The Proposed Mueller Protections Would Achieve Little While Risking Much For Congress

800px-Capitol_Building_Full_ViewBelow is my column in the Hill newspaper on the push for new legislation to Robert Mueller.  I supported the appointment of a Special Counsel and still believe that Mueller must be allowed to complete his work. However, this legislation would do little in terms of real protection while putting at risk a major piece of precedent from the Supreme Court.

Here is the column:

chriscoons_img“Save the special counsel!” has become the rallying cry this week on Capitol Hill, as members push legislation to protect Robert Mueller from being fired by President Trump. From all accounts, Mueller appears nothing short of a helpless animal in a caged hunt with the president. Indeed, on Friday, Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) declared Trump is “likely” to fire Mueller.

Despite repeated statements from the White House that there is no discussion, let alone plan, to fire Mueller, it is politically popular to be seen as protecting Mueller and resisting Trump. This effort, however, could come at a considerable cost for Congress. The bills advanced by Coons and his colleagues would offer little real protection for Mueller while putting at risk one of the most important rulings in history limiting executive powers.

440px-Director_Robert_S._Mueller-_IIIBefore members of Congress put Mueller’s face on milk cartons, they could consider the likelihood that he is not going anywhere. Trump caused immeasurable harm to his presidency by firing FBI director James Comey. If he had simply replaced Comey immediately upon taking office or waited until after the completion of the Russian investigation, there would have been no special counsel and this investigation likely would have ended months ago. If he were to fire Mueller now, Trump would put his very presidency at risk. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and White House counsel Don McGahn likely would resign in quick succession.

Moreover, Congress could reinstate the Independent Counsel Act, which existed until 1992. Indeed, Mueller could conceivably be reappointed under that law. Finally, Congress would likely embark on its own investigation, including a possible impeachment process. In other words, firing Mueller is unlikely to achieve the desired end of stopping the investigation. It would, however, likely stop the Trump administration from doing anything other than crisis management over the firing.

More importantly, the two proposed bills would achieve little in terms of real protection. The proposals by Sens. Coons, Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) would allow any decision to fire Mueller to be brought before a three-judge panel in federal courts. Currently, a decision to fire Mueller is essentially non-reviewable. However, the bills would not change the governing Justice Department regulations on the basis for terminating a special counsel. The attorney general can remove Mueller “for misconduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, or for other good cause, including violation of departmental policies.”

Thus, a court could not overturn a decision for which the attorney general can state a rational basis for any of the listed failures but also any demonstration of “other good cause, including violation of departmental policies.” Since those policies are implemented and maintained by the attorney general, it would seem a rather low bar to satisfy. Indeed, courts are loathe to question executive branch decisions on policies governing the conduct of its “inferior officers.”

What these bills would do is put at risk one of the most important precedents in our history supporting congressional power. In 1988, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down Morrison v. Olson, a 7-1 decision upholding the constitutionality of the Independent Counsel Act. That act was passed after President Nixon fired Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox in 1973. It allowed for the appointment of an independent counsel by a three-judge panel when requested by the attorney general.

Many have long argued that the decision was wrongly decided, including the late Justice Antonin Scalia as the sole dissenting justice. Scalia argued that “governmental investigation and prosecution of crimes is a quintessentially executive function.” The Morrison decision has been the foundation for not just the constitutionality of such independent investigations but the limits on executive power. It is one of the crown jewels for those of us who support checks on executive authority at the cost of Congress.

Coons and his colleagues would now put that precedent at risk. To put it simply, the constitutional power is not worth the prize in defending these bills. Any challenge would put Morrison back before a much-changed court with a heavier tilt toward executive power. Moreover, this is not the same act. Coons and his colleagues would have been better served to seek the reinstatement of the Independent Counsel Act itself. That law was previously upheld and the principle of stare decisis discourages the court from overturning such relatively recent holdings.

A special counsel is not an independent counsel, and in that difference could rest the future of Morrison. The special counsel is the creation of the attorney general and is more firmly placed within the executive branch. He is less independent and more subject to the oversight of the attorney general or his designee. The true institutional identity of an independent counsel was always part of the concern for Scalia and others. It was not clear if he was fish or fowl — judicial or legislative or executive. Mueller clearly stands on executive feet, and opponents on the court could use that distinction to gut Morrison.

Congress often passes largely symbolic legislation, but these bills could come at a prohibitive cost for the legislative branch. While I questioned the need for a special counsel after the election, I supported such an appointment after the firing of James Comey. The public deserves a full, independent investigation into the Russian controversy. The expanded investigation is the price a president pays for such a demonstrably bad decision. Timing is everything, and Trump hopefully has learned that lesson. However, these four senators appear to be equally tin-eared in their push for this legislation. This is not the time and not the court to mess with Morrison.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington UniversityHe served as lead counsel to the House of Representatives in prior litigation over the separation of powers. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanTurley.

