with obstruction of justice because according to the Department of Justice a sitting president cannot be indicted, he left it to Congress to draw conclusions from his probe, as part of its constitutional oversight function. If Trump cannot be indicted and cannot be investigated by Congress he is effectively above the law, and could indeed shoot someone on 5th Avenue and get away with it.
The letter came on top of a series of absurd statements by Trump, who had no qualms about suggesting that the Department of Justice should investigate Joe Biden, declared that Don McGahn had been more likely to be fired than Mueller, and said that FBI Director Wray had protected conspirators involved in a ‘coup’ attempt. Meanwhile Attorney General Barr commissioned a third investigation of the origins of the Mueller probe next to two ongoing investigations, in an attempt to break the Benghazi record and with almost certainly a similar lack of success. Especially the president’s attacks on McGahn are puzzling, since the former White House Counsel is tentatively scheduled to testify in the House next Tuesday and unlike Barr will want to avoid being held in contempt of Congress, because unlike the AG he still has other ambitions than licking Trump’s boots. The president was mystified as to why Don Jr. was subpoenaed to testify once more in the Senate, because his son had already testified at least 20 hours, but he overlooked that junior had probably lied under oath and that the record needed to be set straight.
The level of lawlessness in Trump’s circles was illustrated by Lindsey Graham, the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who encouraged Don Jr. to ignore the subpoena. Additionally it was revealed that Trump’s lawyers drafted Michael Cohen’s initial lies to Congress, while the Department of Justice is challenging a lawsuit concerning the president’s financially benefitting from foreign governments via his businesses. In the meantime the Democrats are still hoping for Mueller’s testimony.
The president is still trying to get his head around the fact that not China but American consumers pay his tariffs, making them effectively a consumer tax. He is now facing crises on four continents, in US relationships with China, Iran, North-Korea and Venezuela, but in spite of John Bolton’s war mongering Trump has told his Defense Secretary that he doesn’t want to go to war with Iran, until he changes his mind of course.
And while Trump and Jared Kushner yesterday blew the roll-out of a new immigration policy by sending contradictory messages to the press and to Congress Trump is already eyeing the July 4th celebration, changing the location and including an ‘imperatorial’ speech and possibly a military parade, making it all about him and not about the country.
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