Mueller’s Mess On Intent Leaves Democrats In A Muddle On Impeachment

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on a missing element in the Mueller report not just for obstruction but impeachment: intent. As I discuss, I am still baffled by the logic of Mueller in not reaching a conclusion on obstruction. It simply makes no sense given his actions on collusion and the ultimate rendering of a decision by Main Justice on obstruction. While the Justice Department (wrongly) maintains that a sitting president cannot be indicted, there is no bar on finding probable cause to believe that a president has committed a crime.

Here is the column:

The release of the report by special counsel Robert Mueller has unleashed a furious debate within the Democratic Party over the need to commence impeachment proceedings against President Trump. Mueller was anything but subtle in his pointed discussion of how Congress can deal with the “corrupt exercise of the powers of office” within “our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law.”

In writing those words, Mueller put Democrats in Congress in a more uncomfortable position than he did Trump. Indeed, Trump seems quite satisfied with defining victory as avoiding indictment. Democratic leaders want to appear eager to impeach without actually impeaching Trump. Mueller, however, triggered impeachment frenzy but left out a key element necessary to achieve it. That element is criminal intent.

A study by the conservative group Media Research Center found that impeachment was referenced on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and MSNBC more than 300 times in the first 18 hours after the report was released, with CNN alone accounting for 148 times. Many Democratic members of Congress ran on impeachment during the 2018 midterm elections.

As soon as they won the House, however, Democratic leaders such as Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that impeachment was not on the agenda. That was viewed by some as a bait-and-switch. When House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer referred to impeachment as “not worthwhile,” the resulting backlash forced him to backtrack. Others, such as Senator Elizabeth Warren, have called to open impeachment proceedings.

Such demands suffer from the same loose analysis that characterized the last two years of predictions of inevitable criminal charges against Trump. The problem is that some positive findings for Trump in the Mueller report would weigh heavily in an impeachment defense. Mueller has effectively cleared Trump and his 2016 campaign of collusion. While the report states that Russians clearly worked to elect Trump and that the Trump campaign viewed the release of hacked Democratic material by the Russians as beneficial, the investigation “did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” Indeed, no American was indicted in the special counsel investigation for collusion, coordination or conspiracy.

The report also undermined the theory surrounding the firing of FBI Director James Comey. That act, leading to the appointment of the special counsel, showed Trump in a distinctly bad light as blundering and blind to how it harmed his administration. However, Mueller found considerable evidence that Trump was motivated by his anger over the sheer refusal of Comey to state publicly what he was saying privately, which is that Trump was not a target of any investigation. Trump was dead wrong in his action, but Mueller detailed how the president felt Comey left his administration “under a cloud” by not telling the public what he was telling Congress.

Notably, Mueller also defused the “bombshell” story of the Trump Tower meeting. He confirmed that the meeting lasted only 20 minutes and was set up under the false promise of supplying evidence of criminal conduct by Hillary Clinton and her campaign. Trump’s son-in-law and White House adviser, Jared Kushner, left the meeting quickly after calling it a waste of time. The promoter who set up the meeting called it a “dumb” idea of a Russian client who had ruined his relationship with the Trump family.

The evidence indicates that Trump knew little or nothing about the meeting in advance. Mueller also described how Trump drafted his infamous statement about it with little knowledge of what occurred. Donald Trump Jr.said the meeting was primarily about adoptions and actually expressed concern that the statement should be qualified so as not to create a false impression that it was entirely about adoptions. Mueller painted the president as more clueless than conniving here.

Impeachment would have to focus on alleged obstruction, since Mueller did not find evidence of collusion. It is certainly true that you can obstruct an investigation that did not find a crime, but it is a difficult case to make. Despite Trump impressively counterpunching himself into an obstruction charge, the report does not establish a compelling criminal case for it. Indeed, Mueller explaining why he failed to come to a conclusion on it is one of the most unsupported and unconvincing parts of his report. The reason for that failure, however, could be as important as the element.

Some have tried to supply a rationale as a precursor to impeachment. Some have suggested Mueller was prevented from finding criminal conduct because of the Justice Department policy against indicting a sitting president. Yet that policy did not prevent Mueller from coming to a decision on collusion. Furthermore, Attorney General William Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein did reach a conclusion, so there was no barrier from the Justice Department. Mueller also never said he was told he could not reach a conclusion. He indicates the very opposite.

There also is speculation that Mueller failed to reach a conclusion because he did not agree with the narrower view of obstruction held by Barr. Such a disagreement on the elements of the crime was not the reason. Mueller articulated his standard and applied it. Despite identifying 10 troubling episodes that could be defined as acts of obstruction, he could not say with confidence that Trump acted with the requisite “corrupt intent.”

Mueller found evidence of a “range of other possible personal motives animating” how Trump conducted himself, from anger over questioning the legitimacy of his electoral victory to how certain acts by him or his family could be viewed. Mueller concluded, while not determinative, “absence of such evidence bears upon” the intent of Trump “with respect to obstruction.” That is why the difference on the elements of obstruction ultimately was not the issue. It came down to corrupt intent.

The report is a mess on intent with an array of intents to choose from. Mueller found “substantial evidence” that Trump wanted to limit the scope of the investigation, but that is not necessarily intent. Importantly, Mueller described noncriminal motives for the baffling conduct of Trump. Usually, the absence of evidence of a corrupt intent is resolved in favor of the defendant; however, the special counsel may not have been so inclined after Trump refused to be interviewed on obstruction. If Mueller reached the same conclusion as on collusion, it would have rewarded Trump for his intransigence. There may be an element of comeuppance in declaring that, in the end, it was impossible to determine what Trump was thinking.

