Does the Mueller probe boil down to a PR fight?

I know the Mueller probe has been discussed here ad nauseam, but this opinion piece gave me pause.

According to the article, in the court of public opinion, Trump has a distinct advantage, as 70% of Republicans believe the Mueller probe is a witch hunt, and 9 in 10 of Trump’s die-hard supporters believe him over any news source. Also, Trump has been fighting the PR war against Mueller’s probe from the beginning. Mueller, as is ethical (Remember ethics?), is staying silent while he focuses on the probe.

I’m not clear why the author believes Mueller doesn’t believe a sitting president can be indicted. Has Mueller said so? And if he believes a sitting president can’t be indicted, wouldn’t he try anyway and let the courts decide? Finally, if there is no indictment, could the Mueller probe ultimately help Trump win reelection by cementing the idea that he’s been the subject of a witch hunt?

Could we have another “Unindicted co-conspirator”?

I agree that Mueller won’t indict Trump, while he’s president. But it’s a lot more complicated than that.

  1. The Mueller probe is about Russian influence in the election, which is much, much broader than “collusion” by Trump or even by members of his campaign.

  2. Results of the probe could very well be used in an impeachment proceeding against Trump.

  3. Trump could suffer criminal prosecution after he leaves office.

  4. People close to Trump (like, related to him) could be indicted, found guilty and sent to jail.

  5. It’s possible that some states might have lawsuits against Trump, and others close to him.

This is more than a PR fight. Much, much more.

The DoJ and FBI are both part of the Executive Branch of the government.

Each branch of government, by default, assumes that the Constitution should be interpreted in its favor and will make all arguments to that effect and act in that understanding, right up to the point where the question actually makes its way to the Supreme Court and the justices decide otherwise.

The Executive branch has, long-since, made it public policy that the President is immune from prosecution while serving in office. While I don’t believe that this is written anywhere in the Constitution, I think it comes from a general understanding that a) the President can’t do his job if he’s constantly in court, and if people could simply take the President to court for everything he did that they didn’t like, then there wouldn’t be a day that a new case wasn’t filed, since his actions affects the whole country, and b) if the President can be convicted, then that’s giving the Judicial branch ultimate power over the President, which isn’t terribly kosher.

But so, Mueller is working as a subordinate in the Executive branch and so, regardless of whether this policy position would actually prove out if put to the test in the Supreme Court, he is still bound to uphold it.

That said, he can a) issue a sealed indictment that will trigger as soon as Trump leaves office, b) note him as an unindicted co-conspirator as part of issuing an indictment against someone else (e.g., Don Jr.), c) ask the Attorney General (in this case, Rosenstein) for an exemption from the current policy, on the basis of extreme circumstances, and/or d) issue a report to Rosenstein on “impeachable offenses”, which Rosenstein would likely share with Congress.

However, it’s incorrect to say that Mueller’s mandate is to investigate Trump. Regardless that the media and Trump have treated it that way, it’s not correct. As one person has noted, both Mueller and Comey were principally investigating Russian acts to influence the American election, and that investigation is what Trump is accused of acting to obstruct (which seems pretty curious if you think about it).

However however, that’s also not what Mueller is investigating. Here is the specific mandate that Rosenstein issued:

There is a further, secret, mandate that was issued along with this that further identified (we believe) four different individuals associated with the campaign, and specific criminal acts that they may have committed. On this document, everything other than Paul Manafort’s section (and possibly not all of that) has been redacted, so we don’t know who the other three individuals are. It would seem likely that Trump would not be one of them, given the aforementioned policy, but we do have some reason to believe that Mueller is investigating Trump’s obstruction of justice issue.

But, it should be noted, the only reason that we believe that Mueller is investigating Obstruction of Justice is because Trump’s lawyers leaked a document that was purported to contain the questions that Mueller had for Trump. It is conceivable (though, hopefully not likely) that this was wholly manufactured by Trump’s legal team in order to make it appear that Mueller wanted to meet with the President to ask about Obstruction of Justice, when in fact he might be asking Trump to tell him about Don Jr’s discussions related to the Russian lawyer, and whether Rick Gates had anything to do with Mariia Butina and the NRA. The fact that these latter questions were missing from the leaked list of questions make it likely that the document was at least edited down if not wholly fabricated.

Overall, there’s no short and easy explanation about Mueller’s mandate nor answer about what he is working on. But from an official standpoint, we can say that he was assigned to investigate specific individuals related to the campaign (likely including Trump’s children), but we do not know if that includes Trump. But he can investigate any person or crime that follows from those he encounters while pursuing his mandate, so that could stretch to include the President - except that Mueller will have to give Trump immunity by default until 2021.

And, it should be noted, it is quite interesting that Mueller has been indicting Russians as part of an investigation into the Trump campaign members. They should, by virtue of his mandate, not fall under his directive. That he ended up indicting them would imply that somehow the individuals in the campaign lead directly to those Russians.

