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  #151  
Old 03-24-2019, 11:00 PM
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Had Trump been the Commander in Chief at the time of the election he could have told Putin to knock it off.
He would have been stern and forceful, unlike that wimp Obama? Is that what you would like to insinuate? Is that a Hannity? Sounds like him.

Last edited by elucidator; 03-24-2019 at 11:01 PM. Reason: D'oh! A dear, a female dear.....
  #152  
Old 03-24-2019, 11:04 PM
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The Mueller summary is the only piece of intelligence gathering in the last two years that Trump accepts as fact. If he now accepts it as fact, he must rescind his confidence that Russia did not interfere in our election. Can't have it both ways.
Mm, optimism.
  #153  
Old 03-24-2019, 11:09 PM
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Its all of a piece with his unstinting support and trust in Mueller, as his public statements have so very often demonstrated. Except for that one typo where he said Trump wasn't "completely exonerated". 'Cause he was.
  #154  
Old 03-24-2019, 11:12 PM
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The Mueller summary is the only piece of intelligence gathering in the last two years that Trump accepts as fact. If he now accepts it as fact, he must rescind his confidence that Russia did not interfere in our election. Can't have it both ways.
Sure you can! You're assuming a prerequisite of logical thinking on the part of either the liar-in-chief or his knuckle-dragging acolytes. Many of us still remember when he sent his "special investigators" down to Hawaii to discover "the truth" about Obama's Kenyan birth, and the Orange Peril informed everyone that "you wouldn't believe what they're finding". When later confronted with the fact that what they found was, in fact, nothing, His Orangeness just segued into a different topic without skipping a beat. Facts and reality have no standing here.
  #155  
Old 03-24-2019, 11:42 PM
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Some thoughts:
a) What we have seen so far is the most Trump-friendly interpretation of the report. Even that explicitly does not exonerate him on obstruction of justice. In the next few weeks, in one way or another, the rest of the report will trickle out and I suspect it will be less flattering to Trump.
b) I think the biggest danger to Trump will be investigations about his financial dealings with shady entities in Russia and the former Soviet Union. Mueller doesn't seem to have focused on that but you can bet that one of the other investigations will.
c) The latest news is still a win for Trump in that it eliminates the worst case scenario of criminal collusion with Russia. However it's probably a more modest win than it looks right now.
  #156  
Old 03-25-2019, 12:31 AM
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The apologists think this is the end. It is just the beginning.
I know! Six more years of this! Ugh!
  #157  
Old 03-25-2019, 12:54 AM
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Suppose Barr says the Mueller report ascertained that Trump did nothing wrong, but Mueller knows that's not accurate. Is he bound t o keep the results of his investigation quiet , or could he speak up and say, "That's not what my report said at all!"?
  #158  
Old 03-25-2019, 01:03 AM
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From my layman's reading of the Barr letter, I think the Mueller presented the evidence and arguments for and against but didn't state whether or not Trump obstructed justice, that it was up to the AG to decide. Barr decided that since Trump was not found to have colluded or conspired, any question on obstructing justice was rendered moot. Maybe I'm interpreting it wrong as I haven't listened to any talking head commentary on this letter, but that's fucked up.
  #159  
Old 03-25-2019, 05:23 AM
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Some thoughts:
a) What we have seen so far is the most Trump-friendly interpretation of the report. Even that explicitly does not exonerate him on obstruction of justice. In the next few weeks, in one way or another, the rest of the report will trickle out and I suspect it will be less flattering to Trump.
b) I think the biggest danger to Trump will be investigations about his financial dealings with shady entities in Russia and the former Soviet Union. Mueller doesn't seem to have focused on that but you can bet that one of the other investigations will.
c) The latest news is still a win for Trump in that it eliminates the worst case scenario of criminal collusion with Russia. However it's probably a more modest win than it looks right now.
The Mueller report's conclusions have already been framed. It doesn't matter what the House decides to do, and it's possible that 2 more years of investigations may backfire. When Mueller started his investigation nearly 58% of the country approved of his performance while 28% disapproved; by the time he finished 50% approved and 34% disapproved. Undoubtedly, the degree to which his was admired and loathed was based on partisanship, but there's evidence that the centrists or middlers are probably ready to move on from nightly headlines about Trump-Russia collusion.

