Washington was rocked last night by another scandal with allegations of collusion and a true cover up. As you can see in the above screenshot, I appeared on Fox News but my suit jacket did not. The reason, dear readers, was that my jacket was lifted from the green room at Fox News shortly before I went on with Martha McCallum. The culprit left a very small blue jacket in its place. With minutes to go live, I had to choose between looking casual in shirt sleeves and looking fat in an undersized jacket. Vanity won out over propriety. But there remained growing questions of who knew about the jacket switch and when did they know it. The culprit left the studio literally cloaked in the cover up that was once my jacket.
In light of the breaking news during my segment that Trump and Putin actually met for a second time at the G20 meeting of world leaders, the scandal of my missing jacket seemed far more newsworthy. Indeed, I immediately asked for the appointments of a special counsel to avoid Fox having to investigate itself.
Then there were the growing concerns over collusion with both Rep. Peter King and columnist Charles Krauthammer mysteriously in the green room during the lifting of the jacket. Both men professed innocence when I confronted them despite being in full view of the coat rack the entire time. However, there would seem ample reason to suspect a turncoat in this circumstance and both men remain “persons of interest.”
The most obvious crime is obstruction. I have previously discussed how such a charge is generally based on obstructing a grand jury or other pending proceeding. FBI investigations are not generally considered a pending proceeding and case law has rejected such claims. However, that is clearly subject to change where there is an attempt to “corruptly” influence . . . in this case a pending interview.
While this may seem a tad early, I also believe that this could be a matter of simple treason. As Richard Painter, chief ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush, has noted, the “common understanding” is “a betrayal of one’s country, and in particular, the helping of a foreign adversary against one’s own country.” I can think of nothing more satisfying for the Russians than to see me stripped of dignity on national television.
Then there is conspiracy. As Cornell Law School Vice Dean Jens David Ohlin has declared, certain acts constitute “a shocking admission of a criminal conspiracy.” This would be one of them. The act shows an effort to “conspire either to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States.” I was at Fox to discuss our Constitution when some unknown figures conspired to prevent my appearance. That should be enough. After all, criminal laws and constitutional powers are subject to reinterpretation to meet our contemporary challenges.
At a minimum, it should be clear that a crime was committed and frankly the aftermath of the theft could well prove the source of the most serious charges. Everyone denied knowledge. Martha insisted that she was in the studio the whole time. Her account seemed far too pat and tailored, particularly when my jacket would have been a perfect match for her outfit.
Emails were immediately sent out saying that I would love my jacket back to no avail (though some suggested I adopt the jacket left in the green room).
Eventually, a search of the pockets of the jacket left in the green room revealed a card of a current or former staff member to a certain Democratic Senator. (I am withholding the names for the Special Counsel in case of any immunity deal). The unmasking of his identity led to the belated return of the jacket and an assurance that this was a terrible accident. Questions remains however, about a conspiracy by Democrats to literally strip an expert viewed as hostile to claims of criminal liability by the President. The faulty initial memory and failure to correct any omissions or denials only fuels the demand for an independent investigation. I will note that years ago another Democratic Senator actually wore my jacket on Meet the Press and left with it. I had to wear his jacket on the show (which I still have). The pattern is inescapable if cleverly concealed by time.
In the end, as Howard Baker said, “it is almost always the cover-up rather than the event that causes trouble.”