Letter to the Editor

When does the witch hunt end?

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

The serial writer of "Letters to The Editor" seems to believe Donald Trump was in a conspiracy with the Russians to steal the 2016 election based on his Letter to the Editor titled "How Far will Mueller take this?" There was some Russian involvement, but it was by the other political party.

The story begins in the summer of 2016, when a Washington, D.C., law firm representing the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democrat National Committee paid a reported $12 million to hire a foreign ex-spy to buy from the Russians some fictitious stories about Donald Trump, and then peddle it to various "news" outlets and the FBI until finally someone unconcerned about the fabrication published it.

At the same time, a group of senior FBI officials (Strzok, Page, McCabe, Ohr, Comey) — who didn’t like Trump — were alarmed that Donald Trump might be elected. They texted among themselves they were going to stop Trump from being elected. They also texted they wanted an "insurance policy," that in the unlikely event Trump was elected, they would have enough dirt to get rid of him. One of their techniques to derail the Trump campaign was to obtain a FISA court warrant to place a lower level Trump campaign aide (Page) under federal wiretap surveillance.

After the election, this group of F.B.I. Trump-haters came into the possession of a transcript of a telephone call between the designated Trump National Security Advisor (Flynn) and the Russian ambassador. Before they called a meeting with Flynn, they planted a newspaper story that Flynn was not being investigated to encourage him to let down his guard. Then they called Flynn and asked for a meeting without informing the White House Legal Counsel — that would be normally be the proper procedure. They even suggested to Flynn that he not have an attorney present, because there was no need. Since Flynn could not accurately recall all the details of his telephone conversation, they could charge him with lying to federal agents. Flynn had to sell his house to pay his legal bills to defend himself. He eventually agreed to a plea deal.

Now, after two years of Mueller investigation — that included a review of thousands of documents — what has the Mueller investigation produced about Trump?

• No charges against Carter Page.

• A perjury trap guilty plea from George Papadopoulos serious enough to sentence him to 14 days in jail.

• Charges against two dozen Russian citizens that are never expected to appear in an American Court.

• A perjury trap guilty plea from General Flynn — probably not serious enough to receive any jail time.

• Multiple income tax evasion convictions against Paul Manafort, all unconnected to Trump.

• Multiple income tax evasion and bank fraud guilty pleas from attorney Michael Cohn unconnected to Trump.

Cohn has claimed that he made two payments of "hush money" that were directed by the President. It remains to be seen if these payments constituted forbidden campaign contributions.

It has been clear from the beginning that Mueller was on a Trump witch hunt since he hired only attorneys that had contributed to the Democratic Party. Democrats believe Mueller is going to produce block buster charges against Trump for which they can impeach him. Although, with two years of investigation and $25 million, the Mueller team has not charged President Trump with anything.

The new Democratic majority in the House thinks they might be able to impeach Trump. However, to gain am impeachment conviction, one needs a two-thirds vote of the Senate. Back in 1998, the Republicans could not convict former President Bill Clinton in the Senate, even though he was guilty of perjury. As a reward for their attempt to impeach the President Clinton, the Republicans lost many congressional seats in the next election. Be careful what you wish for.

Phil Petersen