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Westlake Legal Group > Robert Mueller (Page 16)

The Strange and Unexplained Coincidences in the Mueller Report Continue to Pile Up

Westlake Legal Group the-strange-and-unexplained-coincidences-in-the-mueller-report-continue-to-pile-up The Strange and Unexplained Coincidences in the Mueller Report Continue to Pile Up Special Counsel Roger Stone Robert Mueller Politics Mueller report michael caputo Henry Oknyansky Henry Greenberg Front Page Stories Florida Featured Story FBI donald trump democrats Allow Media Exception
Westlake Legal Group ap-mueller-laughing-620x422 The Strange and Unexplained Coincidences in the Mueller Report Continue to Pile Up Special Counsel Roger Stone Robert Mueller Politics Mueller report michael caputo Henry Oknyansky Henry Greenberg Front Page Stories Florida Featured Story FBI donald trump democrats Allow Media Exception

Outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller smiles as he speaks at the Justice Department in Washington, Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013, during his farewell ceremony. Mueller is stepping down in September after 12 years heading the agency. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

So far I’ve plowed through Volume I of the Mueller report and it is about as underwhelming as many of thought it would be. What is notable about the report is that it is not really an investigation of any substantial type. By that I mean it is a political polemic that is calculated to put President Trump and his campaign in the worst possible light while ignoring some rather sizable elephants in the room.

For instance, there is zero interest, at least that is reflected in the report, in the genesis of the Steele Dossier. A document that even the New York Times is now hypothesizing is a Russian disinformation product (see The New York Times Takes Another Look at the Steele Dossier and Reaches an Astonishing Conclusion and If This New York Times Reporter Suspected the Dossier Was a Fraud Why Is He Only Reporting on It Now). There is no mention that the Russian lawyer at the center of the Trump Tower meeting, Natalia Veselnitskaya, had been banned from the US but received a last minute waiver from the Obama State Department to attend the meeting (see REMINDER: Russian Lawyer Implicated In Trump Tower Meeting Granted Last-Minute U.S. Entry By Obama Administration) among other omissions (see Somehow Robert Mueller Manages to Omit Some Very Interesting Information From His Report on the Trump Tower Meeting). And no point was the use of fraudulent information to obtain FISA warrants on Carter Page looked at (If the Carter Page FISA Affidavits Were False Was the FBI Guilty of Perjury).

The other interesting thing which is ignored it FBI affiliation with Stefan Halper and Christopher Steele and the intelligence links of Joseph Mifsud (right now he’s laying low in a corporate apartment owned by Link University, an Italian university that is viewed by many as being an adjunct to the Italian security services). But there is one connection in particular where the omission fires off red star clusters and begs to be rescued. This is the case of a Russian-American named Henry Oknyansky or Henry Greenberg. This is how Mueller describes the incident

Westlake Legal Group henry-greenberg-oknyansky-620x411 The Strange and Unexplained Coincidences in the Mueller Report Continue to Pile Up Special Counsel Roger Stone Robert Mueller Politics Mueller report michael caputo Henry Oknyansky Henry Greenberg Front Page Stories Florida Featured Story FBI donald trump democrats Allow Media Exception

Long story short. Greenberg/Oknyansky tells someone who is a friend of Michael Caputo that he has information, presumably derogatory information, on Hillary Clinton. The dog that didn’t bark here is the fact that Greenberg/Oknyansky was an FBI informant:

A Russian man that offered to sell damaging information on Hillary Clinton to the campaign of then-candidate Donald Trump revealed in earlier court documents that he had been a long-time FBI informant.

The man, Henry Greenberg, offered to sell the unspecified information for $2 million in late May, 2016, but the Trump campaign associate refused.

Greenberg, who also used the name Oknyansky, filed two dozen documents with a federal court in 2015, showing an FBI agent repeatedly brokered his entry into the United States on a special visa for people assisting law enforcement.

“I cooperated with the FBI for 17 years, often put my life in danger,” he said in an Aug. 18, 2015, court declaration under oath.

The investigator collected extensive court records, media articles, and social media posts that showed Greenberg, 59, has an extensive criminal record of assault with a deadly weapon, theft, assault, DUI, and domestic violence in the United States, and at least two charges of theft in Russia, totalling $5 million.

In the 2015 court papers, Greenberg said he stopped working with the FBI in 2013 after his handler retired and the FBI Miami Field Office failed to deliver on a promise to get him an immigrant visa, and instead handed him over to Homeland Security for deportation.

However, he hasn’t been deported since.

Isn’t this the sort of thing that would at least rate a footnote? An FBI informant dangling bait in front of a member of the Trump campaign seems a bit coincidental. And if there is one thing this report is chock full of, it is unexplained coincidences.

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The post The Strange and Unexplained Coincidences in the Mueller Report Continue to Pile Up appeared first on RedState.

