Mueller’s Mixed Message: The Special Counsel’s Shrug Over Obstruction

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the Barr summary of the Special Counsel findings.

Here is the column:

After millions of dollars and two years of investigation, the summary of the findings of special counsel Robert Mueller is out. First and foremost, Mueller found there was no established conspiracy or collusion between anyone in the Trump campaign and the Russians. Second, Mueller made a curious type of prosecutor “declination” — not declining to prosecute, as he did on collusion, but declining an opinion either way.

That’s right: After more than 2,800 subpoenas, 500 search warrants, interviews with hundreds of witnesses and almost 300 judicial orders for records and surveillance, Mueller simply offered a collective shrug from his team regarding the question of obstruction of justice.

That was understandably not sufficient for Attorney General Bill Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who hold the quaint notion that prosecutors are supposed to reach conclusions. That is what they did in a matter of two days, finding that the evidence was clearly insufficient to establish the crime of obstruction.

Special counsels are not supposed to end investigations like “The Sopranos” TV series, leaving it to the viewer to guess whether Tony Soprano survived his final scene. In reality, the answer is abundantly clear. While the evidence of obstruction was always stronger than collusion, it would be a laughable case to bring in a court of law.

Collusion

For two years, legal analysts and politicians convinced voters there was a strong case of collusion-related crimes. The drumbeat of “bombshell” disclosures and “smoking gun” stories was disconcerting and, frankly, disgraceful. At the time of Mueller’s appointment, I wrote that there is no such crime as collusion and little chance that a collusion-related crime like conspiracy could be established. With each new “speaking indictment,” that view was reinforced.ADVERTISEMENT

Yet, in this age of rage, people were eager to believe experts explaining that a strong case for criminal charges was already established on collusion and they just had to “wait for Mueller” to set things right. Those of us questioning such analysis were painted as “Trumpers” and apologists, even though we criticized Trump for his conduct and comments. 

The plain fact is that fostering the collusion delusion meant windfall ratings and benefits for pundits and politicians alike. The Democrats used the investigation — and the threat of impeachment — as a rallying cry to retake the House. CNN, MSNBC and others made massive profits off the echo-chamber coverage of the deepening collusion case supposedly to be made by Mueller.Indeed, when I detailed the glaring legal flaws in the collusion theory in February 2018, CNN legal analyst and former White House ethics attorney Norm Eisen assured viewers the criminal case for collusion was “devastating” and Trump was “colluding in plain sight.” Eisen recently was hired by the House Judiciary Committee to help direct its investigation of the president.

He was not alone. Cornell Law School Vice Dean Jens David Ohlin declared Donald Trump Jr.’s emails on the infamous Trump Tower meeting were sufficient for criminal charges as “a shocking admission of a criminal conspiracy.” MSNBC legal analyst Paul Butler identified the crime as “conspiring with the U.S.’s sworn enemy to take over and subvert our democracy” and declared that “what Donald Trump Jr. is alleged to have done is a federal crime.”

Even after some of us noted that the absence of additional indictments clearly showed Mueller had not found criminal collusion, many rushed forward to keep the delusion alive. On Sunday, House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) went on CBS’s “Face the Nation” to insist there is ample evidence of collusion — even though not a single person was charged with it. He also insisted Trump might be guilty of collusion but Mueller simply could not indict him under existing Justice Department policies.

That, too, turned out to be untrue. Mueller found no evidence of either Trump or his campaign colluding with the Russians.

Obstruction

While Mueller can be commended for reaching a conclusion on collusion, his position on obstruction was incomplete and, frankly, irresponsible. Mueller simply says that “While this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

What does that mean, exactly? Law is not supposed to be an impressionistic art form in which some see a criminal and others see a crank.

Yet, Barr reported that “The Special Counsel… did not draw a conclusion — one way or the other — as to whether the examined conduct constituted obstruction.”

Of course, we all knew there was evidence on both sides of this issue. As Barr notes, most of that evidence already has been publicly discussed. Yet, Mueller seems to have left the public with a lingering Sopranos-like finale of “What do you think?”

If Mueller believed Trump’s conduct constituted obstruction, he had a duty to say so. What makes his position all the more maddening is that the question does not appear a close one. As I have previously discussed in columns, it is possible to charge someone for obstructing an investigation into a nonexistent crime. While it is hard to do, Trump made his best effort with a long series of inappropriate comments and actions viewed as hostile to the investigation.ADVERTISEMENT

However, the question of a criminal charge comes down to motivation and state of mind. Trump’s comments on the investigation are not isolated departures from the new normal of his administration. He has ignored widespread calls for restraint in his public statements on subjects ranging from immigration to North Korea to NATO. In these areas, he has incautiously attacked cabinet members and fired a slew of officials, from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to multiple chiefs of staff.

Mueller concluded that Trump was not hiding collusion but was taking steps that could be viewed as obstructive. That is obvious.

However, to bring a criminal case on the actual crime of obstruction would be absurd. Trump could simply argue that he viewed the collusion investigation to be a deep-state conspiracy and refused to stay quiet about it — but he never fired Mueller, destroyed evidence, or forced an early conclusion to the investigation. Indeed, even fired FBI director James Comey said Trump agreed that the investigation should be allowed to continue, to reach its own conclusions. Trump objected that Comey would not tell the public what he was telling Congress: that Trump was not a target of that investigation.

