How Trump Could Still Gut The Mueller Report

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on a significant potential barrier to the release of the Special Counsel report — once it is given by Robert Mueller to Attorney General Bill Barr. There is a striking contrast between the level of cooperation shown in relation to the Special Counsel investigation versus congressional investigation. In the latter context, the White House instructed witnesses not to answer questions on the basis that privilege might be claimed (an improper practice in my view). This would seem to suggest that the Trump team is treating communications with the Special Counsel as internal Executive Branch disclosures — and thus not a waiver of privilege. If that is the case, Barr could be heading into a world of difficulty. If the White House invokes, the Justice Department has traditionally defended those claims of executive privilege in court. That could mean a report that is heavily redacted. Unlike classified material which can be given to Congress under seal, grand jury information or executive privileged information cannot be given to Congress absent a court order or waiver, respectively.

This weekend Trump said that he supported the vote of Congress to demand the public release of the report. He told his followers that he told members to vote for the resolution and “Play along with the game!” It is not clear what that game is given the blocking of vote in the Senate by Lindsey Graham. Moreover, it does not state that Trump will waive all executive privilege as discussed in this earlier column.

Here is the column:


President Donald Trump again wrote in all-caps this week, lashing out at special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation as “illegal & conflicted” and declaring “there should be no Mueller Report.” Of course, Mueller’s investigation is entirely legal. Moreover, as reflected in the 420-0 House vote this week, there is overwhelming, bipartisan support for making the report public. 

Indeed, everyone seems to want the report released: Democrats, Republicans, even Attorney General Bill Barr. The one person who may not be on board is Trump — and that could prove a very serious problem for Barr.

Trump appears, again, to be dangerously taking his own counsel. While he seems genuinely infuriated about the investigation, he played the largest part in bringing it about.

At the start of his administration, some of us opposed the appointment of a special counsel as unnecessary and unsupported by hard evidence. That changed with the firing of former FBI Director James Comey in the midst of the Russia investigation and Trump’s public attacks on the investigation. Trump’s advisers reportedly warned him this was a bone-headed, self-destructive act; the only holdout reportedly was son-in-law Jared Kushner, who thought it would shorten the investigation. The result was catastrophic and plunged the administration into the current quagmire.

Trump could, once more, prolong this controversy by continuing to “counterpunch” himself into a deeper and deeper hole. There still is no compelling evidence of collusion. Moreover, everyone is telling him to release the report as fully and quickly as possible.  

This brings us to William Barr’s problem.

During his confirmation hearing, Democrats repeatedly pressed him to guarantee that the report would be released. As I testified at his confirmation, Barr could not ethically give that guarantee; various laws governing classified evidence, grand jury information and privacy information require redactions.

The biggest issue, however, could be executive privilege. The power to assert executive privilege rests primarily with the White House. It is the president’s privilege to assert, and the Justice Department’s obligation to defend such assertions.

Two types of privilege can arise in this context. First, there is deliberative-process privilege governing the executive branch’s decision-making. This privilege, however, is routinely trumped in cases involving government abuse or misconduct. 

The more difficult privilege is “presidential communications.” Recognized in 1974 in United States v. Nixon, the Supreme Court noted that “the presidential communications privilege is more difficult to surmount.” Unlike the deliberative-process privilege that “disappears altogether when there is any reason to believe government misconduct occurred,” the presidential communications privilege is harder to overcome, “even when there are allegations of misconduct by high-level officials.”

The assumption of many is that executive privilege has been waived largely since the Trump administration allowed many current and former White House staff to speak with Mueller. To the extent that such information was shared with Congress, such a waiver may have occurred. However, the White House can argue that speaking with Mueller is not a waiver. Unlike earlier independent counsels like Kenneth Starr, Mueller is a special counsel — and, as such, he’s part of the Justice Department, which is part of the executive branch.

In other words, having the White House counsel speak with the special counsel is basically the executive branch speaking to itself.

Notably, while Trump allowed White House officials to speak freely with Mueller, the White House was far less free with Congress — including, inappropriately, having officials refuse to answer questions on the possibility of a later privilege assertion.

Trump therefore could assert executive privilege over information derived from presidential communications. And that would put Barr in a very difficult spot. Indeed, a report without presidential communications could leave little more than a husk of the original. More importantly, it could leave Barr with little choice in the matter.

With sketchy past opinions on the scope of these privileges, executive assertions can be difficult questions. Historically, the Justice Department has left such questions to the courts absent a compromise with Congress. The Obama administration made some very dubious privilege claims but the Justice Department defended those assertions in Congress and the courts. Absent a clear waiver, it would be a sharp departure from past practice for Barr to override a White House privilege assertion.

If Trump asserts executive privilege to all communications with Mueller that were not also made to Congress, Barr likely will feel duty-bound to defend those assertions. Barr is no Sally Yates, who, as acting attorney general, refused to defend Trump’s first immigration order. It was a highly improper order and warranted her firing by Trump. Barr will defend a properly asserted presidential privilege, and he will comply with any order of a court on the merits of such an assertion.

So where does that leave us?

Option 1: Under federal law, Barr could confine his disclosure to a short summary. Thus, if no criminal acts by the president or his campaign were uncovered, Barr could describe the scope of the investigation and give the ultimate findings. After all, members of Congress widely condemned Comey for his public discussion of Hillary Clinton’s “grossly negligent” actions after he decided not to charge her. Barr could say he will not repeat Comey’s grandstanding.

But Barr would be wrong in taking such a position. A special counsel investigation is not a criminal investigation; it has fact-finding and reporting components that are supposed to force transparency. Mueller was mandated to find the truth, not just chargeable offenses. The public has a right to see that evidence, since these allegations go to the very heart of our democratic process.

Option 2: The most likely option will be to write a summary and attach the redacted report, or rewrite the report into a unified report from Barr to Congress that removes statutorily and constitutionally protected information. Barr also could give Congress a sealed version of the report containing classified information. However, he cannot give Congress a report with grand jury information (called Rule 6e material) without a court order. More importantly, he cannot disclose privileged information to Congress.

The preference would be a redacted copy with blacked-out sections to show how much of the original report has been withheld. The only logistical question is whether Barr will issue a summary while the report is being scrubbed, or issue a summary pending the release of such a public report. There also is the question of whether Barr will allow the White House to submit a response with his submission to Congress — an accommodation (and possible delay) that would be best to avoid.

The second option is the more likely for Barr, but much depends on Trump. Trump could move to higher ground by declaring that, while he still views the investigation as a “witch hunt,” he would waive all remaining privilege assertions for the purposes of this report so that the public can reach its own conclusions. If he did that, he could argue that, while he continually denounced the investigation and the investigators, he never actually took obstructive steps like firing Mueller, silencing witnesses or withholding the final report.  

That is not the approach of a counterpuncher — but it is the approach of a president.

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

158 thoughts on “How Trump Could Still Gut The Mueller Report”

  1. TRUMP’S HISTORY WITH DEUTSCHE BANK

    THEY KEPT LENDING DESPITE LAWSUITS AND FUDGED ASSETS

    Deutsche Bank officials have quietly argued to regulators, lawmakers and journalists that Mr. Trump was not a priority for the bank or its senior leaders and that the lending was the work of a single, obscure division. But interviews with more than 20 current and former Deutsche Bank executives and board members, most of them with direct knowledge of the Trump relationship, contradict the bank’s narrative.

    Over nearly two decades, Deutsche Bank’s leaders repeatedly saw red flags surrounding Mr. Trump. There was a disastrous bond sale, a promised loan that relied on a banker’s forged signature, wild exaggerations of Mr. Trump’s wealth, even a claim of an act of God.

    But Deutsche Bank had a ravenous appetite for risk and limited concern about its clients’ reputations. Time after time, with the support of two different chief executives, the bank handed money — a total of well over $2 billion — to a man whom nearly all other banks had deemed untouchable.

    In the late 1990s, Deutsche Bank, which is based in Germany, was trying to make a name for itself on Wall Street. Its investment-banking division went on a hiring binge.

    The bank recruited a handful of Goldman Sachs traders to lead a push into commercial real estate. One was Justin Kennedy, the son of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. Another was Mike Offit, whose father was the writer Sidney Offit.

    At Deutsche Bank, Mr. Offit’s mandate was to lend money to big real estate developers, package the loans into securities and sell the resulting bonds to investors. He said in an interview that one way to stand out in a crowded market was to make loans that his rivals considered too risky.

    In 1998, a broker contacted him to see if he would consider lending to a Wall Street pariah: Mr. Trump, who was then a casino magnate whose bankruptcies had cost banks hundreds of millions of dollars. Mr. Offit took the meeting.

    A few days later, Mr. Offit’s secretary called him. “Donald Trump is in the conference room,” she whispered. Mr. Offit said he rushed in, expecting to find an entourage. Mr. Trump was alone.

    He was looking for a $125 million loan to pay for gut renovations of 40 Wall Street, his Art Deco tower in Lower Manhattan. Mr. Offit was impressed by the pitch, and the loan sailed through Deutsche Bank’s approval process.

    Mr. Trump seemed giddy with gratitude, Mr. Offit recalled. He took Mr. Offit golfing. He flew him by helicopter to Atlantic City for boxing matches. He wrote a grateful note to Sidney Offit for having “a great son!”

    Mr. Offit commissioned a detailed model of 40 Wall Street. A golden plaque on its pedestal bore the names and logos of Deutsche Bank and the Trump Organization. Mr. Offit gave one to Mr. Trump and kept another in his office.

    Mr. Trump soon came looking for $300 million for the construction of a skyscraper across from the United Nations headquarters. The loan was approved. He wanted hundreds of millions more for his Trump Marina casino in Atlantic City. Mr. Offit pledged to line up cash for that, too.

    Not long after, Edson Mitchell, a top bank executive, discovered that the signature of the credit officer who had approved the Trump Marina deal had been forged, Mr. Offit said. (Mr. Offit was never accused of forgery; the loan never went through.)

    Mr. Offit was fired months later. He said it was because Mr. Mitchell claimed that he was reckless, a charge Mr. Offit disputed.

    Over the next few years, the commercial real estate group, with Mr. Kennedy now in a senior role, kept lending to Mr. Trump, including to buy the General Motors building in Manhattan. Occasionally, Justice Kennedy stopped by Deutsche Bank’s offices to say hello to the team, executives recalled.

    At an annual pro-am golf tournament the bank hosted outside Boston in the early 2000s, Mr. Trump sat down for a recorded interview with the bank’s public relations staff, who asked about his experience with Deutsche Bank.

    “It’s great,” Mr. Trump exclaimed, according to a person who witnessed the interview. “They’re really fast!”

    In 2003, a Deutsche Bank team led by Richard Byrne — a former casino-industry analyst who had known Mr. Trump since the 1980s — was hired to sell bonds on behalf of Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts. Bank officials escorted Mr. Trump to meet institutional investors in New York and Boston, according to an executive who attended.

    The so-called roadshow seemed to go well. At every stop, Mr. Trump was greeted by large audiences of fund managers, executives and lower-level employees eager to see the famous mogul. The problem, as a Deutsche Bank executive would explain to Mr. Trump, was that few of them were willing to entrust money to him. Mr. Trump requested an audience with the bank’s bond salesmen.

