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MISSIONS ONGOING

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BOB FRANKEN
FOR RELEASE TUESDAY, APRIL 17, 2018

MISSIONS ONGOING
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“Um ... I would have recommended ending this tweet with not those two words.” That was a weekend comment from former George W. Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer. And Ari knows from “Missions Accomplished.” In May of 2003, President Bush stood under a banner with those very words to celebrate a victorious “shock and awe” military operation in Iraq. His choreographed-for-TV victory lap on the deck of an aircraft carrier was tragically premature, as evidenced by thousands upon thousands of American dead and wounded. And that’s before counting the massive toll in Iraq’s civilians who were killed.
Donald Trump, as is so often the case, is oblivious to the lessons of history -- lessons of almost anything, actually. Still, he and the grown-ups around him were able to launch their slap-on-the-wrist missile shower response to Bashar Assad’s latest evil gas attack on his own people. They pulled it off without immediate embarrassment. That was enough for POTUS to crow via Twitter about “A perfectly executed strike ... Could not have had a better result. Mission Accomplished!”
Syria is even more complex than Iraq, and The Donald even less able to deal with complexity than W was. Still, that may qualify as his least ridiculous tweet of the week, a week where federal investigators seem to be tightening the vise while his antagonist, James Comey, started publicizing his memoir, “A Higher Loyalty.”
While typical Jim Comey sanctimony, the book doesn’t disappoint, certainly if you’re not a fan of Trump. Comey takes several digs as he recounts his various meetings with President Trump. For instance, he likens him to a mafia don (or Donald, I suppose). Just about everybody’s favorite tirade tweets were the ones where the president of the United States repeatedly labeled Comey a “slimeball.”
But Comey-The-Insulter wasn’t even the most troublesome of his slimeballs They would have to be the federal investigators who raided the home, office, hotel room and a safety deposit box of Trump’s longtime attorney/fixer/enforcer Michael Cohen. The prosecutors were seeking anything and everything to do with years of Cohen’s wheelings and dealings not only on behalf of Donald Trump, but also on behalf of Michael Cohen;, and. oh yeah, Donald Trump Fox shill Sean Hannity. Cohen is the one who admits putting together the hush-money packages designed to silence Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal. For Hannity--who knows?
We can see how well that worked with Stormy and Karen: They are shouting from the PR rooftops their allegations they had sexual affairs with Trump. Daniels, the porn star, says hers was a one-nighter; McDougal, the Playboy Bunny, says hers lasted several months. With Hannity Hannity, who knows? Trump, the president and, might I add, husband, denies the Daniels-McDougal accusations.


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One could have predicted that the Cohen raids would ignite a chief executive hissy fit. And one certainly would be correct. His Twitter tantrum included calling them an “attack on our country.” “Attorney-client privilege is dead,” he added. Again, if Trump was more into complexities, he might at least pretend to understand that attorney-client privilege is not absolute. Furthermore, the feds, in particular, jump through hoops anytime they conduct a raid against a lawyer. Their warrants require probable cause approval by a federal magistrate who must be convinced that an intrusive raid was necessary, as opposed to a simple subpoena, where records and documents could be destroyed before they are surrendered. That is just for starters.
It also has to get an official go-ahead from Justice Department higher-ups, in this case, the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Rosenstein, as we all know, is on the Donald Trump Snit List right now. He’s the one who oversees the Robert Mueller special counsel investigation. In fact, it was a Mueller referral that resulted in the Cohen raids. Rosenstein and Mueller are considered to be in constant danger of being fired by Trump, who seems to be mainly constrained by warnings that doing so would jeopardize his very presidency. Of course, the ongoing Mueller investigation itself is relentless, causing serious grief to Donald Trump and nowhere near becoming a “mission accomplished.”

© 2018 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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