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Friday, May 31, 2019

What Mueller said and what he did not say

  In the last 24 or so hours there have  been countless analyses of the Mueller statement.  Here is one more. I must first state  that Mueller is an American hero and a man of impeccable integrity.  Having said that,  I was disappointed by Mueller's statement, but not surprised.  He did exactly what I had predicted he would do.  Mueller is the ultimate example of understatement.  There were several instances where he could have stated conclusions.  Rather than doing that, he left it to the listener to draw conclusions.  
         While Mueller's position may be admirable, it allows tRUMP and his sycophants to state their own conclusions  from Mueller's statement.  And they did. Their response to Mueller's statement  is, "see, no collusion, no obstruction."  It goes without saying that they are lying.  But Mueller enabled them to do it.  So here's my take.

           Mueller began and ended his statement by stating that Russia had a massive systematic  and sweeping program to interfere with and influence  our election.    But I have a major problem with the following sentence, "This volume includes a discussion of the Trump campaign's response to this activity as well as our conclusion that there was insufficient evidence to charge a broader conspiracy."  Mueller referred to the tRUMP campaign's response to the Russian campaign, but did not state what the response was..  Mueller's report explicitly stated  that the tRUMP campaign welcomed the Russian interference.  Why could Mueller not bring himself to say perhaps the most damning of all conclusions  in the report.  The vast majority of people who have not read the report would have no idea of this damning finding.

           Mueller went on to say that the Russian campaign was intended to damage a "presidential candidate."  Why could Mueller not say that it was intended to damage the Clinton campaign.  tRUMP has often said that the Russian interference was intended to help Clinton.  Mueller should have explicitly rejected that cockamamie B.S. Mueller expects people to draw the logical conclusion.  In my view, that is not enough.

            At the end of the statement Mueller praised the hard work and the integrity of the people on his team.  That praise was fine, but not nearly enough.  tRUMP has continuously called the investigation a hoax and a witch hunt being conducted by 18 angry Democrats.  tRUMP directly attacked the integrity of Mueller and his team. He accused two of them plus Comey  of treason. Barr is now investigating Mueller and his team to see if this was a political hoax.  I think it was incumbent on Mueller to explicitly rebuke tRUMP's claim.  He had a duty to maximize the protection of his team.  He needed to say that there was a sound basis for beginning the investigation and his team was not in anyway guided by political considerations.  

        Mueller said that he was constrained by the DOJ memo to not charge a sitting president with a crime.  There are plenty of legal scholars who disagree with the DOJ memo.  Mueller chose to abide by that memo.  It should be pointed out that Ken Starr did not feel the same constraint.  I would also say that two former federal prosecutors would not have felt the same constraint if they thought that Barack Obama had committed a crime.   Those former prosecutors are Giuliani and Christie.  Mueller said that the constitution had a remedy other than the criminal justice system to deal with a president who may have committed a crime.  Mueller simply could not get the word impeachment to come from his lips.  I understand why he couldn't, but he could have  just as easily told the American people what the alternative was.

    I cannot believe that Mueller chose to give high praise to Barr.  Mueller said that  at a point in time he requested that certain portions of his report be made public.  He was referring to the executive summaries of the report.  Once again Mueller could not bring himself to say what portions he was referring to.  More importantly he said that Barr made a decision to  largely make the entire report public.  Mueller than said, "I certainly do not question the attorney general's good faith in that decision."  This is just me, but I think it is outrageous for Mueller to have made that  statement.  Barr totally misrepresented the findings of the Mueller Report.  And  when Mueller saw the misrepresentation he sent  a letter to Barr urging him to release the executive summaries.  Barr refused.  So not only had Barr misrepresented,  he refused to correct the misrepresentation despite the urging of Mueller.  Again, it is extremely disappointing  that Mueller praised the good  faith of Barr.  Mueller at a minimum could have remained silent on the subject.  Now he has given Barr a pass he absolutely does not deserve.
        Finally, there is one  sentence which I initialed failed to understand the  significance of..  Mueller  said the investigation was important "to preserve evidence  while memories are fresh and documents available."  There is only one  reason to preserve evidence, and that is for future proceedings.  This innocuous sentence suggests that Mueller believes there may well be future proceedings, whether trials or impeachment. 

