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  #201  
Old 03-25-2019, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by CoolHandCox View Post
According to Barr:
For collusion, Mueller made a finding that no American committed a "collusion" crime.
I believe the finding was actually that based on the evidence they discovered and reviewed, they could not establish that a crime was committed, not that "no American committed" a crime.

("not guilty" isn't the same as "innocent")
  #202  
Old 03-25-2019, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by SmartAlecCat View Post
I believe the finding was actually that based on the evidence they discovered and reviewed, they could not establish that a crime was committed, not that "no American committed" a crime.

("not guilty" isn't the same as "innocent")
We're probably splitting hairs. I like your phrasing better btw. However, if there's not enough evidence, or no evidence, to establish a crime, then there is no crime. I'm interested in seeing what the evidence showed - how close to a crime did we come, or was it not close at all, etc. The Barr memo does not go into any of that - just the conclusion reached by Mueller.

The Barr memo goes out of its way, oddly, to say "no Americans", so I included that. *A close reading shows it sometimes broadly says no Americans and sometimes its limited to Trump campaign/associates.

Last edited by CoolHandCox; 03-25-2019 at 05:02 PM.
  #203  
Old 03-25-2019, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by CoolHandCox View Post
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.
Oh, I must have misread your post - I thought you were talking about obstruction when you were talking about collusion. My errror.
  #204  
Old 03-25-2019, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by CoolHandCox View Post
... However, if there's not enough evidence, or no evidence, to establish a crime, then there is no crime. ...
Not true. As was just mentioned with the example of Bill Cosby, for many years there was not enough evidence to establish that crimes had been committed. (Women didn't want to come forward; women hadn't videotaped the crime so couldn't prove he'd drugged and then molested them, etc.) However, that lack of enough evidence to establish that the crimes had been committed did not change the fact that the crimes had, in fact, been committed.

Now if you want to say 'if there's not enough evidence to convict then no conviction can occur' then you'd be on stronger ground.
  #205  
Old 03-25-2019, 05:26 PM
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So at this point, all we've got is Barr's 4-page interpretation of the report which says Trump didn't collude with the Russians (but doesn't exonerate him, no matter how much Trump insists it does). Barr was, of course, hired by Trump. He's clearly a biased source, so we- or at least Congress- should take a look at the report and make sure Barr's interpretation was correct.

Well, that's what should happen. The problem is Mitch McConnell has blocked that release. He only wants Barr, Rosenstein, and Mueller to know what's in the report.

It's a cover-up.
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  #206  
Old 03-25-2019, 05:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Lightnin' View Post
So at this point, all we've got is Barr's 4-page interpretation of the report which says Trump didn't collude with the Russians (but doesn't exonerate him, no matter how much Trump insists it does). Barr was, of course, hired by Trump. He's clearly a biased source, so we- or at least Congress- should take a look at the report and make sure Barr's interpretation was correct.

Well, that's what should happen. The problem is Mitch McConnell has blocked that release. He only wants Barr, Rosenstein, and Mueller to know what's in the report.

It's a cover-up.
Yes, it is.

Clearly if the report actually DID exonerate Trump, Republicans would be all for releasing it.*

It doesn't.

So they'll fight tooth and nail to keep it hidden.



*With appropriate redactions for the likely few instances of 'sources and methods' or grand jury proceedings being potentially compromised---and the Intelligence Committees of both houses could see the un-redacted report and verify that what's redacted, actually needed to be. They all have the clearances to do it, and it would be bi-partisan, and thus would have credibility.
  #207  
Old 03-25-2019, 05:32 PM
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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.


The Mueller investigation did not find that Trump or the Trump campaign conspired with Russia, despite multiple offers. It's pretty cut and dry, unless you're suggesting that Trump was just too crafty for Mueller and his 19 lawyers and 40 FBI agents, as well as the team in charge of Crossfire Hurricane. If that's your suggestion, I'll go ahead and say I think you're going to end up finding that to be a dead end.

It seems like you might be confusing the Obstruction decision with the Collusion decision, but I can't tell. If so, then I still thought you needed more than what we've got to charge him for that (and Mueller ultimately agreed), but I never dove too deep on that issue. Alleged collusion was my main interest and subject of lengthy discussion.
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  #208  
Old 03-25-2019, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Dacien View Post
The Mueller investigation did not find that Trump or the Trump campaign conspired with Russia, despite multiple offers. It's pretty cut and dry, unless you're suggesting that Trump was just too crafty for Mueller and his 19 lawyers and 40 FBI agents, as well as the team in charge of Crossfire Hurricane. If that's your suggestion, I'll go ahead and say I think you're going to end up finding that to be a dead end.

It seems like you might be confusing the Obstruction decision with the Collusion decision, but I can't tell. If so, then I still thought you needed more than what we've got to charge him for that (and Mueller ultimately agreed), but I never dove too deep on that issue. Alleged collusion was my main interest and subject of lengthy discussion.
Do you have a cite for all these claims you're making about a report that hasn't been made public? Or are you just relying on the 4 page letter from a Trump political appointee (i.e. not the Mueller report)?

Last edited by iiandyiiii; 03-25-2019 at 05:37 PM.
  #209  
Old 03-25-2019, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Sherrerd View Post
Not true. As was just mentioned with the example of Bill Cosby, for many years there was not enough evidence to establish that crimes had been committed. (Women didn't want to come forward; women hadn't videotaped the crime so couldn't prove he'd drugged and then molested them, etc.) However, that lack of enough evidence to establish that the crimes had been committed did not change the fact that the crimes had, in fact, been committed.

