Three Reasons Mueller May Not Charge On Obstruction

440px-Alfred_Hitchcock_(1955)Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the curious status of the obstruction investigation that was the original rationale for a special counsel investigation.  While Special Counsel Robert Mueller is likely to sharply chastise (with good reason) Trump’s comments and conduct vis-a-vis former FBI Director James Comey, he is not making any of the moves that one would expect from a prosecutor building an obstruction case.  Here are three reasons why this may be the Hickcockian bomb that does not go off.

Washington is in another frenzy over the disclosure that President Trump’s lawyers are preparing answers to written questions from special counsel Robert Mueller. Observers are speculating on the meaning of this move, as anticipation grows for the investigation’s culmination.

If the suspense is killing you, a bigger surprise may await.

The most significant aspect of this story may be what it did not contain: questions about obstruction. Mueller is asking about Russian collusion, rather than the driving force behind his appointment after the firing of former FBI Director James Comey. Indeed, ample reasons exist to question whether there is a serious obstruction charge in the making — the focus of so much media attention since Comey was ignobly dispatched on May 10, 2017.

Director Alfred Hitchcock once chastised fans not to confuse suspense with surprise. Hitchcock described a scene with two people “having a very innocent chat” with a bomb under their table — and then it explodes. That is surprise; as Hitchcock put it, “Nothing happens, and then all of a sudden, ‘Boom!’ ”

Now take the same scene and allow it to go longer with a bomb set to go off with a clock on the wall. Hitchcock explained: “The public is aware the bomb is going to explode. … In these conditions, the same innocuous conversation becomes fascinating because the public is … longing to warn the characters on the screen: ‘You shouldn’t be talking about such trivial matters. There is a bomb beneath you and it is about to explode!’ ” The suspense comes from the waiting.

Mueller’s obstruction investigation could well prove to be the suspense of the bomb that never goes off. Indeed, there is ample reason to question whether Mueller ever seriously believed obstruction had the capability of exploding into a criminal charge.

For two years, the public has watched this figurative bomb beneath a table at the Oval Office, waiting (and, in some cases, openly praying) for it to explode. Their wait has been fueled by commentators who scream “Boom!” with every disclosure, great or small. Former Watergate prosecutor Nick Akerman and former Attorney General Eric Holder have categorically declared that Trump committed obstruction of justice. Others have cited his tweets as a compelling basis for an obstruction charge. University of Notre Dame professor Jimmy Gurulé even suggested it was obstruction for Trump to extend his “appreciation and greetings” to special counsel Mueller. Boom.

The claim of an impending explosion contrasts sharply with the actual scene unfolding in Washington. Consider just three indicators that there is more suspense than surprise in this Hitchcockian scene.

This is not how you build an “O” bomb

As I have previously argued, none of the allegations raised over obstruction fit well with the criminal code or prior opinions defining that crime. There are a variety of obstruction crimes but most have no applicability to this controversy. There is Section 18 U.S.C. 1503 which broadly defines the crime of “corruptly” endeavoring “to influence, obstruct or impede the due administration of justice.” This “omnibus” provision, however, is most properly used for judicial proceedings such as grand jury investigations, and the Supreme Court has narrowly construed the provision.

There is also 18 U.S.C. 1512(c), which makes it a crime for any person who corruptly or “otherwise obstructs, influences or impedes any official proceeding, or attempts to do so.” However, this provision has been narrowly construed as well on the underlying conduct and the need for some “official proceeding.” Mueller should be fully aware of that problem since his principal deputy, Andrew Weissmann, was responsible for overextending that provision in a jury instruction that led the Supreme Court to reverse the conviction in the Arthur Andersen case in 2005.

These and other provisions simply do not make for a compelling case against Trump. While Trump has shown breathtakingly poor judgment in firing Comey and publicly attacking investigators, that is not obstruction. Moreover, Trump had independent grounds to fire Comey, including many of the reasons cited by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in his scathing criticism of Comey in 2017. Put simply, this is not what an “O” bomb looks like.

The wrong people are at the table

Another indicator is that, if Mueller were seriously investigating obstruction, Rosenstein should not be sitting at the table. For that matter, neither should Mueller. Mueller interviewed for Comey’s job after he was fired — making him a witness. Rosenstein has an even more direct and damaging conflict as someone involved in the firing and the controversy that followed. Indeed, Rosenstein recognized that “serious” allegations of a conflict exist but, inappropriately, he left the matter to Mueller: “Director Mueller ought to review that and make a determination of whether or not he believes it is within the scope of his investigation.”

