The Special Counsel and Trump’s Saga Of Self-Inflicted Wounds

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the description of events in the Trump White House. While Trump is continuing to attack Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, Trump is blaming possible “traitors” and others for their roles in the investigation. The one person who he is not blaming is himself despite the fact that the Mueller report is a 400-page tale of self-inflicted wounds.

Here is the column:

Not since the movie “Inception” has there been such disagreement over what people have just watched together. Call it “Perception.” At roughly 400 pages long, the report of special counsel Robert Mueller was eagerly devoured by millions after its release. That common interest, however, masked the fact that very few minds will be changed by its content.

The report had something for everyone to reaffirm divergent views of Donald Trump, from presumed felon to putative victim. However, what is fascinating is the sharp disconnect that emerges between his rhetoric and his conduct. Trump had spent the last two years regularly repeating a maddening mantra: witch hunt, witch hunt, witch hunt. His tweets and comments represented much of what the special counsel investigated.

Trump came close to achieving the impossible feat of obstructing the investigation into a crime that did not, in fact, occur. In the end, Mueller punted the issue by saying that whether these comments constitute a crime must turn on intent, which could not be ascertained, particularly given the refusal by Trump to be interviewed by the special counsel staff. It is notable that the special counsel repeatedly described the motivation in noncriminal terms. Trump firing Comey was clearly in response to his frustration with Comey refusing to state publicly what he was saying privately, which is that Trump was not a target. Indeed, Mueller found that Trump agreed that the Russian interference with the investigation, including any cooperating individuals, had to be fully investigated.

On some level, the indeterminacy of the conclusion on obstruction was the penalty for Trump refusing to answer questions. However, the report establishes that there really was no serious basis for a criminal charge of obstruction. Indeed, there is something peevish in not reaching an obvious conclusion. The report has precious little on obstruction that was not already known. The greatest damage that Trump did to himself was done in full view. But once his rhetoric is stripped away, his conduct was not criminal, though it was at some point contemptible.

There seems little question that Trump wanted the investigation to end and wanted to fire key players in the investigation, according to the report. But he did not fire anyone involved in the investigation. He did not destroy any evidence. He did not end the investigation prematurely. He took no actual obstructive acts. To charge him would have amounted to a virtual thought crime. The investigation did find “substantial evidence” that Trump wanted to limit the investigation by some of his actions. However, it also found that he did not do so. Trump had obstructive desires and even wanted to obstruct, but he did not actually obstruct.

What emerges from more than 400 pages and 10 investigative “episodes” is a Trump who was protected from himself by key advisers. It began with the single greatest blunder in modern presidential history, which is the firing of FBI Director James Comey. There were ample reasons to fire Comey, who was denounced by career prosecutors and both Democratic and Republican leaders for his violation of core prosecutorial policies.

Trump could have fired Comey at the start of his administration or at the end of the Russia investigation. He just could not do it in the middle of the investigation. That is what the White House staffers uniformly told him, with one exception, which was Jared Kushner. That was enough. Trump fired Comey and set his administration on fire. An investigation that was winding down metastasized into a spiraling inquiry with global reach.

After the Comey debacle, staffers quickly recognized that Trump was counterpunching himself into serious criminal jeopardy. That led to the most significant moment described in the report. Trump decided to take a step that would have made the moronic firing of Comey look brilliant in comparison. He ordered the firing of Mueller. At that point, staffers including White House counsel Don McGahn turned themselves into a virtual human shield to protect Trump from himself. McGahn refused to carry out the order and threatened to resign. It was an extraordinary moment. In refusing repeated orders of a sitting president, McGahn actually said that he was coming to the White House to pack his things. Instead, the president kept McGahn on and Mueller was never fired.

Had Trump gotten his wish, he well could have tripped the wire for obstruction or impeachment. He came that close. However, he did not cross the line. That is why this movie is so confusing to so many. The “Death Star” did not explode. The “Titanic” did not sink. The president did not obstruct justice. Despite his best efforts, Trump stayed just north of the criminal code. Of course, avoiding the indictable or the impeachable does not mean that some conduct was not contemptible as president.

Trump is worthy of condemnation for his conduct in seeking to end the investigation. It is clear from the report that Trump was, to some degree, saved from himself by staffers. It is an extraordinary moment for staffers to refuse a direct order from the president. Trump also instantly reminded voters how much of this was inflicted upon himself by tweeting a “Game of Thrones” image with the words “game over.” The problem is that the special counsel report makes him look a lot like Mad King Targaryen.

However, there is one aspect here that is commendable and worthy of praise. Ultimately, Trump not only ordered senior staff to cooperate with Mueller, but he did not withhold evidence. Most important, he waived executive privilege over the entirety of the report in an unprecedented degree of transparency. So where does that leave us? It leaves us with one of the most enigmatic figures in American history. Donald Trump is neither a felon nor is he blameless. Like much else in our politics, the rest is likely to be more rage than reason, as people reach their own conclusions.

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

71 thoughts on “The Special Counsel and Trump’s Saga Of Self-Inflicted Wounds”

  1. I listened to Barr and I read the Mueller report. If my Congressman or either of my two Senators votes for impeachment or encourages it, then I will vote against them in the next election. Go your own way Jose.

  2. “The Party’s Over”
    – Willie Nelson

    Turn out the lights
    The party’s over
    They say that all
    Good things must end
    Call it a night
    The party’s over
    And tomorrow starts
    The same old thing again

    What a crazy crazy party
    Never seen so many people
    Laughing dancing
    Look at you, you’re having fun
    But look at me
    I’m almost cryin’
    But that don’t keep her love from dyin’
    Misery ’cause for me the party’s over
    Turn out the lights
    The party’s over
    They say that all
    Good things must end
    Call it a night
    The party’s over
    And tomorrow starts
    The same old thing again

  3. Excerpted from the Mueller report:

    From its inception, the Office recognized that its investigation could identify foreign intelligence and counterintelligence information relevant to the FBI’s broader national security mission. FBI personnel who assisted the Office established procedures to identify and convey such information to the FBI. The FBI’s Counterintelligence Division met with the Office regularly for that purpose for most of the Office’s tenure. For more than the past year, the FBI also embedded personnel at the Office who did not work on the Special Counsel’s investigation, but whose purpose was to review the results of the investigation and to send-in writing-summaries of foreign intelligence and counterintelligence information to FBIHQ and FBI Field Offices. Those communications and other correspondence between the Office and the FBI contain information derived from the investigation, not all of which is contained in this Volume. This Volume is a summary. It contains, in the Office’s judgment, that information necessary to account for the Special Counsel’s prosecution and declination decisions and to describe the investigation’s main factual results.

    [end excerpt]

    That’s the counter-intelligence investigation that the Mueller report is discussing above. Mueller is telling us quite clearly that the FBI’s counter-intelligence investigation is not over. Mueller is also telling us, in a manner that is anything but clear, that the FBI’s ongoing counter-intelligence investigation may be the principle investigation that Trump was trying to obstruct. But, since that counter-intelligence investigation does not yet contain “. . . information necessary to account for the Special Counsel’s prosecution and declination decisions. . .” therefore the case for obstruction of justice against Trump may very well end up in the intelligence committees in The House and The Senate, rather than The House Judiciary Committee.

    1. Excerpted from the Mueller report regarding the motivation behind Trump’s desire to end the FBI’s counter-intelligence investigation:

      McGahn recalled that in the week leading up to the hearing, the President said that it would be the last straw if Comey did not take the opportunity to set the record straight by publicly announcing that the President was not under investigation.384 The President had previously told McGahn that the perception that the President was under investigation was hurting his ability to carry out his presidential duties and deal with foreign leaders.385

      Bannon recalled that the President brought Comey up with him at least eight times on May 3 and May 4, 2017 .399 According to Bannon, the President said the same thing each time: “He told me three times I’m not under investigation. He’s a showboater. He’s a grandstander. I don’t know any Russians. There was no collusion.”400 Bannon told the President that he could not fire Comey because “that ship had sailed.”401 Bannon also told the President that firing Comey was not going to stop the investigation, cautioning him that he could fire the FBI director but could not fire the FBI.402

      [T]he President told Miller that the letter should start, “While I greatly appreciate you informing me that I am not under investigation concerning what I have often stated is a fabricated story on a Trump-Russia relationship – pertaining to the 2016 presidential election, please be informed that I, and I believe the American public – including Ds and Rs – have lost faith in you as Director of the FBI.”

      In the morning on May 10, 2017, President Trump met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the Oval Office.468 The media subsequently reported that during the May 10 meeting the President brought up his decision the prior day to terminate Corney, telling Lavrov and Kislyak: “T just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job. I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off. … I’m not under investigation.”469 The President never denied making those statements, and the White House did not dispute the account, instead issuing a statement that said: “By grandstanding and politicizing the investigation into Russia’s actions, James Corney created unnecessary pressure on our ability to engage and negotiate with Russia. The investigation would have always continued, and obviously, the termination of Corney would not have ended it. Once again, the real story is that our national security has been undermined by the leaking of private and highly classified information.”470 Hicks said that when she told the President about the reports on his meeting with Lavrov, he did not look concerned and said of Corney, “he is crazy.”471 When McGahn asked the President about his comments to Lavrov, the President said it was good that Corney was fired because that took the pressure off by making it clear that he was not under investigation so he could get more work done.472

      [end excerpt]

      That’s President Trump desperately trying to find a way to give Putin what Putin wants because . . . A deal’s a deal. Isn’t it? And that god-damned James B. Comey was in the way of “the deal” that Trump made with Putin. Obviously Comey had to go–STAT.

    2. A couple of questions answered that pretty much tell you that the Mueller Report has reaffirmed Trump’s innocence along with the stupidity of the media.

      “My first question, I’m afraid, is going to verge on plain English,” Williams said. “Where did the Attorney General get off with that characterization this morning, including four mentions that there was no collusion? What document was he reading, compared to the one we’re left with?”

      Sekulow responded, citing the second page of the Mueller report.

      “Well, page two of the document says, ‘The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign coordinated with the Russian government in its election of interference activities.’ So it’s right from the document itself.”

      Williams moved on, “Have you read part one?” he asked.

      “I have read part one and part two,” Sekulow responded.

      “Do you find good news in here for the president and the administration?”

      “The investigation—page 181—the investigation did not establish the Contacts described in volume one—that’s the Russian contacts—amounted to an agreement to commit any violation of federal criminal law, including foreign influence and campaign finance laws,” Sekulow replied. “Yes, I think it’s very good win.”

    1. Evidence of an un-crime.

      President Trump did not commit a crime. It is impossible for there to be evidence of a crime that did not occur, therefore, it is impossible for a party to withhold evidence or otherwise obstruct justice. It is possible for corrupt officials to abuse power, maliciously prosecute and wrongfully implicate and convict an innocent individual as the result of a conspiratorial hoax or “witch hunt.” Mike Nifong, of Duke Lacrosse infamy, was convicted and served time for just such “malicious prosecution.” Mueller, FBI and Intel personnel et al. must pay for their abuse of power cum attempted coup d’etat.

  4. I see it not as self inflicted but an intentional live caricature of professional politicians. We elected him to destroy what of them was possible and if not to expose them to public ridicule. and contempt.

    For an ‘outsider’ he’s doing a damn fine job on both missions.

    But the best part is the “pro’s” never figure out their reactions are the best weapon we have to these suicidal nothings .

  5. KEY PASSAGES FROM TURLEY’S COLUMN:

    Trump came close to achieving the impossible feat of obstructing the investigation into a crime that did not, in fact, occur.

    After the Comey debacle, staffers quickly recognized that Trump was counterpunching himself into serious criminal jeopardy.

    It is clear from the report that Trump was, to some degree, saved from himself by staffers.

    It leaves us with one of the most enigmatic figures in American history. Donald Trump is neither a felon nor is he blameless.
    ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

    These passages illustrate Professor Turley’s headline: “Trump’s saga of self-inflicted wounds”. It’s what happens when a rash, narcissistic, anti-intellectual gets the White House by way of an Electoral College victory. Trump, through sheer stupidity, brought on a Special Counsel probe before his presidency was barely off the ground.

    Hopefully the American public has learned that experience really matters with regards to presidents. Trump’s self-inflicted wounds debunk the right-wing media’s claim that a business background can suffice for real government experience. It can’t.

    1. “It’s what happens when a rash, narcissistic, anti-intellectual gets the White House by way of an Electoral College victory. ”

      Peter, this is what happens when a spoiled, ignorant and an entitlement minded group loses an election based on the law of the land. They throw a temper tantrum using everything they can to overturn the election. They don’t care about security or American citizens. Those people are known as Democrats and the degree of their tantrum is based on how fascist / leftist they really are and how much they hate America.

  6. The short version:

    When the FBI discovered Senator Feinstein has been paying a Chinese spy on staff for 20 years, they notified her, she fired the guy, story disappears from the face of the earth.

    When FBI Deep State DNC operatives invent an “insurance policy” for Swillary to beat Trump, they go full out inventing fake alleged crimes, hire a foreign operative retired MI6 spy Steele, who pays his Russian contacts and thereafter concocts the fake Russian dossier, then the Deep State uses their scum bag shill John McStain (rot in hell forever your traitorous fake hero, womanizing, drunk, kept man) to “leak” the story to the press, then the Deep State uses all the above evidence they themselves sourced to illegally destroy Carter Page’s life and several other innocents who committed the crime of helping Trump beat Hillary, then they later institute Plan B which is to destroy Trump’s presidency after he wins.

    And all because the DNC stupidly and corruptly awarded the nomination to Hillary instead of Bernie.

    Gee, I’m really shocked that Trump would be upset about all the above. Strange!

    /sarc off

  7. Deja vu?

    Professor Turley, why haven’t you discussed the 1992 precedent of George H. W. Bush pardoning Caspar Weinberger et al. in the Iran-contra affair? Why didn’t independent counsel Lawrence E. Walsh charge Bush with “obstruction of justice?” who were being investigated by independent counsel in Iran-contra affair?
    ______________________________________________

    “On Christmas Eve 1992, then-President Bush decapitated the investigation by Walsh. Bush pardoned six figures, including Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, whose trial was about to begin, with Bush likely called to testify. Walsh was livid. Saying “the Iran-Contra cover-up … has now been completed,” he called Bush a “president who has such a contempt for honesty [and] arrogant disregard for the rule of law.”

    – The Intercept
    ____________

    BUSH PARDONS WEINBERGER IN IRAN-CONTRA AFFAIR
    By Walter Pincus
    December 25, 1992
    President Bush yesterday pardoned former defense secretary Caspar W. Weinberger and five other former government officials involved in the Iran-contra affair because “it was time for the country to move on.”
    Independent counsel Lawrence E. Walsh, who had prosecuted all six of those Bush pardoned, angrily declared that Bush’s action meant that “the Iran-contra coverup, which has continued for more than six years, has now been completed.” But Walsh gave notice that he was still not finished with his investigation, indicating that he is now focusing on Bush himself.
    Walsh disclosed that he had learned for the first time on Dec. 11 that Bush had “his own highly relevant contemporaneous notes” about the Iran-contra affair, which he “had failed to produce to investigators . . . despite repeated requests for such documents.” He said Bush was still handing over these notes, a process that “will lead to appropriate action.”
    Withholding the notes until now constituted “misconduct” by Bush, Walsh said in a prepared statement, and like Weinberger’s withholding of his notes, was part of “a disturbing pattern of deception and obstruction that permeated the highest levels of the Reagan and Bush administrations.”
    Last night, in an interview on PBS’s “MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour,” Walsh went further, saying Bush is “the subject now of our investigation.” Walsh said the president may have “illegally withheld documents” from Iran-contra investigations.
    Sources close to the Walsh investigation said the independent counsel believes Bush acted yesterday, in part, to head off a trial of Weinberger that could have embarrassed the president. Walsh said on MacNeil/Lehrer that in pardoning Weinberger, Bush was “pardoning a man who committed the same type of misconduct that he {Bush} did.”

    – WAPO

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1992/12/25/bush-pardons-weinberger-in-iran-contra-affair/912743a7-026b-4134-b63d-4c1c57948673/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.348e1100a9df

  8. Of course President Trump’s crime was running for and winning an unwinnable election. A Republican President…criminal. Constitutionalists on the court…criminal. Secure borders…criminal. Roaring economy…criminal. An electorate less dependent on government…criminal. Surely the Democrats have a plan to reverse this trend. Let’s see them run on that.

  9. I think in this case, it should be pointed out that unlike previous presidents Trump did not use executive privilege to cover his
    conversations like Obama, Bush, Clinton and beyond. Obama used privilege in events like Fast and Furious and Benghazi. Eric Holder declared himself Obama’s wingman and was charged with contempt by Congress for refusing to answer questions. The wars and intelligence gathering under Bush was protected and certainly BIll Clinton used executive privilege. Trump chose not to do that. You can’t assess the level of lies or inappropriate comments or requests made to staff members that happened behind the scenes in any other administration.

  10. Clearly President Trump is a threat to everything we hold dear. Even though the Mueller investigation couldn’t find that silver bullet to take down this President, it should be rather easy for the Democrats to shift their focus and start campaigning on all the failures of this administration, failures that the Democrats worked tirelessly to avoid for the good of the country they love so much. Surely the Democrats have a platform they can run on that will rescue the American people; fix the unemployment problem, fix the tragic state of the stock market, put an end to ISIS, and their favorite, immigration reform.

  11. In October of 2016 the polls had Hilary in a landslide. And by the way, Whitey Bulger liked it when Meuller was head of the FBI.

  12. In what other context does one give an illegal order and then avoid responsibility because the person fails to carry it out? Would a military officer get off the hook for an illegal order if their solders refuse to do it? Would a person who hires a hit man avoid prosecution if the hit man instead turns them into the police? Would a CEO avoid consequences if they illegally ordered documents to be destroyed and the secretary decided not to?

    1. It’s not illegal for the President to exercise his powers, but firing Mueller(just like the firing of Comey) can be “viewed” as “obstruction” by a Congress hell-bent on impeachment. That’s all. A”hit man” ordering “a hit( a murder)” is an actual crime. Likewise, a CEO engaging in actually illegal activities would be “Illegal.”

    2. “Would a CEO avoid consequences if they illegally ordered documents to be destroyed…?”

      MollyG, That is exactly what Hillary Clinton did. I garner you are in favor of throwing Hillary Clinton in Jail.

    3. Really? So did you anoint Mueller GOD? Do you wrongly and stupidly and ignorantly claim, like most progressives, that Mueller had no supervisor? Who do you think was that Supervisor. It was wrongly Rod Rosenstein. I say wrongly because Rod had about 4 million conflicts of interest and should have recused himself immediately (foremost being that Rod should have been a subject of the investigation, he signed the FISA warrants, etc., etc.

      Because then-AG Sessions had to recuse himself from the entire sordid affair, that left only person as Rosenstein’s boss: Trump.

      Only in the pathetic stupid mind of progressives can a supreme executive not fire one of his subordinates.

      The sum total risk if Trump fired Mueller is that it would likely have resulted in Trump being impeached, but he may have won that Senate trial. There are 1000 reasons why Mueller should never have been appointed to that job. Trump’s impeachment trial would have exposed all that.

      Did you smoke pot all through the Clinton impeachment, and miss what the GOP did to themselves.

      Now that the Trump is clear of any/all criminal charges, he can go full steam ahead frying the deep state for their own crimes against him and the American people who elected Trump.

  13. Excerpted from the Mueller report:

    “When Flynn’s counsel reiterated that Flynn could no longer share information pursuant to a joint defense agreement, the President’s personal counsel said he would make sure that the President knew that Flynn’s actions reflected ‘hostility’ towards the President.”

    “The evidence supports the inference that the President intended [former campaign Chairman Paul] Manafort to believe that he could receive a pardon, which would make cooperation with the government as a means of obtaining a lesser sentence unnecessary.”

    [end excerpt]

    https://theintercept.com/2019/04/19/william-barr-mueller-report/

    Excerpted from the article linked above:

    In fact, the Mueller report makes it clear that a key reason Mueller did not seek to prosecute Trump for obstruction was a longstanding Justice Department legal opinion saying that the Justice Department can’t indict a sitting president. Barr omitted that part of Mueller’s reasoning in his statements saying that Mueller hadn’t decided whether to charge Trump.

    1. That’s BS….-Mueller’s report could have concluded that Trump did obstruct justice without an indictment. ( or conclude that Trump did not obstruct).
      That former conclusion would have put more teeth into the arguments of those on the impeachment warpath.
      That is APART from any issue of DOJ policy re indictment of a sitting president.

      1. Mueller: “If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment.”

        Barr: “The Special Counsel therefore did not draw a conclusion — one way or the other — as to whether the examined conduct constituted obstruction.”

      2. What Mueller wrote:

        The ordinary means for an individual to respond to an accusation is through a speedy and public trial, with all the procedural protections that surround a criminal case. [edit] A prosecutor’s judgement that crimes were committed, but that no charges will be brought, affords no such adversarial opportunity for public name-clearing before an impartial adjudicator. [edit] The concerns about the fairness of such a determination would be heightened in the case of a sitting President, where a federal prosecutor’s accusation of a crime, even in an internal report, could carry consequences that extend beyond the realm of criminal justice.

    2. A key sentence that demonstrates that Mueller was trying to obscure the facts was “Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

      The prosecution is supposed to determine if adequate damaging information exist to move to an indictment. The prosecution does this with the knowledge that in our justice system a person is considered innocent until proven guilty and therefore exoneration should not exist in Mueller’s vocabulary. After all it is extremely difficult to prove a negative so that clause by itself demonstrates a severe legal and intellectual bias by the prosecutor who is trying to make a case and failed. It also proves that Mueller’s appointment was a grievous error.

      Stalinists will not agree with my assessment because in their minds anyone they don’t like has to prove themselves innocent where facts don’t count. Diane seems to have the mindset of a pure Stalinist and as I indicated before I would bet she was a red diaper baby.

      1. The Noise Maker said, “. . . Mueller was trying to obscure the facts . . . ”

        Mueller wrote, “. . . this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime . . .”

        Trump Tweeted, “. . . complete and total exoneration . . .”

        The Noise maker said, “. . . exoneration should not exist in Mueller’s vocabulary.”

        Mueller wrote, “The ordinary means for an individual to respond to an accusation is through a speedy and public trial, with all the procedural protections that surround a criminal case.

        A prosecutor’s judgement that crimes were committed, but that no charges will be brought, affords no such adversarial opportunity for public name-clearing before an impartial adjudicator.

        The concerns about the fairness of such a determination would be heightened in the case of a sitting President, where a federal prosecutor’s accusation of a crime, even in an internal report, could carry consequences that extend beyond the realm of criminal justice.”

        The Noise Maker said, “Stalinists will not agree with my assessment because in their minds anyone they don’t like has to prove themselves innocent where facts don’t count.”

        It is not immediately clear whether or not The Noise Maker is even capable of comprehending the sheer idiocy of his own words.

        1. Apparently you got lost Diane. You didn’t seem to understand that one or many clear sentences doesn’t change the fact that Mueller tried to obscure the facts. “A key sentence that demonstrates that Mueller was trying to obscure the facts was “Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.” You fell for his language. He was depending on your type of ignorance. The word exonerate might be used by a non-lawyer such as Trump but not by a lawyer charged with an investigation and is supposed to recognize that a man is presumed innocent and therefore doesn’t require exoneration. Of course that tells us what Mueller really was… a hit job intended to destroy the President. Trump is not a lawyer so his use of the word was a bit sloppy something not uncommon when an individual’s rhethoric is used in conversation where technical terms mean something. I guess, Diane, we can exonerate you from these mistakes because you are totally ignorant in such matters so you don’t know in context what the word means and your bias is quite obvious.

          You are right that I said “Stalinists will not agree with my assessment because in their minds anyone they don’t like has to prove themselves innocent where facts don’t count.” You are one of those people that constantly makes things up and one who doesn’t care about the facts. For Stalinists such as yourself ‘ignorance is bliss.’

          1. Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.

            You’re correct Allan, Mueller drafted this report in a manner that would move the investigation from the criminal lawfarists to the political lawfarists. Of course he would have identified the evidence that would normally result in indictments, regardless of whether a sitting President could be indicted or not. He didn’t do that. He couldn’t do that. But if he desired to extend the interference of the Trump administration by moving this over to those lawfarists in the House, this was the way to do it. And their sorry lot of constituents have gotten sucked into this black hole of an investigation.

  14. JT incorrectly states:

    “Trump came close to achieving the impossible feat of obstructing the investigation into a crime that did not, in fact, occur.”

    We don’t know that the crime did not occur. We do know that Mueller determined he lacked sufficient evidence to determine that coordination between the Russian government and the campaign reached the level of criminal conspiracy, and that Trump’s own uncertainty about that resulted in his and associates constant lying regarding their interactions with Russia. There is no other logical explanation for this behavior.

    Remember, the report establishes as fact that the 3 most important members of the campaign met willingly with Russians after being promised help on defeating Hillary, did not report the meeting to the FBI, and that Trump himself personally constructed a cover up story about the meeting. Later Manafort passed on polling data for the midWest to the Russians who he knew were working on social media to influence the election. We also know that after the election Trump ans associates privately communicated with the Russians that they should not retaliate for the sanctions Obama had placed on them for their interference.

    These are all established fact, and render JTs comment about a crime that didn’t occur as missing the point of all the lying. These facts prove coordination, if not conspiracy, and who knows, given the lies and destruction of communications what else may have occurred that we don’t know about

    1. We don’t know that the crime did not occur.

      No, we know that. That it did not occur is emotionally unacceptable to the people who employ you to comment here, so you persist with the pretense.