None of this moves Trump out of legal jeopardy. He just pulled free of the gravitational pull of Jupiter but is now entering the asteroid belt of multiple smaller investigations across a broader expanse. From the Southern District of New York to various congressional committees, these investigations likely will continue for much if not all of his remaining term.

It is not clear if Trump has learned from this experience. He almost “counterpunched” his way into an obstruction prosecution. It also is not clear if many voters have learned the countervailing lesson about rage and reality in analyzing alleged crimes.

For two years, “Wait for Mueller” has become an increasingly desperate mantra. Many viewed Mueller as the anti-Trump who would finally rid them of this meddlesome president.

Well, Mueller has come and Trump is likely to remain. That is the reality, and all the rage in the world is unlikely to change it.

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

118 thoughts on “Mueller’s Mixed Message: The Special Counsel’s Shrug Over Obstruction”

        1. Squeeky, feel free to take more break time. Your ‘honest world’ is probably a day-job with no time for online comments. Perhaps you called-in sick today.

  1. Claiming that Trump won a 100 meter hurdle race by clearing the first hurdle and declaring victory is a little premature. Until the full report is out and read then we all just don’t know the results do we?

  2. OBSTRUCTION “WOULD BE A LAUGHABLE CASE TO BRING IN A COURT OF LAW ”

    Turley hit the nail on the head. When we hear people talk of obstruction we should be laughing at them or at least pittying them for their ignorance.

    1. Others disagree. Marths Stewart did time for obstruction when she was not found guilty of another crime.

      And 2 legal scholar opinions (Posner is a well known conservative legal authority)

      “”You can obstruct justice even if a prosecutor ultimately finds you were not guilty of committing the crime that was the focus of the underlying investigation,” said Miriam Baer, a professor at Brooklyn Law School. “Even if a prosecutor ultimately concluded that you weren’t guilty of crime X, that says nothing as to whether you thought that you might be indicted for crime X, or, for that matter, if you thought one of your friends of family members would be indicted for crime X.”

      Eric Posner, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School, agreed that an obstruction prosecution could have been argued in this case.

      “Suppose Trump knew that no crime had been committed but believed that the investigation would uncover politically or personally embarrassing information, or if he believed that the investigation would embarrass or implicate an ally, aide, or family member,” Posner said. “Then interfering with the investigation is a crime. The reason is that the purpose of the investigation is to find the truth, and if people obstruct an investigation, then the investigation becomes more difficult, wasting government resources.”

      https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2019/mar/25/martha-stewart-donald-trump-can-there-be-obstructi/

      1. Dear Anon, I am going to try to help you get over this (as I tried to help Late4Yoga). “Crime X” that you refer to in your example is non-existent – the conspiracy theory of Trump-Russia collusion was determined by the left’s beloved Bob Muler to be a big fat ZERO so no “Crime X” (I hope you can follow so far). AG Burr -acting within rules of special counsel (i.e. special counsel reports to AG) – concluded that obstruction was a big fat NO. ZERO “Crime X” plus NO obstruction per AG authority = IT IS OVER. Now the Dems can still try to pursue in House which will ultimately go nowhere and hand another gift to Trump’s already high probability of 2020 re-election. Checkmate. Now go in peace and maybe volunteer for some community service and convert that hate-Trump energy into something positive. Good bye.

        1. I’m sorry, I will respond to serious posts, but unless an easy fact correction is necessary ignore vanity posts like the one above. I refer those interested to the link I posted above where actual legal experts discuss the issue. Suffice it to say that yes, obstruction charges can be brought without an accompanying other criminal charge. Barr may be basing his decision on the preponderance of the evidence – which Mueller declined to do – but there being no other criminal charge does not appear valid by itself for passing on obstruction. If Barr agrees with that, it is good news for Trump and his supporters as any other reasons gain more signifigance.

          1. I am sorry that my post is not “serious” enough for you to respond, but you seem to have responded anyway. You go have fun with your “actual legal experts” if that soothes you. I on the other hand am going to keep it simple and follow the advice of Steve Marriucci (not an actual legal expert): “Believe what you see” – and this man sees that it is over as outlined in my not-“serious” post above. By the way Anon, you strike me as a man who drinks his tea with pinky up as you appeal to authority of “actual legal experts” like Harry Melber on MSNBC.

                  1. Sir, I don’t swing that way and my sense is that your wife can feel safe that you will not be pursued by anybody who does (safe from women also). Just wanted to confirm that you are pseudo-intellectual lefty – I will go with that. Speaking of fantasies – good luck with your take-down-Trump fantasies. You bought into it hook line and sinker and you are now an honorary member of the dumbfokkers club.

                    1. I’m about done with Bill, but I don’t say or post things I am not pretty confident I can back up. Among those things are the character of the President – not necessarily that of his supporters – and complete gullibility – at best – of his supporters. Things I have not said or posted was that Trump was guilty of a criminal conspiracy involving collusion, though he might be, or obstruction of justice at a criminal level, though he might be. It is clear his campaign colluded with the Russian government – see trump Tower meeting and Trump’s lie to cover it – but apparently it did not rise to the level of criminal conspiracy. It is also true that he obstructed justice by lying about that meeting, firing Comey over Russia, and various other attempts to destroy the investigation, but again Mueller was agnostic on whether it led to a criminal and prosecutable level.

