Meuller Lite

I woke up to headlines about how Robert Mueller was about to make some big, substantive statement. Then the next headlines were just about how he was closing the special counsel’s office and leaving the Justice Department. I thought he had already done those things, but whatever.

He actually said a little more, but not a lot more. He won’t comment further on Russian interference allegations because there are pending indictments. Once again, he said there was insufficient evidence to prove conspiracy. Then he said,

When a subject of an investigation obstructs that investigation, or lies to investigators, it strikes at the core of the government’s effort to find the truth and hold wrongdoers accountable.


And in a second volume, the report describes the results and analysis of our obstruction of justice investigation involving the president. The order appointing the special counsel authorized us to investigate actions that could obstruct the investigation. And we conducted that investigation and we kept the office of the acting attorney general apprised of the progress of our work. And as set forth in the report after that investigation, if we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so. We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime.

Again, not news.

The introduction to the volume two of our report explains that decision. It explains that under long-standing department policy a president cannot be charged with a federal crime while he is in office. That is unconstitutional.

Actually, a whole lot of constitutional scholars say otherwise. But let’s go on.

The department’s written opinion explaining the policy makes several important points that further informed our handling of the obstruction investigation. Those points are summarized in our report and I will describe two of them for you. First, the opinion explicitly permits the investigation of a sitting president, because it is important to preserve evidence while memories are fresh and documents available. Among other things, that evidence could be used if there were co-conspirators who could be charged now.


And second, the opinion says that the constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrong doing.

And that would be Congress, I believe.

Now I hope and expect this to be the only time that I will speak to you in this manner. I am making that decision myself. No one has told me whether I can or should testify or speak further about this matter. There has been discussion about an appearance before congress. Any testimony from this office would not go beyond our report. It contains our findings and analysis and the reasons for the decisions we made. We chose those words carefully and the work speaks for itself.

You’ve probably heard that the House Judiciary Committee has been asking Mueller to testify publicly, and he has said he would only testify privately. Mueller has also been saying he would not testify to anything beyond what is already in the report. Just now Chairman Jerrold Nadler said that Mueller has “clearly demonstrated that President Trump is lying about the Special Counsel’s findings.”

“Although Department of Justice policy prevented the Special Counsel from bringing criminal charges against the President, the Special Counsel has clearly demonstrated that President Trump is lying about the Special Counsel’s findings, lying about the testimony of key witnesses in the Special Counsel’s report, and is lying in saying that the Special Counsel found no obstruction and no collusion,” he [Nadler] said.

If I were Jerry Nadler, as soon as Mueller is no longer a Justice Department employee I would serve Mueller with a big, fat subpoena requiring him to appear publicly before the Judicial Committee to reaffirm that Trump was not exonerated of obstruction, and that Trump might still face indictments when he leaves office or impeachment even sooner.

Jerry Nadler, waiting for Bob Mueller to stop being such a bleeping hothouse violet and testify publicly, already.

23 thoughts on “Meuller Lite

  1. Mueller might need to be subpoenaed, but at this point, reading his parsing, I believe he's saying "I'll testify, but I won't be a circus elephant, okay?" 

    Tactically, I agree with him. If he says the word "peach" prefixed by "im", we'll hear nothing about what a horrible, partisan figure he is for weeks, and we won't hear about Trump's repeated violations of his oath of office. 

    Strategically, I also agree with him – private testimony means he gets to look GOP members in the eye and say "since we're not on camera, it's okay to say this. Given your background as (blah), I can't believe you'd sit there and tell me this is not obstruction of justice."

    • Strategically, I also agree with him – private testimony means he gets to look GOP members in the eye and say “since we’re not on camera, it’s okay to say this. Given your background as (blah), I can’t believe you’d sit there and tell me this is not obstruction of justice.”

      That’s fine, but these days if it isn’t shown on television, or at least on YouTube, it didn’t happen. We need something that happens.

      • I agree with you in part – but I think that what I'm trying to say is "Okay, but, I think someone other than Mueller should be the one in public." 

        See, there's two parts to this: popular support, and dereliction of duty. People who the GOP respect need to tell them "these are real crimes; this isn't a matter of scoring points with his, or your, base. Do you realize how insanely dangerous it is, to be in this circumstance, with an entire political party deliberately closing their eyes to this?"

        I could be wrong – but my view of the GOP is, they started their scorched earth campaign in '94. That's the GOPAC memo: whatever you do, describe Democrats and the Democrat (sic) Party as anti-family, anti-religion, socialistic, controlling, freedom-stealing, etc.. 

        Now, after 25 years of that, there are two categories of people:

        1) people who are still "in the game" and need to be jostled out of it. "Hold on – we're *campaigning* and there's a real danger to be concerned about!"

