Trump Hoped Acting AG Whitaker Would Be the Buffer He Needed

Trump Hoped Acting AG Whitaker Would Be the Buffer He Needed February 19, 2019

There is a pattern of behavior that has emerged with President Trump.

Early in his presidency, with the Russia probe beginning to heat up, he reportedly asked then-FBI Director James Comey (according to him) for “loyalty.”

He also, according to Comey, asked about letting Michael Flynn off the hook.

For those keeping score, Michael Flynn, a retired Army Lt. general, was Trump’s first national security adviser. He lasted about 3 weeks, before he was forced to resign for misleading Vice President Pence and the FBI about his communications with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

When Comey would not interfere with the Russia probe and let Flynn off the hook, Trump fired him.

And no, he wasn’t let go because of anything that went on with the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email scandal. That was the initial comment to the press, but Trump blew that when he sat with NBC’s Lester Holt and plainly said he fired Comey because of the “Russia thing.”

Moving along, there was the mountain of abuse and manic tirades unleashed towards Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The purpose of Trump’s unhinged ragers and abuse of his AG pick centered around Sessions’ recusal of himself from the Russia probe.

Apparently, he had several encounters, himself, with the Russian ambassador, while working for Trump’s campaign.

Out of an abundance of caution, Sessions stepped back and put the reins of control, as far as the Russia probe, in the hands of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Rosenstein, after the firing of Comey, appointed special counsel Robert Mueller.

That began near-daily abuse by Trump of his AG pick. He was intensely unhappy with Sessions’ attempt at ethics. In his mind, Sessions’ job was to act as his shield and defender.

That’s not the job of attorney general.

And there’s no doubt, Mueller’s probe has haunted the president’s every sweaty, spastic, waking moment.

After finally pulling the trigger on Sessions, President Trump made the decision to skip over the second in line, Rosenstein, and to put Sessions’ chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker, in as acting attorney general.

What were his qualifications?

I mean, what were his qualifications, beyond his involvement with an invention marketing company that scammed thousands of individuals out of millions of dollars?

He seemed an odd pick, right up to the point where you hear Whitaker was a vocal critic of the Mueller probe.

A man after Trump’s own heart, and possibly the attack dog he longed for, who would step in and stop the investigation into his presidential campaign’s Russian entanglements.

Keep that in mind, because it’s not just the Mueller probe that is threatening Trump, these days.

A Pandora’s box of legal troubles flew open for Donald Trump when he decided to scam a nation, in order to draw a bigger audience for his reality TV aspirations.

A Tuesday report in The New York Times tells a familiar tale of how Donald Trump steps outside of ethical considerations to push for more protections from his acting AG.

Specifically, he wanted to get a friendly face in charge of the Southern District of New York’s investigation into the campaign finance law violations made by paying off his two mistresses a month before the 2016 election.

The New York Times reported that Trump requested that U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman be put in charge of the investigation that has since resulted in jail time for former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, even though Berman recused himself from the probe.

Whitaker, whose tenure ended last week with the confirmation of Attorney General William Barr, knew Berman could not un-recuse himself, the Times reported. Trump then grew frustrated with Whitaker and the appointee’s inability to address his mounting legal problems.

Protect me.

Of course, as has been the case every single time an uncomfortable new detail of Life as Trump emerges, with information that could potentially harm him, he denies.

Asked about the report a short time after it was published, Trump denied he had asked Whitaker to change who was in charge of the investigation into Cohen.

“I don’t know who gave you that,” Trump said, calling the report “fake news.”

He offered praise for Whitaker, calling the former acting attorney general a “very straight shooter” and “a very fine man.”

Maybe.

So why was it so important to get Berman in charge of Cohen’s case?

Berman is a former partner of Trump attorney, Rudy Giuliani, among other things.

Berman, who donated to Trump’s 2016 campaign, recused himself from the investigation prior to an FBI raid of Cohen’s hotel room and office last April. Trump had interviewed Berman personally for the U.S. attorney job in New York’s Southern District in a break with traditional hiring practices for the role.

A friendly face.

Then there’s the matter of Whitaker’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee.

Department of Justice spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said in a statement to The Times that the White House has not asked Whitaker to interfere in investigations.

“Under oath to the House Judiciary Committee, then-acting Attorney General Whitaker stated that ‘at no time has the White House asked for nor have I provided any promises or commitments concerning the special counsel’s investigation or any other investigation,’ ” Kupec said. “Mr. Whitaker stands by his testimony.”