None of this produces a compelling case of prosecution, even when any noncriminal motivation or intent is acknowledged. Even the best grounds for obstructive intent with Trump seeking to fire Mueller, an order ignored by White House counsel, was justified by Trump as based on his fear of a conflict of interest. Since Mueller was not fired, we cannot know if Trump would have tried to block any new special counsel. But Trump ultimately did not stop the investigation. He could also claim, in his defense, that he simply wanted a neutral investigator, not someone who was interviewed to replace Comey and then appointed to investigate the firing of Comey.

Congress clearly has a legitimate interest to hold hearings on some of these issues. With Trump now calling some of the findings “fabricated” and “total bullshit,” he has again opened the door to further inquiry. Yet the inability of the special counsel to resolve the question of intent should weigh heavily on any decision of the Democratic leadership to move from investigation to impeachment. Like indictable acts, impeachable acts demand a showing of intent, not simply an array of possible intents.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. He testified on the Bill Clinton impeachment standard, represented former attorneys general in that litigation, and served as lead defense counsel in the last Senate impeachment trial.

284 thoughts on “Mueller’s Mess On Intent Leaves Democrats In A Muddle On Impeachment”

  1. Take note those that are looking for something in the report to hang their hats on… “Indeed, no American was indicted in the special counsel investigation for collusion, coordination or conspiracy.”

    For the looney Anon, Turley has this to say: “ Mueller also defused the “bombshell” story of the Trump Tower meeting. He confirmed that the meeting lasted only 20 minutes and was set up under the false promise of supplying evidence of criminal conduct by Hillary Clinton and her campaign.” “The evidence indicates that Trump knew little or nothing about the meeting in advance. “

    For the rest of the looney’s including Anon, Turley has this to say: ” Some have suggested Mueller was prevented from finding criminal conduct because of the Justice Department policy against indicting a sitting president. Yet that policy did not prevent Mueller from coming to a decision on collusion.”

    Turley must have been reading some of the looney comments on the blog and decided that there were a lot more loonies out there that needed ’splaining’.

    Concluding, Turley states (capitals mine): “THE REPORT IS A MESS…”

  2. President Trump was directed and advised to fire Comey under the recommendation of Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein

    Who we now know was part of the set up against Trump

    They all had to cover up SpyGate through a waste of time investigation

    …but that does appear to have backfired!

  3. Russiagate only makes sense when we become willing to see the complete corruption of what passes for a government in the US. Russigate itself began when the people in the Clinton campaign needed to find a villain for why Clinton lost the election and to cover up Clinton’s own manipulation of the Democratic primary. It quickly spiraled into many useful tactics to keep the powerful in control of this nation, enable them to divide and conquer the populace, promote profitable wars, rehabilitate the IC on the left, and make faux “journalists” and their sugar daddies a lot of money. In short, it keeps people from addressing the real problems we face.

    Now if you had something that could do all that, are you going to give it up? HE*& NO!

    Russiagate is a lie which covers the illegalities of the state. It is a complex web of deceit which is difficult for the most informed people to keep apprised of. It provides deliberate confusion and thus hooks voters on both sides of the isle into various strange going ons while the very real problems we face are completely ignored. We face mounting social inequality, starvation, including of children, increasing homelessness, climate catastrophe, mass extinctions, lack of medical care for many, 21 trillion and counting missing from the pentagon, and so on. Yet, talking to Democrats one only hears about the horrors of the Mueller report.

    Meanwhile, Trump supporters have ignored his many betrayals. He is in more wars than ever, regime changing at will, shifting taxation burdens to the poor/middle class, arresting journalists, and so on. Trump supporters have adopted Obama supporters 12 dimension chess fantasy. There is no chess, he’s just evil, exactly like Obama.

    So this show must go on. It will go on until we the people no longer fall for divide and conquer. As our society and this planet disintegrates, our rights taken one by one, either we see what is really happening or we are done.

  4. The book : Three Spots On The Wall, by Who Flung Foo. This is an important book to read to understand all the media apCray. “Obstruction” of what? “Justice”? Or perhaps obstruction of the truth. We need to get the photos of Mueller off our newspapers, magazines and computer screens. Chuck Todd needs to b e fired. He is the same one who called Ferguson a Ghetto.

  5. This whole Mueller debacle is not about crime and Trumps Impeachment.
    It is an integral part of the ongoing seizure of power by The deep state Democrat Coup. The intent is to establish as standard operating procedure the nullification of every election and the removal every duly elected President not chosen by the Democrat Stalinist Party. Democrats will not stop with Trump. They are already ginning up and floating the Pence Impeachment narrative.
    Their intent is to unilatterally make themselves the arbiters of Presidential elections from now on. Impeachment and replacement by less than 260 individual dictators will become the norm.
    The American People will have no choice but to submit. The American People will never have a say in elections again. That is why the rabid fury. Democrats will never let this whole Obama instigated Mueller Plot go.
    They have too much invested, the stakes are too high and their goal of absolute power is within reach. That’s way too close to stop now.

    1. Do you really believe we have a say in elections? Chuck Schumer has been picking Congressional candidates for decades. Republicans own the voting machine software that they can easily control, including flipping votes or just plain adding votes. Jimmy Carter has said that his election watchers would never accept the job of watching US elections, two reasons: the US would never ask for the oversight; the Carter Center only accepts invitations from real democracies and the US doesn’t qualify.

  6. KEY PASSAGE FROM TURLEY’S COLUMN:

    “Congress clearly has a legitimate interest to hold hearings on some of these issues. With Trump now calling some of the findings “fabricated” and “total bulls**t,” he has again opened the door to further inquiry”.

    I agree with the professor here. Congress should invite Mueller to testify to determine if indeed Trump is a victim of a “fabricated bulls**t”.