135 thoughts on “The Proposed Mueller Protections Would Achieve Little While Risking Much For Congress”

    1. Turley wrote, “While I questioned the need for a special counsel after the election, I supported such an appointment after the firing of James Comey. The public deserves a full, independent investigation into the Russian controversy. The expanded investigation is the price a president pays for such a demonstrably bad decision. Timing is everything, and Trump hopefully has learned that lesson.”

      Turley also wrote, “Trump caused immeasurable harm to his presidency by firing FBI director James Comey. If he had simply replaced Comey immediately upon taking office or waited until after the completion of the Russian investigation, there would have been no special counsel and this investigation likely would have ended months ago. If he were to fire Mueller now, Trump would put his very presidency at risk. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and White House counsel Don McGahn likely would resign in quick succession.”

      So Turley is making perfect sense–today. One wonders what sort of sense Turley will be making tomorrow. In the meantime, and from the historical point of view, no special counsel has ever been fired without the appointment of a replacement special counsel to continue the investigation. Moreover, Trump would have to seek reelection to a second term of office under a much larger, denser and darker cloud of suspicion, if Trump fired Mueller and a replacement appointment was made for either another special counsel or an independent counsel. And the firing of Mueller would be added to the list of things to be investigated.

      And yet, for some reason Turley is still keen on cooking up a prisoner swap of Flynn for McCabe. Intriguing.

        1. Excerpted from the article to which carey kindly linked us below:

          “A reporter called my cellphone on a Sunday in October 2016, asking questions about contributions to my campaign and whether there had been any influence on Andrew’s decisions at the FBI.

          This could not be further from the truth. In fact, it makes no sense. Andrew’s involvement in the Clinton investigation came not only after the contributions were made to my campaign but also after the race was over.”

          Well, Dr. Benson, it may not be juicy enough for the Daily Tatler, but there is a clear pattern emerging, anyway. I call it retroactive anachronism. And the Trump camp excels at it. You see, Hillary Clinton and Terry McAuliffe allegedly bribed Andrew and Jill McCabe before either Clinton or McAuliffe knew that the FBI was investigating them. Ordinarily the most you could get for that would be a conflict-of-interest allegation–not a bribery allegation. Evidently Hillary and her cabal are prescient. They can foresee what will be investigated and whose palm to grease before that investigation even gets started. How do they do that? Are they a coven of witches and warlocks? Is it juicy enough for you know, Dr. Benson?

          1. McCabe and Bezos are in da eye of da authoritarian T rump regime. They want everyone to be fearful cause da dictator can crash your career or business if you don’t play ball with da vindictive regime. He tweets tweets tweets. Resist hashtag

              1. He is threatening Amazon and driving da stock price down cuz he doe not
                Like what da Wasinhtom Post says about him.

            1. Someone read Trump the highlights from the Weyrich training manual for conservatives. The most salacious tidbits stuck to his shrinking brain like lint.

          2. L4D:
            “Evidently Hillary and her cabal are prescient. They can foresee what will be investigated and whose palm to grease before that investigation even gets started. How do they do that? Are they a coven of witches and warlocks? Is it juicy enough for you know, Dr. Benson?”
            ***************
            Oh come on. Don’t you watch Law & Order? You need your corrupt cops BEFORE the crime you committed goes public. Then the guys on the dole make it go away. Like they did. You can’t pay ‘em afterwards. You take some cop’s wife ER doc with dreams of grandeur and no political experience at all. Flatter her. Play on her naivety. Pay her ticket. Run her for a job she can’t win and watch her lose. Then you got ‘em either way. It’s an insurance premium. You really need to get up to speed on corruption,

            1. I have a suspicion that McCabe has long been an untrustworthy character and was promoted within the ranks the last 9 years because he was untrustworthy (from the perspective of those of us who want impartial public administration). No clue why Jill McCabe, who has children and a demanding job, would be the least bit interested in adding another iron to her fire (which would require spending months in Richmond every year). Elected offices should be held by people over 60 whose children are out of the house and who are ready to downshift in their work life.

              1. NIS:
                McCabe was a political hack with a badge as emails have shown. Jill is the paradigm for “flattery will get you everywhere.” As to your qualification criteria, I agree. Same for judges, too.

                1. A police officer of my acquaintance once said, “Q What do you call a lawyer with an IQ of 50? A. “Your Honor”. The father of my lawyer-cousin offered that he’d been told, “The A lawyers teach the B lawyers how to argue in front of the C lawyers. Other lawyers have told me that the problem with the judiciary is that it’s staffed with lawyers who weren’t making a good living practicing law.

                  I do have personal knowledge of a judge in Rochester who friends said was a great intellect, but never able to put together a law practice which paid the bills. However, he was active in Democratic ward clubs, so landed an agreeable position in city government when the Democratic Party unexpectedly won a municipal election in 1961 (at which time he was 32 and recently married). He was slated for a position on the municipal court seven years later and then the state’s superior court six years after that. When he died, one of his eulogists on the bench said she’d not known anyone who more enjoyed being a judge. The man had had so few paying clients ca. 1956 that he worked in a vegetable market on weekends to make rent.

