And On The Fourth Day, The Mueller Report Liveblog Rose Again
HEY-O! Donald Trump thought we were gonna go do our Easter and Passover festivities and forget how Robert Mueller's report is still out there, and that it's really fuckin' bad for him. NOPE. We spent Thursday and Friday deep diving into the report, and as it turns out, if that's a one man job, then it's a three day job. So today, we're going to finish our deep dive into the report, and we're going to keep covering stories from the report and stories that develop from the report, because it's probably the most important political document of most of our lifetimes and it deserves this kind of look. Once we are done, it will be time to start impeachment proceedings.
Also because if you think you've heard all the stories from the report, you haven't, because there's just that much there. We'll be starting on page 90 of Volume Two and slamming through to the end today, and we hope you'll join us.
9:41: As we get going, here's a handy key of all the obstruction of justice acts in the Mueller report and how the evidence shakes out for Donald Trump being a willing, willful criminal.
Hint: The red means GUILTY AS FUCK.
9:43: OK, so when we last left off, we were discussing Trump's blatant attempts to obstruct the Mueller investigation by trying to force former White House counsel Don McGahn to call the Justice Department and get Mueller fired, because of fake "conflicts of interest." As we proceed, we jump right into the section entitled "The President's Efforts to Curtail the Special Counsel Investigation." SPOILER, it is about crimes committed by Donald Trump.
10:02: OK, as obstructive incidents go, the tick-tock that starts on page 90 is HOLYSHITDUMB. Trump calls Corey Lewandoski into the Oval Office on June 19, 2017, says "Corey will you please call the Justice Department and tell Jeff Sessions they're only allowed to investigate Russian election interference OF THE FUTURE?" Because obviously NO COLLUSION, so why would Mueller want to investigate what happened in 2016? So Corey silently told Trump to fuck off and didn't do it. (To be clear, though, he tried. He even set up a meeting with Sessions, and when that didn't work out, he tried to farm the job out to Rick Dearborn. He just didn't try very hard. Still, Corey Lewandowski is a fucking idiot, and also an accessory.)
ONE MONTH LATER, Trump is like "hey Corey, did you relay my very important and normal and smart request to Jeff Sessions?" He had not, but said he would. (He was not going to.)
So Trump decided to take a public shit on Jeff Sessions, as one does.
10:18: For real, this was the statement Trump dictated to Corey Lewandowski, of a speech Trump wanted Jeff Sessions to give:
"I know I am a very bad boy, but Donald Trump is a good boy. Robert Mueller is a bad boy, but Donald Trump is a good boy. No Russia, no Russia, YOU ARE THE RUSSIA, and also please stop investigating 2016, because all the bodies are buried in 2016."
Trump added to Lewandowski that if Sessions gave this speech, he would be the "most popular guy in the country," because Donald Trump really has his finger on the pulse of what makes people popular.
What a fucking joke our president is.
10:24: LOL, so after the meeting a month later was when Corey finally gave the notes to Rick, and it was Rick who really was like UM YEAH NO. So he told Corey the situation had been dealt with, when the truth was fuck you.
To be clear, part of this request to Corey and to Rick involved how Jeff Sessions should resign if he's not willing to give the very important and normal speech pasted above, about how Trump is a genius and Robert Mueller should not check the trunk for bodies, we mean investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election.
So basically Trump was trying to get Corey Lewandowski -- who didn't even work for the White House -- to fire Jeff Sessions for him. Did you know that private citizens are allowed to fire the attorney general? We didn't!
On that note, Bill Barr, Wonkette on line one. We need to fire you.
10:31: And then (page 95) on June 22, 2017, some bad stuff about Jeff Sessions cahoots-ing with the Russian ambassador came out in the newspaper, and Trump ordered Reince Priebus to demand Sessions's resignation and Priebus was like "nah" because he knew Trump only wanted to fire Sessions to obstruct the Russia investigation. So Reince called Don McGahn -- who had just had his own little sexperience with this! -- and Don said DON'T DO IT, REINCE. Instead they talked about how they both might have to resign, in order to prevent that particular week's Trump attempt at a Saturday Night Massacre.
That day, Reince continued to lead Trump on and pretend he was following orders, but he was being sneaky, telling Trump that if Sessions was fired, Rod Rosenstein and Rachel Brand would quit too, and they would all be in one great big pickle. After stalling Trump for a couple days, Trump shut up finally, because that's how these things work.
As we can see above in that color-coded tweet chart, both Trump's attempts to fire Mueller, and to curtail the investigation -- as we've been reading about this morning -- are just SOLID RED examples of batshit criminal obstruction of justice.
