The Mueller Report, Presented by AG William Barr: Discussion Thread

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Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire.

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85 Responses

  1. Avatar Philip H
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    says:

    SO all those conversations that people have been convicted of or plead guilty to lying about are not evidence of awareness and communication, much less knowing assistance? I can’t even . . .Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird
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    says:

    A co-worker told me that I needed to watch how the reactions to this played out.

    The reactions will indicate what the big plays in the 2020 Democratic Playbook are going to be and the nominee will be the person assumed to be the best Quarterback.

    Which is a hair overconfident in the whole determinism thing (I mean, goodness only knows what crazy crap is going to happen in June that will, again, Change Everything), but it is an interesting way to read the tea leaves today.Report

  3. Avatar Saul Degraw
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    says:

    I predict that everyone’s priors are going to be confirmed by the redacted report and LOL, Trump is President and Nothing Matters.

    FWIW, my priors say that the redacted report heavily show lots of collusion. Some highlights so far:

    1. Trump’s reaction to hearing Mueller was appointed was “Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I’m fucked.”

    2. As Matt Y stated on twitter “Just a harmless meeting between a campaign chair and a Russian intelligence asset to discuss campaign strategy and Russia’s aspiration to take over part of a foreign country.” This regards the August 2, 2016 meeting between Paul Manafort and Konstantin Kilmnik.”

    I think the general public will stay disfavorable towards Trump as they always have but his approval ratings will stay the same. Negative partisanship is too high and too many people seemed programmed to hate the Democrats no matter what. They will stay in the R column because of one issue (usually abortion and/or guns) but can never admit this so they come up with mental backflips to state why they can never vote Democratic. Or you have lots of libertarians or further lefties who are just pissed that the Democrats are the opposition and not them.Report

  4. Avatar Saul Degraw
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    says:

    This is as good a place as any for my prediction. It is still early but I predict Kamala Harris will be in the 2020 nominee as a compromise candidate between the moderate and liberal factions. O’Rourke or Bueting as VP. I’m not confident enough in this prediction to make a bet on it but she seems like the only one that can be acceptable enough to most factions in the Democratic Party.Report

    • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Saul Degraw
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      says:

      I agree with most of this. (I am assuming [I know, I know] that Bueting is Buttigieg) though I think that Bernie will be the VP choice.Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Aaron David
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        says:

        I’m willing to bet Bernie will not be anyone’s VP choice – whether he’ll be the Pres candidate, or nothing, I cannot predict.Report

        • Avatar Joseph T Mroczek in reply to dragonfrog
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          says:

          Yup… I don’t expect the Hon. Sen. from VT to do any different this time. If he can’t captain the team, he will quit and go back to carping from the sidelines.Report

          • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Joseph T Mroczek
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            says:

            I don’t expect he’ll have the opportunity to turn down any offers. The Democratic establishment seems as allergic to him as he is to them.Report

            • Avatar North in reply to dragonfrog
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              says:

              It’ll depend on what the voters do, of course. I truly do believe that Bernie won’t do well in this diverse wide contest. But I am uneasily aware of being extremely wrong before. I certainly hope I’m not wrong about this.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North
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                says:

                The whole “16 candidates” thing (or is it up to 20 now?) strikes me as a sign of something having broken.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                I’d say it’s waaaay to soon to be panicking about that. If there’re still that many by super Tuesday I’ll be eyeing the fire alarm lever but at this stage of the game? There’s never been an easier, higher reward, lower risk time to run for the Dem nod than now. I’m not surprised at all the field is crowded, for now.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North
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                says:

                (Huh. I thought I didn’t post that one. I filled out the thought in greater detail below.)Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North
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                says:

                The whole “16 candidates” thing (or is it up to 20 now?) strikes me as a sign of something having broken somewhere.

                How long did it take to forget the lessons of Perot? 8 years?

                Or that wasn’t a lesson for the dems, I guess. How long did it take to forget the lessons of Nader? 16?

                I don’t think we’ve ever seen this many nominees (remember them talking about “the seven dwarves” back in 1988? Oh, you were 3 years old? Never mind then).

                Heck, maybe the Blue Wave we saw in 2018 will continue and crest in 2020 and this will prove to be silly.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                OK, I’ll take the bait.
                Why is having 16 candidates a sign of something broken?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Well, broken doesn’t necessarily mean like “a plate”. It could mean broken like “a norm”.

