The New York Times has a problem.
It hates President Trump. Unconditionally. But Mr. Trump just completed a visit to Davos, Switzerland’s annual business summit and walked away a superstar – which it must have killed the Times to report about (more on this in the next blog).
That, of course, could not stand Trump’s success might accrue to his benefit, so we can’t have that, can we?
So today’s editorials, op-eds and even letters to the editor offer a cornucopia of condemnatory material, presumably designed to deflect attention from Trump’s Davos grand slam in as many ways as possible.
My personal favorite is the lead editorial, titled “Justice Under Attack”, which starts this way:
For a man who insists he has done nothing wrong, President Trump sure acts as if he has something big to hide.
His attempt to fire the special counsel, Robert Mueller, last June – which he backed off only when the White House counsel, Donald McGahn, threatened to resign over it, as The Times reported Thursday night – may be the most shocking example yet of a cover-up. But it is only the latest in a long string of firings and lies that establish an undeniable pattern: The president of the United States has tried repeatedly to shut down an investigation into whether his campaign coordinated with Russian officials to help him win the 2016 election.
There is a lot to cover here. I’ll try to do it systematically.
First off, if you use the link I’ve provided and try to read the above text, you will not find it. The reason is that, though it can be found, verbatim, in the Times’ print edition, the online version was changed. Maybe the editorial board was shamed into the changes….that’s for you to decide. But, in any event, I posted what was in the paper tossed on my driveway.
Now let’s look at the words themselves.
-The first paragraph makes a simple point: President Trump is acting like he has something to hide.
OK, fair enough….provided what comes next offers evidence to make that point. So let’s see what comes next.
-What comes next is “His attempt to fire the special counsel, Robert Mueller, last June – which he backed off only when the White House counsel, Donald McGahn, threatened to resign over it, as The Times reported Thursday night – may be the most shocking example yet of a cover-up. ”
Taking these words in order of appearance:
…Trump denies it happened, and the Times’ “proof” – as is more and more typical of how it reports these days – is exclusively from anonymous sources. We start, therefore, with no checkable evidence the incident took place.
…Even assuming Trump wanted Mueller out, however, the claim is false on its face. As President of the United States, Donald Trump, then as now, could have fired IC Robert Mueller at will. That is his legal, constitutional prerogative. So there is no such thing as an “attempt” – which suggests he tried unsuccessfully to do so. If Trump said “you’re fired”, Mueller was fired. Period.
…Again assuming the details of The Times’ report were accurate, it tells us Trump raised three issues to remove Mueller: he had a financial dispute at one of Trump’s golf clubs, he worked with a firm that represented Trump’s son, and he had been interviewed to return as FBI Director the day before being appointed Independent Counsel.
Not only are all three legitimate reasons, but two of them, it can be argued, are conflicts of interest that would sway Trump toward keeping Mueller, not replacing him.
Can someone find the “there” there? If so, you’ll have to show it to me.
-Finally, if this event actually took place it occurred just one month after the beginning of the investigation , when Mueller had barely put together a staff, let alone investigated anything – thus before anything negative could have been uncovered against President Trump and before anyone was indicted.
In other words, at a time when exactly nothing had yet happened, Trump considered removing Mueller… and then decided against it.
If a seven month old decision to keep – not fire, but keep – Robert Mueller as the IC “may be the most shocking example yet of a cover-up”, this must be the least shocking investigation in U.S. history.
Do you need me to tell you what a fraudulent claim the Times is making? For your sake, I hope not.
The next-to-saddest part of this pathetic joke is that the Times’ Editorial Board published such unadulterated mung, in the apparent belief that most of its readership will swallow it, hook, line and sinker.
The saddest part is that, to a disquietingly large extent, the Editorial Board is probably right.