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With special counsel Robert Mueller unveiling his first indictments and a plea deal in the Russia case, President Donald Trump should do what’s hardest for him — nothing.

Rich Lowry mug

Rich Lowry

The indictment of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates — together with news of a plea agreement with former Trump foreign-policy adviser George Papadopoulos — will generate a torrent of negative press coverage of the sort that drives Trump crazy.

His instinct to lash out is his worst enemy. Trump is at more peril from his own reaction than from any of the facts that have been uncovered by Mueller, congressional investigators or the press to this point. If he were to fire Mueller, he’d endanger his presidency — and perhaps over nothing.

The proverbial net, as far as we know, isn’t closing in. The indictment of Manafort is about Manafort, namely his shady lobbying business. He had long crossed over into the netherworld of representing foreign malefactors and shouldn’t have been allowed within 100 miles of an American presidential election. That he ran the Trump campaign for a crucial period in the summer of 2016 speaks to the campaign’s desperation for talent at that point — a disreputable hired gun that no other Republican campaign would have considered hiring brought a note of professionalism to the operation.

There is no suggestion in the indictment that any of Manafort’s alleged wrongdoing, which dates back to 2006, had anything to do with the campaign. He failed to register as a foreign lobbyist for his work for Ukrainian political players, a fairly common offense among lobbyists that is usually remedied by an amended filing. He also is accused of laundering millions of dollars from his Ukrainian bounty to escape the notice of American authorities.

Unless Manafort knows details of a collusion scheme that we have no evidence of yet and is about to flip (no sign of that, either), none of this need directly affect Trump. If Manafort is innocent, he’s a dirty lobbyist who just barely stayed on the right side of the law; if he’s guilty, he’s a dirty lobbyist who also committed crimes.

As for George Papadopoulos, his plea for lying to the FBI actually involves his work for the campaign. He misled investigators about the timing and nature of his contacts with Russians who wanted to set up a Vladimir Putin-Donald Trump meeting and spoke of dirt on Hillary Clinton. This is suggestive, but Papadopoulos was a bit player, and it’s not clear the talk went anywhere.

If Trump fired Mueller in reaction to all this, he would take a matter that now is at the edges of his world — Manafort has already been gingerly tossed under the bus, and no one knows Papadopoulos — and make it a truly all-consuming crisis. And for what? As a practical matter, there is no way to end the investigation. If Mueller is dismissed, all the special counsel’s materials will presumably be handed over to Congress, and he would, at some point, be a lead witness in impeachment hearings.

The option of pre-emptively pardoning everyone targeted by Mueller also is foolhardy. A Trump pardon of Manafort would associate the president with the lobbyist’s alleged malfeasance when the point should be to establish distance, and would convince everyone that Trump has something explosive to hide.

The calculus here isn’t complicated. If Trump is guilty of serious wrongdoing, there is nothing he can do to stop it from being uncovered. If, on the other hand, he’s innocent, firing Mueller would be a catastrophic error.

The proximate cause of Trump’s ouster of James Comey appears to have been Trump’s irritation that the FBI director wouldn’t publicly state that Trump wasn’t under investigation. So Trump acted out of pique and made things much worse for himself — in fact, got the special counsel probe.

If the president wants to repeat that unhappy experience, he should ax Mueller or issue a barrage of pardons. Otherwise, he should sit tight.

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Syndicated columnist Rich Lowry can be reached at comments.lowry@nationalreview.com.

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(85) comments

Cassandra

We're all still waiting for Chip DeNure (AKA Buggs Raplin) to provide a SINGLE link to a photo or video to back up his ludicrous claim that the Vegas Strip was "raked by gunfire" and that multiple hotels were attacked. Chippy is good at making outrageous conspiracy theory claims, but really bad at providing a single shred of evidence to back them up. Just another person with serious mental health problems who needs professional help.

Buggs Raplin

Cassie, if you invite me to see your solar-powered house, I'll tell you what you want to know.

