Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Why it’s time for Trump to play his ace in the hole

You return from a great vacation and POW — reality hits like a punch in the nose. And that’s not counting the hassle of New York airports and traffic.

The pain begins when you remember that the hapless Jeff Sessions is still the attorney general of the United States. It sharpens with the realization that Rod Rosenstein, officially Sessions’ deputy but really the boss of the Justice Department and FBI, continues to get away with the biggest partisan heist of modern times.

Rosenstein is guilty of three main sins. One, he gives his spawn, special counsel Robert Mueller, virtually unlimited time, scope and budget to target anybody who worked for President Trump’s campaign or administration. As the ongoing trial of Paul Manafort illustrates, the tactic involves throwing the kitchen sink of charges with the aim of terrifying defendants so they will be more inclined to spill any possible beans on Trump in exchange for leniency.

The zealous approach — and exorbitant legal fees involved for defendants or witnesses — serve as deterrents for anyone who might consider public service. And although there is still no indication the president did anything wrong, the search for a crime to pin on him creates a cloud over everything he does and could influence the midterm elections.

Rosenstein’s second sin is his arrogant stiff-arming of congressional attempts to ferret out the facts about how the Trump probe actually started. It is a national disgrace that, 19 months after the president took the oath, the public is kept in the dark about the most basic things, including whether the FBI had any credible allegations about collusion, or whether it relied exclusively on the Hillary Clinton-financed Russian Dossier to get a surveillance warrant against Trump associate Carter Page.

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