With Mueller's investigation out of the way, I am wondering if/when Trump decides to start going after the Southern District's attorneys specifically. And this is where we could have a real constitutional crisis. Right now, with the end of the Mueller investigation, this is the first time since he's been office that Trump has had a chance to put his Russia ties behind him, but it's clear that his organization's financial ties could be under the microscope, which means he remains in legal jeopardy. This president has already demonstrated a complete disregard for the constitutional and institutional norms, and I think we're going to see only more of that in the months ahead.
  #160  
Old 03-25-2019, 05:32 AM
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From my layman's reading of the Barr letter, I think the Mueller presented the evidence and arguments for and against but didn't state whether or not Trump obstructed justice, that it was up to the AG to decide. Barr decided that since Trump was not found to have colluded or conspired, any question on obstructing justice was rendered moot. Maybe I'm interpreting it wrong as I haven't listened to any talking head commentary on this letter, but that's fucked up.
I think Mueller just didn't want to go there himself. Unlike Ken Starr, he didn't see himself as someone who was hired to destroy the president; he saw his primary duty, his congressional mandate, to be getting to the bottom of the relationship between individual connections to Russian meddling in our election. Also, as most of us have already acknowledged, there is no specific crime called 'collusion' - collusion refers to the criminal spirit in which other statutory crimes may have been committed but it is not a crime per se. In other words, even if he believed the president may have been involved or may have had knowledge of contacts with Russia, he decided to give the president and his family the benefit of the doubt by not charging them with actual crimes. I believe lesser people would have been charged - primarily because a host of lesser people have been charged and in some cases, already convicted and imprisoned. But it's hard to catch the big fish, and no fish are bigger than an elected president and his family. The evidence has to be compelling, and even when it meets that test, I think it has to be so compelling that it transcends politics.
  #161  
Old 03-25-2019, 05:43 AM
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With Mueller's investigation out of the way, I am wondering if/when Trump decides to start going after the Southern District's attorneys specifically. And this is where we could have a real constitutional crisis.
More hysterical predictions that won’t materialize. I think at some point, the Democrats will stop making hysterical predictions.

If the Democrats would have focused on Trump instead of warmongering with the spooks over Russia, they wouldn’t have handed him this victory.

They actually thought the state would take down its figurehead.

Last edited by WillFarnaby; 03-25-2019 at 05:45 AM.
  #162  
Old 03-25-2019, 07:03 AM
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I'm genuinely confused about the way this appears to be going.

Obstruction of justice is clear, is it not? He admitted on national TV that he fired Comey because Comey would not stop an investigation of Trump. That's a slam dunk, openly confessed obstruction of justice between the president and the director of the federal government's primary investigative body. He has also obstructed justice in other obvious ways, like tweeting threats at witnesses that were scheduled to testify against him.

I thought the whole point of this is "we know justice was obstructed, obviously, since we all watched him plainly admit to obstructing justice, but let's run an investigation to get all the facts and see how this goes before we move forward with any indictment or impeachment"

But now it seems like we're leaning towards "oh, I guess there wasn't obstruction of justice after all" even though we all plainly saw it.

The collusion issue is more complicated, but from just Trump's admission of firing people who were investigating him, isn't that enough to be obstruction of justice?

Collusion is less clear cut but we know the Trump campaign shared campaign data with Russian agents. We know Roger Stone coordinated with Wikileaks to release damaging information about Clinton at a pivotal time for the Trump campaign, and that wikileaks is essentially an agent of the Russian government. We also know the GRU agent who gave wikileaks the hacks.

Additionally, Trump has acted like the guiltiest person you could imagine. Trying to discredit anyone who investigates him, who calls all investigations into him as political hit jobs, who lies constantly, who basically acts exactly like you would expect a stupid, impulsive, unsophisticated guilty person to act. Even if you were a neutral observer and knew nothing about the actual facts involved, you would say that Trump was absolutely acting guilty as shit. And the people around him. Didn't Kushner make like 200 amendments to his security clearance application each time a new media investigation lead to proof of his history with foreign contacts and entanglements?

Additionally - I'm assuming Mueller couldn't investigate this because the scope of his investigation ended on election night, but we've only seen Trump act even more suspiciously towards Russia since then. He sets up secret meetings with Putin with no Americans present (but often known Russian espionage agents present) in violation of all norms. Putin is literally the only person in the world Trump is unwilling to criticize. He acts completely subservient to him in public.

We also know that the Republican party has had weirdly secretive meetings with Russia (the 7 senators on the 4th of July), that the Republican platform changed to acknowledge Russia's conquests in the Ukraine was added immediately when Trump became the nominee, we've seen Republicans not only vote no on expanding election security, but cutting exactly the sort of election security funding that's supposed to prevent foreign interference in our elections.

The people involved could not be more actively and openly looking as guilty as they possibly can, and look like they're making a really sloppy and obvious cover up.

You can say all the stuff in the second half of my post is not clear proof of crimes, but the stuff I mentioned before that is. We know enough, publically and openly, to be damning. Why is that not enough? Why is that going away?

I honestly don't understand what's going on here.

Last edited by SenorBeef; 03-25-2019 at 07:07 AM.
  #163  
Old 03-25-2019, 07:15 AM
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Additionally, and again I guess this is outside the scope of the Muller investigation, but it's something we can plainly see and put in context: Trump clearly seems to have a quid-pro-quo or subservient (compromised/blackmailed) relationship with Putin. He never contradicts Putin publically, he loudly proclaims that he trusts Putin over his own intelligence agencies, he refuses to enforce stronger sanctions on Russia that were voted unanimously by congress. This is a man who has blasted everyone in the world except for Putin, and who will not take any action against Russia, even when legally required to. The only person in the world who is above criticism from Trump is Putin.

His behavior basically paints a conclusive picture of someone who, either through intimidation or quid-pro-quo is subservient to Putin. And blackmail is more likely than quid-pro-quo because as president, Trump no longer needs Putin, he's already practically more powerful than Putin, so why feel completely beholden to him even as he faces political pressure at home for softballing Putin? The answer to that is that Putin still has compromising information on Trump that's significant enough that he can control Trump. I can't even formulate an alternative explanation for Trump's behavior in regards to Putin because it's so clear.

Again, that's out of the scope of the Mueller report, but how does that not factor in to the overall judgement we're making as to whether there's an improper relationship between Trump and Putin? Are we simply not allowed to use all the information we have to see the obvious? We can only say "Well, the investigation was specifically about this fact and this time period, and we can't take information outside that scope even if it paints an obvious and consistent picture"?

Last edited by SenorBeef; 03-25-2019 at 07:16 AM.
  #164  
Old 03-25-2019, 07:17 AM
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they can have 1000 more investigations and it won't matter. He's not going to be forced out of office . He's going to be spending the next 2 years with victory laps and spiking the FB

If the Dems have any sense they will concentrate on getting rid of him at the ballot box.
  #165  
Old 03-25-2019, 07:21 AM
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I'm genuinely confused about the way this appears to be going.

Obstruction of justice is clear, is it not? He admitted on national TV that he fired Comey because Comey would not stop an investigation of Trump. That's a slam dunk, openly confessed obstruction of justice between the president and the director of the federal government's primary investigative body. He has also obstructed justice in other obvious ways, like tweeting threats at witnesses that were scheduled to testify against him.
The problem seems to lie in the way Barr interpreted the report. Mueller's report said that it couldn't conclusively be proved whether Trump colluded with Russia or not. Barr read that strictly as meaning that Trump wasn't guilty of conspiring with Russia- and since he didn't do it knowingly, then there was no justice to obstruct.

It's basically a house of cards built on a very generous interpretation of Mueller's findings. We'll know more when the report is released (or is inevitably leaked, legally or otherwise). The problem is that Trump was able to get his guy to put a positive spin on it right at the beginning, so now any dissenting interpretations have to play catch-up. Look at how quickly the message went from Barr's "no findings of conspiracy but this does not exonerate the President" to Trump's "TOTAL EXONERATION!!"
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  #166  
Old 03-25-2019, 07:24 AM
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Do you have to know you're guilty to obstruct justice? Like if Trump had literally just used his executive power to fire anyone or disband any agency who investigated him or anyone near him, wouldn't that be obstruction of justice regardless of whether you could prove he knows he's guilty of a crime and you can prove that specific crime?
  #167  
Old 03-25-2019, 07:31 AM
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Or, to put it better, do we have to prove that Trump knew he comitted a crime, and prove that associated crime, in order for there to be obstruction of justice?

That seems like a logically self-defeating proposition. It means that if Trump successfully quashes any investigations into him, then we never reveal and prove the crime we were investigating, and therefore there can't be obstruction, because we never proved there was a crime to obstruct the investigation of.