Now if you want to say 'if there's not enough evidence to convict then no conviction can occur' then you'd be on stronger ground.
I'm going to avoid Bill Cosby because of the baggage, but I understand your point.

I still don't think I phrased it improperly. To put it another way, Mueller did not uncover sufficient evidence that Trump Campaign committed any "collusion" crimes. I think I'm of the opinion that crimes don't happen until you plead guilty or a jury says you committed a crime. Maybe that helps with my reasoning. The underlying conduct is of course unchanged.

At some point, there needs to be an end. For me, it's the Mueller report. For others, maybe they prefer more investigating (probably warranted). I just don't think you'll get better than what Mueller could do.
  #210  
Old 03-25-2019, 05:44 PM
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First indication that the Republican party leadership is scared of what the full Mueller report might show -- McConnell blocks a Democratic attempt to have the report released: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-u...rce=reddit.com

It's not the rhetoric that will tell us if they are afraid of this report, it's their actions. So far, their actions include opposing legislative efforts to have the report released.
  #211  
Old 03-25-2019, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by iiandyiiii View Post
Do you have a cite for all these claims you're making about a report that hasn't been made public? Or are you just relying on the 4 page letter from a Trump political appointee (i.e. not the Mueller report)?
All this talk about cover-ups, and Barr hiding the bombshell truth and just straight up lying about the Mueller report, you have to know that's fantasy, right? It's just a play to keep the ball rolling on "Trump under investigation", right?

Because if you really believe that the Mueller report actually did find evidence of collusion, but Barr is just hoping he can keep it under wraps and nobody will talk, not even Mueller, that's just fantasy, my dude.

Which isn't going to play well. People talking about this sound like wild conspiracy theorists to a normal person. It does them no favors.
  #212  
Old 03-25-2019, 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by CoolHandCox View Post
To put it another way, Mueller did not uncover sufficient evidence that Trump Campaign committed any "collusion" crimes. I think I'm of the opinion that crimes don't happen until you plead guilty or a jury says you committed a crime. ...
My emphasis, there. Not "sufficient" to obtain an indictment does not mean 'no evidence' and it certainly does not mean 'no crime.'

Mueller's report may well lay out the evidence he found, and his conclusion that he had perhaps 80% of the evidence he'd need to get the grand jury to indict---and that he therefore, lacking that last 20%, did not choose to try for an indictment.

Which is far from 'no evidence' or 'no crime.' Crimes occur all the time without necessarily resulting in a conviction. But they're still crimes. If jaywalking is illegal in your city, and you jaywalk, you've committed a crime--regardless of whether you are caught and prosecuted for it.






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Originally Posted by iiandyiiii View Post
First indication that the Republican party leadership is scared of what the full Mueller report might show -- McConnell blocks a Democratic attempt to have the report released: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-u...rce=reddit.com

It's not the rhetoric that will tell us if they are afraid of this report, it's their actions. So far, their actions include opposing legislative efforts to have the report released.
Yes, well-said.
  #213  
Old 03-25-2019, 06:00 PM
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All this talk about cover-ups, and Barr hiding the bombshell truth and just straight up lying about the Mueller report, you have to know that's fantasy, right? It's just a play to keep the ball rolling on "Trump under investigation", right?

Because if you really believe that the Mueller report actually did find evidence of collusion, but Barr is just hoping he can keep it under wraps and nobody will talk, not even Mueller, that's just fantasy, my dude.

Which isn't going to play well. People talking about this sound like wild conspiracy theorists to a normal person. It does them no favors.
Easily settled: release the report.*

Your insinuations that calling for the release of the report will result in being judged not "normal" seem rather unconvincing, given that the solution is so easy.

Common sense says: if the report exonerates Trump, Trump fans should be clamoring for its release---not trying desperately to sell the idea that asking for the full report is "wild" or not "normal."











*(With appropriate redactions as I discussed in post 206.)
  #214  
Old 03-25-2019, 06:16 PM
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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"
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Originally Posted by SenorBeef View Post
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.
Hey. So, here's the deal, both small picture and big picture.

It is absolutely not true that you have to have committed a crime or be found guilty of a crime in order to obstruct justice. Obstruction requires only that you, with corrupt intent, take an action to do what it says on the tin; i.e. influence or obstruct or impede the due course of law. You could, just as a guy on the street, obstruct a lawful inquiry into whether Tim Couch was the greatest quarterback of all time, if you so chose, and if one existed.

On all of these questions, keep in mind that there are at least 4 levels of analysis: there's 1. what Barr said; 2. what Barr said Mueller said; 3. what Mueller said; and 4. what's true. They interact in, presumably, multifarious ways, and, significantly, we don't at this point have any idea about 3 and 4.

