The land of golf and tweets

Posted by Tom Camfield

TRUTH AND TRANSPARENCY

I know some readers gnash their teeth in frustration, being Trump supporters unable to refute my comments. The evidence is on my side, for instance, when I say: “There are many ways in which to lie, and Donald Trump is proficient in them all.” One way is to mix them in with a much-repeated slogan (e.g. “witch hunt”) as though his insistent repetition somehow gives them validity. Another is just flat-out revising history. Republicans have always depended on a short public memory when they gear up their propaganda along towards election day.

Donald’s repeated description of Robert Mueller’s special-council investigation as “a democrat hoax” is a prime example of sloganeering, as is “make American great again.”

The U. S. law enforcement and counterintelligence investigation of the Russia government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election has been conducted via the Department of Justice. It was begun in May 2017, about four months after Trump was sworn into office and when Republicans controlled both houses of Congress.

It was hardly “a democrat hoax” or “witch hunt.” Mueller himself is a registered Republican. Many Republicans, in fact, seemed to view the investigation at its outset as a means to persecute Hillary Clinton over her emails. And it’s been a never-ending goal of Donald’s to defame her and destroy her character, both before and after she won the popular vote by several million while he, via the electoral college, was elected president by a minority. He was not “number one.”

Who will ever forget the “lock her up” fervor Donald continued to stir up at his pep rallies around the country on down the line—even though Hillary was judged free of guilt by the FBI and attention of the Mueller investigation drifted toward Donald himself.

A March 23 USA Today story pointed out that Trump’s campaign worked eagerly to benefit from a Russian intelligence operation that hacked his opponents’ emails and echoed them in phony social media campaigns, an effort the U.S. government later concluded was aimed in part at helping to deliver Trump the presidency. And investigators charged that a succession of top aides then lied to pretend they hadn’t. Read the entire lengthy article here; https://www.yahoo.com/news/apos-loyalty-apos-apos-orders-101130334.html

As attention turned more and more toward associates of Donald Trump, he threw the vague “witch hunt” description of it all, bellowing over and over “no collusion” on his part with the Russians. He lately had switched that occasionally to “no obstruction of justice.”

Hillary was never jailed, of course—but I suspect Donald only wanted to sully her character in the first place, while diverting attention from himself. However, the special investigation has resulted in dozens of indictments for federal crimes and at least eight guilty pleas or convictions among the Trump faithful. Paul Manafort, former Trump campaign chairman during the period of Russian intervention in the election, was found guilty of eight felony financial crimes and pledged guilty of conspiracy to obstruct justice. Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen has pleaded guilty to eight counts of campaign finance violations, tax fraud and bank fraud. Cohen said he violated campaign finance laws at the direction of Trump “for the principal purpose of influencing” the 2016 presidential election. He also pleaded guilty of lying to Congress.

Longtime Trump advisor Roger Stone was indicted on seven charges in January.

Mueller also received guilty pleas from Manafort’s business partner Rick Gates, Dutch attorney Alex van der Zwaan, former Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos, lobbyist W. Samuel Patten and Richard Pinedo (for identity fraud). Mueller also indicted 13

Russian citizens.

So the hunt did flush more than a few “witches” out of the swamp, all Republicans or Russians.

Donald loves to paint his critics as “losers” and will be crowing about a “win” of some sort regarding the Mueller investigation only because he has not been charged with collusion, treason or other high crimes. However, noted former federal prosecutor Joyce White Vance observed: "If Mueller declined to prosecute because there was insufficient evidence, that's hardly exoneration . . . And if he didn't indict Trump only because of the (Justice Department) policy against indicting a sitting president, that's as far from a clean bill of health as you can get.”

Donald, of course, promptly tweeted that the report is a “complete exoneration.” Mueller specifically said otherwise: “While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him,” Mueller is quoted as saying in his report,

Trump would do well to remember that “collusion” is not the only crime in the federal code and that there are ongoing investigations, including of his inauguration, his businesses and his foundation, in multiple jurisdictions — he is still “Individual 1” in an indictment by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.

And that matter of not being able to indict a sitting president looms large indeed with regard to the 2020 election. There is a six-year statute of limitations on some of the business-related crimes with which he might be charged. That means he’s on thin ice as a one-term president but would be out of the woods if elected to a second term.

So if you thought his first election campaign was dirty and vile, just wait until he begins grabbing seriously at the Republican nomination for a second term.

Meanwhile nothing signals a change in the character and behavior of Donald Trump. It is Donald who will continue to own the outright lies and originate the actual “fake news”— while leading the way to destruction of our environment and the decay of society’s humanitarian virtues. The Mueller report did not magically transform him into one of the good guys.

The news media through it all have been conducting one of the greatest jobs of reporting in history—not charging Donald of collusion with Russia, but merely keeping the public informed on the search for any evidence of same by him or his cadre. While carefully walking the thin news-opinion line, the mainstream press also allowed public opinion to be expressed via letters, comments, columns and blogs. I have been among the many thousands commenting right along on both the on-line New York Times and Washington Post (and elsewhere). Anyone truly wanting to comment beyond our own Port Townsend Leader should get off Facebook for a few minutes and scan some of the main newspapers throughout the country. Many readily accept letters to the editor from anywhere. I remain on the mailing lists of some now because of that—papers as far away as Charleston, West Virginia. I’m in it for the whole nine yards.

