Mueller gives a glorious demonstration of what honest, nonpartisan law enforcement looks like

Special Counsel Robert Mueller
REUTERS/Jim Bourg
Special Counsel Robert Mueller making a statement on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election at the Justice Department in Washington on Wednesday.

Mueller Muellered, to the very end.

Robert Mueller’s 9½-minute farewell address this morning, while frustrating to many, was a glorious demonstration of what honest, nonpartisan law enforcement looks like. In an era of almost total partisanship in all matters, this was refreshing to me. To others, on either side of the Great Trump Divide, his appearance was no doubt frustrating. It’s pretty clear that he wasn’t and won’t be guided by their frustration.

Mueller hadn’t spoken publicly in two years, since his appointment as special counsel, and did so today because he is now leaving that office and returning to private life. His farewell statement probably disappointed many on both sides. He clearly gave the lie to Donald Trump’s incessant statements that the report exonerated him. It did not exonerate him. Here’s that passage of Mueller’s statement:

After [completing the] investigation, if we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so. We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime.

The introduction to the Volume 2 of our report explains that decision. It explains that under longstanding department policy, a president cannot be charged with a federal crime while he is in office. That is unconstitutional. Even if the charge is kept under seal and hidden from public view, that, too, is prohibited.

A special counsel’s office is part of the Department of Justice, and by regulation, it was bound by that department policy. Charging the president with a crime was therefore not an option we could consider. The department’s written opinion explaining the policy makes several important points that further informed our handling of the obstruction investigation. Those points are summarized in our report and I will describe two of them for you.

And, Mueller added, Justice Department policy indicates that charging a sitting president “requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing.”

That clearly refers to impeachment as the appropriate process for considering whether a president has committed “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” That confirms, for the zillionth time, that the Mueller report did not provide the current incumbent with “total and complete exoneration,” as Trump tweet-claims incessantly.

It also puts the onus on the U.S. House of Representatives, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, to decide what to do next. Pelosi has, to date, been reluctant to go into full impeachment mode. She is under considerable pressure to change that stance. Various House committees are seeking additional evidence that might shed light on the suspected criminal acts of the president. Stay tuned on that one. Mueller, I’m quite sure, will stay silent on it.

The full text of Mueller’s statement is here. Please read it for yourself. For those who want Mueller to incriminate Trump, and those who want Mueller to exonerate Trump, it will send you to a dark moon of frustration. Mueller expresses no sympathy for your frustration.

In case you don’t read the whole thing, here’s where Mueller says what he is willing to say about whether he believes Trump committed the crime of obstruction of justice. (Bear in mind: Mueller is describing DOJ policy, which he felt bound to observe. He is not opining on what the Constitution says about impeachment for “obstruction of justice.” He is explaining why he felt, as an appointee of the Justice Department, he could not recommend a criminal indictment against a sitting president for obstruction of justice.) The passage:

The report describes the results and analysis of our obstruction of justice investigation involving the president. The order appointing me special counsel authorized us to investigate actions that could obstruct the investigation. We conducted that investigation and we kept the office of the acting attorney general apprised of the progress of our work.

And as set forth in the report, after that investigation, if we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so. We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime.

The introduction to the Volume 2 of our report explains that decision. It explains that under longstanding department policy, a president cannot be charged with a federal crime while he is in office. That is unconstitutional. Even if the charge is kept under seal and hidden from public view, that, too, is prohibited.A special counsel’s office is part of the Department of Justice, and by regulation, it was bound by that department policy. Charging the president with a crime was therefore not an option we could consider. The department’s written opinion explaining the policy makes several important points that further informed our handling of the obstruction investigation. Those points are summarized in our report and I will describe two of them for you.First, the opinion explicitly permits the investigation of a sitting president because it is important to preserve evidence while memories are fresh and documents available. Among other things, that evidence could be used if there were co-conspirators who could be charged now.

And second, the opinion says that the Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing.

And beyond department policy, we were guided by principles of fairness. It would be unfair to potentially — it would be unfair to potentially accuse somebody of a crime when there can be no court resolution of the actual charge.

So that was Justice Department policy. Those were the principles under which we operated. And from them, we concluded that we would not reach a determination one way or the other about whether the president committed a crime. That is the office’s final position and we will not comment on any other conclusions or hypotheticals about the president.

Further your affiant saith naught.

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Comments (76)

  1. Submitted by David Lundeen on 05/29/2019 - 01:27 pm.

    In other words, guilty.

  2. Submitted by Paul Scott on 05/29/2019 - 02:08 pm.

    Sorry, it’s not enough to take on that monumental role and then talk to everyone like a monk on a mountaintop. Speak in plain English and take questions and add context and clarify confusion or get out of here already. The fact that he said he would only let his report speak for itself is just weird. He had a job to investigate and communicate, not produce a holy book to pored over for clues.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 05/30/2019 - 10:26 am.