  7. 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]

    Since it is not immediately clear whether a POTUS can “obstruct” a “counter-intelligence” investigation involving his campaign for the presidency, it might be appropriate for The Congress of the United States to figure that one out.

    1. Impeachment of Bill Clinton

      Floor proceedings of the U.S. Senate during the trial of President Bill Clinton in 1999, Chief Justice William Rehnquist presiding. House managers are seated beside the quarter-circular tables on the left and the president’s personal counsel on the right.
      The impeachment of Bill Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States, was initiated in December 1998 by the House of Representatives and led to a trial in the Senate on two charges, one of perjury and one of obstruction of justice.[1] These charges stemmed from a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against Clinton by Paula Jones. Clinton was subsequently acquitted of these charges by the Senate on February 12, 1999.[2] Two other impeachment articles – a second perjury charge and a charge of abuse of power – failed in the House.

      Leading to the impeachment, Independent Counsel Ken Starr turned over documentation to the House Judiciary Committee. Chief Prosecutor David Schippers and his team reviewed the material and determined there was sufficient evidence to impeach the president. As a result, four charges were considered by the full House of Representatives; two passed, making Clinton the second president to be impeached, after Andrew Johnson in 1868, and only the third against whom articles of impeachment had been brought before the full House for consideration (Richard Nixon resigned from the presidency in 1974, while an impeachment process against him was underway).

      The trial in the United States Senate began right after the seating of the 106th Congress, in which the Republican Party held 55 Senate seats. A two-thirds vote (67 senators) was required to remove Clinton from office. Fifty senators voted to remove Clinton on the obstruction of justice charge and 45 voted to remove him on the perjury charge; no member of his own Democratic Party voted guilty on either charge. Clinton, like Johnson a century earlier, was acquitted on all charges.

      Wiki

  8. Evidence of Trump’s intent “to obstruct” the counter-intelligence investigation excerpted from Volume II of the Mueller report:

    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

    1. Also excerpted from Volume II of the Mueller report (Vol. II focuses on obstruction):

      “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.”

      1. Independent counsel investigation

        The charges arose from an investigation by Ken Starr, an Independent Counsel. Originally dealing with Whitewater, Starr, with the approval of United States Attorney General Janet Reno, conducted a wide-ranging investigation of alleged abuses, including the Whitewater affair, the firing of White House travel agents, and the alleged misuse of FBI files. On January 12, 1998, Linda Tripp, who had been working with the Jones lawyers, informed Starr that Lewinsky was preparing to commit perjury in the Jones case and had asked Tripp to do the same. She also said Clinton’s friend Vernon Jordan was assisting Lewinsky. Based on the connection to Jordan, who was under scrutiny in the Whitewater probe, Starr obtained approval from Reno to expand his investigation into whether Lewinsky and others were breaking the law.

        A much-quoted statement from Clinton’s grand jury testimony showed him questioning the precise use of the word “is”. Contending that his statement that “there’s nothing going on between us” had been truthful because he had no ongoing relationship with Lewinsky at the time he was questioned, Clinton said, “It depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is. If the—if he—if ‘is’ means is and never has been, that is not—that is one thing. If it means there is none, that was a completely true statement”.[7] Starr obtained further evidence of inappropriate behavior by seizing the computer hard drive and email records of Monica Lewinsky. Based on the president’s conflicting testimony, Starr concluded that Clinton had committed perjury. Starr submitted his findings to Congress in a lengthy document (the so-called Starr Report), and simultaneously posted the report, which included descriptions of encounters between Clinton and Lewinsky, on the Internet.[8] Starr was criticized by Democrats for spending $70 million on an investigation that substantiated only perjury and obstruction of justice.[9] Critics of Starr also contend that his investigation was highly politicized because it regularly leaked tidbits of information to the press in violation of legal ethics, and because his report included lengthy descriptions which were humiliating yet irrelevant to the legal case.[10][11]

        Wiki

    2. In 1994, Paula Jones filed a lawsuit accusing Clinton of sexual harassment when he was governor of Arkansas. Clinton attempted to delay a trial until after he left office, but in May 1997 the Supreme Court unanimously ordered the case to proceed and shortly thereafter the pre-trial discovery process commenced. Jones’ attorneys wanted to prove that Clinton had engaged in a pattern of behavior with women that lent support to her claims. In late 1997, Linda Tripp began secretly recording conversations with her friend Monica Lewinsky, a former intern and Department of Defense employee, in which Lewinsky divulged that she had had a sexual relationship with the President. Tripp shared this information with Paula Jones’ lawyers, who put Lewinsky on their witness list in December 1997. According to the Starr report, after Lewinsky appeared on the witness list Clinton began taking steps to conceal their relationship, including suggesting she file a false affidavit, suggesting she use cover stories, concealing gifts he had given her, and helping her obtain a job to her liking.

      Clinton gave a sworn deposition on January 17, 1998, where he denied having a “sexual relationship”, “sexual affair” or “sexual relations” with Lewinsky. He also denied that he was ever alone with her. His lawyer, Robert S. Bennett, stated with Clinton present that Lewinsky’s affidavit showed that there was no sex in any manner, shape or form between Clinton and Lewinsky. The Starr Report states that the following day, Clinton “coached” his secretary Betty Currie into repeating his denials should she be called to testify.

