Robert Mueller and Various Forms of Hearing

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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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121 Responses

  1. Avatar Philip H says:

    My great frustration with Democrats is they have everything they need to unify their various probes under a Select Committee with a formal eye to impeachment. That would be a game changer, and even if Mueller didn’t testify again, his words written and spoken would figure prominently. He was quite clear in the report and again today that obstruction charges were not brought because DoJ policy forbids it. And Mueller is nothing if not a straight by the book arrow.

    Is impeachment the end all? Of course not. it needs to go hand in hand with a real message and real policies that make Americans lives better, and are not Republican Lite as they seem to be now.

    But understand this – so many people I talk to down south who switched from Obama supporters to Trump supporters did it because they don’t see anyone fighting for them. And yes, policy wise, Trump isn’t either. I get that. but he acts and sounds like a fighter, so if you want to get him out by election, you have to be a fighter. And what better way to be a fighter then to go after a president for real high crimes and misdemeanors, not just lying about oral sex. Democrats loose nothing but their images as timid fools by now sitting on their hands further.Report

    • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to Philip H says:

      I really like your third paragraph. There’s a lot of different ways that “be a fighter” can be accomplished politically, but it’s tricky ground.

      Every time Trump says something that’s out there, that’s transgressive, there is an outcry, and it has no effect on his behavior. This is a “win” for him. It’s a mini-drama that shows him as a fighter who wins. Because really, there’s nothing that can shut him up, not when the Senate has his back.

      So this is tricky ground. I think you need to take it to him on entirely different ground. Things like the horrifyingly bad tax cut. Like the utter lack of an infrastructure bill. Like health care. Is he fighting for them on these fronts? He is not.

      He will want to change the subject to some craziness about how Mexicans are rapists and murderers, and a Democrat needs to condemn that and pivot right back to how he’s not actually fighting to make things better.

      In fact, his precious wall is just a bad idea that won’t make the border more secure, compared to a bunch of other things we could be doing.Report

      • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Doctor Jay says:

        He will want to change the subject to some craziness about how Mexicans are rapists and murderers, and a Democrat needs to condemn that and pivot right back to how he’s not actually fighting to make things better.

        Or maybe he’ll talk about economic growth, full employment, reform of gov, and attempting to make China a good actor trade wise.

        Russia is still a threat the President and Senate Republicans dismiss. Our elections are likely less secure this time around because of that dismissal. That in and of itself constitutes a “high crime and misdemeanor” in as much as it leaves us vulnerable to more russian meddling (the kind that deprives you and me of the power of our votes) – and that will not always be exploited in his favor.

        We already had bills on election security passed. We are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to secure the election because of what happened previously after concluding that it did happen and it is a serious problem.

        What is happening currently is ginned up drama. The Dems are pretending the previous stuff doesn’t exist and nothing has changed. Their idea of “election security” is passing a law forcing campaigns to talk to the FBI if the Russians approach them so they can claim Trump was breaking the current law last time.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

          So the party line now is that campaigns shouldn’t be required to notify the FBI if the Russians approach them?Report

          • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            Well, I think that would fall under the criminal statutes that make it a felony not to inform the Trump Administration about contact with anyone that the Trump Administration deems a subversive.

            Perhaps the Soviet Union didn’t require everyone to report all contacts with foreigners to the KGB, but it’s always a sound policy.Report

    • Avatar JS in reply to Philip H says:

      House Democrats can count to 67, and they are skeptical that “impeachment followed by the swift acquittal in the Senate” would be a game changer.

      Let’s be honest here — there aren’t 67 votes to sustain in the House. There aren’t 50, even if Trump admitted on TV tomorrow that he openly obstructed justice. I mean he actually has, and that hasn’t changed anything.

      Lacking 67 votes, lacking even a majority, what’s the point? Any publicity gained from an impeachment over general House investigations would be counteracted by the swift acquittal. The impeachment process itself gives the House no new powers of investigation it didn’t already have.

      Heck, impeachment would slow down any other investigations as everything got funneled into a single Committee.

      You’re asking Democrats to sideline all their investigations in order to focus on a single one that will — without a shadow of a doubt — end in an instant loss in the Senate. By losing publicly after tossing all their eggs in one basket, you then assure them they’ll look like fighters and can’t possible make their situation worse?Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to JS says:

        Not just acquittal, but lack of any trial at all. The Constitutional language does not require the Senate to hold a trial, it only says that no one else can. Nor does it say what form a trial has to take. Current Senate precedents would seem to require a trial, but those are subject to being overruled by a simple majority. Possibly relevant is the Senate’s lack of any action on Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

        McConnell is (in)famous for saying he won’t waste the Senate’s time bringing things to the floor that have no chance of passing.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Michael Cain says:

          The logic for House impeachment hearings is precisely because there is no chance in the Senate.

          When you can’t actually affect the outcome, the second best is to at least go down on record as having opposed it.

          This isn’t just airy philosophy- The American people and Democrats in particular need to see and hear us loudly stating what we believe is the truth, even if it doesn’t result in removal.
          Otherwise it becomes all too easy for pundits to continue their BSDI “partisan politics” stuff as if this is all just normal.Report

          • The calculation, and question, is “Is a principled but losing run at impeachment worth a second term of Trump” because a lot of people, including Pelosi, think that is the actually decision and thus airing on side of not impeaching.Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

              I can’t see anyone saying, “well, had the Republican Senate convicted him, I would vote for the Democrat, but since the Republican Senate defended the Republican President, I guess that convinces me to vote for the Republican incumbent.”

