Marco Rubio Shares His Thoughts On Robert Mueller, Russia, And Cuba

After President Trump mused about the possibility of firing special counsel Robert Mueller, staffers at the White House reportedly talked him out of it. But, because we can never really predict what Trump is going to do, the question still looms in many minds.

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), appeared on CNN’s State of the Union this weekend, and he faced questions about the possibility of Trump firing Mueller from Jake Tapper:

“Well, first of all, that’s not going to happen,” Rubio noted. “I don’t believe it’s going to happen. And here’s what I would say. The best thing that could happen for the president, and the country, is a full and credible investigation. I really, truly believe that.”

Tapper then pointed out that he didn’t think Trump would fire FBI Director James Comey until he went and did it.

“I don’t think we saw that coming,” Rubio stated. “But I don’t think that has in any way impeded the work of the FBI on these matters.”

When Tapper asked the senator if he had any questions about Mueller’s integrity, he replied that he had “no reason to” and that Mueller’s “reputation is stellar.”

Rubio also noted that it’s important for the American people to know how the Russians hacked into elections systems and how our country will fight back.

Tapper went on to ask Rubio about the changes to the United States policy toward Cuba. When the host brought up the fact that Trump initially brought up human rights concerns before backing off on them, Rubio said, “It’s in our national security interest to have human rights and democracy in our region.” He added, “Today, every country in our hemisphere has had at least one free and fair election in the last decade and a half or so, except for one: the island of Cuba, and so hopefully we’re getting closer to the day when that happens there as well.”

Check out the full interview here:

Newt Gingrich Has Lost His Mind on Mueller

I remember when Newt Gingrich was an intellectual. I remember when he could answer questions about a balanced budget, Republican principles, and good governance without drooling all over his bib. No more.

Karl Rove penned a WSJ piece (Rove being the most cursed man in Washington since Sidney Blumenthal was warded off by an electoral garland of garlic) lamenting that bullets fired by the recipients of self-inflicted wounds do not respect anatomy. In other words: Trump’s single-handed summoning of Robert Mueller brings with it certain realities such as Mueller can pursue whatever investigation he pleases.

In response to this, Gingrich went all Pavlov’s dog at the thought his Master, President Trump, might be under investigation.

He tweeted “Muller is clearly the tip of the deep state spear aimed at destroying or at a minimum undermining and crippling the Trump presidency,” and “Mueller is setting up a dragnet of obstruction, financial questions and every aspect of Trump’s life and his associates [sic] lives, very dangerous.”

This from the man who tweeted just last month…

and who, during the Bill Clinton administration, stood shoulder to shoulder with special investigator Ken Starr, as he pursued “a dragnet of obstruction, financial questions and every aspect” of Clinton’s life and his associates’. It just wasn’t dangerous then, apparently.

From 1998 (thank you to the Washington Post for conveniently compiling this).

“I think the president should bring all of his staff into a room and say, ‘No more spinning. No more fun and games. No more vicious attacks. Why don’t we slow down and tell the truth and let the American people know what happened and let the chips fall where they may.”

Or just possibly, Gingrich may be spinning like a jet engine at full thrust.

As a counterpoint based in reality, here’s what Steve Deace tweeted about Mueller, and any effort to convince Trump to fire him (arguably the dumbest idea since Marie Antoinette said something about cake). I encourage you to read the whole thing; it’s that good.

I think Gingrich really needs to settle down with a Diazepam or two and “let the chips fall where they may.” If Trump is truly not guilty of anything (and I believe he isn’t guilty of anything except self-inflicted wounds) then things will work out.

Carrying water for Trump is an exercise in self-defeat. Gingrich has more talent than this, and he should also have more discipline. Or maybe he’s just lost his mind.

BREAKING: Trump Being Investigated for Obstruction of Justice – Report

President Donald Trump is the subject of an obstruction of justice investigation, according to a report by the Washington Post.

The Post cites five anonymous sources with personal knowledge of special counsel Robert S. Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference with the presidential election.

The move by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to investigate Trump’s conduct marks a major turning point in the nearly year-old FBI investigation, which until recently focused on Russian meddling during the presidential campaign and on whether there was any coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Investigators have also been looking for any evidence of possible financial crimes among Trump associates, officials said.

To make matters worse for the administration, the obstruction of justice investigation reportedly did not begin until Trump abruptly fired Comey in May.

The obstruction-of-justice investigation of the president began days after Comey was fired on May 9, according to people familiar with the matter. Mueller’s office has taken up that work, and the preliminary interviews scheduled with intelligence officials indicate that his team is actively pursuing potential witnesses inside and outside the government.

This development comes only two days after a report that Trump is considering firing Mueller.

Trump Friend Says Prez is Mulling Over Firing Mueller

Chris Ruddy, the CEO of Newsmax Media who is also known as a personal friend of Donald Trump, appeared on PBS News Hour yesterday and dropped a bomb on host Judy Woodruff when he said that the president is giving thought to firing Robert Mueller, the former FBI director who was recently appointed as a special counsel to investigate the alleged collusion between Russia and Trump’s presidential campaign.

Ruddy had been to the White House for meetings earlier that same day, although he did not actually meet with the president himself–a fact that Press Secretary Sean Spicer made abundantly clear when he addressed the subject after the PBS broadcast.  “Mr. Ruddy never spoke to the president regarding this issue,” Spicer said.  “With respect  to this subject, only the president or his attorneys are authorized to comment.”

To which Ruddy fired back:

Spicer issued a bizarre late night press release that a) doesn’t deny my claim the President is considering firing Mueller and b) says I didn’t speak to the President about the matter — when I never claimed to have done so. Memo to Sean: focus your efforts on exposing the flim-flam Russian allegations against POTUS and highlighting his remarkable achievements! Don’t waste time trying to undermine one of your few allies.