Rosenstein’s position leads to a rather intriguing explanation for his continuation as Mueller’s superior. What if Mueller agreed that this is not a credible obstruction case? In that case, there would be no “O” bomb under the table, or any problem in Rosenstein sitting at the table. If there is no obstruction, there is no real conflict for Rosenstein.

The conversation is not about the bomb under table

That brings us to Mueller not asking about obstruction in his written questions. It is a curious thing when there is an “O” bomb in plain sight but no one in the room seems to be focusing on it. Trump’s testimony is far more important on obstruction than collusion; his intent would be vital to making even a marginal obstruction case. However, Mueller is asking nary a word about obstruction in these questions.

It certainly is possible that Mueller either wants an interview on obstruction or nothing at all. In that case, the “Boom!” comes with a subpoena to the president to sit down for an interview. Existing law would favor Mueller in demanding such an interview, but he has not requested it. He has reportedly asked witnesses about obstruction but, if he were serious about an actual charge (either during or after Trump’s presidency), he would demand answers from Trump. Otherwise, obstruction issues would become just part of the narrative in a report.

For all the hype, the Mueller investigation has not been particularly surprising. Indeed, any surprises are largely contrived with common plea agreements and charges in federal investigations. As I wrote after Mueller’s appointment, it was more likely that we would see charges of false statements under 18 U.S.C. 1001 as opposed to obstruction or collusion charges. That is almost the full extent of charges brought against former Trump associates; the remaining charges against people such as Paul Manafort are entirely unrelated to the campaign. Mueller has charged a variety of Russians with hacking and interfering with the election, but these filings notably do not implicate Trump and actually exonerate Trump campaign officials who “unwittingly” had contact with these individuals.

Does this mean Mueller’s investigation is a bomb? Of course not; he has done a thorough, commendable job of identifying and indicting Russian agents behind the effort to interfere with our election. He may also have other criminal acts to allege.

If, however, you are waiting for the “O” explosion, you may end up with little more than the suspense of a Hitchcockian bomb that fails to go off.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanTurley.

85 thoughts on “Three Reasons Mueller May Not Charge On Obstruction”

  1. “Rosenstein’s position leads to a rather intriguing explanation for his continuation as Mueller’s superior. What if Mueller agreed that this is not a credible obstruction case? In that case, there would be no “O” bomb under the table, or any problem in Rosenstein sitting at the table. If there is no obstruction, there is no real conflict for Rosenstein.”

    HAHA I GOT IT. AWESOME. ROFLOL

    due process, aint it great? people can have their say and in the end, courts will do what they do

  2. Obergruppenfuhrer Mueller is conducting a “malicious prosecution” not dissimilar to that of the Duke Lacrosse case which resulted in District Attorney, Mike Nifong being disbarred and sent to jail for one day. Mueller owes the same debt for his sham “witch hunt” as the “tip of the spear” of the Obama Coup D’etat in America which is the most prodigious scandal in America political history.
    ______________________________________________________________________________________

    Lisa Page to Peter Strzok, “POTUS wants to know everything we’re doing.”

    Lisa Page to Congress, “The texts mean what the texts say.”
    ________________________________________________

    The “elites” of the Obama Coup D’etat in America:

    Sessions, Rosenstein, Mueller/Team, Comey, McCabe, Strozk, Page, Kadzic, Yates, Baker, Bruce Ohr, Nellie Ohr, Priestap, Kortan, Campbell, Steele, Simpson, Joseph Mifsud, Stefan “The Walrus” Halper, Kerry, Hillary, Huma, Brennan, Clapper, Farkas, Power, Lynch, Rice, Jarrett, Obama et al.

  3. So much for political big game hunting. All Mueller has been able to bag are the equivalent of the baboons in Turley’s other post.

  4. I would have thought Mueller’s job is to investigate and prosecute, but Trump is an exception, according to the usual conventions he is only subject to impeachment by Congress, at least for Federal crimes.

    So I would expect Mueller to report on what his investigation found, but leave the question of whether Trump committed a Federal crime in conspiring with Russians to Congress, and also the question of whether Trump obstructed justice.

    The Federal crime that has come to light is Trump directing Michael Cohen to make secret payments to silence women during the election campaign.

    That would seem to be a sound basis for impeachment.

