Mueller’s Mount Sinai Moment Leaves Media With A Crisis of Faith

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the press conference held by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his refusal to answer questions from the media (or any questions from Congress beyond what is written in his Report). Mueller not only demanded silence but faith from the media, which surprisingly obeyed. Few reporters noted the direct contradictions in Mueller’s brief statement or the many unanswered questions that he left in his imperious wake. Since Attorney General Bill Barr has already testified on the process and his decisions related to the Report, there was nothing preventing Mueller from answering questions about his own decisions. Instead, Mueller simply said that the media would listen and remain silent . . . and the media dutifully complied.

Here is the column:

The very first and purportedly only press conference by special counsel Robert Mueller had the feeling of a Mount Sinai moment for Washington this week. Indeed, his message seemed to be the same as that of Moses, which is have faith and do not question. Mueller spoke some 1,200 words before virtually admonishing the press corps that “I hope and expect this to be the only time that I will speak to you in this manner.” After refusing to answer questions, he went back to the place from whence he came.

Last week, I wrote that it has become sacrilegious to question the motives or performance of Mueller. His press conference was the greatest test of such blind faith. Mueller announced that “the report is my testimony” and that he would not answer questions from Congress either, beyond what is already in his final report. From anyone else, such a statement would be denounced as arrogant, evasive, or both. However, many members of Congress and the media accepted it as the gospel according to Mueller.

The problem is that Mueller was uttering absolute nonsense about his inability to reach a conclusion. He likewise did not offer a principled basis for refusing to answer any questions. This includes obvious questions such as why he refused to comply with the request from his superiors to identify grand jury material, which delayed the release of his report. The disconnect in the coverage of his remarks was striking. Attorney General William Barr testified for hours on his role and has answered dozens of questions. He was promptly dismissed as evasive and even perjurious. Mueller declared he would tolerate no questions and declined to address any of the criticism of his work with very little objection from the media.

The press conference this week should be an embarrassment for the Justice Department. The agency has long maintained that the special counsel could perform the same function as an independent counsel in determining whether high ranking officials committed criminal acts. For two years, Congress and the Justice Department expressly anticipated findings of any criminal conduct. Mueller employed a massive staff and spent tens of millions of dollars. Yet, it now appears that he never intended to make any findings of possible crimes by President Trump.

Mueller insisted that, because there is a Justice Department policy not to indict a sitting president, he interpreted that to bar him from finding the basis for criminal conduct. According to Mueller, you can investigate but not reach basic conclusions on what the investigation found. One could understand why he would not be eager to answer questions about such an absurd interpretation, when his cited sources directly contradict him.

I testified on these flawed memos from the Office of Legal Counsel during the Clinton impeachment. Like many other academics, I view the policy as unsupported by either the Constitution or the convention debates, but that does not matter because the memos have simply nothing to do with a special counsel finding criminal conduct by a president. The memos focus entirely on the indictment and prosecution of a sitting president. They do conclude that being a defendant in a criminal case would thus prevent any president from performing his duties, but they do not challenge the need to investigate a sitting president. History shows presidents routinely accused of criminal conduct, including in impeachment proceedings.

Indeed, President Clinton was investigated and found to have committed crimes by an independent counsel. The Justice Department memos did not find that the investigation or such findings were improper. When the Independent Counsel Act subsequently expired, Congress was assured that the same investigatory function would be performed by any special counsels. The memos only addressed when a president can be indicted and said that prosecution must wait until he leaves office, since he could not function while in the docket of a criminal court or a federal prison.

Mueller has insisted that the policy “says that the Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing.” That is not actually what it says. The Justice Department concluded that its view “remains that a sitting president is constitutionally immune from indictment and criminal prosecution.” It focuses on the prosecution of sitting presidents, not the investigation of sitting presidents. In referencing a process other than the criminal justice system, it refers to the only legal way to remove a president from office.

Nothing in the memos even remotely bars a special counsel from reaching conclusions on the basis of possible criminal charges. Indeed, the memos accept that the Justice Department needs to establish such evidence to preserve a record for possible later charges. That is why Mueller was told by his superiors that there was no policy barring him from finding criminal conduct, only the policy against indicting while the president is in office. Even if you twist the memos to suggest some prohibition to reaching conclusions on criminal conduct, that debate should have ended when his two superiors, the attorney general and deputy attorney general, told him there was no such policy and asked him to reach a conclusion.

His instructions and mandate were crystal clear. His position is even more nonsensical when you look at what he has already done. Mueller declared that “we concluded that we would not reach a determination one way or the other about whether the president committed a crime.” Yet, Mueller contradicted that statement when he declared that “if we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime we would have said so.”

So which is it? Mueller actually did reach a “determination one way or the other” on crimes related to collusion. In his special counsel report, he found that he could “not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” In effect, Mueller ultimately came across as almost coquettish in his declaration that he would not make a clear finding of a possible crime but could not rule out criminal conduct by the president.

In other words, Mueller can produce hundreds of pages of evidence of possible criminal conduct and repeatedly refer to not exonerating Trump of crimes but somehow cannot reach a conclusion on the weight of the evidence. Of course,Mueller did not address such questions because he would not tolerate questions. The media simply listened obediently as he claimed that he was only being “fair” when he repeated that he could not clear Trump of the crime. That, of course, led the media to declare that Mueller really was searching for criminal conduct with a wink and a nod.

Whatever space Mueller occupied in maintaining such a position, it was neither created nor countenanced by federal law or Justice Department policy. Instead, he accepted the job of special counsel and then radically redefined it, without telling anyone outside of his staff. In that sense, he failed as special counsel. Mueller was not appointed to be a chronicler of allegations. Mueller was appointed to perform a prosecutorial function in the investigation of a president and his associates. Moreover, he does not get to dictate what Congress can investigate, or to stonewall the media.

I agree with Mueller on his hope and expectation that this will be “the only time that I will speak to you in this manner.” Next time, I hope and expect Mueller will finally address the growing questions about his investigation.

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

213 thoughts on “Mueller’s Mount Sinai Moment Leaves Media With A Crisis of Faith”

  1. Meuller is not a good man. He is a politicized tool and has been one one for many years.

  2. Hillary Clinton’s Russia collusion IOU: The answers she owes America

    During the combined two decades she served as a U.S. senator and secretary of State, Hillary Clinton’s patrons regularly donated to her family charity when they had official business pending before America’s most powerful political woman.

    The pattern of political IOUs paid to the Clinton Foundation was so pernicious that the State Department even tried to execute a special agreement with the charity to avoid the overt appearance of “pay-to-play” policy.

    Still, the money continued to flow by the millions of dollars, from foreigners and Americans alike who were perceived to be indebted to the Clinton machine or in need of its help.

    It’s time for the American public to call in their own IOU on political transparency.

    The reason? Never before — until 2016 — had the apparatus of a U.S. presidential candidate managed to sic the weight of the FBI and U.S. intelligence community on a rival nominee during an election, and by using a foreign-fed, uncorroborated political opposition research document.

    But Clinton’s campaign, in concert with the Democratic Party and through their shared law firm, funded Christopher Steele’s unverified dossier which, it turns out, falsely portrayed Republican Donald Trump as a treasonous asset colluding with Russian President Vladimir Putin to hijack the U.S. election.

    Steele went to the FBI to get an investigation started and then leaked the existence of the investigation, with the hope of sinking Trump’s presidential aspirations.

    On its face, it is arguably the most devious political dirty trick in American history and one of the most overt intrusions of a foreigner into a U.S. election.

    It appears the Clinton machine knew that what it was doing was controversial. That’s why it did backflips to disguise the operation from Congress and the public, and in its Federal Election Commission (FEC) spending reports.

    Clinton and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) used the law firm of Perkins Coie to hire Glenn Simpson’s research firm, Fusion GPS, which then hired Steele — several layers that obfuscated transparency, kept the operation off the campaign’s public FEC reports and gave the Clintons plausible deniability.

    But Steele’s first overture on July 5, 2016, failed to capture the FBI’s imagination. So the Clinton machine escalated. Steele, a British national, went to senior Department of Justice official Bruce Ohr — whose wife, Nellie, also worked for Fusion — to push his Trump dirt to the top of the FBI.