    According to a Deutsche Bank executive who heard the remarks, Mr. Trump gave a pep talk. “Fellas, I know this isn’t the easiest thing you’ve had to sell,” the executive recalled Mr. Trump saying. “But if you get this done, you’ll all be my guests at Mar-a-Lago,” his private club in Palm Beach, Fla.

    The sales team managed to sell hundreds of millions of dollars worth of bonds. Mr. Trump was pleased with the results when a Deutsche Bank executive called, according to a person who heard the conversation.

    “Don’t forget what you promised our guys,” the executive reminded him.

    Mr. Trump said he did not remember and that he doubted the salesmen actually expected to be taken to Mar-a-Lago.

    “That’s all they’ve talked about the past week,” the executive replied.

    Mr. Trump ultimately flew about 15 salesmen to Florida on his Boeing 727. They spent a weekend golfing with Mr. Trump, two participants said.

    A year later, in 2004, Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts defaulted on the bonds. Deutsche Bank’s clients suffered steep losses. This arm of the investment-banking division stopped doing business with Mr. Trump.

    Around that time, Mr. Trump returned to Deutsche Bank’s commercial real estate unit — which was housed in a separate part of the sprawling investment-banking division — for another loan. This one was to build a 92-story skyscraper in Chicago, the Trump International Hotel and Tower.

    Josef Ackermann, the bank’s chief executive, had publicly promised soaring profits, and with many of the company’s businesses sputtering, the investment-banking group was under intense pressure to grow.

    As Deutsche Bank considered making the loan, Mr. Trump wooed bankers with flights on his private plane, according to a person familiar with the pitch. In a Trump Tower meeting, he told Mr. Kennedy that his daughter Ivanka would be in charge of the Chicago project, a sign of the family’s commitment to its success.

    Mr. Trump told Deutsche Bank his net worth was about $3 billion, but when bank employees reviewed his finances, they concluded he was worth about $788 million, according to documents produced during a lawsuit Mr. Trump brought against the former New York Times journalist Timothy O’Brien. And a senior investment-banking executive said in an interview that he and others cautioned that Mr. Trump should be avoided because he had worked with people in the construction industry connected to organized crime.

    Nonetheless, Deutsche Bank agreed in 2005 to lend Mr. Trump more than $500 million for the project. He personally guaranteed $40 million of it, meaning the bank could come after his personal assets if he defaulted.

    By 2008, the riverside skyscraper, one of the tallest in America, was mostly built. But with the economy sagging, Mr. Trump struggled to sell hundreds of condominium units. The bulk of the loan was due that November.

    A provision in the loan let Mr. Trump partially off the hook in the event of a “force majeure,” essentially an act of God, like a natural disaster. The former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan had called the financial crisis a tsunami. And what was a tsunami if not a natural disaster?

    One of Mr. Trump’s lawyers, Steven Schlesinger, told him the provision could be used against Deutsche Bank.

    “It’s brilliant!” Mr. Schlesinger recalled Mr. Trump responding.

    Days before the loan was due, Mr. Trump sued Deutsche Bank, citing the force majeure language and seeking $3 billion in damages. Deutsche Bank countersued and demanded payment of the $40 million that Mr. Trump had personally guaranteed.

    With the suits in court, senior investment-banking executives severed ties with Mr. Trump.

    1. CREDIT FOR ABOVE

      Edited from: “A Mar-A-Lago Weekend And An Acto God: Trump’s History With Deutsche Bank”

      THE NEW YORK TIMES, 3/18/19

      1. THE ABOVE NEW YORK TIMES ARTICLE..

        is lengthy read. Only about half of said story appears above. This section of the article ends with the lawsuit over Trump Tower Chicago. At that moment it seemed Deutsche Bank was finished with Donald Trump. But oddly the relationship was rekindled and Trump was getting loans from Deutsche right up until his presidential run.

  2. W. Barr will do anything he can to protect Trump, and he will fail in the end. What gets me is why are Trump supporters so worried? Trump has said he did nothing wrong, so why are you worried?

    1. “W. Barr will do anything he can to protect Trump”

      It is amazing how trashy some can be slandering and libeling one with an excellent reputation. I guess some don’t have the intellectual endowment to promote an idea without trashy methods.

  3. I have refrained from commenting on columns relating to the Mueller investigation because I know as much about it as most of the posters on this site, which is to say, nothing. However, given the intense public interest in Mueller’s work and the overwhelming support for the release of his report, I believe it will find its way into the public domain one way or the other, regardless of efforts by the Administration or others to suppress all or any portion of it.

    1. I have refrained from commenting on columns relating to the Mueller investigation because I know as much about it as most of the posters on this site, which is to say, nothing.

      You know nothing about the paperwork crossing his desk. Only Lies4Breakfast knows anything about that.

      What you do know is that this investigation has been ongoing for 32 months and change (not counting the antecedent period when the FBI was running informants) and has produced nothing but contrived indictments on process crimes, a tax fraud / bank fraud / money laundering charge against Paul Manafort that the Dept. of Justice had previously passed on (and which concerned matters irrelevant to Trump) and a bloc of charges contra Michael Cohen relating to his taxi mediallions and other side businesses. The charges contra Manafort did not require a special counsel and the charges contra Cohen actually were handed off to the U.S. Attorney’s office in New York.

      Pretty interesting that a special counsel is appointed because the DoJ has a conflict of interest or something-or-other and then they hire Andrew Weissman off the cabal who’d been running the DoJ the last several years.

      You don’t know it’s all been a pantomime to disrupt investigations into malfeasance, misfeasance, and non-feasance by Sally Yates, Andrew McCabe, and a dozen others. But that’s what the smart money says.

