Trump's outrageous effort to undermine his investigators

Article Image

New York Times reported that President Donald Trump asked Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker to put a Trump-supporting, recused US attorney in charge of the investigation into Michael Cohen. CNN's Erin Burnett reports on the "explosive charges."

Posted: Feb 20, 2019 2:50 AM
Updated: Feb 20, 2019 2:50 AM

How many will be corrupted, plead guilty, endure convictions, or be sent to prison before the legal and political systems end the slow-motion national tragedy that is the Trump administration?

This is the logical question that must be asked in the wake of The New York Times revelation that the President has spent two years trying to subvert the investigation into his Russia connections.

The President has publicly criticized the probe more than 1,000 times, according to another New York Times article. Meanwhile, he has reportedly pressured a variety of officials to influence the investigation. This approach, which the Times says involves attempts at "intimidation" and "humiliation," imperiled officials whether they gave in to pressure from the President or not. Most recently, House Democrats are scrutinizing whether former acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker committed perjury when he denied that he was subject to Trump's pressuring, according to the New York Times. A spokeswoman for the Justice Department said that Whitaker is standing by his testimony, stating: "Under oath to the House Judiciary Committee, then-Acting Attorney General Whitaker stated that 'at no time has the White House asked for nor have I provided any promises or commitments concerning the special counsel's investigation or any other investigation."

In a reprise of his long-running effort to get Whitaker's predecessor Jeff Sessions to "un-recuse" himself from Russia matters, Trump allegedly asked Whitaker if it was possible to have the US attorney for the Southern District of New York, Geoffrey Berman, who had also recused himself due to a conflict of interest, take over the work his office was doing on the same issues, according to the New York Times. If Berman had taken over, he could have altered the prosecution of Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen.

Cohen has pleaded guilty to crimes committed in the payoff made to adult film star Stormy Daniels to prevent her from alleging an affair with Trump during the 2016 election campaign. Trump denies the affair. Not declared as a campaign contribution, this payment was reimbursed by the President. Cohen's role reflected his intense loyalty to Trump and his status as a man who was long trusted with Trump secrets.

Although, according to the Times, it is "unclear" what Whitaker did after Trump made this request, the reporting appears to contradict Whitaker's sworn testimony before Congress and could put him in great legal peril. In this he joins a host of people, beginning with Cohen, who have been burned by their associations with a candidate-turned-President who has made norm-busting a hallmark. Michael Flynn, former national security adviser; Paul Manafort, former campaign chairman; Rick Gates, former assistant campaign manager; and George Papadopoulos, former adviser, have all been convicted of crimes thanks to their Trump connections, although many of their crimes are unrelated to their work on Trump's campaign. The President's longest friend in politics, Roger Stone, stands charged and awaits prosecution.

All of this could have been predicted on the basis of Trump's record even before he declared that he would run for the presidency in the summer of 2015. As a businessman, his businesses' multiple bankruptcies, abuse of consumers in the $25 million Trump University fraud, and disgraceful treatment of vendors and bondholders provided insight into his character.

Then came the 2016 election, where Trump announced his candidacy with false claims about immigrants and crime, and proceeded to create a fissure between Trump supporters and those who refused to back him during the primaries. His name-calling and innuendo, including the suggestion that Ted Cruz's father was involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy, would have been laughable if they hadn't been so destructive. After securing the nomination, Trump saw no need to hew to facts, or even exhibit basic decency, as he reveled in calls for his opponent to be imprisoned.

Trump's rule-breaking has set the conditions for similar behavior in those surrounding him. The firings, resignations, and scandals have come at a furious pace, as those who respond to Trump have struggled to stand up to him while also maintaining standards that he has broken. This challenge, of confronting a rule-breaker without sacrificing one's own morality, forces people to make choices. The press, for example, has had to get used to calling out Trump's distortions, labeling his lies as lies. Career public servants, including former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, have had to make similar choices, sometimes crossing lines they presumably would rather not cross because of the emergency Trump presents.

In his new book about the Trump era, McCabe has told stories that would normally be kept secret within the Department of Justice. This includes his reports about concerns that Trump might be serving Russia's interest, and not America's. McCabe has been criticized for deciding to reveal this issue and others. It is possible that he is discomfited by it all but felt a duty to speak. Critics may say McCabe is settling scores and selling books. He seems to me to be sounding an alarm.

