Interest in Bill Barr's summary of the "Mueller report" has quickly shifted--quite properly--to calls for investigation. Real investigation, this time, of the real crimes. But it's still worthwhile to reflect a bit more on what the Mueller/Weissmann team tried to pull off. For that CTH offers an excellent starting point at the end of its summary blog: A Review of the Barr “Principal Conclusion” Notification, Overlaying Three Years of Background Research…
First, sundance offers a general theme:
What we find in the Barr letter about the Obstruction investigation is blood boiling. Here Team Mueller intentionally politicize their non-finding in an attempt to open the door for Nancy Pelsoi and Jerry Nadler to exploit an impeachment angle.
We all expected that, of course, but it's worth the reminder. But then sundance moves on to what's really good news:
Team Mueller intentionally tells AG Barr they cannot make a determination of obstruction, and thereby force Barr to make the decision; and make it look political.
In my opinion it’s almost certain AG Barr saw this coming, which is why he forced DAG Rod Weaselstein to stick around, share in the decision and deflect the politics.
Sundance has an excellent point here, and it includes the very good news that we have an AG in Bill Barr who is shrewd and deft in dealing with underhanded legal tactics. If clownish conmen like Nadler and Schiff think Barr will be an easy mark for them, they need to rethink that--or, better, maybe their too deluded to do the necessary rethinking.
Another aspect to Barr allowing Rosenstein to don a fig leaf of respectability, to join the winning side, is that Rosenstein should be a wealth of intelligence for Barr, moving forward. Imagine what Rosenstein either knows or surmises regarding all aspects of the Russia Hoax! If Barr can secure Rosenstein's cooperation by granting him that fig leaf rather than humiliating him, that will be a very shrewd move. And Barr has a very compelling argument to make to Rosenstein, to urge him to make amends for what Rosenstein has put the country through. Kim Strassel at the WSJ (Subscriber Wall: Mueller Is Done. Now Probe the Real Scandal: Americans deserve a full accounting of the missteps of Comey and the FBI) puts that aspect succinctly--although she should be including DoJ:
The wreckage is everywhere. The nation has been engulfed in conspiracy theories for years. A presidency was hemmed in by the threat of a special counsel. Citizens have gone to jail not for conspiracy, but for after-the-fact interactions with Mr. Mueller’s team. Dozens more have spent enormous amounts of money and time defending their reputations.
None of this should ever have happened absent highly compelling evidence—from the start—of wrongdoing.
This is precisely why I've argued repeatedly that Rosenstein had an ethical obligation to conduct a searching, thorough, de novo review of the alleged evidence behind the Crossfire Hurricane opening, including the use of that evidence for a FISA application. If it came to it, he should have enlisted the aid of Michael Horowitz and OIG to conduct this review--nothing less was owed to We The People before subjecting the nation to such insanity. Having failed in that ethical obligation, Rosenstein owes it to the country to make what amends he's able to by cooperating fully with Barr.
Sundance then asks an extremely reasonable question:
So, a reasonable question would be: How long did Mueller investigate conspiracy with Russia before jumping to Obstruction of Justice?
This reasonable question demonstrates the importance of understanding FBI investigative guidelines. As I've repeatedly pointed out, Rosenstein only authorized Mueller to continue the Crossfire Hurricane investigation--which was an investigation of the supposed Russian collusive "enterprise" within the Trump campaign consisting of "four Americans" (Comey's words): Page, Papadopoulos, Flynn, and Manafort. How could Mueller continue that investigation when the true FBI leader of the investigation, Peter Strzok, had already concluded that everyone knew there was no big there there?
The answer lies in Mueller's unethical decision to target not the alleged crime but the people themselves, as Mark Penn writes:
It’s an abuse of power without precedent. The Mueller investigation systematically went after everyone named in the Steele dossier, using the toughest possible tactics. Rather than investigate the crime, they investigated the people, finding unrelated crimes to use as leverage to squeeze out any potential drops of evidence related to collusion. They got every email of the transition; they looked through every communication by everyone through every means, including tapping secret messaging apps.