                Like the people who were in charge of the discussion aren’t in charge of it anymore.

                Like the Election Consultants are now in charge of stuff rather than The Donors.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                It could be, maybe, or it could be nothing. We can’t know for sure. The historic anomaly of HRC’s candidacy left no unambiguous front runner successor (nor are the Dems traditionally a “next in line” party). Trump appears enormously weak so whoever gets the Democratic nod has a serious shot at becoming President. The internet makes running for President easier than ever before and makes it easier to collect money and influence. The question is if the old rules still apply. If they do then we’ll see an enormous winnowing in the next year running up to Super Tuesday and the size of the pool will be merely a curiosity. If the majority of the current candidates survive through Super Tuesday and, more or less, evenly divvy up the votes then that would suggest the old rules aren’t working the same way and the Dems may have a problem. I do not, however, see much to any basis to claim there’s much of a problem now. There’s a lot of candidates; so what?Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Also, weren’t people talking in 2016 about how the dearth of candidates meant the Dems were broken? I mean, seriously, does everything change except the certainty that the Dems are fished?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North
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                says:

                That’s true. “Obama left the bench empty.”

                I was one of the people who thought that.

                And now we’ve got 19 (according to Wikipedia, anyway).

                And of those 19… I’d say… 9 are strong candidates who aren’t deluded (and that’s not counting either Buttigeig or Yang).

                So there is a strong bench.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                @Jaybird,

                No one would know that particular lesson of 2016 if there had been 15 candidates instead of 16.

                The closest thing we’ve gotten to a Trump is Yang, and, like, I think the guy is a crank who probably wouldn’t make a very good President [1], but he’s not Trump.

                [1] Which is a mild shame because some of his ideas are favorites of mine and his crankishness is endearing.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to pillsy
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                says:

                Well, stature-wise, I’m not sure how many obviously presidential vs. obviously vice-presidential players are on the field…

                But even as I think that, I know that I am thinking in 2015 terms rather than 2019 terms.

                Trump broke a lot of things. “What is Presidential?” is one of them.Report

  5. Avatar greginak
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    says:

    I’ve said this before but it should be legal to indict a president. So much of the report, it seems so far, is based on the premise that Mueller and Team did not think a prez could be indicted.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to greginak
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      says:

      It not that they didn’t think he could be indicted, it’s that they couldn’t find anything to charge him with, nor charge anyone in the campaign for crimes related to the campaign, which is why all the indictments were for unrelated matters like Manafort’s years of tax fraud.

      Mueller’s decisions on what to decline starts on page 174.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to George Turner
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        says:

        This is a blatant lie.I guess this going to be the con spin and it’s the best you got. But all the working with Russians is listed in detail and specifically states the Russians worked at helping trump and his campaign knew all about it. Heck Manafort was sending regular updates to a guy in contact with Russian intell.Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to greginak
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          says:

          The Russian Manafort was updating, prior to working for Manafort years earlier, spent 10 years working for IRI, whose chariman was John McCain.

          Mueller says, in his report, that he couldn’t find anything to prosecute. He says it about each and every part of his investigation. I know because I’m reading the PDF of his report, where he says it.

          Simply working with foreigners, by the way, not only isn’t a misdemeanor, it’s not even questioned. Foreigner can do paid or unpaid work for a campaign as long as they follow FEC guidelines.Report

  6. Avatar George Turner
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    says:

    On page 180 Mueller’s report finally comes out and says that “collusion” isn’t even an specific offense or theory of liability in U.S. code, nor is it a term of art. So they went with conspiracy laws and cast a very broad net. They didn’t find any violations, nor even intent to do so. So they looked at possible related violations of campaign finance laws, and couldn’t find anything there, either.

    Through political inexperience, Trump may have run the cleanest campaign since hats went out of fashion, possibly even top hats.Report

    • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to George Turner
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      says:

      You know, if the accused parties obstructed the investigation at all turns, and as a result the investigation didn’t find any evidence, that’s rather inconclusive as to their innocence, don’t you think?Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to Doctor Jay
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        says:

        But they didn’t find that parties obstructed the investigation. Mueller cited about ten instances that might be evidence of obstruction, or they might not be. He also found that the White House was completely cooperative, and the White House didn’t even ask for any retractions from the report.Report

  7. Avatar Chip Daniels
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    says:

    Again, everything that is already known and not disputed, are grounds for impeachment.