              ETA: Also too, ever since Jan 2017, we have been treated to endless rounds of “Ruh Roh Dems, you better not do THIS, otherwise you will force people to side with Trump!!11!!”

              Except, Trumps approval numbers have stayed exactly where they have always been. He isn’t gaining or losing any followers, no matter how much media churn and turmoil there is.Report

            • Avatar greginak in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

              Part of that calculation needs to judge the level of crime we are talking about. If the crimes are above a certain level then principle needs to be more important then, often fuzzy, calculations about what will come of it. Some things must be opposed. Full stop. If that doesn’t work out well for elections then that sucks, but it is the way it is.

              Minor issues can be subsumed to guesstimates about what might happen depending on the role of the 20 sided die.

              The trap in political thinking is holding getting elected as the highest goal bar none. From there every principle is a fond wish at most. The second political trap is the pundit fallacy that assumes people can predict elections based on their priors and assumptions. Lord knows people do it all the time and it almost always just a projection of their beliefs more then a meaningful prediction.Report

  2. Avatar Aaron David says:

    And thus it always was. The whole of the Russian thingy was a joke from the get-go, and the report itself was the one shot at impeachment. Which was always going to be a political hot potato, as the whole system was designed to ensure enough of the country was on board with it to go forward. They came at the king, they missed. And spent two years doing it what they could have been showing that they are the capable party, able to get things done in congress. Instead, they rode a wave of idiocy, hatred, and lies.

    On a side note, as the great-grandson of an actual conman, I tend to roll my eyes at people calling their ideological opponents hucksters, frauds and whatnot. But in this case, I think it is important to note. Avanatti… A shyster.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Aaron David says:

      Have you actually read any of the report or even the various exec summaries? Because plenty of “the Russian thingy” was explicitly confirmed by the report.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to greginak says:

        Sure, Russia was doing it’s thingy, and Trump was happy to take advantage of that, but you can’t link the two conclusively. At least not in a way that would hold up in court against Trump himself.Report

        • Avatar Philip H in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          Russia is still a threat the President and Senate Republicans dismiss. Our elections are likely less secure this time around because of that dismissal. That in and of itself constitutes a “high crime and misdemeanor” in as much as it leaves us vulnerable to more russian meddling (the kind that deprives you and me of the power of our votes) – and that will not always be exploited in his favor.

          That aside, there are multiple incidents of obstruction by the President clearly laid out and reinforced in today’s testimony. Those need to be brought to bear while he is in office, and the mechanism for that is impeachment.

          As to democrats being capable of getting things done and missing – for the first two years of his presidency they were the minority in both houses and thus devoid of any real power. Since 20 January of this year they have passed much meaningful legislation which all dies in the Senate because Republicans have no desire to compromise. So yeah, again its all Democrats fault. sure.Report

    • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to Aaron David says:

      They came at the king, they missed.

      “They” being Trump’s own DOJ, where all the principal actors are Republicans.

      And spent two years doing it what they could have been showing that they are the capable party, able to get things done in congress.

      As Philip notes, they have gotten things done. They just can’t get anything past McConnell being McConnell. Given that reality, investigating very real crimes committed by Trump et al is the closest option available to “getting things done.”

      Instead, they rode a wave of idiocy, hatred, and lies.

      Wait… I thought you were talking about the Dems. This perfectly describes Trump.Report

    • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to Aaron David says:

      So, I take it with your dismissive ‘the Russian thingy’ you don’t see the level at which Trump is demonstrably in Putin’s pocket as a problem?

      Do you think I’m exaggerating?

      What is the innocent explanation for the fact that Trump has meetings with Putin with no other American present? This is way outside normal presidential behavior.

      In short order, the Republican party has shifted from castigating Obama for not being tough enough on Russia and Putin, to being slobberingly deferential to him. This doesn’t concern you in the slightest?

      At least up till election day, Trump was trying to get Trump Tower Moscow built, and this was a project which involved Putin and his allies. This doesn’t concern you?

      Paul Manafort handed campaign information over to Oleg Deripaska because he was hoping to ingratiate himself, and get paid the 2 million dollars owed him. This was as the sitting campaign manager for Trump. But no, there’s no problem here.

      That same Paul Manafort was caught witness tampering and sent to jail for it. And you’re sure that none of his, or Trump’s efforts in this arena were successful and that we know everything that they did? Ahem. I would like the laws to be enforced. The president violated the laws, but the only way they can be enforced is via the will of the voters, it would seem. Trump clearly obstructed justice, multiple times, and the only reason he isn’t indicted for it is because he is protected by the office. And by people who insist that “nothing has been proven”. Of course not, because he obstructed justice. That’s why the crime exists.

      To me, it looks like you are caught up in the precise details of “there’s no proof of collusion”, and you can’t see the forest for the trees. Who cares if there was a crime?

      It’s clear we have a president who is far more interested in lining his pockets than he is in serving the interests of the country. He’s happy to kiss up to some very questionable people, including people who are very clearly enemies of democracy (Putin quote: I think (classical) liberalism is on its way out) and of the United States, as long as it makes him look good and make money.

      He was never interested in anything other than that, and if you think somehow he’s going to make your life better, I think you are very much mistaken.Report

      • Avatar Philip H in reply to Doctor Jay says:

        Trump also never expected to win, and so when he did he wasn’t prepared for it. Probably still isn’t, He took what he knew from the corporate world and started down a path he can’t deviate from because he doesn’t know any other path.Report

  3. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Evergreen:

    Report

  4. Avatar George Turner says:

    The shocking thing today was when Mueller said he wasn’t familiar with what Fusion GPS was. Well, the entire studio audience knows all about the role of Fusion GPS in the whole Russian collusion fiasco, yet Mueller doesn’t? His credibility won’t recover from that.Report

    • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to George Turner says:

      Nobody’s mind will be changed by this. The thesis that the investigation was predicated on the Steele dossier has been thoroughly debunked. The event that triggered the investigation was when George Papdoupoulos ran off his mouth to Australian diplomat Alexander Downer. This was on May 10, 2016.

      I doubt that you accept this. However, my main point is that your “shocking” revelation will change nobody’s mind, because we are operating with very different realities.

      “The very concept of objective truth is fading from the world.” – George OrwellReport

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to Doctor Jay says:

        Or the FBI targeted Papadopoulos by sending Downer to elicit the information the FBI had already provided to him via the prior FBI plant, which is what the IG and Barr’s other folks are investigating. We should hear the results of that in September.

        And beyond that, the FBI is never supposed to treat a politician like the target of a counter-intelligence investigation. Their duty is to inform the politician that they may be a target of foreign agents, and to keep a look out. The FBI is supposed to protect politicians from such things, not keep them in the dark and use it as an excuse to wiretap them and leak damaging information in a bid to undermine or overthrow the government of the United States, which is what they did.Report

  5. Avatar North says:

    I’ve made it a policy of keeping my expectations rock bottom for Muellers’ findings and haven’t found reason to doubt that policy yet.Report

  6. Avatar InMD says:

    This was never going anywhere. The answer to Trump is and always has been straightforward. Go win an election.Report

    • Avatar Aaron David in reply to InMD says:

      This. There was never a magic bullet, some arcane line in the constitution, or any other “get rid of Trump with this one trick!” And like I said above, the system is specifically set up so that pure partisanship can’t remove a sitting President. High Crimes and Misdemeanors are not specifically spelled out for just this reason. Everyone has to agree that if something was done, it was wrong.Report

      • Avatar InMD in reply to Aaron David says:

        The standard on what I think it would take is pretty high. I don’t know where exactly the line is but murky allegations of obstructing justice in a highly politicized investigation sparked by partisan think-tank propaganda was never close.Report

    • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to InMD says:

      Agreed. No President has ever been removed from office by impeachment. Samuel Johnson and Bill Clinton were both impeached but acquitted in the Senate. In the case of Nixon the House voted to commence impeachment hearings but Nixon resigned rather than go through the process.Report

      • Avatar InMD in reply to Road Scholar says:

        The good news is I think he can be defeated. Sadly I’m still quite worried he won’t be.Report

        • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to InMD says:

          As a moderate conservative who is digging in as deep as I can to the Democratic candidates, I can tell you that at the lowest point I felt like there were maybe only 2 front-runners that I could support but I am coming around on a couple more. Harris is growing on me and although she doesn’t have a shot in hell, I really like Williamson. So I am hopeful that i will continue to find points of agreement and that other moderates will do the same and some momentum builds. Of course, November 2020 is a very long time from now in politics. A million things could happen between now and then. I still believe that the Olympics will play a factor, though we will see how much.Report

      • Avatar Philip H in reply to Road Scholar says:

        And I can see Trump deciding at some point to go out a “winner” and resign if hearings go far enough. I can also see a lot of law and order types defecting from the Republican party as the President fails repeatedly to comply with subpoenas and testimony etc.Report

  7. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    A bunch of things:

    1. Mueller is an old school man out of time who expects Americans to read the report. As Ken White wrote in the Atlantic: “Has he met us?”

    2. Allegedly Pelosi made some invoices in conference to say she “respects” their need for an impeachment inquiry if they believe it is necessary.

    3. I suspect that Pelosi’s resistance to impeachment was more than a political calculation based on being deadletter in the Senate. I suspect she thinks it could cost Democrats the House and 2020 because of a voter blowback. Is she right? Hard to say. This is one of those things where everyone will insist whatever happens proves their priors. Older Democrats remember getting kicked in the ass during various election years, some of which were very recent. Younger voters are no longer willing to be Republican-lite Democrats.

    4. Trump apparently told reporters today “you’re fake news” at reporters asking difficult questions today and then walking away. This is how a little kid acts and is more evidence about how the very stable genius is suffering cognitive decline.

