President Donald Trump’s playbook could be easily confused with the tactics of a seven-year-old kid on a playground. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of legal basis behind yelling, “AM NOT! But you are!”
So far, Trump’s defense to charges of collusion with Russia during the 2016 election as well as subsequently obstructing justice seems to not rely on proving that he did not do those things.
In the intervening months that have passed since the Department of Justice confirmed their investigation into Trump/Russia ties, Donald has either complained about fairness, or denied he did anything wrong without seeming to understand the nuance of either charge.
It is now commonly agreed, after many months of COSTLY looking, that there was NO collusion between Russia and Trump. Was collusion with HC!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 27, 2017
..under a magnifying glass, they have zero "tapes" of T people colluding. There is no collusion & no obstruction. I should be given apology!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 26, 2017
….Also, there is NO COLLUSION!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 30, 2017
The single greatest Witch Hunt in American history continues. There was no collusion, everybody including the Dems knows there was no collusion, & yet on and on it goes. Russia & the world is laughing at the stupidity they are witnessing. Republicans should finally take control!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 10, 2018
Great jobs numbers and finally, after many years, rising wages- and nobody even talks about them. Only Russia, Russia, Russia, despite the fact that, after a year of looking, there is No Collusion!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 4, 2018
Russia just said the unverified report paid for by political opponents is "A COMPLETE AND TOTAL FABRICATION, UTTER NONSENSE." Very unfair!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2017
Apparently, the lawyers that are tasked with defending Trump and his associates have decided that Trump cannot be trusted with his own defense.
You would think that the best defense to charges of colluding with a foreign power would be to prove that you had no dealings with that foreign power and that you are putting the interests of the United States above the interests of that foreign power. This defense only works if you are actually innocent.
Trump’s legal team is taking a different track, seeking to cast doubt not on the information that proves collusion, but on the legal underpinnings of the way that information was collected.
In March 2017, Trump accused former president Obama of spying on him:
Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
This was laying the groundwork for the first big push to delegitimize any information that the FBI had collected relating to Trump’s communications with Russia.
Later that month, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) would attempt to change the narrative. He failed miserably. Nunes alleged abuses of information procured via Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants. In actuality, President Trump directed on of his staffers (who also worked on the transition team with Nunes) to give documents to Nunes. Nunes then represented these documents as momentous… but in the next weeks had to walk back his entire statement.
The only thing Nunes successfully did was open discussion on exactly why Trump or any of his associates would’ve been in contact with anyone under a FISA warrant.
The FISA court is usually shrouded in mystery. Trump surrogates count on that mystery to remain in order to further their strategy. In reality, the FISA court operates rather independently of the FBI. The judges that decide whether or not to issue surveillance warrants were all appointed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts, himself a Republican appointee.
Further playing on the misunderstandings surrounding the FISA process, this past week Nunes sought the release of his secretively penned memo (not even denying it was written in conjunction with the White House) detailing abuses of the warrant process.
The entire reason the memo was purported to exonerate Trump was that the evidence used to obtain a FISA warrant on Trump campaign advisor Carter Page was based on Democrat-funded opposition research (the Steele dossier).
As quickly as the memo was released, Nunes’ theory was proven wrong. It is absolutely impossible that the Steele dossier was the only information given to secure the FISA warrant against Carter Page in 2016. Page himself touted his role as an informal advisor to the Kremlin as early as 2013. This was after the FBI had advised Page that he was being recruited by Russian spies. He ignored the warning and continued communication with Russian assets. It is rationally inconceivable that these previous interactions with Russian spies were not mentioned in the FISA warrant.
But as usual, facts don’t seem particularly important to Trump. Despite the thorough debunking of the implications in the Nunes memo, Trump doggedly pretends that no one has noticed the lies.
This memo totally vindicates “Trump” in probe. But the Russian Witch Hunt goes on and on. Their was no Collusion and there was no Obstruction (the word now used because, after one year of looking endlessly and finding NOTHING, collusion is dead). This is an American disgrace!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 3, 2018
In order to bolster the increasingly tyrannical president’s notions, White House lawyers have given their support to a new harebrained scheme: I Know You Are But What Am I?
According to reports from Axios:
‘Trump’s attorneys have already approved the idea of appointing a second special counsel to investigate the FBI and Justice Department’s actions during the 2016 presidential campaign.’
Featured image: Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty