Tags: trump | business | public office | robert mueller

Trump Thrived in Private Business, But Public Office Is Different

Image: Trump Thrived in Private Business, But Public Office Is Different
President Donald Trump departs the White House May 17, 2017, in Washington, D.C. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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Friday, 19 May 2017 10:29 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Robert Mueller, the newly appointed special counsel, will undertake an investigation that is independent from political considerations and the Justice Department itself.

His pursuit of James Comey’s investigation specifically into any possible links between Russia and the Trump campaign presents legal and political issues that are complex and intriguing. Whether for example criminal offenses committed while Donald Trump was a candidate can be or should be grounds for impeachment? And should or will the Congress and the media have access to the investigation’s findings and conclusions? Also how will the alleged collusion with Russia interplay with the accusation of obstruction of justice?

But it is Trump’s background and personality that will present a challenge to even the most astute and accomplished investigators.

In contrast to the background of most politicians who have evolved in democratic societies, where almost every move is subject to observation and often contestation, Donald Trump has ruled his enterprises with absolute authority, with very few constraints from partners or shareholders as would be the case if he had managed listed companies.

There are certain characteristics that have historically been common to those who have become accustomed to wielding power with few constraints.

First and foremost those who are alone at the top are constantly acclaimed and applauded by their entourage. Credit for good decisions goes straight to the guy on top of the heap. This is when things go well, but when they go poorly, the advisors, assistants, lieutenants have been conditioned to play the role of scapegoats. Equally prevalent, if we look at historical examples, are team members who look for favor by anticipating what the boss wants. Kings of old didn’t need to do more than turn down their eyes when they found this one or another annoying. They sent coded messages to subordinates to take initiatives that are better left in the quiet shadows.

These observations, that can be gleaned from the likes of William Shakespeare and Sigmund Freud, highlight the challenge and complexity of a mission to uncover and untangle criminal and also political guilt.

The question will be continually asked whether and to what extent any sins of Michael Flynn and others in the Trump entourage can be or should be attributed to Mr. Trump himself.

What however may make the special counsel job easier is the completely unique example of a strong powerful leader going out on his own, a single handed sailor with the crew left agape.

Mr. Trump revels in exposing himself.

So on the one had we have the team perhaps covering for their leader.

On the other there is the top man who by his own initiatives, often his own tweets, placing himself in harm’s way.

The United States of America has once again been forced to assume its own unique, monumental, but rarely tragic, role in history.

Mark L. Cohen has his own legal practice, and was counsel at White & Case starting in 2001, after serving as international lawyer and senior legal consultant for the French aluminum producer Pechiney. Cohen was a senior consultant at a Ford Foundation Commission, an advisor to the PBS television program "The Advocates," and Assistant Attorney General in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He teaches U.S. history at the business school in Lille l’EDHEC. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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There are certain characteristics that have historically been common to those who have become accustomed to wielding power with few constraints.
trump, business, public office, robert mueller
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2017-29-19
Friday, 19 May 2017 10:29 AM
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