      Remarks including response to Clinton-Lewinsky scandal (January 26, 1998)
      Play media
      Bill Clinton making a presentation that ends with a short commentary on the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal. The presentation is known for the quote “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.” (6:22)
      Remarks including response to the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal (January 26, 1998)

      After rumors of the scandal reached the news, Clinton publicly stated, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.”[3] Months later, Clinton admitted that his relationship with Lewinsky was “wrong” and “not appropriate”. Lewinsky engaged in oral sex with Clinton several times.[4][5]

      The judge in the Jones case later ruled the Lewinsky matter immaterial, and threw out the case in April 1998 on the grounds that Jones had failed to show any damages. After Jones appealed, Clinton agreed in November 1998 to settle the case for $850,000 while still admitting no wrongdoing.[6]

      Wiki

  9. 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. 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.

    What Turley wrote:

    I am still baffled by the logic of Mueller in not reaching a conclusion on obstruction. It simply makes no sense given his actions on collusion and the ultimate rendering of a decision by Main Justice on obstruction. While the Justice Department (wrongly) maintains that a sitting president cannot be indicted, there is no bar on finding probable cause to believe that a president has committed a crime.

    What L4D is writing:

    Flaming Dipsticks With Broken-Off Tips, the whole lot of you Trumpeters are.

    1. Impeachment by House of Representatives

      Since Ken Starr had already completed an extensive investigation, the House Judiciary Committee conducted no investigations of its own into Clinton’s alleged wrongdoing, and it held no serious impeachment-related hearings before the 1998 midterm elections. Nevertheless, impeachment was one of the major issues in the election.

      In November 1998, the Democrats picked up five seats in the House although the Republicans still maintained majority control.[12] The results were a particular embarrassment for House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who, before the election, had been reassured by private polling that Clinton’s scandal would result in Republican gains of up to thirty House seats.[12] Shortly after the elections, Gingrich, who had been one of the leading advocates for impeachment,[13] announced he would resign from Congress as soon as he was able to find somebody to fill his vacant seat;[12] Gingrich fulfilled this pledge, and officially resigned from Congress on January 3, 1999.[14]

      Impeachment proceedings were initiated during the post-election, “lame duck” session of the outgoing 105th United States Congress. Unlike the case of the 1974 impeachment process against Richard Nixon, the committee hearings were perfunctory but the floor debate in the whole House was spirited on both sides. The Speaker-designate, Representative Bob Livingston, chosen by the Republican Party Conference to replace Gingrich as House Speaker, announced the end of his candidacy for Speaker and his resignation from Congress from the floor of the House after his own marital infidelity came to light.[15] In the same speech, Livingston also encouraged Clinton to resign. Clinton chose to remain in office and urged Livingston to reconsider his resignation.[16] Many other prominent Republican members of Congress (including Dan Burton[15] of Indiana, Helen Chenoweth[15] of Idaho and Henry Hyde[15] of Illinois, the chief House manager of Clinton’s trial in the Senate) had infidelities exposed about this time, all of whom voted for impeachment. Publisher Larry Flynt offered a reward for such information, and many supporters of Clinton accused Republicans of hypocrisy.[15]

      Although proceedings were delayed due to the bombing of Iraq, on the passage of H. Res. 611, Clinton was impeached on December 19, 1998, by the House of Representatives on grounds of perjury to a grand jury (by a 228–206 vote)[17] and obstruction of justice (by a 221–212 vote).[18] Two other articles of impeachment failed – a second count of perjury in the Jones case (by a 205–229 vote)[19] and one accusing Clinton of abuse of power (by a 148–285 vote).[20] Clinton thus became the second U.S. president to be impeached, following Andrew Johnson in 1868. (Clinton was the third sitting president against whom the House of Representatives initiated impeachment proceedings since 1789.)

      Five Democrats (Virgil Goode of Virginia, Ralph Hall of Texas, Paul McHale of Pennsylvania, Charles Stenholm of Texas and Gene Taylor of Mississippi) voted in favor of three of the four articles of impeachment, but only Taylor voted for the abuse of power charge. Five Republicans (Amo Houghton of New York, Peter King of New York, Connie Morella of Maryland, Chris Shays of Connecticut and Mark Souder of Indiana) voted against the first perjury charge. Eight more Republicans (Sherwood Boehlert of New York, Michael Castle of Delaware, Phil English of Pennsylvania, Nancy Johnson of Connecticut, Jay Kim of California, Jim Leach of Iowa, John McHugh of New York and Ralph Regula of Ohio), but not Souder, voted against the obstruction charge. Twenty-eight Republicans voted against the second perjury charge, sending it to defeat, and eighty-one voted against the abuse of power charge.

      Article I charged that Clinton lied to the grand jury concerning:[21]

      the nature and details of his relationship with Lewinsky
      prior false statements he made in the Jones deposition
      prior false statements he allowed his lawyer to make characterizing Lewinsky’s affidavit
      his attempts to tamper with witnesses
      Article III charged Clinton with attempting to obstruct justice in the Jones case by:[22]

      encouraging Lewinsky to file a false affidavit
      encouraging Lewinsky to give false testimony if and when she was called to testify
      concealing gifts he had given to Lewinsky that had been subpoenaed
      attempting to secure a job for Lewinsky to influence her testimony
      permitting his lawyer to make false statements characterizing Lewinsky’s affidavit
      attempting to tamper with the possible testimony of his secretary Betty Curie
      making false and misleading statements to potential grand jury witnesses

      Wiki

  10. I’m real tired of this entire episode. No where in your article do you mention the coup attempt, the fabricated Steele report who paid for it, the possible involvement of foreign intelligence agencies in its fabrication, the spying on Americans and why no one has been charged yet. You, MSM and the Demosocialist party just want to keep whipping a dead horse to keep lunatics believing BS. How about you and others direct your attention to the real threats facing the nation, the constitution and our way of life.

