“In fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said, ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story, it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.’ ” Donald Trump in Lester Holt NBC interview
With the enemy Donald Trump has, he doesn't need any friends. Because they can't do him any good. He is his enemy, his own worst enemy. Against him, his friends are powerless.
This past week, in the wake of his firing FBI Director James Comey, Trump's staff gallantly tried to protect him from legal repercussions, but he defied them and walked right into culpability for an impeachable offense and possibly jail time for the crime of obstruction of justice.
Immediately after the firing, the staff repeatedly told the media that Trump fired Comey because of a Department of Justice recommendation. This reason could negate a charge of obstruction of justice by showing Trump's motive had nothing to do with protecting himself from Comey's increasingly heated investigation of possible Trump campaign/Russian collusion in interfering in the 2016 election.
But ever the willful egotist, Trump defied his staff's protective efforts and went on NBC with Lester Holt to announce most forcefully that, all on his own, he had decided to fire Comey. President Trump's Full Interview With Lester Holt: Firing Of ... In the very same sentence, he said it was because he "told myself" that the Russian story was a fake and had gone on too long. (Also see Comey’s firing shows White House problems go far beyond communications strategy)
Well, there you are. In referring to the Russian investigation Trump has enunciated a criminal motive for obstruction of justice. Out of the mouth of the idiot...
Help yourself, you folks on the coming impeachment panel in the House and you federal criminal prosecutors. Trump is serving up the case against himself. Smile and help yourselves to all you need.
He did the same thing and scuttled his own defense of the Muslim ban. The courts used his prior anti-Muslim remarks to decide that the ban was unconstitutional. Because he actually voiced his anti-Muslim sentiment he provided a clear picture of his real intent.
Trump didn't understand why he kept losing his Muslim ban case in federal court. Nor does he understand that he just blew his best defense against obstruction of justice. He can't understand that he has to keep his mouth shut.
Someone in the White House apparently tried to explain the rudiments to him of the importance of motive in an obstruction case. Thus that odd sentence in Trump's letter firing Comey, i.e. Trump's claim that Comey had three times told him that he was not under FBI investigation. That looks like a rather feeble and awkward attempt to preclude the motive required for obstruction of justice. From that sentence, supposedly Trump knew he had nothing personal to fear from the investigation.
Is that peculiar sentence enough? Is it enough even now when Trump himself has publicly stated that ending the Russian investigation was his actual motive?
To believe Trump, a judge in this case would likely have to see some proof that Comey had given this reassurance to Trump. Then she'd have to consider whether Trump's asking three times was evidence that assurances weren't enough to preclude his having personal motive. She'd also have to wonder if he realized, or perhaps was told, at any point, that today's focus of an investigation can change tomorrow. A judge wouldd also look at the fact he's bragging about having brought in "a very big team of the very, very best attorneys" to advise him. Even if they are not actually the very, very best, wouldn't they at least have told him that he can't rely on an investigation continuing to exclude him.
And what's a judge to think of Trump's asking Comey if the latter was loyal to him. What is it he fears that requires him to have Comey's "loyalty"? Is he afraid of the Russian investigation and this still has a motive to obstruct it? And hasn't he made things even worse by tweeting that Comey had better be careful of what he now says because of what Trump may have taped of their conversations.
Whoa, Nellie! Isn't that intimidation of a potential witness?
We can never truly know what's in a person's mind regarding motive so — up to a point — the law allows us to infer motive from words and actions. Frankly, I don't think there's a very big jump here to infer that Trump was scared to death by what Comey was doing and wanted it stopped and/or Comey gone.
If the issue goes to a House committee drafting articles of impeachment, the test of what constitutes sufficient evidence of motive is whatever the committee members say it is. The bar for proof is lower in the House than in a court because an impeachment proceeding is a political one, not a criminal one.
Anyway, it appears that Trump and his big mouth have caused him to shoot himself in one foot (the Muslim ban case) and then in the other foot (the firing of Comey).
Why does Trump do such stupid stuff? Because he can't help playing to his base. He thinks they want him to be the Lone Ranger who shot down Comey all on his own, not someone merely enforcing a recommendation from a department head. That'd be like the Lone Ranger taking orders from Tonto.
And Trump's right about the needs of his base. That's exactly the strong-man I-don't-need-no-stinkin'-badges persona that his deluded base wants. They feel helpless in a world wheeling out of their control. No more high-wage laboring jobs. No more white male supremacy. They can't even openly express disdain for groups they disdain. Political correctness, equality, international trade, robots taking jobs. How do they fight such stuff?
They hire the Lone Ranger.
But this isn't the Old West. And Trump sure ain't no Lone Ranger.
In fact, Trump is just plain Lone. Tonto long ago went to college and then started his own techie company.
As soon as the GOP perceives big losses coming in the 2018 election, Donald Trump will be even more Lone. He will be so lone, that he will be a Hopalong Cassidy. Yeah, hopping along right out of the presidency by impeachement or loss of a second term in 2020 or being handcuffed and off to prison.
Hi Ho Silver for sure! Even "big fella" will have deserted Lone.
One more thing. Tonto made it big in tech, is now a Democrat, and contributes to political campaigns and environmental efforts. He's very happy and doesn't miss Lone at all. His grandchildren have no idea what he's talking about regarding the "bad old days", but being Native American they have too much respect for their elders to discourage his speaking to them about anything, even about cow-catchers on steam trains. They consider it an honor. They are glad, however, that he didn't wear a mask in the old days.