                  In Maryland, the complaint was a generation ago that the method of selecting the state Circuit Court was such that no one with a decent client list would want to do it. Not sure if they’ve changed the selection method since then. New York’s institutions are very barnacle-encrusted. Maryland had been known to make incremental adjustments from time to time. IIRC, you landed a seat on the court in the first instance by gubernatorial appointment. You had a trial year, then stood for election with a mess of others also on the court. The number on the bill I think invariably exceeded the available slots, so someone would get cut – either a judge serving his trial year or an established judge. Well, one lawyer writes to the Baltimore Sun, who wants to close their practice, spend a year on the bench, and then be high and dry at the end of it? Not sure who dreamed the system up or what the rationale for it was.

                  If you think about it, though, you’re idea might work. You have 1,500 practicing lawyers in my home county (IIRC). You have nine municipal court slots which are f/t; you have 40-odd JPs of which some are f/t, some are p/t, and a scatter are filled with laymen; you have 22 superior court slots; you have about 4 appellate judges who are local residents (though others have a pied a terre). You have 3 federal judges. So, you’ve got the equivalent of roughly ~53 f/t positions in a county with 1,500 working lawyers. You could make them handsomely paid positions only open to late-career lawyers, chosen either through competitive election or appointment-and-retention-referendu.

                  1. Kinda stupid since it takes an IQ of 1-5 to pass da bar in most states and higher than that inCalifornia.

                  2. What you suggest rings true. I served on Richmond’s Judicial nominating committee for several years and we had a hard time getting successful attorneys to consider the judgeposition given the pay cut and the loss of client base for them. It’s still the case that a second year associate at a major firm makes almost as much as a circuit court judge in Virginia. We used to have a generous pension system but that has gone by the wayside ,too. So what you get in the main are career prosecutors and assistant attorneys’ general who are working on continuing their pension or guys who can’t support a practice. More is the pity.

                    1. Those responsible for pension cuts- the Kochs (State Budget Solutions) and John Arnold of Enron infamy and hedge funds.

                    2. Testimony against pensions was orchestrated and presented to state legislatures across the nation. Pew was accompanied by Joshua Rauh (after repeated requests and a delay, the economics professor identified his sources of travel expenses- which were not his employer, Northwestern U.). Pension experts have derided his research. He is now, at what critics identify as, the Stanford Institute for the Evisceration of Peoples Retirement. Pew works with John Arnold. Media has reported on the connection.

                    3. “Koch Bros. Sponsor Pension Reform Seminar for Judges” (Truthout 4/30/2014). International Business Times (David Sirota 8/6/2014) “Judges who attended the seminars underwritten by certain firms later issued rulings in the funders favor”. Center for Public Integrity, “seminars aimed at convincing judges to invalidate constitutional protections for public union workers.”
                      Conservatives only support Constitutions when it is convenient for their profit taking and only believe in limited government when it screws the 99%.

    1. Yes, let’s take the words of Jill McCabe who was bribed by Gov. McAuliffe to take his ‘money’ so Andrew McCabe would diminish the investigation of Gov. McAuliffe.

      1. Huh? The FBI was investigating Terry McAuliffe? That’s a new twist on the bribery allegation–Peterman.

        1. Excerpted from the May 24th, 2016, article linked above:

          “Virginia Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe is the subject of an ongoing investigation by the FBI and prosecutors from the Justice Department’s public integrity unit, U.S. officials briefed on the probe say.

          The investigation dates to at least last year and has focused, at least in part, on whether donations to his gubernatorial campaign violated the law, the officials said.”

          So 2016 minus one year is 2015. But the article also says “at least last year,” which does not preclude an earlier point of origin for the investigation. So when did Jill McCabe run for State Senate in Virginia? I can’t remember. Stay tuned.

      2. Excerpted from the CNN article linked somewhere nearby:

        “McAuliffe wasn’t notified by investigators that he is a target of the probe, according to the officials.”

        So the CNN article is dated May 24th, 2016. The contribution to Jill McCabe was made in 2015. According to “officials” cited in the article, McAuliffe didn’t know he was being investigated at the time he contributed to Jill McCabe’s campaign. However, if Andrew McCabe informed McAuliffe of the FBI investigation of McAuliffe before McAuliffe contributed to Jill McCabe’s campaign, then . . . oily crepe. It could be construed as solicitation of bribery. But you’d have to show that McCabe informed McAuliffe of the FBI’s investigation before McAuliffe contributed to Jill McCabe’s campaign. Can you do that, Mike Peterman?

        1. Mike Peterman, while you’re at it, could you find out what the current status of the FBI’s investigation of Terry McAulliffe might be? Is it still ongoing? Or has it been closed?

  1. From The Hill, ” ‘# I stand with Laura (Ingraham)’ spiked 2800% over the weekend.” It was attributed to Russian bot activity. A comment in the thread that followed- “There you have it. Fox and conservative America stands with Russian propagandists.”