Hey, remember how Robert Mueller didn't make a judgment on that, and didn't want Bill Barr to make one either? He wanted Congress to read this and say "holy fuck there is a criminal in the White House."
10:40: Mueller actually lays it out pretty succinctly (p. 98). Trump tried to get Mueller fired when he found out he was personally under investigation. When that didn't work, he tried to get a PRIVATE CITIZEN to tell the attorney general to stop investigations into things that happened IN THE PAST that involved him. (As Mueller notes, this goes to Trump's intent, because it looks like Trump was trying to do it back channel-style.) And all of this was done while making clear that the attorney general should resign if he wasn't willing to do the president's bidding.
11:02: Now we are working through the section on the disclosure of the June 9, 2016, Trump Tower meeting (page 100 and around there), which started a year later in June of 2017. As you'll remember, Trump personally dictated a statement on Air Force One, just after meeting with Vladimir Putin, that the meeting was just about BOUNCY RUSSIAN BABIES, which we'd say distracts from how it was set up with Dipshit Junior as a promise of Russians delivering sweet delicious dirt on Hillary Clinton for the purposes of helping Trump win the election.
11:05: June 28, 2017. Hope Hicks sees Dipshit Junior's Russian emails for the first time. Is shocked because they look "really bad." YA THINK?
11:10: Lots of tick-tock (p. 103) on everything that happened once the New York Times broke the Trump Tower meeting story. Daddy was insistent that Junior's statement should only say the meeting was about Russian adoptions, which really kind of takes away from how it was set up under the guise of providing dirt on Hillary Clinton and the meeting primarily focused on lifting Magnitsky Act sanctions on Russia. (Because Russian adoptions = code for SANCTIONS.)
11:14: As we are reading this, one thing we're noticing is just how much we know about this story, which is a tribute to how good some of the journalism over the past couple years has been. In certain parts of the Mueller report, we learn a whole lotta new stuff. In some parts, like this one, we feel like we're reading a summary of everything we've written about, minus the Wonkette dick jokes.
Anyway, the point is that Donald J. Trump was the driving force behind dictating the lie statement about Dipshit Junior's Trump Tower meeting. And we already knew that. BUT WAS IT OBSTRUCTION? As you can see above in the color coded tweet, this is one area where that question is very murky, because it mostly involves lying to the press and the American people, which is what Trump does every day of his life, but is not necessarily a crime.
11:19: You guys, savor this moment, because Trump's response to the Trump Tower meeting is literally the only part of the entire Mueller report that basically exonerates him of crime. It's like three pages out of over 400.
11:30: Next section, page 107, Trump's "further attempts" to get Jeff Sessions to take over the Mueller investigation. Whole lotta obstructin' goin' on! (The color coded chart above puts this one as kind of beigy all the way across, which means there's a lot of evidence that points toward obstruction, but it's not the highest and worst LOCK HIM UP level. Maybe.)
Sometime in the summer of 2017, Trump called Jefferson Butterscotches at home and asked him to unrecuse from "all of it" and also told him to "investigate and prosecute" Hillary Clinton. He had asked Butterscotches to do this at Mar-a-Lago previously, on that trip we still do not fucking understand why Butterscotches took.
Meanwhile, Trump was trying to feel out if Rachel Brand, who was still at DoJ at the time, was "on the team." (This is mafia-speak that literally means "on the team." You get it, because you are smart.) He was trying to get Rob Porter to chat her up and see if she might maybe like to be the attorney general to end the Russia investigation and fire Mueller and LOCK HER UP. Porter silently told Trump to fuck off because he knew what Trump was doing. (p. 108)
11:47: GOD. Page 109, this is an actual thing that happened:
On October 16, 2017, the President met privately with Sessions and said that the Department of Justice was not investigating individuals and events that the President thought the Department should be investigating.
We know we have gotten used to a lot in this terrible Trump era, and that not a lot shocks us anymore, but THAT IS NOT A THING THAT IS FUCKING SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN!
And then in December, he tried to get Sessions to unrecuse again and literally told Jeff Sessions he saw Alan Dershowitz say things on TV about how he's allowed to be involved in the Justice Department.
A good rule of life is that if somebody tells you Alan Dershowitz said something would be a good idea, you should do the exact opposite.
11:50: The rest of this section is mostly Trump bellyaching on Twitter about Jeff Sessions and obstructing justice by giving Jeff Sessions unlawful orders on Twitter. Basically, it's just what we live with every day in this hellscape.
