AVOIDANCE OF JUSTICE
Gregg Jarrett: Trump should demand Mueller quit as special counsel
June 15, 2017
The Washington Post is reporting that Robert Mueller is now investigating President Trump for obstruction of justice, examining not only the president’s alleged statement to Comey in their February meeting, but also the firing of FBI Director James Comey.
If true, this development makes the argument even more compelling that Mueller cannot serve as special counsel. He has an egregious conflict of interest.
The special counsel statute specifically prohibits Mueller from serving if he has “a personal relationship with any person substantially involved in the investigation or prosecution.” The language is mandatory. He “shall” disqualify himself. Comey is substantially involved in the case. Indeed, he is the central witness.
The two men and former colleagues have long been friends, allies and partners. Agents have quipped that they were joined at the hip while at the Department of Justice and the FBI. They have a mentor-protégé relationship. The likelihood of prejudice and favoritism is glaring and severe.
So, it is incomprehensible that the man who is a close friend of the star witness against the president… will now determine whether the president committed a prosecutable crime in his dealings with Mueller’s good friend. Mueller cannot possibly be fair in judging the credibility of his friend versus the man who fired him.
Is the special counsel now motivated to retaliate against the president for ending Comey’s career at the FBI? Will he be tempted to conjure criminality where none actually exist?
Even worse, are Mueller and Comey now “colluding” by acting as co-special prosecutors to bring down the president? By meeting in advance of the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, did they plan Comey’s testimony to depict Trump in the most incriminating light? These are legitimate questions that invite serious concerns.
Mueller has a reputation for honesty and integrity. But even scrupulously honest people can be influenced in ways they do not recognize themselves. It is the human condition. Which is precisely why there are legal and ethical rules which demand recusal based on prior personal relationships.
This conflict of interest is manifest. It is not fair to President Trump as the reported subject of the investigation, and it is certainly not fair to the American public. They deserve a legal process that is utterly devoid of partiality and bias. Even the appearance of a conflict requires recusal under the law.
In all matters, prosecutors are forbidden from presiding over a case in which they have a personal relationship with a key, pivotal witness. This is the kind of disqualifying mandate which, if violated, can and should result in disbarment proceedings against a lawyer. Mueller is violating not only the special counsel statute, but the Canons of Ethics and its successor, the Code of Professional Responsibility, which govern the conduct of lawyers.
Compounding the conflict is the debate over whether Comey himself committed crimes. He admitted in his testimony that he leaked the memo reflecting his alleged conversation with President Trump. It is a felony to convert government property (the memo) to personal use and then “convey” it to someone outside the government without authorization.
Moreover, Comey’s non-disclosure contract promises he will not disclose the very kind of information he leaked to the media. Doing so, subjects him to “criminal sanctions and personal liability in a civil action” for money damages. It matters not that he is no longer at the FBI. His agreement is a binding, enforceable and actionable contract regardless of Comey’s job status.
Will Mueller be tempted to ignore the evidence against his friend and choose not to investigate and/or prosecute Comey? This is yet another flagrant conflict of interest that compels Mueller’s immediate departure from the case.
Acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller, is the only person who can fire the special counsel. But he, too, has a conflict of interest if Mueller’s investigation now includes Comey’s firing. Inasmuch as Rosenstein is the person who composed the memo that formed the basis for Comey’s termination and may have had conversations with the president about the reasons for firing Comey, Rosenstein now becomes an important witness.
He cannot serve as Mueller’s boss at the Department of Justice while simultaneously acting as a witness in the case being investigated by his appointee.
The only solution is for both men to voluntarily resign from the case. In the alternative, Rosenstein should fire Mueller and then recuse himself from the case. In either scenario, another top official at the DOJ would take charge of the case and appoint a new special counsel – this time an impartial one who is not hopelessly conflicted.
If Robert Mueller truly embraces a fidelity to the law and all its attendant principles of legal ethics, he will step down as special counsel.
What is stunning about all these obvious conflicts of interest is the conspicuous silence. Where is the outrage? Why are we not hearing a cacophony of demands for Mueller’s resignation?
President Trump should demand it. And so should the American people.
Gregg Jarrett is a Fox News Anchor and former defense attorney.
Land of leaks: Trump reportedly under investigation for obstruction of justice
Gingrich: America is on a knife’s edge. Will Republicans have the guts to stand with Trump?
June 15, 2017 by Newt Gingrich
The most startling revelation from fired FBI Director James Comey’s testimony this week was his barefaced admission that he intentionally leaked details of his private conversations with the president to the press in an effort to prompt the appointment a special counsel.
When asked Thursday by Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine whether he shared the memos he wrote about his conversations with President Trump with anyone outside the Department of Justice, Comey answered:
“I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter – didn’t do it myself for a variety of reasons – but I asked him to, because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel.”
This statement is tremendously important because it completely delegitimizes Robert Mueller’s so-called independent investigation and reveals it as poisoned fruit.
The truth is, Comey behaved exactly like a bitter employee who had just been fired. The common thread in his testimony was that his firing was everyone’s fault but his own.