Did Whitaker perjure himself?

Maybe.

What we do know is that Michael Cohen has rolled on his former boss, and will be starting a 3-year prison sentence, as a result of that investigation.

 

 

 

 

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  • IllinoisPatriot

    Wow – Cohen was so loyal to Trump too – right up to the time that (apparently) he found out Trump could not get his “friendly prosecutor” onto the case.

    I think it would be interesting to also find out how many judges Trump has on his payroll (in addition to prosecutors) that have allowed Trump to survive (even thrive) while “losing” so many lawsuits over the years. This pattern of getting his friends to insure friendly prosecutors needs to be exposed to more sunlight. That includes sunlight on the investigations into the Clintons and Clinton Foundation in addition to those into the Trump Foundation and Trump Businesses.

    For those watching at home, Trump’s businesses appear to be suffering due to his antics and exposure as President. It was recently reported that “Trump’s kids” have made a “temporary decision” not to pursue more hotel deals because “everyone is against Trump”. It seems to make much more sense to believe that the Trump kids had their “decision” made for them as their partners pull out of more and more Trump licensing / branding deals as they find out more people are AVOIDING Trump properties than are frequenting them because of Trump’s antics. Trump’s “core support” (rednecks, farmers, alt-right are simply not the sort to frequent hotels in Democrat-controlled cities (Chicago, NYC, etc) or Trump casinos or golf courses because of the price tags Trump puts on his properties. Internationally, it appears that governments (such as Scotland) are less willing to “go to bat” for Trump and give him tax breaks now that Trump has declared general trade wars on every one of our international trading partners.

    All-in-all, with legal problems (investigations and indictments) closing in, an investigation-hungry Democrat-controlled HOR, business partners removing Trump branding, and exceptional legal and Congressional scrutiny on all contacts with Russia all on top of Trump’s naturally unstable psyche, I am not at all surprised that Trump is becoming unhinged. His reaction to finding out that Rosenstein had considered a 25th Amendment action. is totally consistent with Trump’s increasing paranoia and increasing dementia that is (I believe) at the root of so many of his inconsistent and otherwise unexplainable actions.

  • Ronald Langdon

    WOW I don’t why Susan doesn’t join the NYT–She is good at conspiracy theories or maybe a soap opera tv series LOL Quoting the NYT times is like quoting The ENQUIRER .Without the MSM Susan would be lost for real journalism!!! All the MSM are owned by leftys with an agenda– that is not a theory . Her writings cannot be taken any more seriously that the MSM. Filled with hatred for Trump cannot produce honest and balanced journalism. Just feeding those who wish for the same results;trying to overturn a legitimate election through corrupt means.. Something well known in communist countries

  • chemical

    One thing that’s become increasingly clear over time is that working for Trump = you get all the consequences of Trump’s actions, with none of the benefits. Trump gets richer, while you are the one that ends up getting steamrolled by the law, and the “You’re fired” paper is more likely to be an indictment than not. It explains while Michael Cohen is happy to spend 3 years behind bars: It’s a small price to pay to sever ties with the Trump crime family.

    Given this, Trump is right to be paranoid. He treats his flunkies like garbage, and the only reason why they put up with it is because going clean means getting indicted, and with top lawman Mueller on the case — a guaranteed prison term. The fatal flaw with this plan is that it may come to a point where a flunky decides that a being imprisoned is a better life than working for Trump. Michael Cohen is the first to take this gamble. Stone and Manafort, on the other hand, had other ideas, and because of that they are going away for likely the rest of their miserable lives.

    Trump has always operated in the world where he could make life miserable for anyone who backstabs him (read: a fair deal is backstabbing). Now, Mueller has created a situation where backstabbing Trump doesn’t make your life suck as much as continuing to stay loyal to him — a lesson Stone and Manafort are going to pay for with the rest of their lives.

    Given all this, I think the rats are going to start jumping off the USS Trump a bit faster. What started as a trickle is now a full blown hull breach. That means Trump is going to lose even more of his marbles and engage in even more reckless behavior in a desperate attempt to stanch the flooding. Brace yourself, folks.

  • chemical

    WOW I don’t why Susan doesn’t join the NYT–She is good at conspiracy theories…

    Hey, how is that QAnon stuff working out for you red-hatters? Tired of getting fish-hooked by internet trolls yet? I’m thinking not, as they will continue to tell you what you want to hear.

    Try not to shoot up any pizza parlor basements on your way out that right wing extremist fever swamp.