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Church is now fair game for reporters to target public figures

Westlake Legal Group church-is-now-fair-game-for-reporters-to-target-public-figures Church is now fair game for reporters to target public figures The Blog Robert Mueller reporters paparazzi Interviews Church

Westlake Legal Group c91a56ed-5c28-4cbb-96bb-72fc52e9f77e Church is now fair game for reporters to target public figures The Blog Robert Mueller reporters paparazzi Interviews Church

One nice thing about Easter is that it’s a day for prayer, quiet contemplation, gratitude and family. It’s good to have a break from the grind of politics and media outrage where everyone can decompress for a little while. Or at least that’s how it looks from the fantasy world I apparently live in. Back in real life, it was anything but. Robert Mueller found that out the hard way when he attempted to attend church services at St. John’s Episcopal church.

You might think that would be one of the places most free of poisonous politics to be found anywhere near the Beltway. You would be wrong. A reporter from MSNBC was waiting to ambush Mueller as soon as the services ended. (Washington Times)

Easter Sunday is no break from the D.C. paparazzi.

MSNBC reporter Mike Viqueira tried to ambush special counsel Robert Mueller as he left Sunday services at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington, asking whether he would testify before Congress.

“No comment,” Mr. Mueller said.

“Are you sure about that, sir?” Mr. Viqueira persisted.

An expressionless Mr. Mueller replied: “No comment.”

Our friend Mickey White joined in on calling some of the current crop of MSNBC reporters paparazzi at this point, prompting National Review’s Jim Geraghty to point out the flaw in this reporter’s strategy.

I’m old enough to remember when Democrats were telling activists to seek out their political enemies in public places like restaurants and not allow them space to live their private lives. But did that apply to the media? And even if it did, isn’t there some sort of line remaining between a restaurant and a church on Easter Sunday?

Apparently not. I’m neither a Mueller cheerleader nor attack dog. Honestly, I’d say the same thing if MSNBC had done this to Elizabeth Warren. (At least in some fictional universe where MSNBC reporters would actually do anything to upset a Democrat.) The guy was coming out of the church. On Easter. Do you really think he was in the mood to do a walk and talk interview right then? Also, he has an office you could have contacted.

Mike Viqueira apparently feels no remorse over the incident. He freely admitted that “yes, we did surprise director Mueller upon his exiting of the church.” He justified the ambush by saying that this was “the first time we have heard from Bob Mueller in quite some time.” I see. And now you’ve heard from him. You heard him say “no comment” twice. I’m sure your viewers feel incredibly well informed after that scoop.

Mueller was technically out in public at that point, so I highly doubt there were any laws broken. But don’t all of the networks – even MSNBC – have set standards in place for how their journalists go about doing their jobs? If one of Mueller’s grandchildren was about to become a parent, would the network condone Viqueira rushing into the delivery room with a cameraman and a microphone to shout out a few questions? This all just seems beyond the pale. The problem isn’t that so many of our traditional rules have gone out the window. It’s that we’re not even bothering to replace them with new rules.

The post Church is now fair game for reporters to target public figures appeared first on Hot Air.

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Somehow Robert Mueller Manages to Omit Some Very Interesting Information From His Report on the Trump Tower Meeting

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Westlake Legal Group 7539776260_ce3355c85f_h-620x413 Somehow Robert Mueller Manages to Omit Some Very Interesting Information From His Report on the Trump Tower Meeting trump tower Special Counsel Robert Mueller Rinat Akhmetshin Politics Natalia Veselnitskaya Mueller report Glenn Simpson Fusion GPS Front Page Stories Featured Story donald trump jr donald trump democrats Allow Media Exception

As I posted on Thursday, one of the things the Mueller report did was effectively debunk the entire story of the June 9, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between several members of President Trump’s inner circle and a Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin. This is the summary from the Mueller report:

On June 9, 2016, senior representatives of the Trump Campaign met in Trump Tower with a Russian attorney expecting to receive derogatory information about Hillary Clinton from the Russian government. The meeting was proposed to Donald Trump Jr. in an email from Robert Goldstone, at the request of his then?client Emin Agalarov, the son of Russian real-estate developer Aras Agalarov. Goldstone relayed to Trump Jr. that the “Crown prosecutor of Russia . . . offered to provide the Trump Campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia” as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” Trump Jr. immediately responded that “if it’s what you say I love it,” and arranged the meeting through a series of emails and telephone calls.

Trump Jr. invited campaign chairman Paul Manafort and senior adviser Jared Kushner to attend the meeting, and both attended. Members of the Campaign discussed the meeting before it occurred, and Michael Cohen recalled that Trump Jr. may have told candidate Trump about an upcoming meeting to receive adverse information about Clinton, without linking the meeting to Russia. According to written answers submitted by President Trump, he has no recollection of learning of the meeting at the time, and the Office found no documentary evidence showing that he was made aware of the meeting?or its Russian connection?before it occurred.

The Russian attorney who spoke at the meeting, Natalia Veselnitskaya, had previously worked for the Russian government and maintained a relationship with that government throughout this period of time. She claimed that funds derived from illegal activities in Russia were provided to Hillary Clinton and other Democrats. Trump Jr. requested evidence to support those claims, but Veselnitskaya did not provide such information. She and her associates then turned to a critique of the origins of the Magnitsky Act, a 2012 statute that imposed financial and travel sanctions on Russian officials and that resulted in a retaliatory ban on adoptions of Russian children. Trump Jr. suggested that the issue could be revisited when and if candidate Trump was elected. After the election, Veselnitskaya made additional efforts to follow up on the meeting, but the Trump Transition Team did not engage.

The worst that Mueller could come up with about this meeting was that had Veselnitskaya produced the information there was a tenuous campaign finance violation if the information were not declared as an in-kind gift to the campaign (see page 185 of Volume I of Mueller’s report).

For all of that, the 800-lb gorilla in the room is what Mueller doesn’t report.

1. He doesn’t report that Natalia Veselnitskaya was a stringer for Fusion GPS in its efforts to have Magnitsky Act sanctions lifted on Oleg Deripaska.
2. He doesn’t report that Rinat Akhmetshin held a similar relationship with Fusion GPS. See SHOCKER. You Won’t Believe Who Employed The “Former Soviet Counterintelligence Official” In Trump Meeting.
3. He doesn’t report that Veselnitskaya was banned from entering the United States during the time of the meeting but for some reason the Obama State Department gave her a waiver. See Senator Charles Grassley Has A Huge Question About Donald Trump Jr.’S Meet-Up With The Russian Lawyer [UPDATED] (VIDEO).
4. He doesn’t mention that Veselnitskaya met with Fusion GPS honcho Glenn Simpson before and after the Trump Tower meeting. See And Who Exactly Did That Kremlin Lawyer Meet With Before And After The Famous Trump Tower Meeting?
5. Mueller does a lot of hand-waving about Veselnistkaya working on behalf of a Russian businessman named Peter Katsyv and Prevezon Holdings and ignores her lobbying on behalf of Oleg Deripaska, a Fusion GPS client and an FBI asset during the time Mueller was FBI director. See There Might Be A Very Good Reason Why Mueller Is Not Indicting Paul Manafort’s Russian Business Partner.

This omission of seemingly relevant background details in not unique. There are other instances in the report where connections between persons who are insinuated to be working in behalf of the Russian government also had links to the FBI.

The paint a picture of an investigation that is more intent upon reinforcing the

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The post Somehow Robert Mueller Manages to Omit Some Very Interesting Information From His Report on the Trump Tower Meeting appeared first on RedState.

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President Trump: Mueller Report Contains Some Statements That Are ‘Total Bulls**t, Fabricated’

The mainstream media is criticizing a pair of tweets President Trump sent out this morning.

In the first tweet, he writes “Watch out for people that take so-called “notes,” when the notes never existed until needed.” Trump is referring to former White House counsel Don McGahn. He was in the habit of taking notes during meetings with Trump, who found the practice annoying.

The Mueller Report quotes Trump as saying to McGahn, “Why do you take notes? Lawyers don’t take notes. I never had a lawyer who took notes.”

The friction actually started between Trump and McGahn in June 2017 when, according to the report, Trump directed him to “inform the Acting Attorney General that Mueller should be removed as special counsel. McGahn threatened to resign and Trump backed down. Trump later ordered McGahn to deny that he had tried to fire Mueller. McGahn refused.” Trump accepted that.

Can anyone really blame President Trump for wanting to fire Mueller? He knew he had not colluded with Russia and that this was a bogus investigation which was hurting both his presidency and the country. Mueller had also interviewed with and been rejected by Trump for his old job as FBI Director the day before he was appointed to the special counsel. As a Washington insider, he never should have been considered for the special counsel. He was as conflicted a candidate as he could possibly be.

This incident is listed in the report and in every media outlet’s list of the top takeaways from the report as an area of potential obstruction of justice.

What is even more interesting is what was excluded from the report. The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberly Strassel wrote an excellent analysis on the entire report which can be read here.

Strassel writes:

Note as well what isn’t in the report. It makes only passing, bland references to the genesis of so many of the accusations Mr. Mueller probed: the infamous dossier produced by opposition-research firm Fusion GPS and paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign. How do you exonerate Mr. Page without delving into the scandalous Moscow deeds of which he was falsely accused? How do you narrate an entire section on the July 2016 Trump Tower meeting without noting that Ms. Veselnitskaya was working alongside Fusion? How do you detail every aspect of the Papadopoulos accusations while avoiding any detail of the curious and suspect ways that those accusations came back to the FBI via Australia’s Alexander Downer?

The report instead mostly reads as a lengthy defense of the FBI—of its shaky claims about how its investigation began, of its far-fetched theories, of its procedures, even of its leadership. One of the more telling sections concerns Mr. Comey’s firing. Mr. Mueller’s team finds it generally beyond the realm of possibility that the FBI director was canned for incompetence or insubordination. It treats everything the FBI or Mr. Comey did as legitimate, even as it treats everything the president did as suspect.

In the end, it was a political document written by a team of two dozen highly partisan Democrats. It was never going to be an objective report.

As Mueller intended, it has unleashed a new round of investigations.

But, this time, Trump has some weapons.

 

The post President Trump: Mueller Report Contains Some Statements That Are ‘Total Bulls**t, Fabricated’ appeared first on RedState.

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Mark Levin: ‘The Second Half of the Mueller Report Was Written For Jerry Nadler, Nancy Pelosi, CNN and MSNBC’

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Westlake Legal Group AP_1103300118908-620x410 Mark Levin: ‘The Second Half of the Mueller Report Was Written For Jerry Nadler, Nancy Pelosi, CNN and MSNBC’ william barr washington D.C. Special Counsel Robert Mueller President Trump Politics Philip Bump Nicole Wallace Mueller Investigation Mark Levin Jeff Sessions James Clapper Impeachment of President Trump Front Page Stories FBI and DOJ Corruption elections donald trump democrats Congress collusion Campaigns Anderson Cooper Allow Media Exception Abuse of Power

 

The Mueller Report was deliberately designed to provide a plausible rationale for the left to continue their persecution of President Trump.

The authors of the report, knowing they did not have a case against him, deliberately and painstakingly left a clear path for the House Democrats and the mainstream media to perpetuate the charade which has mired the Trump administration since day one. Their carefully chosen language and well thought out choices on what to include and what to leave out offered salvation to the left. Thanks to the Mueller team’s determination to leave the impression that Trump really did obstruct justice, the left doubled down yesterday in their vilification of the President.

Bullseye, Mr. Mueller.

It was amazing to watch the reaction from Democratic politicians and pundits following the release of the report.

Former Director of National Intelligence, serial liar and leaker James Clapper told CNN’s Anderson Cooper:

I think, if there wasn’t active collusion proven, then I think what we have here is a case of passive collusion, where, in some cases, unwittingly — to include candidate Trump himself, who retweeted messages that had been planted by the Russians in social media, and so, that’s a small, but important example of how members of the campaign were used and manipulated by the Russians.

Later, Clapper spoke to CNN’s Chris Cuomo. “I think the Attorney General is clearly trying to paint as favorable a light on the Mueller report as possible and when you read it, it’s pretty devastating.”

When Cuomo asked him “what would be a righteous move by Congress” Clapper replied, “It really is a conundrum as others have commented earlier, particularly for the Democrats, the Democrats in the House, whether to pursue this in terms of impeachment. Clearly, at least my read of the Mueller report is that there is a road map laid out there if the Congress chooses to follow it.”

So, here we are. Mueller handed the House Dems what they are calling a “road map for impeachment.”

MSNBC’s Nicole Wallace said of Attorney General William Barr, “He becomes the first cabinet secretary to plunge into the deep end of Trump’s conspiracy pool.”

CNN’s chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto said, the Mueller report “debunked all of Trump’s unfair attacks on the media.”

The Washington Post’s Philip Bump tweeted, “This report makes clear that the vast amount of reporting by mainstream outlets about Trump and Russia was correct.”

Do they actually believe this rubbish?

Other pundits took Trump’s remarks to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions upon learning that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had appointed a special counsel, to be further evidence of his guilt. According to the Mueller Report, Trump said, “Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I’m f**ked. Everyone tells me if you get one of these independent counsels, it ruins your presidency. It takes years and years and I won’t be able to do anything. This is the worst thing that ever happened to me.”

He was right to be upset. The appointment of the special counsel did tremendous damage to his presidency. It undermined his legitimacy and impacted his ability to govern. It immediately “sabotaged” his presidency and ended “critical momentum from his victory.”

But it certainly did not establish guilt.

Fox News contributor Mark Levin spoke to Sean Hannity last night and, in his inimitable way, he powerfully laid out the truth about the obstruction portion of the Mueller Report. The segment begins at 37:30 in the video below.

The second part is really a political report. It’s an impeachment report. What happened here is Bill Barr rightly testified during his confirmation, he said “Look, I’m going to release as much of this report as I can.”

And the Democrats take over the House before that and Mueller and his people say “Okay. Perfect. We don’t have enough on obstruction. If we had enough on obstruction, we’d bring obstruction. We’re a bunch of rabid Democrats dressed up as prosecutors.”

Look how they treated Manafort at his home, look how they treated Stone and suddenly, they’re gonna be forbearing. No, they’re not going to be forbearing.

I want to read you something. It’s been read all day on the airwaves. “Ultimately why we believed we had the authority and the legal jurisdiction to issue a grand jury subpoena to obtain the President’s testimony, we chose not to do so.” You didn’t choose not to do so. You would have had your asses kicked from one court to the other. You had no criminal predicate for a subpoena – none.

