18 Apr 2019: My early morning thread during the Barr press conference and right after the release of the Mueller Report
I’m starting a running thread today on the Mueller Report
Mueller has put his reputation on the line by describing a report that does exonerate the president. I very much doubt that the report, when we see it, will justify this description.
Barr says he has no objection to Mueller testifying to Congress. So that will definitely happen, and is almost certain to reveal significant differences between Barr and Mueller about the findings.
Barr seemed irritated by the questions about Mueller from reporters, and abruptly terminated the questioning without ceremony after a couple of questions about the special counsel.
Significantly, Barr said that reports like Mueller’s are not supposed to be public. But clearly (as a leak from Team Mueller told us days ago), the report was INTENDED by Mueller to be public.
There is no doubt that Mueller did not submit a report falling within the description given of the final confidential report to the AG described in 28 CFR 600.8(c).
Whether Mueller and Rosenstein agreed from the outset that Mueller’s report would be very different from that kind of report is unclear at this point..
Barr seems much more sympathetic to Rosenstein than to Mueller. In fact, what Mueller did and the report he submitted seems actually to have irritated Barr.
Barr provided no explanation for why Mueller said that his findings on obstruction did not exonerate Trump; nor for why Mueller did not reach a determination about whether Trump had obstructed justice.
Barr said that Mueller had found and has described some evidence of good intentions on Trump’s part, but does not mention that there must be plenty of evidence of corrupt intent, otherwise Mueller would not have said that the evidence on obstruction didn’t exonerate Trump.
I have believed all along that Mueller did so because his intended audience for the report was the general public and Congress, and not the AG. In coming days, I believe that this opinion will be confirmed.
(We’ll know when Mueller testifies before Congress, because Dems are sure to ask him about this.)
Finally, and perhaps most surprisingly and notably, Barr actually said that Mueller found no evidence (NO EVIDENCE!) of collusion. This contradicts everything we have come to expect from the leaks,
and is not at all the same thing as asserting that Mueller failed to “establish” a criminal conspiracy, which is undoubtedly how Mueller described his findings.
Obviously, one can have plenty of evidence for a crime, and fail to reach the beyond a reasonable doubt standard of evidence required by prosecutors to take a case to court.
Equally importantly, it is perfectly possible (even likely) that a prosecutor can have evidence of an underlying crime and fail to “establish” that an individual has participated in a conspiracy.
Barr skated over all these points, and I have no doubt that in so doing he has misrepresented Mueller’s findings and his intentions.
This is all the more bizarre since he has promised a lightly redacted public report that will surely be quite different from the description he gave of it.
According to Barr, Mueller worked for two years, spent millions of dollars, and wrote a 400 page report and ended up finding no evidence whatever that Trump and members of his campaign can be criticized for anything.
In fact, they have been victims, Barr seems to have implied, of an unfair, unpredicated witch hunt from the beginning.
I haven’t checked on the Democratic response from members of Congress or others yet, but I imagine they are outraged and ginning up for a fight.
If Mueller’s report justifies Barr’s bill of clean health description of Trump and his campaign, that is one thing. But if it doesn’t (and I believe it is almost inconceivable that it does)
Barr has made of real mess of things, and has damaged his reputation as a fair-minded (or even competent) attorney general beyond repair.
Trump seems to have found the Roy Cohn — albeit a much less competent Roy Cohn — that he has always been looking for in an AG.
This is incredible. Obviously, I’ve only had time to scan the 448 page document. But the Table of Contents shows unmistakably that Barr must have egregiously misrepresented the report.
The prosecution and declination decisions according to the table of contents begins on p. 174:Here it is. Notice the redactions! “No evidence” he says?
The Report that the DOJ uploaded is not SEARCHABLE. (WTF!) I don’t have Adobe Acrobat so I can’t turn it into searchable text. Does anyone have a link to a searchable text, say on Document Cloud?
I haven’t read the text Sciutto is referring to yet, so I’m not sure that Mueller said that he found that the campaign KNEW it was RUSSIAN interference in the election. But if he did conclude this it is HUGE.