    1. Bull Sheeet Linda.

      Laura is a great person that you so foolishly Slander. How languages do you speak?

      If you people hate the real USA so bad Move & don’t let the door hit you in the Arse.

      1. People who don’t respect majority rule/ minority rights, choosing instead to propagandize the Koch’s bait and switch PR- “freedom”, should leave.

      2. Did you get those talking points straight from Infowars?

        Laura can lie in several languages, very impressive!

  2. Just curious, does this mean that every president from now on will go through this kind of investigation? This is going on 15 months. What does Mueller have to show for this investigation?

        1. The U.S. Attorney’s office began working the case in June of 1972. All five Watergate burglars and their two supervisors had entered guilty pleas by the end of January, 1973. These were not process crimes to which they were pleading, but burglary and conspiracy. John Dean’s testimony to the Senate Select Committee was delivered in July 1973. Impeachment proceedings opened in February 1974. The most salient trial concluded in December 1974 and the Cox-Jaworski-Ruth staff issued their report in the fall of 1975 and closed up shop.

          The FISA warrant on Carter Page was issued in October 2016. You’re running behind.

          1. So, you are identifying 7 mos. in 1972, 12 mos. in 1973, 12 mos. in 1974 and 9 mos. in 1975?

            All of the Watergate crimes were domestic. With two world leaders as targets of investigation, the process is doubled in complexity. Adding to the difficulty, witnesses in Russia are out of reach (some dead in the trunks of cars, the victims of heart attacks).

            1. You’ve had 18 months, and the only people you’ve managed to persuade to plead did so because they were co-operative enough to talk to the FBI without counsel present and got caught in an FBI perjury trap. NB, the FBI does not record its interviews.

              Keep hoping, Linda.

    1. The media has reported on the indictments, as well as those who have flipped. Someone who is cooperating will be sentenced tomorrow. And before you ask what this has to do with Trump, two of those indicted were his campaign and deputy campaign managers.

      Mueller was appointed ten months ago.

      1. Yes, two of those indicted, were for crimes well prior to being associated with the Trump campaign. And if any of the Congressional committees had turned up anything of note, it would’ve been turned over to Mr. Mueller, so the investigation has been ongoing for much longer

  3. At Turley’s blog the Russian commenters align themselves with the Republican Party. Putin worked and succeeded at getting a Republican President elected. Charles and David Koch ARE the Republican Party.

    The brothers claim they are anti-government but, their organization, ALEC, drafts state laws. The falsehood is consistent with Weyrich’s training manual for conservatives which said, lies are necessary. Paul Weyrich was (1) the founder of the Heritage Foundation, which is funded by the Kochs (2) ALEC and, (3) the architect of the religious right. It is the religious right that passes laws to abridge freedoms using the Bible as pretext. The Weyrich manual calls for the appearance of brutality to reach goals. Putin brazenly has his enemies killed. Anyone who fails to see the direction of the threat to America, is deliberately blind.

    The Democratic Party was, in the past decade, positioned to operate as the lesser party of the rich, via the corporate funded Center for American Progress. It lost 1,000 seats as a result. The Dem Party was on the verge of bankruptcy during the 2016 Presidential campaign. The threat to “freedom”, which is the Kochs’ PR bait and switch and, to democracy, without a doubt comes from the party of the Kochs. By intentionally decimating the middle class, the Republican Party set the stage for fears that poor people would use force to take from the “haves”. That threat, in turn, will be used to justify a repressive government like that of Putin’s.

    America doesn’t have to become an oligarchy aligned with the Russian oligarchy.

    1. Charles and David Koch ARE the Republican Party.

      They’re both open borders libertarians with an indulgent disposition toward homosexuality. While we’re at it, among organizational donors during the 2016 election cycle, Koch Industries ranked 39th.

      https://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/list.php?cycle=2016

      The Service Empolyees and the American Federation of Teachers ranked 5th and 9th

      1. Nutchacha,…
        “Linda” does not have a problem with the influence of money in politics.
        She’s demonstrated again and again that she objects to the “wrong kind” of money that might back causes she opposes.
        That’s why some heavy hitter money players get a pass from Linda.

      2. Chales and David, despite what they assume about themselves, are two men. (The Kochtopus funded by the brothers is somewhat larger.)
        The SEIU, which elects its leadership, represents almost 2,000,000 people. The AFT represents 1.6 mil. workers (anti-union scrubbing on the internet reports part time people as half people-typical of the richest 0.1%).
        The Kochs take profits from consumer purchases to fund anti-democracy politics. If they were capitalists, the money would be spent improving products or lowering prices.

    2. Now Trump Putin are crashin da markets. Next comes d’s economy. Trump and his oligarchs
      Pals are shortin da market.
      Does he tip them off before he bashed an indudtry? Icahn got word.

      1. Allan is selective, market upticks are credited to Trump. The explanation for market downturns follows PR from Cambridge Analytica – times may be tough but, things are improving.