                      In short, nothing I have said has been undermined by the report and I look forward to it’s release – properly redacted.

                    2. Anon, I see you driveling on below with more hate-Trump blather. You all wasted 2+ years fantasizing about a take-down and neglected developing any real game. Now you all over-pursued and likely sealed the deal for Trump’s re-election in 2020. With the failed take-down, you all still get to vote in 2020. Good luck with that tough you all have likely self-sabotaged any chance of that making a difference. Karma is indeed a biyatch.

                    1. So finally you see the light. You agree that it will be settled at the ballot box in 2020 and not through some back door coup.

                    2. Bill, that has always been my expectation. Bill would do better as a poster if he replied to what people say and not what he hoped or imagined they said.

                    3. Anon, Quote from my favorite TV show: “Not every insult requires a response”. You come across as quite the lefty gasbag – full of accusations against Trump – but I will give you credit for actually acknowledging that Trump Up or Down should be settled at the ballot box in 2020, compared to many leftists on this board that have been pining for a back-door coup since 2016 election.

          2. Anon, it was determined that no evidence supported an obstruction charge, either. Our own host argued against an obstruction charge. I agree that someone can be charged with obstructing an investigation into a crime he was innocent of. For example, a man could obstruct an investigation into him for murdering his business partner, of which he was innocent, because he did not want his embezzling to be discovered.

            However, in this case, an obstruction charge was not warranted. It was within his purview to fire Comey. Comey himself is on record admitting that Trump did not interfere with the investigation.

            It bothers me that there are so many people who justify wrongdoing, if it can possibly unseat a President they dislike. We all get that some people dislike Trump. Even those who support his agenda dislike him at times. (Trump, please use a similar team for crafting Tweets that are used for crafting speeches. Yes, it will still sound like you, and convey your message, but you will be saved from laying out landmines in front of you. Can you throw us a bone, here?) Regardless, he is who the people chose.

            In a similar manner, there is a lot of talk about recallling Gavin Newsome over the latest drinking water tax, road diets, vacation train boondoggle, etc. I always answer that Californians voted for higher taxes, more homelessness pooping in the street and throwing garbage on the ground, and more of government telling them what they can carry groceries home with and may they use a straw. He allowed the teachers union to attack Prop 13 protections on businesses and cap competing charter schools. He is whom the people lawfully chose. Granted, it is their own destruction and will drive more businesses out of CA. If the people are determined to destroy their economy and standard of living, they have the right to do so.

            You may not like Trump. He is who the people chose. I really do not want to hear desperate clinging to the fallacy that he’s a Russian spy, which will eventually fall away on the pile of he’s an anti-Semite, Nazi, racist, was going to make Kim Yong Un blow us up, etc. Enough already.

            We are in desperate need of a return to journalistic integrity. More straight news, and less op ed telling us what to think. The country would not believe these crazy ideas if there was more integrity in the media. I remember watching a clip of The View in which Whoopy asked why the Left keeps getting these stories wrong. Was it Covington High School? Joy answered, because they don’t like Trump. That’s it. Do anything, say anything, because they don’t like Trump.

            That’s not right. I hope that, regardless of political affiliation, we can pause a moment and ask ourselves if what we are saying or doing is right and good.

            1. Barr exonerated on obstruction, not Mueller. Let’s wait for the details in the report.

              The people did not choose Trump.

              We agree on the need for more straight news and I urge you to read our best news sources like the WSJ and NYT’s and spend less time in front of Fox and MSNBC.

              We agree that Covington High was mischaracterized. Prejudice getting in the way of facts is a bi-partisan fault.

              1. Anon….Mueller left it for Barr to do.
                For you bottomfeeders, I’ll give you the bottom line:
                Trump was right. Fox News was right. Sean Hannity was right.Tucker was right.
                You were wrong.
                Period.

      2. Insider trading is illegal. If you are chummy with the CEO of a company who tells of a significant development soon-to-be-announced to the public, and you trade on that information, you have committed a crime.
        And the CEO is likely to be treated more severely for illegally tipping off his buddies ( in this case, I think the CEO also lbenefited from trading on the insider information).
        So I’m Stewart’s case, the initial crime was her trading on and benefiting from insider information.
        Lying about it to investigators didn’t help her legal position.

    2. So you must agree with the ole saying that if the President does it, it’s not illegal. Then fine, you finally have your dictator that you on the right have always wanted.

      1. More accurately, if the president you voted against and depise did it, he must be guilty.
        That is the Fishwings, L4B, Natcookoo/ Anonymous, etc. standard on display here.
        Prominently on display, and on display a long time.

  3. Bill Martin,
    She a will never “move on”. If the facts do not conform to her beliefs, then the facts must be wrong.
    From that, she “moves on” to some of the most muddled, tangled, factually inaccurate comments ever written here.
    Anyone that obsessed and that dishonest does not move on; those characteristics are so deeply engrained within her that she’s attached to her obsessions and lying, and they are attached to her.

