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Can the swamp break the President?

October 21, 2017

There comes a point where reality has to affect desire.

With 90% of the media, the real Russian pawns i.e. the left wing liberals, and members of the President’s own party all directly challenging and obstructing his authority it’s time to ask if he can still be an effective President.

Case in point, the Niger affair, the latest political football.

The military has tens of thousands of troops stationed all over the world. Some of them are directly involved in training the armies or militia of other countries to withstand the threat of terrorists.  That is ostensibly what the four men who died in Niger were doing, under the oversight of AfriCom.

Sometimes, men die on these missions. It’s the unfortunate reality of being a soldier.

So why is the operation in Niger suddenly the focus of a congressional investigation, even before the military investigation is complete?

The military says the servicemen were making a relatively short routine trip to see the village elders, something they had done many times in the past.

As  much as you can believe anything the media says, this mission supposedly stretches back to well before Trump was even a candidate, as part of an effort to stop or slow the spread of Islamic terrorist groups in Africa. The first reports date the advise and assist mission back to 2013.

Yet all of a sudden Congress wants to investigate, with Senator McCain  threatening to subpoena Trump’s aides to compel testimony. Testimony about what, a mission McCain has known about for more than four years?

Then there was the little blurb about bringing in the FBI to investigate the matter, although the Bureau reportedly contends that it can even take the lead in the case.

That’s not necessarily untrue, but under what circumstances?

The authority under which the FBI can investigate matters pertaining to the DoD are contained in this MOU (Memorandum of Understanding).

It’s unclear what specific section is being investigated, although the jurisdictional authority would seem to fall loosely under Section 669 of the Criminal Resource Manual, subsection 3(b) as contained in the MOU.

The Africa mission is not a declared war on anyone, but under the War Powers Resolution Congress still had to be informed of it in advance, and it was.

Supposedly former President Obama did so in February of 2013, and President Trump notified Congress of an increase in troop levels in June of this year.

It’s also pretty common knowledge that PMC’s are employed worldwide to provide additional manpower. The fact that private contractors helped in the search for Sgt. Johnson shouldn’t be a huge shock, much less some sort of indictment.

So what exactly would President Trump’s aides be able to provide that Congress doesn’t already know?

We don’t know. The inference is that there was dereliction of duty, although that would seem to be better prosecuted under the precepts of the Universal Code of Military Justice (UCMJ.)

It’s confusing, but basically, if a person under the auspices of the DoD, including military personnel, commits a crime that would normally be prosecuted under the U.S. Criminal Code and tried in a civilian court, i.e. fraud,  embezzlement, murder, kidnapping, etc. the FBI can take the lead.

If the offense would normally fall under the UCMJ, i.e. desertion, dereliction of duty, etc. the  military justice system would prevail.

What we do know is that there is considerable bad blood between Senator McCain and President Trump stemming from candidate Trump’s penchant for character disparagement and labeling.

In plain English, some people resent his big mouth, and Senator McCain has literally nothing to lose in making the President’s life miserable.

Indeed, it’s not how little the President may have accomplished to date but the fact that he has accomplished anything at all that is amazing, given that everyone from the Federal court system to the White House janitors seem to have it in for him.

There is no doubt the President can be his own worst enemy, even when he is trying hard to do the right thing.

That brings us to the infamous phone call to Sgt. La David Johnson’s wife.

It’s a shame that President Trump didn’t know to avail himself of input from the many grief counselors in both the military and private sectors. Not that CoS Kelly’s advice was wrong, but it was couched in very military language.

Yet, don’t we all do that sometimes?

How many times have we watched the news about the death of a famous climber on Everest, or a race car driver like Dale Earnhardt and said, “Well, at least he died doing what he loved.”

That’s essentially what the President did. However, to a grieving family member that’s cold comfort. The rest of it is nothing more than the same old political attack plan we see every day.

OK, that makes for interesting tabloid style “news,” but it also leaves the country in kind of a bad spot, once again looking at the shiny objects.

Even if it has been steady by jerks, the major campaign promises and ills that Americans wanted cured or at least addressed are miraculously happening.  Whatever else he may have going against him, Trump seems to have upheld his promises honorably, and that’s been enough for his supporters so far.

Maybe that continues to work on some level, and the big items still get solved, in which case the swamp loses, and history may well consider this presidency a qualified success.

If the country continues as it is today, the swamp wins, and no one except the swamp dwellers  wants that to happen.

From → op-ed

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