Cassandra

Once again, Chip DeNure refuses to provide the evidence to back up his ridiculous claims. Instead he changes the subject. Come on, Chippy, show us what you've got.

capedcrusader

I don't have a solar house. Please tell us.

Cassandra

He won't provide ANY evidence. Chip Denure is a liar, a raving lunatic, and a sociopath. And I say this all from the comfort of my lovely solar powered home. LOL!

capedcrusader

I don't have a solar house. Please tell us.

capedcrusader

It's a simple question "Buggs".

Buggs Raplin

We go back in time to the year 2009. CIA Headquarters, Langley, Virginia. U R there.
Director: Have we filled that opening in the Thought Control Division
Aide: Not yet, sir, but we're interviewing candidates.
Director: Anyone standing out?
Aide: An older guy fittingly using the 'oldhomey' name.
Director: What's his background?
Aide: Did great work at Wikipedia, promoted to Fact Check, then hired on at Snopes.
Director: How'd he handle Building 7?
Aide: Beautifully, sir. Fire, fire, fire, and very convincing in the lie
Director: Well, we need good liars.
Aide: Not only does he lie well, his obfuscation is brilliant, absolutely brilliant.
Director: I'm impressed. Hire him NOW. Assign him to all Wisconsin newspapers.
Aide: Ah, Wisconsin, there's a truth teller in La Crosse named Buggs Raplin
Director: I know. Buggs must be dealt with..and I think this oldhomey guy can do it
Aide. I think you're right, sir. I think you're right.

November 2017
Director: oldhomey has been our biggest failure
Aide: True that.
Director: Call Snopes. Ask them to take him back. He's done here.
Aide: Yes sir.

oldhomey

When a narcissist like Buggs gets trapped in his own lies and is rendered defenseless because he has no credible defenses left, he resorts to fantasizing his "victories". It is harmless to everybody else, but it could pose a danger to Buggs' own well-being as he sinks deeper and deeper into delusion, confusing it with reality. And, indeed, we all have been witness repeatedly in these strings of Buggs' delusional confusion with reality.

Buggs Raplin

POO, is your cover job at the Tribune?

Tim Russell

Excellent. Fantasizing his victories. You hit the nail on the head with that one.

capedcrusader

http://www.factcheck.org/2017/10/facts-uranium-one/

Buggs Raplin

To POO. I trust Snopes as much as I trust Fact Check. Both organizations remind me of you.

oldhomey

You mean you're THAT scared of me, Buggs, that you put me way up there with Snopes and Fact Check? That's quite a compliment, but I am embarrassed, as certainly I am not in their league. They investigate and seek out facts far more deeply and broadly than I can do, and they take on some of the biggest, most villainous liars and con men on the planet, while I take on only small fry like you.

Buggs Raplin

POO, I don't compliment very often. In fact, this is the first time for you. You are of the same caliber as any Snopes obfuscator. Congrats.

oldhomey

Well I am no bully by disposition, and the idea that anybody physically would be frightened of me is laughable, but somehow I feel like I am fulfilling my intentions on these posts when Buggs admits he is afraid of me. Thanks, Buggs. That is the nicest thing you have ever said about me.

Cassandra

Chippy simply doesn't trust facts or anyone with expertise who has done their research. It's much easier to jump to ridiculous conclusions and stick to your outrageous theories and make up details to fit your narrative.

johnnybragatti

The fact of the matter is no Uranium(1,2,3) or otherwise has ever departed from the United States of America., to Russ or any place else. Like aah, how much power do the Humpers think the Clintons have?
Worst single mistake The Drumpfs made , is firing Comey....that is the one that will come back to haunt.
Precisely why he is scared s_______of Mueller, who like Comey has absolutely impeccable credentials. He"s dern lucky they ain"t best friends, as a dirtball like Hannity or Ingrham would like you to believe and make "baked brains" out of the peters, like buggs, aka Cowschip MaNure, whose words mean absolutely :
nada.

kingman10

The fact that Lowry, an arch conservative columnist, had to write a column urging the president not to fire Mueller or anyone else over this scandal that is embroiling the white house shows how inept and corrupt the president himself is. Anyone with half a brain knows to let the investigation weed out the corruption and let those guilty face the consequences. That is unless you are part of the corruption, and like Nixon, feel you have to stall and strike out against your perceived enemies because soon you will be twisting slowly in the wind too.

