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
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:
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.