With that in mind, look at what Barr actually said on the question of obstruction:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Barr
After making a “thorough factual investigation” into these matters, the Special Counsel considered whether to evaluate the conduct under Department standards governing prosecution and declination decisions but ultimately determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment. The Special Counsel therefore did not draw a conclusion - one way or the other – as to whether the examined conduct constituted obstruction. Instead, for each of the relevant actions investigated, the report sets out evidence on both sides of the question and leaves unresolved what the Special Counsel views as “difficult issues” of law and fact concerning whether the President's actions and intent could be viewed as obstruction. The Special Counsel states that “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
OK. Note what's directly quoted: Mueller said that he did a thorough factual investigation, there were difficult issues, and he wasn't exonerating him. That's it for the direct quotes, so that's all we know Mueller said (let's assume for the purposes of this exercise that he didn't just fabricate quotes). Lots of investigation, unspecified tough issues, no exoneration, but, Barr says, Mueller elected to punt on making a prosecutorial decision -- specific language and reason(s) unspecified.

Quote:
The Special Counsel's decision to describe the facts of his obstruction investigation without reaching any legal conclusions leaves it to the Attorney General to determine whether the conduct described in the report constitutes a crime. Over the course of the investigation, the Special Counsel's office engaged in discussions with certain Department officials regarding many of the legal and factual matters at issue in the Special Counsel's obstruction investigation. After reviewing the Special Counsel's final report on these issues; consulting with Department officials, including the Office of Legal Counsel; and applying the principles of federal prosecution that guide our charging decisions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and I have concluded that the evidence developed during the Special Counsel's investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense. Our determination was made without regard to, and is not based on, the constitutional considerations that surround the indictment and criminal prosecution of a sitting president.
Just to note: none of this quotes Mueller or cites any facts. What we learn from the above is that Barr has elected not to charge the president with obstruction.

Quote:
In making this determination, we noted that the Special Counsel recognized that “the evidence does not establish that the President was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference," and that, while not determinative, the absence of such evidence bears upon the President's intent with respect to obstruction. Generally speaking, to obtain and sustain an obstruction conviction, the government would need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person, acting with corrupt intent, engaged in obstructive conduct with a sufficient nexus to a pending or contemplated proceeding. In cataloguing the President's actions, many of which took place in public view, the report identifies no actions that, in our judgment, constitute obstructive conduct, had a nexus to a pending or contemplated proceeding, and were done with corrupt intent, each of which, under the Department's principles of federal prosecution guiding charging decisions, would need to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to establish an obstruction-of-justice offense.
Back to some quotes from Mueller, OK. Mueller said that the evidence didn't establish some predicate offense that the obstruction would be based on, which Barr acknowledges is not determinative, i.e., to answer your question, it doesn't prevent someone who commits the crime of obstruction from guilt for obstruction. It is, instead, a piece of what Mueller said that Barr is using to support his own finding that Trump didn't obstruct justice. And, particularly, says Barr, Mueller didn't identify actions which:
  • in Barr's judgment
  • were obstructive, and
  • were connected to a pending or contemplated proceeding, and
  • were done with corrupt intent, and
  • which Barr would be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.

So, back to our 4 categories: Barr says that Mueller didn't identify things which meet that threshold, including the part about "in Barr's judgment." The summary was silent on what Mueller said about any of that, or what he said in addition to the things Barr cited or referenced. Barr declined to indict, after Mueller listed a bunch of evidence, acknowledged difficult questions of unspecified provenance, and declined to issue a traditional prosecutorial decision but did not exonerate Trump. And Barr identified that Mueller said there was no underlying conspiracy crime, which Mueller may or may not have connected to obstruction.

I'm refraining from speculating. I hope that's helpful.
  #215  
Old 03-25-2019, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Sherrerd View Post
Easily settled: release the report.*

Your insinuations that calling for the release of the report will result in being judged not "normal" seem rather unconvincing, given that the solution is so easy.

Common sense says: if the report exonerates Trump, Trump fans should be clamoring for its release---not trying desperately to sell the idea that asking for the full report is "wild" or not "normal."











*(With appropriate redactions as I discussed in post 206.)

Do you want to see it because you think there's a conspiracy to hide the truth about collusion, perpetrated by top players in the DOJ, including Barr in cooperation with Mueller and his team agreeing to stay silent? Or do you want to dig around in it to find anything that can be weaponized against Trump, even if it has nothing to do with collusion?

Regardless, I'm not opposed to it being released. I don't know that it'll happen, I just don't see a great need for it. "Because there's a conspiracy to cover up the truth by Barr, in necessary cooperation with other top-level people involved" isn't a good reason. It's laughable at best. At worst, it's a little cringey. I feel bad for people who really thought they were going to finally nail Trump. They didn't want to be right, for the sake of our country, but they believed he was guilty, and he was going to get nailed. And it's been a bad week for those folks. But at a certain point you have to accept the outcome of the investigation.

The FBI declining to recommend charges in the Hillary email debacle was supposed to be it. They investigated, there was no basis for criminal charges, move on. In 2016, how many times did people say that we need to accept the outcome? That further digging around on the issue or claiming the DOJ is in cahoots with Clinton was just sad and desperate? I know I saw it said a lot. There's sort of the same through-line here.

Last edited by Dacien; 03-25-2019 at 06:22 PM.
  #216  
Old 03-25-2019, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Dacien View Post
...

Which isn't going to play well. People talking about this sound like wild conspiracy theorists to a normal person. It does them no favors.
Trump has called for its release. So why do you suppose McConnell doesn't want it released?
  #217  
Old 03-25-2019, 06:20 PM
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All this talk about cover-ups, and Barr hiding the bombshell truth and just straight up lying about the Mueller report, you have to know that's fantasy, right? It's just a play to keep the ball rolling on "Trump under investigation", right?