Think about it: Comey was the top law enforcement officer in the nation before he was fired on May 9. Had he felt a special counsel was necessary to investigate possible Russian influence in the 2016 election, he could have requested one from Congress at any time. If he felt his conversations with President Trump warranted additional attention, he could have approached Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein about it.
But instead he decided to do nothing. Comey apparently didn’t think there was need for a special counsel until the Monday after he was fired, according to his testimony.
In a clear act of retaliation, Comey went outside the system and shared secret information with the media via a college professor-friend, in a calculated attempt to inflict pain on the Trump administration. Further, he said he turned all his memos about his conversations over to the special counsel upon his termination – so Mueller’s investigators already had all they needed to make their own decisions.
But Comey knows that the press feed off attacking Trump. He also knows that they have an incomplete, false understanding of the Russia investigation and would therefore gladly perpetuate the false narrative that Trump was somehow under investigation. He saw a chance to cause drama, and he took it.
Yet this is the same person who on Thursday, under oath, exonerated Trump on the Russia question. Collins asked Comey two very direct, simple questions. She asked, “whether there was any kind of investigation about the President underway” and “was the President under investigation at the time of [Comey’s] dismissal on May 9?”
For both questions – under oath – Comey answered “no.”
This kind of petty vindictiveness is so unbelievable, I wouldn’t even write this type of stuff in one of my novels. The truth is, Comey behaved exactly like a bitter employee who had just been fired. He said nasty things about everyone from President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions to former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who served the Obama administration. The common thread in his testimony was that his firing was everyone’s fault but his own.
But there’s another wrinkle in this story: Comey and Mueller are very close.
Throughout his testimony, Comey described Mueller as “one of this country’s great, great pros,” called him “the right person” to lead the Russia investigation, and said “Bob Mueller is one of the finest people and public servants this country’s ever produced. He will do it well. He is a dogged, tough person, and you can have high confidence that, when it’s done, he’s turned over all the rocks.”
When Senator John Cornyn asked whether anything Comey had testified would “impede the investigation of the FBI or Director Mueller’s commitment to get to the bottom of this,” Comey stressed that the appointment of Mueller was “a critical part of that equation.”
Let’s also not forget that 97 percent of campaign donations from Department of Justice employees went to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. The culture and people at DOJ are predisposed to be hostile to President Trump.
So, what we have here is a fired FBI director, who leaked private material to the press, so he could get his friend appointed as a special counsel in order to take retribution on the President – with the aid of a department full of federal lawyers who would have rather seen Hillary in the White House. And we are supposed to believe this will be an objective, unbiased investigation?
Comey’s testimony – and the situation he orchestrated around it – really show the depths to which the deep state will go – working around Congress, outside of even the federal process – to damage and undermine President Trump. And it perfectly illustrates how sick the system has become.
In my new book, “Understanding Trump,” which will be released Tuesday, I describe deep state operatives like Comey as the permanent opposition. They will stop at nothing to mar the Trump presidency in order to keep their influence.
Make no mistake: This is not about law and order, it is not about justice, it is not even about any investigation. This is about influence peddling, this is about the search for vengeance, and this is about stopping the revolution President Trump was elected to implement.
This is everything that sickens normal Americans about the swamp.
America is on a knife’s edge. The question is now whether Republicans in Congress will have the courage to stand with President Trump and fight the deep state that was personified in Comey’s testimony Thursday.
Newt Gingrich is a Fox News contributor. A Republican, he was speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999. Follow him on Twitter @NewtGingrich.
Trump hits back at James Comey’s claims
Napolitano: How could the tables have turned so quickly on Trump and who turned them?
June 15, 2017 By Judge Andrew P. Napolitano
Last week, when former FBI Director James Comey gave his long-awaited public testimony about his apparently rough-and-tumble relationship with President Donald Trump, he painted a bleak picture. The essence of Comey’s testimony was that the president asked him to drop an investigation of retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn — Trump’s former national security adviser — and then asked him to do so in return for keeping his job as FBI director and then fired him for not obeying his order.
On the other hand, Comey confirmed that the president personally, as of the time of Comey’s firing, was not the target of any FBI criminal investigation. It was not clear from the Comey testimony whether this exoneration was referring to salacious allegations made by a former British intelligence agent of highly inappropriate and fiercely denied personal behavior a few years ago in a Moscow hotel room or whether the exoneration was with respect to widely reported allegations that the 2016 Trump campaign may have helped Russian intelligence agents in their efforts to manipulate the outcome of the presidential election.
Nevertheless, there is no doubt the president is now a target of a federal investigation with respect to his dealings with the then-FBI director. So, how could the tables have turned so quickly on the president, and who turned them? Here is the back story.
Prior to the Watergate era of the mid-1970s, the generally accepted theory of management of the executive branch of government was known as the unitary executive. This theory informs that the president is the chief executive officer of the federal government and is the sole head of the executive branch. He is also the only person in the executive branch who is accountable to the voters, as he, and he alone (along with the vice president, who is largely a figurehead), has been elected by the voters.
As such, this unitary executive theory informs, everyone in the executive branch of the federal government works at the pleasure of the president. Were this not the case, then vast areas of governance could occur and vast governmental resources could be spent by people who are unaccountable to the voters. And when the government is unaccountable to the voters, it lacks their consent. The consent of the governed is the linchpin and bedrock of popular government in America.