By using these unethical, abusive, and inflammatory tactics they claimed that they were still investigating "collusion." What they were really doing was goading Trump, seeking to force him into an overreaction that could be called "obstruction." The goal was not to get to a trial--that would have required an actual crime--but to force a public crisis to enable, by impeachment or resignation, the removal of Trump.
Trump eventually got competent legal counsel and fought back, avoiding the trap. And more good news--we now have an AG who, as Adam Mills says,
[Barr] seems to see the investigation for what it was. It was always intended to be an obstruction trap for the president. Mueller knew from very early on that the Russia collusion hoax was indeed a hoax, ...
Fortunately, we're past this, although Dems will continue to try to make it an issue. Now it's time to move on. To requote two earlier updates on the previous post, both liberal perspectives:
First, to quote Mark Penn once more:
It’s time for true bipartisan investigation of how and why this was allowed to smear and destroy so many people when there was nothing there. Those who launched this disruption of the presidency on the basis of questionable evidence and procedures should be held accountable for their actions. Those who were investigated but not charged should have their legal fees reimbursed.
And Glenn Greenwald:
And as for the growing "isn't-it-time-to-move-on-dot-org" sentiment: no way. ... It's accountability time.
4:15 AM - 25 Mar 2019
Lndsey Graham (Chairman Senate Judiciary) today:ReplyDelete
"WHAT I WANT TO DO IS SEE AS SPECIAL COUNSEL. I FULLY REALIZE THAT THE OVERSIGHT ROLE OF COMMITTEE IS LEGITIMATE BUT WE ARE REPUBLICANS, THEY ARE DEMOCRATS. I'D LIKE TO FIND SOMEBODY LIKE A MR. MUELLER THAT COULD LOOK INTO WHAT HAPPENED WITH THE FISA WARRANT, WHAT HAPPENED WITH THE COUNTERINTELLIGENCE INVESTIGATION. AM I RIGHT TO BE CONCERNED? SEEMS PRETTY BAD ON ITS FACE BUT SOMEBODY LIKE A MR. MUELLER TO LOOK AT THAT SO IF NOBODY ELSE, THOSE WHO BELIEVE THAT THE FBI AND THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE WERE PLAYING POLITICS, THAT THEY WANTED CLINTON TO WIN AND TRUMP TO LOSE, THAT SOMEBODY AND SATISFY THEM, THAT THAT WAS LOOKED AT, THERE SOME PEOPLE WHO WILL NEVER ACCEPT THE MUELLER REPORT, WHAT I SAY WHAT MR. BARR DOES. BUT BY ANY REASONABLE STANDARD, MR. MUELLER THOROUGHLY INVESTIGATE THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN. YOU CANNOT SAY THAT ABOUT THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY, AND WHAT HELP MR. BARR WILL DO IS UNDERSTAND FOR THE COUNTRIES SAKE APPOINT SOMEBODY OUTSIDE THE CURRENT SYSTEM TO LOOK INTO THESE ALLEGATIONS CAN SOMEBODY WE ALL TRUST AND LET THEM DO WHAT MR. MUELLER DID."
I agree, generally, so you don't have to shout at me. :-)Delete
My quibble is-please God, not someone like Mueller. We need an honorable man who will call it quits when there's no evidence of a crime, who won't appoint partisan hacks, etc.
I mean I get what Graham is saying and why he says it that way ...
I thought it important because since the Kavanaugh Kangaroo Court, Graham seems fed-up with the Dems, and maybe he can persuade Barr to clean up the stables, assuming this isn't all just for show...Delete
It Trump is angry and Graham is angry, maybe Barr will do something?...
Absolutely it's important. The only reason Barr took the job, in his own words, was to "help in this circumstance." He's already doing so, and not just with regard to the Russian Hoax--this is Barr at work, too:Delete
Justice Department will back judge's ruling ending Obamacare
He meant it when he said he'd do what he considered to be the right thing to do.