  11. Karma is a be-etch

    ——-

    https://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/26/opinion/eq-steinem.html

    Why Feminists Support Clinton

    By GLORIA STEINEM

    SEPT. 25, 2010

    If all the sexual allegations now swirling around the White House turn out to be true, President Clinton may be a candidate for sex addiction therapy. But feminists will still have been right to resist pressure by the right wing and the news media to call for his resignation or impeachment. The pressure came from another case of the double standard.

    For one thing, if the president had behaved with comparable insensitivity toward environmentalists, and at the same time remained their most crucial champion and bulwark against an anti-environmental Congress, would they be expected to desert him? I don’t think so. If President Clinton were as vital to preserving freedom of speech as he is to preserving reproductive freedom, would journalists be condemned as “inconsistent” for refusing to suggest he resign? Forget it.

    For another, there was and is a difference between the accusations against Mr. Clinton and those against Bob Packwood and Clarence Thomas. Commentators might stop puzzling over the president’s favorable poll ratings, especially among women, if they understood the common-sense guideline to sexual behavior that came out of the women’s movement 30 years ago: no means no; yes means yes.

    It’s the basis of sexual harassment law. It also explains why the news media’s obsession with sex qua sex is offensive to some, titillating to many and beside the point to almost everybody. Like most feminists, most Americans become concerned about sexual behavior when someone’s will has been violated; that is, when “no” hasn’t been accepted as an answer.

    Perhaps we have a responsibility to make it O.K. for politicians to tell the truth — providing they are respectful of “no means no; yes means yes” — and still be able to enter high office.

    Until then, we will disqualify energy and talent the country needs.

  12. Dems have no standing whatsoever on the subject of obstruction of justice, never mind impeaching a President who lied

    Ask Monica Lewinsky

    —————-

    Monica Lewinsky Unloads on Bill Clinton, Exposes Liberals/Media Hypocrisy

    Watching the left and media’s treatment of Bill Clinton, after his wife’s embarrassing loss, has been fascinating. Suddenly, no one has to cover for Bill’s abysmal treatment of women (see Bill Clinton Lashes Out When Questioned on #MeToo, Monica Lewinsky and Rose McGowan Savages Bill Clinton’s Refusal to Apologize). One can argue the tone changed post-Harvey Weinstein. One can also argue if Hillary still had a valuable political career, the left would still cover Bubba like a Trojan.

    This powerful OpEd from Monica Lewinsky in Vanity Fair illustrates a shift:

    Grief for a relationship that had no normal closure, and instead was slowly dismantled by two decades of Bill Clinton’s behavior that eventually (eventually!) helped me understand how, at 22, I took the small, narrow sliver of the man I knew and mistook it for the whole.

    We can not underestimate the importance of Lewinski’s very young age at the time of the affair. And how a naive young woman would mistake what she knew of someone being the whole of him. A relatable experience for many people who remember what it was like to be young.

    As it so often does, power throws a protective cape around the shoulders of the man, and he dictates the spin by denigrating the less powerful woman.

    Bingo. This is the same Democrat party which claims to champion women. But here’s the money quote:

    If you want to know what power looks like, watch a man safely, even smugly, do interviews for decades, without ever worrying whether he will be asked the questions he doesn’t want to answer.
    Ouch. Bill is going to need some ice for that. Which I realize is a Juanita Broaddrick reference. But is still applicable.

    Lewinsky has a point. I remember after Cigargate, Bill’s biggest defensive strategy was “it was only some pu$$y.” Who cares the President of the United States took advantage of one of his interns. A blow job isn’t as bad as the Republicans. Who cares if Bill Clinton lied under oath. Who cares if he was getting a little lucky while also working for the American people. Everybody does it!

    After that, the defense became, “Who cares? That happened so long ago? It’s time to move on.”

    And the media was more than happy to play along, more than happy to forget they helped a sexual predator get away with sexual predation while destroying the life of a young woman. Just because Bill Clinton was THEE Democrat.

    “Believe all women!” Only if believing doesn’t get in the way of a political agenda.

    https://www.louderwithcrowder.com/monica-lewinsky-unloads-on-bill-clinton-exposes-liberals-media-hypocrisy/

      1. Bettykath,
        …–The question of “does character matter?” was raised a couple of times in the 1990s presidential election.
        It was pretty much answered back then.

      2. “And here we are now with a president who brags about sexually abusing women. ”

        Bettykath, Trump didn’t but maybe that statement means you are one of those woman that wants to be lusted for and it never happens.

  13. When you have an investigation without any basis that a crime has been committed you get convictions for process crimes (nobody should ever talk to the FBI voluntarily) and a big nothing burger at the end. Welcome to White Water, the Church Commission, the Ray Donovan Investigation and on and on! It’s political chicanery and law weaponized for partisan reasons. It’s loathsome and indicative of the swamp we created by the public’s abandonment of any role in a participatory democracy. We need new people in DC, new ideas and a clear vision of the purpose of the country that rejects identity politics and about every other cockamamie view of the Left.

    1. Welcome to White Water, the Church Commission,

      Not aware any specific individual was investigated for criminal conduct consequent to the Church or the Pike commissions. Church may have been a showboating public nuisance, but those were oversight hearings.

      As for Whitewater, the McDougals, Gov. Tucker, and Webb Hubbell were not convicted of process crimes.

      Donovan and his business partner Ronald Schiavone may have been innocent of crimes. They did do some sketchy things, like make use of a minority front as a subcontractor. It was, IIRC, a paper company formed by a black pol named Joseph Galiber and a mob boss named William Pellegrino Masselli.

    2. So, using your logic, when police find evidence of a crime police needn’t investigate.

      Gott im Himmel.

      1. They did not define any crime they were investigating. Nor did they find evidence the President committed a crime.

      1. The comment at 12:27 is in response to the following by mesblo:

        “We need new people in DC, new ideas and a clear vision of the purpose of the country that rejects identity politics and about every other cockamamie view of the Left.”