        2) true believers – Trump, and many of his fans, having been told that *all* solutions to *all* of their problems were *easy* and only those evil liberals were preventing those solutions. 

        Was it McCabe who said that he thought he was on the side of the "good guys"?  It scares me that someone so high ranking could actually be a true believer – but if you've been telling yourself Democrats are soft on crime, and on terror, you'll start to believe it, even if all you believe is "we're the only party that takes those things seriously." 

        I think if Mueller said something sharp to McCabe, he might start to realize the awful truth (though denial can be very powerful, especially for someone who thinks their side is the only one that's any good). Still: once people are forced to confront objective truths like this, that's when cracks could start to form. 

        I mean, seriously: think of how uniquely toxic this situation is. We know this is a super-dangerous situation, where the one country that has the capability of annihilating us has compromised the President. (I explained in another comment on another that he can't be trusted, and hence is compromised, in a real, literal, sense. If he was a source, his intel would be considered more questionable than before.)

        And we know – deep down, in our hearts, and we even see it in conventional wisdom, that the GOP just doesn't care, even though they have *no* control over what's happening. They will still let him meet with Putin, without note takers, still let him seize and destroy the translators' notes (which should be impeachable all by itself). They will obstruct any investigation that occurs, and flat out refuse to convict him in the Senate, no matter *what* the charges are. 

        Seriously: in a situation like this, we're not worried about a civil war; one is already happening. (Most civil wars aren't shooting wars, like the Civil War.)

        (Or, more politely, "The War Between The States That Believed in Freedom, and Those That Demanded Chattel Slavery". I was told the South preferred "The War Between The States…" but I've been told they don't seem to like it when I say it, which just proves they're being partisan and politically correct, I say.) 

        We talk about banana republics and bad imagery and so forth, but we're ignoring that the Trumpies are, quite literally, acting as if they *are* at war. The weaponizing of law enforcement in 2015/2016 could be seen as the first actual "shots fired" that would make this like an actual war. With the rest – the GOP blindly covering it up, and really not caring about potential collateral damage, I think we could call this a "cold (civil) war" at least. 

        Where was I? Right, cracks. This won't help with the true believers, but it would expose them. And at that point, the GOP might realize they're like nuclear energy: it can be used for good, or evil. AND, you don't want to get any on you (nod to a Dilbert punchline). The louder and angrier they get, the more nuts they'll seem. If we don't have enough Very Serious People explaining that those are Very Serious Concerns, because they're really starting to *look* nuts, now, it might break the back of the movement.

        It's key to the GOP strategy: let everyone but the candidates say the loud part quiet. A congresscritter can't buy a "rope, tree, journalist: some assembly required"[1], but never has to say anything about how it's *horrible* to think some of his (or, just possibly, her) supporters buy such things.  

        The more true believers are loud, and public, and looking bad (because some cracks are forming in the GOP wall), the better the chances for justice.

        1)"Quit saying it's horrible! See, it's a JOKE! It's like, you buy a piece of furniture, "some assembly required", and it's a nightmare." "Ah… so you wanted a *pre-murdered* journalist, and we're supposed to laugh because you'd have to perform the murder yourself. You know, I just decided – uh, REMEMBERED! – I have an important meeting to attend, let me back away slowly, no sudden moves….")

        • "I think someone other than Mueller should be the one in public." Then it won't count. It has to be Mueller. He represents the report.

          • You very well may be correct. Still, so you understand, my thoughts on other people were things like "have the the witnesses Mueller called come forward to repeat their testimony." Maybe it's not feasible; maybe it would turn into a too-long circus that would run out the clock. 

            If there *was* a way to present the findings of the report, in a sufficiently public fashion, while letting him merely provide a private interview/hearing, it might make a stronger public case, because as soon as he speaks publicly, the focus is on *him*, not Trump's crimes. If a parade of witnesses came forward, it wouldn't be just him.


            My concerns about "just him" are because we know that the right wing hate machine can smear anyone, because the machine doesn't require… well, *anything*, except a good hateful soundbite. (I think it helps if it's clearly false and mean-spirited – "owning the libs" donchaknow.) 


  2. Impeach the bag of shit…If they don't, he wins and America loses. Guaranteed!

    What more can Mueller do? He's put his report in Congress' face. It's either shit or get off the pot.

     Maybe to modify and paraphrase an old republican whose name escapes me at the moment…You go to impeachment with the report that you have, not the report you wish had.

  3. A Marine never leaves his buddies on the field of battle.

    Mueller was a Marine.

    Well, Sir, there are over 300,00,000 of us still on the battlefield.

    Don't abandon us!

    Finish your mission!

    Testify, but don't just reiterate your report. 

    Spill ALL of the details!

    And then, old soldier, you can fade away in retirement, knowing you gave it all you had!