    Nellie Ohr likewise sent some of her own anti-Trump research augmenting Steele’s dossier to the FBI through her husband. Perkins Coie lawyer Michael Sussmann used his connection to former FBI general counsel James Baker to dump Trump dirt at the FBI, too.

    Then Steele and, separately, longtime Clinton protégé Cody Shearer went to the State Department to get the story out, increasing pressure on the FBI.

    In short, the Clinton machine flooded the FBI with pressure — and bad intel — until an investigation of Trump was started. The bureau and its hapless sheriff at the time, James Comey, eventually acquiesced with the help of such Clinton fans as then-FBI employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.

    To finish the mission, Simpson and Steele leaked the existence of the FBI investigation to the news media to ensure it would hurt Trump politically. Simpson even called the leaks a “hail Mary” that failed.

    Trump won, however. And now, thanks to special counsel Robert Mueller, we know the Russia-collusion allegations relentlessly peddled by Team Clinton were bogus. But not before the FBI used the Clinton-funded, foreign-created research to get a total of four warrants to spy on the Trump campaign, transition and presidency from October 2016 through the following autumn.

    The Clinton team’s dirty trick was as diabolical as it was brilliant. It literally used house money and a large part of the U.S. intelligence apparatus to carry out its political hit job on Trump.

    After two years of American discomfort, and tens of millions of taxpayer dollars spent, it’s time for the house to call in its IOU.

    Hillary Clinton owes us answers — lots of them. So far, she has ducked them, even while doing many high-profile media interviews.

    I’m not the only one who thinks this way. Longtime Clinton adviser Douglas Schoen said Friday night on Fox News that it’s time for Clinton to answer what she knew and when she knew it.

    Here are 10 essential questions:

    In January 2018, the Senate Judiciary Committee sent a formal investigative request for documents and written answers from your campaign. Do you plan to comply?
    Please identify each person in your campaign who was involved with, or aware of, hiring Fusion GPS, Glenn Simpson and Christopher Steele.

    Please identify each person in your campaign, including Perkins Coie lawyers, who were aware that Steele provided information to the FBI or State Department, and when they learned it.

    Describe any information you and your campaign staff received, or were briefed on, before Election Day that was derived from the work of Simpson, Steele, Fusion GPS, Nellie Ohr or Perkins Coie and that tried to connect Trump, his campaign or his business empire with Russia.

    Please describe all contacts your campaign had before Election Day with or about the following individuals: Bruce Ohr, Nellie Ohr, Glenn Simpson, Christopher Steele, former Australian diplomat Alexander Downer, former foreign policy scholar Stefan Halper and Maltese academic Joseph Mifsud.

    Did you or any senior members of your campaign, including lawyers such as Michael Sussmann, have any contact with the CIA, its former Director John Brennan, current Director Gina Haspel, James Baker, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page or former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe?

    Describe all contacts your campaign had with Cody Shearer and Sidney Blumenthal concerning Trump, Russia and Ukraine.

    Describe all contacts you and your campaign had with DNC contractor Alexandra Chalupa, the Ukraine government, the Ukraine Embassy in the United States or the U.S. Embassy in Kiev concerning Trump, Russia or former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

    Why did your campaign and the Democratic Party make a concerted effort to portray Trump as a Russian asset?

    Given that investigations by a House committee, a Senate committee and a special prosecutor all have concluded there isn’t evidence of Trump-Russia collusion, do you regret the actions by your campaign and by Steele, Simpson and Sussmann to inject these unfounded allegations into the FBI, the U.S. intelligence community and the news media?
    Hillary Clinton owes us answers to each of these questions. She should skip the lawyer-speak and answer them with the candor worthy of an elder American stateswoman.

    The Hill, John Solomon

    1. If anyone has any good answers Hillary can give to the ten questions above, let us know.

  3. Barr an apologist for Trump, Turley an apologist for Barr. Everybody has a hidden agenda.

  4. Mueller isnt the only one playing Moses but he gets to break all of the commandments and still act holier than thou

    WATCH: VA Gov Ralph Northam Still Stonewalling Over Who Is in His Racist Yearbook Photo
    Ralph Northam Stonewalls on Identities of Persons in Racist Yearbook Photo

    In an interview with Fox5DC reporter Josh Rosenthal, Virginia’s Democratic Governor Ralph Northam continued to stonewall over the identities of two people — one in blackface, one wearing a KKK uniform — in a scandalous racist photo from his medical school yearbook page.

    “We’ve turned the page, Virginians want us to move forward,” Northam claimed. “They want a leader, a leader such as me.” During the back-and-forth, Northam again refused to give any more details about who, exactly, is in the photo and how it ended up on his yearbook page. But Rosenthal pointed out that many Virginians remain incensed by the photo and the lack of accountability from Northam about what actually happened.

    “Well as you know there was an investigation that was very thorough by Eastern Virginia Medical School. You know what has happened in the Commonwealth of Virginia. I regret that. I have addressed that,” Northam said.

    When the racist photo first gained widespread attention back in February, large numbers of Democrats both inside and outside of Virginia unequivocally called for Northam’s resignation. Nevertheless, Northam refused to step down and, instead, initiated an investigation into the photo.

    Rosenthal, however, pointed out to the governor on Tuesday that the EVMS investigation into the incident was “inconclusive.” Likewise, Northam has never publicly admitted if either of the two individuals in the photo is him, nor has he identified anyone else in the photo.

    When the reported further prodded Northam, reminding the governor that he had also promised to conduct his own personal investigation into the photo, the response was more stonewalling with no clear answers.

    “We did conduct an investigation, a very thorough investigation, and that was turned over to Eastern Virginia Medical School and they reported on their investigation,” Northam said.

    Shortly after these comments, Rosenthal reports that Northam abruptly ended the impromptu interview and got inside an SUV without taking any more questions.

  5. Turley wrote, “Thus, to use Mueller’s own construction, if we could rule out a political motive, we would have done so. This is why Mueller must testify and must do so publicly.”

    Thusly did Turley accuse Special Counsel Mueller of harboring a “political motive” for refusing to accuse President Trump of having committed a crime.

    [Wait for it] . . . [Let it sink in] . . . Turley accused Special Counsel Mueller of harboring a political motive for refusing to accuse President Trump of having committed a rime.

    The words Fouled Up Beyond All Recognition are inadequate to the task of encompassing the scope of Professor Turley’s incomparable Tartuffery on that count. What political motive could anyone possibly harbor for refusing to accuse President Trump of having committed a crime?

    This is what it has come to? This is how dumb it gets? Substitute the terms Independent Counsel Starr and President Clinton for the terms Special Counsel Mueller and President Trump.

    Would Professor Turley say anything like “we cannot rule out a political motive” for Independent Counsel Starr refusing to accuse President Clinton of having committed a crime? But of course not. Independent Counsel Starr did not hesitate to accuse President Clinton of having committed a crime.

    Evidently it is only the steadfast refusal of Special Counsel Mueller to accuse President Trump of having committed a crime that is, according to Professor Tartuffe (Turley) “politically motivated.”

    Contributed by The L4D–Fouled Up Beyond All Recognition Can’t Even Explain Turley Anymore–Project

    1. L4D previously asked, “What political motive could anyone possibly harbor for refusing to accuse President Trump of having committed a crime?”

      That is not an unanswerable question. There are a lot of names that could be substituted for the term “anyone” in the question above whose names would indicate people with political motives for refusing to accuse President Trump of having committed a crime. At the top of that list would be AG Whitewash Casting Couch Barr. Second on the list would be Rod I Can Ditch The Plane In The Potomac Rosenstein. The list goes on and on from there. But Turley’s name just won’t fit that bill. Or will it? Let’s double check and see:

      What political motive could Turley possibly harbor for refusing to accuse President Trump of having committed a crime? Huh? What?

      Turley accuses Mueller of harboring a political motive for refusing to accuse President Trump of having committed a crime. And Turley steadfastly refuses to accuse President Trump of having committed a crime. So what’s the difference between Turley’s presumably non-political motive for refusing to accuse Trump of a crime versus Mueller’s supposedly political motive for refusing to accuse Trump of a crime?