There are, of course, today vast areas of government that are not responsive to the people and that lack the consent of the governed. The administrative agencies that write, interpret and enforce their own regulations and the deep state — the secret parts of the financial, intelligence and law enforcement entities of the government that never change, operate below the radar screen and have budgets that never see the light of day — defy the notion that the consent of the governed is the sole legitimate basis for government in America.
Yet the FBI is not in the administrative state or the deep state. It is front and center as the premier law enforcement agency of the United States government. It is far from perfect, and its leaders are as fallible as the rest of us, but we have hired the folks who work there to enforce the federal laws that implicate our freedoms and our safety. And we have hired the president to exercise his discretion as to which laws shall be enforced and against whom.
Thus, under this theory, the president is constitutionally, legally, morally and ethically free to direct any person in the executive branch as to how he wants that person to perform his or her job. And the recipient of such direction is free to resign if the direction appears unlawful. That is at least the theory of the unitary executive.
After the Watergate era, Congress altered the public policy of the country to reflect the independence of the Department of Justice, including the FBI. It did so in reaction to Nixonian abuses. Thus, the post-Watergate theory of the DOJ’s role articulates that federal law enforcement is independent from the president.
The Comey testimony revealed serious efforts to reject the public policy of independence and return to the unitary executive. Comey revealed a DOJ under former Attorney General Loretta Lynch in lockstep with the Obama White House and determined to exonerate Hillary Clinton in the espionage investigation concerning her emails, no matter the evidence. He also revealed his own view that President Trump’s orders and quid pro quo offer with respect to Flynn were unlawful.
Where does this leave us today?
Today we have a White House under siege. The new DOJ criminal investigation that the president is no doubt the subject of will attempt to discover whether he corruptly attempted to interfere with the work of an independent FBI and whether he attempted to bribe its then-director. The White House is also the subject of five congressional investigations involving the Russians and the 2016 election, the firing of Director Comey, and the recusal of Attorney General Jeff Sessions from much of this. And the investigation of Clinton is back from the grave for a third time to determine whether she was exonerated because of a lack of evidence, a lack of will or an Obama political imperative.
These are perilous times for men and women of goodwill and intellectual honesty who are charged with enforcing our laws and running the government. The government should not be terrifying. But it must be fair and transparent. And it must always enjoy the consent of the governed. For without that consent, it is illegitimate.
Andrew P. Napolitano, a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, is the senior judicial analyst at Fox News Channel.
President Trump Fires Back at James Comey | Full Press Conference with President of Romania 6/9/17
Elected officials call themselves political leaders of our democracy! We absolutely do not live in a true democracy. If we did, no one would be above the law. Many of, which is a large number, a growing number have placed themselves above the law. How do they do it? COLLUSION!
Hillary Clinton escapes indictment, with the assistance of former FBI Director James Comey, and the collusion between Comey and AG Loretta Lynch (“call it a matter”) with the collusion between Lynch and PRESIDENT SLICK WILLIE CLINTON. The airplane meeting was more than a casual chat by coincidence.
The Clinton’s are masters of avoiding justice. They have escaped their entire careers.
We have a special counsel investigating obstruction of justice WITHOUT any, absolutely zero evidence of interference. Comey testified he believed there was no obstruction of justice by Trump and that he was not under investigation. Now however, because Comey was fired, lets investigate. Still WITHOUT evidence.
Comey also testified before Congress, Loretta Lynch instructed him to call an investigation a “Matter”. Oh right, that involved Slick Willie, Hillary and…….. Lynch herself. No obstruction there??!@%………….?
Comey, Lynch, Hillary and Obama should all be under investigation. But they won’t be. There’ll be another lame excuse, like the ones Comey came up with last year. Comey stated Hillary did wrong……..but no prosecutor would indict because there was no history of similar crimes. Will, not true……….what he really meant was the AG Loretta Lynch would not indict. Obama wouldn’t allow it, save him from handing out a controversial pardon.
In Washington: “It isn’t, we represent the People that elected us. It’s we take care of one another. We’re in this together. Get what you can, however you can. We have each others back.” They represent each other, not America. They’ll make it look good with false investigations; worthless Congressional hearings. This is the Elite Establishment at work.
Donald Trump was/is an outsider. He wasn’t supposed to win. The chosen one, Hillary Clinton was supposed to win, the Illuminati’s choice. The Democratic Left’s choice, was such a pathetic candidate that even with THE FIX in………she found a way to lose. Trump found a way to beat the Establishment and their setup. Now………they are obsessed with finding a way to remove him. Despite the will of the voters, by the laws of the electorate. Trump beat their system. That was never supposed to happen. Now their agenda on a day-to-day mission, is destroy this Administration.
Trump must fire everyone left from Obama’s administration, or leaks will continue. Comey, Lynch, Hillary and Obama must be investigated. Everything is backwards in D.C. Those screaming for investigation of Trump, are those that should be investigated.
The lawmakers in D.C. have placed themselves above the law. The law only applies to us.
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