And they basically confess. They say, “Hey look, we decided near the end of our investigation – a couple of years of litigation over this – it’s not worth it. We basically had everything we needed.” You basically had everything you needed? Yet you had wanted to get the President under oath in front of a grand jury to trick him the way you tricked General Flynn and others. You wanted to take out the President of the United States who had enough smarts to say, “No, un uh, I’m not playing that game.”

Here’s my question Sean Hannity. When did Mr. Mueller know there was no collusion? Now, all of us knew from right out of the gate. He didn’t write this in three weeks. (Levin holds up report.) This is 200 pages. No collusion. For Jake Tapper, no collusion, no collusion, no collusion. Okay, when did you know that? Well, he had to know it some people think maybe 18 months ago, maybe 15 months ago. You had an obligation to go to the microphone to tell the American people that your President did not collude, that his campaign did not collude, that his White House did not collude.

And Mueller did not do it. Why? Because they wanted to get the President on a phony obstruction charge. Look at this, the second half of the report, it’s all politics. It’s all about impeachment. It’s written for Jerry Nadler, it’s written for Nancy Pelosi, it’s written for CNN and MSNBC. It reads like some junior editorial writer at the New York Times put this together. There’s barely any legal stuff in here and you can hear them say it now, “Well, we have to move beyond the law, it’s a political decision.” Oh, so now you confess that it’s a political decision.

Mr. President? Where’s that rebuttal? Where are the documents?  The situation is critical.

The post Mark Levin: ‘The Second Half of the Mueller Report Was Written For Jerry Nadler, Nancy Pelosi, CNN and MSNBC’ appeared first on RedState.

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Nadler on impeachment: “We’re not there yet”

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The unspoken addendum: They’re never going to be there. As expected, House Judiciary chair Jerrold Nadler announced this morning that he will issue subpoenas to get the fully unredacted report from Robert Mueller this morning, as well as to Mueller and William Barr. Nadler tells ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that “it’s not up to me” to conclude whether Donald Trump obstructed justice, an answer which momentarily throws Stephanopoulos:

Nadler seems rather confused in this interview. He claims that the Mueller report shows that the Trump campaign was “collaborating with a foreign power,” when in fact the Mueller report specifically found no evidence at all of that charge. Page 181 of the Mueller report:

For that reason, this Office’s focus in resolving the question of joint criminal liability was on conspiracy as defined in federal law, not the commonly discussed term “collusion.” The Office considered in particular whether contacts between Trump Campaign officials and Russia-linked individuals could trigger liability for the crime of conspiracy-either under statutes that have their own conspiracy language (e.g. , 18 U.S.C. §§ 1349, 195l(a)), or under the general conspiracy statute (18 U.S.C. § 371). The investigation did not establish that the contacts described in Volume I, Section IV, supra, amounted to an agreement to commit any substantive violation of federal criminal law- including foreign-influence and campaign-finance laws, both of which are discussed further below. The Office therefore did not charge any individual associated with the Trump Campaign with conspiracy to commit a federal offense arising from Russia contacts, either under a specific statute or under Section 371 ‘s offenses clause.

The word “collaborate” appears a grand total of one time in the entire (redacted) report, and it has nothing to do with the campaign. It references an effort during the transition to open a dialogue with Russia, one which involved a friend of Jared Kushner:

Kirill Dmitriev, the chief executive officer of Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, was among the Russians who tried to make contact with the incoming administration. In early December, a business associate steered Dmitriev to Erik Prince, a supporter of the Trump Campaign and an associate of senior Trump advisor Steve Bannon. Dmitriev and Prince later met face-to-face in January 2017 in the Seychelles and discussed U.S.-Russia relations. During the same period, another business associate introduced Dmitriev to a friend of Jared Kushner who had not served on the Campaign or the Transition Team. Dmitriev and Kushner’s friend collaborated on a short written reconciliation plan for the United States and Russia, which Dmitriev implied had been cleared through Putin. The friend gave that proposal to Kushner before the inauguration, and Kushner later gave copies to Bannon and incoming Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

No one was charged with a crime for this either, and no one connected to the campaign or the transition was involved in the “collaboration.” There is no evidence of any “collaboration” with Russia, and indeed the conclusions in Volume I of the Mueller report make that very clear. Nadler’s flogging a dead horse on collusion, one that won’t take him any closer to impeachment than the nag has managed to get to this point.

The subpoenas aren’t much better in the lively-equine department, but they do hold some promise of short-term notoriety. Nadler now has access to everything in the report except grand-jury testimony, which courts have protected except when grand juries write their own reports (such as in US v Nixon). Mueller’s grand jury didn’t write reports, which means that Nixon won’t apply in this case. Nadler’s likely to find himself out of luck on that and on the evidentiary demands as they relate to grand-jury testimony. He might do better on some other evidentiary demands, though, and Nadler might have some luck in creating mischief for the White House with that.

