April 19, 2019

Mueller report stuff

 Eric Holder: ‘Any Competent’ Prosecutor Would Win Obstruction Case Against Trump

Trump lawyers reviewed Mueller report for 10 hours before it was made public

Sean Illing, Vox - . I asked 12 legal experts to examine what the report had to say about collusion and obstruction of justice. Specifically, I wanted to know if Barr’s decision not to pursue obstruction charges was justified, and if the evidence of coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign amounted to criminal conspiracy. There was a near-consensus on both questions. While Mueller may not have had sufficient evidence to charge anyone with conspiracy, the experts agree that plenty of evidence exists. The same is true of the obstruction question. As one expert put it, “the Mueller report provides a road map for prosecuting Trump for obstruction of justice, but stops short of this finding because of legal doubts about indicting a sitting president.”

The Mueller report details how in June 2017, the president called White House counsel Donald McGahn at home from Camp David and ordered him to have the special counsel removed. On a second call, Mr McGahn said the president stepped up the pressure, saying: "Call Rod [Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein], tell Rod that Mueller has conflicts and can't be the Special Counsel", and "Mueller has to go" and "Call me back when you do it." Mr McGahn was so upset by the interference that he threatened to quit rather than participate in what he predicted would be a Nixon-style "Saturday Night Massacre". 

The Mueller report identifies numerous instances of interactions with Russian nationals—by the Trump campaign or Trump associates—in an effort to gain hacked emails and to coordinate their dissemination. That may not be enough to warrant criminal conspiracy charges, but saying there was no collusion—as Barr did—is brazenly dishonest. The campaign certainly tried to collude.
Similarly, the attorney general’s description of the president’s lack of corrupt intent regarding obstruction is contradicted by the Mueller report. The president repeatedly tried to shut down or interfere with the investigation. He dangled pardons to try to get people to keep quiet. That he was saved by his aides’ willingness to ignore his rants and instructions is a weak defense

Seven things to learn from the report

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions carried a resignation letter with him every time he visited the White House for months as he became more and more a target of criticism from President Trump, according to special counsel Robert Mueller.

Atty. Gen. William Barr announced the document said President Trump’s campaign had not “conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” But Barr omitted the first part of that sentence from Robert S. Mueller III’s report. The special counsel wrote that Trump’s campaign “expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts.”

From the report: The President then asked, “What about these notes? Why do you take notes? Lawyers don’t take notes. I never had a lawyer who took notes.”McGahn responded that he keeps notes because he is a “real lawyer” and explained that notes create a record and are not a bad thing. The President said, “I’ve had a lot of great lawyers, like Roy Cohn. He did not take notes.”

In November 2015, Trump real estate adviser Felix Sater floated the idea, in an email to Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, that the Trump project in Moscow could be a way to get in good with Putin, which could then help win the election. Sater salivates at the possibility in this email, in which he addresses Cohen as “buddy” and Trump as “our boy.”

[The report] documents how Trump asked his former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski to ask then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions publicly call the Justice Department’s Russia probe “unfair” — and to have Sessions’ limit the breadth of the special investigation to election interference. An unwilling Lewandowski asked White House staffer and Sessions’ former chief of staff Rick Dearborn to deliver the message. Dearborn likewise never took action.

Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort briefed Konstantin Kilimnik, a man with suspected ties to Russian intelligence services, about key battleground states in the 2016 presidential election, including Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota, according to special counsel Robert Mueller’s report.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.