  • captcrisis

    Someone pointed out that Putin is the real world version of what Trump fantasizes about being. There is more than one dimension to that. Putin, like any successful mob boss, protects his people. As long as you play along, he will have your back in case you get into trouble. Trump lacks the maturity (or wisdom) to protect “his” people.

    I’m reminded also of a line from Citizen Kane. “He wanted love. Problem was, he had none to give.”

  • Ellen Elmore

    The Trump mafia is alive and well. Unfortunately, some of the mafia are going to prison. On the other hand, the head mafia boss will never be held accountable or pay any price for his actions..

  • IllinoisPatriot

    Trump is ALREADY “paying a price”. His businesses (the core of his self-esteem and self-identity) are beginning to fail. As Trump loses his fixers and becomes unable (perhaps for the first time) to control which prosecutors get his cases so he can shut them down or minimize the impact, he is getting more frantic. As business partners realize they really do NOT want to do business with Trump companies because of the investigations and guilty pleas coming out of the Southern District of NY and because of Trump’s court losses concerning his company activities and ties to money-laundering, bribery, fraud, and lying to prosecutors as well as Trump’s personal abuse of his Foundation (and the consequent shut-down of the Trump Foundation), Trump loses more and more business (and business partners – both current and potential). The Trump kids recently announced they have “decided” not to pursue additional hotel “deals” because of Trump’s unfavorable media coverage. This is clearly them attempting to put a good face on the fact that potential Trump partners no longer want to do business with Trump companies that are under investigation.

    If Trump’s companies start failing, he will be unable to secure loans from US banks (due to his multiple bankruptcies). He will be unable to turn to Russian banks for his cash-flow needs and will likewise be unable to turn to his mafia and Russian Mob contacts for funding because of the new-found scrutiny he and his businesses have come under.

    Trump’s base has neither the temperament nor the income required to patronize Trump’s “luxury” (overpriced) casinos, hotels, & resorts nor can they afford to join Trump golf clubs (they’d probably be refused entry anyway by Trump’s liberal-progressive employees). Of the ones that DO have the money to “invest” in Trump properties, many are liberals like Trump himself and have too much to lose if they were to risk doing business with Trump and either lose their own customers due to social media reports or risk doing business with Trump and ‘earn’ an investigation of their OWN companies / foundations.

    NYS prosecutors have certainly not forgotten how often Trump’s Presidential negotiations have resulted in new “business opportunities” for his family or his own companies. I’m quite sure that if NYS prosecutors are not investigating ties between Trump companies and foreign governments, Mueller and or the new Democrat HOR committees ARE looking into these issues.

    You’ve now repeated your screed that “Trump is untouchable” on so many of Susan’s articles that you should have convinced yourself by now.

    You are not convincing anyone else that Trump will get off unscathed. The evidence is there that even if the Republicans are too afraid of Trump, the public is NOT and the public is in the process of rejecting not just Trump properties, but anything labeled with “Trump” which is why Trump hotel partners are taking the name “Trump” off their buildings.

    Trump could well retire from POTUS in 2020 without a viable business left to return to……

  • IllinoisPatriot

    Trump not only lacks the maturity to protect people, he also lacks the judgement, the leadership, the intelligence, the loyalty and the general will to do so.

  • chemical

    I agree. Trump views all relationships as transactional. Trump only counts someone as a “friend” if that person can help him somehow, and friend status is subject to change at a moment’s notice if it’s discovered that said “friend” can’t help Trump grift for more money.

    It’s no accident that the virtues you listed — leadership, intelligence, loyalty — aren’t tangible things that can be bought or sold (although one could make a case that it’s possible to buy an education at a top-notch university, I’ve met my fair share of clueless dolts with advanced degrees from those same top-notch universities). These virtues have value to sane people, but it’s impossible to put a price tag on them, which means they don’t have value to Trump, or anyone like him.

  • JASmius

    “Transactional” meaning “corrupt”. Trump is supremely “transactional,” and always makes the mistake of believing that everybody around him is as “transactional ” as he is. And when that proves not to be the case, he flies into blithering rages, because to his mind, anybody who does not act in *his* personal interests is irrational, “corrupt,” and thus an enemy to be destroyed.

