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Adjutant
 
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Post 30 May 2019, 12:09 am

Here is what I see, logically speaking:

(1) Mueller clears Trump of conspiring with Russia to interfere with the 2016 election, saying there was insufficient evidence;
(2) with regard to the obstruction charge he says they could not consider charging Trump with a crime but if they were confident that he did clearly did not commit a crime we would have said so...

So this implies the following...

(3) Since Mueller was willing to essentially clear Trump of conspiracy with Russia when there was insufficient evidence (meaning less than probable cause, what you would need to indict)--not even getting to the issue of whether a president could be indicted--then by not making a similar statement with regard to obstruction he essentially is stating by implication there was enough evidence to indict Trump for obstruction (but he cant be indicted due to DOJ policy). And his big disagreement with Barr is that he basically implied Mueller did not make a call on obstruction and it was up to him and Barr decided to clear Trump. But it wasn't up to Barr at that point! It's up to Congress. And Mueller has been trying to correct Barr's misinterpretation of his report without getting political about it.

So unless you agree with Alan Dershowitz that a president cannot be guilty of obstruction as long as he is impeding investigations by making otherwise lawful orders (such as firing Comey, which he has the power to do), which is an absurd interpretation because under that interpretation a president could shut down investigations just by firing people left and right...then it would seem there is enough to go forward with impeachment. How can you not go forward with impeachment when Mueller basically is saying that there is probable cause that Trunp committed a serious crime?
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Post 30 May 2019, 1:54 am

One one more point: why didnt Mueller expressly come out and say there was probable cause that Trump committed obstruction? Well, he said it would it would be unfair to accuse the president of committing a crime and not give the president the chance of having that decided in a court of law. So saying there was probable cause is doing that to a certain extent and that would not be in his bailiwick anyway, because he had decided to forego the right to decide whether a crime had been committed since he could not indict the president. Without a prosecutorial hat he does not have the right to make that call. It just becomes a political decision of the Congress at this point and he is not going to tie their hands. The question is...is the standard of evidence necessary to prevent Mueller of clearing Trump less than probable cause? My guess is that if you pinned him down he would say he would have cleared Trump if there was less than probable cause, as he did with the conspiring with Russia charge. But he has to be vague because he would be (1) perhaps be unfair to Trump, and (2) interfere in the political process by sort of telling Congress what they should find. So he left it vague..there is some evidence here, you decide what to do with it. Unfortunately, Barr ran with that ambiguity and cleared Trump of obstruction. And Mueller was forced to jump back in and say (in effdct) no, no, no...there is some significant evidence of obstruction and it is up to Congress to decide as a political matter what to do (implicitly criticizing Barr for clearing Trump)
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Post 30 May 2019, 9:49 am

Are you making a case for or against prosecutorial discretion? As I recall, you were for a prosecutor being able to decline prosecution if there was not enough to prosecute.

Is this different somehow?
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Post 30 May 2019, 11:21 am

I am arguing that it was wrong for Barr to step in and clear Trump of obstruction when it's clear that Mueller did not do so but followed DOJ guidelines prohibiting a president from being indicted and expected Congress to make the decision on its own whether to impeach. There was nothing for Barr to decide. He inappropriately stepped in.
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Post 30 May 2019, 1:47 pm

Are you surprised that the Executive branch is defending the Executive branch?

I do not agree with Barr declaring Trump as innocent, but the Mueller report did say:

"While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him," the report says.

The evidence "about the President's actions and intent presents difficult issues that prevent us from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred," Mueller adds.

Furthermore, Mueller makes it clear his investigators would have said there was no obstruction if they could demonstrate it: "If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state."


Should have just left it well enough alone to have Mueller report stand on it's own...
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Post 31 May 2019, 8:35 am

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/cartoons/images/2019/05/29/lisa_benson_current_cartoon_2019-05-30_5_.jpg

A joke for our Friday!
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Post 31 May 2019, 11:18 am

I don't think Muller's statement added anything of substance. Did he say anything new? I don't think so.

I think there is enough for impeachment, but I think Pelosi is playing politics and will keep anything from coming to the floor. I agree with her that it could be very bad politics, but I also think impeachment would be the right thing to do.

Sometimes you gotta do the right thing, even though there could be bad consequences.
Last edited by geojanes on 02 Jun 2019, 12:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post 31 May 2019, 11:22 am

Agreed. The truth is out there. I would love to see who contacted foreign entities and who is responsible for political skull-duggery whether it be either side of the aisle.
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Post 31 May 2019, 11:40 am

Well, unfortunately Barr did not leave the report alone...

I think ultimately Mueller made a mistake; just because you can't indict a president doesnt mean you cant say there is probable cause to say he committed a crime. By trying to be non-political he kind of kicked the can. He should have said there was probable cause that the president committed obstruction...and if not cleared him. Not this wishy-washy, let the Congress decide without any recommendation. Even if he says there is enough for obstruction, his say was not binding in the Congress. That was his job. It certainly was not Barr's job. But in a certain sense you can't blame Barr for trying to take political advantage and clear the president. And then Mueller tries to come back and say that was not his intention...without saying that there was probable cause for obstruction. If he truly believes in the statement "the evidence about the President's actions and intent presents difficult issues that prevent us from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred" then he should have cleared him..Perhaps there were different viewpoints in his office and that's what the the statement reflects...but it was his job to make the final call.

