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  # 2204578 25-Mar-2019 10:15
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Just when you thought there was at least one man who wouldn't fold, and that justice would prevail, we get that letter. ...



As we have not yet seen the actual report, we don't know who folded - was it Mueller or Barr or both?





Pass the sick bag, please.


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  # 2204596 25-Mar-2019 11:00
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At this stage I'm not sure if Seth Abramson is clutching at straws, or is making a valid point.

The general gist of his argument is that the collusion charge that AG Barr states Trump is not guilty of is one that nobody has ever accused him of in the first place. And the actual collusion that we know about from public reporting wasn't even investigated by Mueller at all.

As to the obstruction of justice charges, it sounds like Mueller passed the ball to the Justice Department, and they said "Yeah, nah. We're cool with all that." Which is 100% consistent with AG Barr's public statements on all this prior to his hiring. 

This seems like it has a lot of political machinations to go through yet. But I suspect it is more than enough to ensure that Trump has a strong chance of being re-elected in 2020. Even though he is demonstrably and woefully incompetent. Partisan politics are a helluva drug.


BDFL - Memuneh
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  # 2204612 25-Mar-2019 11:12
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At this stage I'm not sure if Seth Abramson is clutching at straws, or is making a valid point.



When reading long Twitter threads, a link to the Thread Reader App is better.

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  # 2204629 25-Mar-2019 11:47
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... As we have not yet seen the actual report, we don't know who folded - was it Mueller or Barr or both?  ...



According to Seth Abramson (above):



PS5. Mueller wasn't even *consulted* on Barr's letter, as we'd been promised he would.



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  # 2204666 25-Mar-2019 12:58
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Washington Post
By Jennifer Rubin

What Barr’s letter about the Mueller report says and doesn’t say

Attorney General William P. Barr released his letter setting forth the principal conclusions relating to the Russia probe conducted by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

Let’s first be clear about what the letter does not say.

It does not say whether Mueller found a preponderance of evidence of crimes. (The criminal standard, beyond a reasonable doubt, is much higher.)

It does not say whether Mueller found President Trump lied to the American people.

It does not say Mueller exonerated the president; to the contrary, it says the opposite. It does not say anything about possible financial crimes under investigation in the Southern District of New York.

It does not say why there were more than 100 contacts between the Trump presidential campaign and transition team and Russia-linked operatives, or why so many people denied there were contacts.

The report does not say whether Trump and his associates welcomed the help of a foreign hostile power.

It does not say anything about possible state prosecutions.

Now, for what it does say:
  • There were two main Russian efforts, one through primarily through social media and the other via email hacks disseminated through intermediaries such as WikiLeaks, to interfere with our election. If we accept Mueller’s investigation, the claim that there is uncertainty about who interfered with the election and on whose behalf is false.

  • Mueller did not find that Trump or those with his campaign conspired or coordinated with Russia to interfere with the election.

  • Mueller found a list of actions under the part of his investigation into obstruction of justice but did not reach a prosecutorial decision. Mueller explicitly did not exonerate Trump of obstruction. Trump’s appointed attorney general and Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein decided it was not sufficient to establish that an obstruction-of-justice offense occurred.

The demand for the complete report is overwhelming. Only the report can answer questions such as:
  • What was the series of actions that Mueller looked at when investigating obstruction?

  • Why did Mueller decide not to opine one way or the other on obstruction?

  • Did he find a preponderance of evidence of obstruction?

  • Why did Barr and Rosenstein conclude there was no obstruction-of-justice crime?

  • Did Mueller not find evidence of coordination/conspiracy, or did he rule it out (disprove it)?

  • What explains all the Russian contacts?

  • What financial incentives, if any, did Trump have to favor Russia?

  • Did the Russian government attempt to cultivate Trump as an asset or have leverage over him?

  • Why did Michael Flynn lie about Russia contacts?

  • Why did the president wait so long to fire Flynn?

  • Did any of Trump’s family members or associates lie to Congress, and if so, why is there as yet no indictment?

To his credit, Barr seems to understand that demand for the report is bipartisan and compelling. He writes that he must separate out grand jury testimony and other material that could “impact other ongoing matters.” WAIT. What?! If Mueller came across evidence of crimes that the Southern District of New York or other parts of Justice are investigating, shouldn’t we know if the president is under investigation?

However, in a major respect, Barr’s action in declaring no crime of obstruction is inexplicable. Because it is the Justice Department’s position that Trump cannot be indicted as a sitting president, there is no requirement — indeed, it is inappropriate — for Barr to weigh in. The job is up to Congress, according to Barr’s own department guidelines. Suspicions about Barr’s willingness to clear the president, based on a memo he wrote to the Justice Department before being nominated as attorney general, look well-founded.

We know have an entirely untenable situation: The special counsel did not render a judgment on obstruction but clearly found evidence thereof. Trump’s own attorney general and deputy attorney general wouldn’t prosecute (duh), but other independent prosecutors could certainly find that information sufficient to charge Trump now or later. Moreover, the evidence might be so compelling as to reach the standard of high crimes and misdemeanors.

We are, as I suggested, at the end of the beginning. But the investigation into the president is nowhere near completion.

One more observation is in order. If the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails had been handled exactly the same way — saying they found no evidence a crime was committed — public reaction and even the outcome of the election could have been far different. For that, former FBI director James B. Comey will have to answer to history.

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  # 2204678 25-Mar-2019 13:42
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The New York Times - No Collusion, No ‘Exoneration’


A Trump-friendly attorney general’s letter doesn’t do justice to the special counsel’s investigation. Release his whole report.