That doesn't really make sense.
  #168  
Old 03-25-2019, 07:53 AM
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Or, to put it better, do we have to prove that Trump knew he comitted a crime, and prove that associated crime, in order for there to be obstruction of justice?
If you want to prove a crime against him, yes, you need to prove the crime. If you want to impeach him, you don't need to prove any crime - just convince a majority of the House to impeach and two thirds of the Senate to remove him from office.
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Originally Posted by Blank Slate
The apologists think this is the end. It is just the beginning.
I know! Six more years of this! Ugh!


Regards,
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  #169  
Old 03-25-2019, 07:58 AM
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You're saying then, that you cannot be guilty of obstruction of justice if the crime you're attempting to obstruct the investigation of isn't proven? I'm not saying this as a "gotcha", I'm asking as a genuine legal question. I don't know the answer to it, but it seems ridiculous if you can't be tried for obstruction unless the crime you're trying to obstruct is proven.

It basically gives a win condition to obstructing justice. "If you're successful at obstructing justice, and as a result of that, the crimes against you cannot be proven, then you never obstructed justice because there was no proven crime to obstruct"
  #170  
Old 03-25-2019, 08:15 AM
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Obstruction of justice is clear, is it not? He admitted on national TV that he fired Comey because Comey would not stop an investigation of Trump. That's a slam dunk, openly confessed obstruction of justice between the president and the director of the federal government's primary investigative body. He has also obstructed justice in other obvious ways, like tweeting threats at witnesses that were scheduled to testify against him.

I thought the whole point of this is "we know justice was obstructed, obviously, since we all watched him plainly admit to obstructing justice, but let's run an investigation to get all the facts and see how this goes before we move forward with any indictment or impeachment"

But now it seems like we're leaning towards "oh, I guess there wasn't obstruction of justice after all" even though we all plainly saw it.
My guess is that the full report lists all the things that Trump did to try and obstruct justice, but that at the end of the day it didn't work. Add on top of that the difficulty in securing a conviction before a jury and the conclusion is probably, "He did a bad thing but we're going to let him get away with it because that's the real world."

Frankly the whole obstruction thing should be much more politically damaging than it will end up being, which is sad.
  #171  
Old 03-25-2019, 08:25 AM
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I know! Six more years of this! Ugh!
I don't get it. That would make the beginning 2016. Or are you talking about a possible prison sentence when Trump is made accountable for his multiple felonies?
  #172  
Old 03-25-2019, 09:01 AM
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You're saying then, that you cannot be guilty of obstruction of justice if the crime you're attempting to obstruct the investigation of isn't proven? I'm not saying this as a "gotcha", I'm asking as a genuine legal question. I don't know the answer to it, but it seems ridiculous if you can't be tried for obstruction unless the crime you're trying to obstruct is proven.
Maybe I am not following you - obstruction of justice is a crime in and of itself. You can be convicted of it even if nobody else is convicted of anything.

Is that what you are asking?
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I don't get it. That would make the beginning 2016. Or are you talking about a possible prison sentence when Trump is made accountable for his multiple felonies?
I took him to mean six more years starting from now - the remaining two years of Trump's first term, and then the four years of his second.

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Shodan
  #173  
Old 03-25-2019, 09:07 AM
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There doesn't have to be a crime to obstruct justice. If you prevent police from looking into a crime that does not exist, you are obstructing justice.
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  #174  
Old 03-25-2019, 09:08 AM
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So one conclusion here is that the administration thinks that one can't be charged with obstruction of justice if one fails at it.
  #175  
Old 03-25-2019, 09:12 AM
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So one conclusion here is that the administration thinks that one can't be charged with obstruction of justice if one fails at it.
At the very least I think it'd be a pretty big hurdle to obtaining a conviction. As a jury member, it would make the whole thing seem (literally) inconsequential.
  #176  
Old 03-25-2019, 09:47 AM
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I'm genuinely confused about the way this appears to be going.

...

I honestly don't understand what's going on here.
You might want to consider the possibility that the media outlets you trust, and the partisan operatives you listen to, and the elected officials you confide in, have been misleading you for the last couple of years.
  #177  
Old 03-25-2019, 09:50 AM
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How did they mislead me when I saw Trump admit that he fired Comey for not stopping investigations into him, or when Trump tweeted out mob style threats to witnesses scheduled to testify against him? Or when every single public action Trump took in regards to Putin screamed "compromised" and every rant he had about the investigations screamed "guilty"?