  4. So as one of the commentators on NPR bluntly stated,  No Obstruction is a lie every time Trump says it.  He says it a lot.  I would contend every time he says it, the no obstruction claim is more obstruction and cover up.  

    Meuller sure sounds like a prime player in a game of hot potato.  And why not as the powers that be take aim at Comey.  Meuller did make a fair case that his appointment was legitimate and the evidence for it was not the work of nefarious forces fingered by Sarah Sanders ( Without evidence of course) on Sunday morning talk.  

    Credibility is so needed and so scarce.  How can anyone deal with the likes of the pack of prevaricators pillaging the public payrolls.  That 5 Ps is different than the one they taught me in the army.  Of course we expanded that to the 6 P principle in our company in short order.

  5. First, the opinion explicitly permits the investigation of a sitting president, because it is important to preserve evidence while memories are fresh and documents available. Among other things, that evidence could be used if there were co-conspirators who could be charged now.

    What's Mueller saying by the use of the term co-conspirators? Maybe not a direct conspiracy with Russia, but a conspiracy to cover up his wrong doing,his attempts to collude with Russia and his obstruction of justice. I might be reading more into it, but it appears to me that Mueller is signaling that nobody was acting independently of Trump's understanding of what was going on.

    • Among other things, that evidence could be used if there were co-conspirators who could be charged now.

      This is more Gobbledygook, the only way this sentence hurts Trump is if ended with:….who could be charged now and in the future. Trumpers can use the sentence as written as a talking point that no campaign folks were charged, so no evidence of a crime.

  6. Who are the co-conspirators? 

    And why does the constitution set up the "magic chair"? The safe space where a president is untouchable, unindictable and where the statute of limitations is allowed to run out. Would someone please hand trump a gun and send him out to 5th avenue? So we can test the magic chair theory.

    I want to see Mcghan and Deutsche bank and tax returns. 

    • It's a complicated situation; first, no one ever really thought of a President who would be *this* criminally minded. They still realy haven't.

      Seriously: people keep saying like "… and now the Russians might interfere in the 2020 elections!" and not like "and who knows what Trump is giving away to his buddy Putin, as payback for the assist, and downpayment on next time?"

      The basic idea is, the judicial branch of the government shouldn't be able to take control of the executive, and thereby large swaths of the executive branch. There are too many ways it could be used corruptly, many of which could damage the country.

      Further, the Constitution seems to try to put political issues in the realm of the legislative and executive branches, trying to keep the judiciary independent. Therefore, the legislative branch is the appropriate remedy for a political question, "has the President committed crimes that require action?"

      It is a legal opinion – it's a bit stronger than, like "well, *I* think…" because it's based on accepted legal principles, carefully researched, etc..

      The problem we're seeing with it is one that needs to be considered, but carefully. The opinion is undoubtedly based on the notion that "we don't want the President to be hassled for spitting on the sidewalk or forgetting to pay the nickel bottle deposit before leaving the store; and criminal cases can be extremely complicated, especially things like bribery – are steady campaign contributions, and a contract that might have been won fairly, evidence of a bribe? – so really, the whole question should be set aside because if there's anything *really* big, like a President kissing up to a dictator who is a dangerous adversary, Congress would act."

      Uh, yeah. You see my point, of course, but that's also the reason it has to be careful. What we're seeing is incredibly, horribly abnormal. In normal times, we'd have conventional wisdom that "the GOP-controlled Senate really hopes to avoid taking a controversial vote on the guilt of a Republican President, and is pressing hard against impeachment." If we had to codify Congressional prerogatives into law, we can just as easily go too far, forcing a political circus every time the President throws away a napkin with a possible doodle on it (Presidential Records Act, donchaknow – very, very important to the Rule Of Law when a Democratic President is in office).

  7. Mueller is an actor who refuses to speak any lines but his own. If the detail of 400 pages is too much, he cut the major points to nine and a half minutes of spoken testimony for those who can't read.

    "…if we had confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said that."

    "Charging the President with a crime was therefore not an option we could consider."

    "…the Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting President of wrongdoing."

    Justin Amash (of all people) nailed it. "The ball is in our court, Congress."

    That was what Mueller was saying. 'Do your bleeping job, Congress.' was the objective of Mueller's statement. Mueller is NOT going to write a book and go on tour like Comey. The dignity and gravitas of Mueller's statement is embodied in his reticence. If he says more, it counts less. No matter how many words anyone says, Amash got the point – Nancy has to throw down on Trump knowing the Senate will not do their duty!

    I am not a lawyer but in a military court, no officer could claim as a defense, "I did not do my duty because I knew others would not do theirs." 

    • Nancy has to throw down on Trump knowing the Senate will not do their duty!

