We’re still waiting for more information today from filings related to special investigator Robert Mueller’s examination of Donald Trump’s “relationships” with Russia. Legal experts are very excited to view two expected filings related to former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort and former personal attorney Michael Cohen as everyone outside of Mueller’s team looks for new tea leaves to read.
President Trump has relentlessly accused the Mueller investigation of being a “witch hunt,” but the majority of American people do not agree with him and continue to support the investigation moving forward. According to a new poll, 67% of American adults believe that Mueller’s investigation should be allowed to continue; a whopping 76% want the results of the investigation to ultimately be made public.
Arizona Republican Senator Jeff Flake is pushing his colleagues to vote on legislation that would explicitly protect Mueller’s investigation from Trump (who has tried to fire Mueller more than once). Said Flake on Thursday, “The message that needs to be sent to the White House is that we do not have the president’s back if he fires the special counsel.”
Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) does not support Flake’s cause and is insisting that the Senate is actually sending a stronger message to President Trump by not discussing such legislation (no, this makes no logical sense whatsoever). Gardner talked with Colorado Public Radio’s Ryan Warner this week and performed a plainly-ridiculous dance on the topic — part of Gardner’s ongoing effort to avoid directly answering questions on protecting Mueller’s investigation. We transcribed the relevant part of the interview below:
WARNER: Let’s turn to the Mueller-Russia probe. A key, but short-lived, member of the Trump administration has given Mueller, quote, “substantial assistance.” The special counsel therefore is recommending no jailtime for former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. What, exactly, Flynn offered up was unclear, but it’s an important element, apparently, in an investigation that the President could seek to derail. Outgoing Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake has called for a Mueller protection bill. The Senate Majority Leader says that would be a futile gesture. Do you agree that such legislation is futile, or do you think it would send an important signal to the White House?
GARDNER: Well, I think what sends an important signal to the White House is our support, in the Senate, for the Mueller investigation. That transcends any legislation. I haven’t heard a Senator yet who is opposed to the Mueller investigation. This is critically important [that] this investigation be completed. It needs to be completed. I’ve said that many times and will continue to support the investigation. I think it’s in the best interests of the President, if the President believes that he did nothing wrong, then the Mueller investigation will find that. If there is something wrong, the American people need to know that. And that’s why I think this is so important.
WARNER: Why not put the weight behind it with some sort of legislation?
GARDNER: Well, I think the weight behind it is the fact that we’re not playing politics here. And I’m concerned that others want to play politics. I want to see this investigation carried through. Look, if the President wants to disband the Mueller investigation – if he wants to find out what it feels like to touch the sun – he can disband the Mueller investigation. It’s not a good thing.
Here we have Gardner ostensibly warning President Trump that interfering in the Mueller investigation would be tantamount to “touching the sun.” Undeterred, Warner rightfully presses Gardner on why he wouldn’t just support Flake’s proposal for a pre-emptive legislative protection.
WARNER: So you don’t support any legislative action in that regard. If President Trump moved to fire Bob Mueller, do you think the President should face some sort of consequence? What would that be?
GARDNER: Again, I think if you want to find out what it feels like to touch the sun, [then] take that direction and take that action. The President has not done this, he will not do this, and he should not do this.
WARNER: I wonder why you wouldn’t want a Mueller protection bill…
GARDNER: Well, I think I’ve been very clear. Some people want to play politics. This investigation needs to continue, and it’s in the best interests of this country for this. I’m not about playing politics, I’m about getting results.
WARNER: You think that a Mueller protection bill is playing politics, then?
GARDNER: I’ve answered the question about my support for this Mueller investigation. It must continue.
“I think I’ve been very clear,” says Gardner.
Gardner avoided five separate questions about supporting legislation to protect the Mueller investigation. It’s easy to see through Gardner’s word salad to understand that the critical words are the ones he won’t say.