Two Developments In Trump Russia Scandal

Ken AshfordL'Affaire Russe, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

CNN was on a roll last night, breaking two stories — first, the smaller one:

(1) The right wing and Fox News have been making much of emails between two FBI agents, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. The two were having an illicit affair, but more importantly, their emails to each other show a strong anti-Trump bias.  When Mueller found out about these emails last June, he filed Strzok from the investigation team, for the APPEARANCE of impropriety. Trump and Fox News have tried to shoe-horn these emails into the narrative that the entire intelligence community — and Mueller — are biased against Trump.  The narrative is silly because nobody expects individuals in the intelligence community to be void of political views. They’re just not supposed to let it taint their work, and there is no evidence that it ever did with Strzok and Page.

CNN blew that narrative out of the water:

Emails obtained by CNN show the FBI agent at the center of a Capitol Hill storm played a key role in a controversial FBI decision that upended Hillary Clinton’s campaign just days before the 2016 election: the letter to Congress by then-FBI Director James Comey announcing the bureau was investigating newly discovered Clinton emails.

The new revelation about FBI agent Peter Strzok comes as Republicans accuse him of being sympathetic to Clinton while seeking to undermine Donald Trump during the heat of the 2016 campaign season.

Strzok, who co-wrote what appears to be the first draft that formed the basis of the letter Comey sent to Congress, also supported reopening the Clinton investigation once the emails were discovered on disgraced former Rep. Anthony Weiner’s laptop, according to a source familiar with Strzok’s thinking. The day after Strzok sent his draft to his colleagues, Comey released the letter to Congress, reigniting the email controversy in the final days of the campaign.

In other words, Strzok helped write the letter that basically lost the election for Clinton and handed it to Trump. So much for his bias.

(2)  Of more importance, CNN discovered that as late as last month, Trump was still trying to get would could be described as loyalty from “independent” law enforcement leaders…. this time Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein himself, Since AG Session recused himself from anything Mueller-related, this means that Rosenstein is the only person who can carry out (or NOT carry out) a presidential order to fire Mueller. This is why this CNN report is troubling:

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein visited the White House in December seeking President Donald Trump’s help. The top Justice Department official in the Russia investigation wanted Trump’s support in fighting off document demands from House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes.

But the President had other priorities ahead of a key appearance by Rosenstein on the Hill, according to sources familiar with the meeting. Trump wanted to know where the special counsel’s Russia investigation was heading. And he wanted to know whether Rosenstein was “on my team.”

The episode is the latest to come to light portraying a President whose inquiries sometimes cross a line that presidents traditionally have tried to avoid when dealing with the Justice Department, for which a measure of independence is key. The exchange could raise further questions about whether Trump was seeking to interfere in the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is looking into potential collusion by the Trump campaign with Russia and obstruction of justice by the White House.

Again, the astounding thing to me is Trump simply not learning that he CANNOT do this.