      That's the way I feel. It's not a case of political expedience or calculation. It a case of having to do your duty. Pelosi has sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution. The remedy provided in the Constitution for high crimes and misdemeanors is the impeachment process. It is incumbent upon her to do what's required to do to address Trump's lawlessness.

       Impeach the bag of shit. And don't worry how it's gonna play out. Trust the American people!

      • I want to amend that Impeach the bag of shit comment above. I want to change it to Impeach the lying bag of shit. Thank you for your understanding!

        I'm starting to see the dynamic of the boy who cried wolf story. Trump's mantra of no collusion,no obstruction is being over played to the point where it's losing its effectiveness and working to his detriment.. It kinda forces any thinking person to contrast between what Mueller says and what Trump is saying. It's not like they are saying the same thing with just different wording, they couldn't be more opposite and considering the character and history of the two men who do you think reasonable and intelligent people are going to believe? Only one of them is a big lying bag of shit and only one of them has an exemplary record in public service and good character. Not a difficult choice to make if you've got a brain.

        • Absolutely, no obstruction is a lie.  The no obstruction claim is more obstruction.  It is his conclusion stated without evidence and without standards of discourse. I think good judgement calls that a cover up and actions unfit for a president.


    • I'm on your side but you’re sort of doing what Barr did. You’re taking parts of Mueller's statement, in fact partial sentences to show that Mueller thinks Trump is guilty and wants congress to act. The way I read his statement that was the overall theme but he hedged wherever possible laying the groundwork for Trumps and Barr's spin. If he wanted to he could put all of the speculation to an end with a definitive statement but he won't. He knows damn well that Trump worked with Russian's and obstructed the investigation but he’s not going to stick his neck out, he's a republican.

  8. " if we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so. We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime "

    Gobbledygook. Mueller like Barr is trying to have it both ways, one of the things they have in common is that both ways leave Trump untouched. Mueller wants to preserve his independence but won't contradict Barr. I'm sorry, the way Mueller has acted (failing to issue his own initial summary, sitting silently while Barr white-washed the report, Issuing is double negative summary farewell address yesterday, Balking at Nadler's request to testify to congress) he's not much different than the rest of Trump repugs. Mueller I'm afraid is just another Trump manservant, maybe one rung above Lindsey Graham.

  9. Trump's word has gone bad.  His latest renege on a tentative trade deal with Mexico put his words and promises in international bankruptcy.  World leaders directly state that their trust in him is so low that business news reports they contend he is not worth their time  negotiating with him.  The American voter needs to get to that point too, and quickly in high percentages.  In Trump we do not trust.  Convert your Trump promises to confederate dollars while they still have collectable value.  Oh, by the way, he cheats at golf too I hear.  Mueller say he repeatedly presented himself as an obstructer of justice.  He lies about that in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.  These are not secrets to the rest of the world.  It means honest countries will hesitate to deal with the U.S..  It means we head toward the status of a rogue or corrupt nation.  A nation that has broken bad.  A nation that cannot be trusted.  A nation who does not honor it's commitments. 

    I hope this is not true, that it only appears true because of Trump and his supporters and defenders in the Senate.  I hope the majority of the country has not broken bad. This credibility problem is a problem that demands a bipartisan immediate solution.  You can lose your reputation quickly, but any redemption takes years and years of sacrifice and hard work.  Trump is the poster child the natives of this country referred to as speakers with forked tongs.  His tong is about as forked as a tong can get.  If we as a country loose any more credibility in the world's eyes, we are all as forked as his tong. 

    • Convert your Trump promises to confederate dollars while they still have collectable value.

      smiley That's what's to be expected from a lying bag of shit.

  10. Its now down to this:

    "'If Congress opts to do nothing about those who obstructed or lied, they aid and abet that which “strikes at the core of the government’s effort to find the truth and hold wrongdoers accountable,' the special counsel said today. He is, in a way, linking his own ability to finish the job to Congress’ unwillingness to do its own."

    And the democratic House is aiding and abetting out of fear that doing their duty would hurt them politically, e.g. political gain.  Not a good look for a party that was voted in office, in large part, to hold Trump accountable.  And not good for a party that needs an excited base going into 2020.

    My fellow "Senate will not convict therefore do nothing!" liberal friends say hold investigations and such, but the democrats are really not doing much in that regard either, in terms of educating the public.  The one thing Amash showed is that when the facts are known, minds can be changed, and that there is more of a thirst for accountability than the democrats want to accept.  An impeachment inquiry will do just that — get the facts out.  As it stands now I don't believe the average voter really understands even at a surface level exactly what Trump has done that they need to be concerned about, and view all this as nothing more than the usual DC political battling.

    Pelosi has been in and around politics at this level for a long time, and I want to trust her instincts, but I believe the democrats will come to regret their dithering.  Or maybe they prefer to see Trump win and the GOP maintain control, where they're not responsible for actually leading on anything.



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