          1. for our amusement.

            Like oil and water, leftists and a good time are not miscible nor chemically possible. The stoichiometry just wont allow it.

              1. I agree. However . . . I’ve never seen a statue nor portrait of Zeus that was clean-shaven and beardless. I think Mespo’s thumbnail avatar is a Roman statesman–possibly an Emperor, possibly Caesar Augustus. But I could be wrong.

  14. The source of the impeachment push is the assumption by partisan Democrats that public offices are their property and that possession of any public office by the opposition is a usurpation. These sorts of people fancy all manner of common institutions are theirs and work to turn them into partisan instruments: the professional associations, higher education, the courts, the media, you name it. They also think they define the ground rules of public discussion. People like Trump and Steve King flip them the bird, so are deemed criminal.

    For the health of our civil society, these people need to be put in their place.

  15. The abuse and “obstruction of justice” was by Mueller and his team, who (like Trump and surely you) knew it was an absurdity that Trump criminally conspired with Russians. The whole inquiry was illegitimate. Dressing it up under the SC regs does not make it legitimate. Legally, Trump could have, and perhaps should have, shut it down. You have not addressed the legal effect of an illegitimate inquiry. Barr and Horowitz will. We know Mueller proceeded in bad faith on obstruction because he did not shut down the inquiry when he learned there was no “collusion” either before or early in his tenure. You have accepted a faulty premise. Get out of the box and step back. Then give us your best analysis.

    1. Agreed. See Andrew McCarthy. They pretended that predicates you could use to launch a counter-intelligence investigation could be repurposed to conduct criminal investigation. And, of course, partisan Democrats at the FBI made use of Democratic Party oppo research in order to obtain permissions to spy on the Republican campaign. No need to hire Gordon Liddy and Howard Hunt when the FBI will do it for you.

      Street level Democrats are perfectly happy with this sort of misconduct. They don’t think anyone they care about will be injured by throwing away the rule book, because they fancy the apparat is their property.

      1. Excerpted from Page 10 of the Mueller report:

        In evaluating whether evidence about collective action of multiple individuals constituted a crime, we applied the framework of conspiracy law, not the concept of “collusion.” In so doing, the Office recognized that the word “collud[e]” was used in communications with the Acting Attorney General confirming certain aspects of the investigation’s scope and that the term has frequently been invoked in public reporting about the investigation. But collusion is not a specific offense or theory of liability found in the United States Code, nor is it a term of art in federal criminal law. For those reasons, the Office’s focus in analyzing questions of joint criminal liability was on conspiracy as defined in federal law.

        In connection with that analysis, we addressed the factual question whether members of the Trump Campaign “coordinated”–the term that appears in the appointment order–with Russian election interference activities. Like collusion, “coordination” does not have a settled definition in federal criminal law. We understood coordination to require an agreement–tacit or express–between the Trump Campaign and the Russian government on election interference. That requires more than the two parties taking actions that were informed by or responsive to the other’s actions or interests. We applied the term coordination in that sense when stating in the report that the investigation did not establish that the
        Trump Campaign coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.

        [end excerpt]

        Coordination requires “an agreement–tacit or express.” An agreement requires “more than the two parties taking actions that were informed by or responsive to the other’s actions or interests.” Entering into an agreement is the first of the specific four elements in a case for Conspiracy to Defraud the United States. Taking actions that were informed by or responsive to the other party’s actions or interests is legal language lifted from anti-trust law and, as such, is a fine working definition of “collusion.”

        Anon’s comments on the subject of the distinction between collusion versus conspiracy are thoroughly consistent with Mueller’s analysis and explanation of that same distinction. Trump has garbled that distinction. And the mass-media fully participated in Trump’s garbling of the distinction. Since even Trump, himself, has told us repeatedly that collusion is not a crime, therefore, not even Trump, himself, can legitimately expect to be exonerated for collusion. That would be like Bill Clinton demanding to be exonerated of extramarital sex.

        1. “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.”

    2. There was collusion, which thanks to our excellent press we’ve known about for over a year, but criminal conspiracy is bar made higher by the SC over the years. The investigation has verified the obvious conclusion that his campaign lied and hid communications because they feared being discovered,just as they have tried to defend their benefactors the Russians from the charge that interfered successfully in our election.

      The president is now a proven liar who also engaged in witness tampering and efforts to change testimony and should be removed from office.

      1. There was collusion,

        There was no collusion. There are collusion-Truthers. Absolutely unsurprising.

        1. Please be specific about which of these now verified facts are not collusion.

          Papadopolous told several foreigners about the Russian overture to him, but no one in the Trump campaign remembered or admitted he had told them . Emails and phone texts were scrubbed, and this overture was not reported to the FBI.

          The Trump Tower meeting was attended by the 3 most important figures in the campaign but it was not reported to the FBI – after the FBI told the campaign about Russian efforts – and Trump personally constructed a cover story lie about it.

          Within hours of Trumps public request, the Russians dumped stolen emails through wiki leaks and within hours of the p…y grabbving tape being made public, did so again

          Manafort passed on polling data to the Russians, who where targeting useful idiots on social media.

          Trump repeatedly lied about his attempts to make a deal for a Trump property in Moscow, while at the same time pursuing that deal at least up to the GOP convention. His tax returns and other financials should help clarify if he is compromised, which his behavior indicates is likely.

          Campaign officials met secretly 140 times with Russians prior to the inauguration.