      Well, Mueller was appointed Special Counsel. Turley was not appointed Special Counsel. Therefore Turley never had the Special Counsel’s power to accuse President Trump of having committed a crime. So, in the absence of the Special Counsel’s power to accuse President Trump of having committed a crime, Turley supposedly harbors no political motive for refusing to accuse President Trump of having committed a crime.

      Contributed by The L4D–No Power Supposedly Equals No Political Motive–Project

  6. Mollie Hemingway:Top 28 Moments From Bombshell Barr Interview

    The idea of resisting a democratically elected president and…really changing the norms on the grounds that we have to stop this president, that is where the shredding of our norms and our institutions is occurring.’
    Attorney General William Barr’s nearly hour-long interview with CBS News’ Jan Crawford last week was full of fascinating details about the special counsel probe, the debunked Russia collusion theory that roiled Washington for years, and Barr’s investigation into how the FBI and Department of Justice used the “bogus” theory to investigate the Trump campaign.

    The interview was downplayed by the media, which is implicated in perpetuating the Russia hoax Barr is investigating, and which came in for criticism from Barr for its failure to care about violations of civil liberties. Here are the top 28 take-aways from the interview.

    1. Mueller ‘Could Have Reached a Conclusion’

    Crawford, whose questions revealed a command of the facts not demonstrated by many of her mainstream media peers, asked Barr about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s decision to outline 11 instances where President Trump’s frustration at falsely being accused of treason could amount to “possible obstruction” followed by a refusal to decide whether they did.

    Barr explained that the Office of Legal Counsel opinion that prevents presidents from being indicted was no barrier to making a conclusion about obstruction. “Right, he could have reached a conclusion,” Barr said, noting that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein concluded that Trump had not obstructed justice.

    “[W]hen he didn’t make a decision, the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and I felt it was necessary for us as the heads of the Department to reach that decision,” Barr said. “That is what the Department of Justice does, that is why we have the compulsory powers like a grand jury to force people to give us evidence so that we can determine whether a crime has committed and in order to legitimate the process we felt we had to reach a decision.”

    2. DOJ Not an ‘Adjunct to Congress’

    Mueller received praise from the media for, they said, subtly asking Congress to impeach the president for, apparently, his frustration with falsely being accused of being a traitor. Barr was less enamored of this idea.

    “Well, I am not sure what he was suggesting but, you know, the Department of Justice doesn’t use our powers of investigating crimes as an adjunct to Congress. Congress is a separate branch of government and they can, you know, they have processes, we have our processes. Ours are related to the criminal justice process. We are not an extension of Congress’s investigative powers,” he said.

    3. Mueller’s Guilty Until Proven Innocent Standard ‘Not The Standard We Use’ At DOJ

    Mueller’s refusal to determine whether President Trump had obstructed justice by making hiring and firing decisions or complaining about false accusations he had conspired with Russia to steal the 2016 election was one problem. The other was that Mueller flipped the standard prosecutorial approach on its head, Barr said.

    “[H]e also said that he could not say that the president clearly did not violate the law, which of course is not the standard we use at the department. We have to determine whether there is clear violation of the law, and so we applied the standards we would normally apply. We analyzed the law and the facts and a group of us spent a lot of time doing that and determined that both as a matter of law, many of the instances would not amount to obstruction,” Barr said.

    4. Mueller’s Obstruction Theories ‘Did Not Reflect The Views’ of DOJ

    Barr said the legal analysis in the special counsel’s obstruction report “did not reflect the views of the department” and were the “views of a particular lawyer or lawyers.” He went on to explain that firing James Comey, for example, is a “facially valid exercise of core presidential authority.”

    Even if you don’t accept that presidents have the right to fire incompetent employees, to show obstruction the firing would have to have the probable effect of sabotaging a proceeding and be done with corrupt intent.

    “[T]he report itself points out that one of the likely motivations here was the president’s frustration with Comey saying something publicly and saying a different thing privately and refusing to correct the record. So that would not have been a corrupt intent. So for each of these episodes we thought long and hard about it, we looked at the facts and we didn’t feel the government could establish obstruction in these cases,” Barr explained.

    5. Barr Doesn’t Care about ‘Hyper-Partisan’ Complaints

    Asked about the criticism he’s received from the media and other partisans, Barr said, “Well, we live in a hyper-partisan age where people no longer really pay attention to the substance of what’s said but as to who says it and what side they’re on and what it’s political ramifications are. The Department of Justice is all about the law, and the facts and the substance, and I’m going to make the decisions based on the law and the facts. And I realize that’s in tension with the political climate we live in because people are more interested in getting their way politically. so I think it just goes with the territory of being the attorney general in a hyper-partisan period of time.”

    6. Barr ‘Surprised’ by Mueller Not Providing Report Ready to Release

    Barr explained that he wrote a four-page summary of Mueller’s 400-page report because Mueller failed to provide a report that was ready to release to the American public. In conversations in the weeks leading up to Mueller’s report delivery, Barr repeatedly requested that the grand jury information be highlighted so it could be quickly redacted by Justice Department officials.

    Instead, the report included no highlighting of which portions were from grand jury information, which must be redacted by law. That meant it would be weeks before the report would be made public, at a time when former intelligence officials were making false claims about the Mueller report.

    Barr said he wrote the four-page summary:

    because I didn’t think the body politic would allow us to go on radio silence for four weeks. I mean, people were camped outside my house and the department and every — there was all kinds of wild speculation going on. Former senior intelligence officials who were purporting to have it, or intimating that they had inside information were suggesting that the president and his family were going to be indicted and so forth. Saying that publicly. There was all kind of wild and — Yes, and it was wild and irresponsible speculation going on which the very — Right, and talking heads and things like that, and these things affect the United States’ ability to function in the world.

    We have an economy. It could affect the economy. It can affect, it can affect our foreign relations during very delicate period of time with, you know, serious adversaries in the world. So I felt that in order to buy time, in order to get the report out, I had to state the bottom line just like you’re announcing a verdict in a case. My purpose there was not to summarize every jot and tittle of the report and every, you know, angle that, that Mueller looked into. But, just state the bottom line, which I did in the four-page memo.

    7. Mueller Letter Complaining About Lack of Impeachment Narrative Was ‘A Little Snitty and Staff-Driven’

    Someone within the special counsel’s office leaked to The New York Times a letter complaining that Barr’s four-page summary set the media narrative differently than they would have preferred. Barr said he was surprised Mueller “didn’t pick up the phone and call me given our 30-year relationship” and that he felt “the letter was a little snitty and staff-driven.” He reiterated his preference to have the full report released so that everyone could determine “what Bob’s reasoning was.”

    8. No ‘Discrepancy’ on OLC Opinion

    In a press conference, and in his report, Mueller claimed to believe that an Office of Legal Counsel opinion about presidents not being able to be indicted meant that he couldn’t even analyze whether Trump’s frustration at years of false allegations that he was a traitor constituted obstruction.

    Previously, Barr said Mueller had assured him that the OLC opinion had not been the reason he hadn’t determined Trump obstructed justice. The two put out a joint statement saying that there was no discrepancy between what they were saying. Barr explained that Mueller did not even analyze whether there was a crime.

    9. Response to Russia Threats Troubling

    If intelligence officials were “alarmed” by the Russia threats as early as April 2016, as they claimed, “Surely the response should have been more than just, you know, dangling a confidential informant in front of a peripheral player in the Trump campaign.”

    10. FBI’s Wray ‘Very Supportive’ of Investigation Into Russia Probe

    Barr said he and FBI Director Christopher Wray have “discussed how important it is that that not be allowed to happen and we are both very cognizant of that … he is being very supportive and we’re working together on, you know, trying to reconstruct what happened. People have to understand, you know, one of the things here is that these efforts in 2016, these counter-intelligence activities that were directed at the Trump campaign, were not done in the normal course and not through the normal procedures as a far as I can tell. And a lot of the people who were involved are no longer there.”

    11. Spying Is Spying

    Crawford noted that Barr has received criticism for referring to the widespread surveillance of the Trump campaign as “spying.” Barr responded, “Yeah, I mean, I guess it’s become a dirty word somehow. It hasn’t ever been for me. I think there is nothing wrong with spying, the question is always whether it is authorized by law and properly predicated and if it is, then it’s an important tool the United States has to protect the country.”

