Today we learned from CNN that back in December, Donald Trump demanded a loyalty pledge from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the guy who just happens to have final say over Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia investigation. We know that Trump didn’t get any such cooperation from Rosenstein, because his side is now leaking the exchange. We know that Trump took no subsequent action, because Rosenstein still has his job more than a month later.
This comes shortly after we learned that back in June of last year, Trump ordered his people to fire Mueller, only to give up when his own people pushed back against him on it. We’ve also recently learned that Trump ordered FBI Director Christopher Wray to fire FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, only to back down after Wray refused and threatened to resign. This reveals two different yet equally eye popping patterns.
First, Trump is willing to pursue any course of action, no matter how dastardly or illegal, for the sake of trying to prevent his crimes in the Russia scandal from being exposed. Second, Trump tepidly abandons these courses of action the minute anyone involved pushes back against him. There is an infamous surveillance video floating around social media in which a robber enters a store, points his gun at the cashier, and then gives up and leaves after the cashier shoots him a disapproving glance. We’ve wondered what kind of mindset the robber had to be in, to decide to commit a crime, and then give up at the first whiff of resistance. Now we know the answer.
Donald Trump keeps committing obstruction of justice crimes and then failing to go through with them. He’s putting himself on the hook legally for these crimes simply by attempting them and creating a witness trail. He’s gaining nothing from these risky moves, because he’s not following through with them to the point that he could reap the benefit. Trump just keeps firing blanks.
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Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report