Patterico's Pontifications

5/3/2019

The Details of How Bill Barr Has Trashed His Credibility

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:47 am



Many people have asked me: so how, exactly, did Bill Barr mislead the American people about the content of the Mueller report? Because you asked, and because I am the sort of person who apparently enjoys beating his head repeatedly against a wall, I will answer.

The best answer I can give you is: read this article by Benjamin Wittes.

The second-best answer — but necessary for the vast majority who won’t click the link — is to summarize it, with my thoughts.

Wittes begins by noting (and I quite agree) that we are not talking here about perjury.

Barr did not lie in any of these statements. He did not, as some people insist, commit perjury. I haven’t found a sentence he has written or said that cannot be defended as truthful on its own terms, if only in some literal sense. But it is possible to mislead without lying. One can be dishonest before Congress without perjury. And one can convey sweeping untruths without substantial factual misstatement. This is what Barr has been doing since that first letter. And it is utterly beneath the United States Department of Justice.

San Fran Nan’s overwrought declaration that Barr committed a “crime” in his testimony is typical Resistance overreach. Barr was a weasel. He was a dissembler. He was Clintonesque and bumbling. But there is no case for impeachment of Barr — especially since the Senate knew Barr was a snake when they let him in.

Wittes does break down several specific ways in which Barr misled the public, however, and I think it’s worth going through them point by point and adding my own thoughts.

Even before he begins listing substantive mischaracterizations, Wittes notes the selective quotation Barr engaged in. If you want detail, Wittes has it, with quotes and links. This New York Times piece by Charlie Savage shows how Barr selectively quoted Mueller in several ways to spin for Trump. For example, in discussing possible motives for obstruction, Mueller said that while the evidence did not establish a conspiracy, “the evidence does point to a range of other possible personal motives animating the president’s conduct.” Mueller listed some of those:

These include concerns that continued investigation would call into question the legitimacy of his election and potential uncertainty about whether certain events — such as advance notice of WikiLeaks’ release of hacked information or the June 9, 2016, meeting between senior campaign officials and Russians could be seen as criminal activity by the president, his campaign or his family.

[ASIDE] I would add that it’s pretty clear Don Jr. committed a computer crime, but that Mueller decided not to prosecute it because he considered it relatively trivial.

I say “pretty clear” because that portion is redacted — which appears to me to have been the major disagreement between Barr and Mueller on redactions. [END ASIDE]

Anyway, Barr cherry-picked Mueller’s statement about how there was no finding of a conspiracy and used that to argue that Trump had no reason to obstruct, ignoring all the other potential reasons Mueller had listed. And this is just one example of many.

But let’s get past selective quotation to the listed active misrepresentations cited by Wittes.

1. Absence of a finding that bringing a criminal case is warranted is not absence of evidence that the crime happened.

Wittes:

The first element is Barr’s repeated conflation of that which Mueller has deemed to be not provable to the exacting standards of criminal law with that which is not true at all or for which there is no evidence.

Yup. Mueller makes a point of stating in his report: “A statement that the investigation did not establish particular facts does not mean there was no evidence of those facts.” But when he said that his investigation had failed to “establish” conspiracy (and by the way, he explicitly disclaimed analyzing collusion, but we’ll get to that in a moment), Barr used that to say Mueller had found there had been “no collusion.” Barr said it again and again. Typical statement from his presser: “Yet, as he said from the beginning, there was in fact no collusion.”

Which leads us directly to Wittes’s second point:

2. A finding that “conspiracy” was not established is not the same as saying Mueller found no “collusion.”

Wittes:

Barr’s second sleight of hand—also visible in the quotations above—is rendering the absence of a criminal-conspiracy charge as reflecting an active finding of “no collusion.”

This is something I identified early on as a problem with Barr’s summary descriptions of Mueller’s findings, and I refer you to my earlier post for details and lengthy quotes from Mueller about how he did not even purport to analyze collusion but merely conspiracy. Why is this important? Because there is a colloquial definition of “collusion”: namely, “secret agreement or cooperation especially for an illegal or deceitful purpose.” Those two disjunctives mean that, in a colloquial sense, secretly cooperating for a deceitful but legal purpose is “collusion.” To take one example, Mueller’s office determined for technical reasons that it was not illegal for Don Jr. and company to meet secretly with someone he believed to be representing “[t]he Crown prosecutor of Russia” to get dirt on Hillary Clinton. Was this meeting for a “deceitful” purpose? Trump superfans will say Trump had every right to get dirt on his political opponent for a foreign government — but if everything was kosher and aboveboard, these superfans may have trouble explaining why the President participated in drafting a misleading public statement about the nature of the meeting, and sent his counsel and Sarah Sanders out to falsely claim that he had played no role in drafting Jr.’s false statement about the meeting.

So far we have listed two mischaracterizations, and Wittes explains:

This pair of mischaracterizations has the effect of transforming Trump into an innocent man falsely accused.

Wittes’s third point is Barr’s adoption of Trump’s “spying” narrative. I’m not going to waste any time on that point because it’s not clear to me (especially in light of the most recent revelations) the extent to which there is any factual basis for it. So I’ll go to point #4:

4. Barr claims the President “cooperated” despite multiple potential acts of obstruction listed in the report.

This made for some good comedy when Barr was testilying, I mean testifying, in response to Sen. Leahy’s questions. As you’ll see in the clip below, Leahy would bring up a potential act of obstruction and ask: is this an example of Trump cooperating? For example, the President’s attorney told Manafort and Cohen they’d be taken care of if they did not cooperate with Mueller. Is this cooperating by Trump? Barr says there’s no conflict between that finding and his claim that Trump cooperated. Hmmm. How about when Trump told his aide Corey Lewandowski to tell the Attorney General to unrecuse himself, shut down the investigation, and declare Trump had done nothing wrong? Total cooperation by Trump? Barr, initially seemingly ignorant of this episode (“where is that in the report?”), kept trying to shift the question to whether such acts were obstruction, but Leahy stayed on him: is it total cooperation to dictate a message to an aide to tell the Attorney General to unrecuse himself, shut down the investigation, and declare Trump had done nothing wrong? Barr says sure, that’s still cooperation with the investigation.

If you’re inclined to defend Barr, I suggest you actually watch that clip. It’s short: just a couple of minutes. And it’s high comedy. What a dishonest twit.

This post is getting long, and if you can watch that clip and still defend Bill Barr, nothing else I can say will matter to you. I’ll try to quickly summarize Wittes’s remaining points. His fifth point is that “if you first adopt the fiction that the investigative subject is an innocent man falsely accused and being pursued by politically motivated FBI agents engaged in improper ‘spying,’ and that he is nonetheless endeavoring in good faith to cooperate with his prosecutors, that does change the lens through which you look at his conduct.” But Mueller’s report does not actually support that fiction. Also, Barr looks at each act of potential obstruction in isolation, to see if there is potential excuse for each in isolation, when Mueller made clear it was all to be examined together. As a prosecutor, I know this is a typical defense strategy: don’t look at the big picture, folks! Just pick apart each piece of evidence on its own. But blinding one’s self to the big picture is not what the law or common sense calls for, and it’s not what Mueller called for.

Finally, Barr seriously misled the public when he claimed:

The — I — I — I’d leave it to his description in the report, the special counsel’s own articulation of — of why he did not want to make a determination as to whether or not there was an obstruction offense. But I will say that when we met with him — Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein and I met with him, along with Ed O’Callaghan, who is the principal associate deputy on March 5th, we specifically asked him about the OLC opinion and whether or not he was taking the position that he would have found a crime but for the existence of the OLC opinion. And he made it very clear several times that that was not his position. He — he was not saying that but for the OLC opinion he would have found a crime; he made it clear that he had not made the determination that there was a crime.

This is technically accurate and consistent with the report: Mueller does not say that but for the OLC opinion he would have found a crime, and he clearly did not make the determination that there was a crime. BUT — he also did not make the determination that Trump had not committed a crime. And critically, part of the reason he refused to make any call on this topic was because of the OLC opinion! As Wittes says:

I don’t know what Mueller told Barr privately, but the report does not support this claim. Mueller lists four “considerations that guided our obstruction-of-justice investigation.” The first of them states that the Justice Department “has issued an opinion finding that ‘the indictment or criminal prosecution of a sitting President would impermissibly undermine the capacity of the executive branch to perform its constitutionally assigned functions’ in violation of ‘the constitutional separation of powers.’” Because Mueller is an officer of the Justice Department, “this Office accepted [the department’s] legal conclusion for purposes of exercising prosecutorial jurisdiction.”

The use of the word jurisdiction here is not casual. It means that Mueller believes he lacks the authority to indict the president. Because of that, he goes on to explain, he did not evaluate the evidence to render a traditional prosecutorial judgment. The report offers no support for the notion that Mueller stayed his hand on obstruction out of concern for the strength of the evidence.

Wittes’s article is a damning conglomeration of ways that Barr misled the public. And although many, many Republicans are arguing that Barr’s spin doesn’t matter because we now have the final report, these are the same people who would tell you that it is critically important that a headline about the report’s conclusions put the words “no collusion” in the headline, because first impressions matter:

A final note about Bill Barr, noted by our friend DRJ. Charlie Crist asked him a while back: hey, we’re seeing all these reports about Mueller’s staff being upset about your letter. Do you know what their concerns are? Barr said he didn’t, even though he had Mueller’s letter in hand and knew exactly what their concerns were. When confronted with this two days ago, Barr said: Crist’s question was about what Mueller’s staff was complaining about, not what Mueller himself thought. And so I didn’t mention the letter because it was from Mueller and not his staff! Except that, in the same hearing, he said that he thought Mueller’s letter was “snitty” and had probably been written by someone on his staff.

Well, if that’s what he thought, then when he was asked by Crist about whether he knew what the concerns of Mueller’s staff were, he knew exactly what they were from the letter. Meaning he was not honest with Crist, and his explanation for that dishonest answer makes no sense. I’ll add that he also testified that when he talked to Mueller, Mueller kept talking about the concerns that “they” (clearly meaning Mueller and his staff) had. Not “he.” “They.”

This kind of deserves its own post rather than a brief mention at the end of a long post, but I can’t help myself.

So: yes, we can now evaluate the report for ourselves. But you know what else we can now evaluate for ourselves? Bill Barr’s credibility. And I, for one, find it wanting.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

587 Responses to “The Details of How Bill Barr Has Trashed His Credibility”

  1. Honor and honesty matter. Or should. Thank you for this post.

    Simon Jester (b079bd)

  2. Patterico, I think you’re failing to see some strong counter-points:

    What if much of the public really want the conclusion to be that Trump did nothing wrong, and the entire investigation was a witch hunt conducted by a corrupt FBI. Then shouldn’t it be clear to you that Barr didn’t mislead the public; he just told us what we wanted to hear? If anything you should be lauding him for being a true public servant.

    I think you are so focused on facts that might contradict the narrative our President tells us that it stops you from being able to fully buy into said narrative. Sure, you’re constantly pointing out things that contradict that narrative, but I don’t see you trying your best to ignore things that would allow you to whole-heartedly support the President. I think your posts need more balance. Can we get one where you ignore all reasonable counter-arguments and only present things in line with what Trump has told us is the truth?

    nate_w (8f526f)

  3. It’s not as if Barr wrote the pee dossier and used it in a FISA application.

    Munroe (5274a8)

  4. Only fools and knaves serve Trump and Barr has shown himself to be the worst sort of knave. However, this is not a surprise as this information was available to see the sort of person he was prior to his confirmation. None of this though makes his behaviour in handling the Mueller report remotely acceptable though.

    cmd (88e9b1)

  5. Benjamin wittes?! he’s very close to James Comey, although not tghe professor who leaked the memo that Comey intended to get aspecial counsel apointed. He wrote something about it

    https://www.lawfareblog.com/what-james-comey-told-me-about-donald-trump

    That is however, simply an ad hominem so we have to look at what he actually says.

    He did not, as some people insist, commit perjury.

    Not just some people, but now House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. This must be a top priority among some Democrats some say, to discredit what he may say about how the Trump investigatinn got started. OK, Wittes is avoiding that charge,

    But it is possible to mislead without lying.

    Yes, correct. But I nnotice the Democrats don’t seem content with that charge. (which may be exaggerated.)

    It’s what I said: They always prefer false charges to true ones.

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  6. For the record, and ease of access, here is Barr;s March 24, 2018 letter to the two Cogressional committees on the Judiciary:

    https://eshoo.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Letter-From-AG-Barr-To-Congress.pdf

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  7. We have the President we have, and he will not be removed from office through impeachment, or the convoluted procedure that lets the Cabinet do it. Anyone Trump appoints to a cabinet role is going to have to be a disingenuous toady, and run major interference for Trump. Other he will be twitter molested, and then canned. I don’t understand why anyone would allow themselves to be appointed to office by Trump, or hired by Trump, unless there is a lot of dirty money to be had. Because the hit to credibility is given; and every account suggests that Trump is just torture to deal with. I mean, at least Nixon was competent, and Harding was, by all accounts, a pleasant guy.

    So why anyone expected Barr to have any credibility when he talks about this matter — I don’t know. But Mueller report did indeed get out there, and speaks for itself.

    So, what’s my point? Maybe I think the Barr business is, at its core, a side show. He’s a guy who is now a dirty guy because he works for a dirty guy, but he isn’t the kind of target that gets you very far.

    Appalled (c9622b)

  8. William Barr “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of the Mueller report by failing to give emphasis to the so called 10 areas of investigation that didn’t warrant formal prosecution. As Scott Adams said in a tweet:

    “In 2019, if Dems are right about everything they believe, Trump might have almost impeded a witch hunt but didn’t.”

    The push back against Barr is really about trying to soften the sound of the other shoe that is about to drop. Namely that is about the corrupt prosecutors and cops that engineered the lying FISA warrants and used the instruments of the justice system for their own political gain. Who is jumping on that bandwagon?

    AZ Bob (885937)

  9. Doesn’t seem to be a concern, it doesn’t fit the narrative.

    Narciso (09b0bf)

  10. Beldar going to have to post all over again. He made great points starting at comment 39 in the ‘Republicans’ thread.
    __
    Also

    “Some of this is frustration. Democrats foolishly invested two years of political capital in the idea that Mr. Mueller would prove President Trump had colluded with Russia, and Mr. Mueller left them empty-handed. Some of it is personal. Democrats resent that Mr. Barr won’t cower or apologize for doing his job. Some is bitterness that Mr. Barr is performing like a real attorney general, making the call against obstruction-of-justice charges rather than sitting back and letting Democrats have their fun with Mr. Mueller’s obstruction innuendo.

    But most of it is likely fear. Mr. Barr made real news in that Senate hearing, and while the press didn’t notice, Democrats did. The attorney general said he’d already assigned people at the Justice Department to assist his investigation of the origins of the Trump-Russia probe. He said his review would be far-reaching – that he was obtaining details from congressional investigations, from the ongoing probe by the department’s inspector general, Michael Horowitz, and even from Mr. Mueller’s work. Mr. Barr said the investigation wouldn’t focus only on the fall 2016 justifications for secret surveillance warrants against Trump team members but would go back months earlier.

    He also said he’d focus on the infamous “dossier” concocted by opposition-research firm Fusion GPS and British former spy Christopher Steele, on which the FBI relied so heavily in its probe. Mr. Barr acknowledged his concern that the dossier itself could be Russian disinformation, a possibility he described as not “entirely speculative.” He also revealed that the department has “multiple criminal leak investigations under way” into the disclosure of classified details about the Trump-Russia investigation.“

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/for-fear-of-william-barr-11556837637

    harkin (a741df)

  11. If the Mueller report had actually left the Dems empty handed, the Trump party would be far far less defensive. The problem for them is that it didn’t leave the Dems empty handed but the shape of what it left them is unclear and no one is quite sure what the Dems plan to do with it. Also, the origins of the Trump-Russia probe are listed in the Mueller report, but I wish Barr luck with the grandstanding.

    Nic (896fdf)

  12. AZ Bob,

    I welcome an investigation of the FISA process but the only person who can do that is Trump ordering his DOJ to do it. I hope it is being done.

    DRJ (15874d)

  13. * March 24, 2019!

    For example, in discussing possible motives for obstruction, Mueller said that while the evidence did not establish a conspiracy, “the evidence does point to a range of other possible personal motives animating the president’s conduct.”

    Barr focused on;y on the presence or absence of corrupt intent. Mueller had no special insight into what Presidnet Trump’s motives were.

    In his press conferences, Barr gave a very high sounding motive – undermining the government. Now maybe I had some common sense, but I thought Barr was citing the most high minded possible motive, and I didn’t think that really animated Trump, nor for that matter did I think that an ongoing investigation really would make such a big difference, except to the extent it might make him appear like a lame duck.

    If Trump had a variety of motives, Barr cited the best one as if it were the only one. I noticed that.

    But that was in his press conferences, not in his letter to Congress. I always assumed that was giving Trump the benefit of the doubt, and that theer was even some evidence to support that. , and that they are probably legally obliged to assign that as “the” motive.

    That is, Trump is not precluded from considering the effect on the government because it also has political implications. He’s also not precluded from considering the investigation biased.

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  14. Mueller says Trump might have had “uncertainty” about whether he or others close to him had committed acts that “could be seen” as criminal activity. He says “uncertainty” because Mueller in the end writes “the evidence des not establish that the president was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference.”

    Now the truth is, Trump did not become certain that he had not committed a crime until after he had discussed this in detail with his lawyers (and that’s why he decided to co-operate) This has been published. (That his lawyers convinced him he was in no legal jeopardy – everything was defensible.)

    This was after Mueller was appointed. But not very long after.

    I always thought Trump was more worried about how he would look if all the facts came out rather thah any kind of criminal culpability. In other words, that he had possibly hired Russian agents and so on.

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  15. Help me here, please.

    Was the Mueller mission to determine if Trump or his campaign colluded with the Russians during the 2016 campaign?

    If that is the case, is the following also correct:

    1) Mueller’s conclusion is that he could not ID any after about 2 years of thorough searching, and
    2) His crew were not Trump fans likely to turn a blind eye (and, if anything, were the opposite)?

    If the above conditions are met, why is any of the current stuff important?

    jim2 (a5dc71)

  16. Patterico:

    Wittes:
    Barr’s second sleight of hand—also visible in the quotations above—is rendering the absence of a criminal-conspiracy charge as reflecting an active finding of “no collusion.”

    This is something I identified early on as a problem with Barr’s summary descriptions of Mueller’s findings, and I refer you to my earlier post for details and lengthy quotes from Mueller about how he did not even purport to analyze collusion but merely conspiracy.

    Wittes is speaking about Barr’s press conferences, not his letter to Congress, which does not use the word “collusion.”

    It, like Mueller, uses the terms “conspired” or “co-ordinated with.”

    And Mueller actually does seem to consider his findings to be a form of exoneration on the question of an underlying crime. Or otherwise he would not have limited his statement about not exonerating to the issue of obstruction of justice.

    Now maybe you have to be somewhat familiar with legal reasoning to note that Mueller did not absolutely clear Trump and others – still he didn’t find anything you could go to court with either.

    Now it’s true that the absence of a criminal charge doesn’t mean an active finding of “no crime” but that’s true 100% of the time. But there are questions of the strength of the evidence either way, too.

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  17. 14. jim2 (a5dc71) — 5/3/2019 @ 8:25 am

    Was the Mueller mission to determine if Trump or his campaign colluded with the Russians during the 2016 campaign?

    Not exactly. His charge was something like looking at Russian interference and whether or not anyone affiliated woh Trump had committed a crime in that connection. Initially, whether Trump firing Comey was an attempt to hide a crime.

    If that is the case, is the following also correct:

    1) Mueller’s conclusion is that he could not ID any after about 2 years of thorough searching, and
    2) His crew were not Trump fans likely to turn a blind eye (and, if anything, were the opposite)?

    If he found anything, it didn’t meet the standard of proof. But Mueller goes onto great detail about what he did find.

    If the above conditions are met, why is any of the current stuff important?

    It’s a meta argument.

    The Democrats who are entitled to see all the redacted portions (or almost all – maye not grand jury reliant statements) are avoiding looking at it so they can accuse Barr of hiding something important.

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  18. 4. Barr claims the President “cooperated” despite multiple potential acts of obstruction listed in the report.

    I think Barr has a problem here with the definition of full co-operation.

    Trump, manifestedly, did not do everything Mueller wanted him to do – he didn’t testify live with no net, and he negotiated to limit the questions; but he turned over every piece of documentary evidence, encouraged others to do so, let all of his aides testify freely, and did not fight him in court, although he may have threatened to do so.

    Producing every record and letting everyone testify were the big things. Barr was probably repeating something he had heard.

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  19. If you think ordering an aide to deliver a message to Sessions to unrecuse, shut down the investigation, and declare Trump did nothing wrong is consistent with cooperating with the investigation — well, then you and Bill Barr agree!

    I guess I do, because it is.

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  20. Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6) –

    Thanks. I find it sad that I actually understood your answer and realized it was likely accurate in each respect. It also explains why none of the senior Dems who have been offered a chance to read the full report have done so.

    jim2 (a5dc71)

  21. 19. Beldar @46 in the Republicans thread, also thinks Barr is correct about Trump co-operating wiith the investigation.

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  22. ‘And although many, many Republicans are arguing that Barr’s spin doesn’t matter because we now have the final report, these are the same people who would tell you that it is critically important that a headline about the report’s conclusions put the words “no collusion” in the headline, because first impressions matter‘

    Trump critics: Barr’s spin matters.

    Also Trump critics: FISA application spin, where the specific sourcing of the pee dossier is concealed, doesn’t matter.

    Munroe (ca8120)

  23. Loretta and the low neck sweater on the tarmac – Holder giving guns to the cartel
    Now thats credible.

    mg (8cbc69)

  24. The Kasich flock is laughable

    mg (8cbc69)

  25. Never trumpers want to impeach trump and barr. The only difference between them and democrats is the cats want to impeach Kavanaugh as well.
    I can smell these people at whole foods

    mg (8cbc69)

  26. In America, we operate under a presumption of innocence. It was not Mueller’s job to exonerate Trump. AZ Bob is correct, the other shoe is about to drop. That frightens some people at the top.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  27. The IG’s report will be released fairly soon, so the NYT will be leaking little tidbits ahead of it in an attempt to soften the blows.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  28. Trump says he will be declassifying the Russia probe documents soon, let’s hope he actually does it.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  29. The rush of Democrats asking to view the Mueller report sans redactions has been overwhelming.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  30. Americans wanted Mueller to defecate or get off the pot, but he apparently lacked the intestinal fortitude to do it.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  31. 29… not sans, but much less redactions made.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  32. Awaiting the answer to the big question: what did President Obama know and when did he know it?

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  33. Speaking of Kavanaugh, CNN has another hit piece on him about “allegations” remaining 7 months later. Just remember who will come to power next if the left succeeds in their destruction of America.

    NJRob (4d595c)

  34. That worry is way overstated, Rob, to say the least.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  35. You realize that the word is out to trash Barr before he can appoint a prosecutor to look into the misuse of FISA warrants and the degree of surveillance of the Trump campaign, don’t you?

    He might also want to see if there was a conspiracy at the top levels of the government to achieve a null result with the Clinton e-mail investigation. An impeccable source has the details here, here, here, here and here.

    The word is that Barr will not be the wallflower that Sessions was. Gotta destroy him in the press first. So, he’s attacked for testifying before Congress the way everyone testifies before Congress: Say as little as possible and don’t embarrass the boss.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  36. Real comment 35 in moderation for too many links.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  37. 4. Barr claims the President “cooperated” despite multiple potential acts of obstruction listed in the report.

    Well, he didn’t stonewall. He let everyone testify. He allowed his personal attorney to testify, waiving privilege — let’s see anyone in the House do that (I’m looking at YOU Ms. Waters). He turned over all requested documents without going to court.

    But he refused to testify himself.

    Calling this co-operation is NOT a lie, nor is it even a half-truth. Allowing Cohen to testify without privilege was above-and-beyond.

    This is a pretty weak charge.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  38. Previous comment without the links:

    You realize that the word is out to trash Barr before he can appoint a prosecutor to look into the misuse of FISA warrants and the degree of surveillance of the Trump campaign, don’t you?

    He might also want to see if there was a conspiracy at the top levels of the government to achieve a null result with the Clinton e-mail investigation. An impeccable source has the details [search this site for “Lynch”].

    The word is that Barr will not be the wallflower that Sessions was. Gotta destroy him in the press first. So, he’s attacked for testifying before Congress the way everyone testifies before Congress: Say as little as possible and don’t embarrass the boss.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  39. https://humanevents.com/2019/05/01/checkmate/

    Yet it seems Barr knew exactly where Mueller was headed before he ever was approached to be AG.

    NJRob (4d595c)

  40. That’s a non-story, Kevin. To say the least.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  41. 1. Absence of a finding that bringing a criminal case is warranted is not absence of evidence that the crime happened.

    No, it is not, but it isn’t meaningful either. In general, one can have some facts (Joe came into a lot of money, Joe is the same height as the bank robber and Joe was near the bank at the time) without having proof enough to prosecute. Even though you know a crime happened.

    But that’s not what you mean, I guess. Question: If a defendant is acquitted, then says the jury found him innocent, is he lying? Is he even telling a half-truth? He entered the trial with assumed innocence and that’s how the jury left it.

    Just because there are a few facts that the cynical can point to, does not mean those facts are meaningful.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  42. The most daunting thing regarding credibilities found wanting in this matter is reducing the field down to less than the population of DC and Northern Virginia

    steveg (e7a56b)

  43. 2. A finding that “conspiracy” was not established is not the same as saying Mueller found no “collusion.

    The Trump tower meeting to get dirt on Clinton from a foreign source is dodgy at best. But is it criminal? Does a political campaign — the ultimate form of freedom of speech — have the same rights as a newspaper? If not, why not? We know that newspapers can publish nearly anything; they certainly could have published anything the Russians gave them about Hillary or Trump.

    IANAL, so I am going to avoid legal assertions, but my understanding is that such a meeting would only rise to criminality if there was a quid pro quo, where a Trump administration would do something they otherwise would not do, in return for the information, or if they had explicitly asked the Russians to obtain it.

    BUT, your argument, as I read it, hinges on the idea of “deceit” — that because they tried to hide it, the meeting itself and the purpose behind it was “deceitful.” And thus you get to “collusion.”

    But the meeting was not about “how do we lie to the American people” but (from the Trump expectations) “what crap can we throw at Clinton.” This only shows that the Trump campaign was ethically-challenged.

    From the Russian side “deceit” may well have been intended as what they wanted was a secret conversation about lifting sanctions. But the Trumpies didn’t play, so any deceit is on the Russians alone.

    That there was later deceit by the Trumpies ABOUT the meeting does not mean that deceit was part of the meeting itself.

    So, this too (as you’ve summarized it) does not hold.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  44. Long, lawyerly post; short, citizen conclusion:

    Barr lied to Congress.

    Patriot Games:

    Rule of Men – 527
    Rule of Law – 0

    “The issue is missiles; Soviet missiles in Cuba.” – JFK [William Devane] ‘The Missiles Of October’ ABC TV, 1974

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  45. 36. Kevin M (21ca15) — 5/3/2019 @ 10:36 am

    But he refused to testify himself.

    he didn’t even really do that.

    It’s been reported that he wanted to testify, but his lawyers talked him out if it.

    “Look, you’re a habitual liar,” they said. “You’ll tell lies. That’s perjury.”

    “I’ve testified under oath before. I know how to be do it,” said Trump.

    “As your lawyer I can’t in good conscience go along with your testifying. It’s too easy for you to lie,” said his lawyer.

    “I can tell the truth. I’m not an idiot!” said Trump.

    “We don’t want any part of it,” said his lawyers. “I’d be failing in my duty to you if I said it was not risky.” said his chief lawyer. “I’ll quit even.”

    “You already got an admission from them that they can’t indict me because I’m POTUS. My problem is political. You said it. I can’t stop the investigation because it will make me look bad. I need to clear things up. I don’t want this going on until the 2020 election.” said Trump. “I want to end this much sooner, in fact. You’ve been telling me that if I keep on co-operating, thsi will end next week, next month and so on. It’s not happening. Let me testify and get this over with.”

    But the lawyers persisted, and finally Trump decided it was the better part of wisdom not to do so.

    The lawyers also tried to get an idea of what Mueller wanted to ask Trump and they compiled quite alist.

    They prevailed on Mueller to settle for written questions and answers, which they could go over carefully with Trump before sending the answers in.

    They also maybe told Mueller what some of the answers would be in advance. For instance, Trump really had no idea when discussions about a proposed Trump Tower in Moscow were over for good. He had no idea when he last discussed this orally with Cohen. So Mueller didn’t ask that question.

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  46. I so wish that Barr had told the committee:

    “The President co-operated completely, and even waived privilege when his personal attorney was questioned. Can I see a show of hands which ones of you will waive privilege with respect to their personal attorney?”

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  47. BTW, the Clinton-Lynch meeting WAS both conspiracy and “collusion” as it was secret and deceitful. We might not yet know how deceitful. What did Lynch get?

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  48. Patterico constantly, and correctly, points out the hypocrisy of pro-Trumpers excusing in their guy what they would condemn if anyone else did it. So maybe I’m guilty of the same, but, isn’t the Attorney General a political appointee who should be expected to “spin” for the president who appointed him/her? Did Bobby spin for Jack, Ashcroft for Bush 43, Lynch for Obama, etc.? In what universe would someone like Barr say, “well, in my view my friend Bob Mueller really went easy on Trump, he had a lot of evidence to support an obstruction of justice charge”?

    Of course an AG can go way too far, e.g. Mitchell on behalf of Nixon. But why should we expect Barr or any political appointee to do anything other than present the facts in the light most favorable to the administration?

    This is not a healthy situation — it would be better if all public servants, and especially someone like the Attorney General, had a devotion first to truth and justice without regard to the political fallout or their own careers. But when has that been in evidence from either party since, say, the Saturday Night Massacre in 1973? Please point out the counter-examples, would really like to be wrong here.

    RL formerly in Glendale (40f5aa)

  49. Wittes: “It is possible to mislead without lying.”

    Synomyn for ‘mislead':

    “Lie.” -source, https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/mislead

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  50. But when he said that his investigation had failed to “establish” conspiracy (and by the way, he explicitly disclaimed analyzing collusion, but we’ll get to that in a moment), Barr used that to say Mueller had found there had been “no collusion.”

    The press has never used the word “conspiracy” here, it uses “collusion” and has for the last 2 years. Over and over and over and … over. Now, Barr is a lawyer and Mueller is a lawyer, so when Barr uses the word “collusion” to mean “conspiracy” other lawyers immediately complain about the semantics.

    But the public understands “collusion” — that’s what they have been told, incessantly, this probe is about. It would be STUPID for Barr, in a report that is at least partially aimed at informing the public, to choose the legalism over the vernacular. HE wasn’t really speaking to you lawyers, he was speaking to us, the unwashed.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  51. Synonym for lie:

    “Rest”

    https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/lie?s=t

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  52. Mr DCSCA

    Using your definition of mislead – that must mean the press lies all the time.

    “If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed. If you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed.” – Mark Twain

    bendover2 (076acf)

  53. There are many other synonyms of “mislead”, such as “bluff”, “tempt”, “bait” or “outwit.”

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  54. “Troll” would be on a more modern list.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  55. @51. It’s not “my” definition: you could simply bendover backwards and see thesaurus.com- there’s a link provided.

    And the issue isn’t the press: the issue is Barr lied to Congress. End of story.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  56. @50. Still in that hole: stop digging.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  57. 46. Kevin M (21ca15) — 5/3/2019 @ 11:21 am

    BTW, the Clinton-Lynch meeting WAS both conspiracy and “collusion” as it was secret and deceitful. We might not yet know how deceitful. What did Lynch get?

    That meeting wss not crucial, and probably nothing was discussed.
    They later made the thing into a red herring. It’s a red herring. It came far too late to arrange anything. But it did have a reason.

    Now as for the reason for this meeting on the tarmac:

    The way I see it, what Bill Clinton wanted to see was if Attorney General Loretta Lynch would see him, or if she would run away from an encounter. That would determine if Hillary would give an FBI interview or she would not.

    What he wanted to see was if Loretta Lynch had been warned not to meet with him, as would happen if there was a RICO investigation into him and Hillary and the Clinton Foundation being conducted. He needed to know that, to know if it was OK for Hillary to give an FBI interview.

    She had been pushing it off, using various excuses. Comey had expected it weeks before AND had begun preparing his remarks for the press conference announcing the investigation was over. Of course, Bill and Hillary didn’t let the FBI know she wouldn’t do it yet because they wanted to run out the clock.

    Now if they were investigating possible corruption Bill Clinton would be a potential target, and Lynch would at least have been cautioned not to talk to him, but if they were investigating only the email account, he would not be. If there was not a RICO investigation, if it was only the email account, he wouldn’t be a target, but just a family member, which is not so big a thing.

    Get it?

    Now Bill Clinton could have arranged to bump into Lynch at some event, “accidently.” But that would have told him nothing, because she couldn’t avoid it. And he could have arranged to be at some place, but she might have declined it on more general principles. What he needed was a more or less spontaneous encounter, something she didn’t need to schedule, but something she could avoid and that’s what he arranged. He flew to Phoenix and arranged to be there just at the right time.

    Now the reason for the FBI interview with Hillary Clintton was this: Comey needed it to close the case.

    Hillary (and Bill from whom she took political and legal advice – and financial for that matter) wanted the case closed so she wouldn’t go into the election with Republicans being able to say she might be indicted right after the election (not before the election actually, although they might say that, because there was a policy against indicting a candidate close to an election or making any indictment that could effect an election. Bill and Hillary had pushed things off so it got into that time period.)

    But if she was not going to be cleared – if they had other questions for her besides about the security violations in connection with the email account – if the FBI was investigating possible corruption… then she didn’t want the interview, and she’s campaign under a cloud. She wouldn’t be indicted because it was too close to the election, and if elected, she’d take care of it. If not elected, she’d be in trouble, but then she’d be in trouble anyway.

    Now Barr says that he thoght Comey had the permission of the Attorney General when he made that public evaluation about Hillary Clinton on July 5, 2016. But later on found out that he did not.

    But I think there’s no question he did have it – just unofficially. Loretta Lynch had said she would rely on his recommendation. Just when does an FBI Director make prosecutorial recommendations?

    As a matter of fact, officially, he didn’t but others in the Justice Dpeartmentt did. He ws just the front man for some people in DOJ. I mean that’s in the Inspector General’s report. (that other people made the decison not to prosecute)

    And another thing: James Comey said he had not discussed what he was about to say with his superiors at DOJ. But what I want to know is:

    Had he discussed it with Hillary Clinton;’s lawyers?

    If he didn’t, it would be a pretty risky thing legally for him to do that press conference. So hey must have approved.

    But everybody in the Obama Administration and Democratic Party treated what he did as normal.

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  58. 49. Barr did not use the word collusion in his memo.

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  59. 54. DCSCA (797bc0) — 5/3/2019 @ 12:04 pm

    And the issue isn’t the press: the issue is Barr lied to Congress. End of story.

    According to Benjamin Wittes as quoted by PAtterico, the issue is the press.

    Barr did not lie in any of these statements. He did not, as some people insist, commit perjury. I haven’t found a sentence he has written or said that cannot be defended as truthful on its own terms, if only in some literal sense. But it is possible to mislead without lying.

    What he’s being accused of by Nancy Pelosi, if I understand this correctly, is lying in April to a Congressional committee about not knowing that members of Mueller’s staff had objections to what he wrote. Barr says in fact he did not know.

