Trump's war on Justice :US - <b>Technical Lobby</b>

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Trump's war on Justice :US

Last week, President Trump told The New York Times that when it came to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of the Russia scandal, "I think he's going to be fair." This was widely misinterpreted as being at odds with the broader Republican message that Mueller is leading an out-of-control probe staffed by maniacal anti-Trump partisans. It wasn't that at all. For Trump, a "fair" investigation is one that exonerates him, just as when he whines about how he's being treated unfairly by the media, he means that they aren't praising him in the fulsome manner he believes he deserves. More than anything else, predicting Mueller would be "fair" to him was an expression of Trump's typical confidence that he'll triumph in the end.

But there's a long way between here and there, and as the investigation proceeds Trump is going to ask members of his party to follow him to some uncomfortable places. At the very least, the president who promised to bring back "law and order" will want his followers to demean and discredit the Justice Department, the FBI, and any other entity that should happen to get in his way.

On Tuesday, Trump offered up this absurdist performance art masterpiece of a tweet:

It isn't worth working too hard to unravel that tossed salad of bizarre claims; it's enough to understand that Trump continues to demand the prosecution of his political opponents. Perhaps more importantly, the "Deep State Justice Dept" line is a tipoff that Trump is getting his perspective from a right-wing media that relentlessly feeds his paranoia. For them, the "deep state" represents a secret bureaucratic apparatus engaged in a conspiracy to thwart Trump's policies and destroy his presidency, a conspiracy that apparently includes a slate of people Trump appointed and the FBI itself.

The closer the probe gets to Trump, the more it has to be attacked. This weekend we learned that the FBI investigation of the Trump campaign's ties to Russia began when the Australian government alerted our government that Trump flunky George Papadopoulos told an Australian diplomat "during a night of heavy drinking at an upscale London bar in May 2016" that the Russians had damaging information on Hillary Clinton drawn from emails. In other words, the FBI wasn't on the case until someone from the Trump campaign forced them to look into it.

The idea that Papadopoulos was blabbing to an Australian diplomat in a bar but didn't share his information with the campaign itself is virtually impossible to believe, which would mean that the campaign knew the Russians were hacking the Democrats, but didn't themselves call the FBI when they found out about it. You can be sure that Mueller will be asking why, as should we all.

In any case, the provenance of the FBI investigation explodes the claim some on the right — including Trump himself — had been making before now, that the entire investigation is illegitimate because it supposedly originated with the opposition research "dossier" assembled by a former British intelligence agent. "FBI TAINTED," Trump recently tweeted after getting riled up by a segment about the dossier on Fox & Friends. "And they used this Crooked Hillary pile of garbage as the basis for going after the Trump Campaign!"
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