    5. There was an article in New York/Daily Intel about how Trump achieved more peak polarization than previous Presidents. He has the near universal support of Republicans and the near universal loathing of Democrats. This is overwhelmingly strong support. Our own comment section indicates that Trump could get on TV discuss all the illegal things he did and present documents. There would be people here humming that Trump did nothing wrong because eww agree with DemocratsReport

  8. Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

    I have read most of the report. Volume I is an exercise in frustration because Trump insulated himself (or his people insulated him) from the illegal stuff. The only new conclusions I drew from it was that at least one of his sons should be going to jail.

    Volume II is the smoking gun to me. It details an extensive campaign of obstruction of justice, nearly all of which happened in the public eye or the public found out about it in short order. I also believe Clinton obstructed justice during the Lewinsky investigation and what he did was child’s play compared to Trump.

    It’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up. It nailed Nixon, Clinton and it should nail Trump…but. We have two things working against that, one from both sides of the aisle. The first is that Democrats have spent the last two decades repeating the mantra that Clinton was impeached for a blowjob. They have gone out of their way to change public perceptions about his impeachment and I know more than a few conservatives that now believe it was an unfair proceeding. In fact, Democrats did such a good job on their PR campaign that they invited Clinton back to the scene of the crime. So yeah, moral high ground is gone there.

    On the other side of the aisle, before Trump’s election 71% of Republicans said it was important that the president tell the truth. That number is now at 49%. He has destroyed most of the honor the party once had and people I considered friends will now through their own integrity out the window to defend him. So, we’re definitely not going to see the moral outage that might have been present after Nixon.

    Compounding all of that with the election year timing and Pelosi trying to be smart about the political optics, i just don’t see this going much farther. It’s a shame because removing a president from office might convince Congress to de-neuter themselves, but we probably won’t see it, at least on this series of crimes.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      So I was 15 when Clinton was impeached. Here is my rough understanding of what went down:
      – Clinton was being investigated for some legit criminality (real estate fraud? Sexual harassment?)
      – This was entirely unrelated to Lewinsky
      – In the course of the investigation, his relationship with Lewinsky was discovered
      – He lied about the relationship in a place/time/manner wherein lying was unacceptable/illegal/obstruction of justice
      – He was impeached for obstructing justice because he lied ABOUT Lewinsky during an investigation into… something else

      Now, I’m not saying that’s what went down. But that’s how 35-year-old Kazzy understands it today based on what 15-year-old Kazzy understood then and everything in between those two points. Of note, I’ve lived entire life on East Coast (NYC, Boston, or DC) and identified as liberal and/or Dem for most of that time.

      I’m curious if this shows an ignorant understanding tainted by Dem obfuscation, a fairly accurate understanding unaffected by the “ITS ABOUT A BJ!” crowd, or something else. I ask because I feel like maybe I’m a reasonable test for how well the Dems spin on his impeachment worked.Report

      • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Kazzy says:

        These were the charges against Clinton:

        Article I charged that Clinton lied to the grand jury concerning:

        – the nature and details of his relationship with Lewinsky

        – prior false statements he made in the Jones deposition

        – prior false statements he allowed his lawyer to make characterizing Lewinsky’s affidavit

        – his attempts to tamper with witnesses

        Article III charged Clinton with attempting to obstruct justice in the Jones case by:

        – encouraging Lewinsky to file a false affidavit

        – encouraging Lewinsky to give false testimony if and when she was called to testify

        – concealing gifts he had given to Lewinsky that had been subpoenaed

        – attempting to secure a job for Lewinsky to influence her testimony

        – permitting his lawyer to make false statements characterizing Lewinsky’s affidavit

        – attempting to tamper with the possible testimony of his secretary Betty Curie

        – making false and misleading statements to potential grand jury witnessesReport

    • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      The first is that Democrats have spent the last two decades repeating the mantra that Clinton was impeached for a blowjob.

      Well, it kinda was. Yes, the impeachment charges were about obstruction of justice wrt to the coverup. But the “underlying crime” that was eagerly investigated was a consensual — albeit inappropriate due to their work relationship — affair with Lewinsky. The whole thing from start to finish was the very definition of fishing expedition and witch hunt. It started with some land deal in Arkansas (Whitewater) involving some dude named Webb Hubbell (sp?), moved onto something something about employee files in the White House travel office (Travelgate), and eventually landed on Monica and the blue dress. Right or wrong, I think the general feeling among Dems was that while it was lurid, inappropriate, and possibly criminal sexual harassment, the affair — as well as all the other fishing targets — never really had much to do with violation of the public trust wrt to his duties as President and therefore didn’t meet the standard of “high crimes and misdemeanors”.

      He has destroyed most of the honor the party once had…, or claimed at least. I remember the rejoinder to the “it’s all about a blowie” line was how “character matters.” Not so much now and I’m pretty sure it never really did. Trump didn’t change Republicans so much as just reveal them more clearly.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Road Scholar says:

        I thought it was tied to the Paula Jones thing. “Did Bill Clinton have a pattern of macking on subordinates?”

        (Yes, yes. I know. Monica Lewinsky was 100% consensual. She didn’t prove anything.)Report

        • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to Jaybird says:

          That too. But again, does it actually bear on the performance of his duties as President and Commander in Chief? It’s all more akin to the Stormy Daniels thing than “Bribery, Treason, or High Crimes and Misdemeanors.” And it should be noted that there are very few voices, and none in Congress that I’m aware of, who are calling for his impeachment over Stormy.

