Op-ed: Sweet revenge

  • By Bob Franken
  • Saturday, May 20, 2017 9:40pm
  • Opinion

Robert Kennedy like to quote his father Joe: “Don’t get mad, get even.” That mindset is very much alive in Washington a generation later. It certainly didn’t take Rod Rosenstein long to set things right.

Rosenstein was just two weeks into his job as President Donald Trump’s deputy attorney general when Trump set him up by ordering him to write the memo used as a pretext to fire FBI Director James Comey. Just a week later, though, we witnessed Rosenstein’s Revenge: He has appointed a special counsel, whose sole purpose will be to investigate and prosecute anything having to do, even remotely, with the accusation that Trump and his scary band of campaign workers colluded with the Russian government to sway the election Trump’s way.

Not only that, but the man he named is Robert Mueller, a former director of the FBI himself, with a sterling reputation as a no-nonsense public official, a relentless investigator. Mueller spells nothing but trouble for Donald Trump.

And we haven’t even gotten to Comey’s Revenge, which is already drawing blood soon after the Trumpster clumsily sacked Jim Comey and embarrassed himself by changing stories. Turns out, it had nothing to do with Rosenstein’s memo citing Comey’s clumsy handing of last year’s Hillary Clinton email controversy (yes, I know, the plot thickens). That’s the pretense White House aides peddled until the boss pulled the rug out from under them by suddenly stating in interviews that it was all about “this Russia thing.”

So Donald Trump shoved James Comey aside. Biiiiiig mistake. Huuuuuuge mistake. Jim Comey is not one to be shoved aside. What has followed is a serious drip, drip, drip of severely damaging stories about Trump and his conversations with Jim: President Trump demanded his loyalty, said an anonymous source (gee, who could that be?). Not so, said Donald, and then he went bonkers on Twitter: “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”

Oopsie: Was POTUS really saying that the conversations were recorded? He and his gang weren’t saying, and small wonder. Capitol Hill was alive with the sounds of subpoena demands. Then the anonymous sources put out word that FBI Director Comey had written memos to the file after a conversations with the chief executive in which Trump suggested that he shut down the probe into Michael Flynn, who is at the heart of the whole Russian investigation. According to one of Comey’s contemporaneous memos, the exact words were: “I hope you can let this go.”

Was this obstruction of justice, a crime? What about the allegations that Russia and Trump’s people had conspired to manipulate the election? It cried for a special counsel, and Rosenstein heard the cries. He appointed, by all accounts, a really special special counsel in Mueller, and now the diligent investigation will get even more intense. Those who devoutly wish that Donald Trump would simply go away, however, will have to hold their breath a lot longer. These things take time, and Robert Mueller certainly is not careless. The Trump administration is a fact of life for the foreseeable future. The tweets will keep on coming. In his latest batch, following the Mueller appointment, @realDonaldTrump pecked: “This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!” He used the same words on camera just a day before he took his persecution complex and fled the country.

The “witch hunt” charge is difficult to prove or disprove, but in a fleeting period, the Trump presidency is historically weakened, and most of the wounds are self-inflicted. In time, we’ll find out if it’s just nasty amateurism that caused this or something worse — various crimes. For Donald Trump, it’s a valuable lesson, the kind that bullies, sooner or later, are forced to learn: Don’t attack someone who can hit back. Getting even is a way of life here. Even, and then some.

Bob Franken is a longtime broadcast journalist, including 20 years at CNN.

More in Opinion

Kate Troll (Courtesy Photo / Kate Troll)
Opinion: The real ‘at last!’ on climate change

In Alaska, the Inflation Reduction Act offers come game-changing features.

The official ballot for the Aug. 16, 2022, Special General Election features ranked choice voting. (State of Alaska Division of Elections)
Voices of the Peninsula: Check out the ballot before you vote

This kind of ballot is not something you have seen before.

Former Gov. Bill Walker, right, and his running mate former commissioner of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development Heidi Drygas, speak to Juneauites gathered for a fundraiser at a private home in Juneau on Tuesday, June 7, 2022. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Why I’m voting for Walker

Walker is the only candidate with the potential to govern effectively for all Alaskans.

Nick Begich III campaign materials sit on tables ahead of a May 16 GOP debate held in Juneau. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Nick Begich is who Alaska and America need now

It is in Alaska’s best interest to elect a member of the Republican party

Michael Heimbuch attends a memorial service for the late Drew Scalzi on Aug. 5, 2005, at the Seafarers Memorial on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Point of View: King salmon: The clash of culture and science

People do some pretty awful things to king salmon stocks

State Sen. Josh Revak (Photo provided)
The time has come to end Big Tech’s rule

The hope is that the bipartisan American Innovation and Choice Online Act (S. 2992) will come to the Senate floor for a vote

Lieutenant governor candidate Edie Grunwald speaks at a Charlie Pierce campaign event at Paradisos restaurant in Kenai on Saturday, March 5, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Election Integrity: An Alaskan question with an Alaskan answer

A needless round of feel-good meetings and what-if conversations will be a thing of the past

This photo shows the University of Alaska Southeast campus in Juneau. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: I’m a longtime educator, and I’m supporting Walker/Drygas

The issues our state faces are significant with regard to education.

Larry Persily (Peninsula Clarion file)
Opinion: Congress could keep health insurance costs from rising, but it has to act fast

The cost of health insurance will rise substantially next year for about 13 million Americans

The offical ballot for the Aug. 16, 2022, Special General Election features ranked choice voting. (State of Alaska Divison of Elections)
Opinion: Alaskans deserve an election system that represents our differences

The new system’s goal is to make this election cycle transparent, secure and easy for all Alaskans to vote

UAA Chancellor Sean Parnell (Courtesy)
Opinion: UAA’s career certificates are helping to fill Alaska’s workforce pipeline

At UAA, we are announcing a new suite of certificate programs responding to some of the state’s most critical needs