Because if you really believe that the Mueller report actually did find evidence of collusion, but Barr is just hoping he can keep it under wraps and nobody will talk, not even Mueller, that's just fantasy, my dude.

Which isn't going to play well. People talking about this sound like wild conspiracy theorists to a normal person. It does them no favors.
What cover up? I'm saying we should see the report before we talk about what's in it, and that Barr might be a perfectly decent and honest guy, but he is clearly both a political appointee and biased against the Mueller report from the beginning based on his own words. It's entirely reasonable to wait to see what's actually in the report before making wild statements about it.
  #218  
Old 03-25-2019, 06:22 PM
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The holdouts are clinging to every shred of deniability within grasp. Now they want the full report. If they get the full report, they will cling to whatever ambiguous shred that lies there. Fortunately, most of the mainstream folks are moving on with their lives and hopefully they will start targeting Trump over legitimate policy problems. Maybe they won’t because that would include hammering Trump over his dangerous anti-Russia policy.
  #219  
Old 03-25-2019, 06:28 PM
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Trump has called for its release.
Didn't he just say that he wouldn't mind if it was? Which is how I feel.

Quote:
So why do you suppose McConnell doesn't want it released?
McConnell's argument was that Barr and Mueller are working together to decide what can be released and what cannot.

Last edited by Dacien; 03-25-2019 at 06:29 PM.
  #220  
Old 03-25-2019, 06:32 PM
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The holdouts are clinging to every shred of deniability within grasp. Now they want the full report. If they get the full report, they will cling to whatever ambiguous shred that lies there. Fortunately, most of the mainstream folks are moving on with their lives and hopefully they will start targeting Trump over legitimate policy problems. Maybe they won’t because that would include hammering Trump over his dangerous anti-Russia policy.
...or maybe we actually want to see a document before we make judgments on it. YMMV.
  #221  
Old 03-25-2019, 06:33 PM
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nm

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  #222  
Old 03-25-2019, 06:40 PM
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The Mueller investigation did not find that Trump or the Trump campaign conspired with Russia, despite multiple offers. It's pretty cut and dry, unless you're suggesting that Trump was just too crafty for Mueller and his 19 lawyers and 40 FBI agents, as well as the team in charge of Crossfire Hurricane. If that's your suggestion, I'll go ahead and say I think you're going to end up finding that to be a dead end.

It seems like you might be confusing the Obstruction decision with the Collusion decision, but I can't tell. If so, then I still thought you needed more than what we've got to charge him for that (and Mueller ultimately agreed), but I never dove too deep on that issue. Alleged collusion was my main interest and subject of lengthy discussion.
It would be cut and dry if there weren't already multiple people in Trump's orbit not convicted of crimes - that kinda makes it less cut and dry. Why did so many people need to lie to federal investigators? What are they lying about?

Whatever their reasons, I've already acknowledged that regardless of my opinions, Mueller didn't see sufficient enough evidence to suggest an indictment on his own, and neither Barr nor Rosenstein had any compelling reason to do so absent of a specific recommendation on Mueller's part. Barr's letter would seem to indicate that it's far from resolved whether Trump acted, in fact, acted illegally or improperly, but at the end of the day, what matters is that they don't have enough evidence to continue this exhaustive investigation beyond where it now stands - I accept that, I'm fine with that. Even if I believe, as I do, that Mueller and the legal system is treating the president differently than you or I, I'm fine with it, because you or I aren't the president, and prosecuting or even recommending the prosecution of a sitting president or his family isn't just a legal matter; it's a political matter, too, which only amplifies the need to have certainty when recommending a criminal prosecution. If this is the end of the DoJ's investigation into 'collusion,' I'm okay with it. But like anyone, I'll still draw my own conclusion about the truth - not that it really matters that much.
  #223  
Old 03-25-2019, 07:26 PM
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1. My emphasis, there. Not "sufficient" to obtain an indictment does not mean 'no evidence' and it certainly does not mean 'no crime.'

2. Mueller's report may well lay out the evidence he found, and his conclusion that he had perhaps 80% of the evidence he'd need to get the grand jury to indict---and that he therefore, lacking that last 20%, did not choose to try for an indictment.

3. Which is far from 'no evidence' or 'no crime.' Crimes occur all the time without necessarily resulting in a conviction. But they're still crimes. If jaywalking is illegal in your city, and you jaywalk, you've committed a crime--regardless of whether you are caught and prosecuted for it.
I added numbers to your paragraphs and will respond to them.

1. I agree it does not mean no evidence. I respectfully disagree it means no crime.

2. That last 20% could be an entire element to the crime.

3. In the jaywalking hypo. The prosecutor did not charge anyone with a crime. I just don’t see how you can then say someone committed a crime. The person could have done acts that “you” think meet the elements for jaywalking, but they haven’t committed a crime, much less been charged with one. The Gov’t must bring sufficient evidence of criminal conduct, provide it to a jury, and the jury convicts based on that evidence, for me to say to say someone committed a crime.
  #224  
Old 03-25-2019, 07:54 PM
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I added numbers to your paragraphs and will respond to them.

