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Kennedy: Questions remain for Trump, bumpy ride ahead

The local election season is heating up with the slates of candidates being finalized in each jurisdiction.

Then there is the usual proliferation of signs along the county's roadways and in yards all over, and the letters to the editor supporting one or another of the candidates for mayor or town council. Although I have some idea as to my personal choices — and they will remain personal — I would humbly suggest that the electorate in each of the cities and towns where elections are scheduled, should check out all of the candidates and choose carefully. Remember, local government affects us all in ways much more personal than any state or national government does.

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The Mueller report has finally been released, or at least some portions of it have. Approximately 483 pages were released, but with many being heavily redacted by the Attorney General. I found it a bit curious though that Barr held a press conference outlining his take on the report several hours before the document itself was made available to Congress and the press. I think that those two events should have taken place in reverse order.

As for the special prosecutor's report itself, the most heavily redacted portions dealt with the Russian intervention in the campaign and 2016 election. More than 139 pages of that section were blacked out to some extent. Mueller reported no conspiring or coordination between Russian operatives and the Trump campaign. However, with so much material being redacted, can anyone be sure that some, at this time unknown, third party worked as an intermediary?

The section dealing with the obstruction of justice charges had only 24 of 182 page redacted. What was left was a litany of attempts to affect, derail, or otherwise stop the investigation. It has been reported that some of his more ethically astute aides, much to their own employment peril, did not follow through on orders given directly by the president, thereby keeping him from actions that would have definitely been judged as obstruction. Trump has often, as reported, given underlings questionable — at the least — orders concerning the investigation, often with the statement that if they were convicted he would issue a presidential pardon immediately.

At one point, Mueller posed questions to be answered in writing by Trump. Twelve pages of the report are dedicated to those questions and answers. Many of the questions were answered with different variations of “I don't recall” or “I can't remember.” Mueller stated that the answers were “inadequate.”

One question, relating to the speech during a rally where he asked Russian hackers to gain access to Hillary Clinton's private email server, he stated that the comment was made “in jest and sarcastically.” Less than five hours after that statement Russian military intelligence officers were targeting accounts connected to her offices. Coincidence? Make your own decision on that one.

At this point I don't know whether the president has committed any “high crimes and misdemeanors” which could possibly lead to impeachment, but some more congressional inquiries should be held. I also think that Trump's tax records should be released, at least to the committees with oversight responsibilities for such records.

I don't understand his hesitancy to simply release them himself. What is he trying to hide? Is it that he's not as rich as he claims? Could it be that his tax reform legislation has allowed him to avoid paying any taxes? Is it possible that since he has not divested himself from any of his business dealings, and he has appointed cabinet secretaries that have relaxed regulations in many areas where he has interests, that he has made some serious windfall profits from those businesses? If any of that last is true, then he has committed a high crime or misdemeanor that would cause him to be impeached, and be subject to a very long prison sentence.

There are some answers, but there are so many more questions to be answered as we go forward. Hold on tight, kiddies, I think that we are all in for a very long and bumpy ride.

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