    1. That would seem to be a sound basis for impeachment.

      Only in your addled head. Civil practice attorneys negotiate non-disclosure agreements as a matter of routine. An enterprising prosecutor in North Carolina tried to spin such an agreement as a ‘campaign finance violation’ by John Edwards and was unable to sell it to a jury. At least it was a campaign contributor who provided the funds, which it wasn’t in this case.

      Being blackmailed by someone isn’t a high crime or a misdemeanor.

      1. The payments to Stormy and Karen McDougal were about a month before the election, so it will be easy to convince a jury the money was a campaign contribution.

  5. In Mueller I trust.

    Herr Drumpfenfuher may not have obstructed justice but there are a zillion other laws such as money laundering that he’s violated.

    Time is not on trump’s side.

  6. Each human in America can relate to this comparison of daily life to the Mueller apCray.
    You sit on the toilet for 15 minutes and no apCray comes out. “No itShay Sherlock!” or other exclamations may come forth out of your mouth or run through your brain. Regarding this Mueller we wake up this morning and think or say: “Mueller: We are tired of this itShay!’ And: “Mueller: I won’t spell cuss words out on the internet forums.” “So: Mueller: Take your itShay and eat it too!”

  7. While Trump has shown breathtakingly poor judgment in firing Comey

    He showed nothing of the kind. Comey was scamming around and lying to him and bears responsibility for the fraudulent investigation of HRC as well as the misconduct of McCabe, Sztrok, Page, and others.

    You’ve expended a great deal of verbiage on the idea that Mueller would have an obstruction case against the President when the President was exercising his lawful authority and unloading a bad employee. That implicitly legitimizes what is a silly and asinine notion.

    1. Firing Comey was the right decision made at the wrong time. It was what ultimately led to the Mueller investigation.

      If he had waited until after the 2018 midterms to fire him, Trump would have been better off from a legal perspective.

      1. He’s not vulnerable from a legal perspective. The whole mess is a consequence of J. Sessions being gamed by bureaucratic operator Rosenstein.

        1. He is indeed vulnerable legally.

          He tweeted in December that he fired Flynn because Flynn lied to the FBI. Lying to the FBI is a felony.

          Since he knew Flynn lied to the FBI but tried to stop the investigation into it, that is obstructing an investigation.

          https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=gIayQ27Ugzo

  8. Turley wrote, “Mueller has charged a variety of Russians with hacking and interfering with the election, but these filings notably do not implicate Trump and actually exonerate Trump campaign officials who “unwittingly” had contact with these individuals.”

    Turley’s lacuna persists past the point of perversity to become downright obtuse. Mueller’s case-in-chief against Trump has been Conspiracy to Defraud the United States (hereafter ConFraudUS) from the moment Rosenstein appointed Mueller as special counsel. The notion that Trump should breathe a yuge sigh of relief because the bomb under The President’s Resolute Desk is a ConFraudUS case instead of Obstruction of Justice case, is willfully, obdurately, obtuse beyond the Pale.

    Listen up: If Mueller cannot make a ConFraudUS case against Trump, then Mueller cannot make an Obstruction case against Trump, either. If, however, Mueller can make a ConFraudUS case against Trump, then Mueller could, if he wanted to, also make an Obstruction case against Trump. The ConFraudUS case is mandatory as the case in chief. The Obstruction case is optional as a lesser included offense. And the firing of James Comey would hardly be the only issue in an Obstruction case against Trump.

    Meanwhile, Turley also wrote, “The most significant aspect of this story may be what it did not contain: questions about obstruction. Mueller is asking about Russian collusion, rather than the driving force behind his appointment after the firing of former FBI Director James Comey.”

    Well, then, there you have it. Except that Turley presents this epiphany in the form of a complaint. The driving force behind Mueller’s appointment was supposed to have been the firing of James Comey. Too bad. Get over it. Stop your whining. According to McCabe’s memorialized conversation with Rosenstein, Trump supposedly told Rosenstein that Trump wanted to fire Comey because Comey was pursuing the Russia investigation. Rosenstein told McCabe that Rosenstein wrote his memo about Comey’s mishandling of the Clinton email investigation to prevent Trump from interfering in the Russia investigation. Trump then told Lavrov and Kislyak, and later Lester Holt, that Trump had fired Comey because of “this Russia thing–you know–with Trump and the Russians.” All of which ought to have led to the conclusion that Rosenstein appointed Mueller special counsel for the express purpose of continuing the Russia investigation. The investigation into the firing of James Comey was never more than a red herring that Trump, himself, waved under the noses of Maggie Haberman and Mike Schmidt of The NYT. To paraphrase Dylan, I would not feel so all alone; everybody must get . . .