          And I want to emphasize that I’m not trying to excuse away Clinton’s behavior. At the time of the impeachment hearings I was serving as a First Class Petty Officer in the Navy on a mixed gender ship. I had a female Chief and females as subordinates. That kind of behavior would have warranted a court martial for fraternization at the least.Report

          • Avatar jason in reply to Road Scholar says:

            Yes–I got out in ’93. I knew a guy who was kicked out for having an affair with a buddy’s wife while we were deployed. It really bothered me that the Commander in Chief wasn’t being held to the same standard.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Road Scholar says:

            “does it actually bear on the performance of his duties as President and Commander in Chief?”

            From where I sit, it seems that 98% of the opposition to Trump is due either to partisanship or aesthetics. (And I define Partisanship thusly: If there were a member of My Team doing this sort of thing, if I were to give a “well, you have to understand” instead of a “holy crap, you’re right” speech, then that’s Partisanship.)Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

              “From where I sit, it seems that 98% of the opposition to Trump is due either to partisanship or aesthetics.”

              Seriously?Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                I agree with Jaybird. I hate the guy but most of it is aesthetics i.e. I believe the office of the presidency should be a lot more dignified.

                I will say from a policy position, I really dislike the tariffs, I hate that they just reinstituted the federal death penalty and I don’t like him messing with legal immigration. But I also think Democrats don’t have a big problem with the death penalty and actually think tariffs are pretty groovy.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Well i’m completely against the death penalty and could extensively list my policy issues with trump. Some of teh policies would be generic Repub polices i dislike like whatever the heck they are trying to do with health care, quarter ass diplomacy/provocation with Iran, NK, sucking up to Saudi Arabia and overboard support of Likudnik Israel. Then there is a giant tax giveaway, every increasing military budgets and not trying to secure our elections. The gerrymandering thing is generic Repub sadly. The deliberate cruelty of how they are treating people at the borders is pure Trump filtered with generic hard line R immigration policy.

                This is w/o listing the other foreign policy missteps on China and Russia, pushing away allies and i’m sure i’m forgetting a whole bunch of stuff. But most of the things i’ve listed are pretty common policy concerns for liberal types.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                “I like that Trump hates undocumented immigrants. I just wish he was not so vulgar about it.”Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                Saul, this is such a load of bullshit. Let’s start with you choosing ‘undocumented’ instead of saying ‘illegal’. That makes it sound like a paperwork issue not a violation of our borders.

                Secondly, it’s very easy to have such a high moral standing when it doesn’t really affect you. So let’s imagine a homeless guy in your neighborhood feels unsafe on the streets at night so he breaks into your house. You catch him in the act and he pleads that he is seeking asylum in your living room. Your neighbors insist you not only allow him to stay, but you also offer him a bed, food, clean clothes, etc. Some even suggest that you give me a house key so he can come and go at will until you and he review his asylum claim in 6 weeks at which time, if you don’t approve his asylum request, your a monster.

                You good with that? Because seriously, my daughter has a friend who is looking for a place and I’d be happy to send her your way.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Saul, this is such a load of bullshit. Let’s start with you choosing ‘undocumented’ instead of saying ‘illegal’. That makes it sound like a paperwork issue not a violation of our borders.

                Given that it’s being applied to people (such as kids who were brought here when they were very young but are now teens or adults) that seems like an entirely appropriate characterization.

                So let’s imagine a homeless guy in your neighborhood feels unsafe on the streets at night so he breaks into your house. You catch him in the act and he pleads that he is seeking asylum in your living room.

                Who’s insisting that asylum seekers be housed in people’s living rooms?Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to pillsy says:

                Did they bring their own living room? If not, there might be a problem.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to pillsy says:

                If someone was brought here against their will or when they were too young to consent, sure, call them undocumented. What about everyone else?

                If America is a house, then the border is our front porch. The Left wants to invite them in, so Saul’s living room seems like a good place to put them.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                If someone was brought here against their will or when they were too young to consent, sure, call them undocumented. What about everyone else?

                What about them? Is there a common policy being offered in both cases?

                Like if you want to make the specific willful decision to cross the border improperly the basis of the “illegal” usage that’s fine, but shouldn’t any decision about the disposition of such cases depend on that being proven?

                If America is a house, then the border is our front porch.

                America is not a house.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to pillsy says:

                I’m pretty sure the police will remove you from someone’s house for trespassing long before your court date.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to pillsy says:

                I don’t really follow your first paragraph at all, but as to the second, if America isn’t our home, what is it?Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Our country, where hundreds of millions of our fellow citizens live, and the vast majority of whom we never even think about on an individual basis.

                They certainly don’t camp out in my living room.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to pillsy says:

                What analogy would you prefer? City on a Hill? A village? America is a sovereign nation and that (should) mean secure borders and not blindly tolerating violations of those borders.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Well villages and cities are, while imperfect analogies, much better ones because they are administrative units coverage an area of land, and people moving to one doesn’t mean they have to live in your living room.

                And of course there we don’t generally enforce the borders of cities and villages.

                I mean that would be extending the analogy inappropriately in the opposite direction. Still, the “living room” analogy demonstrates giving up basic privacy and private property rights, so Saul can easily reject it without being any sort of hypocrite.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to pillsy says:

                So you’re saying America should be a city with Open Borders?Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Well if the analogy is “city” that’s the natural conclusion, isn’t it?