    2. Anon, you miss the central point of our judiciary. A person is innocent until proven guilty. There is no question of Trump’s innocence and after an extensive investigation nothing could be found. You say the opposite but refuse to list your evidence contrary to American law and tradition despite you likely being an American and a legal one.

      On the other hand without a competent investigation you consider Hillary innocent of all claims. You are like a trickster ‘heads I win, tails you lose’.

      1. Excerpted from Page 180 of the Mueller report:

        C. Russian Government Outreach and Contacts

        As explained in Section IV above, the Office’s investigation uncovered evidence of numerous links contacts) between Trump Campaign officials and individuals having or claiming to have ties to the Russian government. The Office evaluated the contacts under several
        sets of federal laws, including conspiracy laws and statutes governing foreign agents who operate in the United States. After considering the available evidence, the Office did not pursue charges under these statutes against any of the individuals discussed in Section IV above–with the exception of FARA charges against Paul Manafort and Richard Gates based on their activities on behalf of Ukraine.

        One of the interactions between the Trump Campaign and Russian-affiliated individuals–the June 9, 2016 meeting between high-ranking campaign officials and Russians promising derogatory information on Hillary Clinton–implicates an additional body of law: campaign-finance statutes. Schemes involving the solicitation or receipt of assistance from foreign sources raise difficult statutory and constitutional questions. As exlained below, the Office evaluated those questions in connection with the June 9 meeting. The Office ultimately concluded that, even if the principal legal questions were resolved favorably to the government, a prosecution would encounter difficulties proving that Campaign officials or individuals connected to the Campaign willfully violated the law.

        Finally, although the evidence of contacts between Campaign officials and Russia-affiliated individuals may not have been sufficient to establish or sustain criminal charges, several US. persons connected to the Campaign made false statements about those contacts and took other steps to obstruct the Office’s investigation and those of Congress. This Office has therefore charged some of those individuals with making false statements and obstructing justice.

        1. Page two of the Mueller report:

          “The investigation did NOT establish that members of the Trump campaign coordinated with the Russian government …”.

  15. Yeah, I’m sure a 400-page report from a personal enemy is going to be an absolutely precise account of your strengths and weaknesses.

    The foundational assumption of these columns is that abuse of the productive sectors of the economy is a prerogative of the legal profession and you’re obligated to just take it. We are under no obligation to take Prof. Turley seriously on this point.

    The political theorist Gottfried Dietze spoke in his historical writings of the Baron’s revolts contra King John, of the revolt against Charles I in England and Scotland, and of the American Revolution as species not of revolution but of ‘diffidatio’, a defiance. One where ancient liberties are re-asserted. He thought the Anglo-American world was due for another. If that day should come, the kings cornered, decapitated, and exiled shall be drawn from the legal profession. The appellate judges, the BigLaw partners, the abusive prosecutors, the ambulance chasers, the law professoriate, the public interest shysters.

    1. I can see you’re really upset about this.

      But killing all the lawyers may be a slight over-reaction to “complete and total exoneration” at the hands of lawyers.

  16. What Mueller actually said in Mueller’s own words rather than AG “Whitewash Barr’s words nor Professor Turley’s words:

    “If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state.”

    “The President’s efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests.”

    “The conclusion that Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the President’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law.”

    “[T]he Constitution does not categorically and permanently immunize a President for obstructing justice.”

    O! Snap! I think that last line is a direct hit on AG “Whitewash” Barr. But jibes well with Turley’s previous position on Bill Clinton’s obstruction.

  17. How do you know {for a fact} that some of what you just wrote and read in the Mueller report is absolutely to be true?

    Because Mueller and his Band of Thieves said so…

    “According to the Report”

    Hear Say…

    Most of this has already been denied by President Trump and his Counsel

    1. “Mueller and his band of thieves”? How dare you besmirch the exemplary record of Robert Mueller. While Trump was “suffering” from bone spurs, Mueller was a Marine officer leading a rifle company in Vietnam. While Trump was scheming with other people’s money and then going broke, Mueller was racking up an impressive list of mob convictions, including John Gotti, the “Teflon don.” While Trump was plastering his name on buildings, Mueller was leading the FBI. His leadership was so good he remained at the helm of the FBI for 3 years after the 10 year limit imposed by Congress. I will take Robert Mueller’s record over that of Trump forever.

