Monday, March 25, 2019

No, the Scandal of Trump-Putin Treachery is Not Over. Not Nearly. Here is What You Need to Know and Share with Others who Genuinely Care About the Fate of America and the Future the World

"I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job," Trump said, according to the Times.
"I faced great pressure because of Russia. That's taken off." No Obstruction?? GTFO Complete Sham
"Trump won with illicit help. He abused his power. His AG is blocking a full reckoning."  -- Greg Sargent, Washington Post, 3/2/19

Rep. Jerry Nadler, U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman, D-NY (@RepJerryNadler), 3/24/19: "In light of the very concerning discrepancies and final decision making at the Justice Department following the Special Counsel report, where Mueller did not exonerate the President, we will be calling Attorney General Barr in to testify before @HouseJudiciary in the near future."

David Frum (@davidfrum), 3/24/19:
"1. A truck of TVs is hijacked.
2. Your son meets with the hijackers.
3. Your campaign manager shares route information with them.
4. You are recorded on video saying, "I love truck hijacking."
5. The TVs are in your house.
Happy No Collusion Day."

Craig Unger (@craigunger), 3/25/19: "Yes. I've written four books on the GOP's war on democracy--House of Bush, House of Saud; The Fall of the House of Bush; Boss Rove, and House of Trump, House of Putin. I gotta tell you: I don't like the direction this is headed." 

No, it's not nearly over. Mueller has given us a great push forward. He successfully exposed and savaged numerous Trump cronies and Putin operatives. And he has documented all that his probe could reach, voluminously and in impeccable detail. Now we have to get that report, in its original, untouched state, along with its supporting materials (including Grand Jury testimony), into the hands of the U.S. Congress, and all of this then must be made public (one way or another). Mueller has delivered a powerful political and historical weapon for those who refuse to yield to the agent saboteur, would-be tyrant and pathologically ill gangster currently occupying the office of the Presidency. One simple question, and the answer is just as simple: why wasn't the report released, or even this statement released, with Barr and Mueller standing side by side? Because what the report says and what Barr's pitiful letter seeks to obscure is DAMNING DISGUSTING and TERRIFYING ... But Mueller wasn't standing there with Barr (who didn't even show his shameful face, and just released a letter). Instead, Mueller went to church with his wife and then walked passed the White House .. We need the Mueller report in its entirety, in its pristine, original state. AND we need to hear from Mueller under oath in public congressional hearings. Nothing else matters. This will happen. The longer it is delayed the more impact it will have on the 2020 election. To the detriment of the pathologically ill gangster occupying the White House and to the zombie death cult formerly known as "the Republican Party" ... Barr's attempt to deflect the impact of the Mueller probe is the amoral equivalent of Mitch McConnell's refusal to heed the clear, unequivocal, unified warnings of the U.S. intelligence agencies in the final weeks of the 2016 presidential election. Obama and the intel chiefs pleaded with McConnell to join in a bi-partisan effort to work with state governments to thwart the attacks. "As the election approached, that rise received a crucial assist from McConnell’s decision to downplay links between the Trump campaign and Russia and warn the Obama White House 'that he would consider any effort by the White House to challenge the Russians publicly an act of partisan politics.'" ("Mitch McConnell, Republican Nihilist," New York Review) ... Infamy ...

The truth of all of this will be revealed sooner than later.

"With a staff of about 220 assistant U.S. attorneys, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York is one of the largest in the country. But that prosecutorial firepower isn't the only reason why it has become among the most sought-after assignments for aspiring federal prosecutors. The office, which handles some of the highest-profile cases in the country, has developed such an independent streak that within the Justice Department, it's earned the nickname 'the Sovereign District of New York.' That's why any mention of a witness cooperating with the office — as ex-Trump attorney Michael Cohen said publicly in testimony on Capitol Hill last month — should inspire fear in potential subjects of that assistance, former federal prosecutors say. Cohen's cooperation "would send a chill up my spine" if he worked at the White House, former New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie, who also was a federal prosecutor, told ABC News during the hearing, referring to the ex-Trump fixer's statement to lawmakers that he was helping prosecutors in their Trump-related investigations." -- Allan Smith, MSNBC

Carpe diem. Carpe noctem.Carpe vitem.

Follow me on Twitter for more granular coverage.