  9. The difference between Hitchcock’s scenario where the two people are chatting while a bomb is ticking under the table, unbeknownst to them but of which the audience is aware, and the Mueller scenario, is that the people chatting are aware of the bomb as well, both they and the audience are conscious of the clock, and some in the audience want the bomb to go off and some don’t.

    With the Mueller scenario there seems to be more than one bomb, some of which have popped: Manafort, Cohen, and others. Of the bombs scattered about, some will be snuffed out in political double talk and legal mumbo jumbo, some will go off with others being thrown on to avoid damage to the most appropriate, and some will leave a nasty mess.

    Mueller can take the President’s eye off of the clock on the wall by releasing tidbits like Manafort and Cohen from time to time. Whatever Mueller has and/or will have, the only way he can avoid being a part of a ‘See I told you so.’ act by Trump is to lay out as many dirty deeds as he can. That Mueller is not going to ‘go off’ to some degree is unlikely. Whatever goes off is worth the money and trouble. Trump will double down and use anything to fuel his routine regardless of what it is. The Saudi’s begin to admit that Khashoggi’s death may have been the result of an interrogation gone wrong and Trump comes up with ‘rogue agents’. Trump is derided for going bankrupt six times as examples of how inept he is and he boasts about making out financially using the bankruptcies for tax loss advantages. Whatever Mueller comes up with, Trump will explain it away until he can’t. Unfortunately there are many Americans who simply don’t care, who would support Trump even if he shot someone on 5th Avenue.

    1. issac – JT forgot to talk about Hitchcock’s infamous McGuffin. There are plenty of McGuffins in this.

      1. It’s a “Maguffin”, and, anyway, if you understood Hitchcock and his use of this word, you’d know you were wrong. I’m not going to bother trying to explain it to you

        1. I’m not going to bother trying to explain it to you

          Sayeth the woman who will put multiple 400 word posts filled with useless verbiage on any thread she enters.

        2. Anonymous – I spent years teaching film on the college. I taught Psycho every year.

          In fiction, a MacGuffin (sometimes McGuffin) is a plot device in the form of some goal, desired object, or another motivator that the protagonist pursues, often with little or no narrative explanation. Now, what is the McGuffin in Psycho? I know, do you?

                1. While we’re at it, what’s the over-under on how much of her most recent employer’s money stuck to Diane’s fingers?

                    1. The money was in the trunk of the car that was dredged out of the bog by a two truck winch. Whoever opened the trunk after it was out of the bog could have discovered the money. Since Loomis had already sent Argobast to recover the money, it’s probable that the money was eventually returned to Loomis so that Cassidy could buy the house for his daughter’s wedding present. Otherwise . . . ??? Maybe the money was thrown away along with the folded newspaper into which it had been tucked. Maybe the car was sent to a junk yard with the money thrown back into the trunk along with the newspaper. Otherwise . . . ???

                    2. L4Yoga enables David Benson, R. Lien and Marky Mark Mark – good job. The money is the McGuffin in Psycho.

                    3. Correction: Marion’s boss was George Lowery. Sam Loomis was Marion’s boyfriend. If the money wasn’t returned to Lowery, then its remotely possible that Sam Loomis uses the money to pay his debts and marry Marion’s sister Lila. Hypothetically, Marion had been driven to steal the money to help Sam pay off his debts so that Sam and Marion could get married. However, convention holds that crime doesn’t pay and money can’t buy you love. So the money probably ends up with Lowery so that Cassidy’s daughter can have her house as a wedding present. Or else the money goes off to the junk yard or a garbage dump in keeping with the gold dust from “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre”

                    4. L4Yoga enables David Benson, R. Lien and Marky Mark Mark – I think Psycho II solves some of your plot points. However, Marion was a bad girl. She was having a nooner with her bf before she stole the money and left town. In those days that set you up as a sinner who deserved to die.

                    5. Pablo Cinemaphile Eschoolbus said, “I know what happened to the money.”

                      Then tell everyone what happened to the money, Pablito. Otherwise, I’ll say mean, nasty, dirty lowdown things about your expertise.