You might have a point if Trump wasn't cavalier about openly admitting to crimes.

It's more bizarre than that. It's like we think that crimes can only be crimes if they're secret and someone uncovers them. But if he just comes out and admits to the crimes, then obviously they're not crimes because who would go out and openly admit they committed crimes? case closed.

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  #178  
Old 03-25-2019, 09:55 AM
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At the very least I think it'd be a pretty big hurdle to obtaining a conviction. As a jury member, it would make the whole thing seem (literally) inconsequential.
So if you either really suck at or are really successful at obstructing justice, you're fine. It's only the pesky middle case where it's a crime?
  #179  
Old 03-25-2019, 10:08 AM
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How did they mislead me when I saw Trump admit that he fired Comey for not stopping investigations into him, or when Trump tweeted out mob style threats to witnesses scheduled to testify against him? Or when every single public action Trump took in regards to Putin screamed "compromised" and every rant he had about the investigations screamed "guilty"?

You might have a point if Trump wasn't cavalier about openly admitting to crimes.

It's more bizarre than that. It's like we think that crimes can only be crimes if they're secret and someone uncovers them. But if he just comes out and admits to the crimes, then obviously they're not crimes because who would go out and openly admit they committed crimes? case closed.
We know very little about what's actually in the Mueller report. All we know is what a Trump appointee chose to say about it. Until we actually know what's in the report, much less all the criminal referals Mueller made to other law enforcement offices, then there's no point in making any sort of conclusion like this.

If the Mueller report truly exonerates Trump, then it seems likely that Trump and his administration will ensure that the report goes public. If they fight the efforts of congress to have it released, then that's a sign that there's something in it that they don't want the public (and congress) to see.

Stay tuned. We really know very, very little.
  #180  
Old 03-25-2019, 10:16 AM
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Though for all the arguments that the full report is more damning, would Barr really put himself out there if the full report might come out and contradict his letter?
  #181  
Old 03-25-2019, 10:17 AM
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... If the Mueller report truly exonerates Trump, then it seems likely that Trump and his administration will ensure that the report goes public. If they fight the efforts of congress to have it released, then that's a sign that there's something in it that they don't want the public (and congress) to see.

Stay tuned. We really know very, very little.
We know this:

  #182  
Old 03-25-2019, 10:20 AM
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Until the Mueller report is released, we know very, very little about what's in it. Until it's released, we don't know if the Trump administration actually wants it released or not. The idea that the public statements of the White House can be trusted as an accurate representation of the administration's true intentions is about as ludicrous as the idea that Trump's public statements and tweets are an accurate representation of his personal life and personal history.

Last edited by iiandyiiii; 03-25-2019 at 10:21 AM.
  #183  
Old 03-25-2019, 10:25 AM
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You might have a point if Trump wasn't cavalier about openly admitting to crimes.
Perhaps the Attorney General and Robert Mueller have a different understanding of what constitutes a crime.

Again, if the Democrats feel that the chief legal officer of the United States and the special prosecutor are wrong about what constitutes a crime, they have a remedy before them. The standard for impeachment is different, of course, and in some senses it is a lower standard than a criminal indictment - they don't need probable cause, they don't have to point to any law that was broken. And the standard for removal from office is also different - they don't have to convince twelve members of a jury, they have to convince two thirds of the Senate.

But complaining that the standard isn't what CNN or MS/NBC or Maxine Waters wants it to be doesn't cut a lot of ice. We have the rule of law in this country. Even for Donald Trump.

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  #184  
Old 03-25-2019, 10:27 AM
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You're saying then, that you cannot be guilty of obstruction of justice if the crime you're attempting to obstruct the investigation of isn't proven? I'm not saying this as a "gotcha", I'm asking as a genuine legal question. I don't know the answer to it, but it seems ridiculous if you can't be tried for obstruction unless the crime you're trying to obstruct is proven.

It basically gives a win condition to obstructing justice. "If you're successful at obstructing justice, and as a result of that, the crimes against you cannot be proven, then you never obstructed justice because there was no proven crime to obstruct"
Look up the actual statute and case law.
What laymen think something is, is often not it’s legal meaning. See Kavanaugh hearings, where we had people going horse claiming “perjury” when it was clearly not.
It takes years to become a lawyer for a reason.
  #185  
Old 03-25-2019, 10:27 AM
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We know this:
We know already that Trump is wrong or lies constantly.
  #186  
Old 03-25-2019, 10:34 AM
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Perhaps the Attorney General and Robert Mueller have a different understanding of what constitutes a crime.
This is a key point.