IT WAS NEVER all about Donald, until his own egomania and paranoia—and big mouth—made it that way. Here’s an excellent time line of the whole affair:

https://www.yahoo.com/gma/russia-probe-timeline-moscow-mueller-132905872--abc-news-topstories.html

We also are stuck at the moment with only the interpretation of the Mueller report issued by William Barr, U. S. Attorney General appointed by Trump along near the end of the investigation. Barr announced in part: “Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and I have concluded that the evidence developed during the Special Counsel's investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense. Our determination was made without regard to, and is not based on, the constitutional considerations that surround the indictment and criminal prosecution of a sitting president.”

AND NOW, in any case, with regard to transparency in government, how about those Trump tax returns that Donald promised to release a couple of years ago: "I'm under a routine audit, and it'll be released, and as soon as the audit is finished it will be released," Trump, during the first presidential debate, September 2016. An article in Politifact, May 12, 2017: “President Donald Trump has reneged on a pledge to release his tax returns after an IRS audit, confirming what many have long suspected: that the real obstacle to disclosure is Trump himself.” Washington Post editorial board, April 16, 2018: “As many Americans scramble to file their tax returns by Tuesday’s deadline, one is brazenly defying expectations regarding his tax information, making 2018 the third year in a row he will have gotten away with it. When he was a candidate, Donald Trump repeatedly promised to let the public see his tax forms. He has yet to do so.

EVEN EARLIER, in 2011: During his "birther" campaign of falsely claiming President Obama was not born in the United States, Donald offered a public deal: If Obama released his birth certificate, he'd release his tax returns. Then, in 2014, the Obama birth certificate emerged, proving that Trump's claim had zero merit. So Donald devised a new deal: He’d release the tax returns if he ran for office. "If I decide to run for office, I'll produce my tax returns, absolutely. And I would love to do that," he said in an interview. And, on and on, the evasiveness has continued. Which brings us back full circle to the subject of lying with which I began this article.

NO, THIS IS NOT ‘FAKE NEWS,’ Donald. It all is documented here: https://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/times-donald-trump-release-tax-returns-article-1.3061868

I also guess we’ll never know just why Donald spent an hour in a room with Putin, allowing no other American into the room to witness whatever was said between the two.

Comments

4 comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment
Justin Hale

"I know some readers gnash their teeth in frustration, being Trump supporters unable to refute my comments."..... You might want to do a reality check Tom, I seem to be the only one out here countering your BS. And for the record, I've refuted and exposed your half-truths multiple times, and don't label me as a "Trump supporter" because I don't buy your partisan BS, I wrote in Bernie Sanders.

"A March 23 USA Today story pointed out that Trump’s campaign worked eagerly to benefit from a Russian intelligence operation"..... Why wouldn't they? The Dem's would have done exactly the same. And what the " Russian hacks" actually revealed was that the DNC conspired against the Sanders campaign,,,tell me why Debbie W.S. resigned from the head of the DNC so abruptly?

Tuesday, March 26
Tom Camfield

You're a lot like Donald, Justin. Dismissing with a vague all-inclusive wave of the hand a great deal of documented material but offering no actual rebuttal that amounts to anything. Like Donald and his "fake news" charge against the news media. One never sees him citing an example—yet he has been documented (by the Washington Post) of having himself spouted off more than 8,000 lies since taking office. Hmmmm. Whom to believe.

And another reality check is that all of my readers are not here on this Leader forum. I have a fairly long list of readers who get this blog via my private email list. It includes recipients in Canada, Mexico and various other states, a great many of whom are not Leader subscribers. I've kept one troll from clear back in the Bush years purposely alive on that list and hear from him regularly. A few others have not retuned to this pleader.com forum since its rejuvenation--for whatever reasons. Perhaps the heat in the kitchen is too much for them. I don't do other social media, but others occasionally pass my material along there as they please.

It's only in your own mind that you have "exposed" my "half-truths" multiple times. It seems to be my general opinion that bothers you. Read a few of the web links I often include, and you'll see some of the extensive factual material on which that opinion is based. If I call Donald Trump "pond scum," that is an opinion and I do not fear being quoted. However, where truth is concerned, that opinion is of course open to debate. I've cited chapter and verse supporting my contention, but i've heard little in response in opposition to it.

Spend enough time in Internet forums and you'll find my name popping up here and there. I'm easy to find. I'm one of the few using my actual name instead of some cute little anonymous nickname.

Wednesday, March 27
Justin Hale

"A few others have not retuned to this pleader.com forum since its rejuvenation--for whatever reasons. Perhaps the heat in the kitchen is too much for them".....I can tell you why, it's because the folks at the Leader took a half azed comment program and totally screwed it up.

Wednesday, March 27
Tom Camfield

It all seems pretty straight-forward to me. Anyone with a minor problem can contact the editor or webmaster and get squared away. My brother in Mississippi weighs in now and then, and he's had no difficulty.

Thursday, March 28