    The thing is, though, that Trump not getting what he wanted from Whitaker and Corey Lewandowsky on the Berman un-recusal and Sessions firing, respectively, had nothing to do with high-minded ethics. There is no case to be made that the “masculine toilet” scam artist and misogynist thug are any less dirty, filthy, and corrupt than Trump is. They didn’t carry out his orders either because, as in Lewandowsky’s case, he lacked the authority to fire Sessions or “pressure” him to resign (like that would have been any more effective that Trump’s Twitter attacks), and in Whitaker’s instance, he could not order Berman to “un-recuse” himself, and any attempt to do so would have incriminated (or, given that he likely perjured himself to Congress about this very subject a couple of weeks ago, further incriminated) himself in the obstruction of justice branch of Trump’s scandals.

    In short, they were acting in their own self-interest. Trump subsequently “soured” on Whitaker because anybody who puts their own self-interest above his is useless to him – which is to say, “disloyal”. That likely explains why he nominated William Barr as quickly as he did.

  • JASmius

    Here is what we have to understand about Trump to understand the full context of this comprehensive New York Times summation: Donald Trump has from day one attempted to run the United States government the exact same way he has always run the “Trump Organization”. In his mind, he’s the boss, and everybody else works for him. That applies to the Justice Department, the Congress, the media, the American people. This is why it never occurred to him not to expect “loyalty” from his attorney general, who, in his mind, “betrayed” him by recusing himself from the Russia investigation, which Trump expected him to shut down. It’s why it never occurred to him not to expect “loyalty” from his FBI director, who, in his mind, “betrayed” him by explaining that he couldn’t give him that “loyalty” nor shut down a valid and vital counter-intelligence investigation of a clear national security threat. And so on and so on and so on with Rod Rosenstein, Andrew McCabe, and everybody else who has not sold out their principles and eviscerated their constitutional oaths and personal honor and integrity to become Trump’s palm frond wavers and pool boys.

    It isn’t just that Trump doesn’t understand how government works; it’s that he doesn’t care how it works, and wants it to work in the same way as his crime syndicate does, and will never be satisfied with it until it does. And the way his crime syndicate works is with capos and fixers. People like Michael Cohen and Roger Stone and David Pecker. Crooks, liars, and scumbags. That’s what he expected Jeff Sessions and Jim Comey and Andrew McCabe and Rod Rosenstein to be. It’s what he expects everybody in his administration and the Republican Party to be. Anybody who doesn’t cooperate is to be vilified, smeared, and destroyed, and replaced with weak, compromised, or already corrupt crooks, liars, and scumbags who will cooperate. A process that has picked up speed since the midterm elections. That quote of Matthew Whitaker that he saw his job as “acting” A-G as “jumping on a grenade for the president” is a depressingly perfect example.

    Though not even he was willing to blatantly incriminate himself by trying to put Geoffrey Berman in a full-nelson to force him to unrecuse himself and shut down the SDNY’s Trump investigations at Trump’s behest. An illustration, perhaps a hopeful one, that Trump wearing down the institutional “guardrails” sufficiently to enable him to effect the presidential coup he seeks (and of which his bogus “national emergency” power grab is the first down-payment) is not yet beyond the point of no return.

  • chemical

    In Trump’s case, I’d agree, but transactional doesn’t necessarily mean corrupt.

    A transactional relationship is like a business relationship — it’s where two people don’t necessarily get along but do so because each party has something the other one wants. For example, recently my roof got damaged and I have to hire a roofing company to fix it. My relationship to the roofing company is transactional — the roofer wants money, and I want a new roof. The roofers won’t fix my roof because they like me, but because I pay them to fix the roof.

    My point is Donald Trump sees all relationships as transactional. Friendship, respect, and love are nonsense concepts to him — it’s merely something “stable geniuses” like him can use to grift a little more cash out of the morons who believe those intangibles actually exist. If that seems like a sick, cynical view of the world, it’s because it IS a sick, cynical view of the world — but it is one that will allow you to climb pretty high, mostly at the expense of the people you crush underfoot on your rise to the top.

    I’m not a religious man, but there is probably something in the Bible that warns the faithful about this. This problem is nearly as old as society itself.

  • Ellen Elmore

    I hope you are right. I want to be wrong.

  • John225

    Yuri Milner’s investment in Facebook to the tune of almost $700m (via investment vehicle DST) along with arranging finance of around $1.5B via Goldman Sach’s giving them the 4th largest holding in the company. This amount of money certainly didn’t come from his pasta factory in Russia. He has the backing of Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov. Could this be why Facebook hasn’t done anything concrete to prevent a repeat of 2016 and hasn’t been particularly forthcoming in relation to the scale of the activity? Fascistbook seems to treat it as a PR problem rather than a threat to democracy. Milner has also been investing in other platforms as well.