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.
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.”
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?
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.