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PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2019 11:44 pm 
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Location: North Shire
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.

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.

Avatar photo by Richard Lykes, used with permission.

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