         For me, tRUMP's response to the Mueller statement is the most fascinating of all responses.  tRUMP said that there was insufficient evidence to prove there was a crime.  Therefore, case closed.  First, Mueller's reference to insufficient evidence related only to possible conspiracy by the tRUMP campaign with Russia.  Mueller never said that there was insufficient evidence that tRUMP committed the crime of obstruction of justice.  Second, the fact that Mueller said there was insufficient evidence of a crime, does not mean there was no crime.  By the way, I have read enough of the report to question how Mueller could have come to that conclusion.  I think the report contains plenty of evidence of conspiracy.  And third, it is jaw dropping that the President of the United States thinks that lack of evidence somehow vindicates him.  That is a very low bar for anyone, let alone the President.  There are plenty of crimes which are not prosecuted for lack of evidence.  That does not mean that the crime was not committed.

              I agree with both sides of the impeachment debate.  Whether or not the House moves toward impeachment,  I think the period between now and the election will reveal enumerable facts that show tRUMP is the head of a continuing criminal enterprise.  If we survive until 2020, we will boot the crime boss out of office.  Take care all.


Monday, May 20, 2019

Justin Amash tweets

From the day tRUMP got elected we all asked whether there is even one Republican in Congress who would call out this despicable man.  There are  53 Republican senators and about 195 Republican congressmen.  Finally there is one.  Justin Amash from Grand Rapids marches to his own drummer.  He is a far right libertarian. He is a Tea Party stalwart. My liberal friends in Grand Rapids despise him.  But everyone agrees that Amash believes in certain principles and will not waver from them  So here are his tweets:

   Here are my principal conclusions:
                    1. Attorney General Barr has deliberately misrepresented the 
                        Mueller report.

                    2. President Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct

                    3.  Partisanship has eroded our system of checks and balances

                    4. Few members of Congress have read the report.

              I offer these conclusions only after having read Mueller's redacted report carefully and completely, having read or watched pertinent statements and testimony and having discussed this matter with my staff, who thoroughly reviewed materials and provided me with further analysis.

                   In comparing Barr's principal conclusions, congressional testimony and other statements to Mueller's report, it is clear that Barr intended to mislead the public about Special Counsel Robert Mueller's analysis and findings.

                   Barr's misrepresentations are significant but often subtle, frequently taking the form of sleight-of-hand qualifications or logical fallacies which he hopes people will not notice.

                    Under our Constitution, the president " shall be removed from Office on impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors."  While "high Crimes and Misdemeanors" is not defined, the context implies conduct that violates the public trust.

                     Contrary to Barr's portrayal, Mueller's report reveals that President Trump engaged in specific actions and a pattern of behavior that meet the threshold for impeachment.

                      In fact, Mueller's report identifies multiple examples of conduct satisfying all of the elements of obstruction of justice and undoubtedly any person who is not the president would be indicted based on such evidence.

                     Impeachment, which is a special form of indictment does not even require probable cause that a crime (e.g. obstruction of justice) has been committed.  It simply requires a finding that an official has engaged in careless, abusive, corrupt or otherwise dishonorable conduct.

                 While impeachment should be undertaken only in extraordinary circumstances, the risk we face in an environment of extreme partisanship is not that Congress will employ it as a remedy too often but rather that Congress will employ it so rarely that it cannot deter misconduct.

                 Our system of checks and balances relies on each branch's jealously guarding its powers and upholding its duties under our Constitution.  When loyalty to a political party or to an individual trumps loyalty to the Constitution, the rule of law-the foundation of liberty crumbles.

Now this is Richard.  I hope that Amash's tweets become  a huge national story.  Amash has spoken truth to power.  I have heard for two years  that Republicans are afraid of tRUMP. Is it possible that a second and then a third and then more Republicans will have the political courage of Amash?  Then the Wizard Of Trump will come tumbling down.  Take care all.


PS:  Amash's parents are immigrants from the Middle East.  tRUMP will probably tweet that Amash should go back to where he came from.