      This is how I feel. This country is not smart or ethical enough for Mueller to do it this way.

    • Submitted by Kurt Anderson on 06/01/2019 - 09:35 am.

      Wrong. For prosecutors, simplicity and transparency are not always options. Let the House of Reps get as many facts on the table as possible, with or without impeachment, and we are now only 17 months from letting the voters deliver the verdict.

    • Submitted by Henry Johnson on 06/01/2019 - 09:19 pm.

      Oh I agree 110%. To me, he didn’t look “glorious”, he looked like a broken down old man without enough fight or courage left in him to draw the obvious conclusions his own investigation found abundant detailed evidence in spades for.

      It’s not “partisan” to come to a logical conclusion that the facts indicate, and to refuse to come to that conclusion just to “appear” partisan, sorry, but that seems more like a lack of courage to me than anything else, and certainly doesn’t live up to all the press we heard for 2 years about what a steely-eyed patriot Mueller was..

      The attitude seemed to be, well, we found things that to us don’t seem to exonerate this person, but we’ll leave it up to someone else to decide that, not my job, I personally don’t give a rip one way or the other, and BTW, I don’t ever want to talk about this or be questioned about this with anyone, EVER, including now during this press conference.

      I just want to be left alone, and go sit in my rocking chair now.

      You see, it never occurred to me when I accepted the role of special counsel into whether the president of the United States was guilty of conspiracy to hack the presidential election with a hostile foreign government, that anyone would actually want to ask QUESTIONS about the investigation afterwards! Or that POLITICS would be involved.

      Excuse me now, I gotta head out – I have important things to do – old yelller needs his dog food and the rocking chair is calling me too.

      That’s not what I’d personally call a “glorious” performance.

      Pathetic would be more like it.

  3. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/29/2019 - 03:23 pm.

    No surprises — and remember that Mueller is a lifelong Republican.
    The House Dems now have a political decision: will starting an impeachment process hurt or help Trump in the 2020 election. On possible strategy would be to wait until November, and start an impeachment process only if Trump wins another term.
    As has been noted before, a symbolic alternative to an unsuccessful impeachment would be a vote of censure in the House, which would put disapproval of Trump in the form record.

  4. Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 05/29/2019 - 05:45 pm.

    A glorious demonstration of what honest, nonpartisan law enforcement looks like.”

    $35 million spent and two years, and all he did was punt.

    Unless you remember him lying to the American people and Congress about Iraq to get us to go to war, and you put his very serious comments on Russia today in context, then maybe you see him as a partisan of the nonpartisan Imperial Deep State, trying to help the cause of regime change in Russia, ie WWIII.

    • Submitted by Joel Fischer on 05/30/2019 - 09:13 am.

      The investigation turned a profit. Not sure why Trump supporters persist in their lies, but I’ve really stopped caring about Trump supporters.

      Time to reclaim the rule of law in this country. Congress must act. It is constitutionally required for them to do so.

      • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 05/31/2019 - 08:09 am.

        Joel,

        A great many Trump supporters in my experience are no less prone to believing lies than most Trump haters, it is merely about which lies people are investing in, and from whom.

        As for the rule of law in America, foreign corporations have more rights than the average citizen. Bankers have impunity, apparently. Pharma? Geez, most of “security/war” spending, Health Care, Education, Finance, has become like an exercise in racketeering, white collar graft. And yet here in Minnesota I can still have everything I own confiscated if I grow a single cannabis plant?

        If Trump is a criminal then I would suggest most of what passes for big business in America is precisely the same.

    • Submitted by Solly Johnson on 05/30/2019 - 06:20 pm.

      About five years ago Mueller stated that surveillance activities of U.S. citizens, which are illegal, could have prevented the 9/11 attacks, which angered several members of Congress. Also, when head of the FBI he obstructed a congressional investigation into these attacks. Now some people would have us believe everything this man says.
      In addition to Mueller, Clapper, Brennan, Tenet, Powell, and others lied about weapons of mass destruction and illegal surveillance of American citizens. Now some are employed by corporate media and touted as experts, which is the reason many people, especially the young, have abandoned corporate news sites for their information.

      • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 05/31/2019 - 11:05 am.

        It is shocking to me how so many Liberals and Dems have latched on to this “Russian disinformation” meme, while taking the dis and mis information of the Bezos WaPo, mockingbird CNN/MSNBC/NYT/NPR as if it were sacred Truth.

        As far as I can tell, the “intelligence community” does the writing and our corporate/public media publishes it, as far foreign policy is concerned. On economics too, it is whatever these corporations and billionaires that own the media want us to believe. And they are VASTLY more influential than Russian spooks could ever hope to be.

        • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/31/2019 - 11:44 am.

          There is a basic difference between American citizens (and since CU corporations) participating in our political process (1st Amendment rights) and clandestine meddling by foreign powers,which is a violation of international law.

  5. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 05/29/2019 - 05:47 pm.

    Mueller begins and end with the outrageous nature of Russian behavior in the 2016 election. Fight as we will over impeachment, it is time for a serious, no holds barred action against Russia: Magnitski on steroids. Make it cripple the Oligarchs in their dealings with the US. Tariffs? How about 100% on all Russian trade. If an existing US ally/trade partner does not enact equal sanctions after “X” months, sanction them too. It will breeze thru the house and cause an uproar in the Senate, but, this is an election year and no one wants to be known as a Russian stooge. Well, maybe McConnell:

    https://www.newsweek.com/company-russian-oligarch-millions-aluminum-plant-mitch-mcconnell-1397061

    Plunk it on Trump’s desk and we will know where his loyalties lie. Make Putin rue the day he started this stuff…

    • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 05/30/2019 - 08:53 am.

      I find it laughably sad that so many Dems and Liberals are so ready to put the screws to Russia, feeding on every word from a mostly unaccountable Deep State attached to a increasingly privatized, eternal military machine that has decided Russia is the crown jewel in Neo-conservative, Neo-liberal regime change doctrine.

      Never mind the oligarchs of America influence the election/legislative process to the tune of about 10 trillion to 1, compared to Russian involvement. The oligarchs of America and their pet corporations have turned America from a productive economy to a “service” economy, which is just a euphemism for forty years of wage and benefit theft from working people into investor and executive pockets, leading directly to the election of Trump, and yet Liberals and Dems, having long embraced economic Neo-liberalism as “the only way”, cry RUSSIARUSSIARUSSIA, parroting the language of Deep State spooks speaking through their Mockingbirds in corporate media.

      • Submitted by Pat Terry on 05/30/2019 - 10:30 am.

        Whether Trump colluded or not, there is overwhelming evidence that Russia interfered. And not just in the US – Russia has been undermining democracy all over the globe. That part of it has never been in dispute.

        • Submitted by Solly Johnson on 05/30/2019 - 07:26 pm.

          In the 1950’s The American CIA overthrew the democratically elected government of Mossadegh in Iran and installed the Shah, an American puppet. In the 1970’s they overthrew the democratically elected socialist Allende in Chile and installed Pinochet, a ruthless, brutal dictator. In the 1990’s Americans openly worked to have Yeltsin elected in Russia, which Time magazine proudly had as their cover story in July, 1996. One can cite numerous other examples. American interference around the globe has not been in the interest of democracy.

          • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 05/31/2019 - 10:25 am.

            They assassinated Patrice Lamumba in Africa, too. But somehow this generation and many in this commentariat seem to take every word of the CIA etc intelligence community as if it is unalloyed, absolute truth in service to the pure and the good.

            I’m going to assume many here too, see Snowden, Manning and Assange/wikileaks like traitorous enemies of the people, for daring to reveal that very little has changed about the rapacious mendacity of the war/surveillance machine – or the willful obliviousness of the American electorate.

            • Submitted by Solly Johnson on 05/31/2019 - 06:13 pm.

              Because Assange published the lies and illegal activities under both major political parties, he has few allies, even though he has never had to print a single retraction, unlike the Washington Post, New York Times, and other corporate outlets. Prosecuting him is a major threat to press freedom, has serious long term implications, and should be of the utmost concern to all of us; instead, in the past few months we were bombarded with the charade of Trump/Jim Acosta.

              • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 06/03/2019 - 01:31 pm.

                Wikileaks is a Web site — not a media outlet in the sense of the Times or the WaPo.
                Anyone can set up a web site and post on it — there are limited legal consequences for fictional postings, unlike the traditional media.
                If the NYT libels someone, it has assets that are vulnerable to a law suit.
                Assange, on the other hand, can only be convicted of a crime in some jurisdiction, which has to be legally established. Much harder to hold him responsible.

                • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 06/03/2019 - 02:03 pm.

                  The proprietor of a website can be sued for damages for making false statements, just as a newspaper can. Finding tangible assets with which to satisfy that judgment may be problematic.

                • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 06/03/2019 - 03:21 pm.

                  Assange didn’t libel anyone. He published information that was absolutely factual which revealed much of our leadership left and right to be monstrous liars.

                  The WaPo on the other hand printed articles painting about 200 independent media outlets left and right as agents of Putin, with no evidence whatsoever, libelous accusations by anonymous Prop-or-Not, and still has not been held accountable in any way.

      • Submitted by ian wade on 05/30/2019 - 01:19 pm.

