Rumors and misinformation in the establishment media abound after a longtime friend of President Donald Trump revealed that the president will consider “terminating” Robert Mueller, the special counsel appointed to investigate possible Russian ties to the Trump campaign.
Although senior officials repudiated the assertion from Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy — that he “thinks” Trump is considering firing Mueller — the media was once again set ablaze with efforts to tie the Trump Administration to the Watergate scandal.
Media outlets, like The New York Times, framed the story as one of a vindictive president, that vents “threats of action” in times of “frustration.” Their attempts to frame Mueller’s firing as a right-wing conspiracy came into full focus when the Times mentioned that conservative talk show hosts, Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin, called for Comey to be fired or to “step aside,” respectively.
Much like they omit context when they described Levin as only a “radio host” (Levin is a constitutional lawyer and former chief of staff to Attorney General Ed Meese), they did the same when reporting on recent developments highlighting the conflict of interest between Comey and Mueller.
In former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony last week, he admitted to leaking a memo of a private conversation between him and Trump in an effort to induce the appointment of a special counsel to investigate the Trump-Russian connection. It just so happens that the special counsel that was appointed has a close professional and personal relationship with the star witness in the investigation … James Comey.
The relationship between the two men presents a clear conflict of interest. Still, this conflict goes nearly unmentioned in breathless, conjecture-filled reports on the self-admitted hearsay Ruddy (some would say recklessly) fired into the media ether.
The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) own regulations confirm a conflict of interest by declaring that no one in the DOJ can “participate in a criminal investigation” if he/she has a “personal” relationship with someone substantially involved in the subject of the investigation.
Constitutional lawyer, Robert Barnes says, “the law is clear,” Robert Mueller must recuse himself from any “Comey-part” of his special counsel investigation. The same code also makes recusal mandatory by including the language “shall,” instead of “can” or “should.”
The establishment media’s reaction left out any possibility that an argument exists for a legitimate recusal or claims that Mueller is unable to act impartially as special counsel, substituted instead with the perpetual tethering of Trump to the Watergate scandal in a sordid attempt to create something that just isn’t there.
Vox threw a fit over the Ruddy’s claim, whining in petulance that if Mueller was dismissed it would have “seismic implications” and a declaration that Trump will fire anyone “who dares investigate him” for fear of what Mueller “might have uncovered.”
As if that wasn’t partisan enough, Vox is explicit in saying that Mueller’s dismissal will be “reminiscent of Richard Nixon’s Sunday Night Massacre” never once mentioning Mueller’s conflict of interest.
The New York Times surreptitiously devoted only two sentences to Comey and Mueller’s relationship, described four years ago in a Washingtonian piece as the two being “close partners and close allies,” and that there was only one person in government Comey could “confide in and trust: Bob Mueller.”
The Times of course could not withstand the desire to make a comparison to Watergate, earnestly noting that if Trump did fire Mueller, it would lead to a “series of events” recalling Watergate’s “Saturday Night Massacre.”
The Washington Post actually outlines a scenario Trump would take in order to fire Mueller that is exactly parallel to Nixon’s methods in Watergate, though Trump himself, nor anyone else in his administration, has said he would fire Mueller.
Not one of these publications called for, at the very least, a limited recusal of Robert Mueller as the law calls for, instead firmly focusing on Trump’s ability to become the next Richard Nixon.
Perhaps Donald Trump or his Deputy Attorney General shouldn’t fire Robert Mueller as special counsel, but an honest media should be debating whether Mueller’s relationship with Comey jeopardizes his ability to conduct an impartial investigation.