Muftic: Blowing the whistle on Trump loyalists
February 12, 2018
The games President Trump, his White House, and his friends in Congress are playing are two: one, to replace those involved in the Russian related investigation he views are biased against him with those who are biased in his favor. The second is to destroy the credibility of prosecutors and to stop them before they finish their investigation. Both actions threaten the rule of law by subverting the legal system in order to protect the power of the rule of a person.
A president, the head of the executive branch, does have the right to appoint those in charge of carrying out his policies, but when he manipulates law enforcement investigating whether he possibly violated the law, it becomes a game dangerous to a democracy.
Fresh on the minds of the founders of this country was what kind of government they did not want. They constructed a form of government to avoid the rule of a monarchy. But also in their recent past was the bitter experience of a religious and populist inspired civil war in mid 17th century England causing and following the beheading of Charles I. In the late 18th century the U.S. Constitution provided a third way, a form of government that better protected the rule of law above the rule by any other force and set up a system that divided power among three branches with checks over each. That third way is being seriously challenged in 2018.
Here is how Mr Trump is attempting to turn law enforcement into an instrument to protect his grip on the White House. Gone are FBI Director James Comey (fired) and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe (pressured to resign), both who failed to swear loyalty or act loyally to protect President Trump from investigations into possible misconduct that could lead to impeachment. Mr. Trump's view he openly opined is that the Attorney General's duty should be to protect him. When AG Jeff Sessions recused himself from overseeing investigations into Russian involvement in the 2016 campaign, supervising the investigation fell to Session's deputy, Rod Rosenstein. Rosenstein failed the Trump loyalty test when he did not reign in the investigation by Special Counsel Mueller. Rosenstein could fire Mueller but he found no grounds and he opposed the release of the Nunes memo. To replace him was to be Associate AG Rachel Brand and she quit Friday. Who fills that vacancy could be a voice more friendly to the Trumpists, clearing the way for firing Rosenstein and Mueller.
The first move in the current game was a campaign coordinated with Trump friendly media and political supporters to destroy the credibility of prosecutors and their findings. They claimed anti-Trump texts between two agents painted the entire FBI as biased even though the offending agent had been removed from the investigation the summer before. The second salvo was the Nunes memo concocted by Rep. Devin Nunes, GOP chair of the House Intelligence committee, and released with the support of the GOP Speaker of the House. The GOP controlled House had become complicit instead of being a check on the chief executive. The Nunes memo lacked credibility itself. Contrary to the memo's premise, the FBI did disclose to the FISA judge the political funding of the Steele dossier. Several polls show the campaigns have had a bit of a propaganda success, with growing belief among GOP voters the FBI is biased against President Trump, though as a whole American voters still trust the FBI over Mr. Trump.