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Crosstalk: Should Mueller probe be stopped?

Americans are finally realizing that the investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 elections is politically motivated. A recent CBS poll showed that 53 percent of the 1,101 adult respondents thought so and, of course, the vast majority of those who didn’t identified as Democrats.

Likewise, a YouGov poll found that 58 percent of Americans believe the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is seeking to frame President Donald Trump through the Department of Justice investigation being conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller.

The Resistance movement is bound and determined to keep the hoopla over this farce going in a never-ending effort to delegitimize Trump’s presidency. They don’t seem to care that the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign bankrolled the research that led to a dossier being compiled on Trump that became the basis of the investigation.

Clinton’s attorney, Marc Elias, hired research firm Fusion GPS to investigate allegations of Trump ties to Russia.

Fusion GPS then hired former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele to dig up unconfirmed dirt on Trump. The fraudulent dossier quotes from many anonymous sources, yet somehow became the basis for a federal warrant to spy on Trump’s associates.

Fabricated “evidence” was then used to launch an investigation. The allegation was that Trump had colluded with Russia to sway the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

If the FBI and DOJ have nothing to hide, why are they withholding documents legally subpoenaed by a congressional committee that formed to get to the bottom of this mess? Why did Mueller refuse in court to tell a judge exactly what his investigation was all about? The factual statement defining the limits of his probe remains a secret.

This entire debacle smacks of collusion and corruption — shouldn’t Democrats care about the “any end justifies the means” behavior of their top leaders? Liberals have raised hypocrisy to a fine art form.

Can you imagine the howling of Democrats if Trump and not Clinton had exposed critically important, classified documents to our enemies?

Not a peep. Yet, liberals demand that an investigation that has involved more than a year of intensive digging and yielded no evidence of collusion with Russia on Trump’s part continue because it suits their political agenda.

Democrats are now warning that if Trump attempts to shut down Mueller’s joke of an investigation, he will be guilty of obstructing justice. Once again, liberals are displaying their ignorance of the U.S. Constitution and the powers it gives the executive branch of government.

The president is the chief law enforcement officer of the U.S., not the attorney general or any of the other lawyers who work inside the DOJ, including special counsels.

Therefore, the ultimate authority to decide whether an investigation should be conducted, and prosecution occur, rests with the president.

While a president may pay a political price for getting intimately involved in DOJ activities, he legally has that authority.

It appears that Mueller’s sole goal is to go after Trump’s team and supporters for things completely unrelated to collusion in the hope one of them will reveal an obscure misstep that the Trump campaign might have taken.

Democrats want Mueller’s fishing expedition to continue through the mid-term elections because they can use it to leverage points with the electorate. They could care less that every action they take in this Resistance movement is undermining the rule of law.

The land of the free was designed to have government serve an informed people. But public schools and colleges are now teaching students that mob rule is the way to get things done, and our intelligence agencies have become political weapons. Then there is the media, using its influence to further the left’s agenda.

All of this may all bring about the demise of this country if the people don’t wake up and reclaim their rights.

— RaeLynn Ricarte

The final report regarding Russian interference in U.S. elections released by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence April 28 has sparked a fresh storm of partisan controversy regarding allegations of collusion and such by one party or the other.

Exciting political stuff — the report has plenty of finger-pointing opportunities — and maybe I'll get to that.

But before I get lost in the political spin, it's worth looking at the report itself, perhaps even taking it at face value as the important conclusions of a bipartisan committee tasked with protecting America's democratic principles.

According to the report, Russian cyberattacks related to the 2016 elections “starkly highlighted technical vulnerabilities in U.S. digital infrastructure and bureaucratic shortcomings that were exploited by the Kremlin.”

Not only that, Russia's campaign “achieved its primary goal of inciting division and discord among Americans.”

“For more than a year, U.S. politics have been consumed by bitter recriminations, charges and counter-charges about the attacks,” the report explains. “The reliability of the democratic vote — the bed-rock of the U.S. republic — was widely and repeatedly questioned.”

According to the report, Russia “leveraged cyberattacks, covert platforms, social media, third-party intermediaries and state-run media.

“Hacked material was disseminated through this myriad network of actors with the objective of undermining the effectiveness of the future administration.

This dissemination worked in conjunction with derisive messages posted on social media to undermine confidence in the election and sow fear and division in American society.”

Why was Russia so wildly successful? Because both primary political parties were ready and willing to sow a little “division and discord” among Americans to help them get their candidate — Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton — elected.

That is the real issue in America Russian relationships today.

As the report explains, “while the Committee found no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded, coordinated, or conspired with the Russian government, the investigation did find poor judgment and ill-considered actions by the Trump and Clinton campaigns.”

On the Trump side, the June 2016 meeting at Tump Tower between members of the Trump campaign and a Russian lawyer “demonstrated poor judgement.” The committee also found the Trump campaign's periodic praise for and communications with Wikileaks — a hostile foreign organization — to be highly objectionable and inconsistent with U.S. national security interests.”

On the Clinton side, the committee “also found that her campaign and the Democratic National Committee, using a series of cutouts and intermediaries to obscure their roles, paid for opposition research on Trump obtained from Russian sources, including a litany of claims by high-ranking current and former Russian government officials.”

Bureaucratic shortcomings indeed!

Such actions may not add up to a legal definition of “collusion,” but they come very close.

In short, Russia's campaign was and remains effective, and America is smarting from the blow.

Given such a clearly stated failure of our “digital infrastructure” and the “bureaucratic shortcomings” of our leadership, one would think Americans would be obsessed with finding ways to counteract Russia's influence.

Instead, we are discussing whether or not the far more secretive and in-depth investigation being conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller should end and whether he has exceeded his authority — whether his investigation is politically motivated.

We react now with, as before, a “great deal of division and discord.”

Russia should be proud.

But I'm tired of two-headed monsters and what I want to know is, how do we protect ourselves from such hostile meddling when our nation’s leaders are more interested in slinging mud in a no-holds-barred bid for power than they are in counteracting a growing threat?

— Mark Gibson


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