Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Leaky, Leaky

Who knows how many of these Times leaks are true and how many are somebody's imagination - but as long as they keep coming, I'll keep posting them.
Last month’s appointment of Robert S. Mueller III as a special counsel to investigate possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia enraged President Trump. Yet, at least initially, he holstered his Twitter finger and publicly said nothing.

But behind the scenes, the president soon began entertaining the idea of firing Mr. Mueller even as his staff tried to discourage him from something they believed would turn a bad situation into a catastrophe, according to several people with direct knowledge of Mr. Trump’s interactions.


Mr. Trump, angered by reports in Breitbart News and other conservative news media that Mr. Mueller was close to James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director he had fired, repeatedly brought up the political and legal implications of firing someone he viewed as incapable of an impartial investigation.


For now, the staff has prevailed. “While the president has every right to” fire Mr. Mueller, “he has no intention to do so,” the White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters late Tuesday after a day of speculation over Mr. Mueller’s fate.

I'm not sure "has the right" is the best phrase. Has the option, perhaps. Has the authority, maybe.
In recent days, the president has told his staff, his visitors, and his outside advisers that he was increasingly convinced Mr. Mueller, like Mr. Comey, his successor as director of the F.B.I., was part of a “witch hunt” by partisans who wanted to see him weakened or forced from office. [...] [B]ut people close to the president say Mr. Trump is so volatile they cannot be sure that he won’t change his mind if he finds out anything to lead him to believe the investigation has been compromised.
Or just gets a whiff of something that makes him think it's not going the way he wants it to.
For Mr. Trump, the line between whim and will is always thin. It is often erased in moments of anger, when simmering grievance boils over into rash action, exemplified by the firing of Mr. Comey after a weekend of brooding at his resort in Bedminster, N.J.


The president was pleased by the ambiguity of his position on Mr. Mueller, and thinks the possibility of being fired will focus the veteran prosecutor on delivering what the president desires most: a blanket public exoneration.
He has no idea of the reality of who he is vis a vis the rest of the world, does he?
Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general who appointed Mr. Mueller and continues to oversee the investigation, promised lawmakers he would not permit Mr. Mueller to be dismissed without legitimate reason.

“As long as I’m in this position, he’s not going to be fired without good cause,” Mr. Rosenstein said.
Well, that's the key phrase there, isn't it? “As long as I’m in this position."
“I’m not going to follow any orders unless I believe those are lawful and appropriate orders,” he said, emphasizing that the attorney general “actually does not know what we’re investigating.”
I think one thing we learned today is that the attorney general actually does not know much of anything.
While the president’s aides have sought to sow skepticism about Mr. Mueller, whom they interviewed about the possibility of returning to the F.B.I. job the day before he accepted his position as special counsel, few have advocated his termination, reflecting the recognition that Mr. Trump’s angry reactions to the congressional and F.B.I. investigations now underway are imperiling his presidency.
We can only hope.
Among the aides most alarmed by the idea of firing Mr. Mueller, according to people familiar with the situation, was Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff, whom Democrats mocked earlier this week for publicly saying he feels “blessed” to serve Mr. Trump.
He could very well be on a short term himself.
Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and adviser, supported firing Mr. Comey, but he has been less pugnacious lately, administration officials said
Finding out he's a target in the investigation might have something to do with that.
Mr. Trump’s wife, Melania, has adopted a more temperate tone, telling her husband that she believed the appointment of Mr. Mueller would speed resolution of the Russia scandal and expressing her view that he would be exonerated, according to two people with direct knowledge of her advice.
And I'd be willing to bet she is ignorant of Trump's Russian mob related business dealings.

In the meantime, this group will never function smoothly. There's too much infighting, and that is a direct function of how Trump manages people.

The telling of the tale that Trump was considering firing Mueller came from an alleged "close friend" of Trump's, Chris Ruddy.
[Trump's allies] suggested that Mr. Ruddy had committed the most grievous sin in Mr. Trump’s eyes: trying to get news media attention for himself on the president’s name.


Mr. Ruddy has told friends that he went public with the Mueller story, in part, to prevent Mr. Trump from making a rash decision. He also lashed out at Sean Spicer, the administration’s press secretary, for suggesting he does not speak regularly with the president about important matters.

“It is a sad commentary that Sean Spicer spends so much of his time objecting to my comments at the same time he has done such a poor job in defending the president and promoting his many accomplishments,” Mr. Ruddy said on Tuesday.
What a hot mess.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

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