                Given the choice de facto open borders and the horror we have on the border now, I prefer de facto open borders.

                I have yet to see evidence that our political system can find and implement a third option.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to pillsy says:

                We obviously have a long history of handling legal immigration just fine. The problem is what to do with people that sneak in. I’m not sure why the solution is to throw up our hands?

                And the shitshow on the border doesn’t really have anything to do with illegals. Those are legal asylum seekers. Why does the mess we allowed to happen with them mean we should declare Open Borders?Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to pillsy says:

                You won’t prefer open borders when you get open borders. Currently we’ve got about a million people a year coming in. Do you think things will go smoother when it’s ten million a year?Report

              • Avatar JoeSal in reply to George Turner says:

                Good thing liberal cities are making it illegal to be homeless, what could go wrong with upping the number to ten million?

                [Your going to need a bigger industrial jail complex. Also copious amounts of outraged reporters saying “OHMERGAWD people in cages!!!!”]Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to JoeSal says:

                Well, we know that most of the groups backing open borders are funded by the urban camping industry.Report

              • Avatar JoeSal in reply to George Turner says:

                Ha!. Maybe they will get a urban camping community organizer for it, some smooth talking minority promising change.

                Maybe get some wingnut crying at a empty parking lot.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Switzerland just denied citizenship to a woman because she’s an annoying vegan.

                story

                The US should adopt similar measures so we don’t fill up with annoying people.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                I’ll be blunt. I don’t agree with any of your analogies or find them convincing. Yes, I am using undocumented instead of illegal. They are often applying for asylum because they are fleeing countries with horrific circumstances. No they don’t have to stay to make things better. It is a Sisyphean task. I could not do it and neither could you.

                What is happening is that refugees are doing what they can to correctly claim asylum and right-wingers constantly change the game in ha ha gotcha.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                But virtually none of them qualify for asylum, which is why virtually none of them are granted asylum.

                You might be having a domestic dispute or owe a bookie a bunch of money. That doesn’t give you the right to move to Australia or Japan.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to George Turner says:

                Pretty much. If they were actually asylum seekers they’d be applying for sanctuary in Mexico, not crossing it to get to the United States. They’re economic migrants and entry needs to be regulated differently.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                Maybe we should clarify here: Are you talking about asylum seekers or illegal immigrants? Because my analogy is actually probably more suited to the second group (the ones the Left wants to open our border to). So when the homeless guy breaks into your house, he won’t actually demand asylum, he’ll just sort of be granted permission to stay as a reward for making it past your security system.

                I’m not sure why you aren’t on-board with that? Wouldn’t it be the morally correct thing to do?Report

              • Avatar JoeSal in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Mike, you fight the good fight. I wish you well, but every time you gain any ground, your opposition here will hit their knowledge reset button and they are pretty much back to zero the next week.

                Most of the libertarians have had to abandon hope to salvage them, maybe the moderate centrists should too.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to JoeSal says:

                I’ll let you in on a little secret: I don’t come here to help them evolve, I come here to help me evolve. The challenge is good for me.Report

              • Avatar Philip H in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                What Democrats would those be? I abhor the death penalty – its nothing more then sanctioned revenge, which has yet to do any good for anyone. I also abhor the tariffs – not only are they slowly driving prices up in many key sectors, but they also impact the very communities the President alleges he wants to help. Plus they are picking winners and loosers which we aren’t supposed to do in market economies. never mind they haven’t changed China’s behavior one iota.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Philip H says:

                You’re probably right on the death penalty thing, but historically Democrats have absolutely supported economic protectionism and despite their recent flirtation with Open Borders, I certainly don’t think they have changed their stance on that, especially with their affinity for organized labor.Report

      • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Road Scholar says:

        “Well, it kinda was. Yes, the impeachment charges were about obstruction of justice wrt to the coverup. But the “underlying crime” that was eagerly investigated was a consensual — albeit inappropriate due to their work relationship — affair with Lewinsky.”

        Again, it’s not the crime, it’s the coverup. Watergate was a petty break-in. The coverup forced the resignation of a president. I already posted the charges in this thread, tampering with witnesses, perjury, etc. Look, it doesn’t matter what the charges are, the judicial process has to play out. I’ve been in management for long enough that i have had a couple of HR investigations. It comes with the territory. I was in the right and cleared both times, but the first time, when i was a new manager, I was advised in very strong language by HR and my boss to not discuss the investigation with anyone, especially the employee that reported me. I didn’t try to marshal support from my other employees, several of whom were interviewed. I didn’t try to doctor any emails or do anything else to help myself because I trusted that I would be cleared and I was. And this was all over an employee claiming I threatened to fire them if they didn’t increase their productivity. It wasn’t about possible Russian interference in our elections or a sexual harassment case against the president of the United States. On top of all of that, Clinton was a lawyer and knew better.

        “The whole thing from start to finish was the very definition of fishing expedition and witch hunt.”