      1. The Starr Whitewater Investigation started in January 1994 and the report was produced in Sept of 1998, so enjoy the ride. I know I am.

        Meanwhile, TIAX2 can’t get basic facts right – Cohen is going to jail for campaign law violations he and Individual #1 conspired on. Numerous campaign officials are either going to jail or still talking with Mueller and we have yet to see if the proven collusion in Trump Tower by the campaign manager and Trump’s son and son in law – both active in the campaign – with a Kremlin operative who offered “dirt on Hillary” rises to criminal conspiracy levels. The President concocting an untrue cover story for this meeting is not reassuring – well, it is to me I guess – nor is his lying about his activities in Moscow leading up to the election.

    2. Mike, you should be able to guess what the Mueller investigation will try to say based on a lack of any Trump collusion with the Russians. We are beginning to understand how the Steele Dossier was politically created and used by the FBI and how many have tried to engineer a soft coup of Trump. It didn’t happen but Mueller appears to be there to protect reputations whose owners might deserve jail sentences and that there was nepotism by Mueller in his hiring practices that led to members or associates of the FBI that were anti-Trump to be involved in the investigation. This is sort of crazy because the special counsel was supposed to be completely independent from the FBI.

      Mueller went in with specific interests that appear anti-Trump so an assumption that he will come out the same way is reasonable. If that happens he will slant all information to be anti-Trump, not neutral. Most people are too superficial to dig deep as we have already seen with such an attachment to the Steele dossier as legitimate. It will be Trump’s job to apply the opposite spin and I’ll bet a lot lose track of the fact that Trump was not involved in Russian collusion (the basis for the investigation) and that the whole investigation was a tremendous waste of time. The media will do its thing ranting against Trump, ommitting much of the important truth or sidelining it to page 27. I suspect it will also convert negative opinion of Trump into fact.

      The important thing for America is that what was done to Trump never be permitted to happen again. That probably involves more investigation by honest Americans. I’m not looking for convictions for those that were involved in illegal activities rather working to make our system of justice a lot better than we have recently seen. If criminal prosecution is needed in advancing that goal then I support it.

      1. At a minimum, Trump conspired with those who did collude with the Russians. He made up the cover story for the Trump Tower meeting with the Kremlin agent with “dirt on Hillary”:

        1. Anon, not only are you clueless with a lack of context and timing but you also don’t seem to know the difference between fact and opinion. You must be talking about Manaforte who had dealings with the Ukranians long before he was aligned with Trump who quickly got rid of him. That is not collusion. You keep harping about a Trump Tower meeting. Why don’t you provide your case in a cogent fashion along with evidence and proof two other items that seemingly escape your grasp.

        2. Once, walking from ta courthouse I saw vagrant begging alms. In a weak, thoughtless moment, I gave him some spare green. Later I read he went into a nearby restaurant that same day to buy something and assaulted a patron and was subsequently returned to jail. One wonders what my punishment should be for “conspiring” with him in this assault since my funding undoubtedly prompted him to venture into life away from the street and assault the innocent?

        3. Amazing that Allan does not know about the Trump Tower meeting which included Manafort, Don, Jr, and Kushner, i.e., all the senior inside players in the campaign. They eagerly met with a Kremlin operative who had promised “dirt on Hillary”. The President made up the cover story lie – the meeting was about “adoptions”

          1. I know about the Trump Tower meeting but there is also the Trump Tower complaint of Russian collusion that doesn’t exist. You live off of inaccurate generalities without regard to time, place, person etc. Even your sentence structure is poor. I looked at your comment as two different incidents.

            #1 “At a minimum, Trump conspired with those who did collude with the Russians.”

            The most frequent misnomer on this blog is collusion because of Manaforte’s meeting with the Ukranians.

            #2 “He made up the cover story for the Trump Tower meeting with the Kremlin agent with “dirt on Hillary”:”

            Trump Tower is associated with the idea of building a Trump Tower in Moscow or the Trump Tower meeting with Don Jr. Who the “He” (“made up”) is is not clearly defined but left loose because you are unable to even provide an entire idea. Which cover story are you talking about? Many were created by the press and why should it be called a cover story? You put words together that you don’t fully understand and then draw conclusions that later you consider fact.. The “Kremlin agent” didn’t have “dirt on Hillary”.

            Anon, you would be better off hitting a nail with a hammer as you don’t seem to be able to mount a logical and defined argument on this blog.

            1. Allan’s ignorance of the Trump Tower meeting proves he watches Fox News only.

              “The Trump Tower meeting took place on June 9, 2016 in New York City between three senior members of the 2016 Trump campaign – Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort – and at least five other people, including Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya…. Donald Trump Jr. made several misleading statements about the meeting……he admitted in a tweet that he had agreed to the meeting with the understanding that he would receive information damaging to Hillary Clinton…….. In early July 2017, it was reported that President Donald Trump himself drafted Trump Jr.’s initial misleading statement.[7] The report was later confirmed by the president’s attorneys.[8). ……Prior to the Trump Tower meeting, Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos met at least twice with a professor who said he had access to “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails”. This occurred before the hacking of the DNC computers had become public knowledge. Papadopoulos later shared this information with at least two other people, including an Australian diplomat to Britain. ….”

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trump_Tower_meeting

              1. “Allan’s ignorance of the Trump Tower meeting proves he watches Fox News only.”

                Anon, I note how you are recognizing your inability to write complete sentences and therefore are copying from Wikipedia. That is an improvement. Next time read Wikipedia and see if you can’t construct your sentences in a better fashion.