    Oh, and it says that, right in the report.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Chip Daniels
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      says:

      This is hilariously true. The report even directly says Trump tried to interfere with the investigation and his crew was even somewhat successful in doing so. And the usual suspects are still doing the “nothing to see here, move along” routine.Report

  8. Avatar LeeEsq
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    says:

    The redacted version of the report seems absolutely damning. The full report might as well be a judge’s decision on why the Defendant is guilty.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to LeeEsq
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      says:

      Guilty of what? Mueller couldn’t find any criminal violations, and he spent two years issuing subpoenas and scooping up documents.

      The left needs an intervention, perhaps similar to saying “Mom. There never was a Nigerian ex-president’s wife who needed your bank routing numbers so she could move millions of dollars into your account.”

      “But I have these letters! It’s all right here! The money will be wired any day now!”

      “Mom, you fell for a scam.”Report

  9. Avatar Saul Degraw
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    says:

    I know we don’t like LGM here but this link has a good sum up of all the key parts of the report:

    http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2019/04/a-massive-and-unbelievable-crime-on-a-scale-before-unseenReport

  10. Avatar Jaybird
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    says:

    So… Impeachment?Report

    • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to Jaybird
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      says:

      Nah. Benghazi.

      I hope they Benghazi the stuffing out of this. They may do it under color of impeachment preliminaries, but actually impeaching and referring it to the Senate is asking for it to be buried. We would need a dozen Republican Senators begging for a chance to impeach the guy for it to make sense to impeach him. I don’t think we’re ever likely to see that.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Doctor Jay
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        says:

        So the Dems run on Trumpghazi until November 2020?

        The Harris/Buttigeig 2020 merch writes itself.Report

        • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to Jaybird
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          says:

          I think it may be more complicated than that. I think the House does Trumpghazi, but the candidates run on issues like health care, and kind of stay clear of that stuff.

          I think pushing the terrible stuff that Trump and the Trump Campaign did through to the voters is going to take a long-term committed effort.

          I have no idea who the nominee will be, though.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Doctor Jay
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            says:

            Eh, whatever the House does will be asked of the candidate. “Do you think that the House should/should not be (X)ing?”

            Would you rather Yang/Gillibrand be asked if they think that the House should be more interested in taking it to Trump or would you rather they be asked if they think that the House is creating distractions?Report

        • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird
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          says:

          Benghazi is how we got Trump.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to pillsy
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            says:

            September 11, 2012. (Wait, it happened on September 11th? Did anybody ever talk about that? Never mind.)

            Making 1:1 substitutions, that seems to indicate that Trump will win pretty big in 2020 and a complete and total… let’s use the word “outlier”… a complete and total outlier in the Democratic field will take over, despite the party’s best intentions, in 2024.

            Which makes Harris all the more likely in 2020. “Kamala Harris: Our Version Of Romney.”Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird
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      says:

      Impeachment might be the right move even if it has no chance of succeeding in the Senate.Report

  11. Avatar Aaron David
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    says:

    That was the sound of a toilet flushing. Two years down the drain.Report

  12. Avatar Saul Degraw
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    says:

    And my prediction of partisan interpretations is proving correct at least based on OT’s regulars. It would be nice to see someone do differently but who am I to expect this.Report

    • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Saul Degraw
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      says:

      If Mueller came forward since Barr had his preliminary report, there might be something there. But it really is a put up or shut up situation.

      Right now, it looks like a bunch of people can’t admit that they were wrong. YMMV.

      That said, it does open up the whole counter-narrative. And as we looked into this, we should look into that, no? Really, we just want what is best for the American people.

      (Personally, I bet we find the same thing there as here, but what is 40 million among friends.)Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Aaron David
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        says:

        Have you read any of the actual parts of the report??? It is incredibly detailed in it’s treatment of the corrupt behavior of Trump campaign. Hell it directly says Trump tried to influence the investigation in many ways. It directly says Trump ordered his campaign to try to get stolen emails.