Mueller's conclusion here (p. 113) is that it would be REASONABLE to believe that Trump's campaign (which lasted over a year) to get Jeff Sessions to unrecuse and take control of the Russia investigation was intended so that Sessions could do his dirty work, kill the Russia investigation, and start an actual politically motivated witch hunt into Hillary Clinton and others.
We agree that would be a REASONABLE conclusion.
12:04: BIIIIIIIIIIG CRIME, RED ALL THE WAY ACROSS, starting on page 113. This is one of the sections we've been waiting for ever since the report came out, because this is where the media finds out Trump tried to make Don McGahn fire Bob Mueller, in response to which Trump tried to force Don McGahn to LIE AND DENY that ever happened. Every time Trump tried to get McGahn to deny, McGahn told him to fuck off. And in one hilarious meeting, Trump got mad because Don McGahn always took notes, which is not what ROY COHN LAWYERS do.
McGahn responded that he takes notes because he's a REAL LAWYER, bet you never had one of those, dipshit, LOLOLOLOLOL.
For real, we think this is our favorite part of the whole report.
12:08: This section is also funny because it recounts how the New York Times broke the story, and then the Washington Post followed up with a more carefully reported story that clarified some of the confusion of the Times story. Isn't that just always the way?
12:09: This all happened in January 2018, by the way (p. 114). So Trump has his lawyer call McGahn's lawyer to tell McGahn to deny the story. The entire time McGahn is like NOPE. But, according to what Trump told Hope Hicks, JOHN FUCKING KELLY literally told Trump that McGahn was totally going to do the thing. Every single person in that White House just handles Trump in their own way, don't they?
"Sure, Mister President! That guy is going to commit that crime for you! Yep! Just consider it done!" Meanwhile nobody is doing DICK.
12:13: So a couple weeks later, Reince goes on "Meet The Press" and denies it all (p. 115), then Trump tells Rob Porter to order McGahn to "create a record" saying Trump never tried to make him fire Mueller. (That's right, create a record of a thing that ALLEGEDLY DID NOT HAPPEN.) Because, you see, Trump thought the reporting was "bullshit" and that McGahn was a "lying bastard." (Is that fucker McGahn ever gonna write a book? We'd like to do a book report on it.)
Anyway, Rob Porter says in early February 2018, Trump said maybe if McGahn didn't "create a record," he'd have to YOU'RE FIRED him. Which ...
How would that work? Because Trump is too chickenshit to fire people himself. Would he have had to call Don McGahn and ask Don McGahn to fire Don McGahn? That would have been THORNY.
Anyway, doesn't matter, because McGahn's response to all these orders was FUCK OFF.
12:20: Page 117, scenes from a very TENSE Oval meeting between Trump and McGahn. Why did McGahn tell Mueller that he had tried to have Mueller fired? AND WHY IS HE TAKING NOTES LIKE A REAL LAWYER?
"Lawyers don't take notes. I never had a lawyer who took notes." WHAT KIND OF FUCKING MORON? Oh yeah, the kind of fucking moron who thinks Roy Cohn was a good lawyer, or that he isn't burning in hell right now. (NARRATOR: He is.)
12:25: Mueller explains that part of why this is such SMOKING GUN EVIDENCE of obstruction is that Trump was literally trying to get McGahn to deny the reports while Mueller's investigation was ongoing and he was being interviewed by Mueller. Even if Trump wasn't directly telling him to lie to Mueller, for McGahn to issue a false denial of the true press reports, it would undermine his credibility as a witness. Signed, sealed, delivered, OBSTRUCTION.
Mueller notes, though -- because he is fair -- that Trump may have experienced some senility confusion because the initial reports said McGahn threatened to resign, which the Times made sound like McGahn actually said that to Trump's face, when as the Washington Post later clarified, he did not. Also Trump did not literally say "fire," he was just speaking in mafia code and saying Mueller had to go. That's different (it's not).
You can read all of Mueller's reasoning (pp. 118-120), including how Trump literally wanted McGahn to create a false record of events -- you know, the kinds of documents people might have to turn over to investigators -- but the point is LOCK HER UP.
12:33: The next section regards Trump's conducted toward Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, and HARM TO ONGOING (ROGER STONE) MATTER. As we will see, there's obstruct-y evidence for all three, but the absolute worst crimes Trump committed are those regarding Manafort. SO MANY PARDONS DANGLED! And right in front of everyone's faces, too.