    1. Tom Nash, Late4Yoga exhibits highly exaggerated lefty loon behavior i.e. driven by what she wants vs. what is – like a petulant little brat. CNN and MSNBC were showing signs of getting away from this story – let’s see if that sticks. CNN/MSNBC (more so the latter) business model is to tell the lefty loons lies they want to hear and they hire hacks like Brennan and The Clapper to perpetuate the money-making propaganda. I am guessing that Brennan and Clapper will get dropped soon if not already done. They are frigging whores just like Comey, McCabe, Strok, Paide et.al. This group has sullied the reputation of our beloved “institutions” but left takes hands-off approach to this scum.

  4. What, there are journalists, working lawyers, and members of the law professoriate who are intellectual and moral frauds? Say it ain’t so.

    Here’s a hypothesis: Mueller and his Democratic donor crew are a common type among prosecutors: the vain fool who cannot admit error. (An extreme example would be Wm. Peterson, once district attorney in Pontontoc County, Oklahoma and justly flayed in John Grisham’s The Innocent Man. Of course, he suffered no professional repercussions). In the case of Mueller, Weissman et al, there was almost certainly no time over the last two years when they were acting in good faith.

    1. So, you are saying the Mueller report is hooey and it’s conclusions should be thrown out?

      PS I know very well a “prosecutor” He is a democrat but donates to no one, most of the fellow AUSA’a who he works with on cases are republicans who he respects and is very good friends with. None of them GAFF about politics when they are on the scent and the trail. It’s called professionalism.

      You don’t know what the f..k you are talking about, again, but have some minimal talent for speaking derisively about those you don;t know and can’t measure up to.

      PS Among his biggest cases – which he led and worked close with FBI agents on – involved Democratic politicians and corrupt federal agents and he was on a special counsels team going after a Democratic politician.

      1. So, you are saying the Mueller report is hooey and it’s conclusions should be thrown out?

        I see reading comprehension is a problem for you.

        1. So, the fact that according to you it was written by “vain fool(s) who cannot admit error” you believe it’s results are valid.

          Interesting theory.

        2. Absurd,
          I think the problem is that Anon likes to present himself as “in the know” about the FBI, etc.
          And he thinks an anonymous person who posts here claiming superior knowledge and experience because of his connections with anonymous people is supposed to impress us.
          You are a real cynic not to buy that….shame on you.😉😄

          1. Obviously anyone here can dismiss what others say because we are anonymous posters on the internet, so you’ll have to take my word for what I say or consider if I have made similar claims of a personal knowledge on a subject, thus diluting the impact of this one or if I state things illogical or know to be false. Your call, but of course we all must abide by that standard.

            I assure you my information is very close 2nd hand, I know my source very well, including his character and truthfulness, and have many stories of his past with DOJ – they are very interesting cases, some of which have been on the front page of the NYTs – in real time, which included comments about his fellow AUSA’s, their politics, and how little that mattered to him or anyone in the office. Like most of us, most of them take their work seriously and try to do their very best at it and the politics of their prosecution targets plays zero role in the vigor with which they pursue them. The case with a Democratic politician who had statewide importance was prosecuted under the Obama/Holder DOJ and his US Attorney was of course an Obama appointee. I have met FBI agent friends, one of whom in particular did hair raising nightly undercover work with gangsters in night clubs and then went home to his wife and kids – almost every night. Those who have applauded or accepted our low life president’s slurs against the FBI and DOJ or like Absurd might be nursing too many losses to prosecutors – I don’t know that but it sounds about right – dishonor themselves, not those who do difficult and/or dangerous work for the country and for the ;lawyers, for less money than the private world pays.

            Believe it or not.

            1. “So you’ll have to take my word for it”. Actually, I ddn’t see any reason to take Anon/ JanF./ Frisby’s word for it.

      2. Anon:

        “So, you are saying the Mueller report is hooey and it’s conclusions should be thrown out?“ My understanding was that Mueller refused to be clear that there is no obstruction case instead of adding in that little phrase out of spite. He even prefaced it with saying there was no evidence of obstruction. He made a misstep. Was it out of pride? Only Mueller knows.

        I am happy to hear that your prosecutor friend leaves his personal politics at the door. We all should when passing judgement, but it is most critical for it to occur in the judicial system, news, and education.

        How much trouble over the past decade could have been avoided if people would leave their personal politics at the door?

        1. In leaving in that little zinger that the lack of evidence does not exonerate Trump, Mueller has given the wedge to divide our country even longer. Bad form, Mueller.

          It’s like publicly declaring that there was no evidence to charge Person X with murder, but that does not exonerate him. That means that even though he will never be arrested or brought to trial, the cloud of guilt will hang over his head every time he applies for a job or asks a girl out on a date. That is injustice. The facts, and nothing but the facts.

      3. Again, we have an anonymous contributor named Anon who knows from anonymous sources how rank and dike FBI agents viewed Comey, and now tells us about his knowledge of an anonymous prosecutor.

  5. Just thinking that if the democrats stop going after Trump they will be able to work on passing legislation. That means they will be coming after us.

