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May 27th, 2018

Insight

Trump is guilty even if proved innocent

Jay Ambrose

By Jay Ambrose

Published March 22,2018

Trump is guilty even if proved innocent
It's inane, it's egregious and it's another spurious step in justifying the impeachment of President Donald Trump, all this talk about how he forced the firing of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. But wait. I see a cure. Those who come to such conclusions should take a beginners' course in comprehending public events.

In the classroom, if they would stay quiet, a teacher could say they should put facts before venomous prejudices, and here they are:

The Justice Department's independent inspector general looked into possible missteps by McCabe when the FBI was inquiring into Hillary Clinton's emails and family foundation. He then sent a report to the FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility, a group made up of career officials whose job is to maintain FBI integrity through discipline if necessary.

After studying the evidence, the office said McCabe authorized illicit leaks to a reporter and also, under oath, was not candid with investigators. The office urged Attorney General Jeff Sessions to fire him and he did his duty. The teacher could note that it was then that the students had screeched about America tumbling down because Donald the Hideous had struck again. To see if they were at last catching on, a test could be administered with the following questions.

Was the inspector general – appointed by President Barack Obama – acting on his own or in accordance with Trump tweets? Is he a liar and a fraud? Did the Office of Professional Responsibility become irresponsible, failing to study the report or make an honest, informed judgment? Do these officials themselves lack integrity? Would Sessions have been doing his job if he had ignored the report?

The answers to all of this should be obvious to anyone with a reasonably balanced mind — even though it is also obvious that Trump is an uncouth Twitter fanatic. He has gone after McCabe incessantly and happily did it again after the firing, also slamming former FBI Director James Comey. He shouldn't have, but maybe McCabe should not have then defended himself the way he did.

McCabe argued that there was nothing wrong with his overseeing FBI discussions with the press and that Comey, then his boss, knew about it. The thing is, Comey once told interrogators at a congressional hearing that he never authorized anything like that and this could make it look like he was perjuring himself. Comey may already be in trouble because of leaking what could have been classified information concerning discussions with Trump and also the way in which he intervened in the Clinton email scandal.

McCabe, meanwhile, is said to have had a conflict of interest thanks to his wife being a politician who got donations from a Clinton ally. There are now news accounts saying he may have strangely postponed letting Comey know about the FBI looking into Clinton emails found on the laptop of Anthony Weiner, the husband of Clinton's top aide, Huma Abedin.

We also know that the Clinton campaign paid for a former British spy to get unverified dirt on Trump from Russian contacts and that it was used by the FBI in helping to get legal permission to spy on someone who had been a Trump campaign assistant.

At the same time, there has been an unprecedented barrage of leaks of classified information from intelligence agencies about supposed Trump transgressions.

Right now, so very, very much is up in the air, and the last thing Trump should do is interfere in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of his possibly doing what the Clinton campaign did: collude with the Russians.

Whatever Mueller finds or does not find, we need to know about it, and we also need to know a lot more about all of these people, including government actors, who seem bent on destroying our democratic institutions in order to keep Trump from doing it.

That's what a good teacher would say, and we should all listen.

Jay Ambrose
(TNS)

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Jay Ambrose, formerly Washington director of editorial policy for Scripps Howard newspapers and the editor of dailies in El Paso, Texas, and Denver, is a columnist living in Colorado.

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