                    6. L4Yoga enables David Benson, R. Lien and Marky Mark Mark – you will say nasty things anyway, so why waste my keyboard warrior skills. 🙂

                    7. Mr. Smiley Face said, ” . . . you will say nasty things anyway, so why waste my keyboard warrior skills. ”

                      I would never say that your expertise in the theatre is the MacGuffin in Res Ipsa Loquitur. Never!

                      Do you remember the bit about paralipsis (a.k.a. apophasis)???

                  1. Tabarrok insinuated, “. . . what’s the over-under on how much of her most recent employer’s money stuck to Diane’s fingers?”

                    L4D never worked for George Lowery’s real estate office, nor for any tow truck operator between Phoenix Az and Fairvale Ca., nor for any junk yard nor garbage dump in that same locale circa 1960 or any other year thereafter.

                    L4D’s most recent employer was the claims adjustment department of a major health insurance company that contracted with the federal government to manage health care benefits under the railroad retirement system. There was never any cash on hand in that office. The insinuation to the contrary is typical Tabby tommyrot. Charity is beyond Tabarrok’s ken. And low behavior, his sole birthright.

                  1. From Merriam Webster:

                    ag·o·nist [ ag- uh-nist] NOUN

                    1. a person engaged in a contest, conflict, struggle, etc., especially the protagonist in a literary work.

                    2. a person who is torn by inner conflict.

                    3. Physiology. a contracting muscle whose action is opposed by another muscle.

                    4. Pharmacology. a chemical substance capable of activating a receptor to induce a full or partial pharmacological response.

                    1. L4Yoga enables David Benson, R. Lien and Marky Mark Mark – would you fight with David Benson over electrical engineering? I wouldn’t. It is his field. Theatre is my field. I know a heck of a lot more about theatre then you do or the dictionary.

                    2. What makes you think I’m arguing with you over your most recent area of expertise? A person engaged in a contest or torn by inner conflict might as well be referred to as a fighter.

          1. Well, I actually saw the interview with Hitch (you can hold the cock, as he would say), in which he explained what this plot device meant, Did you? He used as an example the Asian figurine in “North By Northwest”, the contents of which supposedly drove the plot, but at the end of the day, what was in the statute didn’t really matter to the story. I have to truncate my comments because Tabarrok is running out of fingers and toes on which to count my words.

            1. Ok. Now are you going to apologize for your rude comment to Paul, wherein you arrogantly asserted that he misspelled the term and didn’t know what it meant, even though you were totally incorrect, and your explanation (which you promised to spare us all) does not disagree with his?

              1. FFS – I appreciate your support, however you are asking too much. Anonymous does not have it in themselves to apologize or walk back a statement. Anonymous is a proud liberal and just marches forward spewing hatred as she goes.

                  1. Do you really expect an apology from someone who supposedly spews hatred?

                    BTW, hatred is not spewed. Hatred is fomented. Have you never heard Trump speak?

        1. Excerpted from the article linked above:

          Hitchcock explained the term MacGuffin in a 1939 lecture at Columbia University in New York:

          It might be a Scottish name, taken from a story about two men on a train. One man says, ‘What’s that package up there in the baggage rack?’ And the other answers, ‘Oh, that’s a MacGuffin’. The first one asks, ‘What’s a MacGuffin?’ ‘Well,’ the other man says, ‘it’s an apparatus for trapping lions in the Scottish Highlands.’ The first man says, ‘But there are no lions in the Scottish Highlands,’ and the other one answers, ‘Well then, that’s no MacGuffin!’ So you see that a MacGuffin is actually nothing at all.

    2. The cooked up story about how some rogues somehow got into the Saudi embassy and somehow tortured, murdered and dismembered the body of Khasoggi, how they somehow got the parts out and somehow cleaned up the evidence and somehow painted the walls saturated with his blood, all without the knowledge of the Saudi crown price, has the Kellyanne stench.

      The sad thing is, you Trumpsters will buy it.

      1. Kellyane has a durable marriage, children, and engaging work. You have none of these things. Suck it up.

        1. Kellyanne is a cunning political hack and pathological liar. She thinks up ways for the fat rodeo clown to get away with cheating, lying, stacking the SCOTUS, and now, to keep doing business with the Saudis despite the fact that they tortured, murdered, and dismembered the body of a journalist, and are now covering it up with a ludicrious cover story. Nevertheless, you Trumpsters will believe it. You don’t know me, but just like her, you are willing to make things up to avoid looking bad.

