This is what happens when your president is a conspiracy theorist casting about untethered from any common understanding of the truth: the line, in all its forms, gets smudged. As President Trump leaps from lie to lie, each misdeed is whatabouted, each previously undiscovered theory, no matter how far-fetched, gets equal time on Fox News, and in the end its nearly impossible to see through the ethical haze. The latest example of the Trump administration’s misdirection is that Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Washington Post reports, is considering a second special counsel to investigate a series of Republican grievances about, wait for it, Hillary Clinton.
The Justice Department told House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte (R-Va.) in a letter Monday in response to his calls for a second special counsel that Sessions had directed senior DOJ prosecutors to “evaluate certain issues raised in [Goodlatte’s] letters” with an eye on potentially launching an investigation. “These senior prosecutors will report directly to the attorney general and the deputy attorney general, as appropriate, and will make recommendations as to whether any matters not currently under investigation should be opened, whether any matters currently under investigation require further resources, or whether any matters merit a special counsel,” assistant attorney general Stephen Boyd said in the letter.
What are these pressing issues that demand investigation? “The list of matters [Goodlatte] wanted probed was wide ranging, but included the FBI’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, various dealings of the Clinton Foundation and several matters connected to the purchase of the Canadian mining company Uranium One by Russia’s nuclear energy agency,” according to the Washington Post. “Goodlatte took particular aim at former FBI director James B. Comey, asking for a second special counsel to evaluate the leaks he directed about his conversations with President Trump, among other things.”
Trump has been pushing hard to divert attention from his own investigation that looks increasingly ominous for the president and those around him. “I’m really not involved with the Justice Department,” Trump told reporters earlier this month. “But, honestly, they should be looking at the Democrats.” On Twitter, the bar is even lower for what Trump is willing to peddle. The New York Times reports some White House officials see appointing a second special counsel investigating the 2010 Uranium One deal as the only way Sessions can save his job as attorney general.
With any intellectual honesty, it’s pretty much impossible to read these attempts at obfuscation by Trump, and now his administration, as anything other than political and legal gamesmanship. Investigating political opponents, particularly vanquished ones, is a particularly slippery slope that clearly Trump, who will only have to live another decade or so in the half-cocked America he creates, surely has no problem hydroplaning down.
The Uranium One investigation—especially its timing—is particularly rich because it was quite literally a manufactured freak out by Fox News. The (apparent) issue at hand involves the 2010 sale of a Canadian mining company called Uranium One, which held the rights to 20 percent of U.S. uranium production capacity, to a Russian company. The deal was OK’d by the State Department during Hillary Clinton’s tenure—along with being approved by eight other U.S. governmental agencies. Fox News got wind of allegations that Russia greased the deal and pinned that to the Clinton Foundation and voila, a countervailing Russia scandal quicker than you could heat up a Hot Pocket.