It’s quite different from the claim, which we already knew to be true, that Putin wanted to help the campaign (with dirt on Clinton etc.)
This is different, because it would go to the issue of INTERFERENCE.
POLITICALLY, if not legally, it is DEVASTATING.
Trump and his campaign knew that Russia was interfering, knew that the interference would help his campaign, and did nothing? Even encouraged it? And then lied to everyone about every one of their contacts?
And Trump has continued to deny to this very moment (against our own intelligence community) that Russia did interfere in the election on his behalf?
Isn’t this an undeniable BETRAYAL of the country, even if it doesn’t fit the constitutional definition of actual “treason”? Isn’t it totally CORRUPT? Am I missing something here?
Okay: here’s the actual quote. Sciutto quoted it accurately.
“through Russian efforts.” Note that Stone denied that he knew that Guccifer 2.0 was a Russian at all. (In fact he was a GRU officer.) Mueller seems to have found that Stone knew, and so did the rest of the campaign, including Trump. This is huge.
Almost makes you think that Mueller might have found some evidence of collusion after all.
Kilimnick was (and is) a GRU officer. Manafort would have known that.
But I’m not the AG, and the man who holds that office must regard this sort of thing as a big nothing burger.
“We’ll take care of you” is mob talk for pardoning.
Mueller jas spent most of his professional life prosecuting guys who talk like that.
The only difference is that in this case he was investigating the leader of the free world.
Note the highlighted terms: “collective action of multiple individuals”; “the framework of conspiracy law” [18 USC § 371]; “joint criminal liability”; “an agreement — tacit or express — between the Trump Campaign and the Russian government.”
Clearly, Mueller took himself to be investigating whether the Trump campaign, taken as a set of multiple individuals acting collectively, coordinated with the Russians in ways that would have involved *joint* criminal liability.
Mueller concluded that he had insufficient evidence to establish beyond a reasonable doubt in court that the Campaign — that is, that individuals JOINTLY — engaged in a conspiracy in this sense.
But it certainly doesn’t follow that individuals in the campaign didn’t commit election interference-related crimes as INDIVIDUALS.
(It doesn’t even mean that Mueller found no evidence that there was a criminal conspiracy. It might only mean that he found no evidence that established such a conspiracy beyond any reasonable doubt.)
Maybe that explains the fact that Mueller has made fourteen referrals of evidence of potential criminal activity to outside offices. (That is, there were fourteen possible crimes, but none that were committed as part of a *conspiracy.*)
In Trump-Russia, there are four things to consider: two kinds of crime and two different levels of…This is a crucial distinction. But it’s also important to note that the distinction applies equally to two different kinds of crime. @gtconway3d 1/16 There is the question of conspiracy and there is…https://bit.ly/2vdT88q
Hmmmm. Wonder if this could refer the pee-tape (along with others)?
“Rtskhiladze told investigators that the compromising tapes he told Cohen about were rumored to be in possession of people associated with the Crocus Group.” (The Crocus Group is owned by Aras Agalarov.)
Here’s What The Mueller Report Says About The Alleged Pee TapeMentioned only in footnotes, the report said that a Russian businessman texted Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, about “compromising tapes.” But the businessman didn’t mention he had been told th…https://bit.ly/2Pl479k
Rtskhiladze told investigators later that the tapes were fake. But he didn’t tell COHEN they were fake. And why would Aras Agalarov have put together a collection of fake tapes?
Lanny Davis said the other day that Cohen has more stories to tell. No doubt he has an interesting story to tell about this as well.
Confirms the early reporting by Paul Wood (BBC) who reported that Western intelligence services believe there are a number of tapes.
Russia ‘may have more than one Donald Trump sex blackmail tape’The CIA believes Russia may hold more than one recording of a sexual nature involving Donald Trump, it has been reported.https://ind.pn/2PjPcMh
Here’s the “unverified and salacious” Steele dossier on Agalarov and sexual kompromat.
(The Miss Universe Pageant in 2013 wasn’t the first compromising occasion.)