My heart is drowned / In the slow sound / Languorous and long

With the words in the caption (which is actually the English translation of the second set of  three lines of the Paul Verlaine’s poem “Chanson d’automne” that were actually broadcast in French: “Blessent mon coeur/D’une langueur/Monotone”) broadcast by the BBC on June 5, 1944, the Allies sent a signal to the French Resistance that sabotage efforts on rail lines should begin.

We have recently been informed that:

The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, is scrutinizing tweets and negative statements from the president about Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey, according to three people briefed on the matter.

Several of the remarks came as Mr. Trump was also privately pressuring the men — both key witnesses in the inquiry — about the investigation, and Mr. Mueller is examining whether the actions add up to attempts to obstruct the investigation by both intimidating witnesses and pressuring senior law enforcement officials to tamp down the inquiry.

Of course, Rudy Guiliani responded that:

Generally obstruction is secret, it’s clandestine, it’s corrupt. I’ve looked at those tweets and they don’t amount to anything.

But today:

President Trump called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday to end the special counsel’s inquiry into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, issuing a strikingly unambiguous directive on Twitter to shut down an investigation that even now is scrutinizing his tweets for possible evidence of obstruction.

The White House and Mr. Trump’s lawyers moved quickly to minimize the president’s statement, dismissing it as merely a case of venting and opining by a president who has grown increasingly angry and frustrated with an investigation that he considers illegitimate — and not a direct order to a cabinet secretary to interfere with an ongoing federal law enforcement matter.

Of course, even before World War II, we knew that things could be hidden in plain sight.

So, are Trump’s tweets nothing but the noise from a bombastic blowhard, as Guiliani contends, or a subtle signal in furtherance of a criminal conspiracy to obstruct justice.  Perhaps this is, as lawyers like to say, a question of fact for a jury (or the Senate in an impeachment proceeding) to decide.

13 thoughts on “My heart is drowned / In the slow sound / Languorous and long”

  1. Obviously no one at Justice is taking it as a serious order. If Mueller is, he risks his own credibility. If he isn’t, the press shouldn’t make him look so silly by suggesting he is. Trump is working the refs; that’s what he is doing.

    1. "Trump is working the refs". No. He's just venting emotion, an activity that accounts for most of his twitter feed. Our President has the emotional self-control of a toddler.

    2. I look forward to your comment that "his order to AG Sessions was within his purview as the Chief Executive; ipso facto it was lawful".

      Truly I do. There's only one thing worse than Putinflullers: Trumpenfelchers.

  2. I’m not a constitutional scholar, but I would not be shocked to learn that it would be lawful. I’m pretty sure it would be grounds for impeachment if the House were so inclined. Which they might be if enough people took to the streets.

  3. I'm also a little taken by the notion that an action to obstruct justice has to be successful to count as a crime. So if I threaten to off a witness's family and the witness testifies anyway, no harm no foul.

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