Stinging Words From Robert Mueller–A Man Of Honor

This morning must have been a rough one for workers and staff in the White House.  Robert Mueller delivered words to the nation that Donald Trump must have fumed over as he stomped about with his usual bombast.  Insiders of the Trump Administration have repeatedly offered insights into his behavior when he is confronted with reality.

Mueller declined to clear Trump of obstruction of justice in his first public characterization of his two-year-long investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.  That was a cannon shot over the nation–and a clear sign to congress to not neglect the business of oversight into this president.

“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.”

Those words have reverberated around the nation.  He also said that while Justice Department policy prohibits charging a sitting president with a crime, the Constitution provides for another process to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing.  No one missed the message with that line.  Congress needs to to begin impeachment proceedings.

I fully understand why some people favor impeachment. as I do, and others can firmly argue the political danger of playing that card.  I think history calls us to act when law and order is undermined by the highest office in the land.  I strongly hold to the Constitution calling for the legislative branch to keep the executive in check.  Others can point out the need to remove an under-handed leader through the ballot box as being a better way to show national disgust.

What we all can agree on is that the Republican Party continues to put partisan politics above love of country and support to our national institutions.    That is a shame which historians will long note.

There is an upside to the major story of the day.  Mueller demonstrated that he is a man of impeccable integrity and honor.   How many times can we say that about a national news-maker in the recent past?  We can take great comfort that he left private law practice so to serve our country in this investigation.  He is someone parents around the nation can look to as a role model for their children.

Mueller Report, Trump Corruption, With Political Cartoons

Only reasonable way to view the travesty of justice perpetrated by Trump Administration is through the skilled hands of political cartoonists.

Mueller Report Says Much About Trump Base

What our nation is watching play out, as a redacted version of the Mueller report has been released, is the power given to the ones trying to control the narrative.  Attorney General Barr has taken the report and molded it to fit the partisan contours of the Trump White House.   Since it is about time in my home for coffee to be made, let me put it another way which matches up with the San Francisco blend which is about to be brewed.  The pure water is the report, the coffee in the filter is Barr and the White House, and the liquid result is the process of what happens when spin and politics is added to the mix.

Once brewed today, how will I look at my carafe?!

The interpretation of the Mueller report will not stand.   No one is going to replace my own eyes and logic with a performance in front of the national press.   Everything the Trump Administration has come in contact with has been tainted with varying degrees of dishonesty, fabrication, and untruthfulness.    It has been proven repeatedly that nothing can be taken for fact in this administration, everything needs to be checked and verified.

Since we are talking about Republicans and Russia today it might be the time to step back into the history books and recall what President Reagan had to say in this regard.  There is a Russian proverb which reads “Doveryai, no proveryai”.  Reagan made it easier for the American people by translating “Trustbut verify”

Not only has the GOP in large part forgotten the words of Reagan, but they have also given up an ability to think for themselves.   As seen by the performance of Barr this morning, and Trump over the past many months, there is an expectation that the conservative base will fall over and accept anything they are told.

Historians decades from now will need to examine and explain for the nation how Trump supporters were so willing to leave their morals and foundations taught to them by parents and grandparents, and cave for the lowest forms of deportment and highest levels of unethical chicanery.

It would seem to me that regardless of party affiliation there would be a deep curiosity about what the report contains.  When the Starr Report dealing with President Clinton was released in paperback I was in line at Borders Books the first day it became available—and early enough to make sure the supply did not run out before one was in my hand!  Why should the GOP be any different with the Mueller Report?

Perhaps the Trump base is afraid that if they were able to read the un-redacted report they would discover unethical and unpatriotic activities and behavior from Trump and his crew.  What would they think then about being duped?  What would that then say about their ability for judgement?

That quandary too, is a job for historians to wade through in the decades to come when the Trump supporters will be judged by history.

Now for that cup of coffee.

GOP Justice Department Puts Spin On Mueller Report Findings

Well, it is no longer a slow lazy-type Sunday afternoon.   And for House Democrats it will become nothing short of weeks and months of all-out efforts to make sure laws were not broken regarding obstruction of justice, and that the public has all the information they need following a national security concern regarding a President of the United States.