By The Editorial Board


The editorial board represents the opinions of the board, its editor and the publisher. It is separate from the newsroom and the Op-Ed section.


March 24, 2019


On its face, the letter that Attorney General William Barr sent to Congress on Sunday afternoon, summarizing the key findings of the special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, is good news, not just for President Trump.


According to Mr. Barr’s four-page summary, Mr. Mueller and his team were unable to establish that anyone connected to the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government when it interfered to help Mr. Trump in the 2016 presidential campaign. ...


Less than 48 hours after receiving Mr. Mueller’s report, the attorney general briskly decided that Mr. Trump had not obstructed justice. ...


How did Mr. Barr make these determinations so quickly? On what evidence in the report did he base it?


Recall that Mr. Barr got his current job only after Mr. Trump shoved out his predecessor, Jeff Sessions, for not showing him enough personal loyalty and shutting down the Russia investigation at the start.


Among the reasons Mr. Barr may have appealed to the president was an unsolicited memo he sent last year to the Justice Department, taking the position that Mr. Mueller should not be allowed to question Mr. Trump about obstructing justice, and that the president could not be guilty of obstruction unless there were an underlying crime to obstruct.


In other words, Mr. Barr did exactly as Mr. Trump hoped he would. ...



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  # 2204830 25-Mar-2019 19:00
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  # 2204833 25-Mar-2019 19:15
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  # 2204925 26-Mar-2019 00:10
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Barrs letter refers to no evidence of collusion with the Russian government.


Trump's campaign manager and deputy campaign manager handed a Russian "non government - but interested party / consultant" 75 pages of secret internal polling data so they'd know where to target voters on social media, launched out of the also non Russian Government Internet Research Agency.


And more, but nevermind.  ~40% of American voters think that's okay.  You collude with someone who's not a government official but works to the government's agenda, and scream "no collusion" in all caps.



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  # 2204973 26-Mar-2019 08:21
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Herr Trump is angrier and more dangerous than ever ...


The New York Times - Trump Blames ‘Treasonous’ Critics for Russia Inquiry


March 25, 2019


WASHINGTON — President Trump went on the offensive on Monday a day after the special counsel investigation reported no conspiracy with Russia, suggesting that critics who pursued such suspicions were “treasonous,” guilty of “evil things” and should be investigated themselves.


Grim faced and simmering with anger, Mr. Trump repeated his assertion that a collection of partisan foes had effectively conspired to try to disrupt or even end his presidency with false allegations about his campaign’s ties with Moscow in 2016.


“There are a lot of people out there that have done some very, very evil things, some bad things, I would say some treasonous things against our country,” he told reporters during an Oval Office meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel. ...


“I’ve been looking at them for a long time,” he added, “and I’m saying why haven’t they been looked at? They lied to Congress, many of them, you know who they are. They’ve done so many evil things.” ...


Mr. Trump indicated that he would support releasing the full report by Mr. Mueller, as demanded by congressional Democrats. “Up to the attorney general,” he said. “Wouldn’t bother me at all.”...




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  # 2204995 26-Mar-2019 08:57
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The New York Times - Trump’s Shamelessness Was Outside Mueller’s Jurisdiction


A demagogic president can walk right up to the edge of committing a crime, so long as he operates brazenly in public view.


By Bob Bauer


Mr. Bauer is a professor of practice and distinguished scholar in residence at New York University School of Law.


March 25, 2019  (short extracts)


The Mueller report marked a low point for more substantive norms of presidential conduct.


It shows that a demagogic president like Donald Trump can devalue or even depart radically from key norms, just short of committing chargeable crimes, so long as he operates mostly and brazenly in full public view.


For a demagogue, shamelessness is its own reward. ...


For the classic demagogue, so feared by the founders, the only question is what works to serve his own interests.


He will do, and he will say, what it takes, weighing only the personal costs against the personal benefits.


In the polarized politics of the day, Mr. Trump is bolstered in his demagogic conduct by a passionately loyal “base” impressed by his norm-busting. ...


We have reason to salute Mr. Mueller: As a prosecutor, he did his job conscientiously, and the process generally worked as designed.


But we now have cause to worry about the future of the norms that Mr. Trump could trash on a calculation that he could get away with it.


It was a good moment for the demagogue.



Lock him up!
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  # 2205029 26-Mar-2019 10:45
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The Trump family is a nest of snakes. Congress seems to be the last hope. Unless someone can come up with something to finally nail that SOB, I think it really is the end of American democracy. The problem is that those who respect the rules try to play by them. The Trump mafia tries to find ways around them. It is hard to win by fighting clean when the opponent fights dirty. I continue to hope for the best but I do fear the worst.



I don't think there is ever a bad time to talk about how absurd war is, how old men make decisions and young people die. - George Clooney

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  # 2205050 26-Mar-2019 11:22
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Donald as The Heroic Victim (again) ...


At the White House on Monday:


Trump suggested that those behind the Mueller investigation should be investigated for their own conduct.


They’ve done so many evil things,” said Trump. “It was a false narrative, it was a terrible thing"


"We can never let this happen to another president again. I can tell you that. I say it very strongly."


"Very few people I know could have handled it."


"We can never ever let this happen to another president again. ...



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  # 2205067 26-Mar-2019 12:05
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This will get buried deeper than the Challenger Deep.

Retired IT Manager. 
The views stated in my posts are my personal views and not that of any other organisation.


There is no planet B



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  # 2205075 26-Mar-2019 12:55
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Is Mueller gagged for life?

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