                The only question is where didn’t I recognize that? I did, but you want to hide your ignorance and inabilities by saying stupid things that aren’t even logical. Go back to hammering nails. You are like a sprig (nail), all body no head.

  4. TRUMP’S OBSESSION WITH ‘FAKE NEWS’..

    MIRROR’S THAT OF PUTIN WHO IS IMPLEMENTING CRACKDOWN

    Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a new law which will allow the punishment of individuals and online media for spreading what Russia calls “fake news” and information which “disrespects” the state.

    The new rules allow prosecutors to direct complaints about material considered insulting to Russian officials to the government, which can then block websites publishing the information. Publications that repeatedly spread “unreliable” information which undermines social order, may face fines of up to $23,000, and repeat offenders could spend time in jail, according to The Washington Post.

    The laws will target online information that presents “clear disrespect for society, government, state symbols, the constitution and government institutions.”

    The Moscow Times reports,

    “Online news outlets and users that spread ‘fake news’ will face fines of up to 1.5 million rubles ($22,900) for repeat offenses. Insulting state symbols and the authorities, including Putin, will carry a fine of up to 300,000 rubles and 15 days in jail for repeat offenses. As is the case with other Russian laws, the fines are calculated based on whether the offender is a citizen, an official or a legal entity. More than 100 journalists and public figures, including human rights activist Zoya Svetova and popular writer Lyudmila Ulitskaya, signed a petition opposing the laws, which they labeled ‘direct censorship.’ ”
    Article continues after sponsor message

    Last week Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov responded to critics of the regulations.

    “No doubt, one can hardly agree with the opinion that this is some sort of censorship,” Peskov said, according to Russian state media. “This sphere – the sphere of fake news – insults and so on, is under strict regulation in many countries of the world, even in European states. This undoubtedly has to be done in our country.”

    Matthew Rojansky, director of the Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute, told NPR the new laws in Russia are “politically significant” because the Internet “remained a relatively free space for political expression, including oppositional to the regime, even as the state media, and all other forms of media, be it print, or television, or radio, were largely shut down by the state, over the last 20 years.”

    Edited from: “Russia Criminalizes The Spread Of Online News Which Disrespects The Government”

    NPR, 3/18/19

    1. TRUMP, LIKE PUTIN,

      WANTS FAKE NEWS TO STOP!

      Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump 4h4 hours ago

      Facebook, Google and Twitter, not to mention the Corrupt Media, are sooo on the side of the Radical Left Democrats. But fear not, we will win anyway, just like we did before! #MAGA

      18,266 replies 20,087 retweets 75,816 likes

      Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump 5h5 hours ago
      More

      The Fake News Media has NEVER been more Dishonest or Corrupt than it is right now. There has never been a time like this in American History. Very exciting but also, very sad! Fake News is the absolute Enemy of the People and our Country itself!

      21,447 replies 20,940 retweets 77,420 likes
      ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

      These are just ‘two’ of many Tweets Trump has post in the past three days railing against so-called ‘fake news’.

      It appears that the unanimous House vote demanding release of The Mueller Report combined with the Senate’s lack of support for Trump’s ‘border emergency’ has sent Trump into ballistic mode.

      1. “FAKE NEWS IS THE ABSOLUTE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE AND OUR COUNTRY ITSELF!

        Look at what Fake News has done to Peter Shill and people like him. Fake News has made them into blithering idiots.

        1. LOL,

          I shouldn’t laugh, all that fake news & this computer crap with it’s waste of time I sometimes think I’d be ahead throwing the PC under a semi truck

        2. TRUMP SAYS FOX NEWS IS THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE AND OUT COUNTRY ITSELF!

          “?????” . . . Fox News equals Fake News . . . “?????”

          1. Diane, the same offer goes to you as I have offered to other lefties that all declined.

            Is Fox News Fake News? No, unless you are a dithering idiot that doesn’t understand what Fake News is.

            Pick a show or two on Fox that you wish to demonstrate produces Fake News. We can tape those shows and then discuss the issue with the ability to refer back to the tape and see whether or not you are right. Based on lefties refusing to do so demonstrates that they are all talk and no action. Remember, there is a difference between news and commentary. The MSM seems to mix the two up so one doesn’t know when the news ends and commentary begins. That is a type of Fake News. The other type are outright lies of the MSM that have been demonstrated over and over again.

            You are a Stalinist coward so I don’t expect you with all your time available to actually agree to a neutral type discussion based on fact.

    2. Well it was a princple well established in the EU by various throughtcrimes such as “Incitement to racial hatred” and “holocaust denial” charges. In Germany if you wave the hand and some thinks you’re seig heiling that can land you in prison too.

      So the West outside the Anglosphere is pretty much on the same page as the Russians, anyhow, like the guy said.

      https://www.warhistoryonline.com/world-war-ii/didnt-know-this-giving-the-nazi-salute-in-modern-day-germany-is-punishable-for-up-to-3yrs-in-prison.html/2

    3. TRUMP’S OBSESSION WITH ‘FAKE NEWS’..

      MIRROR’S THAT OF PUTIN WHO IS IMPLEMENTING CRACKDOWN

      Another item for the ‘poseur or nitwit?” file

      1. Tabby, are we to believe that only ‘nitwits’ notice the parallels between Putin and Trump? Do you contend that only ‘smart’ people look beyond the similarities?

        1. Tabby, are we to believe that only ‘nitwits’ notice the parallels between Putin and Trump?

          Actually, I was referring to your inane attempt to treat as pathological the President’s jabs at the media, and to do so with a dopey analogy.

          There aren’t any parallels between Putin and Trump bar that they both have a certain patriotic-nationalist appeal.