  4. It would be great for Jonathan Turley to lay out a “Glide-Path” plan for America to restore it’s Bill of Rights and constitutional “rule of law” system.

    America is really in crisis: when Congress can’t make courageous decisions for the good of the nation, it defers to an Independent Commission. These commissions, usually composed of respected and retired officials provides political cover. After this long and expensive “Inependent Commission”, Congress then ignores it’s reccomendations. (ie: The 9/11 Commission).

    The Judicial Branch seems to also be politicized not Judicial Review – it’s top duty – on things like torture, warrantless spying, blacklisting and exploiting the Espionage Act of 1917.

    How do we get back to being America?

  5. Is this the same Robert Mueller, that stood by, while the Bush right-wing attorneys were purging the U.S. Department of Justice of DEMOCRATS and LGBT officials? If you’ve forgotten, that is when Bush’s attorney, Monica Goodling, traded immunity (from criminal prosecution) and told Congress about violating the federal Hatch Act. Where was the FBI?

    Is this the same Robert Mueller that sent John Kiriakou to prison for about 3 years for NOT torturing, while not arresting the actual torture architects? Back then both torture and warrantless wiretapping were felony crimes.

    Is this the same Robert Mueller that sent Qwest Communications CEO, Joseph Nacchio, to prison for about 3 years for COMPLYING with federal laws prohibiting warrantless wiretapping? Nacchio claims Bush officials were trying to break federal wiretapping laws about 6 months BEFORE 9/11 when no wartime emergency existed.

    Not sure why Democrats are supporting Mueller.

    1. A quick wiki search reveals…

      Joseph Nacchio
      “was convicted of 19 counts of insider trading in Qwest stock on April 19, 2007”
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Nacchio

      John Kiriakou
      “Kiriakou pleaded guilty to disclosing the identity of a fellow CIA officer. He was the first CIA officer to be convicted for passing classified information to a reporter, although the reporter did not publish the name of the operative.”
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Kiriakou

      Hmmmm.

      1. Remember T. Boone Pickens tarring John Kerry with the lies/ads about swift boat captains? Same modus operandi from the right wing but, now they have help from Russians.

        1. Remember T. Boone Pickens tarring John Kerry with the lies/ads about swift boat captains?

          No, I don’t and neither do you. The motor of the Swift Boat Veterans was John O’Neill, who had been a swift boat captain in the Mekong Delta. The only men Pickens’ age who served in VietNam were a modest set of career officers and senior NCOs, and Pickens wasn’t one of them. I don’t think Pickens was ever in the military.

          And, no, no one lied about Kerry or smeared him. They just stripped the spin-doctoring off press accounts of his service record. They knew him, served with him, and didn’t care for him. For a reason.

          1. Pickens funded the propaganda. He even responded later in an interview, to a question about whether he regretted what he’d done.

            1. Yes he did. The chicken hawk repub and T rumpers tar those that serve. That includes Mueller a Purple Heart and bronze star.

    2. were purging the U.S. Department of Justice of DEMOCRATS and LGBT officials?

      Given the pattern of political donation of self-identified employees of the Department of Justice (manifest in the FEC database), this ‘purge’ was remarkably ineffective. Or maybe it’s just fictional.

  6. “Finally, Congress would likely embark on its own investigation, including a possible impeachment process.”

    Come on Professor, you can’t possibly believe this. At worst a few Republican members of Congress would be “deeply troubled” by Mueller’s firing, followed by absolutely no action of any kind.

    1. No Republican not a media fellator or an inveterate defender of the absolute immunity of the legal profession will give a rip that Mueller is fired. The investigation is fraudulent and it’s perfectly plain to anyone whose emotional investments do not demand it be kosher.

      1. Alas, the McCains and Grahams will pretend to care if Mueller is fired. There are still lots of corrupt republicans who resent Trump having executed a hostile takeover of their democrat-enabling party, and they’d rather crash the party into the side of a mountain and give the government back to democrats than allow Trump to succeed.
        Trump is calling them out on it, and it’s time for them to either start backing Trump or reveal themselves as closet democrats.

        1. It’s fascinating to me that people still believe that Trump has some master plan, beyond enriching himself and family as much as possible before his time in office is done.

          1. Right — a 70-year-old billionaire takes on the headaches of running for, getting elected, and being president because he wants to make money.
            That’s BRILLIANT thinking.

              1. uh — because billions of dollars wasn’t enough for a 70-year-old man to spend in however many years he has left.
                And he did all of that campaigning — hitting the road LOTS more than the unprosecuted multiple felon formerly known as “Hillary in a landslide” because he didn’t really want to win.
                Occam’s razor suggests that you’re dead wrong, and that you’re just spewing empty rhetoric out of pure malice.
                Keep up the good work, That strategy worked great in 2016. Why change a winning strategy?

                1. Not being able to spend their money in their lifetimes didn’t prevent Bill Gates from privatizing public education while he and Z-berg are investors in the largest for-profit seller of schools-in-a-box and, it hasn’t stopped the Kochs from working to decimate the middle class.

                  1. Gates and z-berg aren’t 70 years old. If you were a 70-year-old billionaire, would you take on the ridiculous workload and annoyance of running for and being president just to make more money? That’s a rhetorical question. You know the answer as well as I do.
                    And the Kochs HATE Trump. You do know that, right?

                    1. The Kochs don’t hate Trump. Trump gave them the tax scam bill and deregulation. The Kochs wrote a check to Paul Ryan’s campaign as a thank you- $500,000. Pence and many of the cabinet members are Koch guys. Trump will serve his purpose then, Pence will move up. The right wing media machine will say, “give the new President a break, Washington needs bi-partisanship” (to further concentrate wealth)

  7. “Very very sorry to see Turley descend into the pit of ignorance or legal demagoguery”
    Sure you are.
    Ad homs, that’s your stock in trade?

    1. Funny — you quote me but don’t direct your comment TO me, nor did you even identify the fact that you were quoting my comment.
      Deception and cherry-picking — that’s YOUR stock in trade?
      The statement you quoted is preceded by a fairly lengthy explanation of what led me to that conclusion.
      And you don’t even know what ad hominem is. It’s an attack on the person, instead of addressing the person’s argument. I addressed JT’s argument at GREAT length.
      You, on the other hand, ARE engaged in ad hominem — having neither addressed Turley’s argument OR mine.
      Don’t you have cartoons to watch before your mom gets home?

      1. You accuse him of ignorance and demagoguery but that’s not an ad hominem attack?

        That’s not an attack on the person?

        Sure.

        1. It’s not an ad hominem attack when it’s a conclusion reached by detailed analysis of his argument. Try educating yourself. Ad hominem is what YOU’RE doing — ignoring the content of the argument and just going after the person.

          1. “it’s a conclusion reached by detailed analysis”

            The conclusion being: Turley is ignorant and a demagogue.

            That’s an ad hominem attack and your excuses are pure sophistry.

              1. “Insults are the arguments employed by those who are in the wrong.” Jean-Jacques Rousseau

                Like I said, your stock in trade.

                Thanks for making my point for me.

  8. “While I questioned the need for a special counsel after the election, I supported such an appointment after the firing of James Comey. The public deserves a full, independent investigation into the Russian controversy.”

    One problem with that nonsense is that the special counsel statute doesn’t legitimately apply to the “Russian controversy.”

    Comey testified under oath that the investigation (secretly begun in July, 2016, and not reported to Congress as required) is a “counterintelligence” investigation — which is NOT the same thing as a criminal investigation, for reasons including that counterintelligence has nothing to do with the justice system. The aim is not prosecution, as was demonstrated when Obama issued sanctions against Russia and expelled Russian diplomats just before he left office. There was no judicial procedure whatsoever involved in that counterintelligence action.

    And then there’s the regulation that authorizes the appointment of a special counsel:

    28 CFR § 600.1 Grounds for appointing a Special Counsel.

    “The Attorney General, or in cases in which the Attorney General is recused, the Acting Attorney General, will appoint a Special Counsel when he or she determines that criminal investigation of a person or matter is warranted ***”

    Keyphrase: “criminal investigation” — NOT counterintelligence investigation

    And nobody has ever identified any crime that the special counsel was appointed to investigate, per 28 CFR § 600.1.

    AND as soon as Mueller was appointed, he immediately hired on the same criminals — Peter Strzok and Lisa Page — who had been working on Comey’s “counterintelligence” investigation.

    This is all wildly unlawful conduct by Rosenstein and Mueller — and Turley KNOWS it. JT knows far too much about these issues to be confused about the grounds for appointing a special counsel and the FACT that there’s no legal authorization for a special counsel to be appointed to conduct a counterintelligence investigation.

    And then there are all the nonsense arguments from democrats about Trump “obstructing justice” by firing Comey, where again the same fraud is being committed, because Comey’s investigation was a “counterintelligence” investigation, which has NOTHING to do with justice. You can’t “obstruct justice” in relation to an investigation that isn’t a criminal investigation, and Comey had testified under oath that his investigation was NOT a criminal investigation.

    What’s actually happening with the Mueller investigation is the Stalinization of America by Rosenstein, Comey, Mueller, and apparently Jonathan Turley — as Mueller goes on a wild fishing expedition to see if he can find crimes to pin on anyone that can remotely be connected to Trump. This method of investigation was expressed best by Josef Stalin’s buddy, Beria.

    “Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime.” Lavrentiy Beria

    One major FRAUD that was committed in order to create the circumstances for the Stalinist witch hunt was committed by James Comey, when he kept the “counterintelligence” investigation of the Trump campaign secret after beginning it in conjunction with he exoneration of Hillary.

    Comey was required to report the opening of investigations to Congress quarterly. So an investigation opened in July, 2016, should have been reported to Congress before the election AT THE LATEST. But Comey kept the investigation a secret, not just beyond election day but beyond Inauguration Day and beyond the Congressional hearings confirming Sessions as Attorney General.