Yes, it is something of a PR fight. Its a very important PR fight.

If you accept the notion that it is a PR fight then that mean the side using PR has won you over.

Trump’s primary weapon his whole life has been PR, so that is what he does. He is a PR vomit cannon.

The other side? The one doing actual investigation into legal wrongdoing? How much PR are they engaged in? How many people from that team do you see in front of a camera on a daily basis? ZERO. ZILCH. NADA.

So, yeah, it’s a PR fight in that one side is using PR and owning the media, and the other is not even playing that game.

It is a PR fight in the sense that Trump’s supporters are TOO GODDAMNED STUPID to accept any factual information that implicates their leader. Ultimately, I believe it will lead to a constitutional crisis because the Republicans will simply refuse to act on the information, no matter how damning it is.

No, to the contrary, they know he colluded; they just don’t think it’s a big deal. Their guy won, which is what matters. They also probably assume that all presidential elections are dirty and involve some level of cheating, and that foreign influence in campaigns is nothing new.

Yes, it’s a PR fight because Muller has NOTHING on Trump. Mueller and his team are going after Paul Manafort for what looks like not paying his taxes over a decade ago!After 2 years, that is what all of the noise is about.

Mueller and his partisan team might be trying to get Manafort to make something up in exchange for immunity.

Some might say oh, but Mueller iskeeping the damning information on Trump to himself for now? Really? Why the second he has something real he’d used it and more likely it would have been leaked by now. He’s got nothing but a bad poker bluff and is afraid to show his cards!

If the media were fair, they would inform their lower information viewers what’s going on. Instead, they keep saying Russia, Russia, Russiaas if a bogeyman is going to jump out with irrefutable poof any day from now. They can also point out these cyber attacks happened under Obama who told his cybersecurity chief to back down, and thanks to Hillary’s private server with lacked defense. They can also say not one vote was compromised!

The PR battle will shift Trump’s way the longer it takes for Mueller to show his hand, and when Mueller finally goes " all in " he’ll be exposed as a loser with nothing on Trump and 2+ years of what most fair-mindedvoters see as a witch hunt.

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Oh please. It’s Breitbart.

RT (Russia Today) maybe.

Can you, once and for all, firmly plant your goalposts somewhere in advance? Put a line down past which you will acknowledge that Trump should be removed from office. Massive money laundering? Witnesses and paper trail demonstrating clearly that Trump’s campaign, with Trump’s knowledge coordinated with Russia? Anything?

Let me condense my post down to something shorter and more clear:

Mueller is set to arrest a bunch of people around Trump. It’s neither a PR gig against nor an investigation of Trump himself. It’s an investigation into everyone, Don Jr., Kushner, Flynn, Manafort, Stone, etc. that Trump knows, is friendly with, or cares about. And, in a sense, that’s better.

No collusion of any kind including the Paul Manafort case.

No charge on Trump at all.

No evidence of any vote being compromised.

Now sir, tell me where you’re goal posts are please.

Goals posts have been planted for 2 years. Mueller has yet to score and let’s be real, with his power he could charge a ham sandwich.

As for Money, didn’t Saudia Arabia and Iran donate 20 million to Clinton and Bill himself pick up a $500,000.00 check from the Russians for a speech?

If ya want to talk about dirty money Clinton > Trump

So, you’re not willing to plant the goalposts in advance. I’m guessing because you know you’re going to have to move them. Here you go. Here is planting a goalpost. If the Mueller probe is allowed to complete and does not implicate Trump in any major crimes, then he should remain in office. There’s my goalpost. Are you willing to do the same, and if not, why not?

Removed formatting in quote, so as not to spam the thread.

Unless you have reason to believe that these are not coming, that’s not much of a statement. Earth also hasn’t fallen into the Sun. That doesn’t mean that it’s not inevitable.

I showed you the known facts and charges. They all say no collusion of any kind and no charge on Trump. Mueller and the FBI have been at this for two years. Furthermore, there is nothing that says a single vote was tampered with and illegally changed. That is where my goal posts are planted. This will not change.

You have nothing to the contrary to say Mueller has a charge of a collision, or any vote being tampered with.

Simply saying let’s keep going with nothing on the President is unfair and will soon become a witch hunt if it hasn’t already.

It’s not fair to have a 2+ investigation over any president that has produced no charge against him. Watergate had Nixon out in 2 years. Because there was stuff on him.

Or if you think it should play out to suit your politics, how about this?

Whomever the next Democratic President is, let’s investigate him or her on anything remotely questionable for a least two years, and go after anyone associated to the President. It doesn’t matter if there are no charges on the President for two years, let’s use your standard of seeing how it plays out, regardless of the time spent to be fair. Do you want that to be the new game?

Yes or No?

So, am I hearing you right? Mueller has not yet charged any wrongdoing, but if and when Mueller charges wrongdoing, you will acknowledge Trump should be removed from office.