          1. Excuse me while I gag ……….

            Say what? Trunp has a patriotic-nationalist appeal? Is it how he mocks our POWs, makes love to Lil Kim, denounces his own intelligence agencies while at a podium with the Moscow murderer, or when he made excuses for Putin by saying our hands are dirty with murder too?

            Which one of those gave you that feeling, and are you sure it wasn’t indigestion?

            1. Say what? Trunp has a patriotic-nationalist appeal?

              Most certainly does, and you can tell that by the rallies you’re ignoring.

              Is it how he mocks our POWs,

              He insulted John McCain, not POWs in general. Whether it was or was not apposite, McCain was an abrasive man who invited push-back.

              makes love to Lil Kim,

              He doesn’t do that except in your imagination.

              denounces his own intelligence agencies

              With good reason. Those same agencies employed the likes of Michael Scheuer, Valerie Plame, James Clapper, and John Brennan. Only an idiot equates criticism of those agencies with unpatriotic sentiments.

              while at a podium with the Moscow murderer, or when he made excuses for Putin by saying our hands are dirty with murder too?

              Putin’s a perfectly normal range political operator in this world.

              1. Trump said he liked guys who weren’t captured. Do you share that disdain for our POWs?

                Trump said he and Kim were in love and he bent over backwards to stroke this murdering tyrant. Are you bringing a NK flag to your next rally?

                So, you think being on a stage with Putin and saying you accept his version of events and not that of your intelligence agencies, which by the way employ thousands, some of whom risk their lives in the course of collecting the information we need, is patriotic? Are you Russian?

                So you like our President saying we are no better than Russia and and it’s scabrous and murdering leader Putin, and this makes you feel patriotic?

                WTF!

                Well, at least we know who we’re dealing with on this board now.

                1. “Well, at least we know who we’re dealing with on this board now.”

                  We certainly do Anon. We know who you are and where you came from Jan F.

  5. What Trump Tweeted as excerpted from the article to which Turley linked in his original post for this thread:

    “So, if there was knowingly & acknowledged to be ‘zero’ crime when the Special Counsel was appointed, and if the appointment was made based on the Fake Dossier (paid for by Crooked Hillary) and now disgraced Andrew McCabe (he & all stated no crime), then the Special Counsel should never have been appointed and there should be no Mueller Report,” Trump tweeted Friday morning.

    “This was an illegal & conflicted investigation in search of a crime. Russian Collusion was nothing more than an excuse by the Democrats for losing an Election that they thought they were going to win,” he continued. “THIS SHOULD NEVER HAPPEN TO A PRESIDENT AGAIN!”

    1. I’m going to tell you something that you may not realize. Of course you will ignore it.

      Chatbots are an American invention. And not a new one. Using them to influence public opinion is not new either. As early as 2003 i had a a veteran explain to me what chatbots were and described information warfare operations in which a certain country’s armed forces had rooms full of people employing specialized software to set up dummy accounts and mass-post propaganda on the internet according to whatever the bullet points from on high were that particular day. I won’t say what country is but let’s just say it was not part of the old Warsaw pact and it wasn’t China either.

      https://cacm.acm.org/magazines/2016/7/204021-the-rise-of-social-bots/fulltext

      A lot of the software tools that “online marketing specialists” use to manage multiple social media accounts have been out there a long time. A lot of software tools are invented by private people through the systemic genius of capitalism and then governments weaponize it.

      So if the Russians finally got around to using “chatbots” as influencers in their infomration warfare operations in 2016, well, they were really late to the game. It’s a Franenstein technology that was already long in play.

      An example of a related technology is the VPN– the seminal idea was the Onion router, invented by the US Naval Lab…. from wiki:

      ?The core principle of Tor, “onion routing”, was developed in the mid-1990s by United States Naval Research Laboratory employees, mathematician Paul Syverson, and computer scientists Michael G. Reed and David Goldschlag, with the purpose of protecting U.S. intelligence communications online. Onion routing was further developed by DARPA in 1997.[22][23][24][25][26][27]

      The alpha version of Tor, developed by Syverson and computer scientists Roger Dingledine and Nick Mathewson[20] and then called The Onion Routing project, or Tor project, launched on 20 September 2002.[1][28] The first public release occurred a year later.[29] On 13 August 2004, Syverson, Dingledine, and Mathewson presented “Tor: The Second-Generation Onion Router” at the 13th USENIX Security Symposium.[30] In 2004, the Naval Research Laboratory released the code for Tor under a free license, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) began funding Dingledine and Mathewson to continue its development.[20]”

      When it comes to the media hand-wringing about Russian bots and so forth,
      “The lady doth protest too much, methink.”

    1. Excerpted from the article linked above:

      The stronger form is known as the “presidential communications privilege.” This relatively robust privilege applies to communications made directly to the president so long as those communications occur “in performance of [a president’s] responsibilities” and “in the process of shaping policies and making decisions.” The presidential communications privilege may also apply to communications “authored or solicited and received by those members of an immediate White House adviser’s staff who have broad and significant responsibility for investigating and formulating the advice to be given the President on the particular matter to which the communications relate.”

      Communications authored by agency officials—executive branch officials outside the White House—are not subject to the presidential communications privilege unless the documents were specifically solicited and received by the president or an appropriate White House advisor to the president.

    2. Also excerpted from the article linked above:

      The courts have consistently held that executive privilege is not absolute and can be “overcome by an adequate showing of need.” This is a flexible standard and does not lend itself to clear predictions about whether a particular assertion of executive privilege will be upheld, but the courts have provided some guidelines to govern claims of executive privilege. The Supreme Court held in United States v. Nixon, for example, that a claim of executive privilege will normally be defeated when the privileged information is needed to provide evidence in a criminal trial—although the strong presumption against revealing information that would jeopardize national security would control even in this instance.

