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PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2019 11:44 pm 
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Voronwë the Faithful wrote:

Overall I thought the basic point of Mueller's statement today was to say to Congress: "we did our job, now you do yours."

That is what I got out of it. A reminder that they need to do the job they have (thus far) been ignoring given the (mis)direction of Barr.


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PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2019 4:55 pm 
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The more I think about Mueller's decision (not to reach a conclusion on criminality), the more annoying I find it, especially given Voronwë's characterization above, that in reading the report it is obvious that they believed Trump committed crimes. Mueller explained that his decision not to make a determination on criminality was so that (paraphrasing) a cloud wouldn't hang over someone who couldn't try to clear themselves in court. But if they've made it so obvious in the report with a wink and a nod what they think, Mueller's reasoning on not determining criminality strikes a false note. Mueller saying he could not exonerate Trump (which is so contrary to our system of justice) is, imo, just as bad in effect as stating flat out that Trump committed crimes. I think Mueller's conduct has been mostly self-serving in pursuit of preserving his reputation for integrity, which is also why I think he wants to avoid testifying before Congress. I think this non-decision of Mueller's will go down as one of the most peculiar and unsatisfying decisions in the history of decisions.

Meanwhile, AG Barr has given an extensive interview to CBS news in which they cover the whole range of investigation-related topics. (This is a horrible transcript, there are parts that are unintelligible.) The first key point is that Barr believes that Mueller could have reached a determination on criminality regardless that a President can't be indicted. He doesn't fault Mueller for his decision, just has a different view.

Related to this is the differing view the two men have of the function of the Special Counsel. Barr says that the investigative powers of the Justice Department are for the very purpose of determining whether someone has committed a crime, not as a referral service to Congress. That is why, when Mueller declined to fulfill this function, Rosenstein and Barr felt they had to make the decision on criminality that Mueller had declined to make.

Another point they discussed extensively was the fact, which I think has largely been glossed over, that Barr had requested and was expecting that the Mueller team would flag the material that had to be redacted. Had they done this, the entire redacted report could have been released in a matter of days and there would have been no need for Barr to release the brief summary of the report's conclusions that proved so controversial. But because the Mueller team did not do as requested, Barr saw that it would be weeks before the report could be released, and given the rampant media speculation that was going on, that the President and his family were going to be indicted, he felt he had to release a statement quelling that speculation.

The interviewer commented on the fact that Barr had such a good reputation among both parties before he took the AG job, and how that has now been thoroughly trashed, which Barr put down to the hyper-partisan nature of American politics today. He said he does not regret taking the job even though it has cost him that reputation.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/william-barr-interview-full-transcript-cbs-this-morning-jan-crawford-exclusive-2019-05-31/

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 27, 2019 9:54 pm 
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This is the best analysis of Mueller's testimony that I have seen.

Robert Mueller and the Tyranny of ‘Optics’

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 28, 2019 2:05 am 
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The problem with that analysis is that it doesn't mention the fact that the reason the Democrats wanted the hearing and forced Mueller to appear was because they wanted some kind of dramatic optic moment behind which they could galvanize public support for impeachment. So while I agree that ever since the Kennedy v Nixon debate optics are overvalued, the Democrats walked into a trap they had set up themselves.

My feelings about the hearing were that it was a shame Democrats subpoenaed Mueller after he had made it plain he did not want to testify, that he considered the report his testimony and had resigned as Special Counsel. I think looking back they will cringe when they think they put him through that and left it as the final image for America to remember him by. They could just as well have held the hearing before an empty chair, delivered their outraged monologues and cited the relevant sections of the report without his assistance.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 28, 2019 3:10 am 
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Cerin wrote:
The problem with that analysis is that it doesn't mention the fact that the reason the Democrats wanted the hearing and forced Mueller to appear was because they wanted some kind of dramatic optic moment behind which they could galvanize public support for impeachment.


True enough. In my opinion, what they should have done is immediately started an impeachment proceeding as soon as it became clear that Mueller's report contained abundant evidence of criminal behavior by the president, particularly when Mueller himself all but invited them to do so in his statement in May. Then they could have been in a much better position to obtain the grand jury material that is likely to contain even more damning evidence and dared the administration to block the testimony of witnesses like McGahn, Hicks, Donaldson and many others in an actual impeachment proceeding. I think that would have been a much better strategy.



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 28, 2019 5:34 pm 
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I agree. I find it disturbing, to say the least, that the extent of Russian interference is being glossed over, ignored, whitewashed.. whatever you want to call it. I think Mueller was obviously extremely distressed by what he found. The seeming lack of alarm and inaction on this front is appalling and traitorous. If foreign governments are going to tip the scales in their favor or decide our elections, we cease to be a free country.

I feel the entire process was problematic. The lengthy report that was mischaracterized by the Attorney General to the public. That many of our elected representatives didn't read it, which is what lead to the public hearings.. so that people would pay attention to what Mueller reported. Something should have been done immediately, but due to apathy(?), distractions(?) the Democrats (Nancy Pelosi) knew there would not be enough support and (perhaps?) was waiting for a groundswell/watershed moment, but I believe that was a mistake.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 15, 2019 12:21 am 
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This could turn out to be a BFD (or not).

The acting director of national intelligence is withholding a mysterious whistleblower complaint of 'urgent concern' that may involve Trump

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 15, 2019 1:06 am 
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I heard about that last night Voronwë. Curiouser & curiouser. Constant norm breaking is not in the best interests of the country. The precedents being broken (and set for future presidents) is truly frightening. The bar is not only lowered, it almost doesn't exist. (Or should I say the Barr has been lowered?)


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