What a mess. Personally, I think the case for obstruction is rather obvious.
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Post 01 Jun 2019, 5:43 am

Freeman:
He should have said there was probable cause that the president committed obstruction...and if not cleared him.


Yes, I agree that this is the pivotal point. Mueller did not say there is probable cause. If he thought there was, then he didn't do his job. But he clearly knows way more than I do, so we have to take him at his word.
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Post 01 Jun 2019, 5:47 am

Geo:
I think there is enough for impeachment, but I think Polosi (sic) is playing politics and will keep anything from coming to the floor. I agree with her that it could be very bad politics, but I also think impeachment would be the right thing to do.


I'm not convinced it is bad politics, even though that's what all the pundits are saying. The Dems tie Trump up for a long time while they expose more of his dishonesty and idiosyncrasies. It won't move the base, but middle America will be influenced. It may make the Democratic House look bad, but the Democrat running for President doesn't have to be a part of it.
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Post 01 Jun 2019, 8:02 am

geo
I don't think Muller's statement added anything of substance. Did he say anything new? I don't think so.


Whats new is how Fox news covered it. For just about the first time, what was actually in the Mueller report - rather than what Barr said was in it - was being covered. Even on Fox and Friends.Breaking through how Trump is covered on Fox is very important.
(its also important that Democratic candidates go on Fox and speak directly...)

Ray's right that impeachment proceedings would focus attention and allow for greater understanding of Trumps problems, because primarily Fox would have to cover them with some directness. However, they might also get that through the various and sundry investigations already ongoing. Perhaps if obstruction of those investigations becomes a complete stone wall, Pelosi will be forced to impeach in order to advance all of the investigations.
Steve Bannon,, if Michael Wolf is to be believed, thinks Trump Inc. is a criminal enterprise worth no more than $50 million. Its through Deutsche Bank that this may be revealed. If Pelosi needs the power that comes from impeachment proceedings to uncork that genie... she'll probably go there.

Nothing that the Democrats do will grow Trumps support beyond 45 to 46% . Thats his ceiling. That "base" is already fired up as much as it could possibly be... 45 to 46% is just enough to get him reelected if votes split and voter suppression works .
So its up to three things that might erode Trumps vote support to what is now his approval rating of 41% (If you approve of him now, you'll approve of just about anything he does or is revealed to have done. Maybe that support erodes a point or two....)
1) Ongoing investigations
2) the ruination of economic growth by tariffs and war threats
3) Trumps continued public incompetence.

If these things aren't showing movement, she'll impeach by Fall I think.
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Post 02 Jun 2019, 12:25 pm

Ray Jay wrote:Geo:
I think there is enough for impeachment, but I think Pelosi is playing politics and will keep anything from coming to the floor. I agree with her that it could be very bad politics, but I also think impeachment would be the right thing to do.


I'm not convinced it is bad politics, even though that's what all the pundits are saying. The Dems tie Trump up for a long time while they expose more of his dishonesty and idiosyncrasies. It won't move the base, but middle America will be influenced. It may make the Democratic House look bad, but the Democrat running for President doesn't have to be a part of it.


Question on the politics: can't Pelosi and committee chairs do the same thing with series of congressional inquires and hearings, which keeps all the craziness in the news till November 2020? That way it never goes to the Senate where Trump will have much more sympathy and it gets stretched out over months of "fact-finding."

I'm not advocating for that, but I think that's what Dem leadership are hoping for.
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Post 03 Jun 2019, 6:53 am

geojanes
Question on the politics: can't Pelosi and committee chairs do the same thing with series of congressional inquires and hearings, which keeps all the craziness in the news till November 2020? That way it never goes to the Senate where Trump will have much more sympathy and it gets stretched out over months of "fact-finding."


Its easier to stone wall Congressional subpoenas from committees than subpoenas that come from impeachment proceedings..
She has to balance the ability to exact damaging information from the current process, or whether Congress needs the power that comes from impeachment proceedings.

https://www.justsecurity.org/64318/how- ... ry-powers/
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Post 03 Jun 2019, 8:11 am

geojanes wrote:
Ray Jay wrote:Geo:
I think there is enough for impeachment, but I think Pelosi is playing politics and will keep anything from coming to the floor. I agree with her that it could be very bad politics, but I also think impeachment would be the right thing to do.


I'm not convinced it is bad politics, even though that's what all the pundits are saying. The Dems tie Trump up for a long time while they expose more of his dishonesty and idiosyncrasies. It won't move the base, but middle America will be influenced. It may make the Democratic House look bad, but the Democrat running for President doesn't have to be a part of it.


Question on the politics: can't Pelosi and committee chairs do the same thing with series of congressional inquires and hearings, which keeps all the craziness in the news till November 2020? That way it never goes to the Senate where Trump will have much more sympathy and it gets stretched out over months of "fact-finding."

I'm not advocating for that, but I think that's what Dem leadership are hoping for.


Yes, that seems like a better approach to me.