President Trump is Desperate
July 30, 2018, 8:14 p.m.
President Trump went off on another tweet storm, this time going back to an old story of conflicts of interest between him and Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
“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.”
The Conflicts of Interest
The first conflict is in respect to membership fees at Trump National Golf Club. Yes, you read that correctly.
Mueller was a member at Trump National Golf Club before Trump bought the property. Mueller requested a refund of his initiation fees/deposit when he submitted a letter of resignation. Mueller did not receive a refund and reports are his letter was not even replied to.
How did Mueller respond? Did he sue Trump like members at his golf club in Jupiter? No. He did nothing. He moved on. But, per President Trump’s interpretation, this resulted in “a very nasty & contentious business relationship,” to the point that Mueller is seeking revenge.
To call this a “business relationship,” is definitely a stretch of the word. This would be like Trump saying he has a business relationship with the company that manufactures his golf clubs simply because he bought it from a store or that I have a business relationship with Wal-Mart because I buy items there.
Former FBI Director James Comey and Robert Mueller
Trump’s next conflict is James Comey and Robert Mueller being “close friends” and because of that, Mueller cannot spearhead the Russia investigation.
First, there’s logic. Would Mueller whose reputation precedes him, stake everything he’s worked so hard for just to plot an act of revenge that would make the Count of Monte Cristo envious? It’s highly unlikely. Is it a conflict? No.
First and foremost, if anyone would know what a conflict is, it would be Mueller and Rod Rosenstein. And even if Mueller and Comey were “bff’s,” that still wouldn’t make it a conflict of interest.
Trump’s innuendo tweet comes from a Breitbart and Politico article that read that Comey and Mueller are “best friends.” It even hints that Comey appointed Mueller when in fact, Mueller was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein after Comey was fired.
Now, do they know each other? Of course. They’ve even had lunch and dinner together, but besides the fact that doesn’t mean they are friends, even if they were, that doesn’t make it a conflict of interest. Maybe Trump supporters see it that way and there is definitely an argument on optics, but legally, it is insufficient.
For it to be a conflict of interest, there must be some sort of gain to Mueller. Loyalty wouldn’t fall under that category.
Mueller Conflict as Former FBI Director
Mueller was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who was appointed by President Trump. Both Mueller and Rosenstein are Republicans.
After Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, Mueller did interview for the position as he served as a director for the FBI between 2001 through 2013. But again, President Trump’s Twitter statement focuses more on loyalty and revenge than anything else. Again, an interview would not rise to the level of a conflict of interest.
Now, if Trump treated the interview more as a legal consultation and was asking Mueller personal legal advice, then Trump would have firmer ground to stand on as to a conflict of interest.
Of course, Trump has never said that before nor his legal team, so even if they were to bring that up at this point, it would definitely raise plenty of eyebrows, not to mention, that personal legal issues could not be discussed at that time anyway. Just look at the issues that former head of the EPA Scott Pruitt had by mixing his government business with personal.
Alexander Hernandez, Esq.
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