Reality check: Sessions can't end Mueller probe

CNN's John Avlon looks at President Trump's recent tweet calling for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to end special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

Posted: Aug 3, 2018 8:18 AM
Updated: Aug 3, 2018 8:34 AM

For the first time, President Donald Trump has called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to personally step in and end what he calls the "rigged witch hunt" -- the Russia investigation.

This is reality challenged on a number of levels.

First, it ignores a fact that has frustrated Trump since Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation back in March 2017: He can't end it. Only the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, can do it, and only for "misconduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, or for other good cause." There is no evidence to show special counsel Robert Mueller is remotely guilty of any of that.

Second, explicitly calling on Sessions to end the investigation would certainly seem like an invitation to obstruction of justice; especially since, according to The New York Times, the Mueller team is looking at Trump's tweets for evidence of obstruction.

Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and the White House have said the President was merely expressing an opinion, not giving an order.

Of course, on a persistent schoolyard taunt level, the special counsel investigation is neither "rigged" nor a "witch hunt." But facts don't often deter this President from playing verbal offense. He's a master marketer trying to impose a new association on the investigation, so that his supporters will ignore the results no matter what they are.

Nonetheless, there's an increasingly desperate edge to his screaming "WITCH HUNT" at the special counsel. In fact, as the Russia investigation heats up, he uses it more and more. For example, he said it only three times on Twitter in May 2017 but 20 times in May 2018.

Trump, of course, is not the first president to cry "witch hunt." Witness Exhibit A, a Washington Post headline from late July 1973 blaring, "Nixon Sees 'Witch-Hunt,' Insiders Say." Just over a year later, Nixon left the White House in disgrace.

But neither party has a monopoly on virtue or vice, and new statistics say Democrats may have to revise one of their favorite rallying cries, that the Trump economy and the impact of his tax cuts haven't benefited Main Street. New data from the Labor Department shows that American workers, on average, just got their biggest raise in almost a decade in terms of wages and benefits. Whether this will outweigh rising consumer prices remains to be seen.

One final note. The Washington Post is out with its latest diagnosis of the truthfulness of Trump. As of Day 558 of his presidency, more than 4,200 of Trump's claims were determined to be "false or misleading." If you're doing the math at home, that's an average of 7.6 false or misleading claims a day. Many of those could just be called "lies."

And that's your Reality Check.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 43742

Reported Deaths: 1558
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin13948793
Ramsey5397238
Dakota285297
Stearns257519
Anoka2510115
Nobles16986
Washington134441
Olmsted133620
Mower9942
Scott9534
Rice8988
Clay63238
Blue Earth6292
Kandiyohi6001
Wright5645
Carver5182
Todd4052
Sherburne3755
Lyon3642
Freeborn3160
Watonwan2730
Steele2661
Benton2503
St. Louis24916
Nicollet21513
Martin1805
Winona15615
Goodhue1468
Cottonwood1440
Le Sueur1421
Otter Tail1231
Crow Wing11912
Pine1150
Chisago1131
Dodge1050
McLeod1020
Pipestone975
Carlton960
Unassigned9440
Polk903
Isanti860
Murray860
Chippewa841
Douglas830
Waseca820
Itasca7912
Morrison701
Becker690
Meeker671
Faribault640
Beltrami620
Jackson590
Sibley592
Pennington550
Brown532
Wabasha460
Mille Lacs412
Swift391
Fillmore380
Renville373
Rock350
Yellow Medicine340
Lincoln330
Houston320
Grant311
Roseau290
Koochiching261
Redwood250
Wilkin233
Cass222
Norman210
Pope190
Big Stone180
Kanabec181
Wadena180
Aitkin170
Marshall170
Clearwater140
Mahnomen131
Hubbard120
Stevens110
Lake100
Traverse80
Lac qui Parle60
Red Lake50
Kittson20
Cook10
Lake of the Woods00

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 36437

Reported Deaths: 776
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk7803188
Woodbury338645
Black Hawk257660
Buena Vista174112
Johnson15438
Linn145684
Dallas145133
Scott117410
Marshall112519
Dubuque105423
Story8978
Pottawattamie85913
Wapello71731
Muscatine70945
Crawford6823
Sioux5190
Tama49329
Webster4485
Wright4081
Jasper37517
Louisa36813
Plymouth3645
Cerro Gordo3569
Warren3481
Dickinson3123
Washington2559
Hamilton2071
Boone1741
Clay1521
Clinton1471
Clarke1463
Allamakee1384
Mahaska12417
Shelby1240
Bremer1227
Carroll1211
Franklin1170
Poweshiek1148
Pocahontas1091
Des Moines1052
Emmet990
Cedar971
Hardin950
Henry943
Cherokee871
Marion870
Guthrie844
Floyd832
Benton811
Taylor810
Jones801
Monona780
Butler742
Jackson740
Osceola700
Sac690
Hancock672
Buchanan661
Calhoun662
Lyon650
Harrison640
Jefferson640
Iowa631
Fayette620
Humboldt621
Madison612
Kossuth580
Delaware571
Palo Alto550
Lee542
Mills540
Monroe547
Winneshiek532
Clayton513
Mitchell510
Grundy500
Union501
Winnebago490
Davis431
Unassigned390
Howard370
Lucas354
Chickasaw340
Greene310
Appanoose303
Worth300
Cass290
Ida240
Keokuk231
Page220
Van Buren211
Adair170
Audubon171
Montgomery172
Ringgold161
Decatur140
Fremont110
Wayne111
Adams80
Rochester
Clear
76° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 76°
Mason City
Clear
78° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 79°
Albert Lea
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 79°
Austin
75° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 75°
Charles City
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 73°
Clouds continue to clear as a warming trend heads our way
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Dave's Noon Weather 7/16

Image

City of Rochester working to distribute CARES Act Funding

Image

Virtual Vendors struggling with online sales

Image

Dave's 6:30 Weather 7/16

Image

The Landing MN Seeking Volunteers

Image

Finding the positives in delayed NJCAA fall sports season

Image

Day Center and RPL Updates

Image

Travel heads up. You might have to quarantine when you get there

Image

Sean's 10pm Weather 7/15

Image

Sustainable Building with Mass Timber

Community Events