        What’s laughable is anyone that still uses the phrase ” Deep State” in anything other than a punchline.

        • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 05/31/2019 - 07:33 am.

          Ian and Pat,

          By “Deep State”, I and others mean: the vast cohort of unelected government officials, particularly those associated with the “intelligence community”, including those many working as private contractors, connected to the even more vast “military industrial complex”, particularly those politically connected private contractors making the hardware of war – many of whom are “just doing their jobs” – but as a whole engaged in what used to be called war profiteering (back in the day when making money off of war was immoral), with about, give or take, $10 trillion in motive since 9/11, to keep our forever wars going….forever.

          Of course many people, many very thoughtful, intelligent people, are skeptical of the information coming out of that unaccountable behemoth (though few of those are allowed to communicate such in the mainstream media), because of course there is a very, very long history of lies well documented, going way back, that behemoth vested in the American Imperium, which has everything to do with the will to power, and nothing at all with democracy or the pursuit of truth or the general welfare.

          But it is a free country as they say, so keep the faith. If we end up in a war against Russia however, I trust you will be the first to enlist?

          • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/31/2019 - 11:47 am.

            The phrase “deep state” implies a single entity pursuing a single strategy.
            In fact you are referring to a great many thousands of professional civil servants, who are members of all political parties.

            • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 05/31/2019 - 06:05 pm.

              The “single entity” is the American Empire, believed in the ideal by many of those civil servants, but really all working toward making the world safe not for democracy or freedom, but for corporations, banks and billionaires, on threat of annihilation.

              As for the latter comment further down, I could list all the reasons why I am referring to Clintonite Democrats, but that would take more words than I am prepared to compile on a Friday evening. Have a nice weekend.

              • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 06/01/2019 - 12:22 pm.

                The technical term is ‘paranoia’.

                • Submitted by chuck holtman on 06/02/2019 - 09:25 am.

                  “Deep State” is a leftist term of several decades’ standing, and is analytically developed and coherent. Two or three years ago, the Right, following its standard playbook of inverting all terms of critique to strip them of their meaning, co-opted the term to refer ridiculously to the supposed phenomenon by which the far left (without any wealth or power, presumably using mind-meld) secretly controls the levers of governmental power. From Mr. Duncan’s other posts, I am supposing he is using the term in its prior, coherent meaning.

                  • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 06/02/2019 - 09:31 pm.

                    According to Wikipedia (I’d welcome other sources) the term was originally used to describe the Turkish government in the 1990’s. More recently, Trump and Steve Bannon have made it a whipping boy to blame government professionals for whatever they don’t like.

                • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 06/03/2019 - 08:22 am.

                  “Paranoia” would imply I have an irrational fear that the “Deep State” is out to get me personally. Instead, I would call my language a learned, skeptical, sober assessment of political realities 2019. I am also aware that the great genius of this “Deep State” is that it does not care what I or most Americans say about it, it only reacts when someone like Assange appears as a legitimate threat. And you know I am on to something with this Deep State talk, when the treatment of whistleblowers like Assange/Snowden etc is non-partisan, both Dem and Repub Administrations treating them like traitorous spies.

                  • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 06/03/2019 - 11:35 am.

                    Both of them violated the law.
                    Snowden’s motives may have been more admirable than Assange’s.

                    • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 06/03/2019 - 12:54 pm.

                      James Clapper violated the law, lying to Congress and the American people about NSA spying on American citizens. He gets paid big “expert” bucks to cajole Liberals and Dems watching CNN and MSNBC to believe whatever the “intelligence Community” wants them to believe.

                      Assange is tortured, confined to one building for 7 years on threat of the full force of American Federal Government revenge, Snowden is exiled on threat of federal indictment for revealing NSA spying on Americans. Media repeats ad nauseam, they are enemies of the people.

                      Assange I would remind was a darling of the Left when he revealed gov information about Bush admin secrets.

      • Submitted by Solly Johnson on 05/30/2019 - 05:52 pm.

        On foreign policy the corporate Democrats have more in common with Joseph McCarthy than Eugene McCarthy.

        • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 05/31/2019 - 10:52 am.

          Increasingly the war party, unquestioning of regime change neoconservatism; accepting of neoliberal income inequality generally, enamored of neoliberal globalized corporatism/fiat banking and the compromising of the sovereignty of nations or citizens, with economic austerity for the latter. Self-assured as enlightened….

          • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/31/2019 - 02:20 pm.

            You ARE talking about the Republicans, aren’t you?

            • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/03/2019 - 01:54 pm.

              I can’t speak for Mr. Hunter but the “War” party is NOT necessarily the Republican Party. Look how difficult it is for a candidate that didn’t vote for the Iraq to get on the Democratic ballot. We got 1 out of 3 far and they want to put another on (Biden) in the next round. You can’t keep voting for wars and claim to be the Party of Peace.