    12. Words Don’t Need to Be Retired Because Trump Uses Them

    “[S]ome former intelligence chiefs have said that the president has made that word somewhat pejorative, that there is spying, this is a witch hunt, this is a hoax, and so your use of that word makes it seem that you are being a loyalist,” Crawford said. Barr responded, “You know, it’s part of the craziness of the modern day that if a president uses a word, then all of a sudden it becomes off bounds. It’s a perfectly good English word, I will continue to use it.”

    13. Law Enforcement and Intelligence Should Not Meddle In Elections

    “And look, I think if we — we are worried about foreign influence in the campaign? We should be because the heart of our system is the peaceful transfer of power through elections and what gives the government legitimacy is that process. And if foreign elements can come in and affect it, that’s bad for the republic,” Barr said.

    “But by the same token, it’s just as, it’s just as dangerous to the continuation of self-government and our republican system, republic that we not allow government power, law enforcement or intelligence power, to play a role in politics, to intrude into politics, and affect elections,” Barr said. Asked which interference is more troubling, Barr said they both are.

    14. Government Officials Should Not Become a ‘Praetorian Guard’

    When discussing actions taken against the Trump campaign, Barr referenced the Roman Army’s elite unit that interfered in politics, even overthrowing emperors.

    “[R]epublics have fallen because of Praetorian Guard mentality, where government officials get very arrogant, they identify the national interest with their own political preferences and they feel that anyone who has a different opinion, you know, is somehow an enemy of the state. And you know, there is that tendency that they know better and that, you know, they’re there to protect as guardians of the people. That can easily translate into essentially supervening the will of the majority and getting your own way as a government official.”

    15. Use of Spy Tools Against Political Campaigns a ‘Serious Red Line’

    Asked if he was concerned that a Praetorian Guard mentality had set in in 2016, Barr said, “Well, I just think it has to be carefully looked at because the use of foreign intelligence capabilities and counterintelligence capabilities against an American political campaign to me is unprecedented and it’s a serious red line that’s been crossed.”

    16. AG Must Protect Against Abuse of Government Power

    “[O]ne of the key responsibilities of the attorney general, core responsibilities of the attorney general is to make sure that government power is not abused and that the right of Americans are not transgressed by abusive government power,” Barr said. “That’s the responsibility of the attorney general.”

    17. Looking Into Process for Counterintelligence Activities Against Trump Campaign

    In a sea of media complacency about the use of counterintelligence activities against the Trump campaign, Barr seeks answers.

    I think it’s important to understand what basis there was for launching counterintelligence activities against a political campaign, which is the core of our … First Amendment liberties in this country. And what was the predicate for it? What was the hurdle that had to be crossed? What was the process- who had to approve it? And including the electronic surveillance, whatever electronic surveillance was done. And was everyone operating in their proper lane? … And we’re working closely with the intelligence agencies, the bureau and the agency and others to help us reconstruct what happened. And I want to see, what were the standards that were applied. What was the evidence? What were the techniques used? Who approved them? Was there a legitimate basis for it?

    18. Details on Other Investigations

    Barr explained that the inspector general is only looking “at a discrete area that is — that is you know, important, which is the use of electronic surveillance that was targeted at Carter Page.” Page endured a year of heavy surveillance from the federal government, which told a secret court that he was an agent of Russia. The year of surveillance found no crimes committed by Page, who is now suing to restore his reputation.

    Barr explained that he didn’t have the inspector general expand his probe to cover the other areas because of his limited powers: “He doesn’t have the power to compel testimony, he doesn’t have the power really to investigate beyond the current cast of characters at the Department of Justice. His ability to get information from former officials or from other agencies outside the department is very limited.”

    Of John Huber, the U.S. attorney who was reportedly looking at FISA abuse, Barr said he “stood back and put that on hold while the Office of Inspector General was conducting its review,” only waiting for criminal referrals. However, Barr said he’s also working on issues that “relate to Hillary Clinton” and are concluding.

    19. Media Supposed to Be ‘Watchdogs’ of ‘Our Civil Liberties’

    Barr said that when he joined the Central Intelligence Agency 50 years ago during the Vietnam and Civil Rights era, there was a ton of concern about investigation of domestic political activities.

    [W]hen was it appropriate for intelligence agencies, the FBI too was under investigation. You know, the penetration of civil rights groups because at the time there was concerns about contacts with, you know, communist funded front groups and things like that and you know how deeply could you get into civil rights groups or anti-Vietnam war groups. A lot of these groups were in contact with foreign adversaries, they had some contact with front organizations and so forth and there were a lot of rules put in place and those rules are under the attorney general. The attorney general’s responsibility is to make sure that these powers are not used to tread upon First Amendment activity and that certainly was a big part of my formative years of dealing with those issues. The fact that today people just seem to brush aside the idea that it is okay to you know, to engage in these activities against a political campaign is stunning to me especially when the media doesn’t seem to think that it’s worth looking into. They’re supposed to be the watchdogs of, you know, our civil liberties.

    20. Answers on Trump Campaign Surveillance Not ‘Satisfactory’

    Barr declined to weigh in on specifics, but said, “Like many other people who are familiar with intelligence activities, I had a lot of questions about what was going on. I assumed I’d get answers when I went in and I have not gotten answers that are well satisfactory, and in fact probably have more questions, and that some of the facts that, that I’ve learned don’t hang together with the official explanations of what happened.”

    Pressed to explain further, Barr said, “That’s all I really will say. Things are just not jiving.”

    21. Failures Not in Rank and File But ‘Upper Echelon’

    Barr had previously said that the abnormal procedures taken against the Trump campaign didn’t take place among the rank and file of the bureau, but among the upper echelon. Asked to explain, he said, “Because I think the activities were undertaken by a small group at the top which is one of the, probably one of the mistakes that has been made instead of running this as a normal bureau investigation or counterintelligence investigation. It was done by the executives at the senior level. Out of headquarters.”

    22. 2016 Meddling ‘Antithetical to the Democratic System’

    Barr was generous about the wrongdoing perpetrated by government actors, saying no one may have intended to undermine the republic by surveilling political opponents.

    I’m not suggesting that people did what they did necessarily because of conscious, nefarious motives. Sometimes people can convince themselves that what they’re doing is in the higher interest, the better good. They don’t realize that what they’re doing is really antithetical to the democratic system that we have. They start viewing themselves as the guardians of the people that are more informed and insensitive than everybody else. They can — in their own mind, they can have those kinds of motives. And sometimes they can look at evidence and facts through a biased prism that they themselves don’t realize.

    Barr did not specifically cite fired FBI director Comey, whose 2018 defense of his tenure is titled “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership.” Comey was strongly criticized in an inspector general report for failing to follow departmental procedures in his handling of the Hillary Clinton case regarding mishandling classified information.

    Barr said of those who justify their actions, “That something objectively as applied as a neutral principle across the board really, you know, shouldn’t be the standard used in the case but because they have a particular bias they don’t see that. So that’s why procedures and standards are important and review afterward is an important way of making sure that government power is being conscientiously and properly applied. It doesn’t necessarily mean that there are people — you know, that people have crossed lines have done so with corrupt intent or anything like that.”

    23. ‘Gross Bias’ of FBI Agents ‘Appalling,’ Would Be Roundly Condemned If about Obama

    Barr said of the virulently anti-Trump texts that have been previously released:

    Well it’s hard to read some of the texts with and not feel that there was gross bias at work and they’re appalling…. Those were appalling. And on their face they were very damning and I think if the shoe was on the other foot we could be hearing a lot about it. If those kinds of discussions were held you know when Obama first ran for office, people talking about Obama in those tones and suggesting that ‘Oh that he might be a Manchurian candidate for Islam or something like that.’ You know some wild accusations like that and you had that kind of discussion back and forth, you don’t think we would be hearing a lot more about it?

    24. Russia Collusion Conspiracy Theory Was ‘Bogus’

    Crawford said Comey may say the investigation into Trump had to be closely held because it was so extraordinary. Barr said, “Well it might be legit under certain circumstances but a lot of that has to do with how good the evidence was at that point. And you know Mueller has spent two and half years and the fact is there is no evidence of a conspiracy. So it was bogus, this whole idea that the Trump was in cahoots with the Russians is bogus.”