Wow, mixed messaging from the White House!  Who would have thought such a thing could happen?

There are a couple of ways of looking at this development.  One possibility is the most obvious–and therefore ore most likely–explanation, that White House personnel who are in a position to know the president’s thinking on Mueller told Ruddy what was going on.  Ruddy, in turn, went on television and spilled the beans as a way to make sure that Trump got the message that this would be a huge political mistake, and just feed the meme that Putin collaborated with the Trump campaign to steal the election.  Ruddy made it pretty clear that he thinks all this is bogus, and he’d like to see it get settled quickly.  In his view, firing Mueller would only drag the matter out longer, and make it look as if the administration was engaged in some Nixonian cover up.

The other possibility, however, is that Trump wants to float a trial balloon and is sending Ruddy out there to do it.  The president may already have made up his mind about removing Mueller, and this is just his way of getting the idea into the public eye so it doesn’t come as a huge shock when it actually happens–the opposite of what Trump did when he fired James Comey.

Either way, it would be a horrible move on the administration’s part.  There are a number of reasons we got a special counsel, not least of which were Comey’s machinations and selective leaks–but the White House also has to take its share of the responsibility with the way it mishandled the messaging on all of this Russia nonsense.  But now that the counsel is here, it would be best to see the investigation through and make it absolutely clear that the White House is offering full cooperation.

But that doesn’t mean the Trump administration has to remain silent about Robert Mueller’s apparent conflicts, though.  There is plenty of evidence of the close personal ties between Mueller and Comey, which could present the appearance of the special counsel having an interest in how the investigation turns out.  Now by all accounts, Mueller isn’t that kind of guy–but by the same standards that got Jeff Sessions to step aside from the Department of Justice investigation into Russia, shoudn’t Mueller recuse himself as well?  If the Trump administration wants somebody else in there, that’s the approach they should take.

Deputy AG: No Good Reason to Fire Mueller

The deputy attorney general is speaking out in response to rumors that President Trump is considering firing Special Counsel Bob Mueller. Reports have surfaced in the last 24 hours that the president may fire the head of the independent investigation into possible collusion by members of the Trump with Russia to interfere in the 2016 elections.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appeared before the Senate Appropriations Justice, Science and Related Agencies subcommittee after Attorney General Jeff Sessions abruptly cancelled a planned appearance. Rosenstein, who hired Mueller after Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation, was asked by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), “Have you seen good cause for firing Mueller?”

“I have not,” Rosenstein answered according to reports in The New York Times. “You have my assurance that we are going to faithfully follow that regulation, and Director Mueller is going to have the full independence he needs to conduct that investigation.”

Shaheen pointed out that under the law creating the special counsel position, the president cannot fire Mueller. Only the attorney general, in this case Rosenstein since Sessions has recused himself, can fire the special counsel and only for good cause.

“I’m not going to follow any orders unless I believe that those are lawful and appropriate orders,” Mr. Rosenstein said, adding: “If there were good cause, I would consider. If there were not good cause, it would not matter what anybody says.”

There was no indication why Attorney General Sessions sent Rosenstein to testify in his place.

Reactions to Mueller Appointment: Praise From All Sides

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate Russian influence on the 2016 election and any ties to President Donald Trump is bringing praise from all sides.

The White House released a statement from Trump that didn’t mention Mueller by name but expressed support for the appointment.

“As I have stated many times, a thorough investigation will confirm what we already know – there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity. I look forward to this matter concluding quickly. In the meantime, I will never stop fighting for the people and the issues that matter most to the future of our country.”

Key Republicans, both Trump supporters and critics, offered universal praise. (Washington Post)

 

 

 

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), chairman of the generally pro-Trump House Freedom Caucus, called it “a prudent move, and it certainly means that the administration is taking it seriously.”

But he suggested Mueller “comes with more credibility on the Democrat side than on the Republican side,” a remark he said was based on “sworn testimony that he’s given here on Capitol Hill since I’ve been here.”

Speaker Ryan said in a statement, “The addition of Robert Mueller as special counsel is consistent” with the goal “to follow the facts whereever they may lead.”

 

Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger said “People are going to have their passions fired up out here, but I hope this restores some trust in the American people that we’ll get to the right answers.” (Roll Call)

One of Trump’s most steadfast allies, New York Republican Rep. Chris Collins, said Mueller’s appointment came as a relief, saying the pressure was now off of congressional Republicans to comment on the need for a special prosecutor.

“The one positive development would be that we don’t have to answer that question anymore,” Collins said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wrote that the appointment “confirms that the investigation into Russian intervention into our election will continue.” He added, “The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence will also continue its investigation into this matter.”

 

On the Democrat side, Mueller was called “unimpeachable” by Rep. Jim Hines. (Washington Post) Interesting choice of wording.

“There’s not anybody with as much credibility internally or whose integrity is as unimpeachable as Bob Mueller,” said Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called Mueller “exactly the right kind of individual.”

Even uber-liberals like Sen. Kamala Harris had something–not negative–to say.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren cautioned that Mueller will need “total authority” to complete the investigation.

With a huge amount of goodwill by lawmakers and respect from all quarters, Mueller should have a good start in his task. If Trump can keep his nose clean (and so far, fingers-crossed, he has kept off Twitter), possibly this investigation can be completed and behind him, saving his presidency by the orange-tinted skin of his teeth.

Mueller’s appointment may well be the best possible outcome in the razor-filled trap pit of bad outcomes.