12:48: OH HUH. Page 123, we learn from interviews with Rick Gates that in January 2018, after both sets of indictments had come down against Gates and Paul Manafort (DC and EDVA), Manafort told Gates it would be "stupid" to plead guilty, because Trump's lawyers said "sit tight" and that "we'll be taken care of." Did they say the word "pardon"? No they said it in Trump's mafia code, which really isn't hard to decipher. (Gates pleaded guilty in February 2018.)
As the case against Manafort proceeded, Trump told Rob Porter, "I never liked her" about Manafort. (Not an exact quote.) Reince can confirm that Trump never liked her.
Manafort said that pardon conversation never happened. Manafort lies a lot. Mueller even footnotes here to remind us that Manafort lies a lot.
12:53: Also, we already knew this, but it bears repeating, because know who ELSE did a lot of mob-speak pardon dangling? RUDY GIULIANI. He did it on fucking TV.
12:55: This section includes a whole lot of press reports and Trump tweets, because as we all knows, Trump likes to commit obstruction of justice crimes in public. It also reminds us (p. 127) that the day after Manafort was convicted in the EDVA, Trump told Fox News that "flipping" should be "outlawed." That's right. #NeverForget all the times the president of the United States has said that cooperating with the government should be against the law.
12:58: Also a reminder (p. 128) that the day after Mueller accused Manafort of breaking his plea agreement (BY LYING AND COMMITTING CRIMES) Trump COMPLIMENTED Manafort for not flipping. Also complimented Jerome Corsi and HARM TO ONGOING ROGER STONE.
The rest of pages 128, all the way to 130, are fully redacted, because they are about Roger Stone.
1:06: In analyzing Trump's obstructive crimes with Flynn, Manafort and Stone, Mueller states:
With Flynn, the biggest thing that seems to have happened, besides Trump constantly sending warm feelings before Flynn cooperated, is that Trump's lawyers got openly hostile with Flynn's lawyers when Flynn decided to cooperate. However, there are privilege issues, and Mueller couldn't fully assess that one.
Manafort, though? HOLY SHIT. The constant dangling of pardons could have (and obviously did) affect Manafort's decision to cooperate, and then his decision to only PRETEND to cooperate when he finally pleaded out. And then all the public statements about Manafort being a great guy treated unfairly, while a JURY WAS IMPANELED.
1:11: Mueller calls evidence of Trump's intent inconclusive on Flynn, but on Manafort? HOLY SHIT. Mueller notes in the intent section on Manafort that Trump privately told everybody he didn't like Manafort, while he was on Twitter saying GOOD MAN TREATED UNFAIRLY WAAAAAAAAAAH. Mueller says "the evidence supports the inference" that Trump wanted Manafort to refrain from cooperating in anticipation of a pardon.
Wonkette agrees, the evidence does support that inference!
LOCK HER UP.
Intent on Stone? REDACTED.
1:15: We're getting closer, y'all! The last major obstruction incident (or giant fucking series of them) involves Trump's conduct regarding Michael Cohen. After we warm up this food, we'll read it. Then we'll be heading toward the end of the shebang and appendices and other fun stuff!
THE END IS IN SIGHT, HOORAY!
1:29: So as we move into this next section, we want to point you to a thing Marcy Wheeler wrote today about Bill Barr's fake exoneration of Trump, based on Barr's lie that Mueller didn't find any conspiracy crimes regarding Russia, when Mueller specifically writes multiple times that he believes there were crimes, but that his investigation was not able to establish enough admissible (ADMISSIBLE) evidence (THINK OF WHAT KINDS OF EVIDENCE ARE NOT ADMISSIBLE, ONE OF THEM IS SIGNALS INTELLIGENCE) that could be prosecuted in a court of law. Barr advances the (legally bullshit) argument that because Mueller didn't find any crimes (yeah he did) then Trump can't obstruct, because there have to be underlying crimes to prosecute obstruction of an investigation (no there don't).
Wheeler notes that Mueller repeatedly in this section (which beings on page 134) refers to Trump's obstruction with Michael Cohen including the campaign finance porn payoffs that Mueller transferred to the SDNY. As in, Mueller sees Trump's obstruction as one big thing, related to multiple cases. And Wheeler reminds us that in SDNY, the government has already established that there was conspiracy to commit a crime, between Cohen and Individual-1. So, even according to Barr's bullshit theory of obstruction, Barr is lying when he says Trump is cleared on obstruction.
Wheeler is just saying. And so are we.
LOCK THEM ALL UP.