    25. Media In No Place to ‘Wring Hands’ about Barr’s Declassification Authority

    Barr said that he asked President Trump for the authority to declassify documents dealing with the Russia investigation, as well as the direction that other agencies support his efforts to investigate the probe. He said the other agencies are being supportive.

    Of media concerns about the transparency, Barr said,

    I’m amused by these people who make a living by disclosing classified information, including the names of intelligence operatives, wringing their hands about whether I’m going to be responsible in protecting intelligence sources and methods. I’ve been in the business, as I’ve said, for over 50 years, long before they were born and I know how to handle classified information and I believe strongly in protecting intelligence sources and methods. But at the same time if there is information that can be shared with the American people without jeopardizing intelligence sources and methods that decision should be made and because I will be involved in finding out what the story was I think I’m in the best decision to make that decision.

    He said the media reaction is strange. “Normally the media would be interested in letting the sunshine in and finding out what the truth is. And usually the media doesn’t care that much about protecting intelligence sources and methods. But I do and I will.”

    26. Barr Expected Criticism for Upholding Rule of Law

    Crawford noted Barr’s sterling reputation before he began his second round as attorney general. He previously served in the George H.W. Bush administration. He said he expected criticism from partisans.

    I realize we live in a crazy hyper-partisan period of time and I knew that it would only be a matter of time if I was behaving responsibly and calling them as I see them, that I would be attacked because nowadays people don’t care about the merits and the substance. They only care about who it helps, who benefits, whether my side benefits or the other side benefits, everything is gauged by politics. And as I say, that’s antithetical to the way the department runs, and any attorney general in this period is going to end up losing a lot of political capital, and I realize that and that is one of the reasons that I ultimately was persuaded that I should take it on because I think at my stage in life it really doesn’t make any difference.

    27. ‘Everyone Dies’

    Asked if he worried about his reputation, Barr said, “Yeah, but everyone dies and I am not, you know, I don’t believe in the Homeric idea that you know, immortality comes by, you know, having odes sung about you over the centuries, you know?” He added that he didn’t regret taking the job.

    28. Resistance Is ‘Shredding Our Institutions’

    Barr said he’d rather be back to his old life, but that he loves the Justice Department and the FBI: “I think it’s important that we not, in this period of intense partisan feeling, destroy our institutions. I think one of the ironies today is that people are saying that it’s President Trump that’s shredding our institutions. I really see no evidence of that — it is hard, and I really haven’t seen bill of particulars as to how that’s being done. From my perspective, the idea of resisting a democratically elected president and basically throwing everything at him and, you know, really changing the norms on the grounds that we have to stop this president, that is where the shredding of our norms and our institutions is occurring.”

  7. Mueller will be forever know as the “author of a contradiction in terms”, at least to critical thinkers.

    1. Trump was not the only person Mueller was investigating. It was never strictly necessary that Mueller should “conclude” that Trump committed a crime. Ergo, it was never strictly necessary that Mueller should “conclude” that Trump did not commit a crime. Fitzgerald never said that Bush Jr. committed a crime nor that Bush Jr. did not commit a crime. And there was no final report at the end of Fitzgerald’s Special Counsel investigation.

      There is no contradiction in Mueller’s terms. There is only a pair of tautologous non-sequiturs befuddling your brain. Trump is free to pardon himself any day now. And if he plays his cards right, Trump might even keep his self-pardon classified Top Secret until he is no longer in office.

  8. Old man Muler holds “press conference” but does not answer a single question. The old has-dirty copy (Whitey Bulger protector) cherry picks what he wanted to highlight but no a peep about no coordination/conspiracy among Trump et al or any American with Russia (mandate of investigation. “The Emperor is wearing no clothes.”

    1. You may find this hard to believe, Bill, but Trump was not the only person whom Mueller was investigating. It was never strictly necessary that Mueller had to say that Trump committed a crime. Consequently, it was never strictly necessary that Mueller had to say that Trump did not commit a crime. Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald never said that Bush Jr. committed a crime. Special Counsel Fitzgerald never said that Bush Jr. did not commit a crime. In fact, Fitzgerald never issued a final report at the end of the Valerie Plame Special Counsel investigation.

      1. L4D says–In the first place, Judge Emmett Sullivan ordered the production of the voicemail and the full transcript.

        In the second place, the article to which you linked in The Daily Wire does not reproduce the any of the portions of the voicemail or the full transcript that The Mueller Report elided.

        In the third place, the charge of selective editing of the voicemail and the full transcript is not yet warranted without public disclosure of the portions that were elided.

        You may assume that “something” was elided from the voicemail and the full transcript. You may not assume those ellisions exculpate Dowd and Trump until Judge Emmett Sullivan says so or until they are publicly disclosed.

        1. “Sullivan ordered the production of the voicemail”

          Right, and that is why we are able to know that the voicemail as reproduced by Mueller left out important details. Mueller is a political hack who is gradually being exposed for what he is.

          “Daily Wire does not reproduce the any of the portions of the voicemail”

          I am sure the voice mail is coming. Diane you made all sorts of claims because things were hidden by Mueller, Comey and a bunch of other toads. You have been wrong virutally every day you posted on this blog. Your record is among the worst. You will have to wait for the release. Get a couple of cases of vodka while you wait it out.

          “the charge of selective editing of the voicemail and the full transcript is not yet warranted ”

          Sure it is. Mueller could have provided copies of what was said by specific people to those specific people to make sure the context was accurate or he could have included the entire voicemail. He was advised the former would be a good alternative but didn’t do so. I don’t think his out of context reproduction of what others said is out of bounds. Mueller provided his statement and now the one’s that made the statements are providing theirs.

          “You may assume that “something” was elided from the voicemail and the full transcript. You may not assume those ellisions exculpate Dowd and Trump until Judge Emmett Sullivan says so or until they are publicly disclosed.”

          What is good for the goose is good for the gander. Mueller chose to pick out only certain words so that he could create an idea as to what was said. The one’s that made the statements have the right to call Mueller a political hack because for all intents and purposes that is what Mueller is.

            1. Thanks, but so far I haven’t seen an open recording of the voicemail or a transcription.

              1. Excerptd from the article linked above:

                “It wouldn’t surprise me if you’ve gone on to make a deal with, and uh, work with the government,” Trump’s counsel, identified in news reports as John Dowd, said, according to the transcript. “I understand that you can’t join the joint defense; so that’s one thing. If, on the other hand, we have, there’s information that … implicates the president, then we’ve got a national security issue.”

                “Then, you know, we need some kind of heads up. Um, just for the sake of … protecting all our interests,” the attorney said. “Remember what we’ve always said about the president and his feelings toward Flynn and that still remains.”

                [end excerpt]

                Compare the quotations from the article in The Hill to the quotation in The Daily Wire article to which Allan linked. There are only two elisions in The Hill quotation. If you elide the explanatory text from The Hill quotation, you’ll get one more elision. One that basis, alone, I surmise that the elisions have far more to do with “press reports” than with The Mueller Report.

                L4D says–The garbling never ends.

                1. L4D says–The garbling never ends.

                  OA says– No, it doesn’t.

  9. When a good pool player shoots the white ball he’s trying to do 2 things. First he is trying to sink a ball into a pocket. Second he’s trying to line up the white ball for the next shot. The Democrats better think about what happens if their impeachment of Donald Trump fails. He will be the worst nightmare the liberal left could have ever imagined.

    1. L4D says–I-Bob, you have overlooked the most distinctive mark of a truly adept pool player: Leaving the cue ball right behind the Eight ball with his or her parting shot.

  10. Professor Turley,
    “Indeed, his message seemed to be the same as that of Moses, which is have faith and do not question. ”

    I have no idea how you came to the conclusion that Moses wanted people to have faith but not to question. That is not exactly what happened at Mount Sinai.

    1. PR:

      Moses had lots of questions. That’s why he never made it to the Promised Land and instead died on Mt. Nebo.

      “And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.” 13 These are the waters of Meribah, where the people of Israel quarreled with the Lord, and through them he showed himself holy.”
      ~ Numbers 20:12-13

      1. Mespo,
        Is it because he had too many questions, or is it because he murdered a man and was part of the ‘old guard’ of those who had lived as slaves? Or, that the Promised Land should be inhabited by those who were free in mind, body, and spirit?