        And that’s the exact language Trump has been using since the start of this process. Democrats have spent the last 20 years providing a roadmap for how a president should deal with an investigation and potential impeachment. When you say ‘it kinda was’ about a blowjob, respectfully, you’re part of the problem.Report

        • Avatar Philip H in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

          I agree its the same language, and I agree that Democrats didn’t learn the real lesson of that sordid tale.Report

        • Avatar InMD in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

          Mike, the fundamental problem with what you’re saying here is that it assumes the truth of everything that comes up in one of these investigations without the allegations being tested or challenged in any meaningful way. The reality of federal investigations is that virtually any person who is subject to one can plausibly be accused of obstructing the investigation merely by acting to defend themselves. In normal situations with normal defendants, whether those actions cross the line into criminal conduct is a question for a jury. Mueller himself knows this which is why his report strikes many people as so frustratingly non-conclusory.

          The reality is that there probably is no politician at the federal level who, after being subject to an investigation, could not potentially be charged with obstruction of justice or lying to an investigator. The question is, do we want to run the political system that way, where the opposition can trump up allegations knowing that the investigation will almost certainly result in a plausible charge of obstruction, regardless of the merit of the original accusations.

          Remenber, all of this with Trump goes back to the Steele dossier, a document so lacking in credibility that the papers felt they couldn’t even print it until it was laundered by an FBI briefing on its existence. The same could arguably be said of the various real estate and harassment allegations about Clinton. So yes, maybe the effect is to let politicians shield themselves from accountability from various and sadly typical improprieties. But on balance that’s probably preferable to allowing extra-constitutional lawfare to override the electoral process. Impeachment is a break the glass emergency fail safe, not a magic button for the to use in place of winning an election.Report

          • Avatar George Turner in reply to InMD says:

            Impeachment is the remedy when you find out the President is helping the British invade from Canada, or he gave the Louisiana Purchase back to France in return for being named Marquis de Kansas, or he gave all the naval construction contracts to his brother-in-law, or he had a hit team try to assassinate the Speaker of the House, or he had burglars trying to bug his opponents so he could win re-election, or he’s keeping us out of WW-II because Germany is dumping looted gold into his secret Swiss bank account.

            Impeaching a President because he survived the opposition party’s attempt to frame him as a foreign spy is not how it’s supposed to work.Report

            • Avatar Philip H in reply to George Turner says:

              For starters that was not how “the opposition party” framed anything – and lets refrain from calling the FBI and Intelligence Community “the opposition party” shall we? The central question was always how much did Russia (our adversary) help with the election of the President and to what extent were his campaign and he working with those Russian attempts. The CIA, FBI and the rest of the three letter Intelligence agencies concluded that Russia ran a highly successful disinformation campaign on Trump’s behalf, and infiltrated a number of actual election voting systems, though its never been made public if they succeeded in changing actual votes. Those same entities (again reinforced in the Mueller Report) confirmed numerous outreach and contact events between Trump campaign personnel and said Russians (contacts that got Michael Flynn to plead guilty to federal crimes and got Paul Manafort convicted), often through wealthy oligarch cut-outs who are apparently widely known to be in Putin’s power circle. That Mr. Mueller didn’t find any active conspiracy doesn’t mean the Russians didn’t interfere, nor does it absolve the Administration from the burden of preventing said interference again, and reporting it to begin with.

              All that aside, the Special Counsel documented 9 instances of actions by the President to commit obstruction, which is a crime in and of itself whether or not there’s another underlying crime. Trump’s nature and preferences likely would have driven him to no other place.

              And if a democratic President can be impeached for lying about receiving oral sex (and its that lying under oath that formed the basis of Clinton’s impeachment) then a Republican can be impeached for obstructing justice, even when there was no underlying crime. High Crimes and misdemeanors would definitely cover obstruction, which is what Nixon was going to be impeached for.

              And yet I am sure you don’t care because there was no underlying crime. Had Clinton said “yeah, Monica gave me a happy ending” he’d not have been impeached because the real estate deals Starr started off with, while shady, turned out to be legal. Had Trump and his people said yeah we all met with the Russians and here are the emails and phone call logs and meeting transcripts – well Mueller would still have his 34 indictments and 17 convictions, but there’d be less to impeach on. Not nothing, mind you ( I still think the emoluments stuff deserves a tandem impeachment inquirey) but obstruction wouldn’t be a part of it.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Philip H says:

                (contacts that got Michael Flynn to plead guilty to federal crimes and got Paul Manafort convicted)

                Neither pled to or was convicted of anything that had the remotest connection to the campaign or Russian collusion. Flynn was in trouble over working on behalf of Turkey and trying to hide a conversation with the Russian ambassador about not retaliating for US sanctions. That conversation was illegally leaked to the press by corrupt hold-overs from the Obama administration who were committing felonies right and left. That will probably be part of the IG report, too.

                Manafort was convicted of money laundering and tax fraud, much of it related to Ukraine’s prime minister back in 2014. None of it had anything to do with the Trump campaign.

                Nobody has been indicted or convicted for anything connected to the collusion nonsense, since Mueller’s team couldn’t even find any collusion.Report

          • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to InMD says:

            “The reality is that there probably is no politician at the federal level who, after being subject to an investigation, could not potentially be charged with obstruction of justice or lying to an investigator.”

