Trump’s Spiny Normans by @BloggersRUs

Trump's Spiny Normans

by Tom Sullivan

Whatever he does, Donald J. Trump cannot seem to rid himself of Robert Mueller. The Russia investigation special counsel is Spiny Norman to Trump's Dinsdale Piranha. Whichever way Trump turns, Mueller is there. Watching.

Trump's installation this week of alleged con man Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general is already ending badly. A firestorm of criticism and charges the move was illegal had Trump babbling like St. Peter Friday morning he did not know the man he dropped into the job after Jeff Sessions. Last night from France, Trump again swore he did not know him, but heard Whitaker was very highly regarded. Very highly.

In bizarre performance on the White House lawn Friday morning, Trump was showing the strain:

In a post heavy with reference links, William Saletan takes readers through the history of Trump's efforts to quash the “rigged witch hunt” Russia investigation. All leading to Trump's flop-sweat move of installing Whitaker after dramatic Republican midterm losses leave him facing multiple investigations by Democrat-led House committees:
Whitaker’s assignment with respect to the Russia investigation could scarcely be more obvious. He has dismissed the idea of collusion with Russia, endorsed the Trump Tower meeting, defended Trump’s attempts to pressure Comey, protested the FBI raid on Manafort, urged Rosenstein to restrain Mueller, and declared that Trump has absolute authority to shut down the investigation. Last year, after Trump fired Comey, Whitaker said there was “no case for obstruction of justice.” Whitaker suggested that Trump could use a “recess appointment” to replace Sessions with an attorney general who would cut Mueller’s budget to the point where “his investigation grinds to almost a halt.”
The reason Mueller is still investigating Trump's crimes after a year and a half, Saletan writes, is Trump keeps committing them.

Plus, the press Trump love-hates keeps uncovering them. Like a moth drawn to a flame, he craves the light but cannot take the heat.

The Wall Street Journal last night published a lengthy investigative report from five authors with dozens of sources detailing Trump's direct involvement with hush-money payouts to adult film star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal. Concealing payouts Trump treated as campaign expenditures leaves him open to prosecution for campaign finance violations, the same ones to which former Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty. The Journal reports federal investigators in New York have more than Cohen's word Trump was directly involved in making and concealing those payments. They have receipts.

Investigations into campaign finance violations and Trump's business practices by the Southern District of New York are in addition to and separate from the Mueller probe. Stopping Mueller will not stop them. Spiny Norman has a sibling.

Interviewer: Was there anything unusual about him?

Gloria: I should say not. Except, that Dinsdale was convinced that he was being watched by a giant hedgehog whom he referred to as 'Spiny Norman'.

Interviewer: How big was Norman supposed to be?

Gloria: Normally Spiny Norman was wont to be about twelve feet from snout to tail, but when Dinsdale was depressed Norman could be anything up to eight hundred yards long.