- - Tuesday, October 24, 2017

When Donald Trump was elected, he may not have realized all the tough choices he would have to make as president. Now, he faces his toughest choice yet. He faces an issue that will decide his presidency. He faces an issue that will decide if he has a presidency or if he leaves the office in disgrace.

His tough choice really isn’t a choice he has to make. The decision is obvious. The question is, is he willing to pay the political price he will have to pay for this choice.

Donald Trump needs to fire special prosecutor Robert Mueller.

Mr. Mueller was appointed earlier this year by the Department of Justice after Attorney General Jeff Sessions foolishly recused himself from the investigation of Russian influence in the 2016 election. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Mr. Mueller to be the special prosecutor and then in a very unusual move, gave him an unlimited mandate to investigate anything.

Mr. Mueller has filled his team with mostly partisan prosecutors. Many of his prosecutors have given exclusively to Democrats over the last few elections. Some contributed to Hillary Clinton in the last election. None of them have the same level of partisan giving for Republicans. While many have given exclusively to Democrats, none have given exclusively to Republicans.

Mr. Mueller does not want to merely investigate. He wants nothing less than to invalidate the 2016 election results.

Nothing shows the motives of the prosecution team more than their treatment of Paul Manafort. Mr. Manafort, who is known to have ties to Russia, saw his home raided by FBI agents in July. This was no ordinary raid. Agents picked the lock to his home, barged in with guns drawn and proceeded to ransack the house.  Mr. Manafort is not a violent criminal. Those are the kinds of suspects “no-knock” warrants are usually reserved for.

Mr. Manafort’s violations, if he is indeed guilty of anything, are white collar crimes. Mr. Manafort was cooperating with Congressional investigators and providing information.

So why was his home raided in such a heavy-handed manner?

The office of the special prosecutor was sending a message to Mr. Manafort. In the best traditions of the Gestapo or the NKVD, the prosecutors told Mr. Manafort, cooperate or this is only the beginning.

The raid was just another hardball tactic that the special prosecutor’s office is using. The creed of the office seems to be to obtain convictions at any price. One of the prosecutors in the office has been accused of doing just that.

Andrew Weissmann is a career Justice Department lawyer who has been repeatedly accused of violating rules and violating the rights of suspects and defendants in order to secure convictions. As reported in the Washington Times on Oct. 22, Mr. Weissmann was one of the lead prosecutors in the Enron Taskforce. That task force destroyed the venerable accounting firm Arthur Anderson and sent several Merrill Lynch executives to jail.

However, years later, those convictions were vacated, either by the Supreme Court or the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. According to the courts and other lawyers, he hid exculpatory evidence from defendants and even coerced one defendant to plead guilty to a crime that did not exist.

This is what Mr. Trump is up against.

President Trump has a choice. He can try to ride out the storm of partisan prosecutors who may be willing to cross ethical lines to get a conviction or he can do something about it.

In 1972, then President Richard Nixon fired the special prosecutor Archibald Cox. Nixon paid a terrible price for that action but he did so to prevent Cox from pursuing the infamous and incriminating White House tapes.

Mr. Trump’s reasons for firing Mr. Mueller are far nobler.  Mr. Mueller is not a dispassionate prosecutor, doing what prosecutors are supposed to do. He is a partisan hack, who wants the president’s scalp on his wall.

The American justice system functions because Americans believe in the fundamental fairness of our justice system. The office of the special prosecutor destroys that perception. The ethical rules for prosecutors require that they do not seek a conviction at all cost. That is what Mr. Mueller’s team is doing.

President Trump should fire Mr. Mueller and his entire team immediately.

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