1:35: Mueller notes (p. 134) that Trump's behavior with Cohen spans the entire investigation; that Cohen lied for Trump, in order not to contradict Trump and to stay on the lie message he knew he was supposed to stay on, even if Trump didn't (have to) personally say "DO NOT LIE"; that pardons were discussed; and that when Cohen flipped, Trump called him a "rat," because as we know, Trump thinks it's immoral to cooperate with criminal investigations. Oh yeah, and he also tried to intimidate the witness by suggesting Cohen's family should be investigated.
1:41: On page 138, after a recounting of the story of the Moscow Trump Tower (Wonkette's version more fun to read), we move into the whole question of whether Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress and to Mueller about it. He did. Sort of. It all has to do with staying on message, and that message was being directed from the top by the guy who constantly lied to the American public about his dealings with Russia.
Oh, and on page 139, Mueller seems to state as a fact that Cohen never went to Prague, so ... WTF, McClatchy? (Of course, we must note that we've always figured there was something there and that the truth is somewhere in the gray area. It's also probably in the counter-intel section of the report that nobody has gotten to see yet.)
1:48: Hey, pop quiz. When somebody tells you to "stay on message," are they usually telling you to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
If you answered "yes," you are a dipshit.
The point is that all these discussions about Cohen consulting with Trump's counsel (JAY SEKULOW) about his testimony to Congress about Trump Tower Moscow featured a hell of a lot of "stay on message" and Cohen would be fine as long as he did that, but that the Joint Defense Agreement (JDA) covering him couldn't do a hell of a lot if Cohen "went rogue," by which we guess he meant if Cohen told the truth.
Also, adorably, Sekulow seems to have truly believed all these investigations were going to be over by fall of 2017 or so. Isn't that ADORABLE?
1:53: Page 141, initial drafts of Cohen's letter to Congress on Trump Tower Moscow. Started with a line admitting Cohen had "limited contacts with Russian officials." That was deleted, Cohen believes by members of the JDA, i.e. Jay Sekulow and the Trump team. (Cohen told all this to Congress recently, as you will remember.)
Page 142, Cohen's frame of mind about the false statements to Congress. He didn't want to contradict President NO RUSSIA, NO RUSSIA, YOU ARE THE RUSSIA. And he wasn't worried the truth would come out, because literally everybody knew to lie. According to Mueller, in the 10 days in August 2017 between the drafting of the original statement and the final submission to Congress, Cohen was talking to Trump's counsel "almost daily."
Page 143, Cohen testifies that he told Trump's counsel (Sekulow, we are sure) that there was way more to the story, way more NO RUSSIA NO COLLUSION, but that he was told to zip it and all this would be over soon. And when Mueller tried to talk to Trump's counsel (Sekulow, we bet!), Mueller was rebuffed because "privilege."
Anyway, Cohen submitted his lie message to Congress, partially so that HE could help OTHERS stay on message (lie) about what happened.
Y'all see how BuzzFeed was still pretty much right about all this, when you cut through the winking and the nudging and the mob speak?
2:15: Page 145, Mueller specifically asserts (FUCK YOU BILL BARR) that Trump's obstruction actions related to the Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal are relevant to his overall obstruction with Cohen, and again, as we discussed above, the SDNY has already adjudicated that as a CRIME the president participated in (FUCK YOU BILL BARR).
2:16: Page 145, Trump directly told Cohen to say Trump didn't know about the payments (FUCK YOU BILL BARR).
Page 147, we get the tick-tock on lawyer Robert Costello telling Cohen he had back channels to Giuliani, telling Cohen to sleep tight because he has friends in
low HIGH places. All of this came just after the FBI raid on Cohen in April of 2018, and amounts to Trump attempts to obstruct the investigation by encouraging Cohen not to cooperate. (Though, as Marcy Wheeler noted in the piece we cited above, the fact that this is all unredacted suggests SDNY is not planning to prosecute Costello. However, the footnote describing the "friends in low places" email is redacted as HARM TO ONGOING MATTER, so ... SHRUG?)
2:27: Of course, not long after that, in summer 2018, Cohen started to flip, and then in the fall pleaded guilty to the campaign finance violations. Mueller notes (p. 149) that in Trump's responses to his written questions, which he submitted in November 2018 (and which are in an appendix we'll glance at in a little while) that Trump didn't answer FUCKALL of his questions about Trump Tower Moscow or his directions to Cohen.
Look at this shit:
"I do not recall." "I do not remember." Either Trump has the world's shittiest senile dementia memory (possible) or he's fucking lying. LOCK HIM UP.