    Then, after Sessions was confirmed as Attorney General, Comey revealed the investigation of the Trump campaign to Congress — not privately, but in a pubic hearing.

    What Comey did was commit a swindle, allowing Sessions to be appointed and confirmed and only then revealing the information that would cause Sessions to have to recuse himself.

    Turley either doesn’t know, or is pretending to not know, more that half of the information relevant to his articles and opinions.

    Very very sorry to see Turley descend into the pit of ignorance or legal demagoguery — whichever it is. This is a man I once held in very high regard.

  9. The heavy handed and loquacious Hannity remains silent about Rick Gates- no character assassination nor, indictment against his credibility. He’s not painting him as a villain, so what’s up …..?

    1. He’s burnishing his Seth Rich whacky conspiracy theory so he can revisit the lowest point of his career of low points. Most of his investigatory work goes on at 4chan.

        1. 4chan is where the Russian trolls get their info. It’s about as despicable a site as there is.

      1. He’s burnishing his Seth Rich whacky conspiracy theory

        The wacky conspiracy theory is that it’s rather peculiar behavior to commit a ‘robbery’ which consists of shooting someone dead outside their home at 4:00 am but leaving their wallet and other salable effects behind.

        1. There’s more evidence that Trump is into Ivanka than there is support for the Seth Rich story.

          1. 1. He was shot dead. Not disputed by anyone but, perhaps, you

            2. At 4:00 in the morning. Verified by two sets of electronic data.

            3. In front of his home. Again, no confusion about where his body was discovered and where he lived.

            4. Yes, his wallet and other effects were with the corpse, per the DC police.

            That’s the Seth Rich story.

            Quit being stupid. You’re making this too easy.

            1. C’mon- #1-3 make no point about the contrived suspicion that Rich’s parents have asked people to stop creating (and, filed a lawsuit). #4 is simply stated, valuables were not taken. Thousands of people get victimized by criminals who leave the scene without what they planned to take. The only reason the Russians don’t single any one of them out is, they can’t destabilize the U.S. with concocted stories if the victim isn’t a Democratic worker or acquaintance of a Democratic politician.
              Just like Assange’s leaks- selectivity by party.

                1. The tie that binds the two stories- both died violent deaths? A reach to find a death blamed on a Republican politician, despite the vast difference in circumstances? (exasperated sigh at false equivalencies)
                  On reflection- the comparison of the Kochs to unions took the game to a different level.

                  1. Their son was murdered. He was murdered under peculiar circumstances which do not ring true. Other people notice that the circumstances are peculiar and that the stated explanation of the police does not ring true. Their reaction to that is to get mad at the people who notice and sue one of them. No, these people are not normal. They are not, however, so abnormal as to blame a third party who is not the least bit culpable when someone murders their son in a peculiarly gruesome way. Mr. and Mrs. Rich are a 2 out of 10 on the peculiarity scale. Michael Berg is an 8 out of 10.

                    1. Paring down-your POV is the Berg’s shouldn’t blame Bush? The equivalency you created between the two cases then undermines your premise?
                      I’ve seen scales with anchors which were identified using a scientific process. Your “peculiarity” scale, take it to Cosmo.

        2. N-submediant said, “The wacky conspiracy theory is that it’s rather peculiar behavior to commit a ‘robbery’ which consists of shooting someone dead outside their home at 4:00 am but leaving their wallet and other salable effects behind.”

          No! The whacky conspiracy theory is that an assassin supposedly left his victim alive and talking to police and paramedics at the scene of the supposed assassination while also studiously neglecting to stage the assassination as a robbery to allay suspicion of assassination.

          But even more to the point, you, of all people, know damned well what the whacky conspiracy theory is and you’re deliberately, intentionally on purpose mischaracterizing just how incomparably vile, despicable and loathsome that whacky conspiracy theory is. For crying out loud, you read just like Jill and Autumn. For shame.

          1. P. S. Does N-submediant work for Roger Stone??? There’s your original author of the vile, despicable, loathsome conspiracy theory at issue. Go hang, N-submediant.

  10. Mueller is investigating individuals without articulable facts of a crime; proceeding merely on a theory of international counter-intelligence.

    The product of this illicit and illegitimate special counsel is inadmissible.

    1. You would like that to be so, but it isn’t. No crimes but plenty of guilty pleas already? Is a puzzlement!

      1. Puzzlement–a feeling of confusion through lack of understanding…i.e. wildbill99 just doesn’t get it!

      2. Collusion is not a crime. International collusion would constitute counter-intelligence operations not those of a criminal nature. The “guilty” pleas were obtained through abuse of the special counsel law and procedures based on the manufactured evidence of Hillary’s “dossier”. The “dossier” plan to counter the revelation of Hillary’s and the DNC hacked e-mail was hatched by Obama’s Brennan at CIA. The most prodigious scandal in American political history will lead through the FBI/DOJ “deep state”, Brennan, Reid, Obama’s administration and proceed all the way to Obama.