          1. Oops! Which ludicrous story is President Trump and his supporters supposedly falling for?

            The Turkish government has told the Trump administration that it has audio and video recordings of what occurred inside the consulate that day. U.S. officials have said this material supports the conclusion that Khashoggi was interrogated, tortured and killed.
            https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/pompeo-arrives-in-riyadh-for-talks-on-saudi-journalists-fate/2018/10/16/8e1bcb54-d0d5-11e8-a4db-184311d27129_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.7b56331b1045

            1. The reference proves nothing. Did Pompeo pull the U.S. out of the Saudi investment conference scheduled shortly? Hell to the no he didn’t, and he isn’t going to. Because of the audio and Khasoggi’s fiancé’s standing outside the Embassy for hours, they can no longer deny that Khasoggi was interrogated, tortured and murdered, but they can still deny that the crown price knew about it or was responsible. The “rogue” story hasn’t been retracted, and it won’t ever be. As if murdering “rogues” can somehow get into an Embassy, interrogate, torture, murder and dismember a known critic of the crown prince, do a deep cleaning, replace carpet, paint walls and dispose of the body, all without the Saudi government knowing.

              Kellyanne has come up with a new approach: now, because if we just ignore this, it will make Fatso look bad, let’s demand that the Saudis investigate, transparently, but it’s still business as usual until the investigation is complete. I’m betting that the Turks were ready to release the audio, so Kellyanne and her feverish, lying brain had to come up with another scheme to still get what Fatso wants: the deal with the Saudis is a go, because too much money would be lost if the U.S. stands on principle, and, as with Kavanaugh, there’s no “proof”. Well, there’s proof of interrogation, torture, murder, dismemberment and concealment, but we can still deny that the crown prince was involved. When the “investigation” is complete, there will be NO evidence that the Saudi crown prince or his father authorized the torture and killing, or that they ever knew anything about it. The “rogue” story will stand.

              See, Kellyanne has a track record when it comes to phony “investigations”, as the Kavanaugh fraud proves. They can’t stand it when they don’t control the narrative, as the Mueller investigation proves.

              1. Anonymous – what do you have with fat shaming. I know if we went after women for their body size you would have a heart attack. Yet, you are constantly fat shaming the President. However, thank you for the all clear signal on fat shaming feminists. God knows there are tons (both literal and figurative) of feminists that need fat shaming.

                1. You really don’t get it, do you? I am merely following the POTUS’s lead. Just today, Trump reverted to calling Senator Warren “Pocahontas”, and he called Stormy Daniels “horse face”, which is amazing considering the homely horse face on Kellyanne that he looks to for guidance. In the past, he has called women “fat pigs” and other demeaning things. Trump has reduced the dynamics of political discourse to a level of petty, personal insults. He calls women names, so I call him fat, because he IS fat. Those yuge ties don’t conceal the gut underneath, the long coats don’t hide his fat ass and the absurd pompadour doesn’t hide his baldness either. Don’t accuse me of fat-shaming or anything else so long as your favorite POTUS trades on personal insults about peoples’ appearances. When he stops, so will I.

                    1. Who says I’m a feminist? More Faux News and Trump labeling of people who don’t agree with them, which happens to be most Americans. Also, the Kellyanne Pivot is noted.

                    2. Anonymous – you are either a Third Wave or early Forth Wave Feminist. And I say it. Considering the drivel that comes out off your keyboard you can be nothing less or more.

                    3. Misogynistic men/women are much like racists. There over generalizations, elementary school level bulling name calling & yet they are in love with their word salad, lol!

                  1. I am merely following the POTUS’s lead.

                    So you are a follower of President Trump. You just happen to align with his most basest instincts. Truth is those instincts are actually tools to manipulate you and your ilk to expose you for the hideous fascists that you are. If he didn’t have you wrapped around his finger, you wouldn’t be following his lead. No, instead you would be leading. You’d be leading in civility, in policy, in governorships, in state houses. No, instead you’ve been led by your noses down your instinctive low road. And only the ignorant masses will follow…you.

              2. Personally i despise Saudis, and think they probably chopped this guy into pieces. They are barbarians, to put it mildly.
                But the questions in the middle east are:

                what are america’s national interests?

                what changes can be made to existing arrangements that improves our lot, if any?

                One murdered royal dissenter turned journalist, is not going to change that equation much.

                If a bunch of Saudis could drive a jetliner into the WTC and not affect the US Saudi relationship much, what would? Surely not this.

                release the classified 9/11 report and we might rethink that last one…..