      In Mueller I trust.

      1. Yes! Go Marco! Go!

        Wait a second [ambiguity alert]. Stay Marco. Stay. Please?

        Darn. That doesn’t sound quite right either. [thinking, thinking]

        Welcome home, Marco. Now sic balls, Marco. Sic balls.

      2. How dare you besmirch the exemplary record of Robert Mueller.

        As Dr. Stephen Hatfill or the widow of Dr. Bruce Ivins just how exemplary they find Herr Mueller.

        1. Steven Hatfill – Wikipedia

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

          Steven Jay Hatfill (born October 24, 1953) is an American physician, virologist and biological …. FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III changed leadership of the investigation in late 2006, and at that time another suspect, USAMRIID bacteriologist Bruce Ivins, became the main focus of the investigation. Considerable questions …

          The Wrong Man – The Atlantic

          https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/05/the-wrong-man/308019/

          May 15, 2010 … Here, for the first time, the falsely accused, Dr. Steven J. Hatfill, speaks out … In their own depositions, both John Ashcroft and Robert Mueller, the FBI ….. had enjoyed complete access: senior microbiologist Bruce Edward Ivins.

          1. Diane, it seems you like to pollute the blog with meaningless copying of Wikipedia. Perhaps you would be better off watching Howdy Doody.

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

            “Howdy Doody was an American children’s television program (with circus and Western frontier themes) that was created and produced by E. Roger Muir[1] and telecast on the NBC network in the United States from December 27, 1947, until September 24, 1960. It was a pioneer in children’s television programming and set the pattern for many similar shows. One of the first television series produced at NBC in Rockefeller Center, in Studio 3A,[2] it was also a pioneer in early color production as NBC (at the time owned by TV maker RCA) used the show in part to sell color television sets in the 1950s.”

      3. “In Mueller I trust.”

        Congrats Marco. That tells us that you believe Trump innocent because in our judicial system a man is innocent until proven guilty and after an extensive investigation the evidence was not found confirming Trump’s innocence.

        1. Excerpted from the Mueller report:

          After considering the available evidence, the Office did not pursue charges under these statutes against any of the individuals discussed in Section IV above.

          The Office ultimately concluded that, even if the principal legal questions were resolved favorably to the government, a prosecution would
          encounter difficulties proving that Campaign officials or individuals connected to the Campaign willfully violated the law.

          Finally, although the evidence of contacts between Campaign officials and Russia-affiliated individuals may not have been sufficient to establish or sustain criminal charges, several US. persons connected to the Campaign made false statements about those contacts and took other steps to obstruct the Office’s investigation and those of Congress.

          1. On and on in crucial areas of the Mueller report the report found Trump innocent.

            “The investigation did not identify evidence that any U.S. Persons knowingly or intentionally coordinated with the IRA’s interference operation?”

            “The office did not identify evidence in these interactions of coordination between the Campaign and the Russian government.”

            “…the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign consider or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”

      4. Without judicial charge, Jesus Obama added the name Anwar Al-Awlaki to Obama’s felonious “Secret Kill List.” Anwar was a 16 year old minor child Muslim American citizen. Obama’s CIA fired a missile from a drone that incinerated Anwar on foreign soil.

        Mueller told Obama that Obama’s felonious murder would also be OK on US soil, in case Obama decided to take kill a future innocent American on US soil.

        Mueller is a traitor and uncharged felon. May he rot in hell forever.

  18. Thank you so much for such an intelligent summary of this maddening case, Mr. Turley. You are a blessing for the country while so many are going out of their way to confirm that they are unforgivingly boring.

    1. “The poll, conducted Thursday afternoon to Friday morning, is the first national survey to measure the response from the American public after the U.S. Justice Department released Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s 448-page report that recounted numerous occasions in which Trump may have interfered with the investigation.

      According to the poll, 37 percent of adults in the United States approved of Trump’s performance in office, down from 40 percent in a similar poll conducted on April 15 and matching the lowest level of the year. That is also down from 43 percent in a poll conducted shortly after U.S. Attorney General William Barr circulated a summary of the report in March.”

      1. If we placed your name and face on the front page of all the newspapers without any comment and then took a poll asking if you had raped that young girl discussed in the paper a day before a substantial number of people would reply, YES.

        Anon, learn about polling.

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