          Before taking office, the campaign told the Russians to not react to the new sanctions Obama had set for their interference and tried to set up a meeting with Putin

          1. They are Pavlovian pigeons. They cannot distinguish between “collusion” versus “conspiracy” because Trump has operantly conditioned them to be incapable of distinguishing between “what is not a crime (collusion)” versus “what is a crime (conspiracy).”

          2. PS Trump has repeatedly since taking office run interference for the Russians by denying they interfered in our election and by refusing to take any action against future interference.

            1. Yep. The original counter-intelligence investigation is still ongoing. Plus, there are now 14 criminal investigations that the Special Counsel’s Office referred to other United States Attorney’s Offices.

            2. to take any action against future interference

              Feel free to lay across the Trans-Atlantic Communications Cable to interfere with transmission. Or you could just grab with your bare hands that powerline in front of your cave and see what that does to FoxNews transmission.

              Keep us posted

          3. There is no collusion delineated in your account. ‘Collusion’ requires (1) people co-operating, (2) toward a criminal end. Nothing of the sort occurred.

            Campaign officials met secretly 140 times with Russians prior to the inauguration.

            Thanks for the phony talking point. It’s been an education.

            1. I appreciate absurd’s acceptance of the facts of Trump and his campaigns collusion with the Russians in their efforts to influence the election to his benefit, though he is confused about the legal signifigance of that behavior.It is not illegal until it rises to provable criminal conspiracy, which is a higher bar than Mueller felt he could reach, at least partly due to the dlamming up and lying of both the president and his associates as shown above. The proper resolution of this corruption is impeachment and removal from office.

              1. Anon,
                Without much more to go on ( uncovering a yet- unknown “smoking gun”), I think the Democrats in the House will “talk impeachment”.
                I don’t think they’ll actually take that risk, at least in Trump’s first term. If he gets re-elected, they might get desperate enough to try it later if they still control the House.

              2. We understand Anon. Your definition of obstruction means that only people in the cemetary haven’t committed obstruction. That is pretty stupid, but one can’t expect much more from you.

                1. Typically absurd is unable to make a coherent argument in support of his position. Perhaps he could tell us how he would describe the verified acts by Trump and his campaign listed above, and how they differ from collusion.

                  Probably not.

                  1. The ball is in Anon’s court and he has to state proof collusion occurred. He can’t and never will. Anon lies over and over again thinking that proof isn’t necessary. I can’t imagine working with a person as untrustworthy as Anon is.

                    From the report.

                    “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.”

                2. You are hopelessly addicted to mere verbal disagreement –(not genuine disagreement).

                  There was insufficient evidence to allege “conspiracy.” The evidence of “collusion” is both rife and technically non-criminal. But also oh-so-very political, that evidence of “collusion’ is. Deal with it. Shameless equivocator.

    3. Excerpted from Page 180 of the Mueller report:

      1. Potential Coordination: Conspiracy and Collusion

      As an initial matter, this Office evaluated potentially criminal conduct that involved the collective action of multiple individuals not under the rubric of “collusion,” but through the lens of conspiracy law. In so doing, the Office recognized that the word “collud[e]” appears in the Acting Attorney General’s August 2, 2017 memorandum; it has frequently been invoked in public reporting; and it is sometimes referenced in antitrust law, see, cg, Brooke Group 12. Brown Williamson Tobacco Corp, 509 US. 209, 227 (1993). But collusion is not a specific offense or theory of liability found in the US. Code; nor is it a term of art in federal criminal law. To the contrary, even as defined in legal dictionaries, collusion is largely synonymous with conspiracy as that crime is set forth in the general federal conspiracy statute, 18 U.S.C. 371. See Black “3 Law Dictionary 321. (10th ed. 2014) (collusion is agreement to defraud another or to do or obtain something forbidden by law”); 1 Alexander Burrill, A Law Dictionary and Glossary 31 (1871) (“An agreement between two or more persons to defraud another by the forms of law, or to employ such forms as means of accomplishing some unlawful object”); 1 Bouvier’s Law Dictionary 352

      1. Mr. Marple said, “. . . it was an absurdity that Trump criminally conspired with Russians . . . [edit] . . . Mueller proceeded in bad faith on obstruction because he did not shut down the inquiry when he learned there was no “collusion” either before or early in his tenure.”

        And there you have the incessant garble fully exposed to plain view. Marple (like so many other Trumpeters) insists upon repeating Trump’s shameless equivocation between collusion (which is not a crime) versus conspiracy (which is a crime) in order to delegitimize the Special Counsel’s investigation. Marple then doubles down on the garble by claiming that Mueller supposedly failed to find any evidence of “collusion” (which is not a crime) even while baldly asserting that the potential conspiracy (which is a crime) between the Trump campaign and the Russian election interference activities was supposedly an absurdity.

        But there was nothing absurd about the investigation of a potential conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians in their election-interference activities. The links and contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian government officials and Russian-affiliated individuals complied in Section IV of Volume I of the Mueller report exhibit beaucoup boatloads of probable cause for investigating a potential conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians in their election-interference activities.

        That the evidence was insufficient to bring conspiracy charges against the Trump campaign in no way whatsoever warrants Marple’s assertion that “there was no ‘collusion’ either before or early in [Mueller’s] tenure.” Instead, Mueller said that what his Office found were links and contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russians that did not establish an agreement–tacit or express–to conspire or to coordinate between the Trump campaign and the Russians in their election-interference activities.

        At some point around October 15th of 2019, The Washington Post and other newspapers will be granted their FOIA request for the un-redacted transcripts of Manafort’s breach hearings. When that happens we are all likely to find out why Mueller could not establish the Trump campaign’s “willfulness” with “admissible evidence.” Because Manafort’s breach of his cooperation agreement with the Special Counsel’s Office most likely rendered all of Manafort’s testimony “inadmissible.” And that revelation, in turn, may greatly bolster the case for Trump’s obstruction of justice by means of abusing the pardon power to tamper with witnesses and suborn perjury.