None of that will get Nadler any closer to impeachment, though, and he knows it. That’s why he’s still flogging collusion even though Mueller clearly says he didn’t find any evidence to suggest it. Democrats sold impeachment on the basis that Trump rigged the election with the Russians. Now that the collusion narrative has collapsed, they don’t have enough support to push through impeachment — even though Nadler would dearly love to try.

Mueller’s testimony will be interesting to watch, though. Nadler knows from the tone of the report, especially in Volume II, that Mueller can emphasize many episodes in which Trump comes off looking bad. Those hearings will be the last big risk for the White House before voters tune out the Russiagate pseudo-scandal once and for all — if they haven’t already.

Addendum: The subpoenas have gone out now, according to multiple news reports.

The post Nadler on impeachment: “We’re not there yet” appeared first on Hot Air.

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Hoyer: Let’s face it, impeachment is “not worthwhile” after Mueller report

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Very true — and very inflammatory, at least with the Democratic activist base. After Robert Mueller’s special counsel report made it very clear that the Russia-collusion hypothesis about the 2016 election had no basis in fact, #2 House Democrat Steny Hoyer told CNN it’s time to look to 2020 instead of impeachment. Trying to eject Donald Trump “is not worthwhile at this point,” Hoyer told Dana Bash:

Bash added this significant context to Hoyer’s remarks, emphasis mine:

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Democrat from Maryland, told CNN there is nothing he has seen so far in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report that would change the House leadership strategy to avoid impeachment proceedings.

Remember that House Democratic leadership had tried steering away from impeachment almost since the start of the congressional session. Pelosi discounted the idea almost immediately after taking back the gavel so often that The Hill noted “plenty of signalsin February of Pelosi’s opposition to the idea. A couple of weeks after that, Pelosi used almost exactly the same language as Hoyer did today, five weeks ago, again emphasis mine:

Post: There have been increasing calls, including from some of your members, for impeachment of the president.

Pelosi: I’m not for impeachment. This is news. I’m going to give you some news right now because I haven’t said this to any press person before. But since you asked, and I’ve been thinking about this: Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country. And he’s just not worth it.

Following that, other members of her caucus publicly supported that position, including — surprisingly — Adam Schiff. That was mainly on the basis that the Senate wouldn’t remove Trump so it made no sense to push impeachment rather than any principled stand about negating an election. Hoyer pointedly noted that the impeach-at-any-cost caucus was surpassingly small, and by the end of last month Democrats were trying to pretend that they’d never backed impeachment in the first place.

So one might think that reinforcing last month’s strategy message would be a no-brainer on the day that Robert Mueller’s report emphasized that no collusion took place and refused to make a stand on obstruction. Speaking of no-brainers, however …

Nadler was never quite on board with the no-impeachment strategy, of course. At the same time that House Democratic leadership was pulling its Orwellian “who us?” act, Nadler was reminding everyone that impeachment covered a “broader picture” than just crimes. Even here, though, Nadler’s just paying lip service to impeachment, telling reporter it is “one possibility, there are others.”

Unfortunately for Democrats, their own hyperbole undermined any real momentum toward impeachment among voters, almost certainly fatally so. Having promised collusion would be proven, the Mueller report is a massive letdown. Without collusion, the 2016 is legitimate, and if the 2016 election was legitimate, then there’s no reason to remove Trump, especially 18 months before an election.

Even before Mueller’s report went public, Democrats were behind the public-opinion curve, Philip Klein noted earlier today. Now that it’s out, they can’t possibly move opinion in favor of an overwhelming consensus for impeachment:

Impeaching Trump, whether or not it’s favored by the Democratic base, is not particularly popular with the general public. A CNN poll taken last month found support for impeachment was down to 36%. The ideal scenario for Democrats was that Mueller found some shocking bombshell that was unequivocal about Trump engaging in crimes. In that case, it would be easier to move public opinion, and they’d be able to rally their party around impeachment while forcing Republicans to choose between loyalty to Trump and disregarding the will of the voters. Now, that isn’t the case at all.

Knowing this, Democrats now are much more likely to try keep up the specter of investigation as long as possible rather than go for impeachment. This was already signaled in Democrats’ early reaction to the Mueller report and their focus on the redactions rather than arguing out of the gate that it makes a strong case for impeachment, which no doubt would have been the immediate message had the report been more obviously damning. …

So, right now, it appears that Democrats are going to use every opportunity, through testimony, hearings, document requests, and follow up requests, to keep alive the story without going through the process of impeachment.

Even that strategy has an exhaustion point. Voters had begun tiring of the investigation when the relatively trusty and non-partisan Robert Mueller was running it. Once Nadler, Schiff, and others (Elijah Cummings) start becoming the face of it, it will transform very quickly into nothing more than yet another partisan scab-picking exercise of the kind that most voters outside of activist bases intensely dislike. That might end up poisoning the presidential-primary well; it will certainly play into Trump’s complaints about “the swamp” and “witch hunts.”