      The courts have been much less eager to breach the privilege with respect to congressional hearings. Case law suggests that a claim of executive privilege may ultimately be defeated when the privileged documents are “demonstrably critical to the responsible fulfillment of [a congressional] Committee’s functions,” but courts generally encourage “negotiations” between Congress and the executive branch, and will only step into a dispute over privileged documents if the political branches fail to reach a compromise.

      1. Repeated for emphasis:

        “A claim of executive privilege may ultimately be defeated when the privileged documents are ‘demonstrably critical to the responsible fulfillment of [a congressional] Committee’s functions . . .”

        Gee. I wonder if that includes any House Committee conducting Impeachment Hearings on a sitting president? They say that The Supreme Court unanimously ruled that Nixon had to turn over the tapes. Talk about “presidential communications privilege.” Those tapes had Nixon talking to Haldeman, Erlichman and a whole bunch of other close advisers. And The SCOTUS said the privilege did not apply to those tapes.

  6. Consider this: Trump had “presidential communications” with James Comey, Rod Rosenstein, Jeff Sessions, Don McGahn and Reince Priebus amongst many others. I mention those five people because each of them may have been a witness to Trump’s obstruction of justice by means of Trump’s “presidential communications” with those five people amongst many others. If the executive privilege over “presidential communications” is, as Turley argues, more difficult to overcome “even when there are allegations of misconduct by high-level officials,” then the executive privilege over “presidential communications” facilitates the commission of a crime; namely, obstruction of justice. If A POTUS, any POTUS, wants to obstruct justice, then all that POTUS has to do is have “presidential communications” with The Director of the FBI, The Attorney General, The Deputy Attorney General, The Chief White House Counsel and The Chief of Staff in order to facilitate the commission of the crime known as obstruction of justice. There’s a name for that result. You’ve read it before. You’re going to read again. Here it comes. FUBAR. FUBAR. FUBAR. FUBAR. FUBAR.

    1. Late4Yoga still pining her life hopes on Trump-Russia collusion? Is Late4Yoga also a flat-earther? Inquiring minds want to know!

      1. Where have you been, Purple Swallow? Eating bugs on the wing, again? BTW, I have an entire rookery of Sparrows at my house. They’re so mean and nasty that I haven’t seen a Purple Swallow in over thirty years, already. The Earth is obviously round. The question is whether Trump will get away scot free with Conspiracy to Defraud the United States. The answer is still eeksie peeksie. Why else would Turley be yammering on and on about under-handed ways to suppress the Mueller report? Did I mention that The Earth is obviously round?

        1. You lefty loons laughed at Trump and treated him like a buffoon during the 2016 election. Then he went out and outworked/kicked the ass of your stay at home candidate. And now nearly three years later you treat him like some Dr. Evil mastermind who so far has gotten away with “Conspiracy to Defraud the United States”. You all still suck on the Trump-Russia pacifier that you so willingly bought into and in the meantime developed no game as is evidenced by weak-messaged and fake candidates like Beta O’Roarke.

          1. 2nd loser in 16 years the Electoral College saddled us with and a pig of a human being.

            You must be very proud.

            1. Dear Anon, Madam Hilary played the electoral college map game and lost. She counted those electoral votes in WI, MI and OH as being won without working for them. They both played the same game i.e. who gets the most electoral votes wins. Places like CA, NY and IL skew popular vote totals where Reps candidates don’t bother to campaign much. Yes I am proud of the way President Trump outworked your stay-at-home entitled candidate and I am proud of his conservative record to date. When you refer to “a pig of a human being” perhaps you are confusing President Trump with Madam Hilary’s husband who worked an intern with a cigar in oval office and received BJ’s. He did not even have the decency to return the favor and go down on her .

              1. Presidential Elections were not intended to be games where the guy with the least points wins. The Electoral College was another sick compromise demanded by the cancerous slave states, and nowhere are winner take all outcomes in the constitution. American voters rejected the indecent pig you follow as your leader and continue to do so in increasing numbers. Given the GOP’s loss of all popular votes for President since 1992 except for one, only a fool would assume their luck will hold out again. See you in 2020.

                1. “Presidential Elections were not intended to be games where the guy with the least points wins.” No, you are delusional – the guy with the MOST points wins and those points are called electoral votes. Any change to the game would require 3/4 approval by by House and Senate. Aint gonna happen. The system as-is forces candidates to pay attention to the whole country, state by state. If your beloved Madam Hilary Rodham Clinton were not such an arrogant biyatch then she would have picked herself up from her fainting spells and hit the pavement like Trump did in places like WI, MI, OH, & PA. You are now engaging in classic Loser Talk.

                  1. Sure, it’s possible to come up with a royal flush two hands in a row.

                    Good luck with the loser pig you call Daddy.

                  2. Standard GOP BS talking point. Was it “paying attention” to the whole country that had both candidates ignore the 3 largest states? Think about what your lip syncing before you get on stage.

                    1. “…..both candidates ignore the 3 largest states?” You make a comment like this without mentioning the “three largest states”. That would be CA, TX, FL which went to Clinton, Trump, Trump respectively. Seems to me none of these three states were ignored. Methinks the lady (Anon) has suffered brain damage from her Trump derangement syndrome and can no longer think straight or formulate a coherent comment.

                    2. The issue was where the candidates went, not who won them, remember – of course you do. Nobody went to California or Texas or …. New York.

                      My bad on Florida – I was thinking NY which is of course the 4th largest state, meaning this beautiful electoral college system which BM claims insures full campaigning does not cause candidates to cover the country. It causes them to ignore 3 of the 4 largest states by population.