    1. Good point Bob. When those rabid dogs are busy chasing the next rabbit – that keeps them busy and distracted from introducing/passing crazy legislation. Next rabbit to chase down rabbit hole is obstruction. AG Barr has made it clear that he won’t pursue obstruction for a non-crime hoax. That leaves Dumbocrats Fat Jerry Nadler, Adam Shifty Schiff, Eric Swallows, Mad Maxine Waters et al to run with this dumb issue which will only add to the already high probability of Trump being re-elected next year. Dumbocrats are so dumb and filled with Trump hate that they cannot see big picture.

      1. “Do you believe a president could lawfully issue a pardon in exchange for the recipient’s promise not incriminate him?” Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) asked Barr during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

        “No, that would be a crime,” Barr said.

      2. Excerpted from an article linked around here somewhere:

        Barr served as attorney general in the Bush administration from late 1991 to early 1993. Most notably, Barr railed publicly against a long running independent counsel investigation of the Reagan-Bush administration and he fully supported President Bush’s last minute pardon of Caspar Weinberger, Reagan’s former defense secretary. Weinberger had been indicted on five felony charges, including accusations that he obstructed federal investigations and lied to Congress about the Iran-Contra affair.

        1. Please allow me to try to button this down for you Ms. Late4Yoga. The special counsel was initiated by Trump justice department and ultimately reports to Trump justice department. You and the rest of the lefty loon flock were ecstatic with the appointment of special counsel by acting AG Rod Rosenstein and sang the praises of Muler “Bob Muler is beyond reproach”. Now Muler reports to AG no conspiracy to collude (most important) and offered no recommendation on obstruction of investigation of hoax. Per special counsel rules AG weighed in on obstruction with a big fat NO. You all had faith and praise for special counsel process at outset so maybe you all should try to accept the outcome – can’t have it both ways. I have tried to make it clear and I hope this helps you to move on. We are approaching 48 hours now so time for you to start to come down from the shock you are obviously in. Maybe try a walk around the block or quiet moment in church if that is your thing. Good Day Ma’am

  6. A reminder that we’ve been down this road before with Attorney General William Barr and that that is no coincidence:

    https://historynewsnetwork.org/article/171025

    Jan 22, 2019 … Donald Trump’s nomination of William Barr to become attorney … role in Iran- Contra, including the administration’s orchestrated cover-up, …

  7. Here is the exact quotation from the Mueller report that AG Barr cited in his summary letter to Congress:

    “[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”

    Here’s the demonstrably false statement that Turley keeps coughing up like a hairball:

    “Mueller found no evidence of either Trump or his campaign colluding with the Russians.”

    If you publicly release the Mueller report, rather than suppress The Mueller report for the sake of garbling the Mueller report, then you might be able to warrant a paraphrase along the following lines:

    “[T]he investigation did not uncover enough evidence to charge any additional members of the Trump campaign of conspiring with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”

    But, even then, there would be a likely fallacy of emphasis on the difference between the Russian government versus Russians associated with the Russian government.

    1. L4B will garble the Mueller report toward here own ends whether it is released or not.
      We know some of the basics of what that report concluded, and clearly some are not happy with those conclusions.
      So they’ll either attack by mistaking the contents of the Mueller report, or attack the summary of that report as distorting the Mueller report.
      So, the ” out” for them is that Mueller failed them, or that Mueller succeeded in concluding what they wanted him to conclude, but the DOJ is lying about Mueller’s conclusion.
      That’s pretty desperate but also common.

      1. You might be able to warrant a paraphrase along the following lines:

        “[T]he investigation did not uncover enough evidence to charge any additional members of the Trump campaign of conspiring with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”

        But you’ll have to release the Mueller report in its entirety to warrant that paraphrase.

  8. Turely also wrote, “That, too, turned out to be untrue. Mueller found no evidence of either Trump or his campaign colluding with the Russians.”

    There Turley goes again with a blatantly, egregiously, flagrantly false statement. What Barr and Rosenstein said is that Mueller was unable to establish a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russian government that had conducted the hack and leak operation in the 2016 election.

    Here’s what’s really going on: 1) Demand evidence. 2) Suppress evidence. 3) Deny the existence of the evidence that one had demanded so that one could suppress that evidence. 4) Garble Mueller’s report by putting words into Mueller’s mouth that we already know Mueller did not say. 5) Threaten to investigate anyone who refuses to salute the garble.

    Deep State has not yet begun to leak. But the minute Trump launches his counter-investigation, Deep State will begin leaking like a sieve. Trump will not survive that deluge.

  9. Turley wrote, “Mueller found there was no established conspiracy or collusion between anyone in the Trump campaign and the Russians.”

    Turley’s statement is false. Manafort was chairman of the Trump campaign. Manafort conspired with Kilimnik and Deripaska. Both Kilimnik and Deripaska are Russians. Ergo, Mueller found that there was an established conspiracy between someone in the Trump campaign and Russians.

    Meanwhile, AG Barr and DAG Rosenstein found that [paraphrased] Mueller was unable to establish a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russian election interference. The emphasis on the Russian election interference was even further narrowed in Barr’s letter to the Russian government, itself. Neither Kilimnik nor Deripaska, nor even Veselnitskaya, for that matter, are literally members of the Russian government.