        Moses debated with God choosing him to be leader of the Israelites; he tried to hide out to get out of serving. He questioned God’s intent to destroy everybody following the Golden Calf incident. Yep, lots of questions.

        ““Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel”

        To what in particular does this passage refer? The proximal reason of lack of water ticking everyone off, or, something from earlier, like the Golden Calf incident?

        1. Never sure of that interpretation. Seems to me Moses earned a grand entrance to the Promised Land but like a lot of leaders he was more worthy than his followers.

        2. This reference to Moses and Mt. Sinai is still bothering me. It mistakenly misrepresents the Bible and what happened. Faith in God does NOT require a lack of questioning; in fact, it is part of faith.

          Abraham questions God, saying, “Will not the Judge of all the earth do what is right?”

          Jacob wrestled with the angel/God, earning himself the name Israel. This story is symbolic of wrestling with God and His Word (i.e., asking questions), not simply a literal understanding of the story.

          Moses questioned God several times, questioning His judgement in choosing himself as the leader of the Israelites. He questioned God’s desire to wipe out the Israelites for their massive disobedience at Mt. Sinai (part of which included an orgy in the worship of the Golden Calf), saving the Israelites from complete destruction.

          Moses threw down the tablets in anger at the Israelites’ behavior and the fact that they broke their word. They had agreed to follow the rules and then they didn’t break them just a little bit, they created a ‘god’, sacrificed to it, and then had orgies.

          All these patriarchs had a devout belief in God, yet they questioned.

          There is much to learn from Moses’ Mt. Sinai moment–faith without questioning is NOT one of those things.

  11. William Barr Is Washington’s Worst Nightmare

    Nothing scares the denizens of D.C. more than an honest man

    Barr used the word “spying” during testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee with regard to his plan to look into counterintelligence activities against the Trump campaign during the 2016 election cycle. When he first uttered that word, it clearly startled every Democrat on the committee. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) immediately inquired if he really believed spying had occurred. Barr said, “I think spying did occur, yes.” That bullet continues to ricochet around the Beltway to this day. Indeed, his use of the “s” word was belabored at considerable length by Jan Crawford during the CBS interview with Barr that aired Friday:

    On using the word, I mean, do you understand, and I know that some of the, some former intelligence chiefs have said that the president has made that word somewhat pejorative, that there is spying, this is a witch hunt, this is a hoax, and so your use of that word makes it seem that you are being a loyalist.

    Having endured that word salad with his characteristic patience, Barr ignored the odd suggestion that “being a loyalist” was somehow improper. He did, however, make it clear that he had no intention of heeding the none-too-subtle attempts to stop him from using the verboten term. “It’s a perfectly good English word; I will continue to use it.” This is why Barr is so scary to Washington insiders. He’s an honest man with more concern for the truth than his popularity inside the Beltway. This has clearly caused considerable trepidation in the Justice Department, the intelligence community, the Democratic Party, and the media.

    And all four were deeply involved in creating, cultivating, and keeping the Russia collusion narrative “above the fold” for nearly three years. Thus, Barr’s obvious intention of getting to the bottom of what was essentially a thinly veiled coup attempt has inevitably caused the number of self-serving attacks on the AG to increase. A clearly frightened James Comey, for example, tweeted: “Bill Barr on CBS offers no facts. An AG should not be echoing conspiracy theories. He should gather facts and show them. That is what Justice is about.” Saint James is obviously terrified that he will do just that. It’s a valid fear as Barr told CBS:

    I just think it has to be carefully looked at because the use of foreign intelligence capabilities and counterintelligence capabilities against an American political campaign to me is unprecedented and it’s a serious red line that’s been crossed.… What was the process? Who had to approve it?

    1. continued….

      Comey’s allusion to “conspiracy theories” is particularly ironic now that we know the Russian collusion narrative he helped compose and leak to the media was the conspiracy theory that ate D.C. And the fired FBI director is by no means the only Washington insider having difficulty holding his water over AG Barr’s interest in the origins of the Russia Collusion scam. Former CIA director John Brennan has vehemently objected to President Trump’s decision to give Barr authority to “declassify, downgrade, or direct the declassification or downgrading of information or intelligence that relates to the Attorney General’s review”:

      I see it as a very, very serious and outrageous move on the part of Mr. Trump, once again, trampling on the statutory authorities of the Director of National Intelligence and the heads of the independent intelligence agencies. And it’s unclear to me what Mr. Barr is actually going to do. Is he investigating a crime?

      This is an interesting question coming from a former CIA director who almost certainly orchestrated the attempted entrapment of George Papadopoulos by foreign intelligence “assets” Joseph Mifsud, Stefan Halper, Alexander Downer, et al. The transcript of his closed-door testimony before the House Judiciary Committee concerning these episodes reveals a series of bizarre encounters, including one in which he was given $10,000 in cash for no reason (which he never attempted to spend). Papadopoulos eventually spent 14 days in jail for misremembering some detail of these weird encounters during an interview with the FBI.

      In addition to Comey and Brennan, various Democrats have questioned the Attorney General’s ability to objectively oversee an investigation into the origins of Russiagate. During a Sunday morning appearance on Face the Nation, for example, Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) claimed, “Mr. Barr has very little credibility with me.… because he time and again is not acting as our attorney general, but as a personal advocate for Donald Trump.” This is a standard talking point peddled by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and every other Democrat who doesn’t think well on his feet. Predictably, Sen. Warner offered no evidence to support his claim.

      It goes without saying, of course, that the legacy media have denounced Barr for telling the truth. In his latest effusion for New York, Jonathan Chait informs his readers, “Barr has drunk deep from the Fox News worldview of Trumpian paranoia.” In response to the Attorney General’s common sense assertion during the CBS interview that it is unhealthy for our institutions to resist “a democratically elected president… by changing the norms,” Chait actually writes: “In fact, the opposition to Trump has been marked, on the whole, by its fastidious restraint.” This suggests that he should stay away from the bar before writing about Barr.

      This kind of nonsense from the legacy media, combined with ridiculous claims by the Democrats that a man with William Barr’s record has no credibility and self-exculpatory balderdash from fabulists like John Brennan and James Comey, suggest that the real problem they have with the Attorney General is his blindingly obvious integrity. There are few things that scare the denizens of D.C. more than an honest man. The only thing they fear more is an honest man who doesn’t give a damn what they think of him. William Barr is their worst nightmare.


    Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump 20h20 hours ago

    Democrats can’t impeach a Republican President for crimes committed by Democrats. The facts are “pouring” in. The Greatest Witch Hunt in American History! Congress, go back to work and help us at the Border, with Drug Prices and on Infrastructure.
    18,319 replies 26,926 retweets 95,819 likes

    Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump Jun 2

    Mexico is sending a big delegation to talk about the Border. Problem is, they’ve been “talking” for 25 years. We want action, not talk. They could solve the Border Crisis in one day if they so desired. Otherwise, our companies and jobs are coming back to the USA!
    15,572 replies 26,578 retweets 103,147 likes
    Reply 16K Retweet 27K Like 103K

    Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump Jun 2

    Peggy Noonan, the simplistic writer for Trump Haters all, is stuck in the past glory of Reagan and has no idea what is happening with the Radical Left Democrats, or how vicious and desperate they are. Mueller had to correct his ridiculous statement, Peggy never understood it!
    11,873 replies 15,946 retweets 66,224 likes

    Edited from: The Real Donald Trump

    I have written today, and last night, that had Mueller concluded Trump obstructed justice, Trump would have falsely charged that Mueller’s report was an ‘attempted coup’. That top tweet from Trump today strongly suggests my instincts are correct; Trump would use any reckless language in response to a conclusion by Mueller.

    1. Since the liberal media is the enemy, Twitter will do just dandy

      Trump 2020!

  13. A president who commits crimes to become President is therefore President, and cannot be prosecuted for any crimes. Is that what FOX and the cult really believe? So then if the President does it, it is not a crime, that’s just the law?

