Trump’s 2018 New Year’s Resolution: Darcy cartoon

December 30, 2017 GMT

Trump’s 2018 New Year’s Resolution: Darcy cartoon

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- After signing the GOP Tax Bill, President Trump expressed a desire to win passage of a bipartisan infrastructure bill in 2018. But Trump really would like nothing better than to shore up the infrastructure of his own presidency by putting the Russian investigation behind him in 2018.

The question to be answered in 2018 is will Trump be able to resist an urge to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, Special Counsel Robert Mueller and pardon any Trump staffers/associates indicted in the Russian investigation?

During an impromptu interview with New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt, Trump claimed he had the “absolute right” to do what he wanted to do with the Justice Department.

“I have [the] absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department. But for the purposes of hopefully thinking I’m going to be treated fairly, I’ve stayed uninvolved with this particular matter.”

Trump was responding to a question about whether the DOJ should reopen the investigation into Hillary Clinton using her private email server as Secretary of State.

In the same interview, Trump said he believed the Russian investigation made the U.S. look bad, but also said, “I think that Bob Mueller will be fair.”

Trump thinking “Mueller will be fair” is a change in tone from recent comments by Republicans in Congress and Trump himself, disparaging Mueller and the FBI. Yet his comments about directing the DOJ and Mueller being “fair” begs the question that if Trump comes to believe Mueller is being unfair to him will he exert his “absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department” and Mueller’s probe?

Presidential historian Michael Beschloss said that not even President Richard Nixon would have publicly made the comment Trump did about controlling the DOJ.

While Trump has the “absolute right” to name the Attorney General and set DOJ policy, he doesn’t have the “absolute right” to politicize and interfere with DOJ prosecutions. The DOJ is not his personal police force. This isn’t Putin’s Russia... yet.

During the NYT interview, Trump complained that Attorney General Jeff Session’s was less protective of him than Eric Holder had been of President Obama.

“I don’t want to get into loyalty, but I will tell you what, I will say this: Holder protected President Obama. Totally protected him... And I have great respect for that, I’ll be honest, I have great respect for that.”

Trump said he didn’t want to get into loyalty, than did just that. FBI director James Comey was fired shortly after demurring from pledging loyalty to Trump after he reportedly requested it during a private dinner.

As U.S. Attorney General, Session’s job isn’t to protect the president. Session’s job is protect the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law, which President Trump is not above.

Trump said there was “no collusion” at least 15 times during the NYT interview. How often are Mueller, his investigators and his cooperating witnesses, like Michael Flynn, now saying “collusion” and “obstruction?”

President Trump’s New Year’s Resolution should be to allow his fellow Republicans, Robert Mueller, Rod Rosenstein and Jeff Sessions to do their jobs unobstructed.

Coming up Sunday I’ll be posting a gallery of my cartoons on top national stories from 2017. There might be a few that are Trump-related.