  11. Trump just tweeted out a defense of Pravda news policy as enacted by Sinclair Broadcasting- dozens of anchors forced to read a script which surreptitiously bashes the opposition to Trump’s propaganda.
    Sinclair wants federal approval from a vain President and has no principles.

    1. Newsflash! Sinclair broadcasting tells their employees what to do!

      1. 66 stations aired the script. A “Short History of the Right Wing Politics of Sinclair Broadcasting” is available on-line.

  12. Democrats don’t have any procedural principles, merely improvisations which provide them excuses to get what they want. They had a hey-that-‘s-my-skateboard reaction to Kenneth Starr and allowed the independent counsel law to expire when they realized this sort of lawfare could be conducted against them. That wasn’t supposed to happen. Independent counsels were supposed to be like Lawrence Walsh.

    At the time of the Starr investigation, Marlin FitzWater (press secretary to Bush – pere) offered that the Republicans needed to let this law expire. Starr’s crew had taken to trial a nobody named Julie Hiatt Steele and it was FitzWater’s view that the whole thing had turned into a white whale hunt because ‘that’s what this law does to people’.

    A better idea would be to replace the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security with three or four successors: a federal police department which would corral all investigatory services which did not have a vigorous reason to be ensconced elsewhere, a civil defense department to manage emergency preparedness and disaster relief, a counsel’s department to represent the federal government as a defendant and friend of the court as well as provide legal advice to other agencies, and a prosecution service consisting of the attorney-general, his division chiefs, and the U.S. attorneys. This last could be conceived of as a notioinal auxilliary of the judicial branch and serve a standard term of four years. There would be pitfalls in such an arrangement, but at least you’d be free of monomanical investigations like Lawrence Walsh’s.

  13. After all these cries from Congress that President Trump is “likely” to fire Robert Muller, I am curious what qualifies as a “likely” action by the President. Most of the people saying he’s likely to commit to an action also say that his actions are so unpredictable.

    I do question the scope of the Muller investigation. I also question the integrity of the investigator, since there are conflicts of interest between Muller and some of the issues being investigated by him and his panel.

    As for the idea of him closing the investigation on his own before he finds another to charge with a crime, I ask why he has been allowed to widen his investigative net so far beyond anything that allegedly happened in the 2016 Presidential election campaign.

    1. A likely action by Trump is usually something he has hitherto sworn that he wouldn’t do.

      1. An “unlikely” action is that wildbill99 will ever post anything that makes sense!

        1. Yawn. Here you go. Trump is a despicable and morally impaired sack of shite.

          Did you get it?

  14. Trump won’t do anything he can’t weasel out of or use to create the chaos that hides his buffoonery and incompetence. He just might flip out; that would be worth the mess he has created.

      1. wildbill99, please ask Darren Smith to delete your post immediately above. There is a threat of cyber harassment stalking this blawg.

  15. Here Professor Turley acknowledges that Trump was foolish to fire James Comey. The professor also believes that Mueller’s probe should continue until all issues are resolved. I agree.

    But Trump, and his defenders, have sent out numerous signals that they wish to have Mueller removed. These signals are then picked up by pundits on Fox News and echoed back to Trump in what is essentially an information loop. Trump hears the echoes and mistakes them for support. Professor Turley is aware of this loop. But here he chooses not to address it.

    1. Twitter purged “Russian bots” and Trump fans vanished. Richard Spencer lost 1000 followers. Janna Deplorable (ChizMAGA), lost 2000 followers and, “SparkleMAGA is the NRA”, lost 4000 followers (Feb. 21, 2018 Metro).
      The echoing back comes in lockstep from Russia and Fox.

    2. Here Professor Turley acknowledges that Trump was foolish to fire James Comey.

      What’s interesting about you is the vanity incorporated into every sentence.

        1. James Comey leaked information and lied under oath. He also was part of a conspiracy to get Hillary elected and then to force Trump out. His firing was recommended by Deep State Rosenstein. Why shouldn’t he have been fired by Trump?

          1. Was Comey’s announcement that Hillary’s investigation was “back on!” days before the election part of his conspiracy to get her elected? If so, he has to be the absolute worst conspirator in modern history.

            1. He was responding to a written congressional inquiry. He could either lie, try to stonewall, or tell them that was in fact happening. (And it was Abedin / Weiner who were under inspection). Amazing all the activity Page, Sztrok, both Ohr’s, and Andrew McCabe were engaged in and apparently Comey had nothing to do with any of it. Such a distracted busy busy man.

  16. Hmmmm has there been any credible evidence that Trump intends or plans to fire Meuller? I suspect much of this is hysteria diverting attention from something more important like Amazon and Freedom of
    Religion.

    1. Trump’s spokesman just flat out lied about firing David Shulkin, why should we believe anything that they say about Robert Mueller? This administration lies like Trump, which is often and without any apparent shame.

Comments are closed.