Democrats and the media will keep the story alive for a few more weeks. After that, if they’re smart, they’ll let the start of the 2020 primary debates eclipse Russiagate for good.

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Mueller’s Handling of the Obstruction Question Was Total Garbage

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When AG Bill Barr first released his summary of the Mueller report some weeks ago there was one part that set hair ablaze all throughout the media. Namely, that Robert Mueller decided to not rule on the most important question before him, i.e. if Donald Trump obstructed justice with his criticism of the Russia investigation. Furthermore, Mueller proclaimed that he had not exonerated the President despite the fact that he was not recommending charges.

As I wrote at the time, this was a total cop-out and not his job as a prosecutor.

It was a total, damaging cop-out for him to include that line instead of just making the call in a normal prosecutorial fashion. That doesn’t mean he needed to say Trump was innocent because that’s not his job, but the proper response would have been to say that he lacks evidence of obstruction and he cannot recommend further action. By ambiguously claiming that he simply can’t make the call, instead leaving it to the DOJ, he’s set us up for another 18 months of mind-numbing stupidity that will end the same way the collusion narrative ended.

Today, Andrew C. McCarthy, far more versed on this topic than myself, opined on just how bad it was for Mueller to do what he did.

In his report, Mueller didn’t resolve the issue. If he had been satisfied that there was no obstruction crime, he said, he would have so found. He claimed he wasn’t satisfied. Yet he was also not convinced that there was sufficient proof to charge. Therefore, he made no decision, leaving it to Attorney General William Barr to find that there was no obstruction.

This is unbecoming behavior for a prosecutor and an outrageous shifting of the burden of proof: The constitutional right of every American to force the government to prove a crime has been committed, rather than to have to prove his or her own innocence.

As I said earlier today, this is why the DOJ has guidelines on not releasing findings under normal circumstances if no one is charged. It is not a fair use of our legal system to slander people who ultimately weren’t found to have committed a criminal act. Gut feelings don’t count. Robert Mueller had two choices in so far as doing his job in a professional way. Either present evidence of obstruction of justice and recommend charges or shut up about it. There should have been no choice number three where he lays out a bunch of insinuations and interpretations, while choosing to not actually do his job and rule on the evidence. That’s not what a prosecutor does.

McCarthy lays the case out for that as well.

This is exactly why prosecutors should never speak publicly about the evidence uncovered in an investigation of someone who isn’t charged. The obligation of the prosecutor is to render a judgment about whether there is enough proof to charge a crime. If there is, the prosecutor indicts; if there is not, the prosecutor remains silent.

If special counsel Mueller believed there was an obstruction offense, he should have had the courage of his convictions and recommended charging the president. Since he wasn’t convinced there was enough evidence to charge, he should have said he wasn’t recommending charges. Period.

Exactly.

Mueller clearly felt the President possibly did something wrong and did everything he could to steer public opinion in that direction with how he wrote the report, but when it came time to take the shot, he couldn’t pull the trigger. Why? Because he knows his “evidence” would have never stood up in a court of law. Mean tweets coupled with full cooperation does not equal obstruction. Firing Comey while allowing the investigation to not only continue, but expand, is clearly not obstruction. Did Trump do some things that could be described as borderline or not recommended? Perhaps, but borderline isn’t a legal standard. A prosecutor either makes a decision to charge or he doesn’t.

By punting on the issue, Mueller deprived Trump of the legal right to defend himself and instead let the issue become purely political. The justice system is not supposed to be used as a tool for innuendo, much less to feed media hysteria for years on end. It strains reason to think Mueller just didn’t realize that would happen.

This is why I’m not on the bandwagon of praising Robert Mueller just because he didn’t frame Trump. That’s a pretty low bar to meet. On the most important question in the entire report (because we’ve known for years the collusion narrative was false), he abdicated his responsibility and ensured the country would spend another two years paralyzed by this nonsense. He had the power and a duty to settle the issue by doing his job and making a decision, which was the only reason for his appointment in the first place. If he wasn’t willing to do that, he should have resigned long ago.

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Swalwell: Barr has to resign after Mueller report and today’s presser

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One might be tempted to say that Rep. Eric Swalwell went nuclear on Attorney General William Barr today, but he usually reserves that for gun owners. Appearing on MSNBC after the release of the Robert Mueller report, the Democratic presidential hopeful told Nicolle Wallace that Mueller proved that Donald Trump was a “double digit obstructor.” However, Swalwell’s main target was Barr for his press conference this morning, demanding the AG’s resignation.

“You can be the attorney general of the United States and represent all of us, or you can represent Donald Trump,” Swalwell told Wallace. “You can’t do both.”

“Second, Nicolle, the investigation lays out that the Trump team, the president himself, lied and obstructed in ways that impaired in a material fashion the investigation,” Swalwell continued. “So just because you may bury the evidence deep enough that we can’t find everything you did, we have recourse in the United States, which is obstruction of justice.”

