Regarding your 22 February editorial, “Trump’s denial of Russian meddling exposes the nation to further attacks,” you really need to get your basic facts straight before pontificating on the president’s alleged shortcomings.

Your editorial states: “Special Counsel Mueller’s criminal investigation is still in its early stages …”

Except for the rabid rantings of “The Resistance” and the anti-Trump obsessed media, Robert Mueller’s investigation has never been characterized by Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed the special counsel, as a “criminal investigation.”

As a matter of justice, the law-enforcement arm of the government must operate on a presumption of innocence. Thus, in the absence of strong evidence of a crime, there is no basis for a criminal investigation of some unknown person for an unnamed crime.

As Andrew McCarthy, former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, points out: “It is worth repeating that the Russian investigation by the special counsel is a counterintelligence probe; it is not a judicial proceeding or a criminal investigation. The object of a counterintelligence investigation is to collect intelligence about the actions and intentions of a foreign power to the extent that they may affect American interests for the president’s use.”

Trump did not terminate former FBI Director Comey because of the Russia investigation. He did it because Comey leaked to an acquaintance that Trump was a suspect, but refused to disclose to the public his private assurances to Trump that he was not a suspect.

What Comey described to Rosenstein, and Rosenstein adopted in defining Mueller’s jurisdiction, was not a criminal investigation or prosecution, nor did it provide a factual basis for a criminal investigation or prosecution.

Trump is not the target of a criminal investigation in Mueller’s counterintelligence probe.

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