1. I agree it does not mean no evidence. I respectfully disagree it means no crime.

2. That last 20% could be an entire element to the crime.

3. In the jaywalking hypo. The prosecutor did not charge anyone with a crime. I just don’t see how you can then say someone committed a crime. The person could have done acts that “you” think meet the elements for jaywalking, but they haven’t committed a crime, much less been charged with one. The Gov’t must bring sufficient evidence of criminal conduct, provide it to a jury, and the jury convicts based on that evidence, for me to say to say someone committed a crime.
You appear to be employing an eccentric definition of "crime;" you seem to define crime as "conviction."

This isn't normal English-language usage. "Crime" is defined in most accepted sources as some variation on what Merriam-Webster has:

Quote:
Definition of crime
1 : an illegal act for which someone can be punished by the government
especially : a gross violation of law
2 : a grave offense especially against morality
3 : criminal activity
[example:] efforts to fight crime
4 : something reprehensible, foolish, or disgraceful
[example:] It's a crime to waste good food.
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/crime

You'll notice that none of those definitions require the element of 'being caught' let alone 'being convicted' (as your own remarks seem to assume to be necessary before something can be called 'a crime').
  #225  
Old 03-25-2019, 07:55 PM
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I just posted this in another thread on the subject, but it’s pertinent here.

There is a line from William Barr’s letter that reads “the Special Council did not find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in these efforts, despite multiple offers from Russian affiliated individuals”.

What I take from that is that members of the Trump campaign were in contact with Russian affiliated individuals during the campaign. They just couldn’t pull off any meaningful coordination. So, the public perception of unusual contacts between campaign members and Russians was absolutely correct. And they were not straightforward about those contacts and did not report them to law enforcement, as they should have. And it seems that some campaign members may have attempted to take credit for helping the Russians even though they didn’t.

In light of all that, conducting the investigation was absolutely the right thing to do. It would have been negligent not to. And, all in all, the investigation was pretty fruitful.


Even though it now appears that the Trump campaign’s actions regarding these contacts managed to stay on the side of lawful, that doesn’t mean that they were right. And I think that needs to be emphasized. I have the right to expect at least a little bit of integrity from the person holding the office of POTUS, and assuring me that all of their actions were “technically legal” doesn’t cut it.

But unfortunately we can’t expect more than “technically legal” from Trump. But the Republicans have made it clear that “technically legal” is good enough for them, look at the Stormy Daniels scandal.

And just watch, over the next few days Mueller will be transformed from a corrupt and angry Democrat to a great American hero. And if the report is released and it makes Trump look like a senile old idiot, he might change back. And his base won’t even notice the contradiction.

Last edited by Ann Hedonia; 03-25-2019 at 07:56 PM.
  #226  
Old 03-25-2019, 08:03 PM
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McConnell blocks resolution to release full Mueller report

If the report exonerates Trump, shouldn't everyone in the GOP be scrambling to make it public?

What the fuck is going on?
  #227  
Old 03-25-2019, 08:05 PM
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Do you want to see it because you think there's a conspiracy to hide the truth about collusion, perpetrated by top players in the DOJ, including Barr in cooperation with Mueller and his team agreeing to stay silent? Or do you want to dig around in it to find anything that can be weaponized against Trump, even if it has nothing to do with collusion?

Regardless, I'm not opposed to it being released. I don't know that it'll happen, I just don't see a great need for it. "Because there's a conspiracy to cover up the truth by Barr, in necessary cooperation with other top-level people involved" isn't a good reason. It's laughable at best. At worst, it's a little cringey. I feel bad for people who really thought they were going to finally nail Trump. They didn't want to be right, for the sake of our country, but they believed he was guilty, and he was going to get nailed. And it's been a bad week for those folks. But at a certain point you have to accept the outcome of the investigation. ...
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What cover up? I'm saying we should see the report before we talk about what's in it, and that Barr might be a perfectly decent and honest guy, but he is clearly both a political appointee and biased against the Mueller report from the beginning based on his own words. It's entirely reasonable to wait to see what's actually in the report before making wild statements about it.
Dacien, iiandyiiii's reply serves well for your post quoted here.

I'll just add that the attempt to characterize the reasonable wish to see the report as being somehow embarrassing or shameful, comes across as a particularly weak tactic.

People with common sense can see that it's sensible to want to see the report itself, rather than relying on a brief summary by a man who got his job via a published declaration that the coming report would be illegitimate.

I doubt that your assertions that it takes some sort of belief in a "conspiracy" to hold these logical views will persuade any intelligent reader.
  #228  
Old 03-25-2019, 08:17 PM
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There is a line from William Barr’s letter that reads “the Special Council did not find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in these efforts, despite multiple offers from Russian affiliated individuals”.
Define 'conspired', and define 'coordinated'. More importantly, provide so much compelling, indisputable evidence that, say, 70% of the country agrees that Trump and his closest aides are worthy of prosecution. That's the challenge. You cannot look at this investigation strictly through the lens of the law; it's inevitably going to be perceived as a political investigation. That's why I've felt all along that while I agree that the president probably, at minimum, committed obstruction of justice, it was going to be a tall order to bring Trump and his family to justice in this case.

