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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Reprinted with permission from Shareblue.com

Dropping the façade that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation poses no real threat to Donald Trump, and that the probe into Russia collusion is likely to end quickly and without concern for the White House, Trump’s attorneys have suddenly switched gears.

Clearly hitting the panic button, Trump’s legal team is now going full Fox, suggesting that Mueller’s investigation is deeply compromised and that the Department of Justice needs to appoint a second special counsel — you guessed it — to shadow and scrutinize Mueller.

“The Department of Justice and FBI cannot ignore the multiple problems that have been created by these obvious conflicts of interests,” Trump attorney Jay Sekulow tells Axios. These new revelations require the appointment of a Special Counsel to investigate.”

It’s significant that Trump’s legal team is now fully embracing the far-right conspiracy theories of Fox News and congressional Republicans by putting Mueller in their sights.

What seems to be sparking the new panic, beyond the recent news that Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, pleaded guilty to a felony and is cooperating with Mueller’s investigation?

It’s possible the new sense of foreboding was prompted by a Monday NBC report that suggests Mueller’s team is zeroing in on obstruction of justice within the White House. And specifically, possible wrongdoing by Trump.

The provocative NBC report detailed how “Mueller is trying to piece together what happened inside the White House over a critical 18-day period that began when senior officials were told that National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was susceptible to blackmail by Russia.”

Question: Did anyone inside the White House, including Trump, urge Flynn to lie to the FBI about his previous Russian contacts. And secondly, when they found out he had lied to the FBI, why did nobody from the administration contact the bureau and try to correct the record?

As you’ll recall, the White House was told about Flynn’s falsehoods by then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates on Jan. 26, yet Flynn wasn’t fired for 18 more days.

Why is this so dangerous for the White House and why might it be freaking out his attorneys? Because this portion of the scandal really has very little to do with Russians or having to prove Russian collusions. Instead, it’s all about how key administration players dealt with lying to the FBI, and whether there was large-scale effort to cover up the truth.

“This would mean we’re now looking at potential criminality that cannot be justified as an exercise of the president’s authority,” Paul Rosenzweig, a senior counsel on Ken Starr’s investigation into Bill Clinton toldthe Washington Post’s Greg Sargent. “That could be obstruction of justice, or aiding and abetting a false statement to the FBI, or conspiracy to do the same.”

No wonder Trump’s lawyers are in a tizzy.

 

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

In recent weeks, President Donald Trump has been claiming that COVID-19 has been mostly defeated in the U.S. — which is laughable in light of how much infection rates have been surging, especially in Sun Belt states. But according to Washington Post reporters Yasmeen Abutaleb and Josh Dawsey, Team Trump has found a new coronavirus talking point: claiming that Americans can learn to live with the pandemic and the ever-climbing death count.

According to Abutaleb and Dawsey, the "goal" of Trump's White House and campaign allies "is to convince Americans that they can live with the virus — that schools should reopen, professional sports should return, a vaccine is likely to arrive by the end of the year, and the economy will continue to improve. White House officials also hope Americans will grow numb to the escalating death toll and learn to accept tens of thousands of new cases a day, according to three people familiar with the White House's thinking, who requested anonymity to reveal internal deliberations."

A Trump Administration senior official, quoted anonymously, told the Post that Americans will "live with the virus being a threat." And a former Trump official, according to the Post, said of Trump's allies, "They're of the belief that people will get over it, or if we stop highlighting it, the base will move on — and the public will learn to accept 50,000 to 100,000 new cases a day."



Figures from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore show that the coronavirus pandemic continues to be quite deadly — especially in the United States. As of Monday morning, July 6, Hopkins was reporting a worldwide COVID-19 death count of more than 534,800 — and almost 130,000 of those deaths were in the U.S.

Biden's campaign has been asserting that the former vice president has a much better track record than Trump when it comes to pandemics. Democratic strategist and Biden campaign adviser Ariana Berengaut told the Post, "From really January on, Vice President Biden has been laser focused on the rising risk to the American people presented by this pandemic. You can almost imagine them side by side — Trump's leadership and Biden's leadership…. Trump has no plan for tomorrow, no plan for a week from now; so, there is absolutely no plan for the fall, and that's what encapsulates the whole arc of that contrast."

Geoff Garin, a Democratic pollster, told the Post that Trump's coronavirus response has been and continues to be an abysmal failure.

Garin asserted, "Trump is increasingly defined in voters' minds by his failing response to the coronavirus crisis, and virtually every action and position he's taken have been wildly out of sync with where the public is at on what should be done. Biden now has a remarkable opportunity to contrast himself with this failure of leadership that a large majority of voters see so clearly."