This Shitstorm Is Just Getting Started

Lots of smart people are going through the Mueller Report as I keyboard. It may be a couple of days before we have a comprehensive picture, but much that is floating to the surface to far is pretty damn disturbing and makes AG Bill Barr out to be a damn liar.

The shameful “press conference” this morning amounted to a defense attorney’s summation. Barr was spinning to sway the jury to find his client not guilty. I listened to some of it this morning and wondered if someone in the White House — Steven Miller maybe — had a hand in writing it; it was obviously composed for Trump’s approval. In the remarks as delivered ( as opposed to the transcript as written for delivery) Barr seemed to repeat “no collusion, no collusion, no collusion” umpteen times. Odd, considering that “collusion” is not a legal term but is a word that Trump has latched on to and keeps repeating.

Barr’s bizarre statements will be all that Trump’s supporters need to hear to believe the controversy is over. But the report itself is much murkier. According to the report, there were a lot of contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian government officials. The campaign also was in touch with Wikileaks about their document dumps. Further, Trump and his campaign knew that Russia was taking steps to help the campaign. Why was this not conspiracy?

From what I can tell so far, the primary reason no criminal conspiracy (in some opinions) was committed is that Trump and his people had nothing to do with the hacking of the DNC and other servers. Coordinating with Wikileaks was not criminal, because Wikileaks committed no crime by publishing materials hacked by somebody else. In other words, Wikileaks acted as a buffer. There was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, but technically this collusion fell short of a crime. Seems lame.

Still, we keep running into things like this:

See also What Attorney General Barr buried, misrepresented or ignored in clearing Trump.

As far as obstruction is concerned — yeah, Trump is guilty as sin, even if he’s never indicted. Paul Waldman and Greg Sargent:

On Thursday morning, Barr tried to explain why he declined to bring obstruction-of-justice charges against Trump, even though special counsel Robert S. Mueller III did not exonerate him of it. Barr appealed to us to consider how victimized Trump felt, when considering the extensive efforts to derail the investigation detailed in the report, noting Trump “was frustrated and angered by his sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents and fueled by illegal leaks.”

So Trump sincerely believed he was justified in obstructing justice because of his feelings, and that makes it okay?

But the only reason Trump wasn’t more effective at obstructing justice is that many of his underlings wouldn’t carry out his orders. This is from the Mueller report:

Our investigation found multiple acts by the President that were capable of exerting undue influence over law enforcement investigations, including the Russian-interference and obstruction investigations. The incidents were often carried out through one-on-one meetings in which the President sought to use his official power outside of usual channels. These actions ranged from efforts to remove the Special Counsel and to reverse the effect of the Attorney General’s recusal; to the attempted use of official power to limit the scope of the investigation; to direct and indirect contacts with witnesses with the potential to influence their testimony. […]

The President’s efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests.

The reason I’m saying this shitstorm is just getting started is that the fight is going to shift into new and tricker territory. Democrats are going to continue to pursue Trump’s wrongdoing, while Trump supporters will insist the Dems are beating a dead horse and that the issues investigated by Mueller have been resolved. My sense of things is that this isn’t over by a long shot, and it’s all going to get even messier.

8 thoughts on “This Shitstorm Is Just Getting Started

  1. " Barr was spinning to sway the jury to find his client not guilty "

    Yes he is the white-washer, that is what he was hired to do from day one. I've never understood why many in the establishment media and on the Democratic side gave him the benefit of the doubt at first. He did the same thing for Bush during Iran-Contra, he's a white-washer. The entire republican establishment is a criminal enterprise and Trump sits at the top. The democrats can impeach and investigate all they want (they should continue to investigate) Trump is not going anywhere. If they didn't have FAUX news and the wing-nut blogs they couldn't away with this, public opinion would catch up, but now with bifurcated post truth political and media environment that seems impossible. As outrageous as all this seems is really worse than GW starting an illegal war and getting hundreds of thousands of innocent people killed? Yeah he stole an election which is bad but so has almost every republican president since and including Nixon. All we can really do is vote the crooked Bastard out in 2020!

  2. I heard something that puzzled me today in Barr's "pressor", he was asked if since Mueller is a Justice Department employee would he (Barr) allow Mueller to testify in front of congress. Barr replied "I don't have a problem with Mueller personally testifying. What does personally testifying mean? Is this some bizarre tactic to allow Mueller to testify but prevent him from discussing the investigation?

    • As I understand it Mueller is still considered an employee of the Justice Department at this point, while certain prosecutions are still ongoing. And as such, he's subordinate to Barr, and not free to divulge any information without Barr's consent or approval. So that might explain why Barr used the term "personally". It might be a long time before Mueller can speak without the constraints placed on him by department policy and Barr's whims.

  3. Glad to see your site is back on the air. Couldn't access it for a day or two (or more).

    I think Barr and the general wingnut reaction is already overshadowed by the damning content of the report. He's clearly a tool, trying to hide something that is impossible for him to hide. And how are the wingnuts going to spin "My Presidency is over. I'm f–d"?

    The only real issue is: what are the Dems going to do about it. EW has already come out for impeachment, but I suspect the majority is going to wait for Mueller's testimony before the various judicial committees. And so I don't expect a consensus for a few weeks.  For now, it's wait and see.

  4. There needs to be public hearings because most will not read it and need to see videotape of witnesses. 

    There needs to be 50 new bills introduced to regulate candidates campaigns and presidents. Since expecting ethical behavior will not work any longer.

    There needs to be a 2020 campaign that attacks the lack of ethics and governance of the trumplicans. The pundits say all we care about is healthcare. We care about alot more than that. I want everyone Republican attacked for not caring about Russian Turkish Saudi etc influence and for not overridinTrump's vetoes . Dems need to take the high ground and call them out for the toady lying trumpism so they have become. 

  5. In other words, Wikileaks acted as a buffer. There was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, but technically this collusion fell short of a crime. Seems lame.

    It also might be a crime, but one that's non-prosecutable. It's like, a mob boss gives orders through a lawyer. It's a crime for a lawyer to relay orders to engage in illegal activity, but because of attorney client privilege, it will never be prosecutable unless there's a confession, essentially.

    I think, in this case, if Assange said "of *course* Trump and Putin used me as their go-between" there would be a crime – but since he's not going to say that, there's no way to establish a crime, even though we might suspect there was one.

  6. As I read it, the redacted version documents Obstruction of Justice. There's all kinds of other crap we don't know – the counter-intelligence stuff, much of Trump's financials, etc. BFD – we have enough to proceed with impeachment. How frickin' long are Democrats in Congress gonna dick around?

    We can't win impeachment in the Senate – not if we caught Trump in bed with a dead girl and a live boy. That's where most Congressional Dems have cold feet. There's the fear that impeachment that fails in the Senate will work like Clinton's impeachment (which got Bill re-elected.)

    IMO. lyin about a BJ is contemptable, but not impeachable. Even if the GOP won't convict Trump, the trial is the opportunity to dramatically present the evidence of real crimes. I don't think the Clinton precedent will apply. But Dems in Congress are wetting their pants with the knowledge impeachment will fail in the Senate.

    I'm a little confrontational (they say) – if we aren't going to proceed with impeachment, I'd like to declare that Trump WILL stand trial after he loses election. This threat/promise will frighten Dems in Congress even more than  impeachment.

    Trump has promised to prosecute his adversaries even when there's no crime – the DOJ thus far has declined to do that, mostly because it's so illegal. Trump has committed crime(s) – and I predict our 'leadership' in Congress will conspire to give Trump a pass.  If you won't impeach – prosecute!

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