Buggs Raplin

Lowry is a mainstream media columnist, who pushes the envelope as far as the mainstream will allow. Case in point: Mueller should be fired for obvious conflicts of interest. After all, Comey is best friends with Mueller. What Trump must do is fire Sessions, and get someone to go after Hillary, Obama, and Bill Clinton on Uranium One. For chrissakes, they gave away 20% of our uranium to Russia. Now, kingman, what possible use could the Russians have with our uranium. Oh, yeah, the production of bombs to kill us in the event of a nuclear war. But, kingman, knowing your allegiance to the Democrats, this is nothing but a conspiracy theory, and Hillary, Mueller, and Bill are God's gifts to our democracy. Right kingman?

oldhomey

The mainstream media pays political and publishes columnists of all political stripes and hues, Buggs, and Lowry is as right wing as they come. He sides with your views almost point for point. Your argument that Mueller and Comey are "BFF" is based on nothing but hot air, generated by you. They know each other, one once worked for the other. If that should be the deal killer on Mueller running the investigation, I have all kinds of Trump appointments that should be terminated immediately. Uranium One is yet another Fox News talking point that falls conveniently on your lap, another red herring:

From Snopes, which actually tracks down the actual facts and is not building a partisan front like some Potemkin Village constructed of false information:

A key fact ignored in criticisms of Clinton’s supposed involvement in the deal is that the uranium was not — nor could it be — exported, and remained under the control of U.S.-based subsidiaries of Uranium One, according to a statement by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission:

NRC’s review of the transfer of control request determined that the U.S. subsidiaries will
remain the licensees, will remain qualified to conduct the uranium recovery operations, and will continue to have the equipment, facilities, and procedures necessary to protect public health and safety and to minimize danger to life or property. The review also determined that the licensees will maintain adequate financial surety for eventual decommissioning of the sites. Neither Uranium One nor ARMZ holds an NRC export license, so no uranium produced at either facility may be exported.
The timing of most of the donations does not match

Of the $145 million allegedly contributed to the Clinton Foundation by Uranium One investors, the lion’s share — $131.3 million — came from a single donor, Frank Giustra, the company’s Canadian founder. But Giustra sold off his entire stake in the company in 2007, three years before the Russia deal and at least 18 months before Clinton became secretary of state.

Of the remaining individuals connected with Uranium One who donated to the Clinton Foundation, only one was found to have contributed during the same time frame that the deal was taking place, according to The New York Times — Ian Telfer (also a Canadian), the company’s chairman:

His donations through the Fernwood Foundation included $1 million reported in 2009, the year his company appealed to the American Embassy to help it keep its mines in Kazakhstan; $250,000 in 2010, the year the Russians sought majority control; as well as $600,000 in 2011 and $500,000 in 2012. Mr. Telfer said that his donations had nothing to do with his business dealings, and that he had never discussed Uranium One with Mr. or Mrs. Clinton. He said he had given the money because he wanted to support Mr. Giustra’s charitable endeavors with Mr. Clinton. “Frank and I have been friends and business partners for almost 20 years,” he said.
In addition to the Clinton Foundation donations, the New York Times also cited a $500,000 speaking fee paid to former president Bill Clinton by a Russian investment bank in June 2010, before the Uranium One deal was approved:

The $500,000 fee — among Mr. Clinton’s highest — was paid by Renaissance Capital, a Russian investment bank with ties to the Kremlin that has invited world leaders, including Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, to speak at its investor conferences.