    AG Barr is garbling Mueller’s report while suppressing Mueller’s report. Turley’s doing the same thing–garbling, incessantly garbling. Stop suppressing Mueller’s report so that we can all find out what Mueller really said. Not what Barr said. Not what Rosenstein said. And certainly not what Trump says.
    Remember: Deep State has not yet begun to leak. But that could easily change.

    1. L4D can point out which section of the Mueller report claims a conspiracy on the part of the Trump campagn….the summary of the Mueller report stated no cinspiracy….if L4B believes that Barr Rosenstein distorted Mueller’s findings on the conspiracy, then her “Robert Swain Mueller who would not be deterred” will have something to say about that distortion.
      If L4B has an advanced copy of the Mueller report, maybe a she’ll put her money where her mouth is and let us in on WHERE Mueller concludes the Trump campaign conspired with Russia.
      There is a difference between what L4B wants and needs to believe….if that involves manufacturing her own let of facts to do so, she has no inhibitions about doing so.
      Any likely response from L4B will involve volleyball, a Dianese deflection and cluttering, etc.; when challenged and unable to defend her position, she either changes the subject, lies her way out of it, or both.
      That shows real “dedication” on her part.

      1. This could be cleared up in fairly short order; we have two summaries of the Mueller Report.
        The DOJ summary and the L4D summary. If the L4D summary is correct, Mueller will certainly have something to say about the DOJ version, which L4B accuses of distorting Mueller’s conclusion.
        If the DOJ summary is correct, L4B is playing her usual games and falsely stating that Mueller did conclude that there was conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia.
        So this contrast “could be” cleared up and well-defined in a normal exchange with a normal person.
        It won’t be cleared up because L4D chronically deflects and lies though her teeth in her comnents and in her responses.

        1. Mueller publicly disclosed a fair number of court filings in his prosecution of Paul Manafort. One of those court filings demonstrated a conspiracy between Manafort and the Russian intelligence operative, Konstantin Kilimnik, who forwarded Tony Fabrizio’s polling data to the Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska–who is a close friend and ally of Vladimir Putin, who is, in fact, the head of the Russian government.

          Thus, when Turley says that Mueller found no evidence of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, Turley is, in fact, garbling the quotation that AG Barr cited from the Mueller report in Barr’s summary letter to Congress about the Mueller report.

          The legal issues involve the narrowness of Mueller’s claim about the Russian government versus Russians in general, the Russian election interference versus any quid pro quo with Russians that was not made with a public official capable of committing an official act, versus the overly broad misinterpretation that Turley drew about the supposed absence of evidence of any conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russians.

          You will not be allowed to claim that there is no evidence at the same time that you are suppressing the evidence that you claim does not exist. By the same token, you have no way to warrant your claim that I’m supposedly lying about evidence that I have not read because AG Barr won’t let me nor anyone else read that evidence.

          1. Barr and Rosenstein did not have the same “benefit” that JT has here with his collumns; i.e., L4B was not allowed a forum to reword, restate, and distort the DOJ summary.

          2. The indictments against Kilimink and additional Kilimind-related indictments against Manafort were for witness tampering.
            I find that claim that one can not deny the existence of evidence because evidence has been suppressed to be interesting.
            An earlier version of that spin was that the absence of evidence does not mean that evidence is absent.
            They are both handy dodges when the expectations for “the right evidence” to come out are dashed.
            So either, at one point, we haven’t seen the evidence L4B believes is there because Mueller can’t disclose it during his investigation.
            OR, now that the Mueller investigation is complete, the evidence is buried in there somewhere, but the DOJ would not allow it to come out in their summary.
            Even IF the full Mueller report was delivered to L4B for review, her next step would probably be to claim to that the report had been altered to hide to the evidence she wanted and needed to see.

              1. There you go…you went an usual number of comments without using the volleyball deflection.
                Also, I think L4B should customize her avatar to something more appropriate, like this🤥.

    2. OK, then if what L4B is claiming is even partially true, she should be able to show us the indictments issued by Mueller for illegalky conspiring with Russia on MATTERS RELATED TO THE 2016 CAMPAIGN.
      Oh, I forgot….L4B now claims that Mueller was not allowed “to go there” because of Rosenstein’s restrictions.
      Her “arguments” seen to get crazier and more convoluted with each passing day.

      1. Everything you’re looking for is in the breach hearing transcripts and the sentencing memos for Paul Manafort.

        Out of curiosity, when is Ptom Gnash going to post factual information on Res Ipsa Loquitur instead of just constantly demanding that somebody else should do it for him?