Alarms have been ringing ever since Trump announced he wanted to be president, and they have grown steadily louder. As President he has used the bully-boy tactics of intimidation, humiliation, and threats that he employed in his long life before the White House. Resistant to change, certain of his superiority, he recognizes no higher calling than the sound of his own ego. He only knows the methods revealed by the Times, McCabe and others, and will not stop until someone forces him to.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 996341

Reported Deaths: 16245
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1343262101
Lake658231151
Allen57160791
Hamilton45963460
St. Joseph43954607
Elkhart35546503
Vanderburgh31975473
Tippecanoe27694256
Johnson24821440
Hendricks23647353
Porter22735362
Madison18538404
Clark18383248
Vigo17274300
Monroe15117197
LaPorte14987249
Delaware14931256
Howard14574286
Kosciusko12166147
Hancock11597175
Bartholomew11447179
Warrick11225188
Floyd10983214
Wayne10840248
Grant9898217
Morgan9361176
Boone8819115
Dubois8210129
Dearborn815492
Henry8107150
Noble7944106
Marshall7786134
Cass7462119
Lawrence7379168
Shelby7115114
Jackson691788
Gibson6480113
Harrison641591
Huntington630299
Knox6269105
DeKalb623796
Montgomery6184109
Miami586595
Putnam573477
Clinton567171
Whitley558055
Steuben550473
Wabash5250101
Jasper520475
Jefferson504695
Ripley492485
Adams472773
Daviess4596112
Scott433968
Greene421196
Wells419787
Clay418460
White414261
Decatur4118101
Fayette402186
Jennings383260
Posey374243
LaGrange352078
Washington352049
Randolph339999
Spencer336442
Fountain331858
Sullivan326652
Starke310868
Owen310169
Fulton304566
Orange290562
Jay278445
Perry264452
Franklin262742
Carroll258232
Rush257232
Vermillion254254
Parke229726
Pike227343
Tipton225659
Blackford187840
Pulaski181155
Crawford158122
Newton155648
Benton150117
Brown144047
Martin137319
Switzerland133911
Warren120116
Union106615
Ohio84012
Unassigned0532

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1494160

Reported Deaths: 23327
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1623021662
Cuyahoga1442512412
Hamilton1042291409
Montgomery729771240
Summit607921094
Lucas55462904
Butler50923707
Stark457361053
Lorain34972568
Warren32373369
Mahoning30168672
Clermont27861321
Lake26543434
Delaware23920162
Licking23442283
Trumbull22420552
Fairfield22117241
Greene22014311
Medina21673305
Clark19567349
Richland18260280
Portage17616247
Wood17174220
Allen15672269
Miami15305296
Muskingum14481174
Columbiana13656263
Wayne13538263
Tuscarawas12415298
Marion11760175
Scioto11336154
Pickaway11264141
Erie10613180
Ross10425196
Lawrence9638137
Hancock9504149
Ashtabula9410197
Belmont9086197
Geauga8795157
Jefferson8455191
Huron8193139
Union809156
Washington8009137
Sandusky7677145
Athens767072
Knox7571138
Darke7530151
Seneca7184144
Ashland6776125
Auglaize664896
Shelby6392111
Brown627382
Crawford6159130
Mercer606793
Defiance6059102
Fulton590596
Highland587199
Madison585776
Clinton575190
Logan569092
Guernsey568467
Preble5640121
Putnam5238108
Williams516784
Perry511761
Champaign502971
Jackson495470
Ottawa477886
Coshocton468382
Morrow449056
Pike429962
Fayette420760
Adams409987
Gallia409865
Hardin409276
Van Wert362378
Henry357171
Holmes3549122
Hocking350378
Wyandot316561
Carroll295459
Paulding275145
Meigs257849
Monroe212153
Noble195646
Morgan190132
Harrison177842
Vinton161724
Unassigned05
Fort Wayne
Clear
43° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 38°
Angola
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 41°
Huntington
Clear
43° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 38°
Decatur
Clear
43° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 38°
Van Wert
Partly Cloudy
43° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 39°
Sunday is another cool day with breezy conditions and plenty of sunshine.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events