  16. As I discuss, I am still baffled by the logic of Mueller in not reaching a conclusion on obstruction.

    Nothing baffling there. He’s vain fool who fancies it ought to be criminal offense for the President to stick a stiletto in him. However, he knows he woul look riiculous ttempting to mke this rgument, an he’s vin enough to not wish to o tht.

    1. “He’s vain fool who fancies it ought to be criminal offense for the President to stick a stiletto in him”

      To be absolutely precise, sticking a stiletto in somebody, under most circumstances, would indeed be a criminal offense.

    2. It’s more than amusing that a Trump sycophant like absurd would use the word “vain” in criticism of others.

      1. He passed up a perfectly good opportunity to use the word, “shiv.” Evidently, Triply Absurd secretly suspects that the word “shiv” is just not good enough for Mueller. Or maybe a shiv is not good enough for Trump and his tiny hands. Is stiletto an Italian thing? What ethnic group is associated with the word, “shiv”? Is Sanhedrin an ethnicity? Okay. So that last question is truly demented. I confess.

        1. Shiv, also chiv and shivvie is a homemade knife-like weapon, especially one fashioned in prison. The word is almost certainly evolved from 17th-century “chive” (knife). The related verb shiv means “to stab someone”, a shivver being a criminal who attacks victims with a knife. An improvised prison knife is also often called a shank.

  17. Despite what Trump defenders have claimed, a target of an investigation can be exonerated of a crime, e.g., if it is demonstrated that he has an airtight alibi. Mueller stated explicitly that Trump was not exonerated in order to prevent Trump from claiming that he was (which he lied about in spite of Mueller’s assertion to the contrary). Mueller did not say that he would have indicted Trump for obstruction but for the DOJ policy against doing so because that assertion would have resulted in the unjust consequence that the DOJ policy was intended to avoid. So Mueller claimed that the decision to establish the crime of obstruction was a close call in order to avoid implicitly finding Trump indictable in hopes that Congress would undertake this ultimate decision. That Trump was not exonerated means that he remains a suspect. If Manafort does not soon receive the pardon he anticipates, he may turn state’s witness and finally stop lying on Trump’s behalf. Manafort may be able to prove with corroboration that Trump is indeed guilty of a crime. Who knows.

    1. Trump’s detractors have yet to define a crime he’s supposed to have committed. All they come up with is a comical charge of ‘obstruction of justice’. It would be condign punishment if all of them were arrested for resisting arrest.

    2. Mr. Silberman, your comment above is most excellent, as usual, except for the sentence below:

      If Manafort does not soon receive the pardon he anticipates, he may turn state’s witness and finally stop lying on Trump’s behalf.

      Manafort’s breach of his cooperation agreement with the Special Counsel’s Office renders Manafort useless as a witness because all of Manafort’s proven lies would be exculpatory evidence to impeach Manafort’s credibility as a witness against any of his co-conspirators.

      1. Calling all Left Wing Trolls…

        Contempt of court citation

        In April 1999, about two months after being acquitted by the Senate, Clinton was cited by Federal District Judge Susan Webber Wright for civil contempt of court for his “willful failure” to obey her repeated orders to testify truthfully in the Paula Jones sexual harassment lawsuit. For this citation, Clinton was assessed a $90,000 fine, and the matter was referred to the Arkansas Supreme Court to see if disciplinary action would be appropriate.[29]

        Regarding Clinton’s January 17, 1998, deposition where he was placed under oath, the judge wrote:

        Simply put, the president’s deposition testimony regarding whether he had ever been alone with Ms. (Monica) Lewinsky was intentionally false, and his statements regarding whether he had ever engaged in sexual relations with Ms. Lewinsky likewise were intentionally false …[29]

        On the day before leaving office in January 2001, President Clinton agreed to a five-year suspension of his Arkansas law license as part of an agreement with the independent counsel[clarification needed] to end the investigation.[30] Clinton was automatically suspended from the United States Supreme Court bar as a result of his law license suspension. However, as is customary, he was allowed 40 days to appeal an otherwise-automatic disbarment. The former President resigned from the Supreme Court bar during the 40-day appeals period.[31]

        Wiki

  18. The crime was electing such a man President and the continued overlooking of his horrendous behavior now

    1. His behvior hasn’t been horrendous at all. The real source of dismay is the character of Democratc politicians and of Democratic voters such as yourself.

      1. Cult followers and easy marks like absurd have proven their complete inability to judge human character.

        1. The hypocrisy of Hillary’s feminists
          BY BRIDGET JACK JEFFRIES, CONTRIBUTOR – the Hill

          “less understandable are the great majority of feminists who enthusiastically supported Hillary in the primaries, looking the other way on her sins against women the entire time: feminists like Lena Dunham, Gloria Steinem, and Madeleine Albright. It is little wonder that Steinem and Albright made stunningly anti-feminist statements in the course of their support for Hillary during the primaries.”

          1. Feminist shmeminist. Madeleine Albright is an accomplished academic / dignitary. Gloria Steinem was once a magazine writer with some talent who after 1970 squandered most of it by putting herself in an intellectual straightjacket. Lena Dunham has one utility: some capacity to produce salable popular entertainment. Otherwise, there’s nothing to recommend her. Albright is the only one of these three who merits a listen on public affairs.

    2. You have your party clowns circa 1960-1990s to thanks for that.
      Now run along and make yourself useful: walk the talk of helping immigrants, the hungry, the poor, the unwed mother, the orphans, …

      As if you could handle getting your hands dirty and smelling like the sheep.

Leave a Reply