We are now aware the investigation by Robert Mueller found that neither Donald Trump nor any of his aides conspired or coordinated with the Russian government’s 2016 election interference.  That was the statement of the summary findings made public by Attorney General William Barr.  Also it was written in the summary that Mueller’s team drew no conclusions about whether Trump illegally obstructed justice.

And that is where the law, intrigue, and a host of questions begin.

For Barr and the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, to arrive at any conclusions that no laws were broken regarding obstruction must not stand alone.  There is a whole report, along with volumes of documents and evidence, which must be made public. What we know is that the special counsel’s investigators lacked sufficient evidence to establish that Trump committed obstruction of justice, but we also know from Barr’s letter that Mueller’s team stopped short of exonerating Trump.

Barr and this White House have been allowed first access to the report, and information flowing from them now is the cherry-picking of information that make Trump look good.  Many have stated, as has this blog, that as the months of the investigation moved along the matter of obstruction was key.  The entire nation watched in real time as the words and actions of Trump demonstrated that he was indeed obstructing justice.  So to have Barr and the Justice Department put a spin on the report will not work.  There must be a complete release of the report to allow for the nation to read and dive into the findings.

We know Trump’s US National Security Advisor Mike Flynn and Trump’s election campaign manager Paul Manafort were willing, paid, surrogates of a foreign intelligence community.  These were not some low-paid flunkies who got coffee for the office staff.   How this grouping of criminals came to operate in the Trump orbit is highly concerning, and the truth needs to be made known to the citizenry.

It would be interesting if any information is in the report about Trump and his relationship with Russian President Putin.  If there’s nothing between Putin and Trump, why did Trump insist on one-on-one meetings with Putin that have been kept from the American people?

This blog has the word politics in its title, so it would be only fitting that I add a note concerning the thrust of what I do here.

Most of my readers recall there were no scandals from the “no drama” Obama White House that in any way can be compared with what we have needed to deal over the past two years.  Policy differences for sure with Obama, but there was a clean slate of men and women who took on the mantle of leadership.  I believe such a state of affairs is what American voters are longing for, again.  This report, the need for it, and the rap sheets of many in the Trump orbit are proof what the nation wants to shift away from.

But let me be clear once more about the headline of the day.  The complete report must be made public, as written and submitted by Mueller.  Anything short of that is absolutely not acceptable.

As The Heat Builds In Washington And Radiates Nationwide

Lots of news to digest this weekend, so I want to toss out a few items as it will interest those keeping their eyes glued and ears pricked for updates on the Mueller Report.

Mueller’s office confirmed that U.S. attorneys in D.C. will take over the Roger Stone trial, the Russian troll case Concord vs. Mueller, as well as the Rick Gates’ sentencing. It is unclear who will take over the sentencing in the Michael Flynn case and the Andrew Miller subpoena fight.

The tweet that sums up a great deal of the national mood today……..comes from George Conway who has a special way of getting under the orange skin.

(@gtconway3d) at 8:41 a.m.: “Whatever happens this day or the next, or in this investigation or the next or the one after that, we should always remember this: We should expect far more from a president than merely that he not be a provably a criminal beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Meanwhile Senator Rubio this morning came out foursquare for releasing the Mueller report. “Absolutely. I want to see all of it”

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler had this interesting observation on morning television, “If you aren’t indicting someone because you can’t as a matter of law, then you can’t hold the president accountable. The only institution that can is Congress, and you should not hide the evidence, because that converts it into a cover-up.”

Tick-tock, tick-tock…..

Quick Take On Mueller Report

It is Friday in Madison!  Spring is in the air.  But the release of the report from Robert Mueller is what everyone is abuzz about tonight.  So it goes without saying this blogger needs to add a few words to the mix.

First, I had to laugh out loud when the White House Communications Office reported that a press lid was on at Mar-a-Lago.   Fat man and his cheeseburgers will not be making any more appearances today.  No chance to ask him about the submission of the Mueller Report and what it means.

Meanwhile many of us have hoped the Mueller Report would be an end point. The lack of indictments today suggests it’s far from that. There will be many threads to follow and investigations still to be conducted in the months ahead, leading to further indictments and convictions–that I am sure.  For me, “The past is prologue” is the best summation.  Recall the Southern District in New York has been for months at work.

My take as a former reporter is that Americans deserve to know the truth now that the Mueller Report is complete. The report must be released immediately and Attorney General  Barr must publicly testify under oath about the investigation’s findings.  We need total transparency here.

What has been allowed to happen to our nation due to Trump needs to be aired out and completely made known to the nation.

NYT Reports: What Mueller Wants To Ask Trump About Obstruction

This is truly amazing to read—and one has to wonder who leaked the information.

Context for the leak: These are questions read by Mueller’s team to Trump’s lawyers, who then “compiled them into a list. That document was provided to The Times by a person outside Mr. Trump’s legal team”

Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating Russia’s election interference, has at least four dozen questions on an exhaustive array of subjects he wants to ask President Trump to learn more about his ties to Russia and determine whether he obstructed the inquiry itself, according to a list of the questions obtained by The New York Times.

[Read the questions here.]

The open-ended queries appear to be an attempt to penetrate the president’s thinking, to get at the motivation behind some of his most combative Twitter posts and to examine his relationships with his family and his closest advisers. They deal chiefly with the president’s high-profile firings of the F.B.I. director and his first national security adviser, his treatment of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and a 2016 Trump Tower meeting between campaign officials and Russians offering dirt on Hillary Clinton.

But they also touch on the president’s businesses; any discussions with his longtime personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, about a Moscow real estate deal; whether the president knew of any attempt by Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to set up a back channel to Russia during the transition; any contacts he had with Roger J. Stone Jr., a longtime adviser who claimed to have inside information about Democratic email hackings; and what happened during Mr. Trump’s 2013 trip to Moscow for the Miss Universe pageant.

The questions provide the most detailed look yet inside Mr. Mueller’s investigation, which has been shrouded in secrecy since he was appointed nearly a year ago. The majority relate to possible obstruction of justice, demonstrating how an investigation into Russia’s election meddling grew to include an examination of the president’s conduct in office. Among them are queries on any discussions Mr. Trump had about his attempts to fire Mr. Mueller himself and what the president knew about possible pardon offers to Mr. Flynn.


Michael Cohen May Be Biggest Robert Mueller Catch

This has Orange Mussolini worried-–very worried.

When Donald Trump won the White House, his longtime attorney Michael Cohen seemed in position for a coveted spot in the senior ranks of the White House. At one point, Cohen topped a list of five candidates for White House counsel, according to documents reviewed by The Washington Post. He suggested to some Trump allies that he might make a good chief of staff. But when Trump built his West Wing team, the brash New York lawyer did not make the cut.

Some in Trump’s inner circle worried about blowback from Cohen’s associations and unorthodox tactics in fixing the New York developer’s problems, Trump associates said. Among those opposed, the associates said, were Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law, Jared Kushner. For his part, Cohen had warned Trump against giving Ivanka Trump and Kushner White House jobs, saying the president would be hammered by complaints of nepotism, according to two people familiar with the matter.

In the following decade, Cohen handled all manner of problems for his boss that could not be solved through traditional channels. Cohen, according to a former associate, employed Trump’s tactics of threats and lawsuits, relying on tough-guy language.

Describing his methods to ABC News, he said that “if somebody does something Mr. Trump doesn’t like, I do everything in my power to resolve it to Mr. Trump’s benefit. If you do something wrong, I’m going to come at you, grab you by the neck, and I’m not going to let you go until I’m finished.”

Cohen also did side deals with Trump. One involved a mixed martial arts fight company called Affliction Entertainment that planned to host pay-per-view bouts in the United States and a reality television show to be filmed in Russia, home to the most famous fighters in the burgeoning sport. The business faltered after Affliction hosted just a few matches.