        1. L4D has contested both the DOJ summary of the Mueller report, and the statements made in this JT column that are based onon th summary.
          She has flatly stated that the Mueller report was inaccurately summarized as not establishing illegal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia.
          Her parsing involves the ridiculous and invented claim that Mueller was not authorized to draw conclusions about illegal conspiracies outside of direct coordination with the Russian government itself.
          And that Mueller was not authorized to draw conclusions in his report about “individual Russians” involved with the Trump campaign in illegal conspiracies.
          Anyone with a basic understanding of the English language can read Rosenstein’s authorization to Mueller and know that ridiculous claim is absolutely false.
          That takes an incredible amount of contortions and dishonesty fir L4B to present to that horse****.
          She, or anyone else, can spin out lies far faster than anyone can untangle them. Part of her game is that she has a lot of time to waste other people’s time by playing these games.
          So there is her lie that Mueller could only draw conclusions involving illegal conspiracies with the Russian government itself by the Trump campaign, but could not address supposedly illegal campaign-related conspiracies by the Trump campaign with “Russians”.
          If that were the case, then why were there all of the indictments issued for matters that had nothing to do with the campaign?
          That claim by L4D doubles down on her lie, and is another one of her stunts to “make the facts” conform to her beliefs.
          And she does this, again and again and again, without batting an eye.
          That’s why she’s earned the title “lies for breakfast”.
          An additional benefit for her is that she likely pats herself on the back, saying “look how clever ai am in inserting these series of lies to screw up these threads”.
          That’s one of the reasons why I consider trolls like her to be the scum of the internet.

          1. Since the irritable male syndrome patient won’t take L4D’s words for it. Take Marcy Wheeler’s word instead:

            As has been noted countless times in the last 22 months, Rosenstein asked Mueller to investigate:

            •any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump; and

            •any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation;

            •any other matters with the scope of 28 C.F.R. § 600.4(a).

            •if the Special Counsel believes it is necessary and appropriate, the Special Counsel is authorized to prosecute federal crimes arising from the investigation of these matters.

            1. Note: Rosenstein presumably oversaw Mueller’s investigation in just such a way as at least to have participated in Mueller’s decisions to hand-off numerous investigations of probable crimes to other United States Attorneys that arose in the course of Mueller’s investigation but were not specifically related to Russian government election interference activities.

            2. Note the phrase “Russian government and individual”….I’m not interested in exchanges with someone who is speaking out of both sides of her mouth at the same time.
              Additionally, the full text if the Rosenstein directive to Mueller is far more expansive, far less restrictive, than L4B is trying to pretend.

  10. Mr. Trump: Build Up That Fence. Not a Wall but a fence. One cannot see through a wall and spot the migrants getting ready to climb over. Ask Pence about a fence. Ask Hillary about a Wall– one between Bill and Monica.

    It is time to prosecute Hillary and her Klan.

  11. Many streets have no signs up barring the parking of a car on the side of the road. If another car comes along and runs into a parked car they claim “obstruction” of space by the parked car.
    Many people will fart in a crowded theater. Others seated there will yell out when they hear the fart and some will complain when they smell it. Here in the Trump situation no one saw or heard him fart. Yet there is all this complaining.
    Collusion is an illusion. Obstruction is like abduction or a fart.

  12. Mueller informed Barr 3 weeks ago that he would not draw a conclusion about obstruction.
    It was almost certainly more than two days that Barr and Rosenstein had to draw their conclusions.
    And the bogus criticism that Barr and Rosenstein “went in to the cold” over the weekend and made a snap decision seems more seems pretty lame, considering the running start/advanced information that the DOJ had before last weekend.

    1. Tom…..don’t know if it’s true, but wikipedia says Barr and Mueller are close friends and their wives go to Bible study together.

      1. If my wife went to Bible study I would divorce her. Bible study is for dumb people. Study Mad Magazine.

      2. Cindy,
        I’ve read similar accounts of the relationship between the Muellers and the Barrs.
        Mueller and Barr have had some obvious, and public, differences on legal issues related to the activities of the OSC.
        But those differences don’t appear to have interfered with their friendship.

    2. The obstruction complaint was facially silly. It didn’t require much pondering. One of the high class shysters working for Mueller would certainly put in a lot of effort scrounging for the necessary sophistries to make it work, but an honest lawyer wouldn’t.

      1. Absurd,
        If a prosecutor is on the fence about drawing a conclusion about whether criminal actions occurred…..if he’s uncertain to the point that he passes on making that judgement…..that indicates to me to that he has a very weak case that would be a mistake to pursue.
        In this particular case, given Mueller’s inconclusive results at the end of the day ( known to Barr 3 weeks ago when Mueller told him he would pass on the obstruction issue), it looks like it would be a real stretch for the AG or a prosecutor to press a case for obstruction.

  13. Multiple analysts have opined that the unceasing attacks on Trump have undermined the negotiating strength of the US with Russia, North Korea, China, the Middle East, and Europe. How does this work, exactly? Foreign heads of state are to arrive in the US, watch pundits and actresses call Trump a racist Nazi, and red states are racist misogynists, and then discuss policy with Trump over tea?

    First he was an anti-Semite. When that was wrong he had dementia. When that was wrong it was heart disease. When that was wrong it was racist. When that was wrong it was that the Wall wouldn’t work while at the same time was immoral. Then it was collusion with Russia.

    What we are left with is that Trump can be an unlikeable fellow. Democrats cannot accept that they lost a lawful election, and have been trying to destroy a President by any means possible. This is not the behavior of a Republic, which the US may no longer be if Democrats succeed in abolishing the Electoral College.

    Look at the lengths that the Left will go to in order to get their way.

    Trump sends mean Tweets. He gets in his own way in his public discourse. He is whom the US elected.