The Attorney General wrote an unsolicited letter to President Trump last year which characterized the investigation of a President for obstruction of justice to be "fatally misconceived." Of course we are all just speculating, but it seems likely that Barr would conclude that ANY charge of obstruction against the President cannot be pursued.

I think what matters most is whether new facts were discovered to add to what we know about Trump trying to stop the investigations of his links to Russia. If Mueller's report is released and there's nothing we don't know on this front, then that's that. But if there are new insights into Trump's firing of Comey to end the investigation, and Barr doesn't care, that doesn't mean Trump did nothing wrong.

To put it in Trump's terms, he has an Attorney General that says that it is always okay for a President to shoot someone on Fifth Avenue. For Barr to declare that there will be no prosecution of Trump doesn't answer the question of whether Trump shot someone on Fifth Avenue or not.
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Old 03-25-2019, 10:34 AM
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As an example. The seminal case in the US (and cited world over) for obstruction is Pettibone v US 148 US 197. That states that general malevolent intent does not rise to the level of obstruction. You need specific intent to obstruct a specific line of inquiry.
  #188  
Old 03-25-2019, 10:56 AM
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Joint Statement of Judiciary Chair Nadler, Intelligence Chair Schiff and Oversight Chair Cummings

Quote:
"It is unacceptable that, after Special Counsel Mueller spent 22 months meticulously uncovering this evidence, Attorney General Barr made a decision not to charge the President in under 48 hours. The Attorney General did so without even interviewing the President. His unsolicited, open memorandum to the Department of Justice, suggesting that the obstruction investigation was ‘fatally misconceived,’ calls into question his objectivity on this point in particular.

"Attorney General Barr states that the Special Counsel did not find evidence sufficient to establish beyond a reasonable doubt, for purposes of prosecution, that the Trump campaign conspired to join Russia’s election-related online disinformation and hacking and dissemination efforts, notwithstanding multiple offers from Russian-affiliated parties to assist the Trump campaign.

"Although we have confidence that Special Counsel Mueller made the right prosecutorial judgement in these two specific areas—notwithstanding the very public evidence of Trump campaign contact with and willingness to receive support from Russian agents—it will be vital for the country and the Congress to evaluate the full body of evidence collected by the Special Counsel, including all information gathered of a counterintelligence nature.

"The only information the Congress and the American people have received regarding this investigation is the Attorney General’s own work product. The Special Counsel’s Report should be allowed to speak for itself, and Congress must have the opportunity to evaluate the underlying evidence.

"These shortcomings in today’s letter are the very reason our nation has a system of separation of powers. We cannot simply rely on what may be a partisan interpretation of facts uncovered during the course of a 22-month review of possible wrongdoing by the President.

"The American people deserve to see the facts and judge the President’s actions for themselves.

"Earlier this month, the House passed a resolution calling for the release of the Special Counsel’s report by a vote of 420-0. The Attorney General must release the report and the underlying evidence in full, and appear before the House Judiciary Committee to answer our questions without delay."
I honestly have no idea what to think at this time. Maybe Barr and the Republicans are playing a game of saying "the report is a nothing burger, it exonerates the president" and when it takes a few days or weeks for someone to subpoena the report and get it to the public, maybe they're hoping to have established the narrative against it even if it's extremely incriminating.

Or maybe it's underwhelming. But our only reason to trust Barr's assurances that it's nothing are that he's going to look ridiculous when it comes out and he completely misrepresented it. But it wouldn't be the boldest propoganda play we've seen in recent history.
  #189  
Old 03-25-2019, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by SenorBeef View Post
Joint Statement of Judiciary Chair Nadler, Intelligence Chair Schiff and Oversight Chair Cummings



I honestly have no idea what to think at this time. Maybe Barr and the Republicans are playing a game of saying "the report is a nothing burger, it exonerates the president" and when it takes a few days or weeks for someone to subpoena the report and get it to the public, maybe they're hoping to have established the narrative against it even if it's extremely incriminating.

Or maybe it's underwhelming. But our only reason to trust Barr's assurances that it's nothing are that he's going to look ridiculous when it comes out and he completely misrepresented it. But it wouldn't be the boldest propoganda play we've seen in recent history.
Looking ridiculous after being called out for a lie is baked right into how this administration operates. It hasn't stopped them from lying up until today, and I don't suspect anyone that works for Trump will suddenly develop a case of the Backbones.