    He called up Mueller and asked him. He never cared about what his staff thought. Mueller said there was nothing inaccurate in what Barr wrote on March 24 but he’d wanted his executive summaries made public immediately. Barr wanted to make the summaries public at the same time as the entire report.

    Because he thought it was misleading, or disputable, obviously.

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  60. How to pass the Barr:

    “Jerry, just remember, it’s not a lie, if you believe it.” – George Costanza [Jason Alexander] ‘Seinfeld’ NBC-TV,1989-98

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  61. @58. Except it’s not. See #43. Devane nailed it.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  62. 60… so life imitates art, lol. Got it.

    “I buy my gold from Rosland Capital because ounce for ounce they’re as good as gold.” – William Devane.

    Colonel Haiku (87951e)

  63. @58 Barr is now being accused of blackmail. By Monday we’ll probably have at least one credible accusation that he rounds up kittens, puts them in a bag, and throws them into the nearest river.

    Frosty, Fp (7540e9)

  64. “If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed. If you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed.” – Mark Twain”

    __ _

    Chris Cillizza
    @CillizzaCNN
    “Campaigns against the press do not get your face carved in Mount Rushmore because when you chip away at the free press you chip away at the heart of democracy.” — Ron Chernow
    __ _

    I’m real
    @edkrayewski
    Replying to
    @CillizzaCNN
    “Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle.” – Thomas Jefferson, who is on Mt. Rushmore
    __ _

    I’m real
    @edkrayewski
    “The man who did nothing else (but be a muckraker [investigative journalist]) was certain to become a force of evil.” – Teddy Roosevelt, also on Mt. Rushmore
    __ _

    Chris Rogerson
    @chris_rogerson_
    Obama legitimately chipped away at the free press.

    Trump just says mean things about you and doesn’t attend your events, doing nothing to chip away at the free press.
    __ _

    Brother Seamus
    @WaynePelota
    Lincoln suspended Habeas Corpus, but cool story bro.

    _

    harkin (a741df)

  65. While I encourage others to leave new comments on this post, I’ve just left, and cross-reference here, another comment explaining why I think in particular that Sen. Leahy is a douchbag and that his questions are unfair and that Barr’s answers to them are defensible.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  66. This link sums up the whole drama
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATKc65y70hQ

    Its the Pakistanis and Indians doing their daily posturing over the border.
    View it first as an anthropologist, then overlay it with the politics.
    Everyone steps right up to the line, dances around while babbling semi-coherently about something that must be important, somewhere to someone.

    steveg (e7a56b)

  67. The russian/Ukrainian is nearly as fractious, orthodox over catholic, czar over hetman.

    Narciso (f3c39f)

  68. Like I said I was reading shalimar:

    https://mobile.twitter.com/ChuckRossDC/status/1124366797476696064

    Narciso (f3c39f)

  69. Its over never trumpers we have moved on! Fbi should send cia honey pot azra turk to spy on groper joe and his chinese collusion.

    lany (0cdd3e)

  70. Patterico, can you give any example of a Republican who criticizes misleading headlines on the grounds tht they “set the tone”? I’ve never heard of such a thing and I think you are making it up. The criticism I’ve always heard is that a lot of people don’t read past the headline or the headline and the first paragraph of a story.

    David Gudeman (fd21bc)

  71. Patterico, can you give any other examples of this sort of mass criticism of a public official being demonized for writing a factually accurate letter that spun things to help out his boss? Or does this only happen to people working for Trump?

    David Gudeman (fd21bc)

  72. I thought this article is a disgrace. There’s still nothing to pin Trump on. Getting Barr is a waste of time if Congress wants to pursue this matter. There’s an absence of a case here.

    TimP (4e33f0)

  73. Re: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/19/us/politics/mueller-report-william-barr-excerpts.html

    Barr quoted this sentence in his March 24 memo:

    ….the evidence does not establish that the president was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference.

    And he left out the next one:

    But the evidence does point to a range of other possible personal motives animating the president’s conduct.

    But it was very clear to me that to Mueller no underlying crime was not determinative, and Barr said so, but he said that both he and Rosenstein thought it bears upon it (meaning very heavily)

    Barr was saying that meant more than the bearing Mueller was giving it, but he wanted to prove that he was relying on what Mueller said. Barr did not want to empahsize his disagreement with Mueller but he didn’t hide it.

    Charlie Savage said that that selective quote above turns the special counsel’s meaning on its head, but it doesn’t. There’s nothing misleading here, although it is incomplete and doesn’t tell you what kind Mueller thought could be obstruction of justice. A fuller knowledge could make Mueller look bad.

    (If Barr misled anyone it was by pretending sort of that he and Mueller didn’t disagree on in what circumstances obstruction of justice could occur, but it was clear that they did. I felt he did it for legal reasons.)

    It was very clear to me that Barr was using something Mueller said to advance an argument to come to a conclusion that Mueller did not come to.

    It was plain as day. How could that not be clear? That’s what lawyers do sometimes. They cite another’s statement to prove something or advance an argument that the person they are citing doesn’t support.

    Barr made clear what Mueller supported, which was he gave arguments pro and con. I think savage tries to make the argument that Mueller said his investigation was not as complete as it could have been, but he does not say that.

    the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities

    That was the point Barr wanted to bring out. It doesn’t matter that maybe they liked the Wikileaks leaks or that Russia wantes Trump to win, or that they contacted some people associated with Trump and maybe tried to get them to work wth them.

    Sammy Finkelman (102c75)

  74. Frosty, Fp (7540e9) — 5/3/2019 @ 12:46 pm

    @58 Barr is now being accused of blackmail.

    Not actually blackmail. Nadler is using the wrong word. I think he means extortion. Barr is trin to force tthe committee members to ask questions themselves.

    My opinion: It’s the Democrats on the committee who are chicken. I never liked counsel asking
    questions. They can yeeld time to the best of them.

    Now when the thrust of your questioning is unfounded, skilled lawyers pushing a point work better.

    I heard n the radio some talk show host say yesterday that he had producers who did research, and they maybe even know it better but he always asked his won questions.

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  75. DCSCA (797bc0) — 5/3/2019 @ 12:27 pm

    @58. Except it’s not. See #43. Devane nailed it.
    I have no idea what you meant to say by this:

    The issue is missiles; Soviet missiles in Cuba.” – JFK [William Devane] ‘The Missiles Of October’ ABC TV, 1974

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  76. Still tossing mayo and relish on this chicken Shiite in the hopes it becomes chicken salad, I see, Patterico?

    No. Charges. Period. Hyperventilate “Orange Man Bad” all you want, you invested all your hopes and hate in this nothingburger, don’t come p*ssing in our ear that it didn’t satiate your hunger!

    Shawn Mercer (ad2a37)

  77. @76. Sammy: one issue and one issue only: Barr lied to Congress. End of story.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  78. And now for something completely different: COLLUSION

    “The boomerang from the Democratic Party’s failed attempt to connect Donald Trump to Russia’s 2016 election meddling is picking up speed, and its flight path crosses right through Moscow’s pesky neighbor, Ukraine. That is where there is growing evidence a foreign power was asked, and in some cases tried, to help Hillary Clinton.
    In its most detailed account yet, the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington says a Democratic National Committee (DNC) insider during the 2016 election solicited dirt on Donald Trump’s campaign chairman and even tried to enlist the country’s president to help.

    In written answers to questions, Ambassador Valeriy Chaly’s office says DNC contractor Alexandra Chalupa sought information from the Ukrainian government on Paul Manafort’s dealings inside the country, in hopes of forcing the issue before Congress.

    Chalupa later tried to arrange for Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to comment on Manafort’s Russian ties on a U.S. visit during the 2016 campaign, the ambassador said.

    Chaly says that, at the time of the contacts in 2016, the embassy knew Chalupa primarily as a Ukrainian-American activist and learned only later of her ties to the DNC. He says the embassy considered her requests an inappropriate solicitation of interference in the U.S. election.

    “The Embassy got to know Ms. Chalupa because of her engagement with Ukrainian and other diasporas in Washington D.C., and not in her DNC capacity. We’ve learned about her DNC involvement later,” Chaly said in a statement issued by his embassy. “We were surprised to see Alexandra’s interest in Mr. Paul Manafort’s case. It was her own cause. The Embassy representatives unambiguously refused to get involved in any way, as we were convinced that this is a strictly U.S. domestic matter.

    “All ideas floated by Alexandra were related to approaching a Member of Congress with a purpose to initiate hearings on Paul Manafort or letting an investigative journalist ask President Poroshenko a question about Mr. Manafort during his public talk in Washington, D.C.,” the ambassador explained.

    Reached by phone last week, Chalupa said she was too busy to talk. She did not respond to email and phone messages seeking subsequent comment.”

    https://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/441892-ukrainian-embassy-confirms-dnc-contractor-solicited-trump-dirt-in-2016

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  79. The knucklehead Dems on the House committee don’t think they can catch Barr in a perjury trap, but they think their legal eagle staffers can.

    It’s what this investigation has been about from day one: no crime, so let’s create one. Only top notch lawyers can pull that off.

    Munroe (af62ec)

  80. 79. That’s kind of the point; Barr didn’t lie. He’s an unapologetic bootlicker for Trump, and he’s willing to twist in the wind however he has to, to save his boss’s neck, but he didn’t lie. Like his boss, he’s a master politician (and no, that’s not a compliment).

    Gryph (08c844)

  81. “He’s an unapologetic bootlicker for Trump”

    Hmmm… a step up from your usual Trump Humper slur?

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  82. 85. You brought it up this time, Champ. But if the shoe fits…

    Gryph (08c844)

  83. Chump

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  84. 87. Hey now. Don’t be that way, Colonel. I have been warned (recently) by our host. And I’m trying my damnedest to behave the way he wants me to. If you’re insulted because I call Barr a bootlicking trumpophile, that’s your problem, not mine.

    Gryph (08c844)

  85. @84. Except he did. End of story.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  86. 89. Really? I don’t think a perjury charge would hold up in court if one were brought. And this is coming from someone who, as I have said before, believes that Barr is 100% grade-A certified Trump shill. But Barr is also a lawyer. So he knows how to mislead without lying.

    Gryph (08c844)

  87. My “chump” was uncalled for, Gryph. Please accept my apology.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  88. Here is a link to the written transcript of Barr’s opening statement. I don’t think he ever mentions the OLC policy not to indict a sitting President. Instead, Barr focuses on how Mueller did not make the prosecutor’s “binary” choice whether or not to indict, so Barr and Rosenstein had to do it. They decided no “provable crime” was committed.

    If they had decided there was sufficient evidence to indict, could they? Wouldn’t the OLC policy have prevented them the same way Mueller decided it prevented him?

    DRJ (15874d)

  89. @89. Really.

    End of story.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  90. Mueller could have stated that he can’t indict Trump because he is the President but he would have otherwise and then recommended impeachment. But he didn’t because he is a gutless wonder or a political animal or because the evidence really wasn’t enough after two years of investigation or god knows why.

    kaf (6cbb44)

  91. Allahpundit linked this post.

    DRJ (15874d)

  92. Allahpundit linked this post.

    See, DRJ, this is how an incisive observation from you in the comments here comes to the attention of a lot of people. I steal the observation, post on it, Allahpundit links it, and then a whole lot of people read it.

    Also that’s why we’re getting the drive-bys today.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  93. mg (8cbc69) — 5/3/2019 @ 9:37 am

    Kudos for the Beatles ref.

    felipe (023cc9)

  94. Patterico (115b1f) — 5/3/2019 @ 7:08 pm

    This is the Patterico I know and love.

    felipe (023cc9)

  95. The “snittiness” was clearly deliberate and well considered, and Barr knows it. Patterico makes a good point too in a withering post today calling Barr out for various misleading elements in his testimony: Barr actually contradicted himself in trying to explain why his previous testimony, when he claimed that Mueller’s staff had expressed no concerns to him about his summary, wasn’t perjury.

    A “withering post.” Yes, it was.

    felipe (023cc9)

  96. You know how I feel about credit like this. You are the one who can grasp the issues and explain them in meaningful ways. You are the one who has the contacts and history that cause people like Allahpundit to trust you enough that he links you. I am glad to play a small role but it isn’t me, it is you.

    DRJ (15874d)

  97. How time flies. The last time I paid attention to the Senate Judiciary Committee was during Kavanaugh’s confirmation six months ago, and until three minutes ago I thought Grassley was still Chairman.

    nk (dbc370)

  98. Colonel Haiku (2601c0) — 5/3/2019 @ 4:17 pm

    So the DNC used a contractor…not even an actual staff member, but a contractor, whatever that might actually mean…to do something parallel to what Trump’s son and campaign manager did.

    So if what the one did was wrong or criminal, so was what the other did. And if what the one did was not wrong or criminal, so was the other one.

    Kishnevi (5bd7eb)

  99. I keep forgetting it all the time, but it was Patterico’s dictum that the most important part of communication is a good faith audience. When you have people who cannot bear to hear anything bad about Trump on one side and people who cannot bear to hear anything good about him on the other, all you’re going to do when you talk about him is to get half of them to yell at you and all of them to yell at each other.

    nk (dbc370)

  100. The Russians went fishing for Don Jr., not he to them. The Chalupa lady approached the Ukrainians, not they her.

    nk (dbc370)

  101. 104
    Does not affect the central point.

    Kishnevi (5bd7eb)

  102. Chalupa will soon be running for the border, kishnevi. We’ll know soon enough who is the perp.

    Colonel Haiku (87951e)

  103. So the DNC used a contractor…not even an actual staff member, but a contractor, whatever that might actually mean…to do something parallel to what Trump’s son and campaign manager did.

    Under the law there is not even a remote similarity between an election campaign hiring a private sub-sub-subcontractor with foreign citizenship, paying them fair market price for services provided, and reporting the expenditure, on one hand, and soliciting an unreported contribution from agents of a foreign government, on the other.

    The former is lawful in every respect. The latter is a clear-cut violation of the law.

    Dave (1bb933)

  104. Like I was saying ….

    nk (dbc370)

  105. Still tossing mayo and relish on this chicken Shiite in the hopes it becomes chicken salad, I see, Patterico?

    No. Charges. Period. Hyperventilate “Orange Man Bad” all you want, you invested all your hopes and hate in this nothingburger, don’t come p*ssing in our ear that it didn’t satiate your hunger!

    I’d ban Shawn Mercer but he’s obviously a drive-by from Hot Air.

    I thought this article is a disgrace. There’s still nothing to pin Trump on. Getting Barr is a waste of time if Congress wants to pursue this matter. There’s an absence of a case here.

    Same goes for TimP.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  106. You touched on it somewhat, Patterico, but I think it’s really important to nail down what “establish” and “did not establish” signified in the Mueller report, and of course Barr provided no explanation. To me, this paragraph on page 10 of the PDF is one of Mueller’s linchpins.

    The report describes actions and events that the Special Counsel’s Office found to be supported by the evidence collected in our investigation. In some instances, the report points out the absence of evidence or conflicts in the evidence about a particular fact or event. In other instances, when substantial, credible evidence enabled the Office to reach a conclusion with confidence, the report states that the investigation established that certain actions or events occurred. A statement that the investigation did not establish particular facts does not mean there was no evidence of those facts.

    In other words, Mueller had evidence of coordination between Trump people and Putin people, but not enough to establish such coordination. He could not make such a conclusion “with confidence”.

    Paul Montagu (7968e9)

  107. Not guilty. Now maybe we’ll learn what was behind this 2 years-in-the-making fiasco.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  108. BTW, Patterico, really excellent post. Mr. Wittes’ arguments sounded reasonable, but I don’t have the legal training to take it much farther than that.
    Mr. Savage did an excellent side-by-side comparison between Barr and Mueller. As for perjury, I know Wittes demurred, but what Barr testified under oath to Crist sounded perjurious to me.

    Paul Montagu (7968e9)

  109. Lawyerly lawyers hairsplitting legal terms in legalese has a long, long history. To wit, for your amusement and elucidation, consider this passage from Mark Alexander’s biography of Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford, “Shakespeare” by Another Name (pp. 34-35).

    “The judge and Gray’s Inn alum Sir James Hale had become a Protestant cause célèbre for continuing to punish Catholics even after Mary Tudor had become queen. Tortured and imprisoned, Hales drowned himself in a stream near Canterbury in 1554. Since his death was a suicide, some of Hales’s possessions (including his leases) had been forfeited to the crown. The crown had then turned around and leased one of Hales’s forfeited leases to a man named Cyriack Petit. The Hales family, wanting their leases back, argued that they’d inherited Hales’s possessions at the moment of his death, before the state deemed it a suicide. Thus Petit had no right to be living on land that the Hales family had already inherited.

    The tortured language of both sides of this case reads like skit from Monty Python’s Flying Circus. The documented arguments on behalf of the Hales family: “Sir James Hales was dead, and how came he to his death? It may answered, by drowning. And who drowned him? Sir James Hales. And when did he drown him? In his life-time: So that Sir James Hales being alive caused Sir James to die and the act of living was the death of a dead man.” The documented arguments on behalf of Petit: “The Forfeiture of the Goods and Chattels, real and personal, shall have relation to the Act done in the Party’s Life-time, which was the Cause of his Death.; and upon this the parts of the Act are to be considered. . . . The Act consists of three Parts. The first is the Imagination, which is a Reflection or a Meditation of the Mind. . . . The second is the Resolution. . . . The third is the Perfection. . . . And the Perfection consists of two Parts, viz, the Beginning and the End.”

    Such legalistic hairsplitting must have made for entertaining table talk among the Gray’s Inn students. As a student from Hales’s alma mater, de Vere enjoyed ready access to the Hales v. Petit docket. Moreover, the theme of the case–usurpation of family lands from a rightful heir–would certainly have resonated with the young earl, still disinherited from many of his own ancestral estates. When de Vere later wrote his masterpiece recalling the death of his father, he used Hales v. Petit to jab at a legal system that could strip a child of his rightful inheritance. Hamlet’s Gravediggers comically rehash the arguments of Hales v. Petit as they must over Ophelia’s death:

    First Clown Is she to be buried in Christian burial that willfully seeks her own salvation?

    Second Clown I tell thee she is . . . the crowner has sat on her and finds it Christian burial.

    First How can that be, unless she downed herself in her own defense?

    Second Why, ’tis found so.

    First It must be se offendendo; it cannot be else. For here lies the point: If I drown myself wittingly it argues an act; hath three branches: it is to act, to do, and to perform: argal, she drowned herself wittingly.

    Second Nay, but hear you, goodman delver–

    First Give me leave: Here lies the water; good; here stands the man; good; if the man go to this water and drown himself, it is will he, nill he, he goes; mark you that? But if the water come to him, and drown him, he drowns not himself, argal, he that is not guilty of his own death shortens not his own life.

    Second But is this law?

    First Ay, marry, is’t; crowner’s quest law.”

    Just thought I’d throw that out there, because it makes for more interesting than Barr’s testimony, er, dissembling.

    Gawain's Ghost (b25cd1)

  110. A statement that the investigation did not establish particular facts does not mean there was no evidence of those facts.

    Delphic.

    nk (dbc370)

  111. Paul Montagu (7968e9) — 5/3/2019 @ 9:53 pm

    The letter was from Mueller. If Barr thought it was written by someone on Mueller’s staff, that doesn’t mean Barr can conclude it’s representative of the staff as a whole, or the staff that was “upset”, which is what Crist was asking about.

    But, please do bring Barr up on a perjury charge anyway. We may as well push this farce to the absolute breaking point.

    Down 99-0, the best option is a Hail Mary flea flicker. Go for it.

    Munroe (79b407)

  112. @112. One can dicker overlaying ‘perjury’ but a second base umpire at a softball game in Keokuk, IA would easily call this play for what it is: Barr lied to Congress.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  113. The letter was from Mueller.

    Indeed. It doesn’t matter who wrote the letter. It was an official letter from the Special Counsel, signed by the Special Counsel. It doesn’t matter whether a “snitty” staffer drafted it. Second, Mueller is a member of the “special counsel’s team,” but leaving that aside, the “members” concerns matched Mueller’s, and Barr whiffed on Crist’s question. Three Pinocchios for Barr.

    Paul Montagu (7968e9)

  114. Barr spoke to Mueller directly, not his staff. You didn’t, neither did Crist, nor the WaPo fraud.

    Munroe (d79d9a)

  115. Barr spoke to Mueller directly, not his staff.

    True, but Mueller’s letter speaks for itself, and Barr refused to release the notes of that meeting. Of course, Mueller can settle this when he testifies under oath before Congress.

    Paul Montagu (7968e9)

  116. This is what I said two weeks ago (http://www.theforvm dot org/mueller-report-megathread#comment-396575):
    Starting on page 369 under Overarching Factual Issues, Mueller states that Trump can obstruct justice without there being an underlying crime:

    Second, many obstruction cases involve the attempted or actual cover-up of an underlying crime. Personal criminal conduct can furnish strong evidence that the individual had an improper obstructive purpose, see, e.g., United States v. Willoughby, 860 F.2d 15, 24 (2d Cir. 1988), or that he contemplated an effect on an official proceeding , see, e.g., United States v. Binday, 804 F.3d 558, 591 (2d Cir . 2015). But proof of such a crime is not an element of an obstruction offense. See United States v. Greer, 872 F.3d 790, 798 (6th Cir . 2017) (stating , in applying the obstruction sentencing guideline, that "obstruction of a criminal investigation is punishable even if the prosecution is ultimately unsuccessful or even if the investigation ultimately reveals no underlying crime"). Obstruction of justice can be motivated by a desire to protect non-criminal personal interests, to protect against investigations where underlying criminal liability falls into a gray area , or to avoid personal embarrassment. The injury to the integrity of the justice system is the same regardless of whether a person committed an underlying wrong.

    Then Mueller addresses "corrupt intent" broadly, recognizing the unique powers the president has.

    Third, many of the President's acts directed at witnesses, including discouragement of cooperation with the government and suggestions of possible future pardons, occurred in public view. While it may be more difficult to establish that public-facing acts were motivated by a corrupt intent, the President's power to influence actions , persons, and events is enhanced by his unique ability to attract attention through use of mass communications. And no principle of law excludes public acts from the scope of obstruction statutes. If the likely effect of the acts is to intimidate witnesses or alter their testimony, the justice system's integrity is equally threatened.

    From there, Mueller establishes the ten incidents where obstruction was investigated, establishing three criteria that would fully establish the charge.

    Each episode includes a detailed set of factual findings and then analyzes how the evidence maps onto the criminal charge of obstruction, which requires (1) an obstructive act; (2) a nexus with an official proceeding; and (3) a corrupt intent.

    Six of the ten cases met all three criteria:

    For present purposes, the critical point is that in six of these episodes, the special counsel’s office suggests that all of the elements of obstruction are satisfied: Trump’s conduct regarding the investigation into Michael Flynn, his firing of Comey, his efforts to remove Mueller and then to curtail Mueller’s investigation, his campaign to have Sessions take back control over the investigation and an order he gave to White House Counsel Don McGahn to both lie to the press about Trump’s past attempt to fire Mueller and create a false record “for our files.”

    Barr can spin a conclusion that there was no obstruction, but that's not what Mueller said in the report.
    Mueller also addressed legal objections from the Trump legal team.

    On the statutory matter, Mueller’s team responds to the suggestion that the statute should be interpreted narrowly, to cover only “acts that would impair the integrity and availability of evidence”; Mueller, rather, adheres to the Justice Department’s view that § 1512(c)(2) “states a broad, independent, and unqualified prohibition on obstruction of justice.”
    More interesting is the report’s constitutional analysis: Pursuant to a separation of powers analysis and contra the president’s lawyers and Barr’s own memo on the subject, Mueller takes the view that presidential actions taken under Article II authority can constitute obstructions of justice.
    The argument is complex, but it is notable that Mueller emphasizes the role of the president’s obligations under the Take Care Clause as effectively harmonizing the corrupt intent requirement under the obstruction statutes with Article II: “the concept of ‘faithful execution’ connotes the use of power in the interest of the public, not in the office holder’s personal interest.” This suggests that “corrupt” activities are incompatible with good-faith adherence to the duties of the presidency such that prohibiting them cannot violate Article II. One interesting, if subtle, implication here is that a violation of the obstruction statute by the president thus necessarily violates the Take Care Clause—which links criminality under the statute to impeachability.

    These really are grounds for impeachment, if folks can get around and past this lapdog AG's spin. Between that and Trump paying hush-money to a porn star in the heat of a campaign, it should be enough for articles of impeachment, especially considering what it took to impeach Clinton. If the Democrats were smart, they'd go to battle on this because they're already in a battle against this person anyway.
    Oh, and Trump is a coward, too, like most bullies are.

    Paul Montagu (7968e9)

  117. And this is why the Dems need to pursue impeachment (also from http://www.theforvm dot org/mueller-report-megathread#comment-396584)
    For one, it's always better to fight for your beliefs than to lay down. Pelosi, in the interests of political calculations for 2020, is leaning towards laying down. As I see it, "he's not worth it" is not a valid argument. On a personal level, Trump is worthless scum, but the sanctity and importance of this office and this Constitution is worth everything.
    For another, so what if Trump is impeached but not removed from office. That's actually a good thing because you should rather not give Pence a chance to run in Trump's place. An impeached Bill Clinton didn't help Gore's chances. Let Pence go down in history as the guy who stood by a godless con man, all the way to the very end.
    For another, so what if Pelosi and Schumer are concerned about losing seats if they pursue impeachment. Their strategizing could be wrong, and probably is wrong. It wasn't that long ago that Obama punted on Putin's "sweeping and systematic" meddling in an American election because he thought Hillary was going to win anyway. In effect, Obama prioritized political maneuvering over the national security of this country, thus helping a grifter win the presidency. He had a chance to do the right thing and he blew it. The Democrats have not been that good at forecasting, so they might as well do what is right for a change.
    The ongoing investigations–and there are around a dozen of them–will continue to taint Trump's legacy and they could spill over into additional articles of impeachment.
    For another, it's always better to put this cowardly bully on the defensive. Laying down would unjustifiably help Trump perpetuate the false narrative that he was "exonerated". The Democrats should not give him that upper hand, letting him push that FakeNews without a challenge.
    For another, the investigations and congressional hearings are going to distract him from executing more half-baked policies and executive orders. I'd rather see him scream at his flatscreen than conjure up another ill-conceived border policy.
    For another, hush-money payments during a political campaign and six valid counts of obstruction are reason enough to pursue the impeachment option.
    For another, Trump is unfit to hold this job. We now have have a 448-page report that was given the Justice Department stamp of approval, signed off by the Attorney General himself, which demonstrates beyond reasonable doubt that Trump is a proven, documented serial liar, affirmed by the very department of the federal government that he is in command of.
    For another, just like with Cocaine Mitch forcing a vote on Ms. Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal, thus putting every Senator's vote to the test, the Democrats in the House should do the same with impeachment, putting every single member of Congress on record as to how they would decide on a president who provably obstructed justice and paid hush money to a porn star.
    So it's your choice, Dems, strap on or lay down. I think they'll regret the latter.

    Paul Montagu (7968e9)

  118. Completely off topic: Firefox tossed its cookies today and is refusing to add new extensions, Ut’s also disabling your current ones. Reason: Mozilla fracked up bigtime.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  119. Napolitano has an even lower opinion of Barr.

    https://reason.com/video/judge-andrew-napolitano-president-trump-obstructed/

    Gawain's Ghost (b25cd1)

  120. I’m betting the uranium running con man Mueller will be behind bars for lying to the American people about his brother in arms, spy joey Mifsud.

    mg (8cbc69)

  121. Nadless pounding sand for the never trumpers is hysterical.

    mg (8cbc69)

  122. russia, russia, russia
    give it up

    mg (8cbc69)

  123. I’m betting the uranium running con man Mueller will be behind bars for lying to the American people about his brother in arms, spy joey Mifsud.

    I’ll take that bet.

    Shall we say $10,000?

    Dave (1bb933)

  124. 120… be patient and wait your turn to vote with the other Democrats in 2020.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  125. Barr lost credibility? (See link at comment #125). Ceramic chickens all the way around!

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  126. Kevin M (21ca15) — 5/4/2019 @ 1:12 am
    Yeah, same here. It tossed google translate, for one. Smoking gun?

    felipe (023cc9)

  127. Or maybe not perjurious, given the high bar for this “process crime.”

    Paul Montagu (7968e9)

  128. Crap, the link.

    Paul Montagu (7968e9)

  129. IANAL, so cut me some slack:

    Just as evidence is not proof, aren’t allegations not fact?

    To whit:

    A statement that the investigation did not establish particular [allegations as] facts does not mean there was no evidence of supporting those facts allegations.

    Sure it could have been written that way, but I ask, shouldn’t it have been written that way?

    I welcome better minds to correct me.

    felipe (023cc9)

  130. “Just as evidence is not proof, aren’t allegations not fact?”

    Double negative. Let me try that again:

    “Just as evidence is not proof, allegation is not fact.”

    But maybe there was enough evidence to establish certain allegations as facts, but not enough
    facts to establish proof? Is that the idea being conveyed?

    felipe (023cc9)

  131. A statement that the investigation did not establish particular facts does not mean there was no evidence of those facts.

    If I had ever presented that kind of gobbledygook to a judge, he would never had read or listened to anything from me again.

    nk (dbc370)

  132. The good news is that my daily chocolate ration was increased from 6.5 grams to 4.7 grams.

    nk (dbc370)

  133. I know, right? No matter how you dress it up, it falls apart.

    felipe (023cc9)

  134. Like well-rogered chicken passes through a Democrat, these are the days of our lives…

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  135. @131. Can’t lose something he never had to begin with; see the Barr ‘interview memo’ for details.

    @125. The few remaining readers do…

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  136. They, the Mueller team, desperately want to have people believe that there was probable cause for the Russian collusion investigation that was not entirely manufactured by the likes of Hillary, McCain, Comey, McCabe, Strzok, and a cast of thousands of Democrat operatives.

    nk (dbc370)

  137. @140. T’was a slight to the Colonel, Colonel; Chick-Fil-A being the much better snub.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  138. @118. So when you talk to the quarterback, you ain’t really talkin’ to a member of the team.

    That’s quite the ‘Hail Mary’ indeed.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  139. Eleven… TWELVE different herbs and spices…

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  140. 142… it must take a clear mind to be a good lawyer.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  141. “When the Mueller Report was released on April 18th, most commentators focused on the “explosive” factual allegations. But other than the shocking revelation that the President once used an expletive in private, very few of those facts were novel; most were leaked long ago.

    At the end of Volume II of the Mueller Report, however, there were 20 pages of genuinely new material.

    There, the former FBI director turned Special Counsel Robert Mueller defended his “Application of Obstruction-Of-Justice Statutes To The President.” These overlooked 20 pages were dedicated to defending Mueller’s interpretation of a single subsection of a single obstruction-of-justice statute: 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2).

    That’s quite strange, but you know what’s stranger still?

    In June 2018, Bill Barr, then in private practice at Kirkland & Ellis, wrote a detailed legal memorandum to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. This memo came to light in December, when Barr was nominated for Attorney General.

    The subject was Mueller’s interpretation of the aforementioned 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2).

    When Barr’s memo first appeared, prominent liberal legal commentators were perplexed. Georgetown Law professor Marty Lederman wrote at Just Security:

    “[T]he first huge and striking problem with Barr’s memo is that he unjustifiably makes countless assumptions about what Mueller is doing…From all that appears, Barr was simply conjuring from whole cloth a preposterously long set of assumptions about how Special Counsel Mueller was adopting extreme and unprecedented-within-DOJ views about every pertinent question and investigatory decision.”

    At Lawfare, Mikhaila Fogel and Benjamin Wittes wrote:

    “[I]t is not an exaggeration to say that Barr’s entire memo is predicated on two broad assumptions: first, that he knows Mueller’s legal theory, and second, that he understands the fact pattern that Mueller is investigating… Neither assumption is, in our judgment, warranted. Unlike Barr, we don’t purport to know what Mueller’s obstruction theory is.”

    But now that we have the Mueller Report, things look very different.

    DUELING BRIEFS – AND A THEORY

    Reading Barr’s June 2018 memo alongside the last twenty pages of the Mueller Report is a curious experience.

    Together, they read like dueling legal briefs on the meaning of 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2); the type of material one would expect to see from adversarial appellate litigators.

    So-why did Robert Mueller dedicate 20 pages of his report to a seemingly obscure question of statutory interpretation? Why did Bill Barr write a detailed legal memorandum to Rod Rosenstein about that very same statute?

    And how, exactly, did Bill Barr know that that § 1512(c)(2) was central to Mueller’s obstruction theory – in June 2018, when he was still in private practice at Kirkland?

    After some consideration, I arrived at a theory that I believe answers these three questions, and others as well.” READ IT ALL>>> https://humanevents.com/2019/05/01/checkmate/

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  142. What else?

    (c) Whoever corruptly—
    (1) alters, destroys, mutilates, or conceals a record, document, or other object, or attempts to do so, with the intent to impair the object’s integrity or availability for use in an official proceeding; or
    (2) otherwise obstructs, influences, or impedes any official proceeding, or attempts to do so,
    shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.

    This is the catch-all post-Arthur Andersen provision that we first met in the “One Fish, Two Fish, Blue Fish, Red Fish” case. Barr and Mueller saw what Trump was doing same as all we did. Just don’t take too long bringing an FBI agent his coffee when he’s engaged in an official proceeding and you’ll be okay.

    nk (dbc370)

  143. Look, Barr served honorably as AG under Bush. Its not like he’s some hack like Eric Holder or Alberto Gonzales. And 45 of 48 Democrats, including every D Senator on the Judiciary Committee voted against his confirmation. So, excuse me for not caring what the they say about Barr. We’ve reached a point where Mueller has done his report. He found no crime. He found no collusion with Russia on the part of Donald Trump that needed further action, and he punted on obstruction.

    So now, the Democrats and Never-trumpers are reduced to attacking Barr for not summarizing the report properly, when they – and everyone else- HAS THE FULL REPORT. What is this all supposed to prove? Everyone’s using an Elephant gun to kill a mouse.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  144. 150. Democrats and never-trumpers?! Did you forget that Mueller himself accused Barr of mischaracterizing that report? Or does that just mean that Barr is a corrupt deep-stater? I’m pretty sure Mueller knew what he wanted to say in that report as opposed to how Barr characterized it.

    Gryph (08c844)

  145. 151. *Mueller…does that mean that Mueller is just a corrupt deep-stater?

    Gryph (08c844)

  146. “Just don’t take too long bringing an FBI agent his coffee when he’s engaged in an official proceeding and you’ll be okay.”
    nk (dbc370) — 5/4/2019 @ 9:13 am

    From the “No crime? Create one.” school of law enforcement.

    Munroe (fdb2e8)

  147. Mueller, Weissman and their Democrat overlords lost.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  148. Did you forget that Mueller himself accused Barr of mischaracterizing that report?

    I must have, because what I remember is that Barr asked Mueller if the “dismischaracterization” was inaccurate and Mueller said “No, I just don’t like the way the media is not appreciating me like they should”.

    nk (dbc370)

  149. … hence their frantic scrambling, acting out, dumbsh!t Tennessee senator eating Kentucky (fer chrissakes!) Fried Chicken antics, etc.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  150. just for our own good, you understand:

    https://dailycaller.com/2019/05/03/twitters-flagging-tool-elections/

    narciso (d1f714)

  151. A “response” to Huber (written almost 2 years before his Twitter thread). For nk, if you are interested.

    DRJ (15874d)

  152. ah Charlie cheetah the one vote I did regret,

    https://www.caracaschronicles.com/2019/05/03/kneeling-and-chained/

    narciso (d1f714)

  153. 156, uh Congressman Cohen…that fool would never stand a chance statewide outside the rot of Memohis proper. C’mon, I thought a prolific copy paster of Instapundit would know TN better

    urbanleftbehind (166e4c)

  154. Holding Pat Leahy up to support one’s take on things is comical.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  155. Congressman, yes. I was dazzled by his Krusty Klownisms… that’s my only defense.

    Tennessee has more sense than to ever put that guy in the Senate.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  156. Thank you, DRJ.

    nk (dbc370)

  157. after 2 1/2 years all the huffing and puffing has gone for naught, and the ulterior connections that buttressed this investigation have been revealed at a glacial pace,

    narciso (d1f714)

  158. Allahpundit’s concluding sentences:

    Was the AG trying to tilt public opinion at the outset in Trump’s favor — essentially writing the most Trump-friendly “headline” possible for the report, to borrow Patterico’s analogy, and counting on the fact that most people wouldn’t read the full “story” once it was available?

    Yes, Barr was trying to tilt public opinion in Trump’s favor when he wrote his letter to the Judiciary chairs & ranking members and released that letter to the public.

    “At the outset” is a phrase which does not belong. This was not the “outset,” this was the conclusion of the Mueller investigation. Barr’s letter positively confirmed that as a result of the Mueller investigation, the DoJ would neither seek to indict Trump (contra the OLC opinion), nor in lieu thereof to present Congress with a Jaworski-type roadmap or a Starr-type report tending to prove a criminal law violation, for consideration as a possible high crime or misdemeanor in the political context of impeachment. In that ultimate sense and in the biggest of pictures, Barr’s short (four-page) letter is more important than Mueller’s entire report, which is unsurprising given that Mueller is Barr’s subordinate and Barr is Mueller’s boss.

    That did not mean that Mueller’s report is unimportant, and Barr’s letter promised its delivery with as few redactions as possible as quickly as possible. In describing Mueller’s report and summarizing its principal conclusions, Barr flagged in advance some of the issues which now have indeed become subject of much public discussion, such as Mueller’s refusal to reach an ultimate conclusion on obstruction and his mysterious reference to an OLC memo which only would have become immediately relevant if, contrary to what actually happened, Mueller had wanted to indict or prosecute Trump while in office.

    If some people nevertheless wanted to be misled and didn’t actually read Barr’s letter, but only the headlines about it, then yes of course those people may now be ignorant of the details of the Mueller report which weren’t included in Barr’s letter. If they suddenly become curious, they can now remedy their ignorance by reading the Mueller report directly. If they don’t, that too is a choice.

    None of that makes Barr’s letter “misleading.” Even if Barr (and Trump) are tickled pink that there exist a large number of people who basically tuned out after reading the headlines after Barr’s letter was released — and yes, they surely are tickled — that’s not a political advantage that was secured through Barr’s letter being misleading, but because of those audience members’ decisions to ignore the details of Barr’s letter and to form permanent conclusions based on headlines about it, rather than awaiting the release of the Mueller report.

    Moving beyond the narrow question of whether Barr’s letter was misleading, on the larger and vastly more important question of whether Barr has used his powers of office to lie about Mueller’s results, or to hide them, or to slow-walk the release, the answer is clearly: He did not. When one is evaluating Barr’s credibility, then, I respectfully submit that his big-picture performance vastly outweighs any criticisms about his letter, none of which criticisms strike me as particularly compelling anyway.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  159. Beldar and Sammy:

    Thanks so much for your input on these two recent threads concerning Barr/Mueller.

    harkin (a741df)

  160. OT… more top notch stuff from the NYT…

    “It’s hard not to laugh reading The New York Times coverage of the Trump administration’s efforts to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. The three-person-bylined article kicks off by describing the group as a “storied and influential Islamist political movement with millions of members across the Middle East.”
    Sounds like a global social club! Just some folks batting around ideas. The authors didn’t even have the decency to throw in a superficial adjective like “controversial” to create a veneer of balance.”

    https://thefederalist.com/2019/05/01/getting-difficult-tell-difference-new-york-times-al-jazeera/

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  161. IMHO the Mueller team were the ones trying to tilt public opinion at the outset. They wrote a summary that included harsh criticisms of Trump. Barr may have seen through their tactic. Anyhow, he squelched it by providing a justifiable summary of his own. Barr’s summary was fair. It neither praised nor criticized Trump. It provided the key findings, which we were all eager to learn.

    David in Cal (0d5a1d)

  162. “At the outset” is a phrase which does not belong. This was not the “outset,” this was the conclusion of the Mueller investigation.

    I had no trouble understanding Allahpundit to mean “at the outset of the era of public reaction upon the news that the report was complete.”

    Barr’s letter positively confirmed that as a result of the Mueller investigation, the DoJ would neither seek to indict Trump (contra the OLC opinion), nor in lieu thereof to present Congress with a Jaworski-type roadmap or a Starr-type report tending to prove a criminal law violation, for consideration as a possible high crime or misdemeanor in the political context of impeachment.

    Did Barr’s letter positively confirm that? I remember arguing that, even in the wake of Barr’s letter, how the report phrased its findings and the possibility of impeachment was open to question — and that, in light of Mueller’s refusal to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment on obstruction, some openness to Congress reacting to Mueller’s findings as part of its oversight capacity was quite likely. You’ve well qualified the bolded part by specifically citing Jaworski and Starr, and I don’t think anyone expected Mueller to lay out anything like that, but if you omit those references I actually think Mueller did precisely what you have said Barr ruled out.

    Put simply, I believe Mueller intended to present Congress with evidence of conduct tending to prove a criminal law violation, for consideration as a possible high crime or misdemeanor in the political context of impeachment. Absolutely.

    If some people nevertheless wanted to be misled and didn’t actually read Barr’s letter, but only the headlines about it, then yes of course those people may now be ignorant of the details of the Mueller report which weren’t included in Barr’s letter. If they suddenly become curious, they can now remedy their ignorance by reading the Mueller report directly. If they don’t, that too is a choice.

    None of that makes Barr’s letter “misleading.”

    Again, using DRJ’s analogy, a headline that said “Mueller details Russian interference, Trump’s attempts to disrupt probe” (actual headline from WaPo) is not “misleading” because it omits the phrase “no collusion” — because if some people wanted to be misled and didn’t actually read the article, then of course those people may now be ignorant of the fact that Mueller stated that his investigation had failed to establish a criminal conspiracy between Trump and the Russians. If they suddenly become curious, they can now remedy their ignorance by reading the WaPo article itself, or better yet, the Mueller report directly.

    Does the availability of the article itself, or the report itself, prevent the likes of Mollie Hemingway and David Harsanyi from squealing like stuck pigs at the horrible unfairness of a headline that says nothing about Dear Leader’s glorious exoneration of any hint of collusion? Check out my current pinned tweet and the thread attached to it for the answer. And indeed, complaints about unfair headlines are often quite justified, and I have often made them here. I have also written an entire series called The Power of the Jump pointing out how the L.A. Times habitually included facts that went against their preferred narrative, but buried them on the back pages. The fact is that many people, including people not determined to be ignorant but whose time is limited, read a headline but not the article, or read the portions of the article on the front page but fail to go to page A25, or read a four-page letter but not a 400-page report.

    And yet all of a sudden, Republicans (not all Republicans!) who for years have bitched about unfair headlines and inconvenient facts being buried on back pages … those very same people are totally fine with a letter that “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of Mueller’s work. They’re totally fine with three weeks of spin favoring Trump that omitted several appalling instances of attempts to derail the Russia investigation. And they are happy to look you straight in the eye and tell you that it does not matter because hey now you have all the facts.

    I think they’re happy that, for once, they’re winning a spin war. But I detect some hypocrisy in the stance that says “aaaaaaah this headline doesn’t say no collusion!” while also saying “who cares what Barr’s letter says because you got the report three weeks later!”

    Patterico (115b1f)

  163. IMHO the Mueller team were the ones trying to tilt public opinion at the outset. They wrote a summary that included harsh criticisms of Trump.

    It all comes down to whether you think the harsh criticisms were justified. I do. You apparently don’t. So you see Barr’s whitewash as great and Mueller’s criticism as unfair. I see it as the reverse. We will never agree on this but your opinion is noted.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  164. Nunes asserted that if Mifsud was a Russian agent, the U.S. government would be obligated to run “damage assessments to determined what sensitive information Mifsud may have conveyed to the Russians and what Russian disinformation he may have spread.”

    “[T]his could entail a major scandal for U.S. and allied governments,” he said.

    But Nunes said that if Mifsud is not a counterintelligence threat, “then that would cast doubt on the Special Counsel’s fundamental depiction of him and his activities, and raise questions about the veracity of the Special Counsel’s statements and affirmations.”

    https://dailycaller.com/2019/05/04/nunes-mifsud-papadopoulos/

    It’s either, or — so, which is it? As Comey would say, “So many questions.”

    Munroe (5b126a)

  165. Hmmm ………..Does it really surprise ANYONE that Barr lied to protect Trump when he wrote a 19 page audition for the Attorney General job back in 2017 saying the president can not be indicted? I think a television host stated it perfectly when he said Barr is so far up Trumps *** he bumped into Hannity.

    The Conservative Curmudgeon (c118b3)

  166. Patterico – I am not questioning the accuracy of the Report’s criticisms. IMHO they are much less important than the two main findings. Trump was essentially cleared of Collusion. And, he was neither cleared nor indicted for Obstruction.

    David in Cal (0d5a1d)

  167. Trump was essentially cleared of Collusion.

    Either you didn’t read the post or you are deliberately trolling me, by usng the term “collusion” here.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  168. A finding that “conspiracy” was not established is not the same as saying Mueller found no “collusion.”

    Okay. What Collusion did Meuller find that involved Trump? And i thought Mueller was doing a criminal investigation not a “lets find everything we can call collusion” investigation.

    And according to some lawyers, a POTUS has authority under the constitution to fire any of employees -that are political appointees – anytime he wants. Comey, Mueller, Sessions, Etc. all serve at the pleasure of the POTUS and he can fire them anytime for any reason. If Congress doesn’t like it, they can do something about it. As they have in the past. Its not a Crime.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  169. 49th anniversary of kent state where 4 americans died to end the vietnam war. At the time conservatives thought they had scored a great victory against those americans who wanted peace. Great video of neil young’s “OHIO” the south’s favorite singer over on democratic underground.

    lany (da9ed9)

  170. And the Trump Super Anklebiters continue to press their weak case to no avail…

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  171. Patterico – I read your post. I was using the word “collusion” the way it’s been used by critics for the last two years, to mean the crime. I read Wittes’s post. I found it intelligent and thoughtful and knowledgeable, but ultimately not convincing. In theory, there might be lots of evidence of illegal conspiracy with Russia, but not enough to indict. In theory, there might have been lots of collusion with Russia, but not in a criminal way. However, I don’t buy either theory. As far as I’m concerned, Mueller cleared Trump and his campaign of those charges.

    This finding is important. Facebook friends of mine continue to insist that the Russians threw the election to Trump with his knowledge and consent. They blame Trump for Russia’s involvement, as if he could have controlled what the Russians did. Some continue to insist that Trump is in Putin’s pocket. Like the Birthers and the Truthers, they may never let go of their conspiracy theories, but at one can try to do so.

    David in Cal (0d5a1d)

  172. Okay. What Collusion did Meuller find that involved Trump? And i thought Mueller was doing a criminal investigation not a “lets find everything we can call collusion” investigation.

    That latter sentence is correct, which is why his report cannot be said to establish that nothing we can call collusion occurred.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  173. And the Trump Super Anklebiters continue to press their weak case to no avail…

    I want you to tell me in your next comment to whom you’re referring, or you get moderated for quite a while. That *looks* like a troll comment, and I consider you to be a troll, so you have an uphill battle here. Take it seriously.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  174. I was taking a stroll down memory lane this morning and ran across this old thread. Anyone who doubts whether Haiku is a troll should go there and crl-f for “shark.”

    I’m amazed, reading the comments there, how patient I was. Too patient. No more.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  175. keep jumping that shark.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0) — 1/12/2017 @ 7:51 pm

    . . . .

    When will Jake Tapper or any of the other Democrats-with-bylines be called out/held to account for their collusion with the Democrats? ANY of them. They get rewarded. Who cares, right?

    Keep jumping that shark.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0) — 1/12/2017 @ 8:01 pm

    . . . .

    Seriously… do keep jumping that shark. Keep that laser focus on the top news stories!

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0) — 1/12/2017 @ 8:03 pm

    . . . .

    He’s doing the Lord’s work and jumping that shark.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0) — 1/12/2017 @ 8:10 pm

    . . . .

    If you are going to act like a standard Internet troll, Haiku, I will start treating you like one. Is that how it’s going to be?

    Patterico (115b1f) — 1/12/2017 @ 8:11 pm

    . . . .

    Too entertained by the shark jumping, Patterico. It’s fascinating.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0) — 1/12/2017 @ 8:11 pm

    . . . .

    No, I’m going to read Kasparov’s book. Because I know that more sharks will be jumped tomorrow… and the next day… and the day after that.

    Seriously… I’ll give it a rest here. It’s getting to the point that when I have trouble falling asleep, I don’t count sheep. I count sharks.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0) — 1/12/2017 @ 8:15 pm

    You’re an asshole. You drove off Dustin, who’s a good guy. Give me a reason.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  176. The other characteristic of that thread was a wall of text from swc. It was roundly praised by everyone. I patiently went through it and pointed out several holes in the logic and misrepresentations. People roundly ignored literally every single fact-based point I made, and continued to praise the wall of text.

    Good times.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  177. @146. Kickin’up dust won’t change the umpire’s call.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  178. 187- was that Yogi?

    mg (8cbc69)

  179. @155. Don’t believe Mueller has actually ‘said’ anything [he will, when he testifies to Congress]and, of course, Baghdad Barr referencing any letter content from SC Mueller is suspect by his own words as in his under-oath testimony he feels the letter was really quilled by ‘snippy’ staff– and when asked if he’d turn over notes from his phone conversation w/Mueller, Baghdad Barr said, ‘No– why?’ Perhaps to conceal more lying. America’s AG, Baghdad Barr s a liar– in the best traditions of another sordid GOP AG, convicted Watergate felon John Mitchell.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  180. I’m referring to the cable news/NYT/WP/CBS/NBC/ABC/BULWARK Never Trumpers, Patterico. The people who’ve lost all sense of reason… they’ve become irrational. Every day, the same crap.

    So, yes, whatever you want to call me.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  181. And the Trump Super Anklebiters are the inverse of the blasted Trump Superfans

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  182. @190. Not scotch, not bourbon– but Trump Vodka. One day, you’ll understand why.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  183. @150. Barr served honorably under Bush.

    Hmmmm. Dead GOP quiller Bill Safire didn’t think so. But what did he know.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  184. It’s the proverbial Running of the Pomeranians in Pamplona…

    http://www.sharkresearchcommittee.com/pacific_coast_shark_news.htm

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  185. Modern times: Maximum Security wins Kentucky Derby.

    Trump to award horse Medal of Freedom, Tuesday– for winning with a muddy run.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  186. @194. The showers await you.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  187. Hmmmm. Dead GOP quiller Bill Safire didn’t think so. But what did he know.

    So what was Safire’s beef with AG William Barr?

    rcocean (1a839e)

  188. He saw a security hologram of Barr killing Padewans.

    nk (dbc370)

  189. Padawans Younglings

    nk (dbc370)

  190. I must have, because what I remember is that Barr asked Mueller if the “dismischaracterization” was inaccurate and Mueller said “No, I just don’t like the way the media is not appreciating me like they should”.

    And it THAT quote is inaccurate, let the Great Man, Mr. Mueller, break his silence, and clear the matter up. THere’s been a ridiculous amount of MYSTERY over this whole affair since January 2017. First we had Comey being coy and constantly HINTING that Trump was the target of a probe. Then we’ve had the Mueller investigation, which leaked like a sieve, but with Mr. Mueller saying nothing. Now, we have endless speculation about what Mr. Mueller, REALLY MEANT. Let him, come forth and testify.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  191. @196. Correction: objection! Derby history made: winner Maximum Security disqualified: Country House wins w/65 to 1 odds.

    Trump to award horse Medal of Freedom, Tuesday, for being another long shot to win a race, just like him.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  192. @198. Do your own homework- look it up.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  193. CNN
    @CNN
    Fishermen off Norway were astonished last week when they spotted a beluga whale wearing a harness, complete with mounts for a camera. (link: https://cnn.it/2ZGCX1r) cnn.it/2ZGCX1r
    __ _

    Adrian Carrasquillo
    @Carrasquillo
    The CNN Instagram video refers to the whale as “the alleged Russian operative.”
    __ _

    Brenda Hann
    @BrendaHann5
    Replying to
    @CNN
    Damn…Norway found the Trump Whale! Now everyone will know how Donald & Vlad. Communicated. The Jig is Up!!
    __ _

    Bobcat For President 2020
    @BobcatneySpears
    Contact the FISA court so we can keep an eye on that b*stard!
    __ _

    Em
    @musesandrants
    So long, and thanks for all the fish.

    _

    harkin (a741df)

  194. Great… just what those mooks need: a white whale to chase…

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  195. Is everything about Trump?

    nk (dbc370)

  196. And it THAT quote is inaccurate, let the Great Man, Mr. Mueller, break his silence, and clear the matter up. THere’s been a ridiculous amount of MYSTERY over this whole affair since January 2017. First we had Comey being coy and constantly HINTING that Trump was the target of a probe. Then we’ve had the Mueller investigation, which leaked like a sieve, but with Mr. Mueller saying nothing. Now, we have endless speculation about what Mr. Mueller, REALLY MEANT. Let him, come forth and testify.

    I have a guess how he would testify. Consistent with what he said in the letter.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  197. DCSCA pulling from the Democrat playbook of pulling a random and totally not made up Folksy Traditional American out of his ass to take the hits for him whenever he’s caught in his own lies and lie repeats. It doesn’t matter what words mean in CONTEXT, comrade, when the peasants obviously support my Grand Communist Revolution!

    Settle down. We have a rule here: no personal insults. If you can follow that, great. If you can’t, you’ll be gone. I won’t repeat myself.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  198. 148 – Colonel Haiku’s link to Chamberlain’s Article at Human Events

    Thanks Colonel, hadn’t seen that. It’s refreshing to read a clear and concise analysis of Mueller and Barr’s difference of opinion with respect to 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2). Certainly preferable to the word salad and parsing from the pseudo-experts that abound here and there.

    Barr is clearly a brilliant, credible attorney who out-maneuvered Mueller and that snake Weismann. Barr’s interpretation of the sub-section of the statute is the only sane one – any attorney who would side with Mueller – or more likely Weismann – is nothing more than a Trump Super Anklebiter – heh! (A term not nearly as denigrating as those used on this blog to describe Trump supporters.) That and Mueller’s letter to Barr are the perfect meme for Beria’s “show me the man and I’ll show you the crime”.

    For the past few years Barr has witnessed the felonies and perversion of justice by the lickspittle Democrats [see what I did there?] and their corrupt lackeys and overlords. The FBI, DOJ, and the IC have intractable leadership problems – Barr’s return to public life is sorely needed to protect these institutions and will be a watershed moment in history.

    Public opinion is now squarely behind the administration. It surely helps that the economy is on fire – something that is lost on our glorious media and those on the government payroll and in Washington. The latter could care less if wages are rising for the middle class, that the renaissance in manufacturing is nothing short of miraculous, that unemployment is virtually at an all-time low – for everyone. They get paid whether GDP is 1% or 3% and mortgage APR’s are 4% or 9%. If the Trump Super Anklebiters are butthurt now, wait until 2020 when Melville’s metaphor plays out.

    rpg-woods (70c9cc)

  199. Garcon has gone by “Eliot Ness Cosplayer” and “Deep Cover” at a minimum.

    Troll changing names to avoid moderation.

    Kiss your comments goodbye.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  200. Are you Christoph, Garcon?

    Patterico (115b1f)

  201. Yes, let Mueller clear the air. GD it, James Harden!

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  202. I wrote @74:

    But it was very clear to me [reading Barr’s March 24 memo] that to Mueller no underlying crime was not determinative, and Barr said so, but he said that both he and Rosenstein thought it bears upon it (meaning very heavily)

    AND ALSO:

    It was very clear to me that Barr was using something Mueller said to advance an argument to come to a conclusion that Mueller did not come to.

    Barr was a little clearer in his opening statement in his press conference the day he released the full report (minus bits of redaction)

    Although the Deputy Attorney General and I disagreed with some of the Special Counsel’s legal theories and felt that some of the episodes examined did not amount to obstruction as a matter of law, we did not rely solely on that in making our decision…. Apart from whether the acts were obstructive, this evidence of non corrupt motives weighs heavily against any allegation that the President had a corrupt intent to obstruct the investigation

    The evidence of non-corrupt motives that Barr is speaking of is:

    1. There was in fact no collusion with the Russians. (Barr ses the word colllusion here)

    2. There is substantial evidence that the president had a sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, was propelled by his political opponents, and was fueled by illegal leaks and that he was frustrated and angered by that.

    3. He nevertheless “fully co-operated” with the investigation, giving him “unfettered access” to campaign and White House documents, directing senior aides to testify freely, and asserting no privilege.

    4. He took no act that deprived the Special Counsel of the documents and witnesses “he needed to complete the investigation.”

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  203. rpg-woods was Tushnet’s Revenge three days ago. Another troll using multiple names to evade banning.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  204. GD it, Harden and WTF, Curry!?

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  205. Both Mueller abd Barr make mistakes, Mueler says the DNC was hacked as part of an effort to help Trump. I don’t think so. It was hacked because of general spying. After the hack was exposed and stopped, Putin then considereed what to do with the information.

    They had also tried to hack the RNC but the RNC had something better than affirmative action and patronage employees in charge of computer security.

    Barr said Mueller considered 10 acrts of oobstruction, but the true number is 11 or 12 (other sources) and he says that Mueller did not find that the Trump campaign or other americans colluded in efforts to illegally interfere with [in] the 2016 preidential election. According to his March 24 memo, the extention to other Americans only applies to the sockpuppeting, but not to the hacking and leaking (considered together – and Mueller may have found some other Americans involved, or possibly involved, in the leaking. I suspect that’s redacted.)

    And maybe “full co-operation” is going a bit overboard.

    This is probably because the template that Barr probably had for full co-operation, was George W Bush’s co-operation with the Plame investigation, in which he was never asked to testify.

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  206. If you’re addressing me, no. I’ve never heard the name, but haven’t visited here in a while, so may have missed that person’s comments.

    I’d be surprised if you’d delete my comments since I did not violate your rules. My only attacks were on public figures and groups. You denigrate public figures and groups all the time.

    rpg-woods (16f3d7)

  207. No, wrong again. I haven’t commented since you banned swc

    rpg-woods (16f3d7)

  208. rpg-woods,

    I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. Lotta this sort of activity lately; you have have gotten caught in the crossfire by sharing an IP with someone using a differen name.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  209. I use Tor so your method of domain identification is useless.

    rpg-woods (16f3d7)

  210. For every walk away democrat for trump their are 10 never trumpers walking away from g.o.p. Patterico why don’t you form the never trump party as republican party is now the populist party and democratic party will soon be populist.

    lany (13053f)

  211. I haven’t commented since you banned swc

    You probably won’t be happy here.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  212. 218… Don’t sell yourself short, Patterico. All is not grim, flashes of good humor are still occasionally seen.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  213. I wish I could ban swc all over again. I waited waaaay too long to do that.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  214. 218… Don’t sell yourself short, Patterico. All is not grim, flashes of good humor are still occasionally seen.

    I wasn’t selling myself short. Did you actually think I was or are you trolling? Again?

    Patterico (115b1f)

  215. the DNC was hacked as part of an effort to help Trump.

    The DNC was hacked because when they rattled the DNC doors, the lock sprung open.

    Every company and agency and non-profit in this country gets phished. A few phish bite, and that determines who gets hacked. Of course the hacker might not be the eventual exploiter — someone who had DNC login credentials in 2016 would have been able to sell them to several parties.

    But it is almost certain the the “hack” came before the idea of using it to help Trump.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  216. You gotta be kidding, yes? No, not trolling.

    OT… got my eye on this one! https://bringatrailer.com/listing/1989-lancia-delta-integrale-5/

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  217. People who use commercial VPNs or are behind large NATs are going to have identical IP addresses, at least until IPv6 is adopted (unlike fusion, it’s only a couple years away).

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  218. IPv6 is here now, and in use.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  219. It’s very much not in use everywhere. More this year than last, less this year than next. BUt you would not want to be your life on it passing three routers.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  220. Yes, not ubiquitous, but it is in use. The last big project I managed before retiring a few months ago had just started deploying it in the network. The manufacturers we were working with were required to support both IPv4 and a transition to 6.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  221. My antivirus software allows randomization of IPs and to give a fake signal on location. Think about that when it comes to privacy with all the companies tracking data and creating virtual profiles.

    I don’t use it because I know they really just track my website usage and it’s not interesting enough to matter.

    I have been hacked before through email and it sucks all because companies try to hide when they’ve been hacked and your data, including usernames and passwords, has been stolen.

    NJRob (4d595c)

  222. Anyone notice how the media, the Dems and NeverTrump – BIRM – have ramped it down from Trump is an evil, treasonous corksoaker to we don’t like how Barr summarized the Mueller report?

    They should feel a sense of shame, but they aren’t normal, they don’t embarrass easy.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  223. This thing has been over for a few weeks, wake the “F” up.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  224. Patterico (115b1f)

  225. Good stuff. People not gonna be happy with him.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  226. You gotta be kidding, yes? No, not trolling.

    Nope. I was clearly not selling myself short but rather informing this guy that if he likes swc then he likes straw man arguments and disingenuous Trumpist crap, so he is not going to like my site any better now than he liked it when I booted swc’s rear end out of this place.

    If you run Tor you run the risk of being identified as a troll. If you say you left because it made you sad that a disingenuous person like swc was booted you run the risk of being identified as a troll. But I give this guy the benefit of the doubt until and unless he gets personal with me or any commenter.

    Patterico (94a8a0)

  227. “Good stuff. People not gonna be happy with him.”
    Patterico (115b1f) — 5/4/2019 @ 11:12 pm

    Well then, I guess Napolitano should’ve been SC instead of Mueller.

    Munroe (73facf)

  228. Anyone notice how the media, the Dems and NeverTrump – BIRM – have ramped it down from Trump is an evil, treasonous corksoaker to we don’t like how Barr summarized the Mueller report?

    I take grave exception to the suggestion that I have in any way “ramped down” my criticism of the evil, treasonous corksoaker Donald Trump.

    And I believe I’ve said little, if anything, about Barr’s summary of the Mueller report either (personally I didn’t even bother to read it, and still haven’t, since I fully expected him to say whatever Trump wanted to hear).

    An apology would be appreciated.

    To forestall similar complaints in the future, I will endeavor to “ramp up” the intensity and frequency with which I criticize Kremlin Don…

    Dave (1bb933)

  229. How do you know so much about corksoakers, Dave?

    mg (8cbc69)

  230. Our host wrote (#168):

    You’ve well qualified the bolded part by specifically citing Jaworski and Starr, and I don’t think anyone expected Mueller to lay out anything like that, but if you omit those references I actually think Mueller did precisely what you have said Barr ruled out.

    Barr’s letter announces a decision by the DoJ, of which he is the head and for whom Mueller has worked, that “Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and I have concluded that the evidence developed during the Special Counsel’s investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction of justice offense.”

    That is the opposite of the ultimate conclusions reached by Jaworski in Watergate or by Starr in the Lewinsky affair. And in this situation, there being no independent counsel statute authorizing action by an independent counsel other than by going through DoJ, that’s where the issue of prosecution or its analogs ends.

    It is true that Congress could nevertheless take the Mueller report, and especially its treatment of the specific allegations of obstruction of justice discussed therein, and use that as the basis for an impeachment proceeding, regardless of anything that either Mueller or Barr wrote and regardless of the DoJ’s decision to take no further action thereupon. If so, that will be contrary to, not consistent with, the Department of Justice’s own conclusion of the matter through Barr’s letter and the departmental decision announced therein. And if so, it will be far beyond anything that Mueller did recommend or attempt to do on his own — for without any doubt, Mueller could have made the equivalent of a decision to prosecute, or to announce that the only thing holding him back from prosecuting was the OLC memo (in which event the DoJ ought to have revisited the DoJ memo and, even if it decided to adhere to it, have (a) so informed Congress as part of Barr’s report, and (b) have demanded a waiver from Trump of all statutes of limitation, to ensure that he’d be prosecutable after leaving office).

    I therefore stand by my statement as accurate, and respectfully reject our host’s formulation that I’ve quoted above. It’s a mistake to pretend that Mueller’s report is a disguised version of a Jaworski roadmap or a Starr report: Both of those independent prosecutors made it abundantly clear in explicit terms that they were handing over to Congress what they believed to be an actionable case of obstruction of justice; Mueller didn’t.

    On the subject of the three-week delay, I have nothing to add to what I’ve already said, other than that our host has still failed to persuade me, nor frankly to move my opinion at all on this topic. Barr’s simply not responsible for people who didn’t bother to read his letter, nor for incomplete press coverage about it, even though those things worked in Trump’s political favor among the willfully obtuse and shortsighted. Our host focuses on headlines, and has quoted some; I could as easily quote others, completely contemporaneous with the ones he’s quoted — including from at least one post here — which were to the exact opposite effect, which is to say, they reflected the work of writers and editors who were trying to inform the public that when Mueller’s report came out, it might well have damning details about Trump and obstruction despite Barr’s and Rosenstein’s ultimate conclusion thereupon. Our host is therefore right that we are unlikely to ever agree on this, and I appreciate the opportunity to post here my contrary opinion.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  231. For those who’ve forgotten, the very first word of the Starr Report, on its cover page, was “Referral” — meaning a referral for possible impeachment. From its introduction:

    As required by Section 595(c) of Title 28 of the United States Code, the Office of the Independent Counsel (“OIC” or “Office”) hereby submits substantial and credible information that President William Jefferson Clinton committed acts that may constitute grounds for an impeachment.

    The information reveals that President Clinton:

    • lied under oath at a civil deposition while he was a defendant in a sexual harassment lawsuit;

    • lied under oath to a grand jury;

    • attempted to influence the testimony of a potential witness who had direct knowledge of facts that would reveal the falsity of his deposition testimony;

    • attempted to obstruct justice by facilitating a witness’s plan to refuse to comply with a subpoena;

    • attempted to obstruct justice by encouraging a witness to file an affidavit that the President knew would be false, and then by making use of that false affidavit at his own deposition;

    • lied to potential grand jury witnesses, knowing that they would repeat those lies before the grand jury; and

    • engaged in a pattern of conduct that was inconsistent with his constitutional duty to faithfully execute the laws.

    The evidence shows that these acts, and others, were part of a pattern that began as an effort to prevent the disclosure of information about the President’s relationship with a former White House intern and employee, Monica S. Lewinsky, and continued as an effort to prevent the information from being disclosed in an ongoing criminal investigation.

    Pretending that the Mueller Report is a referral, or even the functional equivalent of a referral, to Congress for possible impeachment would be inaccurate, a substantial oversell of anything Mueller actually wrote or concluded. Mueller’s report is vastly more ambivalent, and in many (but concededly not all) instances includes within it the seeds for Trump’s various defenses, and it is of course addressed not to Congress, but to the Attorney General, to whom the special counsel regs assign exclusive responsibility for communicating with Congress.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  232. The Jaworski roadmap was actually under judicial seal from the date it was submitted to Congress in June 1972 through October 2018. It purported to be a communication from the foreman of the Watergate grand jury, but of course it was drafted by Leon Jaworski and his team. In contrast to the Starr Report, the Jaworski roadmap on its own contained no conclusions about whether criminal law had been violated; but together with the 800 pages of documents and 13 tape recordings from the Oval Office that were handed over to the House Judiciary Committee, the roadmap led to a single destination — a conclusion that Nixon had indeed committed high crimes and misdemeanors. The same cannot fairly be said of the Mueller report.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  233. In #237 above, when I wrote “the DoJ ought to have revisited the DoJ memo,” I meant to write: “the DoJ ought to have revisited the OLC memo” instead. I hope this was nevertheless clear from the context.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  234. Beldar, from what I’ve read there was significant controversy over Starr’s “referral” since the Constitution gives congress alone the power to determine what constitutes grounds for impeachment. FWIW, Starr’s ethics advisor, Sam Dash, submitted his resignation on that basis.

    Dave (1bb933)

  235. Re-reading the Starr Report’s introduction (which I quoted in #238 above), one could quite easily extract from the Mueller report a parallel list of actions by Trump, about which there is little if any factual doubt given the sources of evidence upon which Mueller relied, their cross-corroboration, and corroboration through documentary evidence.

    That would indeed make a powerful point; I commend this, in fact, to our host or his co-bloggers if they’re looking for a new post topic.

    My point, however, in pointing to the Starr Report introduction is to contrast the difference between it and the report Mueller actually wrote, not the report he could have written based on the same facts, had he chosen to reach the ultimate issues on obstruction. He did not; that isn’t a matter of opinion, that is a matter of undeniable, objective fact. And Mueller and Rosenstein having resolved the ultimate issues on obstruction anyway, in Trump’s favor, despite Mueller’s decision to leave them unresolved, means (at least in my estimation) that regardless of what the House might now do with the Mueller report, not enough GOP senators, if any, would vote to convict and remove Trump from office.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  236. @ Dave (#241): Dash didn’t resign because Starr made a referral — that is, transmitted the Starr report — to the House. The independent counsel statute under which Starr was acting, 28 U.S.C. 595(c), required such a referral if he found “any substantial and credible information … that may constitute grounds for an impeachment.” (Emphasis mine.)

    Rather, Dash resigned because against his advice, Starr had agreed to appear in person to testify at the request of House Republicans. From a contemporaneous Associated Press account:

    “You have violated your obligations under the independent counsel statute and have unlawfully intruded on the power of impeachment,″ Dash said in a letter to Starr that raised concerns about Starr altering his role from prosecutor to advocate for impeachment.

    Democrats pounced on Dash’s resignation. But Rep. Henry Hyde, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, defended Starr, saying that “if he had not agreed to testify at our request, we would have been compelled to subpoena him.”

    “I resign for a fundamental reason,” Dash said. “Against my strong advice, you decided to depart from your usual professional decision-making by accepting the invitation of the House Judiciary Committee to appear … and serve as an aggressive advocate for the proposition that the evidence … demonstrates that the president committed impeachable offenses.”

    In Starr’s 2018 book “Contempt: A Memoir of the Clinton Investigation” (which I highly recommend), Dash’s participation in the investigation is described in detail, and Starr is effusive in his praise of Dash. He writes that he was “stunned, yet not really surprised” by Dash’s resignation because “Sam had come under unrelenting pressure from his Democrat colleagues.” He reveals that Dash didn’t contact or warn him (Starr) before announcing his decision, and they have never spoken thereafter. Starr viewed the resignation as a “personal rebuff, but not a challenge to the integrity of [their] work.”

    Beldar (fa637a)

  237. FWIW, the notion that by appearing as a witness at the invitation of Congress — having already reported to Congress pursuant to a direct statutory obligation — Starr was thereby “unlawfully intrud[ing] on the power of impeachment” is risible. Nothing in the independent counsel statute obliged Starr to stop cooperating with Congress after delivering his initial report. Dash’s excuse for resigning was very, very silly.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  238. Thanks for the explanation and clarification!

    Dave (1bb933)

  239. You’re welcome, Dave. The episode really highlights how different the regime was under the old independent counsel statute, where the independent counsel was picked by judges and reported to Congress, as opposed to the current special counsel regime.

    If Mueller gets to testify, it will only be through Barr’s permission, and subject to Barr’s restrictions (which I fully expect Mueller would follow).

    I think Barr will end up allowing Mueller to testify, and without much restriction beyond the minimal necessary — basically consistent with the redaction guidelines they ended up using on his report.

    But a hack attorney general — a Roy Cohn-type — would forbid Mueller from testifying, simply because he could, and because it would definitely please Trump. So consider that in your on-going big-picture evaluation of Barr’s performance as AG, please.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  240. But a hack attorney general — a Roy Cohn-type — would forbid Mueller from testifying, simply because he could, and because it would definitely please Trump. So consider that in your on-going big-picture evaluation of Barr’s performance as AG, please.

    Well, as our Dear Leader likes to say when pressed on an issue where he’s completely clueless and has run out vapid talking points to regurgitate:

    “We’ll see what happens.”

    :)

    Dave (1bb933)

  241. @235 I think we’ve established that unless “all” is used it can’t be inferred. There’s no reason to think that comment was directed at you and I don’t see any grounds to request an apology.

    Frosty, Fp (7540e9)

  242. Notwithstanding the OLE opinion and Mueller’s confusing references to it in his report, I would expect to find somewhere in the collected files of Robert Mueller and the Office of Special Counsel a draft indictment against Trump.

    Indeed, there likely is a chronological progression of draft indictments, revised over weeks or more likely months, each of which was the work of some relatively senior lawyer(s) on Mueller’s staff, and each of which represented the then-best efforts at putting into the formal language of an indictment the legal theories and factual arguments that could lead to a conviction for obstruction of justice. Each would be written as if the target were not the POTUS and the OLE memorandum didn’t apply/exist. It’s like a form of legal war-gaming: Let’s put our best arguments on paper as realistically as possible and test them bit by bit, and update that effort as we learn more, so we have a sense of what kind of case we might be developing.

    Note that no draft like this has any value as a definitive statement attributable to Mueller at any point in time; they were never more than drafts, what-if documents that are nevertheless exceptionally useful in managing a large, on-going investigation. That won’t stop people from arguing or assuming that the drafts nevertheless represent what the Mueller team was “really thinking” at any given point in time.

    Some drafts might have included co-conspirators, or there might be parallel indictments as to them.

    The Mueller report doesn’t mention any such draft indictments, but then again, given its conclusions, there wasn’t any reason for it to do so.

    But Democrats will ask Mueller about this if he testifies. Will Barr permit Mueller to answer at that level of detail about the particulars of the investigation that aren’t directly reflected in the report? My guess is that he will. Will Barr then release the drafts themselves in response to the Dems’ instant demands? I don’t know; perhaps, or perhaps not.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  243. “These attacks aren’t about special counsel Robert Mueller, his report or even the surreal debate over Mr. Barr’s first letter describing the report. The attorney general delivered the transparency Democrats demanded: He quickly released a lightly redacted report, which portrayed the president in a negative light. What do Democrats have to object to?
    Some of this is frustration. Democrats foolishly invested two years of political capital in the idea that Mr. Mueller would prove President Trump had colluded with Russia, and Mr. Mueller left them empty-handed. Some of it is personal. Democrats resent that Mr. Barr won’t cower or apologize for doing his job. Some is bitterness that Mr. Barr is performing like a real attorney general, making the call against obstruction-of-justice charges rather than sitting back and letting Democrats have their fun with Mr. Mueller’s obstruction innuendo.

    But most of it is likely fear. Mr. Barr made real news in that Senate hearing, and while the press didn’t notice, Democrats did. The attorney general said he’d already assigned people at the Justice Department to assist his investigation of the origins of the Trump-Russia probe. He said his review would be far-reaching—that he was obtaining details from congressional investigations, from the ongoing probe by the department’s inspector general, Michael Horowitz, and even from Mr. Mueller’s work. Mr. Barr said the investigation wouldn’t focus only on the fall 2016 justifications for secret surveillance warrants against Trump team members but would go back months earlier.

    He also said he’d focus on the infamous “dossier” concocted by opposition-research firm Fusion GPS and British former spy Christopher Steele, on which the FBI relied so heavily in its probe. Mr. Barr acknowledged his concern that the dossier itself could be Russian disinformation, a possibility he described as not “entirely speculative.” He also revealed that the department has “multiple criminal leak investigations under way” into the disclosure of classified details about the Trump-Russia investigation.

    Do not underestimate how many powerful people in Washington have something to lose from Mr. Barr’s probe. Among them: Former and current leaders of the law-enforcement and intelligence communities. The Democratic Party pooh-bahs who paid a foreign national (Mr. Steele) to collect information from Russians and deliver it to the FBI. The government officials who misused their positions to target a presidential campaign. The leakers. The media. More than reputations are at risk. Revelations could lead to lawsuits, formal disciplinary actions, lost jobs, even criminal prosecution.”

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/for-fear-of-william-barr-11556837637

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  244. @230 I suspect napolitano is trying to scoop up the former viewers of msnbc and cnn who need their trump hate fix. As long as there are addicts there will be dealers.

    Frosty, Fp (7540e9)

  245. 251… yes… and addicts won’t recover until they come to terms with their addiction and understand that their insatiable need is a form of self-hate… that they can be good and upstanding and are worth saving.

    On another front, some people need straightening out… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEKMLoTSioE

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  246. Heh! Trumpkins sho nuff do love to project. You become addicted to things that give you pleasure, not thing that make your skin crawl. Snakes, lamprey eels, tarantulas, Trump, nope, I would not call my revulsion of them an addiction.

    nk (9651fb)

  247. If Barr hadn’t signaled his intent to probe spygate, his credibility would be safely intact.

    NeverTrump, having reaped the whirlwind, now sees fit to investigate the investigators who would investigate them. It’s all coming unglued, and it couldn’t happen to a more deserving lot.

    Munroe (73facf)

  248. In comment 168 I said:

    Put simply, I believe Mueller intended to present Congress with evidence of conduct tending to prove a criminal law violation, for consideration as a possible high crime or misdemeanor in the political context of impeachment. Absolutely.

    Beldar, you responded to that by saying:

    Barr’s letter announces a decision by the DoJ, of which he is the head and for whom Mueller has worked, that “Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and I have concluded that the evidence developed during the Special Counsel’s investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction of justice offense.”

    . . . .

    I therefore stand by my statement as accurate, and respectfully reject our host’s formulation that I’ve quoted above.

    I think if you read my claim again, you’ll see that I was talking about Robert Mueller’s intent, not Bill Barr’s. I agree that Bill Barr’s intent, being a political hack, was to squish any notion that impeachment might be an option. But, you see, I wasn’t talking about Barr. I was talking about Mueller.

    And you and I agree that Mueller did not lay out any kind of clear road map or even an explicit impeachment referral. What he did do, I argued in a previous post, in which I cited the language and reasons for concluding:

    Is any of the above language an explicit impeachment referral? That’s debatable, but I would not waste any energy arguing that it is.

    Is it a declaration that Congress is a co-equal branch with an oversight role that can include sanctions as provided by the Constitution, which include impeachment? (In other words, precisely what I predicted?) You bet it is.

    I don’t think the explicit refusal by Mueller to make a finding that obstruction didn’t happen could be read as anything but that. In context, Mueller was implying that he had found a valid case of obstruction but wasn’t allowed to say so because of the OLC opinion, which in his view ruled out (by its logic if not its explicit mandate) not only an indictment but also a statement that the President committed a crime not accompanied by an indictment.

    In any event, if you’re going to respond to a claim I make about what Mueller intended, you ought to respond by discussing what Mueller intended. I get that Barr is the AG and has more power and it’s his “baby” and all that, but Mueller’s the guy who did the investigation, while Barr is the guy who stared at Leahy describing Trump’s orders to Lewandowski to have Sessions unrecuse, shut down the investigation into Trump, and declare Trump did nothing wrong, and asked: “where is that in the report?” So I respect Mueller a leetle more than I respect Barr here.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  249. 205. rpg-woods (70c9cc) — 5/4/2019 @ 8:07 pm

    Public opinion is now squarely behind the administration.

    Now, come on, that’s not true, even if you think it should be. Public opinion is just about where it was before.

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  250. 222. Kevin M (21ca15) — 5/4/2019 @ 9:15 pm

    But it is almost certain the the “hack” came before the idea of using it to help Trump.

    It is a sign of Mueller’s lack of careful attention to probability, that he just echoes the opposite, and actually says that they hacked into the DNC to help Trump.

    They went to great lengths to verify some unimportant details, but they didn’t think very carefully about the overall picture. So the report can be improved upon. That doesn’t mean that the Democrats in Congress intend to actually improve it – they would want to make it less accurate.

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  251. for without any doubt, Mueller could have made the equivalent of a decision to prosecute, or to announce that the only thing holding him back from prosecuting was the OLC memo

    He kinda did that. He said he was not saying that there was not a prosecutable case of obstruction, and he said/implied that if there were he wouldn’t say so anyway because of the OLC opinion the prudential considerations about it. Nevertheless, folks, here are several outrageous things Trump did in a clear effort to torch the investigation.

    You know: as one does when they are fully cooperating with it.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  252. Pretending that the Mueller Report is a referral, or even the functional equivalent of a referral, to Congress for possible impeachment would be inaccurate, a substantial oversell of anything Mueller actually wrote or concluded. Mueller’s report is vastly more ambivalent, and in many (but concededly not all) instances includes within it the seeds for Trump’s various defenses, and it is of course addressed not to Congress, but to the Attorney General, to whom the special counsel regs assign exclusive responsibility for communicating with Congress.

    First of all, I don’t thinkmany here are “pretending” anything. I think people are mostly arguing in good faith.

    I have stated what I believe the report is, and I do not claim it is a referral for impeachment, nor is it exactly the functional equivalent, given the regulations and the OLC opinion.

    What I do contend that is that Mueller, a rule follower, who is not going to buck the regulations or the OLC opinion, which together tie his hands considerably, did everything in his power consist with those regulations to present a fair, balanced, and ultimately very damning set of facts that he believed should be considered by Congress, which is not hampered by any DoJ regulations or opinions.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  253. NeverTrump, having reaped the whirlwind, now sees fit to investigate the investigators who would investigate them.

    Did you somehow miss the fact that the “accuse the accusers” tactic is currently being employed by Trump and Barr and their fans, and not by Trump’s critics?

    Patterico (115b1f)

  254. But a hack attorney general — a Roy Cohn-type — would forbid Mueller from testifying, simply because he could, and because it would definitely please Trump. So consider that in your on-going big-picture evaluation of Barr’s performance as AG, please.

    Barr, while being a hack, is nowhere near the hack he could have been. He could have been much more aggressive with the redactions. As I have said before, the only place where I think he substantially disagreed with Mueller is the one where Mueller said Don Jr. had committed a computer crime but was not being prosecuted due to prosecutorial discretion, and Barr insisted that that be redacted as unnecessary harm to reputation. Which, by the way, is a decision (Barr’s) I am OK with.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  255. Beldar, in the end I don’t think we disagree as much as you seem to think we do.

    I have re-read Barr’s initial letter and nothing jumps out at me as inaccurate, so it would not surprise me that Mueller (as I assume he did) told Barr on the phone that the issue was not an inaccuracy per se. Barr’s presser was much more hackish, but had less impact since the report was being released that morning.

    But the letter was still hackish. It was all about emphasizing what was good for Trump and not mentioning what was bad. For example, Mueller wrote:

    The investigation also identified numerous links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign. Although the investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts, the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.

    The bolding is mine. Now look at how Barr isolated the single phrase that I did not place in bold type, and used it to suggest that the President was totally exonerated on this point. Barr wrote:

    The special counsel’s investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. As the report states: “[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”

    Similarly, Mueller explained that for obstruction, there need not be an underlying crime, but there was plenty of unsavory stuff Trump might have wanted to hide anyway, which could easily explain why he undertook his (potentially) obstructive acts:

    Obstruction of justice can be motivated by a desire to protect noncriminal personal interests, to protect against investigations where underlying criminal liability falls into a gray area, or to avoid personal embarrassment. The injury to the integrity of the justice system is the same regardless of whether a person committed an underlying wrong. In this investigation, the evidence does not establish that the president was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference. But the evidence does point to a range of other possible personal motives animating the president’s conduct. These include concerns that continued investigation would call into question the legitimacy of his election and potential uncertainty about whether certain events — such as advance notice of WikiLeaks’ release of hacked information or the June 9, 2016, meeting between senior campaign officials and Russians could be seen as criminal activity by the president, his campaign or his family.

    Barr ignored the bolded part and snipped out the bit before it, in a technically accurate but misleading way:

    In making this determination, we noted that the special counsel recognized that “the evidence does not establish that the president was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference,” and that, while not determinative, the absence of such evidence bears upon the president’s intent with respect to obstruction.”

    In other words, Mueller said (paraphrasing) “we have not established Trump’s involvement in an underlying crime but that doesn’t mean he had no intent because look at these other reasons” and Barr snipped out the phrase about (paraphrasing) “we have not established Trump’s involvement in an underlying crime” to argue (paraphrasing) “Mueller said ‘we have not established Trump’s involvement in an underlying crime’ and as we all know that tends to show a lack of intent, and as to the other reasons Mueller cited, well, I just won’t even mention for now that they even exist.”

    Inaccurate? Perhaps not. Fair and balanced? No. Barr’s misleading quotations — where have I heard this? — “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of Mueller’s work.

    And then it got worse at the presser and in his very hackish and snotty testimony.

    I mean, whatever. We have the report, it’s true. But since virtually the entire Republican establishment seems committed to the notion that it is a “big lie” to say Barr was not honest in his presentation, and since I violently disagree, I think it’s incumbent on me to say why. So I have.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  256. 238. Beldar (fa637a) — 5/5/2019 @ 2:08 am

    For those who’ve forgotten, the very first word of the Starr Report, on its cover page, was “Referral” — meaning a referral for possible impeachment.

    Mueller was precluded by law from doing that (although the Attorney General of the United States could do that) because he was operating under a different statute.

    There could be some hints that Mueller wanted to do so, or wanted to leave himself the option of doing so. He made a point of investigating things now when memories were fresh, and dicuments available or preserved.

    Pretending that the Mueller Report is a referral, or even the functional equivalent of a referral, to Congress for possible impeachment would be inaccurate, a substantial oversell of anything Mueller actually wrote or concluded. Mueller’s report is vastly more ambivalent, and in many (but concededly not all) instances includes within it the seeds for Trump’s various defenses, and it is of course addressed not to Congress, but to the Attorney General, to whom the special counsel regs assign exclusive responsibility for communicating with Congress.

    Mueller, I think, did not want to treat the OLC opinion as binding but he also did not want to defy it. (he had to be argued by Trump’s ;awyers into conceding the OLC opinion was binnding on him )

    Mueller solved his problem by not bringing things to the point where he would have to report to the Attorney General that he either would have, or would not have, indicted the president but for the OLC opinion. He refused to make a decision as to whether or not Trump merited indictment for obstruction of justice. Now that could also be because the case for indictment was weak.

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  257. Now that could also be because the case for indictment was weak.

    I have to say, in my judgment the case is pretty strong, based on what I have seen. If there were 1) no policy against indicting a President, and 2) no hack AG who thinks any official action the President takes can’t be criminal even if motivated by corrupt intent, I think he gets indicted.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  258. Beldar, if you respond to anything I say, can you respond to this? I’d like an elaboration of your view that one can fully cooperate with an investigation while also trying to shut it down entirely.

    I said we would have to agree to disagree, but the statement strikes me as so odd, especially coming from a smart guy like you, that I wonder if I’m missing something. Could you flesh that out? The concept that one can be fully cooperative with an investigation while repeatedly trying to shut it down entirely?

    Patterico (115b1f)

  259. I know you defined cooperation as doing what the investigators asked (which I already established Trump also did not do) so I don’t need a repetition of that. What I’m looking for is an argument as to how the concept of “cooperation” with an investigation can validly encompass “actions designed to make the investigation disappear entirely.”

    Patterico (115b1f)

  260. What I am saying is that to me, that is uncooperative by definition.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  261. @ Our host: Thank you for your series of comments, which roughly track my own series.

    Re your #255: I was fully aware that you were referring to Mueller’s, not Barr’s, intent.

    Re your #258, suggesting “He [Barr] kinda did that [i.e., “made the equivalent of a decision to prosecute, or to announce that the only thing holding him back from prosecuting was the OLC memo”]:
    If he had, what he wrote would have read like the Starr report or, at least, the Jaworski roadmap — like a referral. It doesn’t.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  262. I really don’t have anything to add about “cooperation”; as I’ve already said, if one focuses on responding to the requests of the investigators, he cooperated. I believe that’s what Barr meant; I believe that Mueller might well answer this same question the same way, or at least ask that the question be clarified to expressly include in its ambit things beyond responding to the investigators’ requests.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  263. It seems to me that, ironically, Barr suggests that Mueller faced a binary choice on the obstruction charges:

    1. Find no or not enough evidence of obstruction, and thus declare Trump was not guilty of obstruction because a reasonable prosecutor would not bring charges on those facts, or

    2. Find sufficient evidence to bring charges of obstruction, and indict Trump or refer him to another jurisdiction for prosecution.

    Mueller did neither and Barr chose 1.

    I think Barr portrayed Mueller as shirking his prosecutorial duties by failing to make thst binary choice. If so, IMO Barr ignored the impact of the OLC opinion that a sitting President should not be indicted. Mueller, however, did not ignore it. IMO Mueller did not have the luxury of a binary choice. Unless Mueller decided the evidence cleared Trump (which he decided it did not), then he knew that indicting a sitting President was not an option under the rules — because it could unfairly harm the nation by impairing its chief executive, and unfairly harm the President by making him face charges where politics would prevent him from getting a fair trial. (Basically, the Tom DeLay cases on national steroids.)

    But Mueller had a third choice because the Founders anticipated the need to deal with fair and unfair allegations against a President. Instead of the normal legal system of investigations, prosecution, and trial, the Founders created a process where the House (as a kind of prosecutor) impeaches a President and the Senate (as a kind of court) conducts a trial. es

    That is how our system deals with Presidents, and part of why the OLC opinion exists. That is why what Mueller did is a referral. Mueller, as the investigator, gathered the evidence but did not indict — because under the rules he cannot prosecute a sitting President.

    DRJ (15874d)

  264. How about this:

    As it turned out, nothing that Trump attempted to do which was intended to abort or impair Mueller’s investigation ended up doing so, and neither did he otherwise preventing his administration from cooperating with the investigation, and he otherwise, with the exception of the never-pressed request for an interview, cooperated, in the process presenting witnesses and documents without requiring subpoenas, and without asserting a variety of privileges that might arguably have applied.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  265. I think you can fully cooperate while also resisting to the extent the law allows if you are an average citizen. But in this case the target is Trump, the President and chief law enforcement ifficer. He can theoretically resist to the point of firing the prosecutor, so it is not right to say someone in that position fully cooperated while simultaneously trying to fire his prosecutor.

    DRJ (15874d)

  266. “The attorney general’s testimony was clearly accurate.
    I originally thought this was too stupid to write about. But stupid is like the plague inside the Beltway — one person catches it and next thing you know there’s an outbreak at MSNBC and the speaker of the House is showing symptoms while her delirious minions tote ceramic chickens around Capitol Hill.

    So I give you: the Bill Barr perjury allegation.

    We are all entitled to our own opinions. But are we entitled to our own facts? Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s bon mot says no, but Washington makes you wonder. Like when spleen-venting about the supposedly outrageous, unbelievable, disgraceful invocation of the word “spy” to describe episodes of government spying is instantly followed by a New York Times story about how the spying — er, I mean, court-authorized electronic surveillance — coupled with the tasking of spies — er, undercover agents — green-lighted by a foreign spy — er, intelligence service — was more widespread than previously known.”

    https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/05/the-big-lie-that-barr-lied/
    _

    harkin (a741df)

  267. Patterico @262:

    In other words, Mueller said (paraphrasing) “we have not established Trump’s involvement in an underlying crime but that doesn’t mean he had no intent because look at these other reasons” and Barr snipped out the phrase about (paraphrasing) “we have not established Trump’s involvement in an underlying crime” to argue (paraphrasing) “Mueller said ‘we have not established Trump’s involvement in an underlying crime’ and as we all know that tends to show a lack of intent, and as to the other reasons Mueller cited, well, I just won’t even mention for now that they even exist.”

    He did mention they exist, because he wrote:

    https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/5779689/Mueller-report-conclusions-from-AG-Barr.pdf

    ….for each of the relevant actions investigated, the report sets out evidence on both sides of the question and leaves unresolved what the Special Counsel views as “difficult issues” of law and fact concerning whether the President’s actions and intent could be viewed as obstruction.

    AND

    In making this determination, we noted that the Special Counsel recognized that “the evidence does not establish that the President was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference,” and that, while not determinative, the absence of such evidence bears upon the President’s intent with respect to obstruction.

    It is a little bit ambiguous as to whether or not Barr is noting that Meller says or implies it is not determinative, but to “note” that Mueller said that an underlying crime was not established, even with it being only Barr who says further that it was not determinative, strongly implies that Mueller gave reasons you could have obstruction of justice even without that, especially when combined with him writing elsewhere that Mueller specifically “sets out” evidence “both sides of the question” as to whether Trump committed each of a number of possible acts of obstruction of justice.

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  268. DRJ, can we agree that what Barr sent to Congress was certainly not a referral?

    Can we further agree that Mueller reported to Barr, not to Congress?

    Can we further agree that in Mueller’s report to Barr, he doesn’t suggest to Barr that Barr make a referral to Congress?

    Beldar (fa637a)

  269. I said at the time the letter was tricky but not dishonest. (at the time meaning within a couple of days.)

    Although I was pointing to another thing. Which people have not yet noted, and Barr seems to have later lost sight of later:

    The difference between “no members of the Trump campaign” conspiring with the Russian government in its election interference activities, and “no U.S. person or Trump campaign official or associate” conspiring or coordinating with the Internet Research agency (which did the sockpuppeting but not the hacking or the leaking.)

    It followed – it is technically a false syllogism, but it is valid because this letter was so carefully written – that there is evidence that some “U.S. person” or some Trump “associate” (but not a campaign official!) did co-ordinate with the Russians in either the hacking or the leaking, but was not indicted.

    And I said this was most likely just the leaking. (they wouldn’t be indicted because it was not illegal.)

    I think I said it could be hacking if someone was granted immmunity from prosecution, but I don’t think the GRU would work with Americans.

    And I further said the involvement could have been to mislead recipients (including Julian Assange and Wikileaks, or at least give them plausible deniability) as to the source of the leak, including maybe spreading the Seth Rich story.

    And I will say now that that part most likely is redacted and is either grand jury information, or something considered to needlessly publicize a peripheral person.

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  270. Interesting historical note; the most famous use of the Tu quoque fallacy might be when Klaus Barbie’s attorney tried to argue that he couldn’t be tried by France because French military personnel had committed similar war crimes.

    In America this is tactic is very similar to the classic “I know you are but what am I”. Experts continue to debate but a common consensus is that “I’m rubber and your glue …” is a very effective response.

    Sadly for Klaus I don’t think that rhymes in German.

    Frosty, Fp (7540e9)

  271. No.

    DRJ (15874d)

  272. @DRJ

    If

    Find sufficient evidence to bring charges of obstruction

    Not indicting Trump would have meant reinforcing the OLC opinion, and I would guess some of the members of his team did not want to do so; but indicting him would mean disregarding the OLC opinion and Mueller, at least, did not want to do so.

    And he also didn’t want to make a decision as to which course of action to take.

    So he avoiding taking things to that point.

    and indict Trump or refer him to another jurisdiction for prosecution.

    Under the terms of his appointment, he coudn’t refer it directly to Congress, although he had another choice:

    He could ask the Attorney General to do so.

    I imagine an Attorney General might do so only after taking his personal effects out of his office, but still it would be on the record if his report ever became public, because under the law the Attorney general doesn;’t have to say anything about it, and it would be illegal for the special Counsel or his staffers to leak it. I didn’t say this was a law that made a lot of sense.

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  273. I think you can fully cooperate while also resisting to the extent the law allows if you are an average citizen. But in this case the target is Trump, the President and chief law enforcement officer. He can theoretically resist to the point if firing the prosecutor, so it is not right to say someone in that position fully cooperated while simultaneously trying to fire his prosecutor.

    I was about to try to say something very similar, but DRJ beat me to it and did a better job.

    Also, let’s not forget that trying to get Mueller fired isn’t all that Trump did.

    He also encouraged witnesses not to cooperate with law enforcement and very publicly and effusively praised one of his caporegimes for upholding the “omerta” code that rules other criminal organizations:

    I feel very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family. “Justice” took a 12 year old tax case, among other things, applied tremendous pressure on him and, unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to “break” – make up stories in order to get a “deal.” Such respect for a brave man!

    That same week Trump went on Fox News and said that cooperation with law enforcement in return for a reduced sentence should be illegal:

    “This whole thing about flipping, they call it, I know all about flipping,” he went on. “For 30, 40 years I’ve been watching flippers. Everything’s wonderful and then they get 10 years in jail and they flip on whoever the next highest one is, or as high as you can go. It almost ought to be outlawed; it’s not fair.”

    Dave (1bb933)

  274. Where did Barr undertake in his letter to Congress to “fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of Mueller’s report?

    The regs certainly don’t impose that obligation upon him; to the contrary, they give him expansive discretion to do the exact opposite, which is to say, deep-six the report and tell Congress nothing beyond the bare fact that the investigation is over.

    Barr was questioned a lot during his confirmation hearing about his intentions with respect to making the Mueller report public. I don’t recall any questions about whether he’d transmit Mueller’s executive summaries in his report to Congress, though, nor him undertaking a commitment with regard to “context, nature, and substance.”

    And in the letter, Barr likewise didn’t purport to “fully capture the context, nature, [or] substance” of the full report, but affirmatively disclaimed that, with the explanation instead that he was transmitting a description of the report and a summary of the report’s principal conclusions — not a summary of the full report.

    We’re repeating ourselves, yes?

    Beldar (fa637a)

  275. If Mueller’s Report is not tantamount to a referral, then why did he write this sentence in his Vol 2 Executive Summary?

    The conclusion that Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the President’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law.

    Followed immediately by this:

    CONCLUSION

    Because we determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment, we did not draw ultimate conclusions about the President’s conduct. The evidence we obtained about the President’s actions and intent presents difficult issues that would need to be resolved if we were making a traditional prosecutorial judgment. At the same time, if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment. Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.

    DRJ (15874d)

  276. Re: Ti quo quo

    I mentioned this possible logical fallacy @47 in the Rosenstein resigns thread:

    You know, Joe Biden didn’t just want to, didn’t just try, but actually got a prosecutor who, among other things, was going after his son * fired. And boasted about it. Maybe he was a malicious proecutor but Trump also claimed it was witch hunt.

    * The public criticism of the prosecutor had been that he was protecting corruption but he now claims one of his probes possibly involved his son.

    I think, though this is really asmaear by Joe Biden’s Democratic opponents (because there doesn’t seem to be any kind of criminal culpability for Biden’s son – although that’s also true for Trump wrt Russia – or even that Biden’s son was a possible target. He just would have lost a high paying gig as a Board of Directors member or something.

    And there is good reason to believe that Biden wasn’t thinking at all or even knew about the danger to that company if indeed there even was a danger (and, if so, why would he ever have boasted about removing the prosecutor? Not even the Clintons take such risks.)

    I think it came from one or more of Biden’s Democratic opponents, but the accusation was laundered through Republicans, particularly Rudolph Giuliani, who was a “useful idiot” here.

    The New York Times at:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/01/us/politics/biden-son-ukraine.html

    ….tried to just blame Republicans for the story, but I don’t think so – they’re not accustomed to, or clever enough to come up with this kind of nonsense, but of course the cult of the Democrats believes that to be the case, and that Republicans, or people siding with Republicans, are the only ones who come up with smears and every attack on the other side is sincerely motivated.

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  277. Where did Barr undertake in his letter to Congress to “fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of Mueller’s report?

    That is a much more fair discussion than claiming Barr never promised or tried to summarize Mueller, as some have claimed. I don’t think Barr ha d an obligation, nor did he claim to “fully capture …” Mueller’s Report. My personal feeling is that Mueller expected it from Barr as a friend and former DOJ attorney/colleague. But apparently politics trumped that history.

    DRJ (15874d)

  278. Klaus Barbie’s attorney tried to argue that he couldn’t be tried by France because French military personnel had committed similar war crimes.

    It was worth a shot. It worked with Otto Skorzeny on the charge of dressing up SS commandos in American uniforms during the Battle of Bulge when a British commando testified that he and his men similarly dressed up as German soldiers.

    nk (9651fb)

  279. DRJ @282.

    You have to read between the lines to see thsi as a referral.

    It is very very possible that Muller’s team indeed intended that as an impachment referral, and were disappointed when Barr did not make the executive summary public before making the whole report public.

    And now the Democrats in Congress are trying to make that into a high crime of sorts. They’re still not being specific. They’re not saying: Barr deliberately uderplayed and obscured the impeachment referral, which Mueller had tried to get through his censorship!

    They’re still not saying it was an attempt at an impeachment referral.

    Because, if they did, they would maybe indicate that they knew too much. And were in contact too much with “Angry Democrats?!” (Trump’s words) working for Mueller.

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  280. Barr’s letter was tricky.

    But the fact that Mueller had given reasons why Trump might be indicted was not very hidden – it’s just that Barr didn’t lay out just what were the “difficult issues of law and fact.”

    That was partially Mueller’s fault. He had tried to contrive to get the executive summaries published before and without the majority of the report. Rosenstein and Barr didn’t go along with that. They wrote a separate 4 page summary (which might even have been more the work of Rosenstein than Barr) and then made everything else public at once. (minus a number of required redactions, whc=ich he tried to limit.)

    Rosenstein and Barr could see that Mueller was playing a game, (including writing him when they couls speak on the telephone, and refusing to look at and suggest changes in the 4-page memo) and they played too.

    Now the Democrats (some Democrats) in Congress are all upset they were outmanuvered.

    Mueller didn’t want to suggest changes in the 4-page memo, because he wanted his executive summary released, which contained the hint about impeachment. he couldn’t say put that in the memo.

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  281. 280. Trump was afraid Manafort would make up stories in order to get a “deal as Michael Cohen had done. That’s what he tweeted. Did he mean something else? What? Any ideas?

    This is not like Susan McDougal.

    And Bill Clinton didn’t praise her.

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  282. And Michael Cohen (and his lawyer) did in fact make up stories, or twst some true stories into crimes.

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  283. @ DRJ, thank you for your #284.

    Re your #282: IIRC the first sentence you quoted was from the portion of Mueller’s report rejecting the argument made by, for example, Citizen Barr in his pre-nomination pre-confirmation memo (or was it an op-ed), to the effect that it’s not criminal when it’s the president doing something within the course and scope of his constitutional authority. It was included in the report because if Mueller had agreed with Citizen Barr, that could have been a defense by Trump to the obstruction claims, on which Mueller was considering both the evidence obtained and the legal arguments voiced by Trump’s legal team.

    The second passage you quote is part of Mueller’s attempt to explain why he didn’t reach a traditional prosecutorial decision which would include a resolution of difficult issues “about the President’s actions and intent,” which in turn would have led to the “ultimate conclusions” he affirmatively disclaims having reached. I still don’t claim to grasp what Mueller was attempting to explain, even after reading the more expansive explanation in text and footnotes. But regardless, Barr & Rosenstein proceeded to resolve those difficult issues, using the evidence and law as summarized by Mueller, on behalf of the DoJ as a whole, and they resolved them in Trump’s favor.

    Neither sentence reads remotely like the Jaworski roadmap or the Starr report; neither can be plausibly interpreted as a suggestion to Barr that he make a referral to the House for purposes of impeachment; and they certainly didn’t.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  284. Could you flesh that out? The concept that one can be fully cooperative with an investigation while repeatedly trying to shut it down entirely?

    Patterico (115b1f) — 5/5/2019 @ 9:07 am

    This doesn’t make sense. He spoke about wanting to shut it down. He told people he wanted it shut down. But he didn’t shut it down. He had the full power to legally do so as the President and he didn’t. So explain how that is obstruction.

    P.S. He didn’t enter a conspiracy with Russia. He didn’t collude with Russia. There was nothing here. This was a sham like when Scooter Libby went to jail for perjury when Fitzgerald knew who the leaker was, but still engaged in a sham investigation.

    Now the real investigation can begin on the collusion between the previous administration, various outside sources and the intent to steal the 2016 election and then when that failed, overthrow the legitimate government of the United States.

    NJRob (4d595c)

  285. I should have ended my paragraph about the first sentence DRJ quoted in #282 with one more sentence: Attorney General Barr and DAG Rosenstein didn’t rely on Citizen Barr’s opinion, however, and instead accepted for purposes of their resolution of the ultimate issues the Mueller formulation (which does indeed correctly represent federal criminal law).

    Beldar (fa637a)

  286. 291… well said.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  287. 288. To paraphrase a famous quotation:

    Obstruction of justice by a president of the United States never suceeds. Because, if it succeeds, none dare call it obstruction of justice!

    What proof does anyone have that Bill Clinton had anything to do with Susan McDougal’s silence?

    Or for that matter, Janet Reno refusing to name a special prosecutor to investigate the 1996 campaign?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1996_United_States_campaign_finance_controversy

    President Clinton’s FBI Director Louis Freeh wrote in a 22-page memorandum to then Attorney General Janet Reno in November 1997 that “It is difficult to imagine a more compelling situation for appointing an independent counsel.”[46]

    …Janet Reno declined all requests:

    I try to do one thing: what’s right. I am trying to follow the independent counsel statute as it has been framed by Congress. If you had a lower threshold, then any time somebody said ‘boo’ about a covered person, you’d trigger the independent counsel statute

    —Janet Reno, December 4, 1997.[51]

    …In addition to partisan complaints from Republicans, columnists Charles Krauthammer, William Safire, and Morton Kondracke, as well as a number of FBI agents, suggested the investigations into the fund-raising controversies were willfully impeded.[53][54][55]

    Obstruction of justice by a president of the United States never suceeds. because, if it succeeds, none dare call it obstruction of justice!

    I think that includes William Safire, Charles Krauthammer, and Morton Kondracke. Maybe someone can find them using the term.

    Their columns are entitled:

    “Those Chinese Agents” The New York Times, October 7, 1999

    “Reno’s Humiliation” (The Washington Post, October 10, 1997

    and

    “GOP must launch new probe of Chinagate” Jewish World Review, August 9, 1999.

    So, if you do find an accusation of obstruction of justice against a president of the United States, it either failed, or it never happened.

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  288. When a report says, “this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime,” then it is not reasonable to view it as a disguised referral to Congress for consideration of impeachment on the basis of high crimes and misdemeanors.

    And saying, “One must read between the lines” or “If you squint at it this way, it might be a referral, kind of sort of” doesn’t change that. That’s not how referrals work, not in either direction — referrals from Congress to DoJ of possible crimes for prosecution, or referrals from the DoJ to the House for possible impeachment consideration.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  289. Trump tried and tried, NJRob. It is his good luck that they did not follow his orders.

    DRJ (15874d)

  290. But the report also said it does not exonerate Trump. Mueller “determined not to make the traditional prosecutorial judgment.” I think he decided to provide the facts and let Congress decide.

    DRJ (15874d)

  291. @ NJRob (#291): The fact that Trump’s attempts to shut down the investigation through subordinates or cutouts (Lewandowski) were unsuccessful is not a defense to obstruction of justice; one can be guilty of criminal obstruction of justice even if one’s a complete, incompetent, scatterbrained bumbler like Trump. Likewise, the fact that the obstruction was not to conceal an underlying crime is not a defense. Mueller’s report includes caselaw, chapter and verse, on both points. Barr & Rosenstein didn’t dispute that caselaw, nor did they treat Trump’s incompetence or the absence of an underlying crime as legal defenses that could have gotten Trump a dismissal or instructed verdict. They do, however, treat them as factors to be considered in the overall evaluation of whether a case could be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, along with the strength of the evidence, if any, of other “corrupt intent,” because even though it’s not impossible to convict a bumbling would-be obstructor who wasn’t hiding an underlying crime, it’s nevertheless a lot easier to convict someone who did commit the underlying crime and/or was successful in obstructing the investigation: You don’t have to drag the jury, through instructions, over the same mental hump you’re having difficulty with in your comment.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  292. You could say he decided not to make a traditional impeachment referral, and I also have a theory about why he may have done that. I impeachment combines or has elements of criminal law and politics. Perhaps Mueller wanted to provide the facts he gathered in his investigation to satisfy the criminal law aspects, without tipping the political scales in either direction. In other words, I think he tried to be even-handed in his referral so he did not say the words, because just saying this was an impeachment referral tips the scales against Trump.

    DRJ (15874d)

  293. Where did Barr undertake in his letter to Congress to “fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of Mueller’s report?

    Nowhere. He undertook to fully capture the portions favorable to Trump. As the misleading quotations I cited above, largely ignored by those trying to defend Barr, demonstrate quite clearly.

    Patterico (507862)

  294. obstruction –
    calling your partner in crime and telling them the crap has hit the fan and to get out while being interrogated by the feds in an interrogation room.

    mg (8cbc69)

  295. Patterico, your #300 distorts the meaning of the word “undertake.” But if I may intend a pun, let’s jointly undertake to declare this a dead horse.

    I should have mentioned earlier, re your examples of artful elisions in your #262, that I agree that they favor Trump, which is why I also have readily agreed that Barr’s letter is guilty of spin (even though I think it was short of misleading).

    Beldar (fa637a)

  296. Attorney General Barr and DAG Rosenstein didn’t rely on Citizen Barr’s opinion, however, and instead accepted for purposes of their resolution of the ultimate issues the Mueller formulation (which does indeed correctly represent federal criminal law).

    Beldar (fa637a) — 5/5/2019 @ 10:46 am

    I am curious how you know this. My reading and understanding of Barr’s letter and testimony is that he acknowledges there are Constitutional and statutory issues, but I did not see where he acquiesced to Mueller’s interpretation. Are you talking about the OLC opinion, the statutory issues, something else, and where did Barr say Mueller was right?

    DRJ (15874d)

  297. 296… as Rob wrote, Trump “had the full power to legally do so as the President and he didn’t.”

    So good luck or however else you choose to characterize it, he did not do it.

    Colonel Haiku (697687)

  298. He has a lot of powers … but they only go so far if he can’t find anyone to carry out his orders.

    DRJ (15874d)

  299. Jack goldsmith does disagree with wittes btw.

    Of course one could ask raymond donovan how this works

    Narciso (cf9e42)

  300. bueno, entonces el caballo ha estado muerto por dos semanas, me gustaría tacos de pollo sin la salsa especial, por favor

    Colonel Haiku (697687)

  301. Mueller coudn’t make an impeachment referral – he could only hint at it.

    It is not reasonable to view a statement saying:

    “this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime,”

    as a disguised referral to Congress for consideration of impeachment on the basis of high crimes and misdemeanors, but it is reasonable to view:

    “we determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment,”

    AND

    “if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment. Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him”

    AND saying that he

    “conducted a thorough factual investigation in order to preserve the evidence when memories were fresh and documentary materials were available.”

    as being a disguised referral to some other investigator.

    as being precisely that.

    Saying that it doe not exonerate him would normally be a tautology.

    It’s saying don’t treat this as a normal decisoon not to prosecute. He could be guilty.

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  302. OT: TrumpWorld operatives and websites caught trying to ratf*ck Democratic presidential candidate

    On April 29 someone shared a post titled “Pete Buttigieg Sexually Assaulted Me” on Medium, a site that lets anyone upload stories, essays and any other bit of text. It was attributed to a college student named Hunter Kelly.

    Within hours, the fake allegation against the South Bend, Indiana mayor and Democratic presidential candidate would begin to crumble, and the real story — the story of the smear campaign — would emerge.

    But by then, the Medium post already had 12,000 Facebook interactions. It ricocheted around the right-wing internet, thanks to sites like Big League Politics, InfoWars, NewsWars and The Gateway Pundit, potentially reaching millions of readers, according to a media analysis from Ben Decker, CEO of the digital investigations firm Memetica.

    According to Kelly, the scheme started when Jacob Wohl, a far-right internet personality, messaged Kelly on Instagram. “Do you want to be part of a political operation?” the message said, according to a copy reviewed by CNN.

    Kelly, a 21-year-old, gay, Donald Trump-supporter, was intrigued. On Sunday, the Michigan native took a late flight to the Washington area booked for him by Wohl and Jack Burkman, a Republican lobbyist and a conspiracy theorist.

    Dave (1bb933)

  303. Likewise, the fact that the obstruction was not to conceal an underlying crime is not a defense.

    Is this what you were thinking about when you said Barr agreed with Mueller? If so, I did not realize Barr wrote about that before becoming AG. I thought he wrote about whether a President could ever obstruct justice, not the scope of the obstruction laws.

    DRJ (15874d)

  304. DRJ @303 to Beldar: 5/5/2019 @ 11:24 am

    but I did not see where he acquiesced to Mueller’s interpretation. Are you talking about the OLC opinion, the statutory issues, something else, and where did Barr say Mueller was right?

    Mueller avoided confronting the OLC opinion, and Barr and Rosenstein said they could decline to prosecute without relying on it. Mueller also had interpreted certain acts as potential obstruction of justice, and Barr and Rosnestein said that, while they disagreed with Mueller, they would qanalyze it according to his reading of the law, and they would still decline to prosecute even if they agreed.

    All because they determined there was no corrupt intent in any of that. (or an inability to establish one)

    And they agreed with Mueller you could have corrupt intent even if there was no underlying crime, but they said that fact weighed heavily in making such a determination.

    And they said the president had legitimate reasons, or non-corrupt motives anyway, for wanting to stop the investigation.

    Namely, a sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, was propelled by his political opponents, and was fueled by illegal leaks.

    And that he was frustrated and angry (and that maybe would mean not calculating.)

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  305. You wondered what the shredded beef was made of?

    Narciso (cf9e42)

  306. For those who may be surprised that a fierce and consistent critic of Trump like myself nevertheless is defending his new Attorney General, consider this:

    As unfit as I think Trump is for his office, and as content as I am to have withheld my vote from him (and from Hillary too), and as certain as it is that I will withhold my vote from him again in 2020 (on the assumption that he runs and is again the GOP nominee), I nevertheless very much want to see Donald Trump represented by capable, smart, shrewd, and indeed, even wily lawyers — so long as they are ethical, and so long as they stay within the bounds of the law themselves.

    It’s bad for the United States, for reasons not directly related to Trump or his presidency, to have an Attorney General who’s the President’s daily whipping boy on Twitter. If he lacks confidence in his advisers, he won’t listen to any of their advice.

    DRJ is absolutely right to say that it is Trump’s good luck that his lawyers and other staff didn’t follow his orders. To the extent they can continue to do that throughout the rest of his term, that’s a good thing, even from my perspective as a Trump critic, for never have we had a POTUS who so needs saving from himself.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  307. Believe Baghdad Barr saw Trump as an ‘easy mark’ to move his own party-political has agenda; one he has championed through his career and several administrations. No other rationale for ‘applying for the gig’ in the first place with that 15 page unsolicited memo-unless he’s just nuts. Trump didn’t know him from squat and certainly didn’t pluck him from the cast of chraacters on Fox. Strengthening the Executive has great appeal to authoritarian and corporate types like Trump so it’s an easy sell for Barr. Our Captain was so desperate for a Roy Cohn he likely doesn’t realize he’s being played by a Henry Gondorff.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  308. @313. Actually, it’s no surprise ‘bedrock Republican’ types would back Barr, given his history and politics. ‘Allegiance ruled by expedience’ is the party motto these days.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  309. Dave @309. No, it’s on topic. It’s response to my #23 where I talk about who does smears.

    Speaking about the charge against Biden in relation to getting that Ukrainian prosecutor fired allegedly because he was going to go after his son Hunter [in truth it was an Obama Administration policy and there’s nothing to show that Hunter would have been in danger of anything more than losing a high paying nearly no-show job, and he wassn’t the only Democrats that company tried to connect itself to] I said that while the New York Times seemed to blame only Republicans, I thought this was something thought of by Biden’s Democrats opponents and was merely being laundered through Republicans, especially Giuliani, and that Republicans were not

    clever enough to come up with this kind of nonsense, but of course the cult of the Democrats believes that to be the case, and that Republicans, or people siding with Republicans, are the only ones who come up with smears and every attack on the other side [by peple siding with Democrats] is sincerely motivated.

    So here you bring up something that looks like a smear, albeit a very very clumsy one, done by someone who is thought to side with Republicans.

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  310. @ DRJ, re your #303: Barr’s March 24 letter says:

    … After reviewing the Special Counsel’s final report on these issues; consulting with Department officials, including the Office of Legal Counsel; and applying the principles of federal prosecution that guide our charging decisions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and I have concluded that the evidence developed during the Special Counsel’s investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense. Our determination was made without regard to, and is not based on, the constitutional considerations that surround the indictment and criminal prosecution of a sitting president. (2) [Footnote references the OLC opinion.]

    In making this determination, we noted that the Special Counsel recognized that “the evidence does not establish that the President was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference,” and that, while not determinative, the absence of such evidence bears upon the President’s intent with respect to obstruction….

    It would perhaps have been more accurate for me to have said that AG Barr’s March 24 letter doesn’t rely on the Citizen Barr argument, which could been a much more straightforward basis for their decision in resolving the obstruction ultimate issues left unresolved by Mueller’s report. It doesn’t mention the Citizen Barr argument, even as an alternative basis for the conclusions reached in the March 24 letter. That’s not quite the same as saying that AG Barr has come around to Mueller’s point of view, but it is saying that AG Barr was willing to let Citizen Barr’s arguments remain unmade in this context.

    And re your #310: When I wrote that Barr agreed with Mueller about underlying crimes, I had in mind the “while not determinative/bears upon” phrase at the end of my quote just above from the March 24 letter.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  311. (I’m guessing, but I also doubt that AG Barr could have gotten Rosenstein to sign off on Citizen Barr’s argument, which is hogwash.)

    Beldar (fa637a)

  312. @309. ‘Segretti Marinara’ now being served by the White House Mess. 😉

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  313. I get it. Thank you. My view is that they partially agree. I think everyone agrees that if there is no or insufficient evidence that Trump committed a crime, the AG and the Special Counsel can say that. Where I think they disagree is what happens if there is sufficient evidence to indict a sitting President. I think Barr implied (we might call it dicta, since he did not think there was sufficient evidence) that Mueller should have made the decision anyway. I think Mueller’s position is that he cannot indict or say there is sufficient evidence to indict without unduly prejudicing Trump, both as President and as a citizen.

    So Mueller chose to leave it to the AG and, ultimately, Congress and the public. Because once it has the facts gathered in the investigation, neither Congress nor the public have to accept the AG’s views.

    DRJ (15874d)

  314. I think it’s interesting that some of the very same people who criticize Mueller for saying he did not exonerate Trump on obstruction — arguing that such an opinion goes beyond the realm of the legal to the political, because all that he needed to say was that he was not indicting Trump — have no problem with Barr and Rosenstein going beyond the bare minimum they needed to say to decide not to indict (i.e. citing the OLC opinion) and offering their legally non-required opinion that the evidence would not rise to the level of a prosecutable crime in any event.

    It’s almost as if one’s view of whether an arguably extraneous statement is permissible depends on your politics.

    There’s an arguable legal justification for all the extraneous statements, in my view. For Mueller, he’s clarifying for Congress that they have the green light to conduct their own process because it’s not like he’s saying there’s no case there. For Barr and Rosenstein, they could be giving guidance to future prosecutors once Trump is out of office, who will not then be burdened by the OLC opinion.

    But most opinions do not depend on these subtleties. They depend on politics, pure and simple.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  315. Someone could make another version of that “Hitler in the Bunker Finds Out ….” video in which Trump finds out that Barr could have decided, within the letter of the special counsel regs, not to release the Mueller report to either Congress or the public at all. Distracting the POTUS from that sort of possibility is part of clientsmanship.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  316. Patterico, your #300 distorts the meaning of the word “undertake.” But if I may intend a pun, let’s jointly undertake to declare this a dead horse.

    It doesn’t at all, in my view. The word undertake means “commit oneself to and begin (an enterprise or responsibility); take on.” I believe Barr committed himself to spinning the report for Trump in a misleading way. You may not agree but that does not mean I am distorting words, and the accusation irritates me.

    To me, if there is a distortion of words, it’s your distortion of the word “cooperate” to include “attempt to shut down entirely.” I don’t think you’ve truly tried to explain how you can undertake to redefine a word so completely; all you have done is offer your own definition and then repeat that definition. To me, that doesn’t address the fundamental inconsistency between trying to shut down an investigation and any notion that one is “fully cooperating” with it. That said, I don’t think you’re going to attempt to do what I asked because it simply can’t be done — because it’s a definitional issue and you can’t redefine words in a reasonable discussion. My continuing puzzlement is that you fail to see that this is what you have done, but I’ve tried to make the point repeatedly and so I agree that any further efforts would not be productive.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  317. I think Rosenstein’s suck-up retirement letter shows that he believes smoothing his path to a comfy private life free to vituperation from Donald Trump is more important than just about any other consideration. Like Barr, Rosenstein deserves some credit — Barr for getting the report out quickly with minimal redactions, and Rosenstein for protecting the investigation throughout. But both have made obvious compromises. As Beldar notes, our previous AG was a whipping boy. If Barr spins for Trump, as he absolutely has, he is less likely to be the subject of such tirades. Rosenstein has signed onto the spin, and that will make it easier for him to get by in his post-government life. As I recently heard Comey say about Rosenstein: “He’s a survivor.” So is Barr.

    Poor Jeff Sessions, who would not have been my top choice for honorable guy, turns out to have been more honorable than either.

    He was not a survivor. Nor was Comey.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  318. I suspect Barr made that argument in the first days after receiving the report … when he assured Trump that his summary would focus on the positive aspects and would set the narrative in stone before the actual report came out.

    And remember, there was no immediate assurance the report would be released. Maybe Trump told him not to,but Barr and Trump’s attorneys had to know how bad it would be for Trump not to release the report. Getting good press for the summary letter may have been part of the plan to convince Trump release was inevitable but woukd not hurt him, if they just waited until it was old news.

    DRJ (15874d)

  319. ‘Allegiance ruled by expedience’ is the party motto these days.

    … says a guy who voted for Donald freaking Trump in the Republican primary to, in his own words, “neuter the modern conservative movement”.

    Dave (1bb933)

  320. 324. This phenomenon didn’t start with Trump. Honorable people don’t last long in the modern American body-politic.

    Gryph (08c844)

  321. An undertaking is a promise; the context makes clear that was the sense in which I used it.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  322. Lives do get turned upside down because of politics but Sessions picked a really, really bad horse. Plus, his endorsement may have made it possible for Trump to ultimately win. He made his bed.

    DRJ (15874d)

  323. Patterico, by his own statements, is an implacable opponent of Donald Trump. Should one wonder if that colors his opinions?

    DN (116571)

  324. An undertaking is a promise; the context makes clear that was the sense in which I used it.

    It didn’t to me until you explained it, frankly, although now that you say that I am willing to accept it.

    The fact that I used the word in another sense than you did does not mean I “distorted” the word.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  325. Beldar, who needs “Hitler in the Bunker finds out … ” videos when Trump is on Fox and Twitter every day, re-enacting the scene himself?

    In fact, that scene in the film actually depicts a watershed moment of self-awareness and honesty, when Hitler finally admits that despite all his lies, gaslighting and denial of reality, he has been a total failure.

    We’re still waiting for Donald Trump to have the same epiphany…

    Dave (1bb933)

  326. Patterico, by his own statements, is an implacable opponent of Donald Trump. Should one wonder if that colors his opinions?

    Go ahead and wonder, but since I lay out the support for my opinions, it’s completely irrelevant. The only time my bias is relevant is if I am making assertions you can’t check elsewhere. If I’m not, dismissing my opinions because I have a well-developed opinion that he is a cretin and a scoundrel is just illogical and lazy.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  327. Then again, most Internet analysis is indeed illogical and lazy, and evaluates opinions based on the identity of the person stating them, so if you’re determined to engage in such lazy and illogical behavior, you will have puh-lenty of company.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  328. Beldar,

    It sounds like you believe Barr had no ulterior political motives and has acted solely (or primarily) based on the legal issues, possibly framed in a light most favorable to Trump. Others of us think that Barr might be motivated by political or personal concerns like job security, to please Trump or because he sincerely believes what helps Trump succeed will also help the nation.

    in addition, don’t you think that someone like Barr — who basically wrote that Presidents can never break the law — might have a strong motive to reinforce and protect the absolute powers of the President he serves?

    DRJ (15874d)

  329. Did Barr ever promise to fully capture the context, nature, and substance of the Mueller report as part of his required report to Congress? No. Does the regulation impose that duty on him? No. Having neither undertaken the promise, nor had that obligation imposed on him, is Barr’s failure to fully capture the context, nature, and substance of the full Mueller report a breach of any duty or promise he owed Congress or the public at large?

    No.

    Have I now made this same argument at least five different ways? I don’t know, I’m too tired to count.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  330. I don’t think anyone is arguing with you about that, Beldar. Mueller now knows he was wrong to expect that of Barr. But Mueller and Barr know each other so maybe Mueller has a reason he expected more.

    DRJ (15874d)

  331. Did Barr ever promise to fully capture the context, nature, and substance of the Mueller report as part of his required report to Congress? No. Does the regulation impose that duty on him? No. Having neither undertaken the promise, nor had that obligation imposed on him, is Barr’s failure to fully capture the context, nature, and substance of the full Mueller report a breach of any duty or promise he owed Congress or the public at large?

    No.

    I can agree with that.

    But that does not end the analysis, for me.

    Next question: is Barr’s positive choice to selectively quote only those portions of Mueller’s report that were favorable to Trump, in a way that falsely implied the absence of other portions that were equally (or more) significant but that are decidedly unfavorable to Trump, a breach of his duty of candor to Congress and to the nation? Your answer (I assume) is that you would disagree with the premise of my question, and that’s fine, but I am comfortable with my premise and the way I supported it in the post and my subsequent comments — and my answer to that question is yes.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  332. I want to add to my comment 335 that I don’t think Barr has ignored the law for political reasons, but I think he can end up with what Beldar calls “hogwash” (the legal essay that is now viewed as his AG application) when he desires a specific result.

    DRJ (15874d)

  333. I should note for the record:

    rpg-woods said:

    No, wrong again. I haven’t commented since you banned swc

    I don’t show that you ever commented — ever, under that name — before yesterday.

    I’m back to the opinion that you’re a troll. I even have a suspicion as to which one, but I’ll keep that to myself. In any event, any fan of swc is a fan of strawman douchebaggery, so there’s that.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  334. I wouldn’t opine on whether Barr has breached a duty of candor to Congress and to the nation. That strikes me as noble language upon which practical agreement is going to be practically impossible, and the parameters of that duty are as vague as its source. Are you relying on Barr’s ethical duty as a lawyer? His constitutional oath of office?

    In general, I see spin as consistent with a public servant’s obligations, and lies about material facts to be inconsistent. Since I characterize Barr’s letter as containing no worse than spin, and as being factually accurate, I don’t think he’s breached any duty of candor to anyone.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  335. Those two paragraphs in #341 contradict one another, in that I opined in the second on what I disclaiming an inclination to opine in the first. To reconcile them: I withdraw the first sentence.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  336. @326. Yep.

    An excellent strategy, too; as was using Von Braun to get Americans to the moon.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  337. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/01/us/politics/william-barr-testimony-factcheck.html

    (The New York Times has taken down its paywall for May 3–5 but may require you to sign in or create an account I think for the second page. Normally 10 pages are available if there are no cookies on the computer).

    https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/05/the-big-lie-that-barr-lied

    I originally thought this was too stupid to write about.

    (Andrew McCarthy)

    Sammy Finkelman (102c75)

  338. Non-PDF version of the Mar 24, 2019 4 page letter to Congress by AG BArr:

    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/03/24/us/politics/barr-letter-mueller-report.html

    Sammy Finkelman (102c75)

  339. I think Rosenstein wrote such a nice letter because he prefers Trump’s friends to Trump’s enemies.

    Sammy Finkelman (102c75)

  340. @339. He sought the gig in the first place to further a political agenda he has supported for decades. He’s a ‘Von Brauner’ as myself and P have pegged that sort in this era: ‘allegiance ruled by expedience.’ He’s playing Trump to further his own agenda– see #314.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  341. @26. Postscript- re: tmy vote; the general as well. He’s a transient; it’s goin’ better and faster than dreamed, revealing just how weak and fractured that ‘modern conservative movement’ was in 2016.

    Welcome to 1964.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  342. ^326. not 26; Typo. tmy = ‘to my’ as well.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  343. Happy cinco de mayo! Our new holiday.

    lany (1a0efb)

  344. Sunday is a traditional day of worship, families and rest for Christians.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  345. @324. Well said, Patterico. The survival “merits” of ‘allegiance ruled by expedience’ shine in those two. Compromising integrity, less so.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  346. @351. The Catholic families next door are ‘resting’ on a case of cold Corona.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  347. @271 Beldar:

    As it turned out, nothing that Trump attempted to do which was intended to abort or impair Mueller’s investigation ended up doing so[…].

    Are you sure? How do you know, for example, that Trump’s pardon dangling didn’t impair the quality of testimony by Manafort and possibly others?

    Speaking of Manafort, did he “fully cooperate?” Not that I’m suggesting his behavior was perfectly analogous to Trump’s, but I believe there’s enough similarity to be instructive.

    lurker (d8c5bc)

  348. Are you sure? How do you know, for example, that Trump’s pardon dangling didn’t impair the quality of testimony by Manafort and possibly others?

    Very good point.

    Patterico (507862)

  349. Now Trump doesn’t want Mueller to testify, (after saying before he wold leave it up to his Attorney general, and Barr saying he has no objectioons) because, he says (or rather tweets) he doesn’t the Democrats to have any “do-overs.”

    It’s not clear to me that he has any authority to stop him, or even he thinks he does, but perhaps Mueller would have to resign from something and lose access to his unpublished material in order to testify.

    I don’t know what hold Trump would have over him. Is it something that would apply to any current or former prosecutor at DOJ, and if so, what?

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  350. 354. lurker (d8c5bc) — 5/5/2019 @ 2:25 pm

    How do you know, for example, that Trump’s pardon dangling didn’t impair the quality of testimony by Manafort and possibly others?

    Do you think Manafort would count on any pardon from Trump?

    But Trump’s attitude toward Manafort could have affected his testimony this way: Manafort did not want to tell the whole truth….because telling the whole truth would reveal he had betrayed Trump’s confidences! After all he’d shared polling data with a probable Russian intelligence agents. Maaafort had also tried or made plans to sell influence in a Trump Administration.

    Trump would not like that (well he wouldn’t like the double dealing) so if Manafort had some hopes for a pardon from Trump at the end of his administration, he’d be throwing that away if he revealed his own dealings with Russia.

    And he’d have some hopes of pardon if Trump said or did nothing. And Manafort had an enormous sentence for his own financial crimes, and he wasn’t satisfied with the deals he was being offered.

    So he could have hoped, not more than hoped, that maybe he could get a pardon, but that would be enough to get him to try to hide things. Especally contacts with Russia.

    I don’t think Manafort dissembled about anything having to do with Trump. There wasn’t any sign of collusion between Trump and Russia – no secret back channel – but there are signs that there might have been between Manafort and Russia. Manafort had a secret back channel.

    At one point, or on a subject matter, when Maafort was co-operating more, he said he stopped a guy from talking about Ukraine – I think what Manafort called a crazy peace plan which involved the creation of an autonomous region in eastern Ukraine which his former client Yanukovich would become president of – because the next thing he would be asked to do would be to tell that to Trump.

    Which means: He didn’t want to say no to tsis Kremlin agent, and he didn’t think Trump would be receptive to that.

    Speaking of Manafort, did he “fully cooperate?”

    No, he didn’t. He got put back in jail and had his bail revoked because he didn’t. (there must have been some other factor, too. Oh, yes. He was accused of witness tampering. he wanted some person in Ukraine to say that what he had not been hired for did not include doing any lobbying.)

    Rosenstein and Barr were speaking of people who were working for Trump. That did not include Manafort.

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  351. An excellent strategy, too; as was using Von Braun to get Americans to the moon.

    I think you might have left out a step or two.

    Hiring immigrant labor to work on a national vanity project is like handing nuclear ICBMs and leadership of the free world to a morally degenerate imbecile how, exactly?

    Dave (1bb933)

  352. Good on them, DISCO, I hope they dont forget to give your lawn multiple free samples of Chemlawn treatments. You’re worse than Pastor Sandwhich from William Penns town.

    urbanleftbehind (166e4c)

  353. OT- Magnificent 90-minute interview airing this weekend on CSPAN3 w/Apollo 11’s Mike Collins and Marvin Kalb. If you get a chance, catch it if/when it re-airs. Excellent Q&A w/timely perspectives. Met Mike; a very down-to-earth-man who speaks ‘Earth-English’ and one of the best writers of all the Apollo astronauts. His first book, ‘Carrying The Fire’ is on my summer reading list for a revisit. But if you’re a Trumpster, beware: he does not find the press “the enemy.”

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  354. * Manafort was accused of witness tampering. He wanted some person in Ukraine to say that what he had been hired for did not involve doing any lobbying in the United states, but only in Europe..

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-06-05/manafort-s-outreach-to-witnesses-threatens-jail-casts-a-chill

    There’s a Politico story also from later that month when the bail was actually revoked.

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  355. @359. Immigrant labor? Believe you left out several steps- beginning w/he became, in fact, a naturalized U.S. citizen.

    Thanks for playing.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  356. Immigrant labor? Believe you left out several steps- beginning w/he became, in fact, a naturalized U.S. citizen.

    So that would make him … an immigrant.

    immigrant (n) – a person who comes to live permanently in a foreign country.

    Thank you for playing.

    (And don’t worry, I don’t blame you for not even trying to defend your ridiculous analogy)

    Dave (1bb933)

  357. @364. Ridiculous analogy?Except it’s not.

    And again, you ‘left out several steps.’ You’re in a hole; stop digging.

    What do we have for him, Johnnie…

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  358. Von Braun had enough grace and self awareness to play the game (converted to evangelical Christianity, met with both Billy Graham and MLK), traits not required by either camp of the powers that be if you are part of their pet tribal groups. A totally, VB may have more in common with chattel slavery depending in how brusquely he was spirited away from postwar Germany by US forces and how close he could have instead faced a Nuremberg tribunal.

    urbanleftbehind (166e4c)

  359. @364. Was he hired by the government as “immigrant labor,” — per your own posting– or as a U.S citizen to work on U.S. Army projects.

    Put down your shovel. And do enjoy 1964.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  360. @366. Bit of guilt trip. When I met him he was preparing an address w/a mix of spirituality and technology. Once the moon landing was in the books, the government began nudging him and his people aside. Hence, he left for the private sector at Fairchild and died in ’77. Had he lived, the dirty details of his Faustian past would have been outted along the lines of Rudolph. As it was most of his contemporaries- Debus, Dornberger, etc., died before the files were fully opened.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  361. There is another theory that explains Barr’s approach to this investigation, other than simply a defense of Trump. Barr may be defending Trump but in a larger sense, he may be defending the GOP and its future. I think there is a credible argument that the Republican Party sees its best outcomes by:

    1. A strong Presidency that can accomplish establishment goals when a Republican President is in office, and

    2. A concerted effort to hold the Senate or keep a strong minority presence, which will make it easier to support Republican Presidents on appropriate GOPe issues, and to block Democratic PResidents as needed, and

    3. On occasion, control the House but that is harder to do for Republicans and not as necessary since the GOP doesn’t really have a strong legislative agenda.

    DRJ (15874d)

  362. @364. Postscript: tell you what, Dave, Patterico did a whole posting on what you call a “ridiculous” ‘allegiance ruled by expedience’ analogy. Why don’t you take it up w/him. And don’t let the fact that he’s right, too, deter you.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  363. @369. Bingo. Posted that assessment a few times. He’s playing Trump and Trump likely doesn’t see it in the immediacy, as long as it benefits him in the now. There can be no other rationale for Barr soliciting the gig; after all, he’s not a Fox News cast member and Trump knew little about him. It’s the strong executive angle; as long as Baghdad Barr’s agenda parallels and appeals to the authoritarian in Trump, they’ll get along to go along.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  364. Are you sure? How do you know, for example, that Trump’s pardon dangling didn’t impair the quality of testimony by Manafort and possibly others?

    For various definitions of dangle, Trump would be obstructing with anything less than a clear refusal to grant any pardons. Given that there’s no way to enforce such a promise it wouldn’t take long to decide that a president always obstructs investigations of his administration. Which is pretty much were we’re at now.

    Frosty, Fp (7540e9)

  365. Another interesting point from history; Klaus Barbie is estimated to have personally been responsible for the deaths of 14,000 people. He was a big fan of torturing the French resistance.

    At the end of the war he was recruited by US counter-intelligence because they wanted access to the SS assets to fight communists and they also wanted to know what assets the British had turned. The US refused to give him to the French and instead helped him escape to Bolivia. And that isn’t code for shot him and left him in a ditch. He lived a nice life in Bolivia until the early 1980’s.

    Klaus did not help our effort to get to the moon. I’m not sure if he helped us make friends and influence people in Bolivia.

    Frosty, Fp (7540e9)

  366. For various definitions of dangle, Trump would be obstructing with anything less than a clear refusal to grant any pardons. Given that there’s no way to enforce such a promise it wouldn’t take long to decide that a president always obstructs investigations of his administration. Which is pretty much were we’re at now.

    How about the definition based on what Mueller found, which I bet you have no idea what it was, given how off base your example is.

    Patterico (f36bf8)

  367. The Soviets killed bandera in Munich in 1958, who was the lead resistance leader in the Ukraine, he was also probably a level b war criminal, a powerful coalition partner swoboda sees itself in their image.

    Narciso (067df6)

  368. ‘As I recently heard Comey say about Rosenstein: “He’s a survivor.” So is Barr.’
    Patterico (115b1f) — 5/5/2019 @ 12:36 pm

    Barr’s massive student loan debt must keep him in line.

    Munroe (97250f)

  369. @376 Thanks for that post. I’ve never heard of him and now I get to go learn some things about Ukrainian history that is still having an impact today.

    Frosty, Fp (7540e9)

  370. Their history is complex to stay the least it’s a catholic vs orthodox struggle in part . There is Petlura who is a curse world in many parts he was killed by someone provoked by the Soviets then bandera stepped up and he was responsible for at least one assassination of a polish official he arose put of the holomodor the red famine.

    Narciso (067df6)

  371. There is a reason they called that area between Poland and Russia, the bloodlands.

    Narciso (067df6)

  372. One man’s hack is another man’s reality check.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  373. people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. the ukraine will bite democrats hard.

    lany (a78ff6)

  374. Yes barbie was a piece of work, re worked with local militia chief rene bosque, who was a pal of mitterand, bosque did a few year stretch ended up on the board of indochina

    Narciso (067df6)

  375. “Democrats, with help from the mainstream media, will spare no effort to tarnish Barr as a way of discrediting the investigative train that is rolling down the tracks.

    Something has changed. Attorney General William Barr has become Public Enemy No. 1 for the Democrats and supportive mainstream media.

    It started with Barr’s four-page summary of the Mueller Report’s conclusions, which punctured the almost three year narrative that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians. The conclusion of no conspiracy or coordination, accurately summarized in the Barr letter, was verified when the full Mueller Report was released three weeks later.

    Barr’s letter also accurately set forth that Mueller did not find obstruction of justice, declining to reach any determination on that issue, instead laying out the arguments for and against. That no obstruction recommendation also was verified when the Mueller Report was released.

    Lacking any substantive ground for attacking Barr, Democrats and the media seized on procedure — that Barr framed the media narrative in a way favorable to Trump during this three week period. Apparently, framing a narrative favorable to Trump was not permitted even though the narrative of the Mueller Report in Barr’s letter was accurate.

    When Barr testified in Congress that “spying” on the Trump campaign did take place, the attacks on Barr took on a different and more vicious tone.

    That tone went into overdrive during Barr’s testimony earlier this week, when it was revealed that Mueller had expressed concern that Barr’s four-page letter did not include all the context of the full report. But Mueller, according to Barr, did not claim the four-page letter was inaccurate or misleading, rather, the media coverage was the problem.

    These are all details, none of which paint Barr in a bad light. But Democrats, including Nancy Pelosi, have decided to accuse Barr of perjury and demand he resign. Barr didn’t commit perjury, not even close, but that’s besides the point to Democrats and the media.

    What is going on here? Why are they going after Barr with such ferocity?

    It has nothing to do with the Mueller Report, or the four-page summary, or the timing of the release of the full report.

    It was Barr’s comments about spying on the Trump campaign, and his pledge to investigate that spying, that explains the frenzy to take down Barr. That spying, regardless of whether lawful, has the potential to be a scandal that could touch deep into the Obama administration, and some former officials who loom large in the anti-Trump resistance.

    It also could reach deep into the media, with the involvement of Fusion GPS in feeding Russian-provided, Clinton/DNC paid-for, disinformation to the mainstream journalist community.”

    —- William Jacobson

    READ IT ALL>>> https://legalinsurrection.com/2019/05/bill-barr-is-going-to-expose-spygate-and-the-democrat-media-russia-collusion-complex-is-panicking/

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  376. maggie {rags] haberman is a presstitute.

    mg (8cbc69)

  377. @385. Which may be why Trump keeps calling her.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  378. 2 bucks to see the clintons

    mg (8cbc69)

  379. Postscript: tell you what, Dave, Patterico did a whole posting on what you call a “ridiculous” ‘allegiance ruled by expedience’ analogy. Why don’t you take it up w/him.

    Because I doubt he drew a bizarre equivalence between hiring an immigrant technician and giving nuclear weapons to an immoral lunatic, your false claim to the contrary notwithstanding.

    Put down your shovel. And do enjoy 1964.

    Come back when you figure out what millennium it is.

    Dave (1bb933)

  380. If free trade and illegals were so great for america the voters wouldn’t have voted for trump and run you never trumpers and the libertarian conservatives out of the republican party!

    lany (a78ff6)

  381. @388.’Allegiance ruled by expedience’ – today’s GOP motto. Deal with it. And revisit his wise and observant posting. Then enjoy your 1964; I am. What goes around eventually does come around.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  382. I read all this back and forth, starting with Beldar’s #239, and I’m struck by the legalistic arguments as if they had a damn thing to do with the POLITICAL problem.

    In #239, Beldar lays out clear accusations that failed to move the needle against Bill Clinton — the GOP majority could not even deliver a majority vote. Clinton committed perjury on national TV, with news commentators setting the stage beforehand (“…if he says this, it’s perjury…”) and then discussing the reasons why it was perjury afterwards.

    And still they could not get a conviction, nor did it hurt the Democrats too badly in 2000.

    Now, whether this was a referral not — I’m going to split the baby: Mueller crafted a report that could be read either way. He refused to commit, because he knew the IMPEACHMENT case was way too weak, and did not want to get blamed for a failed impeachment like Starr did.

    Why was it weak? Because it depends on the idea that thwarted obstruction that did not affect the case is a crime. Everyone tells me it is, and I cannot dispute it, but if PERJURY wouln’t fly, if SUCCESSFUL obstruction of a real case doesn’t fly, who in their right mind expects orneriness to qualify as a high crime?

    If the people don’t back the play, then impeachment is a non-starter, and rebounds badly on those trying to bring it. Which is why Mueller played both sides of the street, and the middle.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  383. *Now, whether this was a referral OR not

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  384. ’Allegiance ruled by expedience’ – today’s GOP motto

    Well, the Democrat’s motto is “All your stuff is belong to us” or maybe “Death to America!”

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  385. 393 democrat motto paybacks a bit*h!

    lany (a78ff6)

  386. @ lurker, who asked (#355):

    How do you know, for example, that Trump’s pardon dangling didn’t impair the quality of testimony by Manafort and possibly others?

    I have no first-hand information about any this, and like the rest of us, rely on what Mueller has said in his report. If Mueller was doing his job properly, he would have been alert to the possibility you raise, since he was professionally obligated to make sentencing recommendations for Manafort and to bring the sentencing judges (two of them) evidence of Manafort’s failure to cooperate according to his plea agreement; he brought other evidence of that, and indeed Manafort was found by Judge Berman to have violated his agreement.

    So the short answer to your question is, I don’t know, but I am relying on Mueller having known, and just as Mueller laid out other evidence that could have supported obstruction of justice charges (or a referral in lieu thereof) against Trump, he could have laid out the sort of evidence you hypothesize — and he did not.

    One of us, then — me, I would submit — is drawing a reasonable inference. One of us — you, I submit — is speculating, and in a fashion that makes no sense given everything else Mueller has done and written.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  387. @ Kevin M: Ask the ghost of Richard Nixon whether obstruction flew in his impeachment proceedings.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  388. The Mueller investigators addressed Trump pardoning Manafort in Manafort’s case.

    DRJ (15874d)

  389. Beldar–

    “Obstruction” was not why he resigned. He resigned because his support had fallen to about 26% and, as I said, the People had decided he had to go.

    And again, the obstruction was repeated, active (payoff money, complete with bagmen), and included a shill as head of the FBI, actually firing the new AG and his deputy to get to the Special prosecutor, IRS audits of enemies, and an attorney general who had PLANNED a burglary. Calling the re-elect org “CREEP” wasn’t too bright either.

    Further, Nixon was elected as a God-fearing conservative, who then imposed wage-and-price-controls and implemented the Great Society while making nice with Mao. His support in the GOP wasn’t all that strong to begin with. And he wasn’t supposed to be a foul-mouthed lying assh0le, either.

    To say that Nixon was being impeached on obstruction is like saying that Willie Sutton was jailed for loitering in banks.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  390. Thank you for your #397 with its link to this Feb. 7, 2019, Bloomberg News report, DRJ. For those who haven’t already followed it, I’ll quote the introductory paragraphs, which do indeed establish that the Mueller investigators gave consideration to the question of pardons — although in this instance, it was Manafort angling for a pardon, rather than Trump dangling one:

    President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, may have lied to prosecutors to increase his chances at a pardon for crimes he committed, according to a court transcript.

    Manafort “lied about an extremely sensitive matter,” Andrew Weissmann, a prosecutor in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office, told a judge at a Feb. 4 hearing. Manafort’s motivation may have been to “augment his chances for a pardon,” Weissmann said, according to a section of the transcript that’s heavily redacted. The document was unsealed Thursday.

    Manafort’s hopes for a pardon was one of several revelations in the 142-page transcript of a sealed hearing. It was called by a judge seeking to determine whether Manafort breached a plea agreement by lying to investigators during a dozen debriefings and in two grand jury appearances.

    To be very blunt: If Mueller believed that Trump or anyone had been successful in obstructing his investigation in any material respect, that absolutely, positively should have been in his report, since the special counsel regulation pursuant to which his entire investigation was conducted, 28 C.F.R. § 600.4(a), places within his jurisdiction “the authority to investigate and prosecute federal crimes committed in the course of, and with intent to interfere with, the Special Counsel’s investigation, such as perjury, obstruction of justice, destruction of evidence, and intimidation of witnesses.”

    I respectfully submit that at this point, for those of us on the outside to speculate on things that might have happened but that Mueller somehow missed is a pursuit not to be taken seriously. I enjoy fiction, but only when it’s so labeled.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  391. Also in his report, Mueller addressed possible obstruction regarding Manafort:

    Mueller further cited Trump’s public praise for Manafort during his trial on bank and tax fraud charges.

    Trump called Manafort a “brave man” and suggested “flipping” to cooperate with prosecutors “almost ought to be outlawed,” Mueller wrote.

    The timing suggests Trump might pardon Manafort.

    DRJ (15874d)

  392. @ Kevin M: Your memory of history is mistaken. The proximate cause of Nixon’s resignation was a trip by Barry Goldwater, Howard Baker, and other Senate Republicans to the White House to tell him that the situation in their caucus had changed; it had long been certain beyond doubt that the heavily Democratic House would vote to impeach by an overwhelming margin; but now, it had become certain that enough GOP senators would convict in order to reach the two-thirds majority. Nixon left the White House one step ahead of an obstruction of justice broom. I don’t know your age, sir, but I was politically aware and active at the time — chairman of the Dawson County Young Republicans Club as well as a radio DJ whose job included reading the hot news flashes from AP and UPI, which I covered right up through the moment of Nixon’s resignation. Based on my age, I’m therefore claiming the elders’ privilege of not bothering to look up links to document that which I know beyond any shade of doubt to be the truth. Believe what you wish, but if you believe Nixon wasn’t run out of office for obstruction of justice, you’re believing a fantasy.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  393. Manafort was angling and Trump was dangling. Sounds like they were negotiating or at least had the same idea, doesn’t it?

    DRJ (15874d)

  394. Even apart from a possible pardon, Mueller raised that Trump tried to influence the Manafort proceeding in a way that might be obstruction.

    DRJ (15874d)

  395. I’m certain Goldwater was in the group; I may be mistaken about Baker et alia also being part of it. But I definitely recall that the Goldwater visit to the White House was literally the day before Nixon resigned. Before, it had been almost universally assumed that as he did with his attempt to fight the tapes case in the SCOTUS, Nixon would stonewall until the very end, and the resignation caught a lot of folks very much by surprise. He didn’t resign because his public opinion numbers tanked, he resigned so as not to become the first and only U.S. president removed from office by the Senate.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  396. Look at the history of these investigations and impeachment. I don’t blame Mueller for collecting the evidence and effectively saying, “Here it is. You decide, Congress and the American public. When it comes to Presidents, this is about politics more than crimes.”

    DRJ (15874d)

  397. My recollection about Nixon is the same, Beldar. GOP leaders Goldwater, Rhodes and Scott visited Nixon. Baker was known for his role in the Senate hearings.

    DRJ (15874d)

  398. The Mueller dossier is nothing but a roadmap to impeachment. Mueller team of hate gave adam piece of schiff and nadless info they could not get in committee, Her Mueller did the work for these low life hacks. The interference by Mueller for all these years has damaged the executive branch going into the future. American jurisprudence has been tossed in a ditch.

    mg (8cbc69)

  399. Never mind all that. The burning question on America’s mind this morning is: Was that a Starbucks cup in Game of Thrones?

    nk (9651fb)

  400. Beldar:

    I am curious — given that Barr has indicated some confusion on what Mueller intended to accomplish with his report, and your thoughts in #399 — do you support having Mueller testify, or are you content on Trump trying to prevent him from testifying?

    Appalled (c9622b)

  401. mg:

    The interference by Mueller for all these years has damaged the executive branch going into the future.

    Are you in favor of a stronger executive in the future, no matter which Party holds the Presidency, or just a stronger Trump?

    DRJ (15874d)

  402. Beldar:

    To be very blunt: If Mueller believed that Trump or anyone had been successful in obstructing his investigation in any material respect, that absolutely, positively should have been in his report, since the special counsel regulation pursuant to which his entire investigation was conducted, 28 C.F.R. § 600.4(a), places within his jurisdiction “the authority to investigate and prosecute federal crimes committed in the course of, and with intent to interfere with, the Special Counsel’s investigation, such as perjury, obstruction of justice, destruction of evidence, and intimidation of witnesses.”

    I respectfully submit that at this point, for those of us on the outside to speculate on things that might have happened but that Mueller somehow missed is a pursuit not to be taken seriously. I enjoy fiction, but only when it’s so labeled.

    That prompted me to look up what Mueller said:

    With respect to Manafort, there is evidence that the President’s actions had the potential to influence Manafort’s decision whether to cooperate with the government. The President and his personal counsel made repeated statements suggesting that a pardon was a possibility for Manafort, while also making it clear that the President did not want Manafort to “flip” and cooperate with the government. On June 15, 2018 , the day the judge presiding over Manafort’s D.C. case was considering whether to revoke his bail, the President said that he “felt badly” for Manafort and stated, “I think a lot of it is very unfair.” And when asked about a pardon for Manafort, the President said, “I do want to see people treated fairly. That ‘s what it’s all about.” Later that day, after Manafort’s bail was revoked, the President called it a “tough sentence” that was “Very unfair! ” Two days later, the President’s personal counsel stated that individual s involved in the Special Counsel ‘ s investigation could receive a pardon “if in fact the [P]resident and his advisors .. . come to the conclusion that you have been treated unfairly” — using language that paralleled how the President had already described the treatment of Manafort. Those statements, combined with the President’s commendation ofManafort for being a “brave man” who “refused to ‘break’, “suggested that a pardon was a more likely possibility if Manafort continued not to cooperate with the government. And while Manafort eventually pleaded guilty pursuant to a cooperation agreement, he was found to have violated the agreement by lying to investigators.

    The President s public statements during the Manafort trial, including during jury deliberations, also had the potential to influence the trial jury. On the second day of trial, for example, the President called the prosecution a “terrible situation ” and a ” hoax” that “continues to stain our country “and referred to Manafort as a “Reagan/Dole darling” who was “serving solitary confinement” even though he was “convicted of nothing.” Those statements were widely picked up by the press. While jurors were instructed not to watch or read news stories about the case andare presumed to follow those instructions, the President’s statements during the trial generated substantial media coverage that could have reached jurors if they happened to see the statements or learned about them from others. And the President ‘s statements during jury deliberations that Manafort “happens to be a very good person” and that “it’s very sad what they’ve done to Paul Manafort” had the potential to influence jurors who learned of the statements, which the President made just as jurors were considering whether to convict or acquit Manafort.

    Those two paragraphs are followed immediately by a redacted paragraph, also under the headling of the element of obstruction. Pages 131-132 in Volume II.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  403. It doesn’t appear that Mueller spent any time trying to analyze whether Manafort’s cooperation was actually influenced by all that — perhaps because it’s not an element of the crime to show it was, combined with the difficult nature of deciding whether Manafort’s lies were prompted by all these promises. But we know from the public record that Manafort secretly cooperated with Trump. I always assumed that was done with a pardon in mind. I just didn’t realize until the report came out how extensive and explicit the dangling was.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  404. @411

    well that’s pretty clearly stated.

    Time123 (7cca75)

  405. DRJ – Stronger executive seems less harmful than all those hacks in congress polluting every manufactured crisis.

    mg (8cbc69)

  406. DRJ – Stronger executive seems less harmful than all those hacks in congress polluting every manufactured crisis.

    I disagree, limited government with good checks and balances is better than strong government. A congress that has delegated their power to the executive branch weakens those checks and balances.

    Time123 (7cca75)

  407. “The State Department and an Australian diplomat grossly exaggerated Papadopoulos’s claims — which were probably false anyway.
    Chicanery was the force behind the formal opening of the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation. There was a false premise, namely: The Trump campaign must have known that Russia possessed emails related to Hillary Clinton. From there, through either intentional deception or incompetence, the foreign ministries of Australia and the United States erected a fraudulent story tying the Trump campaign’s purported knowledge to the publication of hacked Democratic National Committee emails.

    That is what we learn from the saga of George Papadopoulos, as fleshed out by the Mueller report.

    The investigative theory on which the FBI formally opened the foreign-counterintelligence probe code-named “Crossfire Hurricane” on July 31, 2016, held that the Trump campaign knew about, and was potentially complicit in, Russia’s possession of hacked emails that would compromise Hillary Clinton; and that, in order to help Donald Trump, the Kremlin planned to disseminate these emails anonymously (through a third party) at a time maximally damaging to Clinton’s campaign.

    There are thus two components to this theory: the emails and Russia’s intentions.

    I. Papadopoulos Knew Nothing about the DNC Emails — and Probably Nothing about Any Emails

    The one and only source for the email component of the story is George Papadopoulos. He, of course, is a convicted liar — convicted, in fact, of lying to the FBI during the very same interviews in which he related the detail about emails. Moreover, the Mueller report confirms that he is simply unreliable: To inflate his importance, he overhyped his credentials and repeatedly misled his Trump-campaign superiors regarding his discussions with people be believed had connections to the Russian regime — who they were and what they were in a position to promise.

    Other than Papadopoulos’s own word, there is no evidence — none — that he was told about emails by Joseph Mifsud, a Maltese academic whom the FBI and the Mueller investigation deceptively portrayed as a Russian agent. As I’ve previously detailed, because the investigation could not establish that Mifsud was a Russian agent, Mueller’s charge against Papadopoulos is artfully framed to obscure this weakness. Carefully parsed, Mueller allegation is that Papadopoulos had reason to believe Mifsud was a Russian agent — not that Mifsud actually was one.

    If Mifsud is the asset of any foreign intelligence service, it is Britain’s — but that is a story for another day.

    We learn from the Mueller report (Volume I, p. 193) that Mifsud was interviewed by the FBI on February 10, 2017, a couple of weeks after the bureau started interviewing Papadopoulos. Mifsud denied that, when he met Papadopoulos in London on April 26, 2016, he either knew about or said anything about Russia’s possession of Clinton-related emails.

    The Trump-Russia investigation continued for over two years after the FBI’s interview of Mifsud. Mueller took over the probe in May 2017. During his 22 months running the investigation, Mueller charged many people (including Papadopoulos) with lying to the FBI. But he never charged Mifsud. The government has never alleged that Mifsud’s denial was false.

    There appear to be very good reasons for that.

    First, there is no evidence in Mueller’s report that Mifsud had any reason to know the operations of Russia’s intelligence services.

    Second, prior to being interviewed by the FBI in January 2017, Papadopoulos never reported anything about Russia having emails — neither to his Trump-campaign superiors, to whom he was constantly reporting on his conversations with Mifsud; nor to Alexander Downer, the Australian diplomat whose conversation with Papadopoulos was the proximate cause for the formal opening of the FBI probe. (As further detailed below, Papadopoulos told Downer the Russians had damaging information; he did not say emails.)

    It was only when he was interviewed by the FBI in late January 2017, nine months after his conversation with Mifsud, that Papadopoulos is alleged to have claimed that Mifsud said the Russians had “thousands” of “emails of Clinton.” There is no known recording of this FBI interview, so there is no way of knowing whether (a) Papadopoulos volunteered this claim that Mifsud mentioned emails, or (b) this claim was suggested to Papadopoulos by his interrogators’ questions. We have no way of knowing whether Papadopoulos is telling the truth (which, for no good reason, he kept hidden from his Trump-campaign superiors); or if he was telling the FBI agents what he thought they wanted to hear (which is what he often did when reporting to the Trump campaign).

    But the email component is only half the concocted story.

    II. Papadopoulos Had No Knowledge of Russia’s Intentions

    There is no evidence whatsoever, including in the 448-page Mueller report, that Papadopoulos was ever told that Russia intended, through an intermediary, to disseminate damaging information about Clinton in a manner designed to hurt Clinton’s candidacy and help Trump’s. There is, furthermore, no evidence that Papadopoulos ever said such a thing to anyone else — including Downer, whom he famously met at the Kensington Wine Rooms in London on May 6, 2016.

    The claim that Papadopoulos made such a statement is a fabrication, initially founded on what, at best, was a deeply flawed assumption by Downer, the Australian diplomat.

    On July 22, 2016, the eve of the Democratic National Convention and two months after Downer met with Papadopoulos, WikiLeaks began disseminating to the press the hacked DNC emails. From this fact, Downer drew the unfounded inference that the hacked emails must have been what Papadopoulos was talking about when he said Russia had damaging information about Clinton.

    Downer’s assumption was specious, for at least four reasons.

    1) In speaking with Downer, Papadopoulos never mentioned emails. Neither Downer nor Papadopoulos has ever claimed that Papadopoulos spoke of emails.

    2) Papadopoulos did not tell Downer that Russia was planning to publish damaging information about Clinton through an intermediary. There is no allegation in the Mueller report that Mifsud ever told Papadopoulos any such thing, much less that Papadopoulos relayed it to Downer. Mueller’s report says:

    Mifsud told Papadopoulos that he had met with high-level Russian government officials during his recent trip to Moscow. Mifsud also said that, on the trip, he learned that the Russians had obtained “dirt” on candidate Hillary Clinton. As Papadopoulos later stated to the FBI, Mifsud said that the “dirt” was in the form of “emails of Clinton,” and that they “have thousands of emails.”

    (Vol. I, p. 89 & n. 464). In neither the Mueller report nor the “Statement of the Offense” that Mueller filed in connection with Papadopoulos’s plea (pp. 6–7) have prosecutors claimed that Mifsud told Papadopoulos what Russia was planning to do with the “dirt,” much less why. And, to repeat, Mifsud denied telling Papadopoulos anything about emails; Mueller never alleged that Mifsud’s denial was false.

    3) Papadopoulos says the emails he claims Mifsud referred to were not the DNC emails; they were Clinton’s own emails. That is, when Papadopoulos claims that Mifsud told him that Russia had “dirt” in the form of “thousands” of “emails of Clinton,” he understood Mifsud to be alluding to the thousands of State Department and Clinton Foundation emails that Clinton had stored on a private server. These, of course, were the emails that were being intensively covered in the media (including speculation that they might have been hacked by hostile foreign intelligence services) at the time Mifsud and Papadopoulos spoke – i.e., April 2016, when neither Mifsud nor Papadopoulos had any basis to know anything about hacked DNC emails.

    4) The DNC emails did not damage Clinton in any material way, and it would have been ridiculous to imagine that they would. They were not Clinton’s emails and she was not a correspondent in them. The emails embarrassed the DNC by showing that the national party favored Clinton over Bernie Sanders. But Clinton was already the certain nominee; nothing in the emails threatened that outcome or set her back in the race against Donald Trump.

    The State Department and the FBI Distort What Papadopoulos ‘Suggested’

    Downer’s flawed assumption that Papadopoulos must have been referring to the hacked DNC emails was then inflated into a Trump-Russia conspiracy theory by Clinton partisans in the Obama administration — first at the State Department, and then in the Justice Department, the FBI, and the broader intelligence community — all agencies in which animus against Donald Trump ran deep.

    To recap, though Downer initially dismissed his conversation with Papadopoulos as trite gossip, he suddenly decided their discussion was significant after the hacked DNC emails were published. In late July, he personally went to the American embassy in London to report the two-month-old conversation to Elizabeth Dibble, the chargé d’affaires (i.e., the deputy chief of mission, who was running the embassy because Matthew Barzun, the U.S. ambassador and heavyweight Democratic party fundraiser, was on vacation).

    Although Papadopoulos is extensively quoted in the Mueller report, the prosecutors avoid any quote from Downer regarding what Papadopoulos told him at the meeting. This is consistent with Mueller’s false-statements charge against Papadopoulos, which includes the aforementioned 14-page “Statement of the Offense” that studiously omits any reference to Papadopoulos’s May 6 meeting with Downer, notwithstanding that it was the most consequential event in Papadopoulos’s case. (See pp. 7–8, in which the chronology skips from May 4 to May 13 as if nothing significant happened in between.)

    Instead, Mueller carefully describes not what Papadopoulos said to Downer, but what Downer understood Papadopoulos had “suggested,” namely that

    the Trump Campaign had received indications from the Russian government that it could assist the Campaign through the anonymous release of information that would be damaging to Hillary Clinton.

    The “Trump Campaign” here is Papadopoulos; the “Russian government” is Mifsud. But Papadopoulos was as low-ranking as it got in the Trump campaign, and Mifsud — the source of the “indications” — was not part of the Russian government at all.

    More to the point, even if it were mistakenly assumed that Mifsud was a Russian-government operative (notwithstanding that the FBI could easily have established that he was not), there is no evidence that Mifsud ever told Papadopoulos that the Russian government was planning to assist the Trump campaign by anonymously releasing information damaging to Clinton.

    In his February 2017 FBI interview, Mifsud denied saying anything to Papadopoulos about Clinton-related emails in the possession of the Kremlin. Of course, Mifsud could be lying. But there is no evidence that he would have been in a position to know. As we’ve noted, Mueller never charged Mifsud with lying to the FBI. Interestingly, prosecutors allege that Mifsud “falsely” recounted the last time he had seen Papadopoulos; but prosecutors do not allege that Mifsud’s denial of knowledge about Russia’s possession of emails is false (Vol. I, p. 193).

    Moreover, the Mueller report does not allege that Papadopoulos ever claimed Mifsud told him the Russians would try to help Trump by anonymously releasing information damaging to Clinton. Again, instead of quoting Papadopoulos, prosecutors repeatedly and disingenuously stress the “suggestion” that Papadopoulos purportedly made— as if the relevant thing were the operation of Downer’s mind rather than the words that Papadopoulos actually used.

    Prosecutors acknowledge that Papadopoulos’s conversation with Downer is “contained in the FBI case-opening document and related materials” (Vol. I, p. 89, n. 465). But Mueller’s report does not quote these materials, even though it extensively quotes other investigative documents. Mueller does not tell us what Papadopoulos said.

    Here is how the report puts it (Vol. I, p. 192) in explaining why Papadopoulos was interviewed in late January 2017 (my italics):

    Investigators approached Papadopoulos for an interview based on his role as a foreign policy advisor to the Trump Campaign and his suggestion to a foreign government representative that Russia had indicated it could assist the Campaign through the anonymous release of information damaging to candidate Clinton.

    The “suggestion” that Papadopoulos said such a thing is sheer invention. Plainly, it is based on the wayward deduction by Downer and the State Department that Russia’s anonymous publication (via WikiLeaks) of the hacked DNC emails must have been what Papadopoulos was talking about. But that is not what Papadopoulos was talking about.

    Distorting Papadopoulos’s Role to Obscure Reliance on the Steele Dossier

    This deduction was not just unfounded but self-interested. The State Department (very much including the American embassy in London) was deeply in the tank for Clinton. Downer has a history with the Clintons that includes arranging a $25 million donation to the Clinton Foundation in 2006, when he was Australia’s foreign minister and then-senator Hillary Clinton was the favorite to become U.S. president in 2008. For years, furthermore, Downer has been closely tied to British intelligence, which, like the British government broadly, was anti-Trump. (More on that in the future.)

    The State Department’s Dibble immediately sent Downer’s information though government channels to the FBI.

    About three weeks earlier, Victoria Nuland, the Obama administration’s top State Department official for European and Eurasian affairs, had supported the FBI’s request to meet former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele in London. Steele was the principal author of the Clinton-campaign-sponsored faux intelligence reports (the unverified “Steele dossier”), which claimed — based on anonymous sources and multiple layers of hearsay — that Russia was plotting to help Trump win the election, and that it had been holding compromising information about Hillary Clinton.

    On July 5, Agent Michael Gaeta, the FBI’s legal attaché in Rome (who had worked with Steele on the FIFA soccer investigation when Steele was still with British intelligence), met with Steele at the latter’s London office. Steele permitted him to read the first of the reports that, over time, would be compiled into the so-called dossier. An alarmed Gaeta is said to have told Steele, “I have to report this to headquarters.”

    It is inconceivable that Gaeta would have gone to the trouble of clearing his visit to London with the State Department and getting FBI headquarters to approve his trip, but then neglected to report to his headquarters what the source had told him — to wit, that the Trump campaign was conspiring with the Kremlin to undermine the 2016 election.

    As I have previously detailed, after the hacked DNC emails were published, Steele (whose sources had not foretold the hacking by Russia or publication by WikiLeaks) simply folded this event into his preexisting narrative of a Trump-Russia conspiracy.

    Prior to early July, when the FBI began receiving Steele-dossier reports (which the State Department would also soon receive), the intelligence community — particularly the CIA, under the direction of its hyper-political director, John Brennan — had been theorizing that the Trump campaign was in a corrupt relationship with Russia. Thanks to the Steele dossier, even before Downer reported his conversation with Papadopoulos to the State Department, the Obama administration had already been operating on the theory that Russia was planning to assist the Trump campaign through the anonymous release of information that would be damaging to Clinton. They had already conveniently fit the hacked DNC emails into this theory.

    Downer’s report enabled the Obama administration to cover an investigative theory it was already pursuing with a report from a friendly foreign government, as if that report had triggered the Trump-Russia investigation. In order to pull that off, however, it was necessary to distort what Papadopoulos had told Downer.”

    https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/05/fbi-trump-russia-investigation-george-papadopoulos/

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  408. Fruit of the poisoned tree.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  409. Another joyous week of knowing that the Pantsuited Pantload – unchallenged President of Pantsuit Nation – will never be POTUS!

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  410. Rejoice and be of good cheer, people, as you go about your busy days amongst these nattering nabobs of negativism!

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  411. McCarthy is spinning, Haiku. The FBI had no reason to disbelieve Downer’s account of his conversation with Papadopoulos, and Downer couldn’t have known Papadopoulos well enough to discern whether he was being truthful or blowing smoke. Not taking any chances, Downer did the responsible thing and reported the conversation, and it was enough for FBI counter-intelligence to check it out. And, as it turns out, Downer wasn’t the only guy that Papadopoulos told about Russian “dirt” on Hillary. Page 101 of the Mueller PDF:

    Papadopoulos admitted telling at least one individual outside of the Campaign–specifically, the then-Greek foreign minister–about Russia’s obtaining Clinton-related emails.

    Had Papadopoulos been truthful with the FBI, agents would’ve had another chance to interview Mifsud.

    Paul Montagu (7968e9)

  412. Dangling a pardon obstructs the prosecution’s ability to dangle a conviction aimed at getting the suspect to “sing”.

    Such dangling is reserved to the unelected.

    Munroe (7b0e08)

  413. VDH for the win…

    “In a recent op-ed, fired FBI Director James Comey was back again preaching to the nation about the dangers of Donald Trump and his capacity to corrupt any top-ranking federal official of lower character than Comey’s own.
    Comey seems to have become utterly unhinged by Donald Trump, especially when the president, in his thick Queens accent, scoffs in the vernacular—quite accurately, given the transgressions of the FBI hierarchy—about “crooked cops.” What an affront to Comey’s complexity, his subtlety, his sophistication, his feigned Hamlet-like self-doubt—at least as now expressed in his latest incarnation as Twitter’s Kahlil Gibran.

    One can say a number of things about the timing of Comey’s latest sermon and his characteristic projection of his own sins on to others.

    First, Comey’s unprofessionalism was home-grown and certainly did not need any help from President Trump. His schizophrenic behavior both as a prosecutor and investigator in the Hillary Clinton email matter was marked by exempting Clinton aides Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin from indictment, despite their lying to his own federal officials about their knowledge of a private Clinton email server. Comey wrote his summation of the Clinton email investigation before he had even interviewed the former secretary of state. He was hardly independent from a recused Attorney General Loretta Lynch in the Clinton email investigation. As her rubbery courier he bent to her directives on all key decisions that led to de facto exoneration of likely next president Hillary Clinton.

    Second, Attorney General William Barr is soon to receive a number of criminal referrals from Congress, inspectors general, and perhaps other prosecutors. He won’t allow collusion hysteria to cause him to recuse himself in the manner in which Jeff Sessions sidelined himself and elevated Rod Rosenstein.

    In anticipation of that bleak reality, Comey seems to be prepping his own defense by a transparent preemptive attack on the very official who may soon calibrate Comey’s own legal exposure. Comey should at least offer a disclaimer that the federal prosecutor he is now attacking may soon be adjudicating his own future —if for no other reason than to prevent a naïf from assuming that Comey’s gambit of attacking Barr is deliberately designed to suggest later on that prosecutor Barr harbored a prejudicial dislike of likely defendant Comey.

    How ironic that Comey who used to lecture the nation on “obstruction” and the impropriety of Trump’s editorializing about the Mueller prosecutorial team, is now attacking—or perhaps “obstructing”—the Attorney General before he has even issued a single indictment.

    Three, Comey somehow remains seriously delusional about the abyss between his sermonizing and his own unethical and likely illegal behavior.”

    THERE’S MORE>>> https://amgreatness.com/2019/05/05/the-fright-of-james-comey/

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  414. The chicken – which represents this coup attempt and concurrent operation to undo the results of the November 2016 election – has been reduced to a mass of pulverized bones and feathers.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  415. @ Appalled, who asked (#409):

    I am curious — given that Barr has indicated some confusion on what Mueller intended to accomplish with his report, and your thoughts in #399 — do you support having Mueller testify, or are you content on Trump trying to prevent him from testifying?

    There certainly was such a time for being coy about this investigation, but the report having been released, that time has long since passed.

    Trump may give, and Barr may follow, a peremptory instruction to Mueller forbidding him to testify, which would lead to a court battle over enforcement of the resulting Congressional subpoena. Certainly Trump’s tweets from yesterday suggest that such is Trump’s initial inclination. But especially over weekends, he often tweets rash things that his advisers talk him out of, or distract him from, or that he otherwise doesn’t follow up upon.

    If this becomes one of those times, it probably will be because Barr spends some of the political capital he’s just earned with Trump — see my other remarks re clientsmanship — to back Trump down. Barr will tell him, correctly, that Mueller is going to stick very, very closely to his report, meaning (as our host noted above, and I agree) Mueller is unlikely to be the kind of J’accuse moment the Dems are still fantasizing about. Rather, he will almost certainly be a tightly disciplined, meticulous witness — not very chatty, volunteering little to nothing. After about the 24th or 38th time Mueller repeats what’s in his report, not backing off from it but neither advancing beyond it, people will be bored. “This will finally put this to bed,” Barr will tell Trump, which won’t be exactly true, but which Trump wants to believe. The alternative of going to the stonewall at this point would in fact be a great boon for the Dems, feeding their political furor right through November 2020.

    It’s possible that Barr may draw the line at turning over underlying documents and other evidence, but allows Mueller to give oral testimony.

    But I very much hope that Barr persuades Trump to allow Mueller to testify; I think it likely would end up being in Trump’s best interests overall to do so, and in any event, it would be in the country’s best interests. Allowing Mueller to testify would also be consistent with other discretionary decisions Barr has made, and at least with general undertakings he has given during his confirmation hearing toward trying to wrap this up transparently, but I don’t recall whether he was ever specifically asked, “Will you let Mueller come testify after his report?” So I’m cautiously optimistic.

    If Barr fails to persuade Trump, I’ll certainly be disappointed in him, and that would be a serious blot on his credibility.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  416. Those two paragraphs are followed immediately by a redacted paragraph, also under the headling of the element of obstruction. Pages 131-132 in Volume II.

    I don’t expect the redacted portions to change any of the conclusions. So far, I think only 2 R’s and 0 D’s have looked at a more complete version of the report. If the D’s suspected it was a source of additional evidence they would send at least one person to check. Congressional D’s suggesting the redactions hide impeachable material are engaging in political theater.

    Frosty, Fp (7540e9)

  417. I ought have written, in #424: “Trump may give a peremptory instruction to Barr to give a peremptory instruction to Mueller forbidding him to testify ….”

    Also among the arguments Barr could use to persuade Trump to reverse himself (contra his tweets): “What, do you want to start this whole obstruction thing all over again?”

    For those who may have missed this particular Twitter meltdown:

    After spending more than $35,000,000 over a two year period, interviewing 500 people, using 18 Trump Hating Angry Democrats & 49 FBI Agents – all culminating in a more than 400 page Report showing NO COLLUSION – why would the Democrats in Congress now need Robert Mueller…….— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 5, 2019

    ….to testify. Are they looking for a redo because they hated seeing the strong NO COLLUSION conclusion? There was no crime, except on the other side (incredibly not covered in the Report), and NO OBSTRUCTION. Bob Mueller should not testify. No redos for the Dems!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 5, 2019

    Trump is the sort of moron who sees no inconsistency between savaging Mueller for months for supposedly exceeding his authority, and then faulting him for not investigating something that would indeed have exceeded his authority.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  418. The chicken – which represents this coup attempt and concurrent operation to undo the results of the November 2016 election – has been reduced to a mass of pulverized bones and feathers.

    The chicken is very much alive, and is in fact an eagle, and not all your cut and pastes from Trumpland will have an effect on that.

    Get this into your head, dear Colonel.

    The investigation of Trump’s campaign was fully justified. Not merely justified…but if had there had been no investigation, that would have been a failure of duty on the part of the IC.

    The IC was faced with the possibility that a real life Manchurian Candidate had appeared. The fact that the candidate in question was not in fact a Manchurian Candidate does not mean the IC had no reason to try to figure out if he was or was not a Manchurian Candidate. It was their job to figure that out.

    The non-investigation of Hillary was corrupt behavior. The investigation of Team Trump was not.

    kishnevi (496414)

  419. Trump is the sort of moron who sees no inconsistency between savaging Mueller for months for supposedly exceeding his authority, and then faulting him for not investigating something that would indeed have exceeded his authority.

    He’s moronic enough to retweet this
    https://twitter.com/JerryFalwellJr/status/1124841332747460608
    although perhaps someone explained to him after that retweet that it couldn’t be done….
    https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1125235130002489345

    But let’s be fair to Trump. He is not the first person to produce the inconsistency you cite. There’s been comments even here on other threads that said the same or similar.

    kishnevi (496414)

  420. @ Patterico, re your #411 and its two quoted paragraphs from the Mueller report:

    How do you think he’ll answer if Mueller is permitted to testify, and a congressperson reads those two paragraphs aloud to him, and then asks: “Did anyone succeed in an effort to interfere with your investigation?”

    My own expectation is that he would say something like: “Those two paragraphs, respectively, illustrate evidence that with respect to Manafort, the President’s actions had the potential to influence his decision whether to cooperate with the government, and evidence that with respect to Manafort’s trial, the President’s public statements also had the potential to influence the trial jury.”

    In other words, he’ll repeat the topic sentence of each paragraph.

    Pressed harder about whether those “potential” results actually happened — “Was Manafort’s decision influenced? Was the trial jury influenced? — his answer will be something like, “The report sets out the evidence you’ve quoted to me, and does not contain express conclusions of the sort you’re asking me to make now, which I decline to do because I’m here to testify about my investigation and report.”

    Beldar (fa637a)

  421. To say that Nixon was being impeached on obstruction is like saying that Willie Sutton was jailed for loitering in banks.

    Nixon hanged himself. First, like Trump, he was always picking disloyal/incompetent lawyers. Cf: John Dean and Lee Garment. Second, he should have burned the tapes when he had the chance. There’s no reason, he couldn’t have kept the tapes that were subpoena’d and destroyed the rest. It wasn’t the tapes that were ORIGINALLY subpoenaed that destroyed him, it was the other tapes that led investigators to conclude he should be impeached.

    If actually look at Nixon’s record, he was always talking about being “tough and decisive” but in reality he was always dithering and looking for compromises.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  422. Trump realizes this will give Mueller a second bite of the apple. Mueller won’t change any facts because the facts in his report are enough, but Mueller may be willing to share more of his opinions regarding those facts in order to fully capture the context, nature, and substance of the report.

    DRJ (15874d)

  423. The investigation of Trump’s campaign was fully justified. Not merely justified…but if had there had been no investigation, that would have been a failure of duty on the part of the IC.

    We didn’t need Mueller to investigate. We had the FBI and Congress investigating. And under no circumstances did we need an investigation of whether Comey’s firing was “obstruction of Justice”. Mueller came up with a few tidbits, like McGahn’s testimony and Trump’s half-hearted attempts to fire Mueller for conflict of interest, but otherwise it was a 450 page waste of time.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  424. rcocean (1a839e) — 5/6/2019 @ 9:12 am

    I was referring to the FBI’s investigation/surveillance of the campaign in 2016.
    However, if you did go over Mueller’s report, you would have noticed that Mueller described a pattern of behavior that did not qualify as obstruction of justice mostly because Trump was too incompetent to get it right.

    kishnevi (496414)

  425. Do you also think there is no need to investigate the Obama Administration over things like Fast & Furious, the IRS, and Benghazi, rcocean? We had the FBI and Congress then, too.

    DRJ (15874d)

  426. Trump: His “Stollen” First 2 Years.

    DRJ (15874d)

  427. @ DRJ: I’m quite sure that Mueller will say things beyond what’s in Barr’s letter. I don’t think he’ll say anything beyond what’s in his report — which by definition contains is likely to context, nature, and substance even beyond that which was in his report’s executive summaries (which he urged Barr to circulate even before the full report had been released). I genuinely don’t expect him to provide context, nature, or substance beyond what’s in the full report, and that he will tell anyone who asks that the purpose of the report was to put that all in writing, carefully, in one place, which he has done, and to which he’s now going to stick.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  428. In #436, I ought have written, “and I expect that he will tell anyone who asks …”

    Beldar (fa637a)

  429. “Remember, James Comey assured the nation that the Steele dossier, contra the testimony of his subordinate Andrew McCabe (already facing criminal referrals) was not the chief evidence presented to a FISA court. That is likely untrue. And if it is not, Comey’s other evidence he presented is likely to be just as compromised.
    Comey also misled a FISA judge by not admitting 1) that his submitted dossier evidence was compiled by a contractor paid by Hillary Clinton; 2) that ex-British spy Christopher Steele’s work was unverified; 3) that Steele’s relationship with Comey’s FBI has already been severed due to Steele’s unprofessional behavior; and 4) that submitted news accounts of “collusion” were in circular fashion based on the dossier itself. Had Comey’s behavior ever become standard procedure in FISA applications, there could be no longer a FISA court.

    Comey also misled about his meetings with President Trump, as memorialized in his now infamous memos. He briefed the president on the Steele dossier—without telling Trump that it had been paid for by Hillary Clinton.

    Comey likely also lied in telling Trump he wanted to brief him on the dossier in worries that the press might otherwise report on it first. In fact, his meeting with Trump by design was the necessary imprimatur the press had been waiting for to leak information from the dossier, which shortly followed.

    Comey likely misled the president into thinking both that he was not under investigation by the FBI and that the FBI hierarchy did not leak confidential information to the press. In fact, neither assertion was true; both his deputy Andrew McCabe and Comey himself were chronic leakers. Comey swore under oath that he had never authorized anyone in the FBI to leak to the press, while his deputy McCabe swore in contrast that Comey was well aware that his subordinates were talking freely with the press in order to leak information selectively.

    When he was no longer a U.S. government employee, Comey illegally took personal possession of at least seven confidential memos of presidential conversations, written on FBI time and equipment and thus still government property. He leaked at least three memos that were likely classified, apparently to seed his narratives to the media and to prompt the appointment of a special prosecutor as payback for his own firing.

    That trick worked out well, since his friend Robert Mueller was soon appointed special counsel amid the general Russian “collusion” hysteria that Comey himself had long ago helped ignite. If any lower echelon employee had leaked in a similar manner to Comey, he would face an array of felony indictments.

    Comey, remember, on more than 240 occasions reportedly claimed under oath he could not remember or did not know the answers to questions from Congressional inquirers. If a private citizen tried that with the IRS, he world likely face perjury charges.

    Comey has never adequately explained his role in inserting FBI informants into a presidential campaign, and the degree to which his decision might have been taken in conjunction with other intelligence agencies or with the knowledge of the then-attorney general or President Obama. The New York Times of all publications is apparently investigating the use of FBI informants to sandbag the Trump campaign—during Comey’s directorship. To my knowledge, no previous FBI director—perhaps not even J. Edgar Hoover—had unilaterally placed FBI informants into a presidential campaign during the general election.

    One way of looking at John Brennan’s and James Clapper’s nonstop cable news announcements of Trump’s “treason,” the Comey-McCabe whirlwind book tours and television confessionals, the Adam Schiff furrowed-brow predictions of huge bombshells soon to go off, and the general progressive media hysteria over the last two years or so is to appreciate a transparent effort at preemptive defense.

    That is, Russian “collusion” and its bastard child “obstruction,” sought to divert attention from massive Obama Administration efforts at the CIA, FBI, Justice Department, and National Security Council to use the powers of government to first ensure that Trump was not elected and then, failing that, to distort and ruin his transition and presidency.

    The effort initially was so easily green-lighted, because none of these Washington fixtures had any idea of the nature of the “smelly” Walmart folks or the supposedly toothless sorts who live apart from the two coasts, and thus they bet on the wrong horse—convinced that Hillary Clinton was a sure landslide winner, and their own skullduggery would be rewarded as loyalty in extremis by someone who trumped them all in skullduggery.

    When Clinton crashed and burned, phase two of the now “resistance” was comprehensive stonewalling. The culpable adopted a preventative defense by accusing the very victim of their prior assault of being a disloyal, unpatriotic victimizer of American institutions—no doubt in their mind leading to Trump’s emasculation or impeachment and thus their own exoneration.

    For a while, they got away with all that and more as Representative Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) was for a time sandbagged off the investigation of Russian collusion at the House Intelligence Committee, as Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself, as his conflicted deputy Rod Rosenstein took over the investigation and may have trafficked in Andrew McCabe’s melodramatic but ultimately ridiculous coup efforts—and as the media, in insult to injury fashion, put on television many of the very principals who had acted so unethically and illegally to contextualize and analyze their own crimes.

    The only remaining mystery of this entire sordid mess is how the rotten onion will be peeled away. When indictments come down, will the likes of Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson or James Baker or Bruce and Nellie Ohr be leveraged to inform on the likes of the Brennan, Clapper, Comey, and McCabe high stratum—that in turn will provide clarity about still higher officials to learn what Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Loretta Lynch, Susan Rice, Samantha Power, and Sally Yates knew and when they knew it?

    In the meantime, expect James Comey to continue his frenetic pace on TV, radio, and in op-eds attacking William Barr and Donald Trump in deathly fear that his illegal behavior may finally have a legal accounting.”

    —- Victor Davis Hanson

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  430. I would expect one of the GOP reps to ask Mueller, early in any questioning, “Now that your report is out, does the country have, from your report, all of the context, nature, and substance you were referencing in your letter to Attorney General Barr?” To which he’ll say, “Yes, now the country has it.”

    On cross, I would expect one of the Dem reps to say, “But the country was without the benefit of that context, nature, and substance during the weeks between Barr’s letter and the release of your report?” And he’ll agree with that too.

    And that would be accurate.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  431. I agree Mueller won’t produce new facts, but I don’t agree that means Mueller will essentially read selections from his report. You have not said that but I think your implication is that Mueller will hew closely to what he has written.

    Maybe he will, but I think Mueller might amplify on sections or try to pull together various sections to make a point. For instance, I expect Mueller will emphasize and expound on the pattern of Trump’s behavior when it comes to deciding if there was obstruction, instead of viewing each incident as separate and unique.

    DRJ (15874d)

  432. I agree with your 439.

    DRJ (15874d)

  433. I’m curious, Beldar, do you think the content of Haiku’s last few links is accurate from a legal perspective? They are entertaining and well-written but are they legally helpful?

    DRJ (15874d)

  434. I have Haiku blocked, DRJ.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  435. Andy McCarthy and VDH have long been sources of interesting opinions and wisdom. My belief is that hasn’t changed and they have not changed.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  436. 399.

    Manafort’s motivation may have been to “augment his chances for a pardon,”

    In this way: Because if he told the truth about his dealinsg with Russia, Trump, and people he consulted:

    1. Would not have felt much sympathy for Paul Manafort.

    2. Would have felt Manafort engaged in some double dealing with regard to Trump – I mean, for one thing, he leaked some private internal campaign polls to someone whom he had reason to believe would share them with the Russian government.

    Mueller’s people apparentlyy did not believe he did that with the knowledge and consent of Donald Trump.

    And Manafort knew that former FBI Director James Comey had written, in hsi prepared teetimony before the Senate dated June 8, 2017:

    https://www.intelligence.senate.gov/sites/default/files/documents/os-jcomey-060817.pdf

    In describing the March 30 2017 telephone call, Comey had written:

    The President went on to say that if there were some “satellite” associates of his who did something wrong, it would be good to find that out, but that he hadn’t done anything wrong and hoped I would find a way to get it out that we weren’t investigating him.

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  437. The FBI showed probable cause for each separate FISA application and each one was signed off on, by one of 4 different Republican-appointed judges. *If* the investigation was only part of some political scheme to scuttle the Trump nomination, common sense would have been to let the public know that the campaign was under investigation. Instead they kept it under wraps. There is no “there” there.

    JRH (52aed3)

  438. I agree Mueller won’t produce new facts, but I don’t agree that means Mueller will essentially read selections from his report. You have not said that but I think your implication is that Mueller will hew closely to what he has written.

    I can see this happening…
    Dem House member: “Mr. Mueller, assuming that you weren’t constrained by OLC guidelines on indicting sitting presidents and given the facts that you have assembled in your report, would you conclude that should Mr. Trump should be indicted for obstruction of justice and, if so, how many of those charges would you recommend?”

    Paul Montagu (7968e9)

  439. er, scuttle the Trump election.

    JRH (52aed3)

  440. This is the way I think the pardon situtation was with regard to people Mueller was inestigating:

    Trump’s lawyers did not want to say there would never be a pardon or commutation of sentence. What they said, after a positon was developed, was it would not happen at least until – either it was the end of his administration, or after they received a sentence – and they should not plan their legal strategy as if a pardon or commutation was on the table.

    They didn’t want to say there would never be a pardon because Trump hadn’t agreed to anything like that.

    It was enough to get Trump to agree to not mention it or think about it while the cases were active. Trump could argue, didn’t GHWB pardon Casper Weinberger and a few others? Didn’t W commute the sentence of Scooter Libby?

    Or for that matter, if he really went into it, didn’t Jimmy Carter commute the sentence of Watergate burglar G. Gordon Liddy? Does it have to only be a president from another party who can commute a too long sentence ina politically related case?

    Why shold he say never? And where would the lawyers be if, in the end, Trump did pardon or commute somene’s sentence?

    Now Manafort maybe then should have considered only what Mueller thought. But he wasn’t happy wih Mueller’s offer. So he didn’t want to throw away his chances for a pardon.

    Which he could do by telling the full truth. Not the full truth about Trump, but about his dealings with Russia!!

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  441. Major Report Omission Shows Mueller Was Either Incompetent Or A Political Hack”

    https://thefederalist.com/2019/05/06/major-report-omission-shows-mueller-either-incompetent-political-hack/

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  442. After a good night’s sleep, it came to me this morning what Trump is afraid of, and what he may even have heard from someone * is the intention of the Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee in wanting Mueller to testify:


    * This may be nothing more than the opinion of some lawyer or pundit.

    They want to coax an impeachment referral, or something that sounds like an impeachment referral, out of Mueller – a referral that Mueller is not willing to give on his own initiative.

    I haven’t read anything that Trump has any power actually to stop Mueller from tetsifying – but Mueller doesn’t want to look like a partisan, or like someone who wants to mak e an impeachment referral.

    Needless to say, the extremely secret redacted grand jury material in the Mueler Report is not an impeachment referral, but this is kind of the excuse for having Mueller testify to clarify his report.

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  443. And the Democrats, while they don’t need an impeachment referrakl to begin an impeachment investigation, want something like that from Mueller as political cover.

    It is something that will allow House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler to have some Democrats on his commmittee have their impeachment hearings or at least impeachment-based subpoenas. (subpoenas THAT RELY ON THE POWER OF CONGRESS TO IMPEACH AS THEIR LEGAL BASIS.)

    Half-heartedly, because this is all going nowhere and could be politically damaging.

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  444. @ Paul Montagu (#447): I agree that Dems are likely to ask the question you put, and that they’ll do so in a dozen different shades and phases. But I also think that in response to a question like that — a counterfactual — Mueller will decline to speculate and instead refer the questioner to his report to see what he did do.

    I don’t think he wants or needs a second bite at any apples. I expect that he is proud of the report both for what’s in it and indeed, for what’s not; that he views the report as his best effort to communicate what he was trying to communicate, which needs no oral gloss from him now; that he will be careful to create no conflict at all between what he says in testimony and what he’s said in the report; and that he’ll stick to it like glue.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  445. Frm he Federalust:

    Given Mueller’s conclusion that no one connected to the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to interfere with the election, one of those two scenarios must be true—either Russia fed Steele disinformation or Steele lied to the FBI about his Russian sources.

    To be fair, Mueller was only investigating Trump and Russia.

    To say something about Steele, he would have had to determine that the Russian government was responsible for the lies in the Steele’s material and also knew it was going to the Democrats, rather than British Conservatives or MI6.

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  446. 454… “Even though Mueller was authorized, as he put it in the special counsel report, to investigate “the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election,” the report is silent of efforts to investigate Russia’s role in feeding Steele misinformation.”

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  447. “The State Department and an Australian diplomat grossly exaggerated Papadopoulos’s claims — which were probably false anyway.

    For some reason, many people seem to have jumped to the conclusion that the “thousands of emails” that were dangled in front of George Papdoupolous were the as-yet unknown DNC and maybe Podesta emails (they began reading John Podesta’ GMAil account in March 2016) which they did have; rather than the known deleted Hillary emails from her time at the State Department, which they did not have.

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  448. Beldar, I don’t see him declining to speculate because he has a mountain of facts at hand, but I do see him saying that he doesn’t comment on hypothetical situations.

    Paul Montagu (7968e9)

  449. Russia’s role in feeding Steele misinformation was not an effort to interfere with the election.

    It was an attempt to damage U.S.- U.K. relations in the event of a future Trump Administration by causing the British government to distrust the Trump Administation.

    Putin had no idea that Steele was working for the Democrats, because Steele kept that asecret

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  450. Otherwise Putin would have been working at cross purposes with himself.

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  451. Sammy,

    or Russia just wanted to sow discontent about the election like they did with their silly posts targeting both sides on Facebook.

    NJRob (4d595c)

  452. P.S. Hillary is now pulling from the Stacy Adams playbook and saying the election was stolen from her. Why does the left always go totalitarian and say the only way they lose is if the other side cheated.

    That kind of projection just isn’t healthy.

    NJRob (4d595c)

  453. Papadopoulos admitted telling at least one individual outside of the Campaign–specifically, the then-Greek foreign minister–about Russia’s obtaining Clinton-related emails.

    Except that they undoubtedly meant Hillary’s deleted emails, which they did not have, and not the still unknown DNC and Podesta emails, which they did have. That is obvious to me.

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  454. Beldar:

    I watched most of it on TV at the age of 19. You may believe that the charges were mere obstruction (and there were significant other charges, such as ordering the Ellsberg break-in and weaponizing the IRS), but that was not the POLITICAL case at all — and I was always talking about the POLITICAL case.

    The case made to the public was that Nixon had used hush money, intimidation, and his shill L Patrick Gray, fired the special prosecutor after Richardson and Ruckleshaus resigned and Bork stepped up, stonewalled the investigators, abused executive privilege, and changed his story time and again (“modified limited hangout”) UNTIL the general public had had enough. When Charles Wiggins, who had been his die-hard supporter on Rodino’s committee, agreed to support impeachment, it was over. Goldwater just made it clear that the Senate would convict.

    At the beginning of the process, Nixon had widespread support against some crazy commies who were making a big deal about nothing (circa fall ’72). In the end he had lost nearly everyone who was paying attention. After the Goldwater delegation, he made the case that his support had collapsed and he did not want to drag everyone through the process, and resigned.

    If you want to be technically legal about this, you could say that the charges were about obstruction*, but it was in no way the same as what is asserted about Trump in a political sense.

    Differences (political, not legal):
    * There is no underlying crime that is being covered up.
    * There are no payoffs to cover up a crime. No Fred LaRue, no Tony Ulasewicz with his coin-changer.
    * There is no one breaking into psychiatrist’s offices to get dirt on whistleblowers.
    * There is no conspiracy with the head of the FBI to fake an investigation.
    * There is no use of the CIA to muddle the waters.
    * There is no withholding of evidence, no claims of executive privilege
    * There are not a dozen WH aides convicted of conspiracy and obstruction.
    * There is no firing of the special prosecutor.
    * There is not the complete unmasking of a President thought (by supporters) to be a moral man when elected.

    Not the same level of stuff at all. Yes, it’s obstruction, but in the same way that first-degree murder and negligent homicide are both homicide. Any case made against Trump, barring significant new information, would be more likely to rally people to him that turn them against him.

    Now, if someone can produce a taped phone call where he’s cutting a deal with Putin, things would change, but that only exists in Maxine Water’s fever dreams.

    ————
    * Article 2 was about abuse of power and was at least as important as the obstruction charges.
    * Article 3 was about not delivering subpoenaed documents to Congress.

    http://watergate.info/impeachment/articles-of-impeachment

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  455. My mistake. I was 20.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  456. @462 We’re also seeing the groundwork for the claim that Trump won’t leave at the end of his term.

    Frosty, Fp (7540e9)

  457. “Russia’s role in feeding Steele misinformation was not an effort to interfere with the election.”

    Oh, but it did interfere.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  458. He didn’t resign because his public opinion numbers tanked, he resigned so as not to become the first and only U.S. president removed from office by the Senate.

    These are not unrelated things. His support in Congress had collapsed for the same reason that his support in the public had collapsed. After the “Smoking Gun” tape, the public mood was set, his stalwart supporters (Wiggins, never Goldwater) tossed in the towel, and Nixon was done.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  459. 461.NJRob (4d595c) — 5/6/2019 @ 11:12 am

    or Russia just wanted to sow discontent about the election like they did with their silly posts targeting both sides on Facebook.

    The Facebook posts were an attempt to run both sides of an argument. But one side was supposed to be dominant.

    Here you would have to suppose the goal was mre to get the two plitical parties fighting than to actually hekp anyone.

    But unlike with Facebook this was not symmetrical.

    The anti-Hillary information was true and public * – the anti-Trump information was false, and seccretly conveyed, and in fact it wasn’t anti-Trump disinformation at all. It was disinformation intended to give a false explanation as to why Russia wanted Trump to win the election.

    They didn’t tell anybody presumed to side with Trump why Putin was supposedly supporting Hillary.

    ===
    * until very late in the campaign, with Pizzagate, probably a Russian disinformation operation. I say Russia was hand it because I think Russia is also responsible for similar accusation in Europe, in Belgium, and because Mike Flynn Jr. was circlating it, and even his father a little bit.

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  460. Trump is the sort of moron who…

    you wish was on the other side of the argument, but he isn’t and you have to deal with it. He does more damage to himself than any nest of enemies. I’m pretty sure he could have avoided the special prosecutor entirely if he had fired Comey for just being a frack-up. But no, he had to elaborate.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  461. Nixon said he resined becase he had lost support in Congress.

    That means treating the United States a ltittle like we had a Parliamentary system, but Nixon was maybe not totally opposed to that – and otherwise he’d have been resigning because he was guilty, and he didn’t want to say that. He didn’t say that to David Frost, either.

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  462. If this becomes one of those times, it probably will be because Barr spends some of the political capital he’s just earned with Trump — see my other remarks re clientsmanship — to back Trump down. Barr will tell him, correctly, that Mueller is going to stick very, very closely to his report, meaning (as our host noted above, and I agree) Mueller is unlikely to be the kind of J’accuse moment the Dems are still fantasizing about. Rather, he will almost certainly be a tightly disciplined, meticulous witness — not very chatty, volunteering little to nothing. After about the 24th or 38th time Mueller repeats what’s in his report, not backing off from it but neither advancing beyond it, people will be bored. “This will finally put this to bed,” Barr will tell Trump, which won’t be exactly true, but which Trump wants to believe. The alternative of going to the stonewall at this point would in fact be a great boon for the Dems, feeding their political furor right through November 2020.

    I agree with all of this, and also agree with Trump that the Democrats are trying to get 5 or 6 bites out of the apple. To try to block Nueller’s testimony will launch a 1000 articles about “What is Trump hiding now?” Let the fat lady sing.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  463. 468… yes, the final nail was when he lost Charles Wiggins. That is how I remember it, as well. In my early 20s, I followed it closely.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  464. Trump: His “Stollen” First 2 Years.

    Now you’re attacking him for his spelling? Cut the guy a break.

    /having fun

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  465. The problem with pardons is two-fold.

    1. If you pardon the underlings, there is only one person left to answer for the crimes.

    2. People who have been pardoned have no 5th Amendment rights wrt the things they were pardoned for, nor are they immune to perjury charges. There is no above-the-table reason for them to stay silent, and many reasons to blab.

    Nixon pardoned no one. After his own pardon, he testified to, I think, a grand jury.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  466. Kevin M (21ca15) — 5/6/2019 @ 11:18 am

    There are no payoffs to cover up a crime. No Fred LaRue, no Tony Ulasewicz with his coin-changer.

    No Herbert Kalmbach, unless Michael Cohen fits into that category.

    Kalmbach had raised money to pay the Watergate burglars’ legal fees and support their families but he was not held reponsible for taking part in a cover-up because that was not what he was told, nor did he pass on any messages.

    He pled guilty to “violating the Federal Corrupt Practices Act because…[he had] collected nearly $4 million for congressional candidates [in 1970] but had no treasurer or chairman and failed to file reports as required by law” (TIME Magazine)’

    (H.R. Haldeman got into trouble for the same kind of thing by collecting money for George Wallace’s run for Governor of Alabama in 1970 without registering a campaign committee. Modern day “bundlers” apparently don’t run afoul of that law because they never collect cash – large cash contributions – I think anything over $200 in a federal election anyway being illegal now – or put money into a bank accounts, but collect checks which are deposited in the a recognized campaign account.

    Kalmbach also was chaged and pled guilty to selling an ambassadorship. (As JFK had done, but now it came under scrutiny.

    He “picked up campaign contributions from milk producers just before the Administration upped milk-price supports in 1971. He paid Donald Segretti some $45,000 in salary.”

    * There is no one breaking into psychiatrist’s offices to get dirt on whistleblowers.

    I always understood that was probably purely for informational purposes: To understand why Ellsberg leaked so they could preent future leaks of national security information. To Liddy, that kind of thing would make sense.

    Where do you get that they were looking for something to leak? What good would that do anyone? They weren’t trying to discredit Ellsberg, or even he contenta of the Pentagon Papers.

    As for deterring future Ellsbergs, he was being prosecuted.

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  467. I know quite a bit about Kalmbach — an uncle of mine was one of this partners. One day, Kalmbacj came and told him what Kalmbach had done, and my uncle resigned from the firm.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  468. As for Ellsberg, this was before Watergate and it’s not clear why they wanted the information, but they wanted it. I guess you could infer a reason from “dirt” but I wasn’t implying they would leak it.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  469. P.S. Hillary is now pulling from the Stacy Adams playbook and saying the election was stolen from her. Why does the left always go totalitarian and say the only way they lose is if the other side cheated.

    That kind of projection just isn’t healthy.

    NJRob (4d595c) — 5/6/2019 @ 11:13 am

    Come on… seriously? With this was literally just posted over the weekend?

    “After the best week ever for @realDonaldTrump – no obstruction, no collusion, NYT admits @BarackObama did spy on his campaign, & the economy is soaring. I now support reparations-Trump should have 2 yrs added to his 1st term as pay back for time stolen by this corrupt failed coup,” Falwell tweeted.

    Trump echoed Falwell’s sentiment in a pair of tweets an hour later, writing online: “Despite the tremendous success that I have had as President, including perhaps the greatest ECONOMY and most successful first two years of any President in history, they have stollen two years of my (our) Presidency (Collusion Delusion) that we will never be able to get back.”

    Cognitive dissonance is astounding sometimes.
    I mean come on… Falwell teweeted Trump “deserves” two more years, Trump retweeted that and added the above.

    That sounds pretty much like it’s “going totalitarian” too, don’t think?
    Especially since he’s actually, you know, the President of the US?
    And the fact that Falwell has a huge constituency.
    Personally I don’t think either are necessarily totalitarian comments, (more just nonsense) but if I had to weight them, the one seems a heck of a lot more authoritarian than the other. With a metric ton more clout than the other.
    And, neither is healthy.

    Tom M (954e56)

  470. Sean Hannity says that if Mueller tetifies, he is going to be grilled (by Republicans he means) Why didn’t you bring up the dossier etc.

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  471. The Republicans would be better served by “I pass”

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  472. @396. Kevin, w/super-double-secret-elder-status; senators Goldwater and PA’s Hugh Scott (he happened to be our senator at the time) and House minority leader Rhodes were The Three Stooges who told The Big Dick his support had evaporated and he’d probably be convicted in an impeachment trial. But the Big Dick himself made the call to resign rather than fight through. You can look all this up if you truly wanted to revisit that hell. Still, Nixon went out w/26% or so of the public still supporting him along w/staffers like Pat Buchanan. Even long time friend and advisor, the late Leonard Garment, remained loyal, after hearing Nixon’s tapes peppered with antisemitism as does Nixon speechwriter Ben ‘Bueller? Buller?’ Stein. Young rodents on the edge at the time and soon to rise, like Dick Cheney, summed up the Watergate lesson he learned simply: ‘Don’t get caught.’

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  473. When the other shoe finally drops, this will be a Thing…

    https://i.ytimg.com/vi/4WrtBGAfclE/hqdefault.jpg

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  474. My question after all this is “who will overplay their hand?” Up to now the smart money has been on Trump, but Congress has only Pelosi to enforce sanity, as strange as that may seem.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  475. Nearly 400 former Federal prosecutors have signed on to a statement concluding President Trump would be facing obstruction of justice charges were he not in the White House. – variety.com

    No word yet from Baghdad Barr. But Trumpsters must be thrilled those ‘former’ Deep Staters are on the outs.

    Turing to sports, the latest scores from the Patriot Games:

    Rule of Men – 876
    Rule of Law – 0

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  476. My mistake. I was 20.

    Jeez, all you fossils belong in a museum somewhere…

    :)

    Dave (26d9bf)

  477. DCSCA (483)

    I have no need to look it up. But you are missing the POINT. Once the public heard the June 23rd “Smoking Gun” tape, that was just anticlimax. Nixon’s support among the populace collapsed overnight as he was proved to be a big, fat liar. That support having collapsed, their representatives ran for cover. First the dead-ender Congressmen like Wiggins said they’d vote for impeachment (about half the committee Republicans voted for the first two Articles of Impeachment).

    And THEN Goldwater, et al, went to speak to Nixon, but he already knew what was coming. It was anticlimatic for the most part.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  478. Nearly 400 former Federal prosecutors have signed on to a statement concluding President Trump would be facing obstruction of justice charges were he not in the White House.

    I think “could” is a better word there. Many (*cough*Hillary*cough*) are not charged with crimes when they could be.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  479. 462. NJRob (4d595c) — 5/6/2019 @ 11:13 am

    P.S. Hillary is now pulling from the Stacy Adams playbook and saying the election was stolen from her.

    She’s implying that.

    Here’s the quore:

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2019/05/06/hillary-clinton-warns-2020-democratic-candidates-stolen-election/1116477001

    “You can run the best campaign, you can even become the nominee, and you can have the election stolen from you,” she said to cheers on the Los Angeles stop of her “Evening with the Clintons” tour with her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

    . Now she didn’t run a good campaign (in the general election – and for that matter in 2008 for the nomination) and she didn’t so much win the nomination as have the playing field tilted in her direction, and it wasn’t stolen from her in November, although she could argue the rules were bad.)

    Tickets were going for $2 in the end on a website.

    Why does the left always go totalitarian and say the only way they lose is if the other side cheated.

    It’s an attempt to place supporting the other side outside the “Overton window”

    Sammy Finkelman (102c75)

  480. @488. Actually, ‘support’ was trending decidedly downward after the SNM as the telegrams and calls flooded in. You can look that up, too. The Big Dick cared less about ‘public support’ and much more about the probable impeachment vote count in the Senate. Back then, some Republicans actually were capable of putting country ahead of party. Not today- at least, no yet. Wiggins, BTW, was in the House so his vote for the articles weren’t really a factor in Nixon’s ultimate decision. The Senate vote count was.

    “That gray, middle America– they’re suckers.” – President Richard Nixon, May 4, 1972

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  481. Kevin, the issue isn’t Hillary, or Obama, or Slick Willie, or Nixon or Andrew Johnson or left over chocolate Easter bunnies; the issue is Trump. Stay focused.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  482. You are certainly focused. One might say myopic.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  483. 416. Very good. So now Ii see it isn’t even established that Mifsud said the word emails (as opposed to “dirt”) and the Mueller Report does not describe the whole thing the way an impartial historian would.

    Sammy Finkelman (102c75)

  484. Nearly 400 former Federal prosecutors have signed on to a statement concluding President Trump would be facing obstruction of justice charges were he not in the White House.

    Kevin M. 489

    I think “could” is a better word there. Many (*cough*Hillary*cough*) are not charged with crimes when they could be.

    Oh no. They pretend the FBI and the criminal justice system works perfectly. Unless you have a bad president in charge – but they’ll catch him.

    See my 295 and the link I placed there:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1996_United_States_campaign_finance_controversy

    As I said:

    Obstruction of justice by a president of the United States never succeeds. Because, if it succeeds, none dare call it obstruction of justice!

    Sammy Finkelman (102c75)

  485. @479 The serious-not-literal thing has been beaten to death. In this case, I think people can reasonably see the tweets with some sense of humor because it’s pretty clear there’s some poking fun at the idea of reparations.

    But Abrams and Clinton aren’t known for this sort of humor. Both of them expect to be taken literally and seriously.

    I remember the fears that Bush II wouldn’t leave office. He was going to come up with a war on terror excuse or something. The same thing happened with BHO. This is becoming a standard trope. The ironic thing is Clinton, before the election, mocked Trump for doing exactly what she eventually did, and is still doing. So, yes, she is projecting.

    But let’s take it seriously; how exactly would this play out? Would he order the election delayed? Which elements of the government do you believe would play along? Would he barricade the White House? Would the IC continue to give him daily briefings?

    What exactly is the cognitive dissonance here? The denial that Trump would literally try to take an extra two years? If so count me cognitively dissonant as this is simply not a credible threat.

    Frosty, Fp (7540e9)

  486. DCSCA, you keep talking about looking things up. I LIVED IT. The Smoking Gun tape was a sea-change.

    It would be like finding a tape today of Trump conspiring with Putin. Those that had supported Nixon were unable to continue and while polling had trended down, anyone who was still on the fence suddenly fell off.

    As far as Trump is concerned, his polling is UP. His polling today is two points higher than Obama’s at the same point in his first term.

    If your polling numbers for Nixon mean anything, they show that the political case has NOT been made against Trump, as it WAS with Nixon.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  487. Note to 295 and 495.

    I see that Charles Kratthammer did call it obstruction of justice, two times in the same 1997 column, and William Safire used the word “obstruction” in his column, but Morton Kondracke did not:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/campfin/stories/op101097.htm

    The second charge that cries out for investigation is obstruction of justice. This White House has a long history of withholding and then miraculously discovering evidence….

    …Even if you believe that subverting our baroque campaign laws is not crime enough, you should at least be concerned about obstruction of justice. It’s what got Nixon, after all – not the third-rate burglary but the all-out coverup.

    https://www.nytimes.com/1999/10/07/opinion/essay-those-chinese-agents.html

    After a lawful Senate subpoena to Justice for the lead F.B.I. agent’s notebook detailing this obstruction, 27 pages of Roberta Parker’s notebook were destroyed inside Reno Justice. That’s a Federal crime. Reno shrugged this scandal over to Marshall Jarrett, her in-house shoo-fly who can be trusted never to find the perp in their midst.

    The link to the 1999 Safire column in the Wikipedia article is broken – I had to find another link.

    The 1999 Morton Kondracke articcle is here:

    http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/kondracke080999.asp

    As Hillary Clinton likes to say, the story didn’t have legs.

    And nobody ever tied Bill Clinton to it.

    Sammy Finkelman (102c75)

  488. Safire column from 1992:

    https://www.nytimes.com/1992/08/31/opinion/essay-justice-corrupts-justice.html

    U.S. Attorney General William Barr, in rejecting the House Judiciary Committee’s call for a prosecutor not beholden to the Bush Administration to investigate the crimes of Iraqgate, has taken personal charge of the cover-up.

    The document that will be Exhibit A in a future prosecution of obstruction of justice is an unsigned 97-page apologia that accompanied Mr. Barr’s unprecedented refusal to recognize a “political conflict of interest,” as called for in the law.

    Democrats might not like the 4th paragraph of that column:

    Mr. Barr and the chief of his Criminal Division, Robert Mueller, could face prosecution if it turns out that high Bush officials knew about Saddam Hussein’s perversion of our Agriculture export guarantees to finance his war machine, and delayed the inquiry into the Atlanta Lavoro bank scandal. They have a keen personal and political interest in seeing to it that the Department of Justice stays in safe, controllable Republican hands.

    More:

    Two days ago, I called Agriculture officials at the center of the grain-financing scandal; not one has been interviewed by the F.B.I. The reason “no evidence was found,” in Mr. Barr’s repeated phrase, was that no evidence was sought.

    The Attorney General arrogantly insists that Federal Judge Marvin Shoob, who does not appreciate Federal wrongdoing in his Atlanta courtroom and has called for a special prosecutor, “does not understand the case.” Judge Shoob understands the Lavoro case the way Judge Sirica understood the Watergate case.

    I don’t recall or never understood this so well, but my feeling was the corruption was on lower levels (not that of GHWB)

    The best explanation maybe is that Barr probably trusted the people working for him, without drilling down.

    Sammy Finkelman (102c75)

  489. Beldar,

    I do not want to put words in your mouth so please keep in mind that this is a question. Please correct anything I say that you disagree with.

    It sounds like you believe Barr has engaged in spin, although not in a misleading way, and you seem fine with that. Meanwhile, it also sounds like you think Mueller will be accurate, circumspect and restrained, and you clearly expect that of him.

    Why the different standards? To me, Barr and Mueller are both US DOJ employees who took the same oaths, have the same ethical obligations as lawyers, and owe the same duty of candor to the American citizens.

    DRJ (15874d)

  490. how long till biden has a flashback about Golda Meir?

    mg (8cbc69)

  491. If I remember right, Bill Clinton was involved in that too. The rice sales to Iraq.

    And here is a Washington Post column from 1994 that tries to debunk the whole thing:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/opinions/1994/04/16/the-myth-of-iraqgate/bbde81c4-c7f5-4039-912a-872269025f7a

    ‘THE MYTH OF IRAQGATE’

    By Richard Harwood

    April 16, 1994

    Bill Safire, a much respected (and often feared) New York Times pundit, has written 20 or so columns since early 1992 on what he believes to be one of the greatest scandals in the history of man. From a column published on Nov. 12, 1992:

    “Iraqgate is the first global political scandal. The leaders of three major nations {United States, Italy and Britain} are implicated in a criminal conspiracy: first, to misuse taxpayer funds and public agencies in the clandestine buildup of a terrorist dictator {Saddam Hussein}; then to abuse the intelligence and banking services of these nations to conceal the dirty deed; finally to thwart the inexorable course of justice … {These acts} ultimately cost the taxpayers $1.9 billion.”

    …..When the Clinton administration came to power last year, it produced no evidence of any global scandal, whereupon Safire on Sept. 9 suggested that Bill Clinton, his attorney general, Janet Reno, and a large cast of other Clinton appointees had become part of the “conspiracy.” ….

    …”In what may be an unspoken quid pro quo, the Clinton Administration has moved to quash any revelations about Bush’s Iraqgate scandal. … No wonder we hear not a peep of criticism about Clinton from Bush; the former President and his men are being well-protected {by Clinton’s appointees in Justice}.”

    This is a tale Oliver Stone might have written and it may prove to be no less fictional than Stone’s absurd movie “JFK.” That is my reading of Kenneth Juster’s persuasive rebuttal to the scandal and conspiracy claims of Safire and other journalists. He is a young Washington lawyer with the Arnold & Porter firm who served for a time as senior adviser to Lawrence Eagleburger, who was then the deputy secretary of state in the Bush administration. Juster left the government in 1989 and became a visiting fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, where he studied this whole affair. His findings — “The Myth of Iraqgate” — appear in the spring issue of Foreign Policy magazine.

    It seems to me that some reporters were fed a completely false analysis of what was going on. But there actually was some crime behind it all – I think involing an Italian bank, if I remember correctly.

    Sammy Finkelman (102c75)

  492. @497. From the wording of your own postings it doesn’t appear so- or you were ‘living’ in an alternative universe at the tie.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  493. ^tie = time.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  494. @493. Now, now, Kevin; ‘personal attacks’ signal you’re ou of ammo. Just surrender to reality.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  495. @500. Baghdad Barr is AG for his perception of the GOP, not America, just as John Mitchell was for Nixon, not America as a whole. nd that’s truly the sad thing.

    Undermining American institutions does Putin’s work for him. Don’t be surprised if Baghdad Barr’s boxers are as red as his briefs.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  496. Undermining American institutions does Putin’s work for him. Don’t be surprised if Baghdad Barr’s boxers are as red as his briefs.

    I guess what you’re saying is that the misguided fools who put Barr and his Kremlin-picked boss where they are have a blot on their consciences that they can never atone for.

    I entirely agree.

    Dave (543145)

  497. 428. the word “should” means in a ideal world (according to Trump)

    But it would be hard to fi=gure out what Trump is talking about. if he’s talking about anything at all.

    What legislation did not a pass because of the investigation? Because of the investigation. health care reform?

    Sammy Finkelman (102c75)

  498. “Variety”… lol, they can use it to p!mp the new Avatar movie…

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  499. “how long till biden has a flashback about Golda Meir?”

    Now there’s a great gag photo, Biden whispering into Meir’s ear!

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  500. He’s got Trump pooping his pants.

    nk (9651fb)

  501. But, then, what doesn’t?

    nk (9651fb)

  502. biden and Meir would have hit it off like Churchill and Lady Astor!

    mg (8cbc69)

  503. it wasn’t a conspiracy otherwise matrix Churchill would have been charged in the uk, now was it a wise policy, in retrospect no, however compared to fast and furious?

    https://twitchy.com/dougp-3137/2019/05/06/guess-how-many-of-these-6-dems-took-barr-up-on-his-offer-to-read-a-less-redacted-version-of-the-mueller-report/

    narciso (d1f714)

  504. Golda Meir was about 45 years older than Joe Biden.

    Joe Biden was elected United States Senator in 1972 before his 30th birthday (which was in December) and took office January 3, 1973. Golda Meir was Prime Minister of Israel from 1969 (after Levi Eshkol died) till the aftermath of the Yom Kippur War – till 1974. Egyptian President Anwar Sadat saw her in 1977 when he visited Jerusalem and was glad he got to see her.

    She died in 1978.

    There was a terrible accident that killed Joe Biden’s wife and youngest child (his two sons survived but were in the hospital between Joe Biden’s election in November and his swearing in in January. he thought of quitting. As one result, he commuted every day from Delaware.

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  505. funny bringing up iraqgate, because of one of the fellows, that blew it up, was alan friedman, then with the financial times, fifteen years later he was lobbying for the Malaysian grapevine, against anwar Ibrahim, others on that account was tarek Obaid, of petrosaudi, whose brother nawaf, worked with josef mifsud, an odd pedigree for a Russian asset,

    https://dailycaller.com/2019/05/06/peter-strzok-cia-leaks-email/

    narciso (d1f714)

  506. @507. What price SCOTUS and assorted judgeships; ‘Allegiance ruled by expedience’– “Von Brauners” as P aptly noted in his posting a while back. It’s up to the current, card-carrying members of the GOP to decide to put country over party. Could happen– once enough judges are appointed… but don’t hold your breath. McConnell may don a frocked coat and Graham may crave a powdered wig– but they ain’t no patriots.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  507. doubleunplusgood coronello, we’ve had some showers down here, what’s the weather like,

    narciso (d1f714)

  508. “Von Brauners” as P aptly noted in his posting a while back.

    So Patrick used that phrase, “Von Brauners”?

    Dave (543145)

  509. @521. Why don’t you just go review his posting, Dave. ‘Allegiance ruled by expedience’ is so appropriately credited to the great Tom Lehrer, who was skewering Von Braun in his musical satire.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  510. @521. Postscript. April 11. Go review it and digest. ‘… members of the Wernher Von Braun party…’ P’s assessment.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  511. Partly cloudy here, narciso. I spent an hour and a half power washing an arbor that is over our spa in prep for painting. Another check-off on the extensive honey-do list. Such is retirement.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  512. @521. Postscript. April 11. Go review it and digest. ‘… members of the Wernher Von Braun party…’ P’s assessment.

    OK, I had to look up the lyrics to the song.

    What threw me off was your statement above:

    An excellent strategy, too; as was using Von Braun to get Americans to the moon.

    …suggesting that the expedience being referred to was America’s, in hiring a former Nazi.

    But in fact the lyrics make clear that the expedience the song referred to was von Braun’s, in working for the highest bidder, regardless of any loyalty to his countrymen or moral code.

    So you are saying that Trump’s enablers, like Barr, and also yourself, are unprincipled mercenaries willing to jeopardize the security of the US by placing it in the hands of a drooling madman, to advance your own selfish and short-sighted goals.

    Yeah, I can see that.

    Dave (1bb933)

  513. @395 Beldar,

    I co-sign DRJ’s and Patterico’s responses. Apart from that, I’ll just pick one nit.

    You moved the goalposts.

    You imply I argued that Trump’s attempts to obstruct succeeded. I didn’t. I challenged your categorical assertion (@271) that they failed. You’ve yet to persuade me otherwise.

    lurker (d8c5bc)

  514. Under 1512(c)(2), the crime is complete when the attempt is made.

    nk (9651fb)

  515. 516 narciso (d1f714) — 5/6/2019 @ 3:42 pm

    funny bringing up iraqgate, because of one of the fellows, that blew it up, was alan friedman, then with the financial times,

    He seems to be mentioned here:

    https://www.nytimes.com/1992/10/08/opinion/essay-bush-on-iraqgate.html

    Now what I never believed was that any kind of high policy was involved, and that thiswas Bush high policy and that the reason Clinton covered it up is that Bush made adeal not to criticize him. The problem was that Bush was turning away any negative materlal on Clnton during the 1992 campaign – this was genuine.

    There’s a Wikipedia article that gives broef paragraph as to what this was about:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banca_Nazionale_del_Lavoro

    The bank was involved in a major political scandal (dubbed Iraqgate by the media) when it was revealed in 1989 that the Atlanta, Georgia branch of the bank was making unauthorized loans of more than US$4.5 billion to Iraq. Many of the loans that the branch made were guaranteed by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Commodity Credit Corporation program. The loans were originally intended to finance agricultural exports to Iraq, but were diverted by Iraq to buy weapons. The branch manager, Christopher Drogoul, indicated that the bank’s headquarters office was aware of these loans, but senior bank official denied this. Drogoul pleaded guilty to three felony charges and served 33 months in federal prison.[2]

    I suppose some of the money went to middlemen, and maybe to bribes. It wasn’t in violation of sanctions, because There were no sanctions, just an arms embargo I think.

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  516. fifteen years later he [Alan Friedman] was lobbying for the Malaysian grapevine, against anwar Ibrahim,

    The grapevine? What’s that? The corrupt government of Najib Razakthat lost the MAy 2018 election?

    Anwar Ibrahim was the person originally supposed to be the successor to Mahathir Mohamad, who turned against him and he was prosecuted on trumped up charges of sodomy more than once. He was the leader of the oppsition and also disqualified.

    They had an election last year in which there was a grand coalition, with Mahathir Mohamad, who makes Joe Biden look young, as the candidate for Prime Minsiter. They brought him back, and he became Prime Minister again at the age of 92, promising to serve two years, maybe, or maybe a bit more, and let Anwar Ibrahim succeed him. Sometimes you can get people from previous times.

    And this probably misses several important angles including the anti-semitism and the Islamism and the affirmative action that impacted the Chinese and the gerrymandering. They needed Mahathir Mohamad to get the votes of the Malays.

    others on that account

    For the old Malaysian government?

    was [were?] tarek Obaid, of petrosaudi, whose brother nawaf, worked with josef mifsud, an odd pedigree for a Russian asset,

    All of these names need to be researched. The one thing maybe that can be said is there’s not a lot of scandals, there’s just one big scandal because the same people keep popping up in differenet contexts.

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  517. The grapevine is the transliteration of a Malay word which defined the dossier against Ibrahim too many who should have known better participated in it.

    Narciso (b87980)

  518. The grapevine was a collection of (false) charges against Anwar Ibrahim?

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  519. Yes malathir ultimately denied them, after he defeated his protege the one caught in the IMDb scandal.

    Narciso (b87980)

  520. @526. Go read P’s post, Dave. It’s a good one. My personal strategy is well know to regulars and the results have been surprisingly swift, beyond expectations a mere two years in. Figured at least four years… which should tell you just how weak the tail wagging the dog truly was. Too many candidates ran. A second Trump term should retire that team if not by interest then by age- or put a nail in it’s coffin. That element is being ‘contained,’ driven out or successfully ‘neutered.’ Revisit 1964. A 50 year arc was a good run. But they’re on the bottom of the deck now. And though Trump’s actions at Helsinki remain completely and totally repugnant to any American, one can still champion the basic strategy for the domestic success in the short term so far while still despising the Captain at the helm. Because he’s a transient— a bridge to something else– or nothing new. Nobody is going to seriously try to primary him and so far he is literally beating every rap– the ‘Von Brauners’ are helping by putting party over country: judges. Hell, his own fixer lawyer went to the pokie today as the Captain handed out a Medal of Freedom to a fellow philandering putz who is good with his putter, too. The unforeseen snafu may be the Dems snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Once again, too many candidates. But even with term two, he’ll be gone is six years- maybe sooner given the cheeseburger and chocolate cream pie diet of a 72 year old. Sit back and enjoy the show. By now you surely have figured out that in this day and age, Americans don’t want to be governed– they wish to be entertained. And our Captain is doing just that. He’s the bad boy everybody loves or loves to hate. And so far, voters haven’t stopped watching.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  521. @ DRJ, who asked (#500):

    It sounds like you believe Barr has engaged in spin, although not in a misleading way, and you seem fine with that. Meanwhile, it also sounds like you think Mueller will be accurate, circumspect and restrained, and you clearly expect that of him.

    You’re correct that I hold them to different standards.

    Part of the reason is that the men hold two very different jobs. Barr is a political appointee whose job includes the administration of a large executive department and the pursuit of the POTUS’ policy agenda. Mueller, in this job, is the equivalent of a U.S. Attorney, which is to say, is a line prosecutor whose job is almost entirely the practicing of law, with more limited administrative responsibilities and almost no political responsibilities. Barr can speak for the entire Department of Justice, Mueller only for its Office of Special Counsel. Barr was confirmed by the U.S. Senate; Mueller (for this job) was not.

    Part of the reason is that I’ve been speaking about two different types of documents. Barr’s letter to Congress, never forget, was in fulfillment of an express requirement of the special counsel regulation that he report when a special counsel has finished an investigation. As I’ve written before, the regulations’ requirements could literally have been satisfied in a one-sentence letter, but Barr chose — appropriately, I believe — to write a four-page one, extremely dense and substantive in describing Mueller’s vastly longer report and vastly larger task. Most of the criticism of him, including Mueller’s letter to him urging release of the executive summaries ahead of the full report (as redacted), has been about what he chose to omit, and it was largely in those choices that his letter can be accused of spin. Meuller’s report, by contrast, is intended to be comprehensive and had no limitation on its length; even his “executive summaries” of each of the two volumes is substantially longer than Barr’s entire letter to Congress. It now being available for him to refer to and fall back upon during questioning, I expect him to do that.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  522. @ lurker (#527): I shall cry into my pillow all night.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  523. @ Kevin M: Impeachment depends on Congress’ views as to what constitutes a high crime or misdemeanor, and while Congress is free to depart from legal analysis in that process — because the Constitution doesn’t provide a direct check on it doing so — the Congress considering Nixon’s impeachment spent considerable time and effort trying to put the complaints against Nixon into a legal, not political, context. The entire impeachment effort revolved around a draft set of Articles of Impeachment being prepared by the House Judiciary Committee for consideration by the full House, and those articles were deliberately shaped to read very much like a criminal indictment. And the very long list of specific allegations were all grouped together under the general topic of obstruction of justice. I repeat: Obstruction of justice was what drove Nixon from office, and nothing you say will shake my conviction on that, because it’s a demonstrable fact.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  524. @538. The reality of the likely vote count relayed by The Three Stooges is what drove him to decide to resign. If he believed he had the support in the Senate to have been acquitted, he’d have fought on.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  525. Further to my #536 above, re spin:

    Some of the “spin” in Barr’s letter is entirely unobjectionable, I think, but spin nonetheless. For instance, in describing the Mueller investigation, Barr marshaled a series of facts and figures intended to portray the investigation in a flattering light by emphasizing its comprehensiveness and the considerable investigatory and prosecutorial resources it engaged. That is spin — in other words, discretionary choices intended to portray the DoJ and the Mueller investigation in a favorable light, in anticipation of potential criticism. It certainly makes the DoJ look better than would have a one-sentence letter reporting, “The special counsel has finished his investigation.” And the DoJ is part of the Trump Administration, so that inferentially makes Trump look better too. I nevertheless do not consider it misleading, and I don’t think anyone was misled by it unless they’re the sort of person who deliberately chooses to focus on the most superficial material in front of them.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  526. (I expect Mueller to engage in that sort of spin, too, in his testimony; and I will similarly find it unobjectionable.)

    Beldar (fa637a)

  527. Further & finally on the question of Nixon and obstruction: The one-sentence conventional-wisdom version of the entire Watergate affair is what, Kevin M?

    Say it with me now: “It’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up.” Google that sentence and you’ll get: Watergate.

    The cover-up was obstruction of justice. Yes, Nixon had lots of enemies, and did lots of objectionable things which had no connection to the Watergate break-in or its subsequent investigation, or even to his 1972 campaign. But that which prompted him to resign was the surety that the full House would adopt the Articles of Impeachment voted out of the Judiciary Committee on a bipartisan basis, and then in particular the news that he could no longer count upon Senate Republicans to vote against those articles at the conclusion of Nixon’s trial in the Senate.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  528. @537 Beldar,

    Works for me. Please post video.

    lurker (d8c5bc)

  529. In #424 above, I wrote:

    Allowing Mueller to testify would also be consistent with other discretionary decisions Barr has made, and at least with general undertakings he has given during his confirmation hearing toward trying to wrap this up transparently, but I don’t recall whether he was ever specifically asked, “Will you let Mueller come testify after his report?”

    Since then, I’ve been reminded/informed by this news report that Barr is indeed fairly far out on this limb already:

    Barr, at a news conference on April 18, said he did not object to Mueller testifying, something he reiterated in testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee last week. Barr also told Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) that the White House was not exerting influence on his decision of whether and when to allow Mueller to testify.

    The Justice Department did not respond Monday to a question about whether Barr stood by his April 18 comments.

    I admit, in fact, to having fast forwarded through Sen. Hirono’s questioning, since I find her singularly offensive even among this crowd of stupid, contentious, and rude jerks.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  530. Obstruction of justice was what drove Nixon from office, and nothing you say will shake my conviction on that, because it’s a demonstrable fact.

    And I assert that it was the loss of support in the public and the Congress that did it. Being caught as a lying sack of sh1t, via the tapes, was the coup de grace. I will point out that of the three articles that passed, only the first discussed “obstruction” directly. I, as a layman, thought the 2nd article was more important. Lying is one thing, abuse of power is another.

    I guess we will have to settle for our sides of the elephant.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  531. Trump is an idiot to refuse to let the fat lady sing.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  532. 546. Trump just wants to stop the opera. He is afraid of what might happen in the next scene, irrational as that might be.

    And the thing is: It has a good ending for him now – and he wants that to be it. He’s so happy now with this ending. He doesn’t want anything to take away from that.

    But the Democrats have a vote on whether or not that’s the end of the opera.

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  533. Off-topic, @ Kevin M (since you’re still following this thread):

    I was prompted by your mention of Philip Kerr’s Bernie Gunther books in the recent “What I’m Reading” post to take a look. So far so good. Here’s a representative paragraph, with Bernie discussing a recently added partner in his private investigator business:

    Bruno nodded, tugged a little at his eyepatch and then transferred his nerves to his pipe – the symbol of our partnership’s failure. I hate the paraphernalia of pipe-smoking: the tobacco-pouch, the cleaner, the pocket-knife and the special lighter. Pipe-smokers are the grandmasters of fiddling and fidgeting, and as great a blight on our world as a missionary landing on Tahiti with a boxful of brassieres. It wasn’t Bruno’s fault, for, in spite of his drinking and his irritating little habits, he was still the good detective I’d rescued from the obscurity of an out-of-the-way posting to a Kripo station in Spreewald. No, it was me that was at fault: I had discovered myself to be as temperamentally unsuited to partnership as I would have been to the presidency of the Deutsche Bank.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  534. Barr’s letter to Nadler on Monday regarding the outstanding subpoena issued by Nadler’s committee is quite interesting. It tweaks Nadler, justifiably, for rushing to enforcement attempts without serious consultation regarding possible compromises in the possible release by DOJ of the Mueller report without redactions, as well as the release of underlying investigative materials. Its concluding paragraph suggests flexibility, though, at a minimum, even regarding some investigative materials:

    Nonetheless, as we have made clear from the outset, the Department welcomes the Committee’s offer to attempt to negotiate an acceptable accommodation of our respective interests on these issues. We are prepared to discuss the matters raised in your letter, including your request to provide greater access to the less-redacted version of the report to additional Members of Congress and staff, as well as prioritizing review and possible disclosure of certain materials cited in the Special Counsel’s report, provided that such access and disclosure is done lawfully and in a manner that protects long-established Executive Branch confidentiality interests.

    It ends by inviting Nadler’s staff to a negotiating meeting on Wednesday of this week.

    Looking behind the letter, it serves at least two more cynical purposes: It buys time, or at least provides a publicly plausible reason for continuing delay past the arbitrary deadlines in Nadler’s subpoena. And it creates a basis for a motion to stay or abate any enforcement attempts: Any judge is going to insist that both sides have negotiated to impasse before considering any judicial remedy, and this letter is an evidentiary foundation for such a judge to conclude that it’s been Nadler, not Barr, who’s refused so far to negotiate.

    But on its face, it’s consistent with Barr’s prior assurances regarding transparency, and with his recent performance demonstrating it. As I’ve written above, I think that’s in both Trump’s and the nation’s best interests, even though it is clearly contrary to Trump’s instincts, which are terrible on essentially all matters legal (except the outsourcing of his judicial appointments, which he was led into deftly by Ted Cruz).

    Beldar (fa637a)

  535. The letter is actually not in Barr’s name, but rather from Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd from the DoJ’s Office of Legislative Affairs. It’s fair to presume, though, that Barr approved it.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  536. @545. Perhaps less weight on the ‘public support’ angle and more on the vote count in Congress. OOJ is sort of a McGuffin; they coulda drafted articles to impeach for the criminal act of mixing ketchup w/cottage cheese– all that mattered was the vote count at that time and once The Three Stooges delivered that number to him and told Congressional support was collapsing, he made his decision to resign. If more had put party over country and the tally was favorable even w/a slim number, he’d likely have gone through the fire and weathered the public support storm.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  537. “Always leave them wanting more.” — Show business maxim

    nk (9651fb)

  538. BTW: I’ve been giving the kerfuffle all the attention it deserves, so I still have a question. Who leaked Mueller’s letter?

    nk (9651fb)

  539. Mueller’s staff, who may have also written it.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  540. My personal strategy is well know to regulars and the results have been surprisingly swift, beyond expectations a mere two years in.

    Yep, the 2020’s are definitely shaping up to be a new Golden Age of Rockefeller Republicanism…

    Dave (1bb933)

  541. I think Bill Barr made the second letter from Mueller public. There were two.

    What was leaked was hearsay about what the staff felt. Barr has said, I think, that Mueller cold get him over the phone. In other words there was no need for the letter except to crete a document for the record.

    The House Judiciary sCommmittee has issued a subpoena that it is actually illegal for Barr to comply with because they also want grand jury information (which fact they studiously gnore when talking to the media.)

    They aren’t taking any chances that Barr could comply with the subpoena..

    Now they say, but he could petitio the judge to make the grand jury information public. And it has been said, it is not clear, but the Hiuse Judiciary Committee could do so itself.

    Personally, in cases that have more general importance, I thinkk grand jury information ought to be available, except for the fact that nwadays making people’s names public could result in Twitter mobs, attempts to get people fired, boycott attempts and worse. There are any number of historical cases where grand jury information really should not remain secret forever.

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  542. Dave @ 555

    — Now, why should [redacted] be standing there, patting Trump on the back?
    — Looking for soft spot for the knife.

    nk (9651fb)

  543. Beldar,

    I agree Cabinet members are supposed to help Presidents pursue their policy agendas, but I think an AG is different in that his “help” consists of providing advice and opinions on the legal aspects of policies and their implementation. He represents the US, not the President.

    DRJ (15874d)

  544. The swiftness is both discouraging and encouraging to me as a conservative. Discouraging because it shows there aren’t many committed conservative GOP voters, but encouraging because it shows GOP voters aren’t committed to any ideology. They will sway with whoever they think can win.

    DRJ (15874d)

  545. All we have to do is convince voters a conservative can win. Understanding or agreeing with the actual policies may not matter to them, so it is a much easier task.

    DRJ (15874d)

  546. Lightning rod, too, for venom criticism that would otherwise be directed at the President, except that “Mama!”-wailing baby Trump is jealous of negative attention too.

    nk (9651fb)

  547. encouraging because it shows GOP voters aren’t committed to any ideology

    You find it encouraging that that GOP voters will support a morally degenerate reality TV gameshow host who lies about his religious faith and backed the Democrats most of his life?

    Dave (1bb933)

  548. 560… it’s funny reading this… yesterday I fat-fingered the phone and pulled up a thread from late December 2011 and there was a similar discussion about convincing voters that a conservative could win the election.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  549. This is where we are, gentlemen. It isn’t my first choice but Republicans have been receptive to conservative issues in the past. I suspect they wil be in the future, too, with a candidate they like. Obviously who they like isn’t a high hurdle, either.

    DRJ (15874d)

  550. #558 Beldar,

    I agree Cabinet members are supposed to help Presidents pursue their policy agendas, but I think an AG is different in that his “help” consists of providing advice and opinions on the legal aspects of policies and their implementation. He represents the US, not the President.

    DRJ (15874d) — 5/7/2019 @ 6:58 am

    I find this phrasing perplexing as numerous commentator keeps pounding it.

    Of course, the AG represents the US.

    Just as the POTUS, represents the US.

    Furthermore, the AG is a political position at the whims of the POTUS. A position that the POTUS can fire/replace for any reasons.

    The AG is a political creature of the Executive Branch… not a “separate” entity outside of the executive branch. So you ALWAYS need to factor in politics when the AG is in the news. Always.

    Yes, there are department policies between the DoJ and the White House that are used to mitigate unwarranted influences from political activities at the White House. But that doesn’t mean the DOJ/Attorney General are a separate independent entity from the executive branch.

    Now, should the AG be “the right-hand man” of the POTUS, ala Eric Holder? No… and its a fair criticism.

    Has Barr reached to that level of Eric Holder? I don’t believe so.

    I think Barr is trying really hard to steady the ship… AND to inject accountability and respectability in the DoJ.

    whembly (b9d411)

  551. Both the Ag and the President (and others) take an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. Obstruction is not consistent with preserving, protecting and defending the Constitution.

    DRJ (15874d)

  552. 566. Neither is most of what Trump has done so far.

    Gryph (08c844)

  553. Now, should the AG be “the right-hand man” of the POTUS, ala Eric Holder? No… and its a fair criticism.

    Has Barr reached to that level of Eric Holder? I don’t believe so.

    I agree but how do you think the Democrats got to the point of having people like Holder? They excused partisan political behavior in the name of winning. And some here feel the same way.

    DRJ (15874d)

  554. I am not saying these things to be a scold or prude. I understand that ethics restrain our behavior and they make it harder to do some things we want to do. (The same is true of Christian commandments.) But most ethical rules and all commandments exist to make our lives safer, better, and — in the long run — happier and more successful. IMO self-control and a code of moral conduct is vittal to successful countries, governments, businesses, ventures and lives.

    DRJ (15874d)

  555. Partisan political behavior is always more noticeable in lawyers because they have special fiduciary ethical obligations and duties to their clients that can conflict with their personal interests or their clients’ desires. In the case of an Attorney General, the duties are owed to the country, not the President, even though the President appointed him. That is why Sessions recused himself.

    DRJ (15874d)

  556. “They will sway with whoever they think can win.” – DRJ
    “When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature they will like the strong horse.” – OBL

    I’m not really so convinced that the main reason Trump won the nomination was because “they will sway with whoever they think can win.” On election day, Trump’s own people in charge of polling thought he had a 2/3 chance of losing.

    Trump told people what they wanted to hear, and promised easy (and obviously unrealistic, to anyone not brain-washed by FoxNews) solutions to problems they cared about, which involved no sacrifices or hard choices. A significant number of people cast protest votes for Trump, not because they thought he could win, but despite the fact he probably wouldn’t.

    I think OBL might have been closer to the truth. Trump won the nomination by convincing people (using the power synergy between shameless dishonesty and voter ignorance) that he was a strong, competent and decisive leader. And indeed, the most strenuous exertions of his cult followers are directed at trying to maintain that illusion, despite the Everest-sized (and growing) mountain of evidence to the contrary…

    Dave (1bb933)

  557. *powerful

    Dave (1bb933)

  558. The point being, it may well be impossible for a responsible conservative, who talks about realistic policies, difficult choices, and sacrifices to solve hard problems, to prevail over a panderer like Trump who has the much easier task of hoodwinking the electorate with pabulum.

    Dave (1bb933)

  559. 573. If they’re not much of a thinker themselves and don’t know how to counter the arguments or are afraid to.

    Sammy Finkelman (ec94de)

  560. Nancy Pelosi is nw saying (sh e has to know this is not true) that trump’s trying to get the Dempcrats ti impeach him, in order to strengthen his base. Impeachmednt, or proceeding along these lines, may have that effect, but Trump’s not trying to make it happen.

    Sammy Finkelman (ec94de)

  561. @555. Time will tell; history has been known to rhyme.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  562. @559/560. Repackaging a product has been known to work sometimes. [The guts of the hip Ford Mustang was derived from the ol’ Ford Falcon with a snazzy new look slapped on the chassis.] OTOH, bacon and pork chops aside, a pig w/lipstick is still a pig. The demographics of the country are changing, too, so retooling a ‘conservative’ for the 21st century is going to take a rework of priorities to generate appeal to the population shift. Reagan honed a simplified message over 35 years for the last century; growing a beard in a few months for this century doesn’t quite cut it.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  563. @545. postscript- K, FWIW, recall The Big Dick was ‘warned’ ‘alerted’ and so forth by underlings- Dean and such- on the tapes over the months of treading into OOJ territory and he wasn’t all that spooked by it and pressed on. The Congressional vote count was what drove him to resign and public support was not far behind– but still hovering around 26% when he handed the keys to the WH to Ford.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  564. # 569 I am not saying these things to be a scold or prude. I understand that ethics restrain our behavior and they make it harder to do some things we want to do. (The same is true of Christian commandments.) But most ethical rules and all commandments exist to make our lives safer, better, and — in the long run — happier and more successful. IMO self-control and a code of moral conduct is vittal to successful countries, governments, businesses, ventures and lives.

    DRJ (15874d) — 5/7/2019 @ 8:47 am

    No… I don’t think you’re being a scold or prude.

    I guess its that we’re coming from different perspective. I readily acknowledge that whomever is in these political positions, there will be bias. It’s a matter of “what degrees of bias” when looking at administration-to-administration.

    For my part, I’m a pragmatist here and I really don’t agree with yours (and Pat’s) perspective here…. and if I can co-sign beldar’s posts, I would as I think he’s spot on.

    whembly (51f28e)

  565. Trump made himself out to be the most “conservative” person in the race.

    Sammy Finkelman (ec94de)

  566. Trump made himself out to be the most “conservative” person in the race.

    …and Mexico was going to pay for every cent of the wall, and Hillary was going to jail, and he was going to appoint pro-life judges to the Supreme Court, and the national debt would be paid off in eight years, and anyone who killed a cop was getting the death penalty by executive order, and Obamacare would be replaced by something that covered everyone much better at a tiny fraction of the cost, and …

    Dave (884010)

  567. Dave:

    I think OBL might have been closer to the truth. Trump won the nomination by convincing people (using the power synergy between shameless dishonesty and voter ignorance) that he was a strong, competent and decisive leader.  And indeed, the most strenuous exertions of his cult followers are directed at trying to maintain that illusion, despite the Everest-sized (and growing) mountain of evidence to the contrary…

    Dave (1bb933) — 5/7/2019 @ 9:44 am

    You make a good point. FWIW when I tslk about “winning,” I am talking about Trump’s definition: getting even, hurting the other guy, revenge. Winning to him is winning elections, but only if you make the other side suffer/demoralized. The fact that his biggest fans support Trump no matter what he does suggests to me that they care about those things — no matter how he does it and no matter what goal he picks — more than leadership or any specific goal. But my guess is that at the end of the day, they will support someone who actually accomplishes things (a real winner).

    whembly, while I think Patterico has the better argument here, it is always smart to consider everything Beldar says.

    DRJ (15874d)

  568. Well:

    Although Falwell declined interview requests for this story, he has said repeatedly that he endorsed Trump because Trump was the strongest candidate, had significant experience running a business, and had the right vision for the country.

    After reading the link, maybe “strongest” isn’t the right word.

    DRJ (15874d)

  569. Trump is getting more honest. Today he said Mueller found no cikllusion and “essentially” no obstruction. That should get zero Pinnochios!

    I saw that excerpted on Colbert. Naturally, that was not the point Colbert made.

    Interestingly, I’ve noticed that Saturday Night Live has llately been avoiding politics. Tonight Colbert had arather long cold open tha ended with someone saying “Live from New York, It’s Saturday”

    It was something about two earths, with Colbert asking them to stop the cyynicism there because it was affecting things ehere. I didn’t understand it – it ddn’t make sense to me – it seems to require some more familiarity than I have with developments in comic book legends over the last two or three decades.

    Sammy Finkelman (ec94de)

  570. * Today he said Mueller found no collusion and “essentially” no obstruction. That should get Zero Pinnochios!

    Sammy Finkelman (ec94de)

  571. David Gudeman in Number 41 on The General Note thread: (5/10/2019 @ 1:01 am)

    the House is using their powers to harass the president under the guise of investigating him

    Some of those things are not any kind of investigation.

    And the demand for his tax retrns is being made, or rests on, false legal grounds. For some things, Trump is relying on whatever legal grounds he is told – for not making the whole Mueller report avalable, executive privilege – it may not apply because you can’t do that for what was alreeady disclosed – the only thing they can’t get is grand jury related information – it would be illegal for Barr to hand it over. So the Democrats say he could petition a judge to let him do it! Now it would useful to find out what’s n the GJ information, but it’s not likely to b anything that involved Trump.

    And for not making his tax returns available to a Congressional committee public, his legal defense is interpreting the 1924 law that allows certain Congessional committees to require his tax returns be turned over by the IRS as unconstitutional if there is no legislative purpose. And there isn’t. Dspite attenmopts to arrange one.

    We’re also seeing Deutsche Bank and ohers that may be in possession of copies of some of Donald Trump’s tax returns being subpoenaed, and being almost pre-emptively sued by Donald Trump not to comply with the subpoena, and New York State trying to draft a law in such a way so that Trump’s New York State tax returns (which in large part, duplicate or summarize his federal tax returns) but only Trump’s tax returns be made available to Congess.

    The Democrats would be on stronger legal grounds if hey wanted things for an impeachment inquiry; therefore House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says that Trump is trying to goad them into starting one.
    I don’t think he is – he’s not that strategic. He just doesn’t feel like co-operating, and hopes that he make the Democrats give up on this idea by not supplying them with material. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is actually trying to prevent her members from starting one, or, more accurately, make them not feel bad. Any member maybe could force a vote. he keeps telling them they are proceeding methodically, and they should.

    Now not complying with a Congressional subpoena can itself be an impeachable offense. It was one charge against Nixon. That’s what Nancy Pelosi means by saying he is self-impeachable. They don’t need to investigate – they can just do it. And Donald Trump has already told the Democratic leadership ( a few months ago) they can make the government shutdown grounds for impeacchment.

    It sounds like he wants it, because such trivial grounds would make the Democrats look bad. I any case Trump is cynical about this. Quite rightly. The Democrats just don’t want to appear to be acting that cynically..

    Trump has laid down the gauntlet, saying he’s not going to comply with any subpoena (even, it seems, for something already made available) on the grounds they are not, “like” impartial people, (which nobody can deny) but are only looking for things to use in the 2020 election.

    the FBI, CIA, and DOJ spied on political campaigns of the opposition party

    This ahs been repeated but it is not true in the usual sense of the word. They were never looking for political information, and even less, to hand it over to the other campaign. James Comey and others, in fact, tried to avoid any spying on the Trump campaign.

    They may have been afraid of accusations, even if Hillary Clinton won and did their best to pacify the Democrats. Now, in 1964, the FBI spied on Goldwater and handed over campaign material to Johnson, but when this came out circa 1973, it was lightly reported.

    It’s been put to Trump (by Mark Levin among others – probably not Mark Levin himself but he as on the radio saying that in 2017) that his campaign was spied on, but this is nt accurate accusation – it’s at least misleading. Hillary Clinton or the Democrats in general never got any political information that came from the Trump campaign (although Russia did get a little, almost certainly without Trump’s knowledge or consent, but Manafort was giving out some snippets, maybe to convince his interlocutor(s) that they would win.) And Hillary Clinton and the DNC got disinformation from Russia about Trump, although Russia probably didn’t realize that’s where it was going to. And they may realized (common sense) that this at least contained large amounts of falsehood.

    or engaged in a conspiracy to bring down an elected president.

    That maybe only started after Trump ired Comey, if by that you mean illegimately startung a criminal investigation. The prior investigation, which was acounter-intelligence investigation – I don’t know what the purpose was. To find something?

    Sammy Finkelman (ec94de)

  572. Indirectly, another Allahpundit link to this post.

    DRJ (15874d)


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