By Robert A. Vella
In the lead-up to the American Civil War, the nation was tearing itself apart over the issue of slavery. A series of conflicting actions in border states (e.g. the Missouri Compromise), as well as some notorious decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court (e.g. Dred Scott decision), all contributed to the worsening cultural divide. If the country could not resolve the issue peacefully, it would resolve it violently. The responsibility to ensure the former fell squarely on America’s political, legal, and judicial institutions. They failed, and the resulting societal costs were horrendous which still linger to this very day.
Today, the nation is tearing itself apart over the issue of President Donald Trump who represents the same ideological sentiments as those espoused by Southern secessionists in the 1850s. And, the same institutions which failed back then have failed once again. What each of them shared is a profound fear to act righteously and courageously when the situation warranted it. Instead, they chose to skirt the issue in order to preserve their own professional careers and reputations. In other words, their own well-being was more important to them than the well-being of their country and fellow citizens. Such cowardice may yet again prove to be very costly.
The recriminations have already begun.
ANY competent public corruption prosecutor would bring obstruction charges against Trump/and win. Only reason Mueller did not was because of the flawed DOJ restriction against indicting a sitting President. He said so (below). Congress now has a constitutional responsibility. pic.twitter.com/SkntzjfS5G
– Eric Holder (@EricHolder) April 19, 2019
– former Attorney General under President Obama [clarification by The Secular Jurist]
“It is good news that there was insufficient evidence to charge the President of the United States with having conspired with a foreign adversary or with having obstructed justice. The alternative would have taken us through a wrenching process with the potential for constitutional crisis. The business of government can move on,” [Senator Mitt] Romney wrote. “Even so, I am sickened at the extent and pervasiveness of dishonesty and misdirection by individuals in the highest office of the land, including the President. I am also appalled that, among other things, fellow citizens working in a campaign for president welcomed help from Russia — including information that had been illegally obtained; that none of them acted to inform American law enforcement; and that the campaign chairman was actively promoting Russian interests in Ukraine.” [clarification by The Secular Jurist]
President Trump’s first GOP primary challenger, former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, is calling the president a “one-man crime wave” a day after the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russia’s election meddling.
“This man is a one-man crime wave,” Weld said in an interview with MSNBC that aired Friday. “He instructed senior legal officials, senior national security, senior intelligence officials to lie, he actively sought out and suborned perjury. That is obstruction of justice.”
Trump, in reaction, is having another conniption fit. He’s currently focusing his rage on the very White House staff members who probably saved his presidency by restraining his impulsiveness.
President Trump seethed Friday over the special counsel’s portrayal of his protracted campaign to thwart the Russia investigation and directed much of his ire at former White House counsel Donald McGahn, whose ubiquity in the report’s footnotes laid bare his extensive cooperation in chronicling the president’s actions.
Some of the report’s most derogatory scenes were attributed not only to the recollections of McGahn and other witnesses but also to the contemporaneous notes kept by several senior administration officials — the kind of paper trail that Trump has long sought to avoid leaving.
From my perspective, there is much blame to go around. Robert Mueller did not live up to the “hero” status which was bestowed upon him by his DOJ colleagues. Attorney General William Barr, of course, proved to be little more than a partisan hack. Opposition Democrats, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, are shying away from impeachment for fear of alienating centrist voters in 2020. But, my greatest condemnation is reserved for Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein whose self-serving cowardice provides the quintessential example for the theme of this post.
WASHINGTON — Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, praised President Trump last spring for backing the rule of law and commended the Constitution and American culture for protecting lawfulness. “I don’t think there’s any threat to the rule of law in America today,” he said at a celebration of the concept.
Mr. Rosenstein left unmentioned that he and other senior leaders at the department and the F.B.I. were enduring Mr. Trump’s sustained attacks on law enforcement in both public and private. The president had demanded Mr. Rosenstein falsely claim responsibility for dismissing the bureau’s director and had toyed with firing the attorney general, prompting Mr. Rosenstein and the Justice Department’s No. 3 official to vow to quit if the termination happened.
The long-awaited report by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, released on Thursday painted a portrait of law enforcement leaders more fiercely under siege than previously known. They struggled to navigate Mr. Trump’s apparent disregard for their mission through a mix of threats to resign, quiet defiance and capitulation to some presidential demands. While their willingness to stay quiet might have protected their institutions, it also helped empower Mr. Trump to continue his attacks.
Mr. Trump made good on some threats, forcing out Attorney General Jeff Sessions the day after the midterm elections in November. The third-ranking Justice Department official, Rachel Brand, left three months before Mr. Rosenstein’s speech to become Walmart’s top lawyer. Mr. Rosenstein, who had an inside look at the investigation as its overseer and at Mr. Trump’s behavior as a top political appointee, is himself set to depart. [emphasis by The Secular Jurist]
NEW YORK (Reuters) – The number of Americans who approve of President Donald Trump dropped by 3 percentage points to the lowest level of the year following the release of a special counsel report detailing Russian interference in the last U.S. presidential election, according to an exclusive Reuters/Ipsos public opinion poll.
The poll, conducted Thursday afternoon to Friday morning, is the first national survey to measure the response from the American public after the U.S. Justice Department released Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s 448-page report that recounted numerous occasions in which Trump may have interfered with the investigation.
According to the poll, 37 percent of adults in the United States approved of Trump’s performance in office, down from 40 percent in a similar poll conducted on April 15 and matching the lowest level of the year. That is also down from 43 percent in a poll conducted shortly after U.S. Attorney General William Barr circulated a summary of the report in March.
Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III detailed multiple contacts among Russian operatives and associates of President Trump in the report made public Thursday. But Mueller repeatedly also lamented what he couldn’t learn — because encrypted communications had put key conversations beyond his reach.
“The Office learned that some of the individuals we interviewed or whose conduct we investigated — including some associated with the Trump Campaign — deleted relevant communications or communicated during the relevant period using applications that feature encryption or that do not provide for long-term retention of data or communications records,” Mueller wrote in his executive summary.
WASHINGTON — Special counsel Robert Mueller’s criminal investigation may be over, but the FBI’s efforts to assess and counter Russian efforts to influence the U.S. political system — including the Trump administration — is continuing, current and former U.S. officials say.
The FBI and other intelligence agencies are pursuing a counterintelligence effort to thwart Russian influence operations in the U.S. and stymie an anticipated Russian effort to interfere in the 2020 election, the officials tell NBC News.
As part of that mission, analysts will continue to drill down on exactly how the Russians interfered in the 2016 election, whether any Americans helped them unwittingly, and whether any American continues to be compromised by Russia, experts say.
Finally, here’s a story about the Ku Klux Klan which I’m sure will evoke the idea of poetic justice.
FARMINGTON, Mo. — The wife of a Missouri Ku Klux Klan leader admitted Friday to fatally shooting her husband.
Malissa Ancona was sentenced to life in prison Friday under a deal in which she pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, tampering with evidence and abandonment of a corpse in the February 2017 death of Frank Ancona Jr., the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Ancona, who had identified himself as a KKK imperial wizard, had recently asked his wife for a divorce, according to officials and court records.
Malissa Ancona initially reported her husband missing, and a family fishing in southeast Missouri found his body near a river days later. She later claimed her son, Paul Jinkerson Jr., shot him while he was sleeping.