    1. The Constitution is clear- the check on the President is impeachment. The President runs the executive branch through his appointment of and power to fire any principle officer. This presents the obvious problem of how to deal with a President who himself has broken the law. The founders chose to give the power of impeachment to Congress while requiring a 2/3 majority in the Senate to convict to deal with this conflict. The 2/3’s requirement was done so that only obvious high crimes would be punished.

      That’s what I believe…the Constitution! The founders were infinitely wiser than any of us today. The only “cultists” are on the left…look in the mirror. Look at the stupidity of your own post and how it reflects your ignorance of the Constitution…our law.

  14. Well I went out with First Lady…
    That I hardly knew….
    How was I to know….
    She was with the Russians too?

    Dun, de dun, de dnut dunt dunna…
    Dun de dunt dunt too.

    Hilary’s a monster…
    Her husband was an ass…
    they hailed from Ark An Saw Land…
    They gave up their gas.
    Billy boy could fart…
    Hillary could fart too…
    that way no one knew…
    They were with the Russians too!

  15. My problem with today’s piece is twofold.

    For many years it has been reported that the DOJ policy and regulations stipulate a sitting president cannot face prosecution, basis OLC opinions. This has been broadcast as accepted policy to the broad electorate, Congress, and the legal community (noting select dissent). Accordingly, the special counsel’s team accepted this starting point. To demand a determination for prosecution at the end when it was not contemplated during the investigation and final report drafting is moving the goal posts. Regardless, why wasn’t request made in writing? And what about the disingenuous statement from Mr. Rosenstein that he (with Mr. Barr) requested it after the work was completed? Mr. Rosenstein was kept informed, monitored work in progress, so he obviously knew the initial determination. He apparently lacks the moral courage to make this clear to Mr. Barr or he is simply self serving and looking for his next gig.

    Re Prof. Turley’s position, it appears he is disagreeing principally with DOJ policy, more so than Mueller, noted in his comparison of the special counsel with the independent counsel … “Congress was assured …”. The differences have long been reported; this isn’t a new discovery. Since Mueller was a DOJ employee, he was bound. Further, it has been reported the special counsel terms of reference required following all DOJ policies. Prof. Turley is parsing language when in writing there is no policy preventing finding criminal conduct, only against indicting while in office. This feels weird, identify/label criminal conduct and take no action!? Of note is that Mr. Barr’s bio is absent of prosecution experience or work in criminal law. This calls into question that he is a knowledgeable determiner of obstruction.

    The 2d point is Prof. Turley’s claim of Mueller’s “direct contradictions” in the news conference. Prof. Turley convolves the finding for “collusion” (no statute, judged by conspiracy) with “obstruction”, treated separately. He further criticizes Mr. Mueller in saying “we concluded that we would (sic) not reach a determination one way or the other about whether the president committed a crime” and “he could not clear Trump of the crime” as a contradiction. Really! Here is an excerpt from the final report …

    “Fourth, 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. The evidence we obtained about the President ‘s actions and intent presents difficult issues that prevent us from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred. Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

    I understand Prof. Turley believes the Trump Campaign did not “collude” (no statutes) and President Trump’s conduct did not rise to criminal obstruction. I further understand he objects to the DOJ policy. However, it is a weak practice to criticize the analyst and messenger, especially a person who wishes not to be in the public eye for simply taking positions with which you object.

  16. Mueller’s “exoneration” statement is best understood in the following context. If you view the investigatory/prosecutorial process as a series of steps, it can be viewed as the following:

    1) Investigation
    2) Evidence
    3) Analysis
    4) Conclusion
    5) Prosecutorial determination
    6) Indictment decision

    What Mueller is saying is they stopped at step #2 with respect to obstruction because of his interpretation of OLC policy. As a matter of logic, a conclusion and determination could not be made either way. However, it does lay bare some significant incongruencies:

    1) If Mueller believed this is what OLC policy mandates, then why did he follow the traditional prosecutorial process regarding “collusion”?

    2) Mueller is in substantive non-compliance with Special Counsel (SC) regulations: “the Special Counsel shall exercise, within the scope of his or her jurisdiction, the full power and independent authority to exercise all investigative and prosecutorial functions of any United States Attorney”. In this case, he simply abandons his prosecutorial function and responsibility.

    3) As a matter of regulation, Mueller should have consulted with appropriate offices within DOJ if there were any questions and/or issues regarding OLC policy. It’s not clear what transpired here as both Mueller and Rosenstein expected Mueller to make a traditional prosecutorial determination.

    4) The most obvious path forward was to make a prosecutorial determination as required and then to make an indictment decision in compliance with OLC policy as applicable. Simply put, if he believed the evidence supported charging the President he should have done so but not indicted based on OLC policy.

    The above raises the question of why Mueller would eschew the expected prosecutorial pathway to embark on a novel and unprecedented path (in an investigation rife with novel and unprecedented actions and decisions). If Mueller had found insufficient evidence to charge, it would have been case closed. On the other hand, if he charged the President, he would have had to consult with OLC and the AG regarding his novel theory of obstruction. It’s abundantly clear that DOJ would not be in agreement with his obstruction theory which would have ultimately led to a declination decision and any discussion would have focused on the legal supportability of his theory. Furthermore, SC would have lacked the ability to lay out his evidentiary view of obstruction based on his theory (ie, Volume II). Thus, one of the primary effects of Mueller’s non-determination path was that he was able to forego DOJ review and also free to opine on the evidentiary basis (or non-basis) for obstruction under his theory.

    As to the narrative that Mueller has essentially proven obstruction via Volume II and that this is a slam dunk case, the following passage from the Volume II conclusion of the Mueller report renders that view patently false: “the evidence we obtained about the President’s actions and intent presents difficult issues that would need to be resolved if we were making a traditional prosecutorial judgment.” If there are difficult issues of law and fact that need to be resolved before any conclusion, then it follows that this is hardly a slam dunk case let along a prosecutable case. It also begs the question regarding Mueller’s declaration that ” if we had confidence…that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state”. If Mueller did not conduct an analysis of the evidence and/or resolve difficult issues of law and fact, how did he reach that conclusion or indeed, any conclusion?

    Let’s just say that the further we go down the rabbit hole called the Mueller report, the more it becomes curiouser and curiouser.

    1. L4D says–Thirteenth Letter, the sitting President was not the only subject of the Special Counsel’s investigation. When Mueller said [paraphrase] that there was insufficient evidence to charge a conspiracy against the Trump campaign, he wasn’t “exonerating” President Trump. Mueller was declining to prosecute other members of the Trump campaign such as Donald Trump Jr., for instance.

      1. L4D – in this case, I was referring to the Mueller statement in Vol. II executive summary conclusion: “Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.” This is a somewhat fair but unnecessary statement since Mueller didn’t conduct an analysis of the evidence it follows that he couldn’t conclude one way or the other. This is what Mueller should have said in his press conference to avoid any political connotations. To emphasize one side of the equation while leaving out the other is certainly somewhat misleading and inaccurate.

        1. L4D says–Thirteenth Letter, in this case I was referring to your first bullet point:

          1) If Mueller believed this is what OLC policy mandates, then why did he follow the traditional prosecutorial process regarding “collusion”?

          You see, the OLC opinion and the Justice Dep’t regulations based upon the OLC opinion do not apply to Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, Michael Cohen, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Roger Stone, Julian Assange, Carter Page, George Papadopoulos nor any of the other potential co-conspirators whom Mueller declined to prosecute for Conspiracy to Defraud the United States.

          And that is why Mueller could follow the traditional prosecutorial decision-making procedure for subjects or targets who were not the sitting President. And that, in turn, is why I pointed out that Mueller’s declination decisions respecting the members of the Trump campaign, the Trump Organization and various Trump associates did not “exonerate” President Trump. IOW, if there’s no guilt by association, then there’s no innocence by association, either.

          1. You’re arguing that because Mueller did not charge and did not establish any “collusion” between Trump campaign associates and Russia, it still leaves open the possibility that Trump by himself (but not any associates) may have conspired/coordinated.

            That’s not even remotely plausible: 1) there’s no evidence that suggests such “collusion” by Trump and 2) assuming that there was, Mueller would then have followed then the same approach as he did with obstruction–lay out the evidence and then decide not to make a determination one way or the other with respect to Trump himself.

