As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

How Trump is Being Vilified for Something that Helps Exculpate Him

Everyone’s talking about a New York Times story suggesting that White House Counsel Don McGahn may have been seeking to protect himself and harm President Trump by spending 30 hours talking to special counsel Robert Mueller.

A fifth column! Rats abandoning the sinking ship!

As the Wall Street Journal points out today, maybe just the reverse.

The thesis of the New York Times story is that Mr. McGahn cooperated in a way that could hurt Donald Trump in order to protect himself and because he doesn’t trust the President. This fits the media narrative that Mr. Trump is covering up his collusion with Russia and his obstruction of justice, and thus Mr. McGahn must be scrambling to save himself.

Yet lost in the resulting tempest is a crucial fact that appears to contradict this spin: Mr. Trump had to waive executive privilege for Mr. McGahn to cooperate with Mr. Mueller . . .

This in turn meant that Mr. McGahn would have to answer all of Mr. Mueller’s questions. Once privilege is waived, Mr. McGahn couldn’t decide to answer, say, what Mr. Trump told him about Attorney General Jeff Sessions but refuse to discuss the President’s state of mind when he fired James Comey at the FBI. Without invoking privilege there is no legal basis for Mr. McGahn to refuse to answer a question.

This isn’t what you’d expect if Mr. Trump is leading a coverup. Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton fought extensive legal battles with prosecutors over executive privilege. Mr. Clinton invoked privilege to block aides Bruce Lindsey and Sidney Blumenthal from testifying to Ken Starr’s grand jury.Yet when Mr. Trump doesn’t invoke privilege for his White House counsel, he gets no credit.

Exactly. Because the media have a particular storyline they are following. And Trump doing good things, or anything that might suggest he’s innocent, is not part of the story.

2 Responses to How Trump is Being Vilified for Something that Helps Exculpate Him

  1. Since most (if not all) Trump supporters don’t read the NYT or even care what they suppose/accuse what MrTrump did, is doing, thinks of doing, or even thought about, the proper response is….yawn.

  2. Waiving privilege is yet another stupid blunder by an admin which is hamstrung by Trump’s insistence on absolute power.

    You’re trying to reframe this as the act of someone who is free of malfeasance as a motive, v. the reality of someone who is supremely confident in his ability to evade detection and consequences, providing an extra thrill to the ‘game’, and who assumed that this tack would provide the appearance of innocence while the ‘loyalty’ of his minions would protect him from risk. Uh, wrong.

    (Elaboration: Trump has repeatedly avoided the consequences of past malfeasance, such as stiffing investors, and assumes he can continue to do so, despite this being a whole different ballgame. He’s ignorant of many aspects of law–and potential landmines–while simultaneously considering himself above it. His narcissism dictates that and also calling the shots without the benefit of the knowledge, insight, and less emotionally volatile assessment of those paid to advise him.)

    Someone less narcissistic wouldn’t have taken the chance, as they would have listened to sound advice.

    The ‘classic’ ending: another narcissist hoisted by his own petard.

    And, you are jeopardizing any credibility you might have in the likely future by your short-sighted perception of this mockery of a presidency. Trump has provided a massive shift of wealth to the upper 0.01% by utilizing short-term fixes, exactly as W did, while ignoring massive problems which don’t have the lag time for delayed correction.

    For what it’s worth, I have an MBA from the days when they were valuable, and the use of stock prices as an economic indicator is both outmoded and misleading, but the general public isn’t aware of this. What’s about to hit the fan–economically–should make Putin overjoyed. I gave up warning people about the artificiality of the rising housing prices during the bubble, due to manipulation of interest rates. That fallout will be a joke v. what Trump’s engaged in.