The Education of George Latimer

This is a Dec. 7 Facebook post by Westchester County Executive-elect George Latimer: “Sean Hannity said the other night that Robert Mueller’s investigation was ‘a disgrace to the American justice system’ and his team was ‘corrupt, abusively biased and political.’

“No, it’s Sean Hannity that’s long been abusively biased and political. The damage done to America in one year is incalculable and he has been a rah-rah cheerleader for defending the indefensible every step of the way.”

I certainly hope that Mr. Latimer is more knowledgeable about Westchester County issues than national issues. Let us look at Mr. Mueller’s investigation.

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On Dec. 2, President Trump tweeted: “So, General Michael Flynn lies to the FBI and his life is destroyed, while Crooked Hillary Clinton, on that now famous FBI holiday ‘interrogation’ with no swearing in and no recording, lies many times…and nothing happens to her? Rigged system, or just a double standard?”

He was talking about a Mueller investigator named Peter Strzok. He is the person who ran the Hillary Clinton email server investigation. He was married to a Hillary supporter while at the same time conducting an adulterous affair with a government lawyer, part of the investigation team who was also a Hillary supporter, and there are emails between the two dissing Trump. We know they all were Hillary supporters because they gave the maximum donations to her presidential campaign. Yet, this was the guy running the Hillary Clinton email server investigation.

He was also a chief investigator for Mueller. Through the Freedom of Information Act and continued stonewalling by the FBI, we only found out last week that Mueller had to let him go this past summer because of his anti-Trump tweets.

In fact, some of the investigators on this Trump-Russia “collusion” probe donated to the Hillary campaign. Despite this, all they have come up with are process crimes and crimes allegedly committed before Trump was even thinking about running for office. This says that the actual foundation of the investigation, collusion, came up empty.

Yet, there is no end in sight. Why? Well, last week, Sen. Dianne Feinstein from California said the investigation into Trump-Russia collusion has become an obstruction-of-justice investigation. This was after it was reported that Mueller was looking into Trump’s financial records dating to before he was a candidate. You had to ask, what do those records have to do with Russia collusion? Feinstein answered that.

Now, in a court of law, the president could not be charged with that. He heads the Justice Department as it is part of the executive branch. The reason a president cannot be guilty of obstruction of justice is because he runs the executive branch and, as such, is entitled to know everything going on there and can fire anybody he wants at any time. However, there would be consequences, that being impeachment or the threat of.

As I said in past columns, impeachment is not a legal remedy but a political remedy and that is why both Nixon and Clinton could be charged with that. In the end, Nixon resigned before he could be impeached and Clinton was impeached on the charge of perjury. Impeachment is a political act and, therefore, requires the will of the American people to succeed. That is why Clinton was not convicted in the Senate.

So, it could be said that the Mueller investigation has morphed from a collusion investigation into an impeachment investigation. In the case of Russian collusion, after a year of investigation by partisan investigators, there isn’t any evidence. What they were trying to do, and the Flynn saga proves it, was try to criminalize a presidential transition. From the moment Trump won the election and announced Flynn as head of national security, Flynn had every right to contact foreign dignitaries on behalf of the incoming administration so they would hit the ground running. All incoming administrations do it.

I know, you keep hearing about the Logan Act. The Logan Act was passed in 1799 under John Adams that criminalizes negotiation by “unauthorized persons” with foreign governments having a dispute with the United States. Flynn, at the time of contacts, did not fit that description.

What is happening here, and I have said this in past columns also, is there is a concerted effort to get Trump out of office. However, before that is realized, he must be  totally discredited. From the beginning, the establishment could not stand that an outsider had come in and become the most powerful man in the free world.

So if you look at Flynn copping a plea for lying to the FBI in the context of collusion, you’re missing the boat. That’s not what this is about. This is an impeachment investigation. Obstruction of justice is not the crime; obstruction of justice occurs while investigating the crime. That is why it is a process crime. That means it relates to the interference in the investigation of an underlying transaction that may or may not be criminal.

Part of the obstruction case rests with Trump’s firing of James Comey. However, the president may not be prosecuted in a criminal judicial proceeding for exercising his discretion, however objectionable it might be. It’s an executive matter over which the courts have no power of review. Trump fires Comey, the courts don’t have a say in it. That’s the judicial branch. It’s not their area. If Mueller tries to indict Trump, Trump would have unfettered discretion to fire Mueller and to direct the Justice Department to drop the case. He can do all of that.

However, I am convinced that this investigation is not for legal reasons, not for a court of law. The Democrats are counting on winning the House and Senate in 2018, so this is about a future case for impeachment. Fact is, it could be impeachable if they can make the case in the trial at the Senate.

I hope Mr. Latimer learned something today.

This is what I say. What say you?

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

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