If it’s a witch hunt, it’s working

One thing is certain about the federal investigation being led by Robert Mueller that Donald Trump calls “a witch hunt”.

It sure is finding a lot of witches.

As reported last week by conservative journalist Max Boot:

“Mueller has won 35 indictments and six convictions — including Trump’s national security adviser Michael Flynn, campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates. You can make that 37 indictments and eight convictions if you count Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal lawyer, and Sam Patten, a lobbyist linked to Manafort, who pleaded guilty in other jurisdictions to charges arising from Mueller’s work. Cohen’s plea deal was particularly significant, because he implicated the president in a conspiracy to violate federal campaign-finance laws. Even if Mueller were to end his probe tomorrow he already would be judged one of the most successful special counsels in history.

Mueller’s latest triumph came last week when Manafort, having already been convicted of eight felony counts, agreed to plead guilty to two more counts to avoid another trial. In return for having the other charges dropped, Manafort pledged to cooperate with the special counsel. Trump and his lawyers have adopted a mantra of ‘no collusion,’ as if that were the only crime of which he could possibly be guilty, but Manafort represents collusion in the flesh: He is a longtime agent for Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs who worked closely with a suspected Russian intelligence operative.”

None of the indictments, convictions, or guilty pleas have implicated Donald Trump as far as has been made public, but the investigation is not over and there is no clear indication of how long it will continue. After all, this is a complicated and far-reaching legal case involving a foreign government and billions of dollars. It took Republicans four years and millions of dollars to investigate Hillary Clinton’s emails and all they got was one indictment of an employee of the tech firm hired by the Clintons to install, secure, and maintain their private computer system.

It remains to be seen what else the Mueller investigation will reveal and how much further up the Trump administration the arrests might go. Whether Trump colluded with Russia as some of his staff members did might never be proven one way or the other. It is entirely possible that Trump was unaware of the actions by some of his campaign staffers to cooperate with the Russian government’s efforts to defeat Hillary Clinton.

South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham’s assessment of Trump’s involvement is that Trump is not even capable of colluding with his own government, much less a foreign power, and that Trump “cannot even collude with his own staff.” Graham also said that, “To collude, you gotta sit down, come up with a plan, and stick with it. Trump’s not good at that.”

I agree with Sen. Graham for once.

But if Trump did not participate in the plan to interfere and affect the results of the 2016 election, the large number of indictments, convictions, and guilty pleas by his staff members and advisors clearly call his judgment into question. How can a man as powerful and controlling as Trump surround himself with so many criminals and so much criminal activity without even knowing it? And now that the wrongdoing is public knowledge, why is he defending the criminals and attacking law enforcement agencies instead of the other way around?

There are obvious comparisons between the Watergate investigation and the Russian investigation. Both cases involved criminal activity designed to affect the outcome of a presidential election, with those criminal actions being committed by members of the president’s staff and Republican supporters. Once it was proven that Nixon was not only aware of the illegal activities but complicit in them, there was no doubt that he was going to be removed from office and probably imprisoned. This led to the deal in which he would resign from office in exchange for a presidential pardon from Gerald Ford. Democrats went along with the plan as a way to end the scandal and move the country forward.

If Trump is proved to have conspired with a foreign government to affect our election of a president, I do not think for a second he will resign, and I do not believe our Republican-led Congress has the integrity to impeach him. Even if they did, I doubt we would be any better off with Mike Pence as president, as his primary goal seems to be to destroy the First Amendment and turn the U.S. into a theocracy with himself as the ruler.

We will just have to wait and see what happens next as Mueller continues his work. To pass the time, I am reading Bob Woodward’s new book, “Fear.” I highly recommend it.