Sunday, December 24, 2017

It's Mueller Time, Con't

Finally. At least one GOP senator is saying openly that Trump attempting to fire Mueller would be a serious problem.  The bad news is that the senator in question is already on the way out.

Sen. Jeff Flake said Sunday that if President Donald Trump were to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, it would be a "big problem" for the president. 
"I don't think that would go over well at all here in the Senate," the Arizona Republican said on ABC's "This Week." "I don't think he'll go there, he shouldn't go there."

Flake's comments come as the president's allies continue to take Mueller and the FBI to task. The White House has consistently said Trump has no plans to fire Mueller, but president joined in the bureau bashing this weekend with a series of tweets about FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. 
McCabe, who is reportedly retiring soon, was a key figure in the investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's private email server. 
Flake has burnished his reputation as one the president's most frequent critics in Congress, but was cagey when ABC'S Jonathan Karl asked if the senator would challenge Trump for the GOP nomination in 2020. Earlier this year, Flake announced that he would not seek reelection to the Senate in 2018.

It's good that Flake is saying this, but there's a 100% chance that he's not going to be around after the 2018 midterms when any real hope of impeachment might get started and that he might make an actual difference in getting rid of Trump.

So what's the point?  I'm not sure.  Guilt, maybe?  His political career in the GOP is already over, so I guess saying it now can't hurt him more.  Fawning press? "At least I didn't remain silent"? Ego? As good a reason as any when dealing with Republicans in the Trump era.

Wake me up when Mitch McConnell says this, which will be never.

Meanwhile, Arizona's choice to replace Flake will come down to GOP nutjob Kelli Ward and Dem Blue Dog Kyrsten Sinema, who might give Doug Jones, Heidi Heitkamp, Jon Tester, Joe Donnelly or  Joe Manchin a run for their money in the NRA-loving Democrats department, none of whom I believe would be a reliable vote to convict Trump in a Senate trial, that is if they're not all replaced by GOP crackpots (a very distinct possibility).

We'll see.

Sunday Long Read: Iran Into The Wall

Politico has a massive report on the dark side of Obama's Iran deal and how the previous administration looked the other way on Hezbollah's drug-fueled money-laundering schemes to pay for terrorism, all sacrificed so that Barack Obama could get his Iran deal. 

I don't know what to say about this other than to read the whole thing, because it's pretty shocking stuff.  The article flat out accuses the Obama administration of a massive cover-up.

In its determination to secure a nuclear deal with Iran, the Obama administration derailed an ambitious law enforcement campaign targeting drug trafficking by the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah, even as it was funneling cocaine into the United States, according to a POLITICO investigation. 
The campaign, dubbed Project Cassandra, was launched in 2008 after the Drug Enforcement Administration amassed evidence that Hezbollah had transformed itself from a Middle East-focused military and political organization into an international crime syndicate that some investigators believed was collecting $1 billion a year from drug and weapons trafficking, money laundering and other criminal activities. 
Over the next eight years, agents working out of a top-secret DEA facility in Chantilly, Virginia, used wiretaps, undercover operations and informants to map Hezbollah’s illicit networks, with the help of 30 U.S. and foreign security agencies. 
They followed cocaine shipments, some from Latin America to West Africa and on to Europe and the Middle East, and others through Venezuela and Mexico to the United States. They tracked the river of dirty cash as it was laundered by, among other tactics, buying American used cars and shipping them to Africa. And with the help of some key cooperating witnesses, the agents traced the conspiracy, they believed, to the innermost circle of Hezbollah and its state sponsors in Iran.
But as Project Cassandra reached higher into the hierarchy of the conspiracy, Obama administration officials threw an increasingly insurmountable series of roadblocks in its way, according to interviews with dozens of participants who in many cases spoke for the first time about events shrouded in secrecy, and a review of government documents and court records. When Project Cassandra leaders sought approval for some significant investigations, prosecutions, arrests and financial sanctions, officials at the Justice and Treasury departments delayed, hindered or rejected their requests. 
The Justice Department declined requests by Project Cassandra and other authorities to file criminal charges against major players such as Hezbollah’s high-profile envoy to Iran, a Lebanese bank that allegedly laundered billions in alleged drug profits, and a central player in a U.S.-based cell of the Iranian paramilitary Quds force. And the State Department rejected requests to lure high-value targets to countries where they could be arrested.
This was a policy decision, it was a systematic decision,” said David Asher, who helped establish and oversee Project Cassandra as a Defense Department illicit finance analyst. “They serially ripped apart this entire effort that was very well supported and resourced, and it was done from the top down.”

Now, I'm not dumb enough to say that the FBI had their hands totally clean on this or anything involving the Justice Department that crosses over into international politics and Iran, but if this all is even remotely credible, a lot of questions need to be answered under oath.  The United States has a long, long history of looking the other way in the middle East when it comes to diplomatic convenience, certainly long before Obama.

But the notion that Barack Obama "covered this up" is ludicrous.  David Asher up there works for a think tank called Foundation for Defense of Democracies, who has been, surprise! One of the loudest right-wing opponents of Obama's Iran deal.

It's all a load of bull.
Related Posts with Thumbnails