        This is what a long time conservative, Charlie Sykes, wrote at the The Bulwark

        https://thebulwark.com/this-is-what-obstruction-looks-like/Report

        • Avatar Aaron David in reply to greginak
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          says:

          While the Mueller report does not find evidence of a criminal conspiracy between the Russians and the Trump campaign, the picture it paints is, frankly, devastating: its narrative exposes a cascade of lies, coverups, and corruption, while providing a clear road map to the president’s attempts to obstruct the investigation. At times it reads like an open invitation to Congress to launch impeachment proceedings.” emp added.

          And not a single bit was taken from the Report to show us how devastating, evil and RONG. And that is from the sad joke of an article that you are presenting. This whole thing has been a joke from day one and not a single thing is going to come from it. I agree that it was necessary to dispell any doubts, but unless something concrete comes up, I am not going to change my mind.

          Here is NPR’s story headline “Mueller Report: Team Couldn’t Rule Out Obstruction … Or Firmly Establish It” There is this though:

          “In the report, the special counsel investigators wrote:

          If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards however,[sic] we are unable to reach that judgment. The evidence we obtained about the president’s actions and intent presents difficult issues that prevent us from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred.

          https://www.npr.org/2019/04/18/709051040/watch-live-attorney-general-barr-briefs-reporters-about-the-mueller-report

          In other words, there is no there, there. Nada, zilch, squat. If you do think there is something, then post it! Otherwise, no. I could really care less about insinuations and sinuendo.

          No body, no crime.

          Count me in the group who thinks this was a witchhunt.Report

          • Avatar Jesse in reply to Aaron David
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            says:

            Trump could shoot a guy and you’d find a way to blame it on The LeftReport

          • Avatar greginak in reply to Aaron David
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            says:

            JFC…the report directly said Trump tried to influence the investigation. Gdarn….partisanship can be frickin heroin on crack laced with meth. You haven’t’ read any of the report have you.

            Even when a conservative see the truth that isn’t good enough.Report

            • Avatar Aaron David in reply to greginak
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              says:

              Wow, maybe you should actually show me something, anything that could change my mind.

              This is just sad and pathetic.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Aaron David
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                says:

                How about a statement in the report that says Trump tried to influence the investigation? Would that be enough? Would it be enough if Trump asked Flynn to get the stolen emails? Would that be good enough?Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to greginak
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                says:

                It might if you actually quoted it!

                But, who isn’t going to work to stop an “investigation” made up from thin air that is being used to smear them? That strikes me as being totally natural. And as the report says, no collusion!

                Seriously, a witch hunt. Pathetic.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Aaron David
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                says:

                “The President’s efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests,” the report said.

                And the link i gave before had this quote from the report and others about Trump’s obstruction.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to greginak
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                says:

                And? Of course he attempted to influence the investigation! What, he should just sit there and just let it go? Give me something that would be illegal.

                I mean, come on.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Aaron David
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                says:

                “What, he should just sit there and just let it go?”

                Yes.

                To use the power of your office to influence an investigation is…wait for it…obstruction.

                That’s why lying to investigators, as Martha Stewart discovered, can get you sent to jail.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                It’s only bad/illegal when Democrats do it, Chip, or can be made to appear to do it, or can be baselessly alleged to have done it.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                When did he lie to investigators? He wasn’t interviewed.

                What did he do to stop the investigation? He complied with everything that Mueller asked.

                So, what you are really saying is that anyone accused of a crime should not be able to mount a positive defense? Stalin much?

                Pathetic.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Aaron David
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                says:

                You have to admit: if he had been interviewed, he would have lied to them.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Its called a purgery trap for a reason. One of the oldest prosecutor tricks in the book.

                The problem with all the goalpost moving that been going on, both here and in the media at large, is you can’t prove a negative. Thus, sinuendo and insinuation.

                It really has to be a political solution, and it has been since day one. All the legal parlor tricks in the world will not get past that. Impeachment now, after it becomes clear there was zero collusion on that side of the fence, just shows poor leadership. Spite. The D’s need to have a better platform that appeals in more areas of the country.

                And frankly, the D’s have wasted two years on this when they could be working on better planks.Report

          • Avatar InMD in reply to Aaron David
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            says:

            I find it really interesting that, at least according to that NPR article, Sessions was one of the voices of reason. I strongly dislike the guy and always will, but credit where it’s due.Report

  13. Avatar Chip Daniels
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    says:

    Sometimes the way you know you’ve won a debate is when your opponent makes increasingly ridiculous arguments.

