By Dan Peak
The Commoner Call (6/13/19)
Reading Directly From The Mueller Report
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Report makes the case that Trump did commit obstruction of justice and could be impeached for as many as 10 counts. Mueller did NOT exonerate Trump, in fact he laid out a detailed prosecutorial road map for impeachment – this was the subject of the last “Reading Directly” edition.
There is no substitute for fully appreciating how Trump could be impeached beyond reading the Mueller Report. For this edition I will highlight two simple examples that frame the facts of what Mueller reported re: Trump obstruction compared to the lies Trump tells to an uninformed public.
One of Trump’s and his personal Attorney General Barr’s consistent lies is that Trump “fully cooperated” with special counsel Mueller’s investigation.
The main take-aways here:
1) Trump and his personal Attorney General William Barr are shown to blatantly lie, counting on an ill-informed public to get away with this, and;
2) Mueller asserted he had “sufficient evidence” without Trump’s cooperation…to make certain assessments”.
Volume II of the Mueller Report is best summarized by the Report:
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY TO VOLUME II
“Our obstruction-of-justice inquiry focused on a series of actions by the President that related to the Russian-interference investigations, including the President’s conduct towards the law enforcement officials overseeing the investigations and the witnesses to relevant events.”
(The Mueller Report Executives summaries can be found here.)
Here’s the text from the report that highlights the lie:
“We also sought a voluntary interview with the President. After more than a year of discussion, the President declined to be interviewed. ■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■ During the course of our discussions, the President did agree to answer written questions on certain Russia-related topics, and he provided us with answers. He did not similarly agree to provide written answers to questions on obstruction topics or questions on events during the transition. Ultimately, while we believed that we had the authority and legal justification to issue a grand jury subpoena to obtain the President’s testimony, we chose not to do so. We made that decision in view of the substantial delay that such an investigative step would likely produce at a late stage in our investigation. We also assessed that based on the significant body of evidence we had already obtained of the President’s actions and his public and private statements describing or explaining those actions, we had sufficient evidence to understand relevant events and to make certain assessments without the President’s testimony.1 The Office’s decision-making process on this issue is described in more detail in , infra, in a note that precedes the President’s written responses.”
Mueller states clearly – Trump’s testimony was not necessary to prosecute or impeach. While Trump would certainly have perjured himself, Mueller clearly stated there “was sufficient evidence”.
The highlight is added by the New York Times while also posing a question about Trump’s intention (1). But the Mueller Report answers this question in the next paragraph on the same page:
“The principle that intent can be inferred from circumstantial evidence is a necessity in criminal cases, given the right of a subject to assert his privilege against compelled self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment and therefore decline to testify. Accordingly, determinations on intent are frequently reached without the opportunity to interview an investigatory subject.”
Successful prosecution requires proof of Intent. Mueller asserts his evidence meets this standard for proof.
Trump claims to have cooperated but did not cooperate, and he lies about it consistently. Sadly Barr is not an honest broker and joins Trump in repeating the lie.
Trump, after a year of discussion, did respond to a limited set of written questions – while also using “do not recall” or “do not remember” of variations over 30 times while Mueller also found some written answers to be “incomplete or imprecise”.
A woman attending Rep. Justin Amash’s (R-MI) town hall following his tweets supporting impeachment of Trump was shocked to learn there was anything negative about Trump in the report because she only listened to Fox News. A side note, Amash is now trailing a previously unknown candidate to primary him by 16 points (49-33 margin), so for anyone waiting for Republicans to rally behind impeachment Hell and freezing over comes to mind.
Reading the Mueller Report is an eye opener – Mueller found Trump committed obstruction if not crimes that rose to a standard of conspiracy. Mueller states this equivocally.