April 18, 2019

Mueller Report and collusion, conspiracy, obstruction:
Donut Twitter and The Resistance still fight reality

Now that a redacted version of the Mueller Report is out, it seems clear that Donut Twitter and The Resistance, etc., along with the Kossack Dead-End Kids, etc., still don't want to face reality.

First, as I said almost a full year ago to Emptywheel, speaking of Kossack Dead-End Kids, there is no such federal statute called "collusion." She's pretty much dropped that since then, but others, including people with about the same brain cells as the KrapYourStein Brothers, haven't let go.

Speaking of, Marcy, you still haven't named the other reporter/blogger or whatever you reported to the FBI because he allegedly scared the Putin out of you, have you? Name a name or I officially assume it's as fake as your collusion claims.

For further refudiation of BuzzFeed Ben, Jason Leopold, Madcow Maddow, Young Napolitano (Chris Hayes) and others, go to this Twitter thread by Aaron Mate.

That said, Trump/Kushner technically DID collude with Russia in an informal sense. And with many other countries. Per Mondoweiss, as the Mueller Report notes, it was all on behalf of Bibi, following up on what we already know about Gen. Flynn. Maybe that's why Trump wouldn't commute his sentence, let alone pardon him — he was unsuccessful.

As for the obstruction of justice, or conspiracy to do so? Even though the report says that Sarah Huck(st)erbee Sanders lied about why Trump fired Comey (in part), even if he was fired entirely because he wouldn't "publicly clear Trump," that still doesn't, in my opinion, rise to a conspiracy to obstruct justice, let alone actually doing so. I said that a month ago, and then as today, I say that while rejecting AG Barr's expansive idea of executive powers. Had Trump interfered with Mueller's work after he was named special prosecutor, it would be different. (At Politico, Josh Blackman notes that Mueller whiffed on whether or not he accepted Barr's idea that obstruction doesn't often apply to the president. That said, I disagree with Blackman's large agreement with Barr. But I do agree that Mueller should have been explicit one way or the other.)

Speaking of, did Trump drag his heels on responding to Mueller? Yes, and that's ultimately Mueller's fault for not subpoeaning him. Is that because Battling Bob believes in some degree of Rethuglican strong executive powers himself? Is it because he believes in a narrow sense of authority of special counsels?

Actually, no, he said he was worried about delays in the investigation. Well, that's a bullshit claim. It's a lazy man's claim. It's Mueller caving to the Republican chattering class claiming the investigation was already taking too long. Archibald Cox, Lawrence Walsh and Ken Starr never worried about that. Yes, they were under a different special counsel law, but the current one doesn't have time constraints either.

Related? If he, not just his staff, thought there was an actionable case of conspiracy, or actual obstruction — per criminal law not civil law standards — did he not pursue it because he believes in narrow lines about indicting presidents? Why did he not then make an impeachment recommendation? That too is on Mueller. Frankly, I believe — as do a number of constitutional law scholars — that the old DOJ finding that a sitting president cannot be indicted is constitutionally nugatory. That's for several reasons.

First, the fact that the Supreme Court allowed the Paula Jones lawsuit against President Clinton to proceed while he was in office, at least through the point of depositions. Parallel here would be indicting the president but deferring an actual trial until he left office.

This is important because, as shown in the Julian Assange indictment and arrest, crimes have statutes of limitation.

Second, that old DOJ finding should be nugatory for another reason. That is the fact that actual impeachment trials ONLY involve removal from office and not actual criminal convictions or penalties. Mueller needed to, and didn't — learn from Jack Brooks, who knew the difference between impeachment and a criminal case.

Otherwise? Given the leaks by members of Mueller's now-disbanded staff recently?
This all said? I said six weeks ago, in a summary of several older blog posts, that Russia DID "meddle" in the US election, but without the goal of electing one candidate or not. I said it was Russian hacking, not Seth Rich (or somebody else) leaking that was behind the first set of DNC emails. (And the later Russian spearfishing is indirect support for the original emails being obtained by Russian hack. So, there, contra both ShirtLost DumbShit Zach Haller types, as I said a year ago, and also contra Julian Assange whatabouters, as I said a week ago, the Seth Rich conspiracy theory BS is disgusting.) And Frederick Theodore Rall III is inserting his limpness halfway into this. The reality, as I tweeted him, is that Assange and his toady Craig Murray both have good reason to lie about the source of the emails.

Meanwhile, Donut Twitter / The Resistance, exemplified by call-girl class stenos like Yoni Applebaum at Atlantic and Jon Chait at The New Yorker, continue to see the report as grounds for impeachment (for Chait, impeaching Barr), which it most certainly is not. Sadly, but not surprisingly, pseudo-progressive Dems like Down with Tyranny do the same.

And ignoring real Emoluments Clause grounds.

More along these lines from Aaron Mate.


Update, May 14: Former Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein has turned both barrels on Comey, calling him a "partisan pundit" who trampled "bright lines that should never be crossed."

The specific target of his ire is how Comey handled reopening the investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails adn server after then-AG Loretta Lynch had had her conflict-of-interest inducing meeting with Bill Clinton on the Phoenix tarmac.

Rosenstein is totally right. It was grandstanding, as I said at the time, and not SOP, either. Then-Assistant AG Sally Yates should have been contacted by Comey and she should have been asked to get Lynch to officially recuse herself, then take over.

Rosenstein said he would have handled Comey's firing differently had it been just him, not Trump, but that Comey deserved to be fired.

He did.

Period and end of story, Donut Twitter and Resistance.

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