2:34: Page 151, Trump spends a lot of December of 2018 tweeting witness intimidation about Michael Cohen's family, while the rest of us were spending December of 2018 buying baby gifts for Jesus's nursery, like good Americans.
Then in January of this year (p. 152), Trump told Fox News some shit about Cohen's father-in-law (while the rest of us were spending January burping the newborn baby Jesus, like good Americans do).
AND he was tweeting "watch father-in-law!" And Rudy Giuliani was saying shit about Cohen's family.
AND AND AND AND AND
And crime. That is all. This is all crime.
Which leads us to the "analysis" of the Cohen section, which is basically that this is all crime.
2:38: Page 153, remember how "does not establish" is Mueller's way of saying he has evidence but not that is admissible or rises to the level of being able to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt? He says "does not establish" when referring to whether Trump directly told Cohen to lie to Congress or Mueller. But then again, we've discussed all that mafia talk bullshit.
Page 154, as far as Trump trying to keep Cohen from flipping, he was trying to keep Cohen from cooperating with the investigation, meanwhile there were just constant backdoor reacharounds between Cohen and Trump, like a game of telephone, all intended to keep Cohen on the team. Oh yeah, and the dangling of pardons. HELLO CRIME.
And then Cohen flipped, and Trump switched to witness intimidation. In other words, Mueller's evidence lays out that Trump and his inner circle did Good Cop before Cohen flipped, Bad Cop after he flipped.
All of this is crime.
2:44: As to Trump's intent here (pg. 155) it is crime.
So much crime.
One interesting thing here ... remember how we were saying Trump's bullshit non-answers to Mueller about Trump Tower Moscow were bullshit? Mueller notes that after those answers were submitted, and after Cohen pleaded guilty, Trump suddenly DID RECALL, because he told the press all kinds of bullshit about what really happened with Trump Tower Moscow. So Mueller went back, in order to give Trump an opportunity to clarify, and Trump's counsel told him to fuck off.
That would have been a good time to just subpoena the president for an interview, Bob, we are just saying.
2:48: We will note, though (p. 156), that Mueller is excessively fair to Trump, and allows for the possibility that Trump is just the dumbest fucking carbuncle on the ass of a leech ever to be borned in the US and A. For instance, Mueller suggests maybe Trump really did believe that Cohen was going to MAKE UP FIBS to try to get a lesser sentence, because Trump is stupid. (OK, Mueller doesn't actually say the "stupid" part. But it's a REASONABLE INFERENCE.)
And that is the end of the obstruction incidents!
GUILTY! GUILTY GUILTY GUILTY! LOCK HER UP! (Not Hillary.)
2:52: Now Mueller spends a few pages looking at the whole obstruction of justice case. He notes that though he's not making a traditional prosecution or declination decision, he can STILL REACH SOME CONCLUSIONS, which are pretty obvious to any casual observer, and they are GUILTY LOCK HER UP! (Not Hillary.)
3:04: In Mueller's analysis of the whole shebang, he explains on page 157 that FUCK YOU BILL BARR, because "proof of ... a crime is not an element of an obstruction offense." He continues:
Obstruction of justice can be motivated by a desire to protect non-criminal personal interests, to protect against investgiations where underlying criminal liability falls into a gray area, or to avoid personal embarrassment. The injury to the integrity of the justice system is the same regardless of whether a person committed an underlying wrong.
FUCK YOU, BILL BARR.
3:12: Mueller continues:
In short, though the investigation "does not establish" Trump committed crimes with election interference (but it doesn't really not establish it either, especially wtih things like HE HAD FOREKNOWLEDGE OF WIKILEAKS RELEASES AND THEY PLANNED CAMPAIGN STRATEGY AROUND IT), the evidence points to a bunch of reasons Trump obstructed justice.
Also, just because Trump obstructed justice in plain sight doesn't mean he didn't obstruct justice. That's not a legal theory, Bill.
Finally, Mueller would like us to note that THERE IS A BIT OF A PATTERN HERE. Like a couple hundred pages of a pattern, that have taken Wonkette three days now to liveblog.
3:17: Page 158, Mueller bein' snarky:
The President's efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is because is a shitforbrains moron.
HAHA we joke, he did not say that second part. What he said was that nobody pays any attention to Trump's orders.
Which is funny, because Trump said this at the Easter Egg Roll today:
Haha, yes they do. (Mueller goes on to give several examples here too, which is LOL.)