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Originally Posted by Ann Hedonia View Post
What I take from that is that members of the Trump campaign were in contact with Russian affiliated individuals during the campaign. They just couldn’t pull off any meaningful coordination. So, the public perception of unusual contacts between campaign members and Russians was absolutely correct. And they were not straightforward about those contacts and did not report them to law enforcement, as they should have. And it seems that some campaign members may have attempted to take credit for helping the Russians even though they didn’t.
I don't think that Russia necessarily wanted to coordinate with the Trump campaign, nor did the Trump campaign necessarily want to coordinate with Russia. I think the most damning conduct committed by anyone in Trump's orbit was Roger Stone's links to Gucifer, Wikileaks, etc. But to use a baseball analogy, that's like stealing signs; it's not like you stole the entire playbook or successfully paid players on the opposing team to fix games. It's a matter of degree. I think the investigation went as far as it could.

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Originally Posted by Ann Hedonia View Post
And just watch, over the next few days Mueller will be transformed from a corrupt and angry Democrat to a great American hero. And if the report is released and it makes Trump look like a senile old idiot, he might change back. And his base won’t even notice the contradiction.
At this point, I don't see the Democrats gaining much traction from pushing the Mueller report or impeachment.
  #229  
Old 03-25-2019, 08:19 PM
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You appear to be employing an eccentric definition of "crime;" you seem to define crime as "conviction."

This isn't normal English-language usage. "Crime" is defined in most accepted sources as some variation on what Merriam-Webster has:

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/crime

You'll notice that none of those definitions require the element of 'being caught' let alone 'being convicted' (as your own remarks seem to assume to be necessary before something can be called 'a crime').
They require an illegal act. Who decides what’s illegal? You? I would say the justice process which has a conclusion to it.

You’ve explained you’re point well - Illegal conduct is a crime. I just wouldn’t say it that way.
  #230  
Old 03-25-2019, 08:34 PM
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They require an illegal act. Who decides what’s illegal? You? I would say the justice process which has a conclusion to it.
Statutes. Which are (for the most part) voted on in legislative bodies at federal, state, and local levels.

What you describe here is more like "judicial activism"---law being determined or changed via the workings of the justice system (law enforcement and courts). That's not the way it works here in the West, or at least that's not the way it's designed to work.


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Originally Posted by CoolHandCox View Post
You’ve explained you’re point well - Illegal conduct is a crime. I just wouldn’t say it that way.
Different cultures and language-speakers have differing definitions; however you would say it, the way it's understood here is as described in the previous post.


(my emphasis)

Last edited by Sherrerd; 03-25-2019 at 08:36 PM.
  #231  
Old 03-25-2019, 08:36 PM
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Trump has called for its release. So why do you suppose McConnell doesn't want it released?
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Originally Posted by monstro View Post
McConnell blocks resolution to release full Mueller report

If the report exonerates Trump, shouldn't everyone in the GOP be scrambling to make it public?

What the fuck is going on?
Perhaps Trump comes off very, very poorly in the report, despite no positive proof he committed crimes.
  #232  
Old 03-25-2019, 08:47 PM
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Statutes. Which are (for the most part) voted on in legislative bodies at federal, state, and local levels.

....
So let me know when the Trump campaign violated the conspiracy statutes and how you came to that conclusion.
  #233  
Old 03-25-2019, 09:02 PM
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Anyone else find it odd that Trump has been relatively restrained about being “cleared”?
  #234  
Old 03-25-2019, 09:04 PM
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Didn't he just say that he wouldn't mind if it was? Which is how I feel.....
An opinion widely shared here at the Rachel Maddow Adoration Society. Great minds think alike! Twisted minds as well, it would seem. Groovy.
  #235  
Old 03-25-2019, 09:07 PM
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Anyone else find it odd that Trump has been relatively restrained about being “cleared”?
He's been in a gladiatorial combat for every single day of his presidency for the past 24 months. He doesn't quite know how to deal with this new phase, but I'm confident in saying that it's just a phase.
  #236  
Old 03-25-2019, 11:28 PM
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Can he be impeached for being a jinx? Because he is amazingly unlucky? Because, through no fault of his own! he is surrounded by a whirlwind of shit, and yet none of it touches him! He is the innocent Snow White at the center of a Dwarvish Clusterfuck. I mean, what are the odds!!

(If that image appeals to you, don't worry about it, it's not that weird.)

Last edited by elucidator; 03-25-2019 at 11:29 PM. Reason: Malform follows malfunction
  #237  
Old 03-25-2019, 11:47 PM
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No.

Like it or not, your poesy is not legalese. Also, superstitious. With references to fairy tales. Followed by an incongruous appeal to statistics.

All your base are belong to us.
  #238  
Old 03-26-2019, 05:45 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.
That is the view held by most lawyers, except for Barr, who has explicitly stated that in order form obstruction to occur, there must be an underlying crime. Imo this is absurd in general, and in Trumps case in particular. For the former, "justice" includes the possibility of being innocent, and for the latter, the Mueller investigation had a wide mandate and included people other than Trump - many of whom were eventually found guilty . Ridiculous.
  #239  
Old 03-26-2019, 05:56 AM
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Hey. So, here's the deal, both small picture and big picture.

...

I'm refraining from speculating. I hope that's helpful.
This is a great post; thanks, and it's good to see you around the board!
  #240  
Old 03-26-2019, 06:16 AM
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Which is totally irrelevant.