      • Submitted by Kurt Anderson on 06/01/2019 - 09:39 am.

        The “Deep State” was formerly know as “our democratic institutions.” Thank goodness they are still there to resist the whims of this infantile president and his more extreme supporters, including foreign dictators.

  6. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 05/29/2019 - 06:23 pm.

    Eric puts this in the nicest way, saying Mueller is simply bring “honest and non-partisan.” There’s another way to describe what Mueller said today: “I will not participate in the political process in any way.” He said expressly that he will not testify before Congress, either, that he’s got nothing else to say.

    Nice work, if you can get it. He refuses to work with Congress to educate the 95% of Americans who will not read the full Mueller report (one Tweet I saw today said that Mueller’s words this morning amounted to: ‘It’s in the syllabus, class!’).

    The political process of coming to a public consensus about opening impeachment proceedings, an inquiry, involves Mueller helping Congress to educate us all in what the Report says. He’s refusing that role, holding himself falsely above the fray, God-like in his lawyerly “objectivity.” I can see the reason in that, because the political arena is messy, but given our non-reading president and the non-reading public, whom does Mueller think he’s addressing when he asserts that “it’s all in the report and I have nothing further to say” ?

    I’m one of those who think we’re in a Constitutional crisis (even before Trump expressly refuses to obey a court order about a subpoena), with Trump acting as though he’s our King or dictator, above the law. How sad, that an authority like Mueller can’t lower himself to the political arena even to speak in public to Congress about pending questions.

    Mueller came off, to me, as a total snob, unwilling to deal with the lowly rest of America who need to be led along gently by a known authority. He can’t be bothered to help out. Wow.

    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 05/30/2019 - 04:16 pm.

      It’s not just that, though. I keep seeing these admonitions to “Read the report”, but without acknowledgement of the extensive redactions.

      One thing that could potentially be accomplished by bringing Mueller before Congress would be some insight into what was redacted since he’s one of the few who knows. And under subpoena, I’d think he’d have to answer questions about it.

  7. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 05/29/2019 - 06:58 pm.

    So, the great experiment has an opportunity to prove that we can make it work. But, seems the leader of the senate, and “T’s” minions have already claimed that corruption, dishonesty, and partisan politics will rule the day, and strongman corrupt, dishonest dictators are in vogue, especially if you are a republican!

  8. Submitted by Chas Dalseide on 05/29/2019 - 07:19 pm.

    So why couldn’t Congress have hired an investigator and staff who were beholden to them,
    instead of beholden to the subject of the investigation? I will buy the concept that an election absolves the candidate of guilt by a jury of the whole, for sins up to that point. . But while in office, the question is open until the next election absolves the candidate again. I guess there is no in-between, just impeach or forget. About all they can do is go after the non-president associates, but they are likely to be pardoned.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/30/2019 - 11:12 am.

      Mueller and Barr are beholden to the Constitution, not to Trump.
      This is what Trump is trying to pervert — making the Executive Branch his private fiefdom.

  9. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 05/29/2019 - 08:07 pm.

    Given that there is no longer any Independent Counsel statute and the regulations only make the Special Counsel little more than a “special assistant attorney general” , he obviously had no authority to bring any prosecution even if there had been a “smoking gun.” I’m afraid his comments are going to put a lot of pressure on the House Democrats to impeach Trump who will take Mueller’s message as a green flag to “do their job.” Such a move can only be a political act because the GOP controlled Senate will not be persuaded or pressured into removing Trump from office. Obstruction, stalling, obfuscate, delay and sabotage of anything that smacks of reform is what the GOP excels in doing. I’m afraid the whole thing will degenerate into a circus and the blowback will fall on the highminded and righteous Democrats who always get blamed or penalized for what the GOP does or fails to do.

  10. Submitted by Tom Anderson on 05/29/2019 - 10:02 pm.

    “And as set forth in the report, after that investigation, if we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so. We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime.”

    And as could have been set forth in this report, after that investigation, if we had confidence that the president clearly did commit a crime, we would have said so. We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime.

    Same result, different wording. Depends on your spin I suppose.

  11. Submitted by Joe Musich on 05/29/2019 - 10:19 pm.

    The most telling comments to me came at the end….”These individuals who spent nearly two years with the special counsel’s office were of the highest integrity. And I will close by reiterating the central allegation of our indictments, that there were multiple systemic efforts to interfere in our election.

    And that allegation deserves the attention of every American. Thank you. Thank you for being here today.”

    Here he in my opinion debunked the spying myth while intentionally I believe with reference to “multiple efforts” at interference in.the election also implicating potentially more then Russian efforts alone which would implicate you know who and friends. That is the collusion part. Then he leaves it up to us. If we want it will we save it ?