          2. You say “stacking the SCOTUS” like it’s a bad thing. If HRC* had won (**shudder**), are you thinking that she would not have nominated SCOTUS justices that fit her ideology?

            *also a cunning political hack and pathological liar, for those of you keeping score at home.

            1. political ignorance like the rest of the trumpagonists would be laughable if it weren’t for the pain & suffering it’s causing. Stealing children from their parents, locking them in cages at 4 years old & left to defend themselves in front of a judge. Have you no shame! A reporter tortured, bone saw used while he was possibly alive & trump provided alibi’s to the murderous saudis, have you no shame! Climate change, endangered species, debasing the the office of the presidency, have you no shame! “moved on her like a b…., grab them by the p….” have you no shame! Sleeping with a women, porn star, no protection, my wife is home with our 4 month old baby… have you no shame! attacking a gold star family, handicap, a dying war hero, have you no shame! Father early stages of Alzheimer’s, his own son trying to steal from his father & siblings, have you no shame! So so so much more!

      2. The sad thing is, you Trumpsters will buy it.

        Damn you are one hideous troll. Why in the hell would anyone buy that story? Oh that’s right, you are projecting once again. You bought Ford’s story. You bought the Trump/Russia collusion story. You’re not into evidence-based theorizing. If it doesn’t fit your political bent, then guilty as charged.

  10. Well Professor Turley, I just shared your column to Facebook with the following introduction which I’ll let speak for itself.

    Oh shit! I could write a book on this article by Professor Turley but it’s already 11:18 p.m. here and I’ve had a beer, albeit a few hours ago.

    To summarize, Turley makes a very convincing case that Mueller has decided that Trump is not guilty of the crimes available under the federal code that define obstruction of justice.

    I’m hardly going to question Professor Turley on his interpretation of federal law, although I think he’s being too conservative on the statutory issues. Suffice it to say, the issues involved are not a slam dunk and, God knows, the current Supreme Court would probably agree with Professor Turley. What they did to the federal bribery statute involving the governor of Virginia was a travesty, making that crime almost impossible to prove. So they could likely do the same if Trump were ever prosecuted for obstruction.

    I find his argument about the fact that Rosenstein is still the Deputy AG much more convincing. Rosenstein is clearly a material witness in any potential obstruction charge against Trump and should have recused himself from supervising the Mueller investigation ages ago if Mueller is really investigating obstruction. The fact that Rosenstein is still in his job leads one to believe that, in fact, Mueller has concluded there is no obstruction case to be made.

    His third reason that Mueller didn’t ask Trump anything about obstruction in the written questions he submitted to him doesn’t impress me at all. As Turley admits, these interrogatories could be a mere prelude to a subpoena to Trump to testify in front of the grand jury at which time Mueller might prefer to get Trump to talk about his real motives in firing Comey. Trump’s lawyers will answer the written questions. Trump on the witness stand answering the same questions is a prosecutor’s dream. I can’t count the number of times he’s contradicted himself on this subject just in tweets. Under pressure testifying with a skilled prosecutor calling him on every contradiction, misrepresentation and outright lie… you get the idea.

    Here’s where it gets tricky. Turley doesn’t discuss it all whether Mueller might write a report to Rosenstein about possible impeachable offenses committed by Trump. One of those offenses would be “abuse of power” which has been used In Articles of Impeachment before. The standard of culpability and especially the issue of intent is completely different with regard to abuse of power then it is for obstruction of justice. That’s a whole other book which I think I’ve written here before and nobody read that post — so not right now.

    Anyway, guess who gets to decide whether Mueller’s report is forwarded to Congress or buried in a file somewhere at the DOJ only to be discovered by historians decades from now? And the answer is the aforementioned Rod Rosenstein. So if Mueller is going to write that report, how the hell is Rosenstein still supervising him, much less the ultimate decision maker on the fate of that report?

    And I’ll stop there.

    1. Robert Blacher asks, “So if Mueller is going to write that report, how the hell is Rosenstein still supervising him, much less the ultimate decision maker on the fate of that report?”

      Because Trump does not get to suppress evidence against Trump. Because there’s no such thing as asserting Executive Privilege over a special counsel’s final report.

    2. At this point, Mueller and Rosenstein have no credibility with anyone in Congress without a “D” after their name and a great many of them one might wager know well this is all a scam. So, what good’s it going to do to make an impeachment referral on a vague and half-baked complaint of ‘abuse of power’? You might have 51% of one chamber and 48% of another.

