(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)
In the beginning of the week Trump took a victory lap because the Democrats blinked and ended the government shutdown over DACA almost before it began. It was clear that they were losing the messaging war, being accused of putting the interests of illegal immigrants before the US military, in spite of the fact that 87% of the population wants the Dreamers to stay in the US and that Mitch McConnell shot down Claire McCaskill’s motion to keep the military paid during the shutdown. The Democrats had to give up their leverage on the budget but the administration is not out of the woods. Every day there is no solution for DACA the day comes closer that Dreamers will be deported to uncertain futures in countries they have never known, which will be a disgusting sight that Republicans with a minimal brain and conscience will want to avoid, but that the Freedom Caucus and White House staffers like Stephen Miller appear to be shooting for. The White House’s latest proposal, a path to citizenship for the Dreamers in exchange for the wall and an end to chain migration and the VISA lottery, has already been rejected by the Democrats, who will remind voters that the DACA problem was created by the president and nobody else.
If Trump, who is unable to look farther ahead than the next episode of ‘Fox and Friends,’ may have felt that he did well with DACA, on the Mueller front not so much. The news trickled out that Michael Flynn never told anybody that he was interviewed by the FBI in his White House office, and also that Jeff Sessions has recently been interviewed by Mueller. That information, combined with Mueller’s earlier interviewing James Comey, led many pundits to the conclusion that the Special Counsel is primarily focusing on obstruction of justice, in particular the firing of Comey after Trump asked him to let go of Flynn a day after Flynn had been fired for lying to the FBI. But it didn’t stop there. It turned out that Trump called Andrew McCabe, the acting FBI Director after Comey’s firing, into his office to ask him who he had voted for in the presidential election, a totally unacceptable test of loyalty, after which Trump publicly attacked McCabe numerous times, making him, in his own words, a ‘star’ of his speeches. And then the news broke that Trump had tried to fire Mueller one month after his appointment, but failed to do so because the White House Counsel threatened to resign.
In the meantime Devin Nunes, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, was running around with a memo he had written himself that would reveal the existence of a ‘secret society’ in the FBI of anti-Trump conspirators. Initially nobody was allowed to see the memo, but gradually it became obvious that it is based on lovers’ banter between two FBI employees and also mentions Mueller, Comey and McCabe. Even Jeff Sessions’s Department of Justice told Nunes to cut the crap.
Before it became known that Trump had already once tried to fire Mueller he declared in a Q&A with reporters that he was looking forward to being interviewed by the Special Counsel. He would do so under oath, an empty promise because lying to the FBI is a crime whether under oath or not. The whole offer was soon withdrawn by one of Trump’s lawyers, clearly afraid that Trump would commit perjury.
In the same Q&A, when asked about obstruction of justice, Trump said ‘you fight back, and that’s what they call it.’ That may play well with his base, but not with Mueller, who now knows that Trump tried to fire him, but gained some job security knowing that Trump is less likely to try again.
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