  12. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/30/2019 - 08:30 am.

    Sort of, but…

    No one was asking Mueller to prosecute Trump in the first place, so his repeated excuses that he could not do so are facile. What he COULD have done is clearly stated that Trump could/would be prosecuted if he weren’t the President given the evidence at hand. This idea that he can’t say whether there is or isn’t evidence, or was or wasn’t a crime, may be bipartisan, but THAT’S exactly the problem.

    Beyond that, this idea that Mueller of all people, a lawyer, a prosecutor, etc. etc. thinks he can hold a press conference declaring that he will not testify or answer any questions if congress issues a subpoena is just plain wacky. The man is now a material witness, he can’t refuse to testify without being in contempt, he couldn’t even plead the 5th. His testimony can be compelled and he has to answer all question put to him whether these answers are in his report or not.

  13. Submitted by Kathleen Castrovinci on 05/30/2019 - 08:33 am.

    Robert Mueller made it blatantly clear that the Report DID NOT exonerate Donald Trump. That he had “insufficient evidence” due to the lack of Cooperation of people he interviewed, he came to that conclusion that he could NOT charge Trump with a crime, though clearly he states 10 instances of Obstruction of Justice..

    Mueller did indeed say it WAS Russia who interfered with the 2016 Election. THAT contradicts what Trump has said all along, that is was NOT Russia because Putin told him so and he believed him.

    There is someone who is smiling and that is Hillary Clinton. She said back at the 2nd debate in October of 2016 that it was Russia who hacked and conspired with Wikileaks and that 17 Intelligence agencies were not wrong.

    So now the ball is in Congress’ court and Trump does not like it. It is not so much the word IMPEACHMNENT that Trump fears. It is ILLEGITIMATE. Accepting the help of a hostile Foreign entity in order to get elected, makes one illegitimately elected.

  14. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 05/30/2019 - 11:38 am.

    Please! Read the entire Mueller report!

    I’m embarrassed to see ignorant comments in this thread that reveal the non-reading of the document. If you don’t want to read it online, the Washington Post has published it in book form, and you can get it at your local Barnes and Noble, etc.

    Mueller said nothing new yesterday, for anyone who has read his report (that’s too few of us, tragically–look what happened to that
    Republican congressman from Michigan who took the time to read the whole thing; he’s calling for impeachment).

    What was new was the fact that Mueller got up in public and read a nine-minute statement that summarized his report. First spoken-live words to America from Robert Mueller in two years. Finally.

    And he tried to make clear why he didn’t indict Donald J.Trump for the crimes of 1) conspiracy with the Russians to undermine our 2016 election process (“insufficient evidence” means, as Mueller said yesterday out loud, that witnesses refused to testify or they lied–including the “subject” of the investigation, Trump) or 2) 10 or more clear instances of Donald J. Trump committing obstruction of justice while he has been president (the DOJ policy expressly prohibits indicting a sitting president, so Mueller’s team did not “have that as an option” in their inquiry–implied? that if he could have, Mueller would have indicted the president for obstruction, where the goods are laid out for us all in his report).

    He clarified as well that he has thrown the ball to Congress to cite the president for “wrongdoing.”

    The political in Congress is getting way ahead of justice in Congress. Jerry Nadler appears to be a ditherer, and Nancy Pelosi has put winning in 2020 before the demands of protecting our Constitution. Formal impeachment inquiry must begin.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/31/2019 - 09:02 am.

      “Mueller said nothing new yesterday, for anyone who has read his report (that’s too few of us, tragically”

      Yes, Mueller held a press conference to tell us he would tell us no more than he told us in his report… I think we all get that. His first and only public statement loses all it’s significance given the fact that he said nothing new. Obviously the ball is in Congress’s “court”, we’ve been having ongoing debates about whether or not to impeach for weeks now… Mueller didn’t kick that off with his press conference.

      The point is we can all imagine how different the impeachment debate would be if Mueller had CONCLUDED that he would recommend charges if a sitting president could be charged… he could have done that. He could have said in the report that he would refer 10 counts of obstruction for prosecution were it not for Trump’s status as POTUS. If you read whole the report you know that he didn’t do that. And he didn’t say that in his press conference either. In fact what he’s now saying is that if anyone asks him THAT question (i.e. would he refer charges if Trump weren’t POTUS?), even under oath in front of Congress… he’ll refuse to answer it because that’s NOT what his report says.

      So yeah, Eric is right, this IS a glorious example of nonpartisan evasion.

    • Submitted by Kurt Anderson on 06/01/2019 - 09:45 am.

      Compared to motor-mouth Comey, Muller’s silence is golden. He has fully completed his assignment, and it’s time for the voters and their representatives to take up their tasks.

