FBI Director Fired
By now, you all know what’s going on. While we were already doing our tasks to keep America going and while we were enjoying our lives (or at least trying), the foundations on which we’ve built nearly everything in this country eroded much like the PCH in California when they finally got rain. Republicans prayed for rain and got a mudslide. They got their candidate into office, and somehow, their own guy managed to mess with the whole country so bad and at so at its core that even Republicans are furious. This just shows that, in one day, everything we fought for when building this country can be taken away. People say freedom can be lost in one generation. I think it’s clear how much sooner that could happen.
The United States has independent bodies, checks and balances, EVERYWHERE. The idea is basically this: power sucks. The idea is that you need to find anyone who has power and limit that person to the point that they need to confer with people above them, below them, laterally, and people coming at them from all directions in order to ensure that power doesn’t get misused.
By firing FBI Director Comey because the director was looking into anything from corruption to possible treason with quick detours through computer crimes conspiracy, bribery, and aiding and abetting espionage. Trump colluded with the Russians, he’s said he won’t release his visitor logs, he discussed critical intelligence data with the Russians, and he fired the person who was trying to figure out if any of this warrants punishment for him. Frankly, you should be allowed to fire that person, but you should NOT be allowed to fire them when they’re investigating you. Trump says it’s “impossible” to have a conflict of interest. YEAH RIGHT!
So many members of Congress have demanded a special prosecutor. This would be someone so independent that even Trump can’t figure out how to control him or her…yet. I’m sure he’s looking for a way. At the moment, I think the only thing he won’t do is directly threatening such a person. He may, though, use a microphone at many events to say things like “This person is totally isolated. This person has been given total independence. Such a person is in a dangerous position if they conclude something that no one likes. I’m just sayin’.” He may try to say this while discussing that the idea of such a person is against our rules of checks and balances because no one is overseeing that person’s investigation.
Anyway, Trump’s an idiot.
What’s happened so far is there’s been a Special Counsel. The DOJ appointed this person so uh oh Jeff Sessions. NOPE! Not this time, Trump! Sessions already recused himself so his Deputy Attorney General appointed to General Counsel a FORMER FBI DIRECTOR. That’s a pretty good idea for investigative purposes and also not what Trump was hoping for. I don’t like the jabbing back and forth and the games we have to play, but Trump is playing games, and we won’t this round when we got Robert Mueller as special counsel.
Nearly everyone in Congress is excited about not only getting a special counsel but that it is Robert Mueller. Senator Chuck Schumer is finally able to breathe, and overall, everyone from intelligence committee members to representatives in positions not related to the investigation’s core areas is excited they have a shot at getting their country back.
However, is this really going to change anything? At this point, is there anything Mueller can do now that Comey is gone? How is this going to improve the investigation? What is the difference between a special counsel and a special prosecutor? Well, it used to be that an independent panel of three judges would appoint a special counsel, which is largely the same of a special prosecutor. Before Nixon, the President and Attorney General could do this. Since Nixon was the subject of an investigation, Congress created this panel judges because, obviously the President and anyone directly under his or her employ couldn’t be trusted. After issues with the way that panel behaved when Bill Clinton was President, that panel was disbanded. However, Democrats now are still trying to get it. So maybe this was a compromise.
So what’s going to come of this DOJ-appointed special counsel? Frankly, I think Sessions’ recusal makes it possible that Mueller might not be someone they appointed to do whatever the DOJ and therefore Trump wants him to do. See, Jeff Sessions would do whatever Trump wanted, but a former FBI director would never do that. Furthermore, the deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein found it disgusting that Trump asked Comey to stop investigating Flynn. So it’s pretty clear that Mr. Rosenstein didn’t choose Mueller in order to appoint someone who would do whatever Trump said. He’s even clearer, with Mueller as counsel, that Trump will not be able to influence this investigation.
So, in short, it’s possible this can go somewhere. However, anyone excited about impeachment should know impeachment is very unlikely. It’s much more likely to get a Democratic Congress in 2018 or enough Democrats in House to then vote to begin impeachment proceedings. However, at that point. enough people will get the feeling that he won’t be reelected and that it would be better for him to leave office that way by losing reelection. So even if Democrats win enough seats and then enough votes to indict, which, if put to a vote in the Senate, would lead to an easy conviction, I don’t think they’ll actually vote to impeach. Frankly, it’s a little immature, but I do think they’ll talk about it endlessly. I don’t think they’ll do it, though. Perhaps a little similar to the back and forth bickering for Supreme Court, they’ll constantly debate impeachment but this time using that as a way to then back down and get something smaller than that. So, I think it’s safe to say, though the general public and a few representatives are leading the charge on impeachment, it’s likely to stay that way and not move beyond a few Congresspeople and constant Twitter outrage. All of this is good, especially speaking out and getting your opinion heard and noticed and remembered, but it’s not going to gain enough momentum to actually move to indict in the House. Since the Senate isn’t allowed to do that and wouldn’t if they could either, we’ll be seeing Trump at least through 2020. I sincerely hope he gets just one term.
So, with all this in mind, aren’t we forgetting something? Who is going to lead the FBI? That’s right. We don’t have someone doing that right now.
The front-runner for the position is Senator Joe Lieberman, and the person Trump ask previously, Senator Cornyn, who standoffishly and immediately rejected the offer, said that Senator Lieberman is the only real option. He says he is the only one who would get a unanimous vote in the Senate. Democrats have said that they prefer someone with law enforcement experience, and I have to say I agree extremely. I don’t see how you can have someone leading an investigative body without experience in law enforcement. That said, we have a tradition of civilian leadership of military branches so perhaps there’s something to it or at least that it’s okay. Frankly, I know Joe Lieberman’s demeanor, which I believe is calm and analytical but fierce when he has all the facts and is ready to pull the trigger. To me, that’s a great attitude for what the FBI faces everyday.
Regardless of all this, can the Russia investigation actually continue with Comey gone? In short, yes. However, when you get into the details, I see it as impossible because it was already hard and now with Comey gone, there’s a lot of unknowns. With Comey not able to do his job, whatever knowledge he had and any intuition from having had actual conversations with Trump is now useless. Comey will testify, but to make that information useful, that information will have to be translated and reorganized to be used by the FBI in the way that they conduct investigations, which is far different from the way Congress might ask questions in an investigative manner in a one-day public testimony.
In short, they’re going to have to start all over, and it was already hard to begin with. Therefore, whatever they had before will be missing and what was already missing will be unrecoverable. Furthermore, some information that they get going forward will take the place of old information but still won’t be enough to get to conclusive findings. I’m not expert on these types of investigations, but I am very well-versed in what’s been going on with cyber security and have followed the Russia controversy from the beginning. It’s going to be tough, the FBI will see it through and with immense accuracy, but I don’t see the evidence adding up to an amount that meets any typical FBI standard that governs drawing conclusions. In this case, that standard would be much higher, and without tarnishing the FBI’s integrity, I don’t see how they can come up with a conclusion that is enough to make a final call on whether or not the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians. They hacked, they manipulated, and they influenced the outcome whether they changed the outcome or not — they do that in many many countries — but I don’t think we’ll ever know whether Trump helped or asked for it.
What can we do to give this investigation the best shot of succeeding? We need to demand visitor logs at the White House. We need to demand Trump’s tax returns and any tax returns of his close associates involved the campaign. We also absolutely need a special prosecutor. We DON’T have that. A special counsel is still not enough. Call your Congressperson and enforce that a compromise to at least get special counsel is not independent enough!