    Because the target for us isn’t the Deplorable Jim Hofts of the world, its the Persuadable suburban soccer mom or dad who toys with either thinking its no big deal or maybe impeachment is a bit extreme.

    Just laying out the uncontested facts- E.G. that the Russians were effing with email hacking and manipulating social media;
    That Trump’s campaign knew this, and encouraged or turned a conscious blind eye;
    They met repeatedly to coordinate efforts;
    Trump repeatedly attempted to interfere or obstruct the investigation;
    And everyone repeatedly lied their asses off in every setting;

    Will separate the Persuadables from the Deplorables.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels
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      says:

      It wasn’t up to Trump to stop the Russian hacking, it was up to Obama to do that.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner
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        says:

        So the Russians did hack and Trump knew about it and did nothing, then.

        Baby steps.Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels
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          says:

          This just in. Non-incumbent candidates have zero authority to do anything except run for office.

          The President during the Russian hacking was Obama. Obama’s FBI director, under their rules of counter-espionage investigations, was obligated to inform Trump of the Russian attempts to infiltrate his campaign. But he didn’t do that. Instead he wiretapped Trump’s campaign, similar to planting bugs in the Watergate hotel, but far worse because the administration also abused NSA intelligence and other sources.Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner
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            says:

            That’s incorrect.
            Candidates have a legal duty to inform the FBI when they are approached by foreign powers.

            Trump knew the Russians were hacking (as you said, everyone did!) and he already knew they were infiltrating his campaign because he also met with them several times to give them information to use in conducting their social media campaign.

            The national security organizations suspected this and as it turns out, they were right.

            None of this is disputed- its just facts.Report

            • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Chip Daniels
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              says:

              “Candidates have a legal duty to inform the FBI when they are approached by foreign powers.”

              Considering how much spying the FBI was doing, I would say they were adequately informed.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Aaron David
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                says:

                Now that is truly the spirit of the FDR/Truman Democratic Party. “Our country is being attacked and our election is being hacked….what evs.”

                Note: I’m not being snarky about the US being attacked. We were very much attacked by the Russians. And so many “patriots” don’t care or even see it.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to greginak
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                says:

                Not to mention the “Lawn Order” angle Anne Laurie mentions over at Balloon Juice.

                The Broken Windows theory that tolerating small offenses makes it more difficult to prosecute larger ones.

                A hostile foreign power attacked our democratic mechanisms, with the tacit acceptance of the President and many members of his party.

                That’s a pretty grim truth we need to confront.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to greginak
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                says:

                Way to move the goalposts there Greg.

                Yes, there was hacking, and the Mueller rept. pretty clearly lays out the failures of the Obama admin in all this, what with it starting in ’14. And, by the way, if the investigation had gone after the Trump campaign for this, they probably would have had a case. A small one, but a case.

                But no. They had to go for the whole enchilada. Except it wasn’t even a vegetarian enchilada.

                We used to call this Getting Blood in Your Eyes.Report

            • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels
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              says:

              Um, no, candidates don’t have a duty to tell the FBI anything until the FBI asks them questions.

              Being approached by a foreigner isn’t a crime anywhere outside of North Korea.

              The FBI, in contrast, is required to inform candidates if the FBI finds evidence that they’re being targeted by a foreign power.Report

  14. Avatar Jaybird
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    says:

    A blast from the past from Trumwill in Jan 2016 (talkin’ ’bout the GOP nomination).

    Which makes me wonder: of all of the candidates currently on the field, which one is playing the tune that the rest follow?

    Buttigeig?Report

  15. Avatar Road Scholar
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    says:

    I spent the day driving through the wilderness of eastern Colorado and heard a bunch of really good commentary on the POTUS channel. Bottom line is Mueller was never going to produce a report that charged the President with a crime. He actually lays that out in the section concerning obstruction.

    1. The DOJ has a standing legal opinion that a sitting President can’t be indicted which goes back to the Watergate era.

    2. If one makes a formal accusation of a crime, i.e. an indictment, then the accused has the opportunity to rebut the charges and clear their name in an adversarial proceeding before an impartial tribunal.

    3. Given 1 and 2, then making an accusation of a crime, even in the context of a confidential report to the AG, on the part of the President is fundamentally unfair.

    4. So the facts can be laid out and made available to the Congress for the only appropriate remedy, i.e., impeachment.Report

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