Promises of Pardons and a Suspected Russian Spy

Donald Trump arrives at Palm Beach International Airport March 23, 2018, in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo: Brendan Smialowski / AFP / Getty Images)Donald Trump arrives at Palm Beach International Airport March 23, 2018, in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo: Brendan Smialowski / AFP / Getty Images)

Until Wednesday it was a weirdly slow news week in this high-energy Trump era, with no more than a few desultory tweets from the president and almost no public appearances. The most obvious reason for Trump’s unwillingness to address the press was that the Stormy Daniels story had dominated the news cycle and he didn’t want to have to answer questions about that. Trump also got bad news this week on the emoluments lawsuit that alleges he’s improperly profiting from his Washington hotel as president. Or maybe he’s just come down after his manic run of the past couple of weeks.

On Tuesday Trump’s silence took on a more ominous tone, however, when senators on both sides of the aisle sent letters to various members of the Justice Department, more or less begging them not to cooperate with any move to shut down out special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. For no obviously discernible reason, Sens. Thom Tillis, R-NC, and Chris Coons, D-Del., authors of a bill introduced more than a year ago to protect Mueller, issued a joint statement urging Trump “to allow the Special Counsel to complete his work without impediment, which is in the best interest of the American people, the President, and our nation.” Later, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and the eight other Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee released a letter to five DOJ officials asking them to commit to protecting Mueller.

Meanwhile, the reasoning behind the letters to the Justice Department was spelled out in this Slate article by…

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