Renaissance Capital analysts talked up Uranium One’s stock, assigning it a “buy” rating and saying in a July 2010 research report that it was “the best play” in the uranium markets.
The timing of Telfer’s Clinton Foundation donations and Bill Clinton’s Renaissance Capital speaking fee might be questionable if there was reason to believe that Hillary Clinton was instrumental in the approval of the deal with Russia, but all the evidence points to the contrary — that Clinton did not play a pivotal role, and, in fact, may not have played any role at all. Moreover, neither Clinton nor her department possessed sole power of approval over said transaction.

capedcrusader

Apparently the truth really doesn't matter to Buggs. Remember what I said about sniffing chem trails...

Cassandra

Facts don't matter to Chippy. He's not interested in anything that upsets the narrative he gobbles up from InfoWars and the Cult of Exxon.

kingman10

well buggs, without proof of your said allegations its all hot air. Oldhomey answered you points in his 4;17 post. Talking points and distractions from Trump and Fox news are designed to confuse and take the pressure off the Russian scandal surrounding the orange man baby. Trump does this all the time, calling names, blaming others, throwing mud at whoever dares questions his lies. He has been doing this all his life, and he has taught his greased up sons too. His crazy tweets keeps him in the news headlines, so he can keep spreading his lies. Clintons are long gone from the political scene, but Trump needs a scapegoat, and he thinks he found one. But its not going to work. Lets just hope he doesn't embarrass this country on his Asian trip. That's about the best you can hope for these days.

Cassandra

Chippy wants the investigation ended, no matter how grave the crimes of his man, Trump. That's not patriotism, that's treason.

capedcrusader

http://www.factcheck.org/2017/10/facts-uranium-one/

capedcrusader

Here's the answer to Buggs Raplins question:
http://www.factcheck.org/2017/10/facts-uranium-one/

Buggs Raplin

Lock up Factcheck too

capedcrusader

Of course. Alex Jones is much more reputable. Did you even read this or are you too lazy and stubborn?

Cassandra

Chippy's reply is symptomatic of his paranoia. Like a petty dictator, he would arrest and silence anyone or anything that contradicts him. But facts have a way of being true, whether he believes it or not.

oldhomey

"Lock up Factcheck too" . . . Spoken with the fervor of the fascist you are truly coming to be, Buggs. If people produce real, factual, truthful information that counters your own manufactured lies, you want to lock them up and silence them.

Buggs Raplin

Lock up oldhomey for his lies and obfuscations in service of the deep state.

oldhomey

What is this "deep state" you continually refer to, Buggs? If you are correct and I am in fact doing something in service to it, where to I send my time sheet in? I'd like to get paid for this, as long as I am putting the time and effort into it. And you seem to think, in fact, that I am being pretty professional and effective in execution of my efforts. Thanks for the validation. You're a mensch when you want to be.

johnnybragatti

Kowchip rocks on with her poisoned mind and all, hope he ain"t driving no automobile.
Clinton ain"t up for nothing and won"t be, with no illegalities on anything, anywhere.
That said, he should relax , hit up on that Hotty, at the Senior Center and R-E-L-A-X,
like Aaron Rodgers . Eat some oysters.

Buggs Raplin

Lock her up. Lock her up. Lock her up.

Tim Russell

[offtopic]

capedcrusader

Here's the answer to Buggs Raplins question:
http://www.factcheck.org/2017/10/facts-uranium-one/

Cassandra

Take your meds. Take your meds. Take your meds.

Buggs Raplin

Trump should fire Sessions if he won't go after Hillary on Uranium One.

kingman10

well buggsy that is not what Meuller was hired for. He was hired to find out about collusion with Russia during last year's election. Now you want a witch hunt for Hillary to distract from Trumps trouble, fine. Congress has the power to appoint a special prosecutor to look into it. Trouble is they know they won't find anything, and the repubs strategy of fabricating lies will be revealed, so they are hesitant to do so. And the noose around your dear leader is getting tighter and the truth slowly comes out. This Manafort character is a real sleaze bag and Trump knew it when he hired him. The president does not have the authority to pardon treasonous crimes. And the noose gets tighter!

Tim Russell

[offtopic]

capedcrusader

Here's the answer to Buggs Raplins question:
http://www.factcheck.org/2017/10/facts-uranium-one/

capedcrusader

http://www.factcheck.org/2017/10/facts-uranium-one/

capedcrusader

Buggs Raplin Nov 2, 2017 3:16pm

Oh...that thing with Hillary helping selling our uranium to the Russians for kickbacks to the Clinton Foundation, and $500,000 to Bill, well, that doesn't matter. Right, liberals?

Here's the answer to Buggs Raplins question:
http://www.factcheck.org/2017/10/facts-uranium-one/

LesTrafik

Only $500, 000? Trump commands a staggering $1.5million for speaking fees.

Buggs Raplin

I imagine Bill feels your pain.

Buggs Raplin

I wouldn't trust factcheck to clean my toilets.

Tim Russell

Why would your toilet need cleaning as you seem to believe your feces is chocolate?

oldhomey

Well played, Tim. Made me laugh out loud.

Buggs Raplin

Getting a 'laugh' from POO is nothing because there's nothing genuine about him.

Tim Russell

How come there is no reply button by your comment oldhomey. I don't know how to answer.

oldhomey

So I take it, Buggs, you have Alex Jones come in to clean your commode? Is that where he gets the material for his blog?

Buggs Raplin

Factcheck 'fact checkers' clean my toilets. They are pretty good too. Wish they fact checked facts as well as they clean toilets.

oldhomey

Gosh, Buggs, I know you think there is not one genuine thing about me as a human being, but I have to say I am genuinely puzzled now about your trust or lack thereof of Fact Check. First you tell us you wouldn't trust Fact Check to clean your toilets. Now more recently you say:

Buggs Raplin Nov 4, 2017 7:15am
Factcheck 'fact checkers' clean my toilets. They are pretty good too. Wish they fact checked facts as well as they clean toilets.

I would think anybody that you would entrust your own sh*t with would be somebody you trust a great deal.

Speaking of which, time is awastin', the afternoon is almost gone, and I have to get off the computer and go clean our bathrooms. And that is the genuine truth, not just some krapp.

kingman10

right buggs, no fact checking for you! Just info wars and Alex Jones is all you need. Two facts are sure, Hillary is not in the white house, and you are certifiable!

Buggs Raplin

Well, thank God for the former.

capedcrusader

Of course. Alex Jones is much more reputable.

capedcrusader

http://www.factcheck.org/2017/10/facts-uranium-one/

patssy70

It was not Hillary - there were 5-6 other federal agencies who made that agreement. she was sitting on the sidelines. check it out.

oldhomey

Another ringing endorsement of our president from Rich Lowry. With friends and supporters like Lowry, Trump might as well shoo the kitchen staff out of the White House, stick his head in the oven and turn on the gas. But then again, metaphorically that is what he is doing daily with his tweets.

johnnybragatti

You know you"re absolutely right and ya'll can keep wearing
those darling " MAGA " caps : "MANAFORT AND GATES AND AND AND ...",
No need to eat the $25...either,
reminds us a whole lot, of our favourite "WHO" album, commonly known as:
"WHO"S NEXT."

LesTrafik

Highly regarded Mueller to Trump: "Check"

Climatehoax

Reading all, this doom and gloom about Trump reminds me of, "Trump will NEVER get the nomination". Then, "there's no way Trump can possibly beat Hillary", then "Trump will NEVER be sworn in as president" , now "Trump is going to prison" I'm glad I'm not a liberal, I'd be depressed being wrong all of the time.
Reminds me of this same group who said Walker would never get elected as Gov, THREE times latter, these morons are still wrong, still whining, and still on the losing side. Better them than me.

capedcrusader

Yea, well, Trump will never unite our country and has done nothing but divide it even further. Depends on what your definition of doom and gloom is. For at least the next three years you better get used to it.

Buggs Raplin

Oh...that thing with Hillary helping selling our uranium to the Russians for kickbacks to the Clinton Foundation, and $500,000 to Bill, well, that doesn't matter. Right, liberals?

Teddy Cruz

[ban][offtopic]

oldhomey

Well the $500,000 speaking fee looks pretty sleazy, Buggs, but we know the Clintons have always had a bit of sleaze factor to them, though not even close to the magnitude of the sleaze that Trump represents. Hillary would have made a pretty good president, though perhaps not a great one. Still, if she were in the office right now the world would be far, far safer and in less turmoil than what we now face with the man you voted for and protect and defend in the White House.

kingman10

Nope it doesn't matter buggsy, Clintons are not in the white house. Talk about them all you want. It won't distract from the big prize sitting in the white house now, and his crooked family and friends.

capedcrusader

http://www.factcheck.org/2017/10/facts-uranium-one/

Buggs Raplin

OK, Mueller is best buddies with Comey, and Mueller was in charge of the FBI when Manafort was dealing with the Russians looooong before he became involved with Trump. Ah, no conflict of interest here. Right, liberals?

Teddy Cruz

[offtopic][spam]

oldhomey

I guess you have been to a lot of those bridge parties in the knotty pine paneled basements of the Comey and Mueller households, eh, Buggs? You seem to know an awful lot about their "friendship".

capedcrusader

If the Pope were the special prosecutor there would be a "conflict of interest" somewhere. He isn't anymore politically motivated than Kenneth Starr was.

teddyj

Okay Rich. when firefighter see smoke they don't make an excuse for the smoke they just know there is a fire. THE TRUMP TEAM IS ON FIRE!

ChatterCat2

This is probably the best advice that #45 could get. Unfortunately for him, he probably won't read it Even if he did, he probably wouldn't take it.

Clarification

A fable from India has a tiger about to swim across a river. A scorpion asks the tiger if it ca ride on the tiger's back, promising it wil not sting the tiger. Half way across the river, the scorpion sings the tiger. The tiger says, this is madness, because you will now drown with me! The scorpion replies, I know I know, but you see I just cannot change my nature. Scorpion Trump will not change, even if it kills his presidency.

hrpufnstuf

Hillary has been investigated over and over. Nothing found!!! Get over it. Trump will go down very very shortly.

Buggs Raplin

Gee, Donna Brazille just said today that the DNC rigged the nomination for Hillary, but I suppose the old gal didn't know that. Right, puffy?

johnnybragatti

I agree ...Mueller needs to tell the Pig-eye in chief : "let"s wait and see"!!!
using his own words and the Drumpf and his grease-ball sons, won"t be quite as angry.
Ya"ll think?

Climatehoax

The noose will end up tightening around crooked Hillary's neck. Obama pardoned over a thousand criminals, Trump can pardon to his hearts content, his pardons will be less harmful to the country's than Odummy 's

Cassandra

Keep telling yourself that, Hoaxer, right up to the moment the prison doors clang shut behind Team Trump.

Climatehoax

Keep telling myself that? Apparently you have a short memory see my nov 2, 4:42pm post. Are you depressed yet?

Cassandra

Funny, it is members of the Trump administration, not anyone related to Secretary Clinton, who are facing charges of conspiracy against the United States.

The noose tightens.

capedcrusader

For what exactly?

kingman10

Lowry doesn't know how these investigations work. Yes there is just two indictments now from illegal actions years ago, but in order to get them to talk about Russian collusion, Meuller will try to work out a plea bargain in exchange for more information. And as the noose gets tighter around Trump's neck he can't help himself and will fire Meuller and issue blanket pardons to his buddies. And the noose will get tighter still. Oh its fun to see the man baby president squirm and cry foul, and all his money will do no good.

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