Donald Trump is already trying to impede former FBI Director Robert Mueller’s efforts to investigate the administration’s ties to Moscow.
Having already proven his penchant for obstructing all kinds of justice and having recently been stupid enough to i) threaten the FBI Director he just fired on Twitter, and then ii) brag about said firing to two Russians who were quite clearly laughing at how retarded he is in the Oval Office, Trump (who has apparently decided on “burnt-to-a-fucking-crisp-orange” as his face color of choice for his first overseas tour) is looking at ways to derail the special counsel probe.
“The Trump administration is exploring whether it can use an obscure ethics rule to undermine the special counsel investigation,” Reuters reports, adding that “within hours of Mueller’s appointment on Wednesday, the White House began reviewing the Code of Federal Regulations, which restricts newly hired government lawyers from investigating their prior law firm’s clients for one year after their hiring.”
See, although Mueller never actually represented Jared Kushner (who met with a Russian bank executive in December), and Paul Manafort (who everyone knows is guilty), his former law firm, WilmerHale, did/does.
And isn’t this super convenient considering reports out Friday evening that Kushner is in the crosshairs?
So basically, it looks like Mueller needs a waiver.
Well guess where the waiver has to come from? The Justice Department.
That would be the same Justice Department that recommended firing James Comey, the person in charge of the previous investigation into Trump.
Of course the Justice Department appointed Mueller, which certainly makes you wonder whether Rod Rosenstein hired him knowing that his ability to investigate this could be nullified by … wait for it … Rod Rosenstein and Jeff Sessions (actually the DoJ ethics team, but give me a fucking break).
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Trump’s daughter Ivanka and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, are all clients of WilmerHale, the firm Mueller is leaving to assume the position of special prosecutor overseeing the high-profile Russia election probe.
One prominent expert on government ethics rules said Wednesday that lawyers entering federal service would normally be required to recuse themselves from decisions regarding individuals who were represented by the new official’s former firm.
“It’s a possible wrinkle in all off this,” said Richard Painter, a University of Minnesota law professor and former White House ethics lawyer under President George W. Bush. “Usually, there would be a one-year cooling off period.”
However, Painter said that requirement can be waived by Justice Department ethics officials and that he would support them doing so in this instance.
“I would support them using that authority,” Painter said. “It doesn’t really make sense for him to oversee one part of the investigation and recuse from others. … The real risk here is interference by the White House or by [Attorney General Jeff] Sessions’ appointees, not some issue involving WilmerHale.”
Yes, “the real risk here is interference by Jeff Sessions.”
And guess what else? Even if the DoJ does grant the waiver, the White House will still try to throw a wrench in this by slandering Mueller. Here’s Reuters again:
Even if the Justice Department granted a waiver, the White House would consider using the ethics rule to create doubt about Mueller’s ability to do his job fairly, the sources said. Administration legal advisers have been asked to determine if there is a basis for this.
Under this strategy, the sources said the administration would raise the issue in press conferences and public statements.
But the administration is now mainly focused on placing a cloud over his reputation for independence, according to the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Well guess what? It ain’t gonna matter, folks.
This horse has left the barn or maybe this is better: “this bear has left the Kremlin.”
Meanwhile, in Saudi Arabia: