William Barr Will Have to Answer for His Whitewash of the Mueller Report

William Barr Will Have to Answer for His Whitewash of the Mueller Report May 1, 2019

And we knew this.

Here it is: Back in March, after special counsel Robert Mueller dropped his final report on Russia’s interference in the 2016 election into the hands of newly seated Attorney General William Barr, Barr rushed out a pathetically brief 4 page summary.

That was 4 pages gleaned from a report that was over 400 pages in length.

The gist of Barr’s “summary” was – No collusion, no obstruction. Move along.

He was good enough to point out that although Mueller’s report found nothing to nail Donald Trump with, it didn’t exonerate him, either.

It’s a confusing message, but for the MAGA faithful, and King Donnie the Orange, they took it exactly as Barr meant to convey: TOTAL EXONERATION!

Reports following that debacle were that some members of Mueller’s team were frustrated that the attorney general had made the decision to bypass the summaries they’d supplied for each section, opting rather to put his own spin on it, in a mere 4 pages.

Of course, once the [redacted] report was released to Congress, and the public in April, we saw that not only did Mueller not give Trump and his campaign team a clean bill of health, but a laundry list of extremely troubling behavior was noted, throughout.

While an argument could be made that Mueller bore some of the blame for Barr’s actions, by not clearly stating an opinion as to what should happen with the information within the report, Barr chose to likewise brush over the detail of Mueller leaving the door open for Congress to make that decision.

It’s almost as if Barr was working for the president, rather than the citizens of the United States.

Ok. It’s exactly as if Barr was working for the president, rather than the citizens of the United States. He’s Donald Trump’s new “fixer.” All he’s lacking is a porn star to pay off.

So let’s look at how Mr. Barr framed the report in a press conference given before even allowing Congress to look it over:

In a press conference before releasing the report, Barr emphasized he was committed to “ensuring the greatest possible degree of transparency” with respect to Mueller’s report. He also explained and defended his decision that Trump did not obstruct justice, emphasizing the “context” of the president’s actions and asserting that the White House was “fully” cooperative with the probe.

By “context,” he clarified Trump was upset, therefore, he made multiple attempts to obstruct a lawful investigation. We all know our feelings matter, when it comes to the law, or something.

“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,” Barr told reporters on April 18.

Motives.

The Democrat-led Congress, of course, has gone nuts over this, as has the public. Any who have read the report, then listened to William Barr’s spin recognize the disconnect.

This was two years of extensive work by Robert Mueller and his team. Other than hearing how some members were upset with Barr’s dismissal of their summaries, how do you think Mueller feels?

There have been multiple attempts to get him to chime in, but he has refused to speak.

A subpoena to appear before Congress is in his future, you can bet on it.

That being said, it’s not as if he’s been silent, either.

On Tuesday evening, news broke that the normally stoic professional, Mueller, did have something to say about Barr’s treatment of his team’s work.

According to a Justice Department spokeswoman, Kerri Kupec, Robert Mueller reached out to AG Barr, after his ridiculous 4 page summary in March.

In a call to his old friend, Mueller reportedly expressed “frustration” with how Barr had woefully mischaracterized what was in the final report.

He pointed out the lack of context, as well as how the media covered Barr’s summary, basically pointing out that now a false narrative had been released to the public.

And is this going to be a case of “he said/he said”?

Mueller is too smart for that.

He also followed with a letter, detailing his concerns, creating documentation of his stance.

“The summary letter the Department sent to Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24 did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office’s work and conclusions,” Mueller wrote in the letter on March 27, according to the Post. “There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation. This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the Department appointed the Special Counsel: to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations.”

In it, Mueller reportedly requested that Barr release the introductions and executive summaries from his lengthy report on Russia’s election interference and made suggestions about how the sections could be redacted to conceal sensitive material.

“Release at this time would alleviate the misunderstandings that have arisen and would answer congressional and public questions about the nature and outcome of our investigation,” Mueller wrote, according to the Post.

He wanted that report out there. Of course, he understood that redactions were necessary. Some of the subjects covered within its pages relate to ongoing investigations. These are matters that were uncovered that fell just outside the purview of Mueller’s authority.

Much of what is going on now with the Southern District of New York is happening because of Robert Mueller.

Still, Barr is determined to stick by story. In his call with Mueller, as the Justice Department spokeswoman pointed out, nothing in the AG’s brief summary or press conference to the matter was proven wrong.

“But, he expressed frustration over the lack of context and the resulting media coverage regarding the Special Counsel’s obstruction analysis. They then discussed whether additional context from the report would be helpful and could be quickly released,” Kupec said.

“However, the Attorney General ultimately determined that it would not be productive to release the report in piecemeal fashion,” she said. “The Attorney General and the Special Counsel agreed to get the full report out with necessary redactions as expeditiously as possible.”

Previously, Barr addressed Congress about the report and claimed there was no line of dispute between what he had announced in his summary and Robert Mueller.

We now know he had that phone call and that letter before making this statement.

Was this a deliberate lie to protect Donald Trump?

It’s sketchy, that’s for sure.

The timing of the release of this news couldn’t come at a more uncomfortable time for William Barr. He will be sitting and fielding questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee today, and while we can expect Republicans on the committee to offer him a cold drink and foot rubs, the Democrats are not likely to be so generous, given what we now know about Barr’s actions.

 

 

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  • chemical

    Previously, Barr addressed Congress about the report and claimed there was no line of dispute between what he had announced in his summary and Robert Mueller.

    Barr should go to prison for that. He lied to Congress in order to protect Trump.

    “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,” Barr told reporters on April 18.

    What a load. You can literally excuse any crime whatsoever with that. If Trump decided to murder the children of illegal immigrants, Barr would justify it because Trump had the “non-corrupt” motive of attempting to secure our borders. “I’ll excuse this obstruction because of non-corrupt intent” = “The end ALWAYS justifies the means”. That’s a line right up there with Nixon’s infamous “It’s not a crime if the president does it”.

  • JASmius

    I awoke this morning to the breaking news that Robert Mueller had sent a letter to his “old friend” Bill Barr blasting him (in Mueller’s quite, dignified way) in writing a few days after the latter released that four-page fictional “summary” of Mueller’s damning 448-page report complete with its de facto ten-count obstruction of justice indictment, and just tossed Mueller’s letter in a desk drawer and continued shoveling for Trump for another month, up to and including this morning, and you know what? It almost interrupted my yawn.

    One thing that observing American politics for forty years taught me early on, in that context and as a general life lesson, is that ingrained cynicism is the mother’s milk of mental health. Call it jadedness or pessimism or “Murphy’s Laws have no flaws,” but you’ll always be closer to the target and much more often if you expect the worst of situations and the people involved with them than the best. And that mindset has reached its apex (or nadir, depending on your metaphorical direction) in the Age of Trump.

    All of which to say, OF COURSE Mueller felt compelled to confront his “old friend” about Barr’s blatant, pro-Trump lies about his report, and OF COURSE he did so in writing because that’s what you do when you’re dealing with liars and crooks. And OF COURSE Barr ignored it and kept up the mendacious “TOTAL EXONERATION” narrative, including perjuring himself under oath before Congress about what Mueller said in his protest letter, because that’s the core of Barr’s job description. Susan nailed it beautifully above:

    It’s exactly as if Barr was working for the president, rather than the citizens of the United States. He’s Donald Trump’s new “fixer.” All he’s lacking is a porn star to pay off.

    Donald Trump is a liar and a crook, and any who willingly choose to serve him meet one of two fates: either they learn the truth about him and resign on principle (e.g. Gary Cohn, James Mattis) or they sell out their principles, abandon their consciences, and assimilate, of which Bill Barr is the most egregious example yet. This is what makes Trump and MAGAloons so effortlessly predictable, and so easy to see where all of this is headed. As Rick Wilson writes in his latest column today, the only real question is what the Dems are going to do about it.

  • Annemarie

    …and my biggest fear is that rather than take the moral high ground, the Democrats will wonder how they can use it.

    “Ingrained cynicism is the mother’s milk of mental health” made me laugh, though. Thanks!

  • Annemarie

    You’re absolutely right; it implies the President is above the law. I don’t know the reason for not indicting Presidents (constitutional crisis? something left over from Watergate?) but can only hope that it was meant to prevent something really disastrous.

  • dmk8591

    Susan – A prosecutors job is not to exonerate targets but to make a decision about whether they should be prosecuted. If there is insufficient evidence to support criminal charges, then a prosecutors job is to simply close the case. The Mueller report comes in two volumes and both volumes are from the prospective of a prosecutor. Volume 1 concerns investigating charges that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during 2016 election. Volume 2 concerns whether Trump obstructed the investigation into the Volume 1 charges. This is the Mueller report conclusion on Volume 1 (quote is from page 11): “while the investigation identified numerous links between individuals with ties to the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump Campaign, the evidence was not sufficient to support criminal charges.”

    As Barr’s summary indicated about Volume 2, Mueller laid out facts related to potential charges of obstruction, both pro and con. As Barr stated, the Mueller report did not suggest a charge of obstruction, which it could have done, if Mueller thought these charges had sufficient evidence to support criminal charges. No less a legal scholar than Alan Dershowitz has said that Mueller abdicated his prosecutorial responsibility of either recommending charges of obstruction or closing the case without further comment. Instead Mueller left this decision up to the DOJ, and Barr made it along with Deputy-AG Rod Rosenstein. The bottom line is no charge of obstruction was recommended by Barr and Rosenstein, as described in these quotes from a Daily Wire article:

    “The Deputy Attorney General and I, therefore, conducted a careful review of the report, looking at the facts found and the legal theories set forth by the Special Counsel,” Barr continued. “Although we 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 accepted the Special Counsel’s legal framework for purposes of our analysis and evaluated the evidence as presented by the Special Counsel in reaching our conclusion.” “We 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,” Barr added. “The responsibility of the Department of Justice, when it comes to law enforcement, is to determine whether crimes have been committed and to prosecute those crimes under the principles of federal prosecution.”

    Similarly, CNN reported these comments from Barr: “I didn’t exonerate. I said that we did not believe that there was sufficient evidence to establish an obstruction offense which is the job of the Justice Department,” and “The job of the Justice Department is now over. That determines whether or not there is a crime. The report is now in the hands of the American people. Everyone can decide for themselves: There’s an election in 18 months.” According to Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd, the less-redacted version already available to key members of Congress “would permit review of 98.5 percent of the report, including 99.9 percent of Volume II.” And the Washington Post article about Mueller’s letter to Barr had this to say about Barr’s summary: “When Barr pressed Mueller on whether he thought Barr’s memo to Congress was inaccurate, Mueller said he did not but felt that the media coverage of it was misinterpreting the investigation, officials said.” It is possible that Mueller himself will also testify. Wouldn’t it be better to wait for that event then to judge Barr based on innuendo of what Mueller meant to criticize?

  • chemical

    In his report, Mueller declined to indict Trump because a formal indictment means that he has to go through the motions of formally accusing Trump with a crime. Trial by jury, etc., that kind of stuff, but there is a huge problem here: Trump is currently the president, and in that case there is a specific way to accuse a sitting president of a crime, laid out in the Constitution: Impeaching him.

    Mueller is a strict institutionalist. He recognizes that it’s not his job to impeach Trump because he isn’t congress. If I’m not mistaken the House votes to start impeachment proceedings, and then the trial is held in the Senate, and they vote to impeach the president.

    It’s worth noting that a sitting president has never actually been impeached; during Clinton’s administration the House brought up the proceedings, but the Senate failed to impeach him. There was also a case early in US history that ended the same way (Andrew Johnson, maybe?). Then there is the case of Richard Nixon: The House and Senate majority and minority leaders approached Nixon and told him that they had the votes to both start impeachment proceedings AND impeach in the Senate. Nixon offered to resign instead, which he did the next day.

    I think Nixon’s case demonstrates the reality of impeachment: The trial is just to make things official, and won’t actually happen if the president will lose. Given this lesson, I’d say Trump’s impeachment trial is happening right now. Dems are building a case against Trump by dragging Barr in front of committees (and likely will lock him up for lying to Congress), as well as digging into Trump’s finances and having Mueller testify.

  • Bruce

    Surely everyone knows the great tweeter had corrupt intent to obstruct the investigation. He reveals this almost daily.

  • chemical

    “The Deputy Attorney General and I, therefore, conducted a careful review of the report, looking at the facts found and the legal theories set forth by the Special Counsel,” Barr continued.

    I watched Barr get grilled yesterday, and it’s clear that he lied about this. When questioned by Kamala Harris, Barr admitted to not even reviewing the underlying evidence Mueller presented, and neither did anyone in the AG’s office. Yet Barr still declined to recommend any charges be brought against Trump.

    Harris absolutely obliterated any shred of credibility that Barr had before the hearing.

    I do agree that it important to have Mueller testify, and I think that’s what Dems are waiting on before throwing some indictments out.

  • Michael Weyer

    Tricky thing being how next year is the election and having President Pence can shift things up a lot (even with Pence losing scores of respect from conservatives for becoming a Trump bootlicker). It’s a very complex situation as could easily backfire and helped by the Trump cultists still insisting “it’s all a witch hunt and perhaps massive coup” despite all evidence to the contrary.

  • Pearl Nardini

    So, we ask ourselves…who do we trust? NOT Bill Barr. We’ve known for a long time we cannot trust Trump. When Trump entered the political arena it was instant notification, he was a liar, a braggart and a bully. The big players in the GOP are as corrupt as their leader. They have several non-virtues to add to their soiled reputation. They are cowards and they have no distinguishable honorable convictions. They knelt down and kissed the feet of their leader, a leader leading us into the abyss of a totalitarian government. How long will it take to recover from that?

  • chemical

    Trump cultists don’t have a problem with witch hunts and massive coups, as long as they’re the ones doing them.

    The problem right now is that Congress, over the years, has ceded a bunch of power to the executive branch. Dems won the House because the people wanted to put Trump in check; if they refuse to do that they will lose in 2020. They need to start acting like the equal branch of government that they are, starting by locking Barr up.

    If you’re implying that the Trump administration is trying to drag this out until the election, I’d agree. There is a saying, “Justice delayed is justice denied”, and they know they’re on the wrong end of the law.

  • Michael Weyer

    It’s just bizarre because we’ve never had a President who’s such an incredible mix of corrupt and incompetent as Trump is.

    I mean, Nixon was a corrupt scumbag but he actually got a lot done in his Presidency (relations with China, balanced budget, creating EPA, women’s rights push, etc) to help the nation while Trump can’t even claim that. Meanwhile, W Bush was a disaster as a President but I do feel he was really a good and decent man in over his head and listening to the wrong people. Trump is just an idiot and a horrible person.

    Plus, the sad reality that even if House impeaches, the Senate under McConnell won’t convict and Trump can just crow more about “his enemies against me” to push his cult further.

  • IllinoisPatriot

    Just one minor nit:
    When the house votes to bring charges, THAT is when ‘impeachment’occurs When/if the Senate vote sto convict, that is not impeachment, that is immediate and automatic removal from office. as determined and demonstrated under Clinton.

    Therefore it correct to say that Clinton WAS impeached, but because of partisan politics was NOT convicted (was not found innocent, but was not found guilty of the charges brought by the HOR either.

    The left screamed “he’s innocent” just as loudly as the right is now screaming that Trump was “exonorated” by Mueller’s rerport.

    Because Democrats circled the wagons and refused to find Clinton guilty of the charges brought by the HOR, Clinton got to serve out the remainder of his term. Had Clinton been found guilty, he’d have been removed (possibly perp-walked) from the WH immediately with no 3rd options.

    It was the lack of 3rd options (finding Clinton guilty, but not removing him) that swayed many Democrats to vote “not guilty” in the Senate so they could keep him in power. After Clinton’s trial, the Senate then tried to reduce public backlash by attempting to “punish” Clinton for his actions that led to the HOR impeachment, but by then it was too late – the damage to their credibility had been done and the precedent that Trump is now expanding had been set.

    Now we see the same thing happening with Trump. With enough sycophants in the Senate, Trump is safe from being removed from office and since the politicians know they don’t have a lock on removing him, they likely won’t even file impeachment proceedings in the HOR.

    Our Congress no longer does things with true votes or for the will of he people – they won’t make a move unless they know beforehand that their action has enough popularity (paid-off-‘co-sponsors’) (or party-line votes) within their chamber to pass.

  • chemical

    Ah, I see.

    I never really liked that about Clinton (and before you ask, 2000 was the first election I was old enough to vote in), and he was one of the reasons I voted for Bush-43.

    In my opinion, the GOP botched Clinton’s impeachment. They tried to make it more about whether or not Clinton lied about getting a blowjob from Monica Lewinsky, because they thought that would be more embarrassing. Clinton lied about his affair with Lewinsky because it came up in a civil suit with Paula Jones. She was suing Clinton on sexual harassment allegations, and her attorney argued that Clinton didn’t have a lot of respect for women based on him fooling around with Lewinsky while he was in the White House.

    The reason why I think the GOP botched it is because everyone who’s around my age or older knows who Monica Lewinsky is. No one knows who Paula Jones is, to the point where I originally put the wrong name there and had to edit my comment when I looked up the lawsuit. If the GOP would have hammered the point that he was denying justice to Paula Jones by lying in his testimony in the civil suit, they would have had a stronger case. But they made it about Monica Lewinsky, and honestly nobody cared about Clinton’s affair with her. Besides, Clinton settled the Jones suit out of court before the impeachment hearings.

    For what it’s worth, Clinton’s impeachment proceedings had bipartisan support in the House, and had some Democratic House reps vote for impeachment. GOP held 55 senate seats during the impeachment. Clinton was charged on 2 counts: Obstruction of justice and perjury. The perjury vote was straight party line, 55-45. The obstruction vote was 50-50, meaning that some GOP senators had to vote in Clinton’s favor.

  • Ronald Langdon

    Total bull again based on innuendoes, conspiracy theories,accusations without any evidence or fact. Saying Barr lied just because you think so is so foolish. I can say that he told the truth does that make me accurate. Susan is a total loser and all those that think there is still something there to bring Trump down. How about all those charges being laid on Obama,Biden,Clapper,McCabe, Hillary,Comey.Page,etc.whole host of others. That is where the real truth lies not slander and gossip about an attorney General and things we can only guess. I suppose it can entertain Susans’ sheep . The most corrupt,treasonous DOJ,FBI, and adminstration in the history of our country and writers like Susan Wright continue to protect their slimy acts. One who claims to be a Christ follower shoul dbe only concerned with the Truth and Justice no matter where it is found Slander and unfounded accusations belong to the Evilone. Give it up!!!

  • IllinoisPatriot

    Clinton’s impeachment was NOT for sexual antics in the WH – that was the DNC cover-story and deflection narrative – just as Trump’s “the media is picking on me – I’m the victim here” narrative is today.

    The REASON Clinton was impeached was that he actually lied under oath (perjury) while testifying about whether or not the charges of sexual antics in the WH were true. The Democrats tried to use “it was just sex” as the excuse for not voting to impeach Clinton despite the proof presented at his impeachment trial, then tried to “punish” him later for his “guilt”. The actual tipping point in the Senate decision was the Constitutional Scholar evaluation that should Clinton be found guilty there is no option in the Constitution to allow him to remain in office. Once that was decided, the Democrats closed ranks and refused to enter a guilty verdict to the HOR impeachment charges.

    This may be one reason Trump’s lawyers refuse to allow him to testify: Since the GOP used perjury as one of the impeachment articles against Clinton, it would be more than a little hypocritical for the GOP to deny it when Trump inevitably lies under oath or even for the GOP to circle their wagons to protect Trump and find him “not guilty”.

    It was not actually the GOP that “botched ‘it’. The Clinton impeachment fiasco was another jug-screw like we see today – just with the parties reversed. The Democrats were looking for any excuse or distraction to keep Clinton in office while the GOP actually had the better argument: Clinton had been proven to have committed multiple counts of perjury, thus violating the trust of the people of the US and making his continued tenure in office untenable because he could no longer be trusted. (Also Perjury (since he was under oath and providing legal testimony at the time) was considered to have risen to “high crimes and misdemeanors” when committed by the POTUS. Now imagine what would have ensued if Mueller had gotten to question Trump under oath.

    My main point is that a POTUS is considered (and said) to have been “impeached” once the HOR passes articles of impeachment. The Senate conviction is usually referred to as “removed from office” rather than “impeached”.

  • dmk8591

    Your opinion on Barr’s Senate hearing is inconsistent the Editors of the National Review, the Wall Street Journal, and Ted Cruz and the Republican Senators who questioned Barr. However, it is completely consistent with the block of Democratic Senators who all True-Conservatives-TM know are the guardians of “Truth, Justice, and the American Way.”

    Ted Cruz made the point that within three weeks Barr released the full report including the 19 page Summary Mueller asked for in his letter – which is undeniable. According to a CNN critique, the issue with Cruz’s comment is that Trump defenders could rely on Barr’s summary for three weeks, which Mueller himself admitted was not inaccurate. Barr released the full report in three weeks, which is lightning speed for any government operation. But instead of trying to make arguments based on evidence in the actual Mueller report, Trump critics are determined to smear Barr, calling for his impeachment.

    Jonathan Turley is an acknowledged legal expert who is certainly not a Trump-defender at all cost. On his May 1 blog, Turley argues that it is Mueller who has much to explain: “With an hour of the release of the Report, I criticized Mueller for his decision not to reach a conclusion which has no basis in law or policy. The only question was whether Mueller had been told not to reach such a conclusion. Barr answered that questions today in no uncertain terms. Not only could Mueller reach a conclusion, both Barr and Rosenstein pressed him to do so. Mueller’s decision remains both unsupported and incomprehensible. And that is not all that Mueller will have to explain.” In an article published yesterday in Hill.com, this is what Turley had to say about Barr:

    Begin Quote

    Barr released the report with limited redactions. The problem for critics is that the report does not support two years of predictions of criminal charges against President Trump and his family. In writing his summary, Barr offered to allow Mueller to review the draft. Mueller declined. The regulations stipulate that, after the submission of a confidential special counsel report, the attorney general will issue “brief notifications, with an outline of the actions and the reasons for them.”

    Barr did that. He stated correctly that Mueller did not find evidence of crimes connected to collusion or conspiracy with the Russians and that Mueller did not reach a conclusion on obstruction. He then explained that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein concluded that the evidence would not support a charge of obstruction.

    Barr then added a line from the report that remains most damaging to Trump, which is that Mueller did not exonerate Trump. The Justice Department issued a statement following Tuesday’s leak that Mueller wrote a one-page letter, calling for the release of the report’s longer executive summary. The Justice Department stressed that the “special counsel emphasized that nothing in the attorney general’s March 24 letter was inaccurate or misleading.” Yet, Mueller is quoted as stating that Barr’s summary “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office’s work and conclusions.” Mueller wanted to release the summary section of the report. Barr reportedly called Mueller to explain that he preferred not to release the report piecemeal and that the specific portion raised by Mueller had not been cleared by reviewers for release.

    Barr can be legitimately criticized for his press conference. He briefly described Trump’s noncriminal motivations and mindset in a way that raised valid concerns. Those three lines smacked of advocacy and tainted the rest of a largely descriptive press conference. However, his four-page summary was not misleading on the report’s conclusions, and his press conference was followed by releasing the report itself.

    More importantly, despite predictions that Barr might delay the report’s release, redact embarrassing material or make unexplained redactions, Barr’s record is commendable. He released a summary within two days of the report’s completion. He then released the report within a few weeks. He released highly damaging information on Trump. Finally, he not only minimized redactions but clearly identified the reason for each.

    End Quote

  • chemical

    You know, I did specifically say that Clinton was impeached on perjury. Also obstruction of justice, and both votes failed in the senate (Perjury was straight party line, 55-45, and obstruction was 50-50). My point is that the GOP botched it by making the impeachment about Monica Lewinsky, and not Paula Jones.

    Personally, if I was there I’d vote no on obstruction, yes on perjury. It’s pretty clear that Clinton lied under oath about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky. I think the reason why Dems didn’t vote to impeach is because he ended up settling the suit with Jones out of court before the impeachment trial. Clinton lied to make himself look better in his suit against Jones, and it ended up blowing up in his face and he settled on somewhat unfavorable terms with Jones, ending up paying her $850,000. That doesn’t mean what I think Clinton did in this case is OK.

    The reason why I said the GOP botched it is because they didn’t frame the case in a way to convince Dems to vote for impeachment.
    1. Having sex with interns you’re not married to is legal.
    2. Having sex with interns you’re not married to, and then lying about it, even if it’s to everyone, is legal.
    3. Doing point 2 in a court of law while under oath is illegal.
    Everyone was focused on 1 and 2, while completely ignoring 3.

  • IllinoisPatriot

    To add to your point, the DOJ (now headed by Barr) — the agency that appointed Mueller has a standing policy to NEVER indict a sitting president. That includes Trump. Therefore Mueller would have been prevented by (and likely had his report rejected by) the DOJ had he tried to indict Trump.

    Instead, he wrote his report for the general public (as evidenced by the multiple redacted summaries) and for Congress (with their impeachment authority), having already been able to predict that Trump would order a cover-up/white-wash of the report – which is EXACTLY what happened.

  • JASmius

    Actually, impeachment is defined as the House bringing charges (articles) against the Executive or Judicial Branch officer in question, equivalent to a criminal indictment. The Senate (equivalent to a jury) then either convicts (removing them from office) or acquits. Hence, two sitting presidents have been impeached (Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton) and neither were convicted. Nixon would have been the third, and would have been convicted and removed from office if he hadn’t resigned first,

    If there’s any chance of the Senate convicting and removing Trump (which is still unimaginable), Robert Mueller’s congressional testimony, coming after the exposure of William Barr’s serial perjuries and role in escalating the coverup of Trump’s multiple acts of obstruction of justice (which Mueller, in turn, cited in his report as a big reason why they couldn’t “establish” the criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence), may well be the turning point in that direction.

  • dmk8591

    If you are interested in an opinion on Barr/Mueller from an unbiased legal expert, you might want to check out Jonathan Turley’s recent article in Hill.com and on his blog. I doubt very much that siding with Democratic Senators on any issue in in the interest of “Truth, Justice, and the American way.”

  • chemical

    I doubt very much that siding with Democratic Senators on any issue in in the interest of “Truth, Justice, and the American way.”

    Funny, I think the same thing about siding with Republican senators, which have proven themselves time and again to be nothing more than Trump sycophants and flunkies.

    Also, from Turley’s blog:

    As Barr clearly stated during his press conference, any differences over the scope of obstruction were immaterial because all of the officials agreed there must be a showing of a “corrupt intent.”

    As I pointed out earlier, this is a laughably incorrect legal argument that one can use to excuse literally any crime ever. That is a lie that Barr made up, and he knows it. Turley is a Trump hack and a moron if he actually believes that.

  • chemical

    To add to your point, the DOJ (now headed by Barr) — the agency that appointed Mueller has a standing policy to NEVER indict a sitting president.

    Agreed. I’m just saying it makes sense to have that policy as the process of formally accusing a sitting president of a crime (impeachment) is laid out in the Constitution.

  • dmk8591

    In other words, you like the policies of Democratic Senators and you dislike the policies of Republican Senators, which strongly suggests you are a Democrat. It seems that you believe holding any viewpoint other than the Democratic party line makes one a Trump-hack.The fact that you would call Turley a Trump-hack is ludicrous.

    There is a lot more in Turleys’ articles than the one sentence you point out. He makes it clear that Mueller was not prevented from suggesting obstruction charges be filed against Trump and that both Barr and Rosenstein encouraged him to make a decision about suggesting obstruction charges. Turley, Alan Dershowitz and Andrew McCarthy have all plainly said that Mueller abdicated his prosecutorial responsibility by not doing so. But if one never attempts to evaluate the logical arguments of Trump-friendly opinions, and they are simply dismissed as coming from Trump-hacks, then isn’t that the definition of an anti-Trump hack?

  • chemical

    It seems that you believe holding any viewpoint other than the Democratic party line makes one a Trump-hack.

    Not a logical conclusion from my previous post. Although I’d consider myself a Democrat and mostly agree with the policies they champion, I don’t agree with all of them and it’s possible other people can come up with better policies. However, since Trump is both an absolute moron and a criminal who can’t get elected without a hostile foreign government helping him win, it’s highly unlikely that any policy or legal opinion in Trump’s favor is also in America’s best interests. And since the GOP are a bunch of spineless cowards who will excuse any of Trump’s reckless, criminal behavior for short term political gain, it’s highly unlikely that any policy that they propose is also not in America’s interest.

    Barr’s entire point was the “non-corrupt intent”. Barr made that up out of thin air because it allows a sitting president to be above the law. He said that because he’s a Trump toady. I’m a little disappointed myself that Mueller didn’t say something like “I’m not pressing charges here only because that’s Congress’s job and Congress should impeach”, but it’s strongly implied.

    But if one never attempts to evaluate the logical arguments of Trump-friendly opinions…

    No. There is no logic to “Trump-friendly options”, i.e. excusing his criminal behavior. Trump cultists NEVER negotiate in good faith, and NEVER take no for an answer. I am sick and tired of having to be nice to Trump supporters while they threaten me, call me a communist, and laugh how I’ll burn in hell forever for not being a Christian, and then cry persecution if I speak up about it. This is not about a conservative vs. liberal government. This is about a constitutional republic vs. authoritative fascism, and as such, not debatable.

  • IllinoisPatriot

    Yet it is that policy that probably caused Mueller not to indict Trump as a private citizen (not as President), resulting in Trump and the red-cappers using lack of indictment as their “evidence” of “innocence”.

  • IllinoisPatriot

    I agree that “intent” should NEVER be an excuse for breaking the law. “Intent” is not accepted for the rest of the citizens, it should not be accepted for politicians and the wealthy either.

    After all is said and done, whether or not “intent” was there, it is the ACTIONS that caused the harm and broke the law. The damage is not in any way less severe simply because of the perpetrator’s “intent”. People are still just as dead whatever the killer’s “intent”. Property is still just as destroyed whatever the vandal’s “intent”, The property is still just as missing whatever the burglar’s “intent”, and so on…..

    It’s the same way with national security. A compromise is not made any less severe because of the “intent” of Hillary or of Trump. Undercover operatives are just as dead – regardless of the “intent” of Trump or Hillary when they used unsecured phones and unsecured apps to communicate classified government information.

    Funny thing about “intent” — it has very little effect on the consequences of a person’s actions when they knowingly break the law, intentionally attempt to circumvent established security procedures or are just intentionally not interested in heeding the briefings they all get regularly as a part of their on-the-job training……

  • chemical

    The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Well said, sir.

  • dmk8591

    To chemical: I have never interacted with you before this post so I am not guilty of calling you a communist, threatening you, or calling you any names. I am a Biblical-Christian in the sense that I believe in the authority of the Bible and I have accepted that I am in a need of a Savior, and that Jesus is the one and only possible choice (John 6:68, 1 John 5:11-12). Your comment suggests you are not a Christian, which is your choice. If you are a Christian, a legitimate question is what do you mean by the word “Christian” as different people apply vastly different meanings to that word. Whether you want to answer that question and discuss that topic is up to you. Otherwise, we can drop it.

    You use the term “Trump-Cultist” and argue that anybody who defends him (presumably in any way or on any topic) can NEVER be correct. That is not a logical argument. That is simply a dogmatic statement indicating that you don’t even wish to discuss the issue with anybody who disagrees with you. But if you want to move beyond that and engage in a friendly discussion without name calling, then perhaps there is a way that we could find at least some areas of agreement that contradict your NEVER-possible viewpoint.

    For example, I have pointed out that various legal experts (Turley, Dershowitz, McCarthy) have all clearly stated that a prosecutors job is to make a legal decision about whether charges should be filed and that Mueller abdicated his responsibility to make that decision. They have all argued that if the decision is to not file charges, then a prosecutor should simply remain silent and move onto the next case. Do you disagree with their opinion about a prosecutor’s proper role? If so, why?

    Barr’s entire point was not simply that there was no intent, although he made that argument in this piece of his testimony: “In the situation of the president, who has constitutional authority to supervise proceedings: If, in fact, a proceeding was not well founded — if it was a groundless proceeding, if it was based on false allegations — the president does not have to sit there, constitutionally, and allow it to run its course. The president could terminate that proceeding, and it would not be a corrupt intent because he was being falsely accused and he would be worried about the impact on his administration. That’s important, because most of the obstruction claims that are being made here or episodes, do involve the exercise of the president’s constitutional authority. And we now know that he was being falsely accused.”

    This is the Mueller report conclusion on Volume 1 (quote is from page 11): “while the investigation identified numerous links between individuals with ties to the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump Campaign, the evidence was not sufficient to support criminal charges.” What Barr is referring to when he says that the “proceeding was not well founded” was that Mueller himself said that there “was not sufficient evidence to support criminal charges” for the collusion investigation of Volume 1. Are you willing to admit that this is what the Mueller report said concerning Volume 1? Because the Mueller report did not claim that there was sufficient evidence to support obstruction charges, that left that decision up to Barr/Rosenstein. If you or Kamela Harris were AG or deputy-AG, that would have been your decision to make, but neither of you are.

    Thank you for being honest about considering yourself a Democrat and mostly agreeing with their policies. The only point I wish to make about this is that the Never-Trump-wing represented by those who consider themselves to be guardians of conservative-right policies have nearly polar-opposite political views from the Never-Trump-wing that supports Democratic-party policies. It is my observation that the only two things these Never-Trump wings have in common are: 1. They both detest Trump. 2. They NEVER want to logically discuss the viewpoint of anybody who defends Trump or his policies. That is a generalization and as all generalizations it has exceptions, but I suspect it applies to both you and SW.

  • dmk8591

    To IllinoisPatriot: The issue is that US law for obstruction charges require intent, which is why Barr discussed it. The fact that obstruction charges require intent is in clear contrast to the classified information statutes that do not require intent (which made Comey’s statement that attempted to clear Hillary highly questionable). This is one legal source that claims obstruction charges do require intent (quote is from the Irish Times):

    “Obstruction of justice requires an intent to obstruct or impede or influence an investigation,” said Seth Taube, a former federal prosecutor now at Baker Botts LLP, before Barr’s letter was made public.“The issue is not only did the president take some action which had the effect of obstructing or impeding or influencing a person, but did he also do so with the intent of obstructing an investigation?”

    If you have evidence that indicate obstruction charges do not require intent, please supply it.

    As Barr pointed out in his testimony, many of the potential obstruction charges discussed by Mueller fall within the domain of Trump’s legal authority as President. For example Trump had the right to fire Comey for any reason or no reason at all. Trump also had the legal authority to fire Mueller, which Trump never did (as this could have triggered an impeachment hearing). DOJ testimony indicates that Trump never claimed executive privilege in order to deny any of Mueller’s information requests. Consequently, if Trump didn’t take any step to impede Mueller’s investigation, how could he be guilty of obstructing his investigation? Barr gives a further justification for his rejecting obstruction charges that I explain in my comments to “chemical” about this issue.

  • dmk8591

    To chemical: I have never interacted with you before this post so I am not guilty of calling you a communist or threatening you, or discussing Christianity with you. If you don’t want to discuss Barr’s innocence/guilt with me, that is fine. But none of the reasons you cite are a justification for not doing that.

    A prosecutor role (like that of Mueller’s Special Counsel role) is similar to that of a hockey team that has no opposing defense or goaltender to play against. In the setting of a kangaroo court, only the prosecutor side exists and the judge/jury always rules in the prosecutors favor. But in a society based on the rule of law, every defendant is entitled to present a defense against a prosecutors allegations, with an unbiased judge/jury weighing the arguments of both the prosecution and the defense. This is true even if the defendants name is Trump. This is true regardless if the defendant has a history of sexual immorality from over a decade ago. This is true even if the defendant sends a million vicious tweets a day. This is true even if the political policies of the defendant are the epitome of evil. The bottom line is that every defendant is entitled to have his case heard before an impartial judge/jury that makes a decision based solely on the evidence presented by the prosecution/defense.

    I have pointed out that various legal experts (Turley, Dershowitz, McCarthy) have all clearly stated that a prosecutors job is to make a legal decision about whether charges should be filed and that Mueller abdicated his responsibility to make that decision. They have all argued that if the decision is to not file charges, then a prosecutor should simply remain silent and move onto the next case. Do you disagree with their opinion about a prosecutor’s proper role? If so, why?

  • dmk8591

    To chemical: Barr’s entire point was not simply that there was no intent, although he made that argument in part of his testimony. The reason Barr discussed Trump’s intent is that the legal statutes for an obstruction of justice case require intent to be present. See my comment to “IllinoisPatriot” for more details about this issue.

    Thank you for being honest about considering yourself a Democrat and mostly agreeing with their policies. In terms of discussing Barr’s guilt/innocence, your political views are only relevant if you insist that Trump does not have a right to have people defend him. That would not be a valid argument if you believe in the rule of law. If you want to challenge my defense of Trump, you need to either cite legal reasons why: 1. No intent is required for an obstruction charge OR 2. Mueller’s report provided sufficient evidence to prove that Trump had the intent to obstruct justice, which his report did not claim.

    If the Democratic Congress believes they have the evidence to make the case for an obstruction charge, they can hold a party line vote to impeach Trump anytime they want (which is like a prosecutor recommending charges). However, in order to convict Trump the Senate will conduct a trial and a 2/3 majority vote will be required to convict Trump. But in a Senate trial, Trump will have a legal team defending against the impeachment charges. If this goes that far, then the Senate and the American public will be allowed to see the evidence put forth by both the prosecution and defense.

  • chemical

    In terms of discussing Barr’s guilt/innocence, your political views are only relevant if you insist that Trump does not have a right to have people defend him.

    Obviously, if Trump is formally accused of a crime via the impeachment process, then he is entitled to a defense. Regarding Bill Barr, he seems to have forgotten that he is not Donald Trump’s personal attorney, but rather the Attorney General. It’s his job to represent the entire USA, not just Trump. He misrepresented the Mueller report’s findings in a press conference.

    If you want to challenge my defense of Trump, you need to either cite legal reasons why: 1. No intent is required for an obstruction charge

    This is what I’m challenging. As I’ve said, numerous times, intent doesn’t matter, and you can use a non-corrupt intent defense to excuse any crime whatsoever. Let’s say I interfere with a police investigation, by say, lying to a detective or something. That would be obstruction of justice. It doesn’t matter what I was intending when I was lying to the detective — it’s the same if I lied to cover up my own crimes or if I felt it was for the good of the country to lie to the detective. You’re literally placing the president above the law with this non-corrupt intent defense.

    Also, even by this standard (which, as I stated earlier, is invalid), Trump’s obstruction was clearly to prevent the DOJ from finding out how much Russia helped him out in the election. Evidence of Russian interference coming to light weakens Trump’s authority, because he won the election on a razor-thin margin and people would question whether he’s a legitimate president (hint: he’s not). In short, it’s clear he obstructed the Mueller investigation because it benefited him personally (aka a corrupt reason).

  • Stephen

    Al Capone was a skillful criminal. He managed to evade all investigations and justice although he was guilty as sin. What finally got him was tax evasion. Somehow you cannot evade having your hands tied to your dirty money if you want to keep it. That is why Trump does not want his businesses looked at or his taxes looked at.

  • IllinoisPatriot

    Your opinion is noted and rejected as it flies in the face of all observed facts and actions taken by Trump and Barr to date.

  • dmk8591

    To IllinoisPatriot: Time will tell. Have a good day.

  • dmk8591

    To Chemical: I am not placing anybody above the law. I am simply pointing out that various federal prosecutors have stated the statutes for obstruction of justice require intent. But as with many legal issues, there are often court fights, even for so-called frivolous cases. Even without intent, the Mueller investigation uncovered no crime that Trump could obstruct an investigation of (see Volume 1 conclusion on page 11 about insufficient evidence). According to DOJ testimony, Trump never filed a single claim of executive privilege and he turned over all the requested documents and allowed the Mueller investigation to complete. As I have pointed out, Mueller wasn’t confident enough in the evidence his report cited to recommend charges for obstruction of justice be filed. If you think that makes a good case for obstruction, good luck proving it.

    Hillary’s campaign paying a British spy to create a Russian supplied salacious dossier of false information about Trump was certainly done with the intent to have Russian influence the election on her behalf. Mueller did not investigate that charge, but there is now a DOJ investigation of this matter. What the Mueller report actually found is that there is insufficient evidence to charge that Trump campaign colluded with Russia, which implies any Russian misdeeds are not tied to Trump. But you are free to keep believing that delusion. And the Democrats in Congress are free to impeach Trump for any reason they deem to be a high-crime and misdemeanor. But it will have no more impact than a prosecutor getting a grand jury to indict the proverbial ham sandwich. In any case, have a nice day!

  • Cousin_Ken

    In God we trust.
    Citizens, regardless of Dem/GOP feathers, need to travel the Constitutional valley together, off usurping paths.