            Instead, Mueller did not establish conspiracy/coordination between the eponymously named Trump campaign (of which presumably Trump was a part) and Russia.

            For all practical intents and purposes, the “collusion” case is closed.

              1. About Power Line:

                RIGHT BIAS

                These media sources are moderately to strongly biased toward conservative causes through story selection and/or political affiliation. They may utilize strong loaded words (wording that attempts to influence an audience by using appeal to emotion or stereotypes), publish misleading reports and omit reporting of information that may damage conservative causes. Some sources in this category may be untrustworthy. See all Right Bias sources.

                Overall, we rate Power Line strongly right biased based on story selection that always favors the right. We also rate them Mixed for factual reporting due to the use of poor sources that have failed numerous fact checks, as well as rejecting the consensus of science when it comes to climate change.


                Check out the full “review.”

                1. Most of the articles from Powerline are logical, factual and truthful. One might take the same facts and have a different opinion but what we are seeing from many on the left such as The Brainless One is they have an opinion but they do not have a good grasp of the facts and frequently twist the truth into a mix of truth and fiction.

                  Your way of debate is character assasination not a competent discussion of facts along with logic putting the facts together. If you had the later you would dispute their articles intelligently, but you don’t so you blame their factual, truthful and logical opinions as right wing.

                  1. From the linked material above:

                    “We also rate them Mixed for factual reporting due to the use of poor sources that have failed numerous fact checks…”

                    (More blah, blah from, blah from Allen, above.)

                    1. Failing today’s fact checkers are meaningless because they are spinning news and frequently fact check a related item so they can call the real item false. That requires a bit of intellect to understand so the Brainless One will walk away without understanding.

                      If someone has a gripe with a Powerline opinion one should state their interpretation and refute Powerline’s interpretation. I don’t agree with them all the time so I assume the same will occur with everyone.

                  2. About “Power Line” from the links supplied earlier:

                    1) “Overall, we rate Power Line strongly right biased based on story selection that always favors the right.”

                    2) “We also rate them Mixed for factual reporting due to the use of poor sources that have failed numerous fact checks…”

                    ——-> “…have failed numerous fact checks…”

                    Their bias is approaching “extreme” — according to mediabiasfactcheck.

                    If you don’t like it, Allan, take it up with them.

                    1. Anonymous, it is very difficult to deal with stupid people. Your fact checkers believe the left is right and the right is wrong. That is their premise. Fact’s, logic and a persons’s senses don’t count in such a scenario. That is stupid.

            1. L4D says–Thirteenth Letter, I’m going to say this just one more time. And if you still don’t get it after this last attempt, then I’m going to write you off as a mentally defect commenter. Capiche? Here’s a reminder of what you wrote in your first bullet point:

              1) If Mueller believed this is what OLC policy mandates, then why did he follow the traditional prosecutorial process regarding “collusion”?

              Now listen very, very closely, Thirteenth Letter. Donald Trump Jr. is NOT the sitting President of the United States. Paul Manafort is NOT the sitting President of the United States. NONE of the other people whom Mueller declined to prosecute for Conspiracy to Defraud the United States are the sitting President of the United States. Consequently, there was no OLC opinion nor any Justice Dep’t regulation based upon an OLC opinion preventing Mueller from asking a Grand Jury to return an indictment against anyone else other than the sitting President of the United States–Trump. Since Mueller declined to prosecute any of those people, therefore those people have been exonerated of Conspiracy to Defraud the United States.

              Now here’s the critical conclusion that you really need to reach for, Thirteenth Letter: Exonerating people who are not the sitting President of the United States for Conspiracy to Defraud the United States DOES NOT exonerate the sitting President of the United States–Trump–of Obstruction of Justice.

              Pleas allow me to repeat that for emphasis: Exonerating people who are not the sitting President of the United States for Conspiracy to Defraud the United States DOES NOT exonerate the sitting President of the United States–Trump–of Obstruction of Justice.

              1. You’re either failing to or are unable to grasp the issues–please stop before you hurt yourself.

                Let’s keep this simple.

                1) Volume I (“Collusion”): “the evidence was not sufficient to charge that any member of the Trump campaign conspired with the Russian government in its election interference activities”.

                2) Volume II (“Obstruction:): “while the report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him”.

                Try digesting this first and I’ll leave you to your statement of the obvious epiphany that only Trump is the sitting President and therefore the only subject of the OLC policy regarding indictment of a sitting President.

                For bonus points, you might want to think about how the Trump campaign can somehow exist as a separate and disaggregated entity from Trump himself or more simply put, how Trump is somehow not a member of his own campaign.

                Have at it and good luck.

  17. Leon Jaworski didn’t sign an indictment against Nixon; even when the grand jury who sat on the case unanimously voted for an indictment after hearing the “Smoking Gun” tape. But he did bring the matter before a grand jury, which means he felt a crime had probably been committed. Jaworski’s reasons were different than Mueller’s but similarly muddled and unclear – or so seven members of that grand jury thought when they broke their oaths and were interviewed on television, telling the rest of the country their frustration that.Nixon hadn’t gone to trial.

    Ken Starr, likewise, didn’t seek an indictment against Bill Clinton, even though he had an in-house opinion drafted by Ronald Rotunda stating

    “It is proper, constitutional, and legal for a federal grand jury to indict a sitting president for serious criminal acts that are not part of, and are contrary to, the president’s official duties.”

    Instead, Starr referred the matter to Congress (as Mueller tacitly did).

    In a 2017 article “Can the President Be Indicted? A Long-Hidden Legal Memo Says Yes,” the New York Times sued under FOIA to get the Rotunda memo out of the National Archives, where they say it was hidden.

    It’s unclear whether Mueller knew about the Rotunda brief or would have felt himself bound (or freed to act) by it, given two contradictory opinions from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (one in 1973 and one in 2000), and one court brief by Robert Bork (Nixon’s solicitor general in 1973).

    All the New York Times would have had to do is what i did yesterday, Google “Ken Starr indict Bill Clinton”, and read what their reporter Charlie Savage wrote in a very comprehensive round-up of legal opinions regarding indictments of sitting Presidents.

    Even if the New York Times‘s editorial memory doesn’t go back to 2017, their reporter’s research could have been conducted once more and they could have shown not just the Rotunda brief, but other legal opinions opposing the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel opinions and Solicitior-General Bork’s court brief stating that sitting presidents cannot be indicted.

    I agree with Professor Turley that the press were unduly deferential to Robert Mueller’s refusal to elaborate his opnion that he couldn’t inidict Donald Trump.

    Whether one believes the real reason for not indicting was a weak case, or simply that Mueller was telling the truth and referring the matter to Congress as independent/special counsels Jaworski and Starr did, the New York Times had no excuse for not commenting as fully on the matter now as they did in July 2017 – especially as they were so quick to question Attorney-General Barr’s veracity (again, on Mueller’s unsupported say-so, and despite the existence of witnesses who can contradict Mueller directly).

    The Gray Lady is showing a more than a little editorial thigh for Mueller and the Democratic Party.

    1. The Gray Lady is showing a more than a little editorial thigh for Mueller and the Democratic Party.

      Gross! Think of the children!!

      1. It’s disgusting, but Dean Baquet’s far too late in trying to rescue the Gray Lady’s reputation for journalistic virtue (when he forbade his reporters from appearing on some of CNN and MSNBC’s more extreme programs).

        We didn’t see as much embarrassing advocacy cheesecake when Jill Abramson had Baquet’t job, and she let the “Clinton Cash” series of articles run (I notice that Google makes searches for those articles harder, these days – one of my reasons for going with another browser)..

    2. unanimously voted for an indictment after hearing the “Smoking Gun” tape

      No, the grand jury named him a co-conspirator. It did not vote for an indictment for Nixon.

      1. presents the indictments of Richard Nixon by the grand jury:

        “The documents released today also include the criminal indictment, approved by a grand jury, against President Nixon on four criminal counts: bribery, conspiracy, obstruction of justice and obstruction of a criminal investigation. Jaworski decided to let Congress decide how to proceed against Nixon instead of directly indicting Nixon, and Nixon subsequently resigned (and was pardoned by his successor, Gerald Ford).”

        As you can read, the grand jury indicted Nixon as much more than a co-conspirator.

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