Back in May, shortly after President Trump sacked FBI Director Comey, I wrote an article for The Duran in which I said that President Trump’s own erratic behaviour is a major reason for his problems.
Since then the President has made some wise decisions – such as getting himself some good lawyers and an accomplished Communications Director – but he persists in undermining them with other bad and extremely unwise ones.
President Trump’s ongoing campaign against Jeff Sessions – his own Attorney General – is a case in point.
I am no fan of Jeff Sessions. However he was Donald Trump’s choice for Attorney General, a post for which he is professionally speaking well qualified. He was also a loyal supporter of Donald Trump’s during the election.
I appreciate that President Trump is disappointed that Sessions felt that he had to recuse himself from the Russiagate inquiry, and he is undoubtedly right to complain that Sessions should have warned him about it in advance. However given Sessions’s role in the campaign it was unquestionably the correct decision.
However the cause of the President’s anger against Sessions appears to be the appointment of Robert Mueller as Russiagate Special Counsel. The President seems to have convinced himself that this happened because Sessions recused himself from the Russiagate inquiry.
The President is wrong to believe that. Robert Mueller was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein as Special Counsel not because Sessions recused himself from the Russiagate inquiry but because of the way the President botched the entirely necessary and appropriate sacking of James Comey as Director of the FBI.
The President is anyway wrong to complain about the Special Counsel, though he is absolutely right to complain about the Russiagate inquiry for the reason he has set out so pithily in this tweet
After 1 year of investigation with Zero evidence being found, Chuck Schumer just stated that "Democrats should blame ourselves,not Russia."
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 24, 2017
However the reality is that the Russiagate scandal will only end when someone independent like Special Counsel Robert Mueller – not President Trump himself – says this very thing. Given how much the Democrats have invested in the scandal, it cannot end any other way.
If only for that reason President Trump should support the work of the Special Counsel, not complain about him. Moreover he has no reason to fear him. Since – as President Trump correctly says – one year of investigation has produced zero evidence – because such evidence does not exist – the President has no reason to fear that the Special Counsel will in the end say anything different. Even if Mueller is prejudiced against the President he cannot concoct a case and take it to court out of nothing, and that all but guarantees that his report when it eventually comes will give the President, the Trump campaign and the administration a clean bill of health.
Instead of fretting about Russiagate the President should leave it to the formidable team of lawyers he has put together to respond to whatever allegations from time to time come up, and get on with the job of running the country.
In the meantime he should let Sessions, Rosenstein and Mueller do their jobs, not snipe at them, and he should tell everyone else to do the same thing.
Instead by publicly going after Sessions – as well as Rosenstein and Mueller – the President is giving more oxygen to the scandal instead of taking the air out of it. He is also antagonising Sessions – his own Attorney General – who was previously one of his most loyal supporters and is a force to be reckoned with in Alabama in his own right. He is also needlessly offending Sessions’s former Republican colleagues in Congress, who were never the President’s greatest fans anyway. but whose support the President needs if he is to have any hope of getting his legislative programme through.
Last but not least, this habit of turning on key members of his own administration such as Sessions is causing dismay amongst the President’s own people. Already there are reports that Rex Tillerson – the President’s Secretary of State and perhaps his single best appointment – is unhappy in his job and is thinking of quitting. Given the way Sessions is being treated, that comes as no surprise.
President Trump should here take a leaf from the way President Putin of Russia – the man he is said to like and admire – runs his government. Putin is known to be intensely loyal to his people, and is rewarded for this by their discipline and loyalty. The result is that by universal agreement Putin runs one of the most effective governments on the planet.
President Trump is still only six months into his term. There is still time to turn things round. However that time is now starting to run out. If the administration continues to be disorganised by the end of the year then the point of no return may have been reached. The President needs to relax, start enjoying himself in his role as President, and stop being his own worst enemy by destabilising his own administration.