3:23: The next section (begins p. 159) is Mueller's rebuttal to Trump lawyers' arguments that the president by his constitutional powers cannot obstruct justice in doing things like firing the FBI director. This is actually a legal theory (a bad one), but fuck those idiots, we don't want to spend a bunch of time talking about it. In short, yes, Trump can fire the FBI director for any reason, but if he does it for corrupt purposes, it's an abuse of power, and also obstruction of justice.
So fuck you, Trump lawyers, you greasy hacks.
3:27: The next several pages are case law on obstruction and a bunch of lawyer-ese, and you can read it if you like lawyer-ese, but you can also just know that Mueller is laying out a clear case for how to prosecute a president.
3:33: Mueller raises a good point at the end of page 168. The president's lawyers are flapping their arms about Trump's Article II constitutional powers, but Mueller notes that Article II is in theory suppose to exist harmoniously with Congress's Article I powers to make laws that "protect congressional proceedings, federal investigations, the courts, and grand juries," and so forth. So basically he's saying Trump's Article II is up in Congress's Article I grille, Congress is allowed to regulate "the President's exercise of official duties to prohibit actions motivated by a corrupt intent to obstruct justice," and THERE'S GONNA BE A FUCKIN' DONNYBROOK, Y'ALL.
We should have gone to law school, we would have amused the fuck out of our law perfessers.
3:38: Did we say this is a roadmap to how to prosecute a president? Well yeah, it's that, though Mueller accepts OLC guidance (GUIDANCE) that you can't indict a sitting president.
But HOLYSHIT, this is a roadmap to impeachment. It's a love letter to the House Judiciary Committee. It's FUCK YOU BILL BARR, you shouldn't have opened up your DUMBFUCKFACE.
3:51: On page 170, Mueller addresses the difference between things that have something to do with a president's powers, and crimes that have JACKFUCKALL to do with them. In fact, he notes that such crimes interfere with the president's powers in and of themselves, because the Constitution says his job is to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed." Sorta hard to do that when ALL YOU DO IS CRIME.
Amazing how Mueller spends 20 some-odd pages going chapter and verse through obstruction law and why it applies here, yet Bill Barr thought he could exonerate Trump based solely on the legal theory of DURRRRRRR BECAUSE I SAID SO.
Fuck Bill Barr.
3:55: Page 171, Mueller's key conclusion with crimes Trump has committed that otherwise might be interepreted as part of his official duties. Wonder why he's spending so much time on this!
We concluded that Congress can validly make obstruction-of-justice statutes applicable to corruptly motivated official acts of the President without impermissibly undermining his Article II functions.
That means LOCK HER UP for all of it, including the Comey firing.
3:59: Ahhhhh, page 173, here you go, it is your Very Good Explanation of how Trump can both have A) absolute power to pardon and B) obstruct justice by dangling pardons for corrupt purposes. Read and learn:
Makes enough sense.
4:03: Even for this non-lawyer, we are amused by how often Mueller cites United States v. Nixon. (VERY OFTEN.)
4:05: We note that Mueller spends quite a lot of time on page 175 differentiating between a president's power to remove "principal officers" (i.e. cabinet people and others who report directly to him) at will, and his power to remove people who are NOT principal officers. "The Supreme Court has long recognized Congress's ability to place for-cause limitations on the President's removal of 'inferior officers' whose appointment may be vested in the head of a department."
Mueller ends that paragraph by JUST SAYING that whereas the attorney general is a principal officer, the FBI director and the special counsel report to the AG, and are therefore inferior officers, THEREFORE ...
Wait, aren't we investigating Trump's corrupt firing of the FBI director and his corrupt attempts to fire the special counsel?
HE IS JUST SAYING.
Wonder why he is taking the time to JUST SAYING that.
(To be clear, Mueller notes that it's murkier in the case of the FBI director, who is appointed by the president and Senate-confirmed.)
4:11: Mueller's giant conclusion here, which ends on page 176, is that going after the president for obstruction of justice on all this stuff, even stuff that's otherwise part of his suite of presidential powers, is not interfering with one metric inch of jacksquat regarding his Article II authorities.
4:13: And next thing (pg. 176) is that Congress has the power to "protect congressional, grand jury and judicial proceedings against corrupt acts from any source," ARE YOU LISTENING, CONGRESS, BOB MUELLER IS TALKING TO YOU!
He is not, however, intending for Bill Barr to translate his words for you. Dunno where that jackass got off.
4:17: Basically, here, Mueller is saying this is exactly what Congress is supposed to protect against, even if (especially if?) it's coming from the president. Protecting their own business. Protecting the integrity of the courts. Protecting grand juries.