That being said, perhaps Barr was, in fact, able to fully analyze the report containing 22 months of information in less than 48 hours and summarize it accurately. Who knows?
  #190  
Old 03-25-2019, 11:12 AM
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Mueller probably wrote his own summary so I would guess Barr started his letter with that info and hopefully read more than just the Mueller summary.
  #191  
Old 03-25-2019, 12:34 PM
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The Atlantic offers an intelligent summary of the Mueller investigation.
  #192  
Old 03-25-2019, 01:22 PM
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This was a pretty good analysis. It also dovetails with a column from Steve Benen this morning, where he wonders what the political landscape would look like this morning if we hadn't been seeing the results of this investigation play out in indictments and court filings over the last 22 months.

What if Robert Mueller had been working up until this point in silence and secrecy, and then had dropped his report on Barr's desk along with indictments of Trump's campaign chairman, deputy campaign chairman, White House National Security Director (!), and personal attorney (!!), plus no small quantity of various Russian agents associated with trying to affect the election?

Would the Trump apologists be dancing around crying "No collusion! Full exoneration!"? Rather, I think, we would be hearing any number of wails and teeth-gnashes about "corrupt Mueller" and "witch hunt" and "angry Democrats". And yet, those four individuals I listed have not only been indicted, but are actually and legally guilty of a number of crimes.

If there really is nothing (as per Barr's account) worth considering as a crime, then why the hell were all of these Trump sycophants and lickspittles so determined to lie about their knowledge and actions?
  #193  
Old 03-25-2019, 01:36 PM
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From my layman's reading of the Barr letter, I think the Mueller presented the evidence and arguments for and against but didn't state whether or not Trump obstructed justice, that it was up to the AG to decide. Barr decided that since Trump was not found to have colluded or conspired, any question on obstructing justice was rendered moot. Maybe I'm interpreting it wrong as I haven't listened to any talking head commentary on this letter, but that's fucked up.
re: Obstruction
No, Mueller did not decide. There's no indication Mueller said AG should decide that or that Mueller knew AG would decide that since Mueller did not. The rest is correct, the AG did decide based on the logic described in the letter. Maybe Mueller thought that would best be decided by Congress. We don't know.

Re: Barr Letter in general, I haven't read thread, but all we have is Mueller's conclusion that Trump campaign did not commit crime of "collusion" (agreement to conspire w/Russians) into election interference. That's it, and that is fairly narrow (as that's what Mueller was tasked to do). I'd be interested to know what led Mueller to that conclusion. That would all be in Mueller's report. Along with the facts re: obstruction.
  #194  
Old 03-25-2019, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by CoolHandCox View Post
Re: Barr Letter in general, I haven't read thread, but all we have is Mueller's conclusion that Trump campaign did not commit crime of "collusion" (agreement to conspire w/Russians) into election interference. That's it, and that is fairly narrow (as that's what Mueller was tasked to do). I'd be interested to know what led Mueller to that conclusion. That would all be in Mueller's report. Along with the facts re: obstruction.
[underlining added]

So this is something that's bothered me.

If you tell me that there's a candy cane hidden in my room, I could spend hours searching my room and not find it. At the end of my search, I might report that I had not established the existence of a candy cane hidden in my room.

That's materially different from reporting that I've established the nonexistence of a candy cane hidden in my room.

Now, Mueller's a damn fine candy-cane hunter. But the KGB is among the world's finest, if not the world's finest, candy-cane hider.

Mueller reported AIUI, that he had not established conspiracy on the part of the Trump campaign to work with Russia to throw the election. What Mueller did not report is that he'd established that the Trump campaign had NOT conspired.

That's a material difference, and it's being misreported, as far as I can tell.

Last edited by Left Hand of Dorkness; 03-25-2019 at 02:49 PM.
  #195  
Old 03-25-2019, 03:10 PM
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You're right about this being reported sloppily. And re-reading my post I also phrased it sloppily.

I should have said, in Mueller's opinion, he did not have (enough) evidence to bring to a jury to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the Trump campaign conspired with Russians to interfere with 2016 election.

Without the report, I do not know what the underlying basis for that conclusion is. Innocent? Some collusion, but not enough to be criminal? Acts of criminal collusion but a technicality prevented him from bringing charges? I have no idea, and I'll wait for the Mueller report to find out.

