The title is a paraphrase by the Washington Post from one of President Trump’s morning tweets. The president was referring to the Mueller probe, but may I suggest it should actually apply to the president’s tenure in the White House?
As the Manafort corruption trial gets underway the president described it as a ‘hoax’ and that these were ‘old charges’. I am not sure what he meant by either reference but he should butt out and get on with the work of the president and let the justice system take its due course. If he isn’t complicit in obstruction already, he is certainly looking like he’s going in that direction with these tweets.
Now the president did say in one of his tweets:
These old charges have nothing to do with Collusion – a Hoax!
He’s right. The charges against Manafort have nothing to do with collusion. They are all about under reporting income for tax purposes and lying to get loans and they have nothing to do with Russian interference with the 2016 campaign.
But here again the president doth protest too much. The Mueller investigation is looking into Russian interference with the 2016 presidential campaign. And although the word collusion keeps getting bandied about, it seems to be pretty much being mentioned by the president and not anyone connected with the Mueller team. Where there’s smoke there’s fire? Besides as Mr. Giuliani pointed out earlier, even if there was collusion, it isn’t necessarily against the law. Ahem….
So essentially, President Trump can’t separate the various moving pieces of the various investigations. And he doesn’t realize that by continuing to try to put his nose back in joint by putting it in the business of the Department of Justice…it starts to smell like rotting obstruction.
But never fail, he forges right ahead and calls for Attorney Jeff Sessions to call off the Mueller probe…which would require him to end his recusal, or worse yet violate it, two things which seem beyond Mr. Sessions’ sense of propriety. Good for him on this one.
So plan B for President Trump is the old tried and true, distance himself from the ‘bad guy’.
In his tweets, Trump also sought to distance himself from Manafort, saying he “worked for me for a very short time” and had also served Ronald Reagan, Robert Dole and “many other highly prominent and respected political leaders.”
Manafort was hired in late March 2016 as Trump’s campaign chairman and resigned in mid-August of that year — a stretch that included the Republican convention at which Trump was formally nominated.
Yes March to August isn’t that long for a job just looking at a calendar, but on the Trump campaign, or even the Trump White House, that can be construed as an eternity. And Mr. Manafort wasn’t just an apparatchik, he was the campaign chairman for crying out loud…right through the convention.
And then of course the president mused:
Writing on Twitter, Trump…questioned why the government didn’t tell him Manafort was under investigation before he hired him to be part of his 2016 campaign.
How would they know you were going to hire him AND investigations don’t work like that. And once again, as we’ve seen time after time, the president’s campaign team and White House staff seem to have no time or no skill or no interest in vetting those President Trump wants to hire on.
The fallout from this will be interesting to see.