After 14 months of watching “The Apprentice: White House,” we’re finally going to get the very special “constitutional crisis” episode they’ve been building up to.
I’m glad I stuck with the show.
“I pray that Acting Attorney General Rosenstein will follow the brilliant and courageous example of the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility and Attorney General Jeff Sessions and bring an end to alleged Russia Collusion investigation manufactured by McCabe’s boss James Comey based upon a fraudulent and corrupt Dossier,” Dowd then wrote.
He told The Daily Beast he was speaking on behalf of the president, in his capacity as the president’s attorney.
He also sent the Beast this, because he’s a sober individual of sound and measured judgment:
“What’s that smell in this room[Bureau}? Didn’t you notice it, Brick [Jim]? Didn’t you notice a powerful and obnoxious odor of mendacity in this room[Bureau}?… There ain’t nothin’ more powerful than the odor of mendacity[corruption]… You can smell it. It smells like death.” Tennessee Williams — ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’
This is the same guy who once handed the NYT a Russiagate scoop by talking too loudly about the case at a D.C. restaurant. How is it that a billionaire-turned-president somehow has nothing but clowns for his lawyers?
The news here is that Dowd’s not just chattering idly about his dislike for Mueller’s investigation, he’s claiming that he’s speaking for Trump in saying so. According to Daily Beast reporter Betsy Woodruff, she asked Dowd explicitly if he was commenting on Trump’s behalf, to which Dowd said, “Yes, speaking as his counsel.” But wait — this wouldn’t be a very special episode without a twist:
I’m told Dowd will now put out a statement saying he was not speaking on behalf of the president.
— Michael S. Schmidt (@nytmike) March 17, 2018
If the president’s attorney was speaking off the cuff about firing the special counsel without clearing it with his client first, knowing that Mueller’s already looking at obstruction charges, he’s a garbage lawyer who should be fired himself. If he wasn’t speaking off the cuff but rather at Trump’s behest, it’s inexplicable that he’d instantly try to walk back the statement. If Dowd’s not comfortable with Trump threatening Mueller then he should either keep it to himself or refuse to issue the statement the president wants and resign instead. Telling reporters “I’m speaking for him” and then “I’m speaking only for myself” in the span of an hour is bizarre. It’s not lawyering, it’s gaslighting.
I’m asking seriously: Was this guy drunk, in the morning, when he responded to Woodruff?
Democrats are going to town over the threat:
Every member of Congress, Republican and Democrat, needs to speak up in defense of the Special Counsel. Now. https://t.co/bg9pVtkdOv
— Mark Warner (@MarkWarner) March 17, 2018
The President, through his lawyer, called on DOJ to end Mueller probe. Obstruction of justice is no less a threat to our democracy when done in the open than behind closed doors. Every representative should condemn this flagrant abuse of power or stop pretending devotion to duty. https://t.co/YtwUXeOW23
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) March 17, 2018
They’re also going to town over McCabe’s firing, naturally:
When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America…America will triumph over you. https://t.co/uKppoDbduj
— John O. Brennan (@JohnBrennan) March 17, 2018
This is absolutely ridiculous. Everyone involved in writing the special counsel regulations understood that a recusal means a recusal. If MCabe was fired over stuff in Mueller’s jurisdiction where Sessions is substantively recused, Sessions has committed a very serious violation. https://t.co/chnmSLnyUu
— Neal Katyal (@neal_katyal) March 17, 2018
Here’s Dowd’s best defense: I didn’t tell you anything you didn’t already know. How many times has Trump tweeted that there was no collusion with Russia, that the investigation is a “witch hunt,” and that it’s hurting America? The WSJ reported a week ago that Trump and his lawyers were so eager to end the investigation that they were considering trading an interview with the president for Mueller’s promise to wrap up the probe within 60 days. Two months ago the Times reported that White House counsel Don McGahn had to threaten to quit last summer to get Trump to back away from firing Mueller at the time, an episode that Mueller himself has no doubt interviewed McGahn about at length. Trump fired Jim Comey over the Russia investigation by his own admission, for cripes sake. If there’s an obstruction case to be made, it’s not going to live or die by the email Dowd sent to the Daily Beast this morning.
But it’s a little more likely to live now that he did. Which is reason enough to fire Dowd.
Exit question: Are we sure Dowd wasn’t speaking at Trump’s behest? Per the NYT, “one person close to the White House said the president was livid over a report in The New York Times that Mr. Mueller had subpoenaed his corporate records, including those related to Russia.” If anything might put him in a firing mood towards Mueller, it’s Mueller’s office sniffing around the Trump Organization.