Trump is using the Bill Clinton playbook and it just might work
Trump is using the Bill Clinton playbook and it just might work by Joseph Moreno – via The Duran
The parallels are remarkable. Twenty years ago this month, a special prosecutor investigating the president was weeks away from releasing a report accusing the chief executive of illegal conduct unrelated to his official duties. Three months later, Bill Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives on charges of lying and obstructing justice to hide a extramarital affair from his wife and the country. While this may have meant he lost a battle, there is no question that Clinton ultimately won the war against independent counsel Ken Starr by not only surviving but continuing on to complete an otherwise successful presidency.
Today, President Trump is not only following Clinton’s playbook to a tee, he stands a good chance of winning his war of words against an opponent who remains unable to fight back. Just as we are seeing with the ongoing Russia probe, Starr’s original investigation started specific and broadened over time. In Starr’s case, his 1994 appointment was to investigate potential violations of criminal law relating to Bill and Hillary Clinton’s involvement in the “Whitewater” land deal. Four years and $50 millionlater, Starr’s most impactful findings involved Clinton’s affair with a White House intern and his lying about it under oath.
Robert Mueller’s original mandate was also narrow. He was appointed to find evidence of “any links and/or coordination” between the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump campaign. Fifteen months and more than $16 million later, it is impossible to know when and how the probe will conclude. However, the conviction of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and the guilty plea of former Trump attorney Michael Cohen on grounds entirely unrelated to Russia mirror how Starr’s investigation also morphed into altogether new areas.
What is also being mirrored is how Trump is taking the fight with Mueller in the court of public opinion. At some point, Clinton decided that rather than wait until Starr completed his investigation, he would step up and fight on his own terms. Lacking the benefit of a Twitter account, Clinton used surrogates who repeatedly attacked Starr as a highly partisan Republican operative obsessed with bringing down Clinton. Starr was accused of being fixated on sex, and being a runaway Inspector Javert who spent years and millions of dollars on a wasted effort. In the reported words of a Clinton White House official, the attacks were “part of our continuing strategy to destroy Ken Starr.”
Sound familiar? Trump’s initial legal team seemed content to remain under the radar and keep public comments to a minimum. All this changed with the hiring of Rudy Giuliani, who has relentlessly attacked the Russia investigation as a runaway train with no end in sight. Combine this with Trump’s constant tweets describing Mueller’s probe as a “witch hunt” staffed with Democratic partisans and tainted by Mueller’s own undefined conflicts of interest. Trump has also criticized how long the investigation is taking and how much it has cost.