If a police officer is shot and killed on the job, do you point out that cops kill people on a regular basis?
Can you please explain the analogy. Is Russia or America the cop being killed.
  #241  
Old 03-26-2019, 07:18 AM
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All this talk about cover-ups, and Barr hiding the bombshell truth and just straight up lying about the Mueller report, you have to know that's fantasy, right?
You do realize that "making easily refuted lies up out of whole cloth" is kind of this administration's thing, right? Anyone who trusts anyone within the Trump administration to tell the truth, particularly if the truth is directly opposed to what would benefit the party or Trump personally, has not been paying attention. And I don't mean in the "didn't watch the details carefully" sense, I mean in the sense that they've been fast asleep for the last three years. So yes, I absolutely believe that Barr would just flat-out lie about the contents of the report if it suited the administration's purpose. That's the whole reason Trump hired him in the first place. It's not more absurd than DHS secretary Nielsen lying about separating families at the border, or press secretary Sean Spicer lying about the size of Trump's crowd at the inauguration, or any of the other by now close to 10,000 lies that have come directly from Trump himself.

Given that senate republicans have voted against releasing the report, and given how house republicans whitewashed their investigations into Trump's inner circle, I'm left thinking that anything Barr says is just as suspect as anything anyone else in this administration says, and anyone taking it seriously has a serious problem assigning credibility to known serial liars.

Last edited by Budget Player Cadet; 03-26-2019 at 07:20 AM.
  #242  
Old 03-26-2019, 07:23 AM
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No idea if its true or not, but the no new indictments could mean several things.

It could mean Mueller isn't indicting anyone, but he will pass along his findings to a wide range of state and federal prosecutors who are free to use that info to indict
Mueller is effectively done, so I'd argue that any evidence/findings to be passed to other state and federal prosecutors has already been passed to them, quietly and without ado. What they might be, if anything, we'll have to wait and see.

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Originally Posted by KidCharlemagne View Post
I don't see how this report can be anything but a big fat nothing. Neither Trump Jr nor Kushner were indicted. They said there will be no further indictments. The worst they can say is that Trump obstructed justice, but that is unlikely to happen or create more than a two-day story if it does. Not saying they won't all be fucked when the SDNY is done with them, but this report will essentially exonerate Trump in the eyes of the right and center.
It's worth noting that neither Leon Jaworski (Watergate Special Prosecutor) nor Ken Starr (White water) specifically recommended pursuing obstruction of justice charges, yet we know how that worked out for the respective presidents involved.

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Originally Posted by Sam Stone View Post
I wouldn't call 37 indictments 'dozens and dozens'. And even more importantly, I would note that 28 of them were against Russian companies, individuals, or GRU agents.

Lest we forget, this investigation was a counter-intelligence investigation focused on how the Russians tried to screw with the election. As far as I can tell, of the 28 Russian indictments, only one of them was even peripherally related to Trump, through Paul Manafort's dealing with the Ukraine (before he was involved with Trump). The rest are GRU agents that hacked Hillary's emails, and members of a Russian troll farm. There's nothing there about Trump.

Of the people near Trump's orbit, not one of them was charged with anything having to do with collusion. The indicted were Michael Cohen (campaign finance and tax and bank fraud),
And for lying to Congress about his interactions with Russia during the campaign.

Quote:
Paul Manafort (for crimes regarding the Ukraine and money laundering)
Manaford also breached his plea agreement, including continuing to interact with (alleged) Russian agent Konstantin Kilimnik.

Quote:
George Papadopoulis (lying to the FBI)
about his meetings with Russia during the campaign.

Quote:
Roger Stone (lying to Congress)
about his interactions with Russian hackers located within the GRU during the campaign.

Quote:
Mike Flynn (lying to the FBI)
about meeting with the Russian Ambassador himself during the campaign.

Quote:
and Rick Gates who was Manafort's business partner (false statements and conspiracy).
You forgot Alex van der Zwaan, convicted for...wait for it... lying to investigators about his interaction with Rick Gates during the campaign regarding work they had both previously done for an individual (likely Kilimnik) known to be connected to the GRU.

Quote:
Notice that of those 6, three of them were nailed on 'process' crimes during the investigation, two for activities having nothing to do with Trump, and only Cohen for a crime (campaign finance) that can be associated with Trump.
I notice that arguing that there's no connection to Russia while carefully excising all references to connections to Russia during the campaign doesn't inspire confidence in your credibility.

Quote:
I think it's fair to say that President "I pick the best people" picked some really poor people, but that is not evidence that he himself broke the law or colluded with Russians.
Entirely possible, but not exactly a ringing endorsement.


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Originally Posted by HurricaneDitka View Post
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.
You first.
  #243  
Old 03-26-2019, 07:49 AM
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Because if you really believe that the Mueller report actually did find evidence of collusion, but Barr is just hoping he can keep it under wraps and nobody will talk, not even Mueller, that's just fantasy, my dude.
Mueller did find evidence of collusion and Barr even says he did in his summary, "...despite multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign." That is evidence of collusion.

There's a bunch of evidence of collusion that is publicly available.

Barr's summary says that Mueller could not establish that a crime was committed, but it doesn't say sweet fuck all about collusion. You can't have it both ways on, "Collusion is not a crime."
  #244  
Old 03-26-2019, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Gyrate View Post
...

It's worth noting that neither Leon Jaworski (Watergate Special Prosecutor) nor Ken Starr (White water) specifically recommended pursuing obstruction of justice charges, yet we know how that worked out for the respective presidents involved.