Also, this wasn't a fact-finding mission for the truth. Mueller is a prosecutor investigating suspects of crimes. It's just not the best system to find the truth of what actually happened.
  #196  
Old 03-25-2019, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by CoolHandCox View Post
I should have said, in Mueller's opinion, he did not have (enough) evidence to bring to a jury to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the Trump campaign conspired with Russians to interfere with 2016 election.

Without the report, I do not know what the underlying basis for that conclusion is. Innocent? Some collusion, but not enough to be criminal? Acts of criminal collusion but a technicality prevented him from bringing charges? I have no idea, and I'll wait for the Mueller report to find out.
My reading of this so far has a slightly different take: that Mueller didn't reach the question of whether or not he had enough evidence to bring a case to trial. From what I have read, that part of the report was more like, "Hey, AG, you're my boss: here's the evidence, you decide what to do." Your summary sounds more like, "Hey, AG, this evidence is pretty flimsy, you make the final call."

I'd be interested to know to what extent a grand jury was involved in this part of the investigation, if at all.
  #197  
Old 03-25-2019, 04:11 PM
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I had been arguing against the collusion theory since early 2017 on another board, for about two years, and it was a nightmare. According to them I was gaslighting, trolling, willfully ignorant, a hired Russian... It was a nightmare.

Feels good to be vindicated. All you had to do was look closely and you would have seen this coming a long time ago. But people wanted what Democrats and the media were selling, even if it didn't square, or had to be repeatedly corrected or retracted.

Good day for the country, and a good day for me.
  #198  
Old 03-25-2019, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Dacien View Post
I had been arguing against the collusion theory since early 2017 on another board, for about two years, and it was a nightmare. According to them I was gaslighting, trolling, willfully ignorant, a hired Russian... It was a nightmare.

Feels good to be vindicated. All you had to do was look closely and you would have seen this coming a long time ago. But people wanted what Democrats and the media were selling, even if it didn't square, or had to be repeatedly corrected or retracted.

Good day for the country, and a good day for me.
If Trump says no collusion, then that's good enough for you! No need to actually see the Mueller report.

Last edited by iiandyiiii; 03-25-2019 at 04:19 PM.
  #199  
Old 03-25-2019, 04:25 PM
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My reading of this so far has a slightly different take: that Mueller didn't reach the question of whether or not he had enough evidence to bring a case to trial. From what I have read, that part of the report was more like, "Hey, AG, you're my boss: here's the evidence, you decide what to do." Your summary sounds more like, "Hey, AG, this evidence is pretty flimsy, you make the final call."

I'd be interested to know to what extent a grand jury was involved in this part of the investigation, if at all.
According to Barr:

For collusion, Mueller made a finding that no American committed a "collusion" crime.

For obstruction, Mueller just laid out the facts, but did not make a conclusion to whether those facts were criminal or not.

Last edited by CoolHandCox; 03-25-2019 at 04:26 PM. Reason: removed "legal" before finding
  #200  
Old 03-25-2019, 04:35 PM
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I had been arguing against the collusion theory since early 2017 on another board, for about two years, and it was a nightmare. According to them I was gaslighting, trolling, willfully ignorant, a hired Russian... It was a nightmare.

Feels good to be vindicated. All you had to do was look closely and you would have seen this coming a long time ago. But people wanted what Democrats and the media were selling, even if it didn't square, or had to be repeatedly corrected or retracted.

Good day for the country, and a good day for me.
Not having enough evidence to prosecute at this time isn't the same as vindication or exoneration. If it were, Bill Cosby wouldn't be a convicted rapist right now.

Sorry, but you're not vindicated, and neither is your hero. They simply didn't have what they felt was enough evidence in hand to make a case for what would have been among the most contentious and controversial suggestions for an indictment in American history. Although I personally believe that Trump is guilty of multiple crimes related to the Russia investigation (won't even touch what the SDNY's looking at), I can understand why Mueller (and I'll even cut Barr and Rosenstein some slack) decided to decline a recommendation for an indictment. As hard up as a lot of progressives are for recommending indictment and getting an impeachment underway, you just don't make that kind of momentous decision without overwhelming evidence of crimes committed. So it's not that you or Trump or anyone is vindicated; it's a case of someone using sound judgment, admittedly to the disappointment of Trump's critics, but probably a prudent decision nevertheless.
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