      1. Trump hasn’t pardoned his own son yet for the sake of vacating the upcoming indictment against Don Jr.. Your current calculation of the probability for an article of impeachment against Trump for abuse of power might have to be revised in the event of a preemptive pardon.

  11. Three reasons why Turley may not have a clue what he is talking about: 1) he has no access to the evidence in the possession of the OSC, 2) he has not interviewed the witnesses interviewed by the OSC, 3) he has not been briefed by anyone at the OSC.

    Turley’s parlor game of guessing and speculation smacks of blind men describing the small part of the elephant they can feel.

    The OSC may or may not already have solid evidence that Trump committed a crime. The potential crime may or may not be obstruction. It may or may not be conspiracy. Maybe tax-related. Or not.

    The only things that are certain is that 1) Turley is still angling for that judgeship and 2) many of the comments that follow will be made by persons whose self-certainty as to what is going on is exceeded only by their ignorance and partisanship.

    1. You didn’t address the issue at all about how Rosenstein can still be supervising Mueller if Trump is under investigation for obstruction.

      1. You didn’t read Turley’s original post for this thread; in which Turley addressed why Rosenstein can still supervise Mueller if Trump is under investigation for Conspiracy to Defraud the United States instead of Obstruction of Justice.

        1. fraud, always a difficult case to prove. the bigger the fish the harder the fight.
          for those of us who have “been there and done that” that is.
          but like most federal prosecutors, Mueller may fish for a plea and call it victory
          that would be a pretty weak cast when you are fishing for a shark

    2. 1) he has no access to the evidence in the possession of the OSC,

      You all keep hoping. This investigation has dragged on for 26 months and change, and that doesn’t count the time previous when the FBI was running informants against the campaign. All you’ve gotten is Mickey Mouse indictments of people on process crimes, Mickey Mouse indictments of Russian internet trolls the Mueller never thought he had to try, and Mickey Mouse indictments of Russian security officials that Mueller never thought he had to try. As for the Manafort case, it surely could have been handled by the U.S. Attorney or the criminal division and concerned conduct that antedated any association between Manafort and Trump. Except, of course, that the Justice Department had taken a pass on pursuing the charges.

      This whole case is a fraud. Partisan Democrats never stop lying.

      1. Tabarrok is in for such a rude awakening. Somewhere between November Seventh, 2018 and, let’s say, January Twentieth, 2019, Mueller will bring indictments against key members of the Trump campaign–including, especially, Trump’s Son, Don Jr.–on charges of Conspiracy to Defraud the United States. What happens next after that is debatable. Will a federal judge dismiss the charges against Don Jr. or any other key member of the Trump campaign? If Mueller indicts the strong case, then precious few federal judges will dismiss the charges. It’s doubtful that Mueller will indict the weak case; because a federal judge might dismiss the charges on the weak case. Will Trump then deploy the pardon power to vacate the indictments against members of the Trump campaign including Trump’s son, Don Jr.? I’m guessing yes. Will Congress bring Articles of Impeachment against Trump for abusing the pardon power? If Mueller indicts the strong case for Conspiracy to Defraud the United States, then Congress will probably bring Articles of Impeachment against Trump for abusing the pardon power as well as for Conspiracy to Defraud the United States. Will Trump be convicted at trial in The Senate. Probably not. Will Trump seek reelection to a second term of office as POTUS? Well . . . The answer to that questions depends upon Vladimir Putin of The Russian Federation. Trump might not have any choice but to seek reelection in 2020.

            1. “Set your snooze alarm for the year 2038”.
              Does L4B plan on posting her comments here for another 20 years!?!😧

        1. Well if Meuller does all that Putin will be pleased and so will the democrats. It may come to naught but they will like the chaos.

          But then again we know Hillary plied them for information too, and got it, hers was supposedly the “legal way”…. and they know the Clinton Foundation took tons of money from foreigners as a tacit quid pro quo for face time with her as Secretary of State…. I would not be so sure this won’t come around to her eventually. then there’s Uranium One

          ttps://www.foxnews.com/politics/obama-era-russian-uranium-one-deal-what-to-know

          Life is complicated. You put a pinball in play, it may end up where you don’t expect.

  12. So, could these be “show questions”? Mueller has to save face so he has to send the President something. Collusion was the original no charge, so go with that.

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