...
Regarding this snippet, it is my understanding that both Leon Jaworski and Ken Starr had a preponderance of evidence for obstruction, but because the subject was the President of the United States, and further, that the Justice Department has a policy against indicting a sitting President, they decided that it was not their job to bring these indictments.

Both of them, Jaworski and Starr, decided that any action against the President was Congress' job, and so forwarded on all of the materials to the House and Senate Judiciary committees. Neither made a declaration about obstruction one way or another, but they listed the facts for and against in their reports. (It was after reviewing the Jaworski report that the House decided to file for impeachment of Nixon, listing "Obstruction of Justice" as one of the first charges.) It sounds like this is the playbook Mueller followed; he listed the facts for and against as well.

Barr, however, has upended this procedure and made the call regarding obstruction himself, but Barr has an established opinion that a sitting President cannot be charged with obstruction. And now the Justice Department is trying to dig in and not let Congress see the Mueller material. A further note: neither Jaworski nor Starr allowed the White House time to review the report before Congress.

This "Barr Report" appears to be little more than a fig leaf, written for an audience of one.
  #245  
Old 03-26-2019, 08:48 AM
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That is the view held by most lawyers, except for Barr, who has explicitly stated that in order form obstruction to occur, there must be an underlying crime. Imo this is absurd in general, and in Trumps case in particular. For the former, "justice" includes the possibility of being innocent, and for the latter, the Mueller investigation had a wide mandate and included people other than Trump - many of whom were eventually found guilty . Ridiculous.
Barr didn't say that, though. He said it "bears upon" that question, but not that it was required. You could certainly conclude that it's absurd for him to rely on that as worth mentioning, under the circumstances, or you could speculate about why that particular piece of language was among the very very few things that Mueller said and that Barr quoted, but Barr didn't explicitly state that there must be an underlying crime. Just that that would make it more clear.

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This is a great post; thanks, and it's good to see you around the board!
Hey, thanks!
  #246  
Old 03-26-2019, 10:02 AM
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One wonders if Robert de Niro is going to reprise his role as Meuller on SNL. IIRC in is last appearance he was playing boogeyman in Eric Trump's closet.
  #247  
Old 03-26-2019, 10:18 AM
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Featuring McConnell tying a gag around his mouth.
  #248  
Old 03-26-2019, 11:03 AM
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So no one's really addressed this, but it seems like a logical question to me, even if it's entirely speculative until the full report is released:

Someone will be running against Trump next year. Forget the value of Mueller's findings with regard to indictable crimes. What about their value with regard to incontrovertibly painting him (and his team) as corrupt, self-dealing and entirely too casual about dealings with a foreign, hostile power?

I mean, the GOP can't on one hand champion the report as clearing Trump of wrongdoing, and then condemn it when Democrats pin its legitimate findings all over him.

If there are undecided voters unsure if all the accusations about Trump are "fake news" or a "witch hunt," shouldn't this report be all the evidence they need to see he really is that sleazy?
__________________
I'm not expecting any surprises.
  #249  
Old 03-26-2019, 12:35 PM
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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.
As it's said: Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann Hedonia View Post
There is a line from William Barr’s letter that reads “the Special Council did not find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in these efforts, despite multiple offers from Russian affiliated individuals”.

What I take from that is that members of the Trump campaign were in contact with Russian affiliated individuals during the campaign. They just couldn’t pull off any meaningful coordination. So, the public perception of unusual contacts between campaign members and Russians was absolutely correct. And they were not straightforward about those contacts and did not report them to law enforcement, as they should have. And it seems that some campaign members may have attempted to take credit for helping the Russians even though they didn’t.

In light of all that, conducting the investigation was absolutely the right thing to do. It would have been negligent not to. And, all in all, the investigation was pretty fruitful.


Even though it now appears that the Trump campaign’s actions regarding these contacts managed to stay on the side of lawful, that doesn’t mean that they were right. And I think that needs to be emphasized. I have the right to expect at least a little bit of integrity from the person holding the office of POTUS, and assuring me that all of their actions were “technically legal” doesn’t cut it.
[my bold]

People have pointed out that Barr's memo doesn't quote entire sentences from Mueller's report, only fragments.

Example: As the report states: “[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”

Parsing this sentence:

“the Special Council [sic] did not find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in these efforts, despite multiple offers from Russian affiliated individuals”.

It basically says:

1) No collusion with the Russian government.

2) There were collusion offers from Russian affiliated individuals.

3) It does not specifically say that there was no collusion with these Russian affiliated individuals, who I read as not being part of the Russian government.

Barr writes:

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

...

But as noted above, the Special Counsel did not find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in these efforts, despite multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign"
Russia vs Russian government vs Russian-affiliated individuals. Is there a distinction there?

The quoted Mueller sentence says the Russian government. Is Barr being disingenuous?

I mean, Manafort did give the internal polling data to a "Russian-affiliated individual", for one example.
  #250  
Old 03-26-2019, 01:07 PM
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Bit of a head-scratcher. "....multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign..." Who received those offers? Did they instantly phone the FBI to report this? If not, that isn't a crime? And if its not, why didn't they do it anyway?

I would very much like to know who got those offers, and what they did about it. I hear that there was somebody who got such an offer, and responded that if it was what he was told, he would "love it". Gosh, maybe that person was close to the President! Maybe.
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