Laura Ingraham: If Mick Mulvaney Were A Lawyer, Which He Is, He Could Avoid Confessing To All The Crimes
White House (acting) Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney's press briefing Thursday lacked the confident professionalism of a dumpster fire. It was like the "West Wing" episode when Josh filled in for CJ. But Josh just admitted that the president had a secret plan to fight inflation (he didn't). Mulvaney admitted that the president held up funding to the Ukraine until he got dirt on his political enemies (he did).
Donald Trump reportedly "wasn't happy" that Mulvaney implicated him in multiple crimes. This is why the chief of staff is still temp to perm. Conservative media did their best to help Mulvaney out of the hole he'd dug and dumped bodies into on live TV. Wall Street Journal columnist Kim Strassel accused the press and Democrats of "moving the goal post" and claimed the Ukraine scandal is no different from the "Russia collusion fake story."
STRASSEL: Now, apparently, there is something inappropriate - or it is a quid pro quo for the president to say, we're not going to give you money until you tell us whether or not you meddled in our 2016 election. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but we just asked Bob Mueller to do the exact same thing for several years with regards to Russia. I mean, that's not a quid pro quo, that's a legitimate ask.
These fever dreams about Robert Mueller are a popular diversionary tactic from conservatives now. Trump is the true hero here. Mueller dithered around like a common Hamlet, but Trump isn't wasting time. He'll do whatever it takes to defend America from enemies foreign and domestic, who happen to have the names Clinton and Biden. Go figure. Strassel just released a new book, Resistance (At All Costs), about how "Trump Haters Are Breaking America" (that's the rest of the title). Trump tweeted a glowing review and expressed his appreciation for Strassel early this week. That's probably not quid pro quo either. She's just a hack who shamelessly defends Trump no matter how obviously criminally he behaves.
Laura Ingraham continued the "moving goal posts" theme on her white power hour last night. One of her guests was Robert Ray, a former Whitewater prosecutor who succeeded Ken Starr in the investigation that pursued Bill and Hillary Clinton for years over a failed land deal. Ray claimed that when Mulvaney was asked if what he'd described was a quid pro quo, he should've said "no" even though he clearly meant "yes."
RAY: I've been looking at bribery and extortion for the better part of 20 years of my professional life. And I can tell you that a press conference is not the place where you sort that out.
I didn't know prosecutors cared that much where people confessed to crimes. Is there also a dress code? Maybe Ray only considers black-tie confessions and just plugs his ears whenever someone admits to crimes while wearing an open collar.
RAY: Democrats would have to show that there's a personal benefit derived from President Trump in exchange for what was going on here.
The "personal benefit" is that President Trump remains President Trump. The presidency is invaluable to him not just because he openly profits from it but he's safe from prosecution for other crimes while in office. But the Whitewater prosecutor insists that Democrats are desperate to pin anything on this president they don't like.
INGRAHAM: I gotta say. We're all lawyers here. There's a reason Bill Barr doesn't do a lot of press conferences.
Yes, the attorney general is too busy burning witches.
INGRAHAM: [Barr] would know how to answer those questions. I'm not piling on Mulvaney. When you have a legal issue before a lot of people who aren't lawyers, the last thing you want to do is get out there and say a whole bunch of things very fast... and there's not much of a pause between one thought and another. And then they can say, AHA!
Ray added that Mulvaney even "adopted the premise of the question" like a sucker. Mulvaney might not be attorney general or even acting attorney general, but he does have a law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. But you don't need a juris doctorate to avoid confessing to crimes on live television. You just need to avoid working for an administration that commits crimes.
Sean Hannity, on his radio show, suggested that the problem isn't Mulvaney's lack of legal training. He's just dumb as a bag of a hair.
HANNITY: This is what, you know -- this is why, I think, some of these people are so stupid. Read the transcript. We don't need a non-whistleblower whistleblower. You don't need a chief of staff's idiotic interpretation of things [ed note: Mulvaney is also the director of the Office of Management and Budget, which held up the Ukraine funds at Trump's command, so he is probably in a good space to "interpret" "things"], when the president and the president of Ukraine and everybody else can read it all themselves. That's what's amazing.
Mulvaney is never going to get that promotion at this rate.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle.