The president and his team are on the offensive against Special Counsel Robert Mueller. That’s not new, of course.
What is new is the tone of the attacks, which have come over the last 24 hours via Donald Trump’s Twitter account and interviews with Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani and Trump sound increasingly desperate, and their talking points are increasingly nonsensical. Giuliani has also resurfaced an old talking point that wasn’t particularly effective before: that collusion with the Russians isn’t a crime. They seem to be throwing everything including the kitchen sink at Mueller and seeing what hits him.
Although this is a tense moment for Trump legally, Mueller is not the most obvious target. There’s an escalating battle between Trump and Michael Cohen, his former fixer, but that concerns a case in New York that’s separate from the Mueller probe. Starting this week, Mueller’s team will try the former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort in federal court in Virginia, but the trial hasn’t been mentioned in their attacks.
Whatever the acute cause, Trump is acting defensive. In a series of tweets on Sunday, the president went after Mueller:
There is No Collusion! The Robert Mueller Rigged Witch Hunt, headed now by 17 (increased from 13, including an Obama White House lawyer) Angry Democrats, was started by a fraudulent Dossier, paid for by Crooked Hillary and the DNC. Therefore, the Witch Hunt is an illegal Scam!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2018
....Also, why is Mueller only appointing Angry Dems, some of whom have worked for Crooked Hillary, others, including himself, have worked for Obama....And why isn’t Mueller looking at all of the criminal activity & real Russian Collusion on the Democrats side-Podesta, Dossier?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2018
Is Robert Mueller ever going to release his conflicts of interest with respect to President Trump, including the fact that we had a very nasty & contentious business relationship, I turned him down to head the FBI (one day before appointment as S.C.) & Comey is his close friend..— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2018
It’s a classic Trump cocktail of fact, innuendo, and nonsense. Mueller really does have 17 attorneys. Many, though not all, of them have given to Democratic candidates in the past, most in small amounts, but some in thousands of dollars. The part about the probe being illegal because it is based on the Steele dossier is nonsense.