    If the Left refuses to accept the outcome of the election, then they jeapordize our position in geopolitics. How is any foreign nation to negotiate with us when the Left constantly and unremittingly sends the message that Trump is going to be deposed any day?

    I want equal justice, not the weaponization of society and government against conservaties.

    I suffer from manufactured crisis fatigue. The media has lost all credibility at this point. Do we have almost 2 more years of this angst and machinations because an election didn’t go their way? Is this going to happen every time a Republican wins high office? It’s like watching a never ending tantrum every time you open the internet or turn on the news.

    The country needs to get over this hysteria and move on.

    1. Karen……..our household is so, so happy about the outcome.
      And what gave us even more hope was the incredible tirade of Glenn Greenwald tonight on Tucker Carlson…….with new allies, if only temporary, like him and Matt Taibi, I believe the Fake media is going to start suffering.
      When they start eating their own, you know things will not be the same.

      1. Very interested to see if this shocks the media into changing their ways. It is ironic all the carping about Fox News. The mainstream media was wrong about Hands up, Don’t Shoot!, Trayvon Martin, the lacrosse team, Covington High School, Trump dumping fish food rudely in a koi pond with the Japanese Prime Minister, Trump being an anti-Semite, I mean, the list is really extensive.

        What major issue have they gotten right? Anything?

        1. Yeah, you covered every big issue of the day, especially the koi pond thing (??) so I don;t think there is anything we can say was correctly covered.

        2. Karen……..if you have not seen the incredible interview last night of Glenn Greenwald by Tucker Carlson, I encourage you to find that clip. Compelling drama! And a treasure of informstion about what was going on at MSNBC 3 yrs ago that led to now.

  14. Squeeky, on May 19, 2017, 3 of us weighed in with estimates of how long the Mueller investigation would last.
    I went back to review those predictions ( easily found in the archives)…..since I found that I was right and you were wrong, I wanted to mention it.
    Had the opposite been true, I would never have brought it up.😉😊😄

      1. Squeaky,
        You thought my estimated wrap-up date of one or two years for the Mueller investigation was far too short.
        I was looking for an end to Mueller’s role sometime between May of 2018 and May of 2019.
        ( I would have given a longer estimate had the FBI not already given Mueller a head start with their prior 10 months of investigation, starting in July 2016).
        It’s easy to search the archives for JT:s previous columns, and the comments sections remain there.
        There’s a circle at the bottom of the “recent comments” section marked “Archives”; all you have to do is select years and month, and it will take you back to all previous columns and comments.
        If you select May 2017, it’ll start out with the May 31 column…..all you have to do is to keep selecting “older columns” and work back to May 19, 2017.

  15. Well, it’s about darn time. Maybe we have seen the last of these stupid Russian Collusion stories. What kind of an idiot ever believed that stupid crap in the first place??? Oh right, there are more than a few here.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

      1. Thank you, Cindy! Every once in a while, I have to take an Idiot/Shill Break from some of the commenters here. Sort of a “refresh my soul” sort of thing.

        Maybe now that Mueller came up with nothing, the Idiots/Shills will STFU. No, that is probably wishful thinking.

        Squeeky Fromm
        Girl Reporter

        1. Squeeky……..tonight wordpress has been messing up on my ipad……hope it’s temporary.
          BTW Paul C Schulte hasn’t been here in a long time……don’t know why.

      1. Squeaky and Cindy,
        I can’t be sure, but I think The Russians are probably screwing with the comments section here.😳
        They’re probably intercepting and reviewing comments before allowing them to post…..this would explain the slow pace, and the comments that “disappear”, in spite of the notice that they are posting.

          1. Cindy,
            I’m as concerned about them Ruskies as anyone; I just joined the Civil Air Patrol to learn how to scan the skies for Russian bombers.
            That practice died out after the 1950s, but it’s time to revive it!

    1. “What kind of an idiot ever believed that stupid crap in the first place??? Oh right, there are more than a few here.”

      Indeed–more than a few!! NPCs, I believe they are commonly referred to as.

  16. Professor…..Thank you for laying this out in such a succinct way.
    This is why I follow your blog!

    1. Cindy,
      If you really want to know what’s going on and what will happen in the future, don’t miss any of L4B’s daily columns.😊😋

  17. Comey “…shrugged over…” the crimes of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama et al.

    Barack Obama used a pseudonymous e-mail account with Hillary.
    _____________________________________________________

    “POTUS (Obama) wants to know everything we’re doing.”

    – Lisa Page to Peter Strzok
    ______________________

    “If Comey had indicted Hillary, Comey would have convicted Obama.”

    – Andrew C. McCarthy, National Review

  18. I find it highly entertaining that some of the usual suspects at CNN and MSNBC are now floating the notion that MUELLER is a Russian agent. Priceless!

    1. Noooooooo! I am mailing CNN and MSNBC a bridge so they can get over it. I seriously cannot listen to this for another 2 years. I refuse! I have reached the point where I would vote for a trained ferret rather than reward this sore loser behavior in 2020.

    2. RSA: I heard that as well. Some crazies on t.v. stating that the Russians “got to” Mueller, and calling for an investigation of the investigation. Will this never end? 🤷‍♀️

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