Mueller cites United States v. Nixon a bunch more here, and in the grand jury section, cites Cobbledick v. United States, which we hadn't heard of (didn't go to law school), but which is now our favorite SCOTUS case ever because "COBBLEDICK."
4:19: The case Mueller lays out here is less "Can the president be held accountable for these things" and more "JUST HOW MANY PARTS OF THE CONSTITUTION HAS DONALD TRUMP GRABBED BY THE PUSSY."
4:21: A line that made us laugh (p. 177):
A general ban on corrupt action does not unduly intrude on the President's responsibility to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed."
You wouldn't think he'd have to say that, but Donald Trump is president.
The very next sentence notes that "faithful execution" of the laws refers to the PUBLIC INTERESTS, and not DONALD TRUMP'S INTERESTS.
Seriously. Because it has to be spelled out.
4:35: So is Mueller saying Trump could be indicted, or should be impeached, or what? Well ... actually ... HE'S JUST SAYING ... you could do both! (p. 178, footnote)
Impeachment's great and all (he's just saying) but that's no substitute for a cold hard jail cell (hypothetically) after Trump is out of office.
4:43: As Mueller rounds third base and heads home (p. 180), he notes that there's no reason to think holding Trump accountable for all his rampant obstruction of justice (you know, hypothetically) would have a chilling effect on other presidents, because (he seems to be saying?) OTHER PRESIDENTS AREN'T LAWLESS FUCKWEASELS LIKE DONALD TRUMP:
USUALLY we don't have to have grand juries investigate presidents. USUALLY we don't have to question whether the president is using his power to obstruct justice. So fucking get over it, all you baldheads!
4:45: IN SUMMARY AND IN CONCLUSION (p. 182):
DOES NOT EXONERATE.
And they would if they could, but they can't, so do your thing, Congress.
Now, real quick, let's flip through these appendices!
4:49: Appendix A is the letter appointing Mueller.
Appendix B is a glossary. Several of the names are fully redacted as ongoing matters. More on that in a few, maybe.
Appendix C is Trump's answers to his open book take-home test, for which he pretty much lied and said he couldn't remember anything that might incriminate him. Let's skim it!
5:01: How many times did Trump "NOT REMEMBER" or "DOES NOT RECALL" in his written answers? More than 30. How many more answers were "imcomplete or imprecise"? Bunches more. They tried to get clarification. Got nothin'. Tried AGAIN to get an interview. Nope. (Because Trump would just fucking lie. Remember that Trump was willing to testify to exactly ZERO things under oath. And all of the questions were about Russia, not about obstruction.)
They thought about a subpoena, weighed how long that would take, against how much they already had. Decided they had enough to nail the fucker already. (Now, having read it all, we can agree with that assertion.)
As for answers (lies), a selected list of statements:
Trump does not recall learning about the Trump Tower meeting beforehand or ever knowing about it.
He doesn't recall knowing Putin was supporting him during the campaign.
He doesn't recall being told specifically on multiple occasions about impending WikiLeaks releases, and definitely not from Roger Stone, you betcha, no way.
He doesn't recall being told Russia did the hacking. Yes, even though he said "Russia if you're listening" and asked Russia to hack Hillary and they tried several hours later.
In fact he does not recall ANY OF HIS CONVERSATIONS WITH ROGER STONE.
And as we have discussed, he does not recall anything about the Trump Tower Moscow project, which is just a fucking lie.
Everything he says is a fucking lie.
5:13: He says he didn't know Paul Manafort was passing internal polling data to a FUCKING RUSSIAN SPY ALL THE TIME.
HE DOES NOT RECALL.
Anyway, Appendix D is Mueller's referrals to other jurisdictions and other things that are still ongoing.
We know about the case against Michael Flynn's business partners Bijan Rafiekian and Kamil Ekim Alptekin in the EDVA. We know Michael Flynn and Rick Gates aren't sentenced yet. We know ALL THE RUSSIANS are still awaiting justice, and will be until they do something stupid and set foot in a country that extradites to the US. Oh yeah, and Roger Stone. And the company-owned-by-a-country.
But more interesting is ...
5:19: More interesting is the stuff he transferred completely, because it was judged to be outside the scope of his investigation. These are the shoes left to drop, and they are REDACTED.
There are 14 cases listed. One is Michael Cohen in SDNY. Another is Greg Craig and his lies related to Paul Manafort's Ukraine work.
And the other 12 are ...
No one knows the day or the hour, but there's potential shit coming down the pike for 12 other people or entities. Just stuff Mueller found when he looked in the trunk.
No big deal, probably.
Kiddos? WE'RE DONE.
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