“And this president is a double-digit obstructor, according to the Mueller report, in the number of ways he sought to obstruct justice,” he added.

“Which leads me, Nicolle, to Attorney General Barr,” Swalwell said. “You can be the attorney general of the United States and represent all of us, or you can represent Donald Trump. You can’t do both. And because Attorney General Barr wants to represent Donald Trump, I think he should resign.”

“You’re calling for the attorney general’s resignation today after what you saw?” Wallace asked.

“Yes, he’s lost the credibility of the American people, he is not recused from an investigation where he should be refused, he’s embedded deeply into the Trump team, and that affects the credibility that the attorney general must have,” Swalwell replied.

Take Swalwell’s call for reality checks with more than a few grains of salt. Less than a month ago, Swalwell was still claiming that Trump was a “Russian agent,” a conclusion that Mueller debunked in his report and which was mainly a fringe conspiracy theory all along anyway. Just the fact that he’s campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination in this cycle suggests that Swalwell has a reality problem himself.

Needless to say, Barr won’t resign simply because Swalwell’s unhappy with his credibility. That’s not to argue that Barr won’t have problems with that on Capitol Hill after this morning’s performance, though. He would have been better advised to wait until after the report came out, and perhaps not to sing laments about the extraordinary circumstances Trump faced in his first two years in office as pushback to Mueller’s obstruction findings. Swalwell won’t be the last Democrat to call on Barr to hit the road.

However, it seems doubtful that it will become a trend, at least in any serious way. With the Mueller probe complete, there aren’t any more potential points of conflict of interest. The issue of being “Trump’s attorney” will be moot. Congress can take up where Mueller left off if they want, a process that has nothing to do with the Department of Justice.

Barr might suit Democrats better where he is — for two main reasons. First, Barr will have to come to Capitol Hill to testify on matters on a regular basis. That will provide Democrats with a handy punching bag and easy opportunities for media coverage. Barr will forever be the man who passed on Mueller’s obstruction tee-up in their eyes, and a handy scapegoat when House Democrats decide to pass on impeachment.

More importantly, though, Republicans have a 53-vote majority in the Senate and no filibuster on presidential appointments. Which would they rather have as AG — a well-prepared punching bag, or someone closer to Trump and his own temperament? Regardless of how the Mueller affair ended, Barr was about as good as Democrats were going to get as AG.

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Schumer and Pelosi Issue Joint Statement: ‘The Differences Are Stark’ Between What Barr And Mueller Said About Obstruction

Westlake Legal Group AP_17249560358621-620x368 Schumer and Pelosi Issue Joint Statement: ‘The Differences Are Stark’ Between What Barr And Mueller Said About Obstruction william barr Special Counsel Robert Mueller Politics Nancy Pelosi Mueller report Mueller Investigation james comey Impeachment of President Trump Front Page Stories Featured Story FBI and DOJ Corruption donald trump democrats corruption Congress collusion Chuck Schumer Andy McCarthy Allow Media Exception Abuse of Power

President Donald Trump meets with, from left, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and other Congressional leaders in the Oval Office of the White House, Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer issued a joint statement on the Mueller Report at 2 pm. It said:

The differences are stark between what Attorney General Barr said on obstruction and what Special Counsel Mueller have said on obstruction.

As we continue to review the report, one thing is clear: Barr presented a conclusion that the president did not obstruct justice while Mueller’s report appears to undercut that finding,

Yes, that’s it.

Imagine calling the Attorney General a liar and not offering any supporting evidence.

Pelosi and Schumer are signaling that they plan to keep on beating a dead horse. Given that the collusion ship has sailed, they have pivoted to the question of obstruction.

Since they failed to offer us a clue as to what they see as the differences between what Barr and Mueller have said on obstruction, I’ll assume it’s because Mueller and his minions were determined to leave the impression that Trump really did obstruct justice. They simply didn’t have quite enough evidence to prove obstruction beyond a reasonable doubt, so they carefully chose language that would allow the left to keep the door open on this issue. It was their goal to maintain the suspicion which has engulfed the Trump presidency from the beginning.

If there were anything definitive in the report, Pelosi and Schumer would have included it in their statement. “Mueller’s report appears to undercut Barr’s finding because on page 245, he includes…”

The National Review’s Andy McCarthy appeared on Fox News directly following Barr’s press conference and explained that “intent” is the determining factor in an obstruction charge. Did Trump fire FBI Director James Comey to end the counterintelligence investigation into Russia collusion? Obviously, Trump knew the investigation would survive Comey’s firing.

Even if it had been Trump’s intent, as we know, a government appointee serves at the pleasure of the president and can be fired anytime, for any reason. This never should have been an issue.

Pelosi and Schumer see the writing on the wall. The nearly three year long deep state conspiracy is about to be blown wide open and they’re trying to keep the focus on obstruction to steer the conversation away from it.

Time to bring out the big guns, Mr. President.

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