  15. Submitted by chuck holtman on 05/30/2019 - 11:40 am.

    Can anyone speak to these two questions? They seem obvious; I don’t understand why I haven’t seen them spoken to anywhere:

    1. A 1973 Office of Legal Counsel opinion is not law; it is an internal policy prepared in a time and place. Its rationale, though couched as Constitutional, to my understanding is practical and not legal (that a president under indictment would be unable to fulfill his duties of office). It is subject to change (perhaps thru formal process) at any time, by the same authority that issued it. Why has it been treated like holy Constitutional writ? Why has the basis for the opinion, its continuing force and applicability, and the case for its revision, not been debated?

    2. Mueller’s argument to refrain from making findings of wrongdoing is that “it would be unfair to potentially accuse somebody of a crime when there can be no court resolution of the actual charge.” This argument seems quite easily defeated: Trump can direct that the OLC policy not be applied, and that he be subject to indictment so that he may be charged, and may defend himself, in a court of law.

    • Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 05/30/2019 - 04:04 pm.

      Good questions. The answer to your first question is that the 1973 OLC opinion is not mentioned by Mueller. Mueller cites a 2000 OLC opinion to support his “charging declination.” As to your second question, that Trump could simply waive the purported immunity from that opinion and agree to face the charges. Mueller stated in his report that he decided against even a Grand Jury subpoena to Trump to respond to questions. Many people, like Trump, believe that it’s somehow worse to make someone stand trial on charges of a crime that it is for them to have committed it. These people apparently believe that a President is above the law.

      From what I’ve read of the Mueller Report so far (which may be all I read because so much is broken up by redactions at crucial points) is that Mueller made a decision when he was appointed that he would not charge the President based on that 2000 OLC opinion. Everything else seems to have followed from that decision including the framework of the Report which is broken up into two parts-Part I pertaining to pre-election Russian interference and part II pertaining to the investigation of the obstruction of the investigation following the election, including interference with Mueller’s investigation.

      Aside from the frustrating redactions, the Mueller Report strikes me as tendentious and woefully lacking in answers. I don’t know how anything can be concluded about Trump not colluding with the Russians in their interference with the 2016 election without knowing e.g. how Roger Stone was dealing with Wikileaks and the Russian hackers or who is Felix Slater really and what do Mueller and members of his team know about him that they’re not telling?

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/30/2019 - 06:05 pm.

        Trump had the opportunity to cooperate fully with Mueller and to direct his people to do so.
        That he did not supports an inference of guilt; we do not yet know the extent of it.

        • Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 05/31/2019 - 10:38 am.

          That pretty well sums it up. What is problematic for impeachment for such obstruction though is that Mueller did not find sufficient evidence linking the Trump campaign to the Russian interference to initiate any prosecution for that. There is an inference that Trump’s obstruction is evidence of fear of discovery of these links. As it is, without compelling evidence corroborating some of the intelligence in the Steele dossier, that Trump either is an active tool of the Russian State or has been blackmailed by it, any impeachment will be spun as a “witch-hunt” promoted by the Democrats who can’t get over losing the election.

          • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/31/2019 - 11:51 am.

            Clinton and Nixon were both impeached on the basis of obstruction of justice.
            This means obstruction of the justice process, whether a crime occurred or not.

            • Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 05/31/2019 - 01:54 pm.

              Actually, Nixon was never formally impeached-he resigned before any impeachment could be voted on. Clinton was impeached but the Senate did not convict him. I can’t disagree that obstruction of the investigation is itself a crime without there being any other crime Mueller said so in his report. The issue I think is a political one: what would it take to swing enough GOP Senators to vote to convict Trump of obstruction or some any other impeachable offense? I don’t think any one would vote to convict Trump without evidence that he was trying to cover-up something else, presumably related to his relationship with Putin and the Russian Government.

  16. Submitted by Misty Martin on 05/30/2019 - 11:59 am.

    Eric:

    I, too, was impressed with Mueller, and found it “refreshing” in this day and age, albeit how badly I want the current occupant of the Oval Office removed, whether by impeachment (preferred) or by a Democratic candidate in election 2020 (good enough).

    Did anyone hear that the Rev. Franklin Graham has asked for a “day of prayer” for President Trump because “no other president has been as persecuted as he has been” ? I guess those presidents who suffered assassination (i.e. Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy, come to mind) didn’t suffer persecution, or maybe since it was done by two separate individuals in two separate periods of history, instead of a majority of haters, that doesn’t count – I don’t know. I’m sure President Richard Nixon felt that he was being persecuted, although he asked for it, didn’t he? I also felt that President Bill Clinton was persecuted – I can remember after he had just lost his mother, that reporters were asking him about the Whitewater scandal, and he replied: “I just finished burying my mother!”

    Why evangelicals feel that this P.O.T.U.S. is such an upright, sterling character is beyond me, and I get the fact that it’s the party, not the individual. So, I guess if Lucifer himself ran on the Republican party ticket, they’d vote and support him as well? I wonder . . .

    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 05/31/2019 - 08:03 am.

      I think there is a quote by Thoreau that goes something like:
      “They serve the devil as god and not know the difference”

    • Submitted by Kurt Anderson on 06/01/2019 - 09:57 am.

      Too bad Billy Graham is no longer around to discipline his son. Franklin needs to (re-)read Revelation 13:

      5 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.

      6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.

  17. Submitted by Kent Fralish on 05/30/2019 - 12:05 pm.

    “Mueller expresses no sympathy for your frustration”.
    Frustration is a choice.

  18. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 05/30/2019 - 04:32 pm.

    “Until today, I have defended Mueller against the accusations that he is a partisan. I did not believe that he personally favored either the Democrats or the Republicans, or had a point of view on whether President Trump should be impeached. But I have now changed my mind. By putting his thumb, indeed his elbow, on the scale of justice in favor of impeachment based on obstruction of justice, Mueller has revealed his partisan bias. He also has distorted the critical role of a prosecutor in our justice system.” Alan Dershowitz

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/30/2019 - 06:06 pm.

      As Dershowitz has revealed his.
      He once was a mensch.

    • Submitted by chuck holtman on 05/30/2019 - 06:19 pm.

      It is telling that Mr. Dershowitz views impeachment as a partisan matter.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/31/2019 - 09:05 am.

      Dershowitz… meh.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/31/2019 - 09:41 am.

      Shorter Alan Dershowitz: I thought the Mueller report would exonerate Trump of all charges, but since he concluded that there was obstruction of justice, I’ve decided that he must have been infected with partisan bias.

      Dear Professor D: You’re still not going to get invited to any cool parties on Martha’s Vineyard.

  19. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/31/2019 - 09:13 am.

    Actually, I can’t be impressed with “non-partisanship” anymore than I’ll ever be impressed with “objective” reporting for all the same reasons. Mueller’s job was it investigate and report his results regardless of partisan appearance. If he modified his findings in order to conform to an artificial standard of non-partisan presentation he actually violated his mission much the same way reporters do when the “balance” their reporting.

    Tell us what you found, don’t withhold information or conclusions in order to preserve the illusion of objectivity or non-partisanship. If our POTUS committed crimes we need to know that, whether it benefits one Party more than another or not.

  20. Submitted by Jim Marshal on 05/31/2019 - 09:26 am.

    Remember, Mueller was the same guy who insisted that there were WMDs in Iraq back in 2003. He’s no hero.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/31/2019 - 02:32 pm.

      So did a whole lot of people (look it up) who might have known better.
      He made the mistake of taking Colin Powell’s word, who in turn took the word of others in the military/intelligence establishment.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/31/2019 - 05:32 pm.

        So Mueller play telephone with the most serious intelligence briefing since Viet Nam… no matter who else did it… that’s bad.

  21. Submitted by John Evans on 05/31/2019 - 10:39 am.

    Ok, so there’s no applicable crime called ‘collusion.’ And the Mueller Report fails to firmly establish the links that would support charges of criminal conspiracy.

    But the report does establish serious collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence in a mutual effort to disrupt our election.

    This, it seems to me, is the obvious fact, and it’s the way it aught to be reported.

  22. Submitted by joe smith on 05/31/2019 - 05:43 pm.

    Now he is backpacking on OLC and charging Trump. One call from Barr and he moonwalked on his presser. Quite the guy.

  23. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 06/01/2019 - 08:12 am.

    Just curious what folks think of the “Russia if you are listening” now this was broadcast on 4-5-6 different news channels, and the next day or so, sure looks like someone had the heads up and was very, very proud to forecast the future.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/02/2019 - 11:25 am.

      Dennis… yeah. When did we decide that a crime is only crime or treason is only treason if you do it privately or secretly? How is openly inviting a foreign attack on an American citizen NOT treason?

      His supporters say he was just joking but that’s NOT a joke and Trump has never recanted his request or described it as a joke himself. He’s just complained here and there that some people take things too seriously. As if we can take treason and collusion too seriously. In fact we know that Trump was more than willing to meet with the Russians and receive stolen information, they would have “loved” it.

  24. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 06/04/2019 - 09:53 am.

    Mueller’s:

    “The report speaks for itself”

    Is a little shaky when even his boss, Barr, reads it and can’t interpret it in a manner consistent with the report’s intent.

    Now, it seems both sides want Mueller’s testimony with the Trumpians believing Meadows and Jordan will shred Mueller.

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