By Ed Rollins
Published December 20, 2018
Washington is a town full of powerful people. But right now the storyline is that only two people really matter – a president under siege, and an unelected prosecutor who is leading the charge to prove that the president is unworthy of his high office.
President Trump is outraged that his presidency is being damaged and distracted. On a daily basis, he is unable to control the narrative. His mission of trying to reinvigorate an economy and stabilize a workforce, and also deal in a world that is more challenging by the day, is not the story the media focuses on.
The president has to be frustrated by the daily threat of Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his band of prosecutors nipping at his heels. With the possible exception of Fox News Channel and a few other conservative media outlets, the establishment media is blasting the White House daily and waiting for the next news tidbit to drop.
The president's daily tweets are just a drop of water compared to the waterfall of attacks against him that run wall-to-wall in our media. But unlike most political people, this president is tough and won't run from a fight. His only problem is figuring out the rules of the game, and there are no obvious ones. Since this is a judicial investigation, the rules of the legal system should prevail. But the prosecutor always has an advantage -- as we have recently seen.
Since his appointment as special counsel on May 17, 2017, former FBI Director Mueller has appointed an experienced team to take over the previous FBI investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Mueller’s appointment is full of conflicts, not the least of which is his close relationship with fired FBI Director James Comey, who deliberately set the special counsel game in place with his leaked documents.
I would describe Mueller as a man who walks in snow and leaves no footprints. What he does next, nobody knows.
With their pal, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, in charge, they set in motion a special counsel probe that was stacked against President Trump from the beginning. After spending millions of taxpayer dollars and 18 months investigating, Mueller certainly knows what his strategy is and what cards he gets to play next.
He has taken testimony from a despicable cast of characters like Paul Manafort, Lt. General Michael Flynn, Rick Gates and Michael Cohen, whose crimes had nothing to do with the original mission of the special prosecutor. Mueller and his team are quiet, competent, and very dangerous to the wellbeing of this presidency.
Mueller's profile and name recognition are second only to the president’s. He is not a self-promoter – just the opposite, he’s a man of mystery. I would describe Mueller as a man who walks in snow and leaves no footprints. What he does next, nobody knows. In a town where knowledge is value, his mystery and unpredictable next moves leave everyone wondering and speculating.
He is being praised by many in D.C. and, except for the Trump partisans, the anticipation of his final report has the town in a state of anxious uncertainty and immobility. The president has no idea where the next arrow will come from or how deep it will penetrate.
The original mission of the special prosecutor – to find out if there was collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians – has fallen off the main agenda without any evidence of that having occurred. What is evident is that the Russians were everywhere attempting to create havoc in our democratic process.
Whatever they did in the election, President Vladimir Putin could never have dreamed that the chaos consuming our government today would be the outcome. Putin should award "Hero of the Russian Federation" medals to his hackers and opposition researchers, and they should wear them proudly in the halls of the Kremlin. They are the new warriors and are extremely dangerous to our way of life.
The Senate Intelligence Committee recently released two reports that detail the widespread scope of the Russian campaign of disinformation conducted against the U.S. during the 2016 election. It was disclosed that the same guerilla tactics are now being used against the special counsel. The Washington Post reported, “Having worked to help get Trump into the White House, they now worked to neutralize the biggest threat to his staying there."
Whatever [the Russians] did in the election, President Vladimir Putin could never have dreamed that the chaos consuming our government today would be the outcome.
Mueller and his team are not finished. A team that has been pretty effective in expanding its mission may not be ready to wrap up the original charge until all leads are chased down. Combine that zealousness with all the sidebar investigations now going on – by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, the newly-elected attorney general of New York, and many others into Trump’s family, business, taxes, inauguration, and dead father's business practices – and the new Democratic majority in the House that’s just waiting to attack, attack, attack – it makes one wonder why anyone would want to be president.
Well, many do. The Washington Examiner speculates that 45 Democrats are thinking seriously of running to be the president’s opponent in two years. They won't be promoting themselves or their programs. They will be attacking Trump and his fitness for office.
Having been part of two presidential administrations that were under assault – President Richard Nixon’s during Watergate and President Ronald Reagan’s during the Iran Contra – and having watched a third – President Bill Clinton’s during Whitewater – I know firsthand that when under attack, White Houses cease to function.
Nixon was driven from office and would have been impeached if he hadn't resigned. Clinton was impeached but not convicted. And Reagan was badly damaged in his second term and barely recovered by the end of his presidency.
President Trump has been under siege since his inauguration. It's time to get this over. Mr. Mueller, present what you have, and let's get on with it.
The country elected Donald Trump knowing he was a different kind of leader and an unconventional politician. Let him lead. He's not going to quit, and no matter what Mueller reports, impeachment would be a foolish and unsuccessful effort by the Democrats.
In two years, the country gets to make a choice again. In the meantime, let's see if we can make our government work for the people.