                    3. What you say about candidates ignoring the three or four biggest states is not accurate. Do a quick google check and you will see plenty of examples of Trump campaign rallies in all four and Clinton spending a lot of time raising $$ in CA and NY. Those four big states get plenty of attention, the problem with switching to popular vote is that the candidates might pay too much attention to those states and camp out there to chase single vote volumes and pay less attention to the rest of the country. The math is not there in congress to get to 3/4 in House and Senate required to change to popular vote anytime in the near future and certainly not before 2020 election. By the way, Obama used federal funds to give away free cell phones in Ohio in 2012 to help himself secure that state’s electoral votes.

                    4. Bill –

                      2/3 vote, not 3/4. By the way, most Americans favor an end to the electoral college system, and if the GOP loses one of these with a popular candidate, you’ll be one of them.

                      The site below tallies campaign visits by the 2 candidates in 2016. The only state of the 4 biggest that registers is Florida. Fund raisers don’t count as campaigning as they are usually done quietly, the peopple rich enough to attend may or may not represent any local issues.

                      https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/hillary-clinton-donald-trumps-campaigns-numbers/story?id=43356783

                    5. “The site below tallies campaign visits by the 2 candidates in 2016”

                      I don’t normally pay much attention to this type of data which can be easily manipulated but since Anon brought it up I found some of the data of interest even if there is manipulation (this is a site favorable to Hillary)

                      PLACES CAMPAIGNED:
                      CLINTON: 37 states plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico
                      TRUMP: 45 plus Washington, D.C. and Mexico and Scotland

                      That tells us one of the rationals behind the electoral college.

                      MONEY RAISED:
                      CLINTON: $502 million
                      TRUMP: $258 million

                      (This doesn’t include entertainers that freely gave their workproduct to Hillary nor the press that was about 90% or more for Hillary)

                      This tells us that money doesn’t always count, but we know the big money resides in only a few places leaving out most of America.

                    6. The data on campaign visits conforms the fact that the electoral college does not encourage candidates to address all citizens, as neither Trump or Hillary spent any significant time in 3 of our 4 largest states during 2016.

                      PS ABC News is not a Clinton favorable website as Allan falsely claims. Here’s some of the data:

                      TRUMP:
                      Days spent there since clinching nomination on May 26:

                      FLORIDA: 19
                      OHIO: 17
                      PENNSYLVANIA: 14
                      NORTH CAROLINA: 15
                      NEVADA: 4
                      NEW HAMPSHIRE: 9
                      MICHIGAN: 7
                      IOWA: 6
                      COLORADO: 7
                      VIRGINIA: 10
                      ARIZONA: 4
                      MINNESOTA: 1
                      WISCONSIN: 5

                      CLINTON
                      Days spent there since clinching nomination on June 7:

                      FLORIDA: 15
                      OHIO: 15
                      PENNSYLVANIA: 15
                      NORTH CAROLINA: 11
                      NEVADA: 6
                      NEW HAMPSHIRE: 4
                      MICHIGAN: 4
                      IOWA: 3 (+ 1 event on the Iowa/Illinois border)
                      COLORADO: 3
                      VIRGINIA: 2
                      ARIZONA: 1
                      MINNESOTA: 1
                      WISCONSIN: 0
                      GEORGIA: 0

                      https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/hillary-clinton-donald-trumps-campaigns-numbers/story?id=43356783

                2. “The Electoral College was another sick compromise demanded by the cancerous slave states, and nowhere are winner take all outcomes in the constitution.”

                  Pure ignorance of history and the founding of this nation. What more can one expect from the likes of Jan F. / Anon?

            2. ” saddled us with and a pig of a human being.”

              The irony is that this is said by Anon AKA Jan F. Jan F. was being barbequed for being one and ran away to adopt a new alias.

          2. Purple Swallow, I couldn’t help noticing that you totally avoided my question: Why else would Turley be yammering on and on about under-handed ways to suppress the Mueller report?

            For more than two years, already, you Trumpeters have been proclaiming Trump’s innocence, decrying the Witch Hunt based on a hoax, or worse, and demanding proof that a crime had been committed before Trump would answer all of Mueller’s questions, while denying that there had been probable cause to investigate Trump in the first place, even whilst demanding that Mueller should file his final report beginning last Summer and continuing repeatedly all the way to the present juncture, when you all start conniving under-handed ways to suppress Mueller’s report so that neither Congress nor the American people will be able to read a word of what you Trumpeters have been adamantly demanding the whole way through. Evidence that a crime may have been committed. And now you don’t want anybody to read about it? Who’s sucking on the “pacifier” now, Purple Swallow?

            1. “Bill Martin, I couldn’t help noticing that you totally avoided my question: Why else would Turley be yammering on and on about under-handed ways to suppress the Mueller report?” Because he is tired of being effing harassed about a hoax perpetuated by a dead senator, ex-president, ex-FBI director, ex-deputy FBI director, hack Dem congressmen, hack media, and conspiracy theorists such as yourself. It is understandable for anybody getting unfairly excessively harassed for any reason to be human and respond with F-off retorts. His counter-punching is an attractive trait for voters unlike Beta O’Roarke who ran for the hills when he got challenged about innocent and supportive comments he made about his wife

              1. Trump is supposed to be the President of the United States. The President of the United States is not supposed to be whiny cry-baby little school girl. Senator John McCain was laid to rest in the cold, cold ground more than three months ago. But the whiny cry-baby little school girl just can’t let go and move on to something higher and finer than speaking ill of the dead. Trump is low. Because low is what Trump does. If you think that you’re looking up to Trump the lowest of the low, what do you think that says about you and your perspective, Purple Swallow? Lower than the lowest of the low?

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