Muftic: Congress joins with President Trump to derail justice
January 9, 2018
One of the most disturbing developments in the past several months is that the Republican Congressional leadership has reversed a prior hands-off posture and joined forces with the White House to attack the credibility of and/or to divert attention from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the Trump campaign and his administration's role into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Until then most of those same GOP Congresspeople had supported or tried to act neutral or even praised Mueller and the FBI. The special counsel investigation was commissioned in the spring of 2017 after the firing of James Comey. The FBI investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections began in mid-2016.
The GOP-dominated Congress has launched their campaign apparently coordinated with a similar White House strategy.
Donald Trump kicked off the New Year with a tweet calling for investigations into a Hillary Clinton aide regarding emails, passwords and into the FBI, which he claimed was full of anti-Trump agents, citing emails of one agent as proof.
The antidote to a president charged with high crimes and misdemeanors is impeachment. This is the power delegated to Congress. It is an unlikely action, since both Houses are controlled by the GOP with their members now fawning with admiration of Donald Trump after the passage of their unpopular tax reform agenda.
The only way to curb the Republican's Congressional participation in any diversion or obstruction into the Mueller probe is to change which party controls committee chairs and sets their agenda.
That opportunity will come in November 2018 when one-third of the Senate seats and all House of Representative seats will be on the ballot.
Last week, Trump loyalist Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, renewed his earlier demand that the FBI and the Department of Justice turn over the fruits of their investigation into a dossier authored by former British spy Christopher Steele. This could be seen as tactics to kill a messenger and divert attention from the core investigation into the Trump campaign and administration's Russian connections.
The FBI first resisted, but yielded to pressure from House Majority Leader Paul Ryan in a meeting the first week this January.
Nunes, also in October, had launched an investigation into Hillary Clinton's actions on Uranium One and the Clinton Foundation as the "real Russian connection investigation." Both cases were previously investigated and died for lack of evidence, but still a red meat attention grabber for the Trump base.
Two Senate Republicans, Lindsey Graham and Chuck Grassley, last week referred a criminal accusation to the FBI, claiming Steele presented contradictory dates he provided in testimony to them. This impact of the action by the two senators is to keep Steele from coming to the United States to testify and to distract public and investigative attention from the fundamental thrust of the Mueller investigation.
Grassley also has stonewalled on his prior promise to release testimony of Steele's boss about who commissioned and oversaw Steele's research project.
The outrage of the senators' action is that their only alleged criminal findings after months of hearings was to refer Steele, the whistle blower, who had brought the results of his investigations to the FBI's attention in the first place. That dossier, Steele's field notes, presented evidence that Donald Trump had engaged in questionable financial dealings and sexual misconduct with Russians before he was a candidate and could have been compromised by Russians and subject to blackmail.
The FBI then, in October 2016, had set about to verify his findings from separate sources, in addition to their already ongoing investigation. The results of those findings by Mueller and the FBI have not been released to the public.
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