Caught My Eye…

Common sense is not a gift it’s a punishment. Because you have to deal with everyone who doesn’t have it. – Unknown

Welcome to the big column to end the week, “Caught My Eye” (CME)!

If you are a first-time visitor, welcome! CME is the once a week column that is posted here every Friday morning. This is when I take a look at some of the stories I did not have time to write about during the week. There may be some sarcasm and pointed independent commentary so be warned!

Here are the topics that “Caught My Eye” this week:

  • AG William Barr
  • The Mueller Report
  • MTLeg – Medicaid Expansion
  • MTLeg – Firefighter Protection Act
  • One More Thing

Attorney General William Barr:

I said in an earlier column that Donald Trump has finally found an Attorney General (AG) who will act as his personal attorney. Donald Trump has his protector in William Barr. Barr will not let anything bad happen to the Donald. It kind of makes me wish for the good old days of Jefferson Beauregard “Jeff” Sessions, III. Sessions at least sided with Lady Justice and not with Trump. That’s the way a U.S. Attorney General is supposed to act.

On Thursday Barr held his briefing and press conference for some reason an hour or so before he released Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report to Congress and the American people. It was highly evident that he was out to protect Trump.

By the way, his briefing will make a great Saturday Night Live skit.

After he said his piece he opened it up for questions and he was not ready for the tough questions.

One reporter asked this:

“A Republican-appointed judge on Tuesday said you have, quote, created an environment that has caused a significant part of the American public to be concerned about these redactions. You cleared the president on obstruction. The president is fundraising off your comments about spying, and here you have remarks that are quite generous to the president, including acknowledging his feelings and emotions. What do you say to people on both sides of the aisle who are concerned you’re trying to protect the president?”

Barr answered with this:

“Actually, the statements about his sincere beliefs are recognized in the report. That there was substantial evidence for that, so I’m not sure what your basis is for saying that I am being generous to the president.”

After a few more questions, one reporter asked this:

“Is it impropriety to come out and what it appears to be spinning the report before the public has a chance to read it?”

Barr never answered and that was the end of the questions. He and his team quickly left the stage, their mission of protecting Trump accomplished.

The Mueller Report – My Thoughts:

It is 448 pages long and if you watched television on Thursday, the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report was the only thing being talked about.

After it was finally released, the Fox News people were pretty happy and those on MSNBC not so much.

There were redactions. Some reports say about 12% of the report was redacted. Another report said there were 900 redactions.

Now that the investigation is over and most of the findings released, politics take center stage. Politics has, unfortunately, been involved in this already, but now it is front and center. That may go on for several years (See: Barack Obama, See: Hillary Clinton, See: Bill Clinton)

If you are a Republican, you love that Trump was basically cleared by the report and his Attorney General and you’re telling people that it’s time to move on. If you are a Democrat then you are crying foul and wanting to continue the investigations. Democrats are saying there was obstruction and by golly they are going to hold hearing after hearing until it’s proven (or until they lose the majority in the House).

There’s talk of impeachment, but from what I have read in the report that is silly talk.

It would be the opposite if the tables were turned. That’s how shitty politics have become in Washington.

One interesting part to me was how much Donald Trump could not remember in his written answers. Back in 2017, Trump said, “I have one of the great memories of all time,” but the Los Angeles Times reports that in the Mueller report, Trump said: “Do not recall” — 14 times. “No recollection” – 9; “Do not remember” – 6. “No independent recollection” – 2. “Nor do I remember” – 1.

The Associated Press (AP) reported that Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election identified 10 instances of possible obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump. Mueller said in his report that he could not conclusively determine that Trump had committed a crime or that he hadn’t.

The AP lists those 10 instances HERE.

We did find that the Mueller report says that White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders made up part of her answer to the press about the firing of former FBI Director James Comey. Sanders was quick to get on Hannity last night to try and explain herself and keep her job.(The Hill) I doubt anything will happen to Sanders because lying appears to be normal in the Trump Administration.

All in all, it appears from my reading of the report that Trump’s aides saved his ass from obstruction charges.

Philip Rucker of the Washington Post wrote the following on Twitter:

Again and again, Trump frantically pressured his aides to lie to the public, deny true news stories and fabricate a false record. They rarely challenged him, but when he pushed them to the brink of committing crimes, they refused.

Rucker also had this to say about Trump’s aides lying:

One takeaway throughout is how frequently White House aides lied to reporters. On day of Mueller appointment, WH aides said Trump reacted calmly. But Mueller report says Trump’s first reaction was: “Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I’m fucked.”

No, Mr. President, I think we are the ones who were f**ked when you were elected.

MTLeg – Medicaid Expansion:

House Bill 658, a bill to expand Medicaid in Montana, is awaiting Governor Steve Bullock’s signature. Bullock says he will sign the bill. The bill will give health coverage to about 96,000 low-income adults. (Lee Newspapers)

This is great news.

Congrats to State Representative Ed Buttrey (R-Great Falls) for working across party lines to get this bill approved.

MTLeg – Firefighter Protection Act:

The Great Falls Tribune reported that Montana Governor Steve Bullock signed the Firefighter Protection Act on Thursday, a bill that will provide workers’ compensation for presumptive diseases of firefighters — an effort that supporters said took nearly 20 years to get to the governor’s desk.

It’s crazy that it has taken this long to pass this bill. Shame on the legislature for taking so long – people died.

One More Thing:

Have a blessed Easter.