Meanwhile, here are some excellent perspectives on where we are and where we are going --

"Well, that is fake news. Barr’s note is clear that Mueller did not uncover evidence Trump and his gang were in direct cahoots with Russia’s covert operation to interfere with the US election and boost Trump’s odds. But the hyper-focus on this sort of collusion—as if Trump instructed Russian hackers on how to penetrate the computer network of the Democratic National Committee—has always diverted attention from a basic and important element of the scandal that was proven long before Mueller drafted his final report: Trump and his lieutenants interacted with Russia while Putin was attacking the 2016 election and provided encouraging signals to the Kremlin as it sought to subvert American democracy. They aided and abetted Moscow’s attempt to cover up its assault on the United States (which aimed to help Trump win the White House). And they lied about all this. And, yes, there were instances of collusion—not on the specifics of the attack, but secret scheming between Trumpworld and Russia. None of the evidence underlying this is in dispute. No matter what Mueller report contains, a harsh verdict remains: Trump and his gang betrayed the United States in the greatest scandal in American history." -- David Corn, "Trump Aided and Abetted Russia’s Attack. That Was Treachery. Full Stop." Mother Jones, 3/24/29

Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson): "(THREAD) The already-infamous 'Barr Letter' is a deeply dishonest and misleading document that richly deserves methodical public evisceration by committed journalists. So I hope you'll read on and retweet this 'live' dismantling of the Trump-Russia probe's worst political hitjob." FOLLOW THIS VITALLY IMPORTANT THREAD HERE
"Special counsel Robert Mueller has submitted his report on the Russia investigation, and Republicans are gloating. They claim a four-page letter from Attorney General William Barr, purporting to summarize the report, exonerates President Donald Trump. They’re wrong. The letter says the Justice Department won’t prosecute Trump, but it reaches that conclusion by tailoring legal standards to protect the president. Here’s a list of Barr’s weasel words and what they’re hiding ..." -- William Saletan, Slate  

"The entire letter is drafted to suggest practically the opposite of what it actually says. I parsed it further here, and Slate’s Will Saletan, after offering related observations, concluded the letter “shows that collusion and obstruction were defined to exclude what [Trump] did.” In defining terms conveniently, Barr breezes over his own assertion that Trump associates received “multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the campaign.” We know about a few of these offer, but Barr notably does not say that every dangle has been publicly reported. In asserting improperly that President Trump himself should not be charged with obstruction, Barr notes that “most” of the potentially obstructive “actions by the President…have been the subject of public reporting.” Which is to say, Mueller unearthed evidence of obstruction that remains undisclosed, and that may or may not have hindered his ability to prove a U.S.-based conspiracy beyond a reasonable doubt. These omissions help explain why, despite his gloating today, Trump behaved until the very end like a guilty man and endeavored ceaselessly to terminate and compromise the investigation. Trump knows the full story of 2016, but he didn’t know—and still may not know—how much of it Mueller had uncovered, or whether his campaign’s conduct entailed committing chargeable felonies. He has some room to breathe now knowing, for instance, that his son won’t be indicted for conspiring with Russians, but he can’t assume that the report itself isn’t filled with damaging revelations, because it almost certainly is. At the very least, it will serve as a reminder that the goalposts don’t belong in this absurd place where anything short of chargeable evidence of criminal conspiracy puts Trump in the clear. This is why I anticipate that Trump will go to great, telling lengths to conceal it—in ways that sit uncomfortably alongside today’s credulous headlines, and Republican insistence that he has been vindicated. But that’s exactly why we need to see it in full, and quickly." -- Brian Beutler, Crooked 

"First, obviously, he still faces the New York investigations into campaign finance violations by the Trump team and the various investigations into the Trump organization. And Mr. Barr, in his letter, acknowledges that the Mueller report 'does not exonerate' Mr. Trump on the issue of obstruction, even if it does not recommend an indictment. But the critical part of the letter is that it now creates a whole new mess. After laying out the scope of the investigation and noting that Mr. Mueller’s report does not offer any legal recommendations, Mr. Barr declares that it therefore 'leaves it to the attorney general to decide whether the conduct described in the report constitutes a crime.' He then concludes the president did not obstruct justice when he fired the F.B.I. director, James Comey. Such a conclusion would be momentous in any event. But to do so within 48 hours of receiving the report (which pointedly did not reach that conclusion) should be deeply concerning to every American.
 The special counsel regulations were written to provide the public with confidence that justice was done. It is impossible for the public to reach that determination without knowing two things. First, what did the Mueller report conclude, and what was the evidence on obstruction of justice? And second, how could Mr. Barr have reached his conclusion so quickly? Mr. Barr’s letter raises far more questions than it answers, both on the facts and the law. His letter says Mr. Mueller set 'out evidence on both sides of the question and leaves unresolved what the special counsel views as ‘difficult issues’ of law and fact concerning whether the president’s actions and intent could be viewed as obstruction.' Yet we don’t know what those 'difficult issues' were, because Mr. Barr doesn’t say, or why Mr. Mueller, after deciding not to charge on conspiracy, let Mr. Barr make the decision on obstruction." -- Neal Katyal, The Many Problems with the Barr Letter, 3/24/19