            That may be an accurate statement, but it sounds ludicrous to me that it might be our reality. I get that there’s an incentive to limit federal investigations (and I believe the feds took steps to do that in the late 90s) but for me obstruction of justice is a serious crime that merits impeachment if proven.Report

            • Avatar InMD in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

              The trouble is that outside of some amazingly clear and incontrovertible evidence obstruction of justice can’t be proven without risking a constitutional crisis, i.e. indicting the president. I just don’t see that as something to flirt with over damage no one seems able to prove or quantify and ‘vote the bastard out’ is still an option.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to InMD says:

                Isn’t that what the impeachment process is for? His punishment isn’t jail, it’s losing his job.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Yes, but outside of the normal political process. Impeachment is for something so serious the issue can’t wait for the next election. I think George’s examples above are illustrative.

                Allegations of interference with a highly partisan investigation into wrongdoing no one can clearly establish happened on the other hand? It’s just not what impeachment is for. The consequences aren’t just to the president they’re to the whole country.Report

              • Avatar Philip H in reply to InMD says:

                Bull pucky. obstructing justice is a serious affront to alleged core principles of our nation, regardless of why the obstruction occurred. And the investigation by the FBI and Justice department are not highly partisan, unless you actually believe the claptrap about the FBI suddenly and inexplicably becoming a hot bed of liberals . . .Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Philip H says:

                Yea yea, I know, and I’m sure if it was your guy you’d stand firmly behind that principle, and never consider the fact that the accusations that sparked the investigation have never had a lot of substance to them.

                Look I hate this president and I’m not going to sit here and defend him. But this Rachael Maddow act people are imitating looks about as stupid as Glenn Beck did with his chalk board 10 years ago.

                So check the sanctimony and the moral panic, put on your big boy pants, and help nominate a Dem who can win in the upper mid west so this jackass can go back to his monkey cage on Coney IslandReport

              • Avatar Philip H in reply to InMD says:

                I’d love to help nominate such a Democratic candidate, but the field so far doesn’t give me a ton of hope. And as a liberal in Mississippi, I can assure you my vote won’t move my state into that camp.

                As to standing firmly on principle for “my guy” I spent a lot of Mr. Obama’s term criticizing his economic policies and his complicity in the destruction of privacy rights post 9/11. As noted however, he managed to stay away from anything remotely looking like an impeachable offense.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to InMD says:

                Serious question: how is what he did less bad than what Nixon did?

                (I think it’s easily as bad as what Clinton did and worse than what Johnson did despite that Johnson is an All Time Piece of Shit President.)Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to pillsy says:

                Be forewarned, long response ahead.

                My baseline is that Clinton should not have been impeached and I think our democracy is a lot worse off for it. Whatever improprieties hes guilty of, and I’m sure there are many, none at issue were so glaring or sufficiently proven to merit overriding the normal political process to remove him. Johnson is too far back to serve as much guidance.

                The Nixon situation has key differences. The biggest one is that he was caught red handed not only obstructing justice but having direct knowledge and involvement with the burglary and wiretapping that initiated the investigation. With respect to the obstruction specifically, the Nixon tapes provide a level of easily comprehensible evidence of what he knew and what he did in furtherance of various conspiracies. I would submit that nothing even close to that has come out on Trump.

                Now I know the obvious response to this is to ask if it’s the crime or the getting caught that matters. For impeachment I would argue that getting caught, and I mean really legitimately red handed caught matters a hell of a lot. As others have noted, impeachment is not a criminal trial, it’s a purely political power exercised by a coequal branch of government. It’s effectively saying that what this particular federal official did is so bad we need to change the result of an election in major ways, and it is so important that we need to do it now rather than allow the political process to play out on its own.

                My understanding of the Nixon case is that the release of the tapes is what turned the tide from a relatively partisan issue to a broad consensus that he could not continue serving. To me that’s consistent with what the constitution requires. Anything short is probably going to fail, and, if it did succeed on such flimsy evidence it would damage the legitimacy of the government in ways even Trump hasn’t come close to.

                I don’t think we’re ever going to really know for sure what Trump himself knew or said, whereas we know a hell of a lot about what Nixon knew based on what he himself said in recorded conversations. Absent something that clear and compelling I don’t think impeachment should be on the table.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to InMD says:

                @InMD: I’m not sure I agree, and I’m not even sure I 100% agree (in hindsight) that Clinton shouldn’t have impeached [1] but that’s a solid case.

                Thanks for taking the time to lay it out.

                [1] But the impeachment was a completely nakedly partisan shitshow based off of Starr’s work which wasn’t good either, which may be essentially an inevitable part of how impeachment sausage gets made.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to pillsy says:

                That sausage is kind of what I’m getting at. Mueller is not at all the partisan wacko Ken Starr is/was and I actually think he’s done about as good and professional job as could be expected.

                I hate what I’m saying because it feels unprincipled (like there’s corruption and then there’s CORRUPTION). But I really think it needs to be simple and quite damming, as opposed to something that takes a talking head on cable news hours and hours to explain.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to InMD says:

                I understand what you are saying but I also think that if we’ve reached the point where we assume that every future president will be investigated and obstruct justice during that investigation, that’s a very bad thing. Bush and Obama managed to stay out of that kind of trouble. I suspect that pretty much any of the Democratic frontrunners would keep their staff on a short leash should they get the nomination. I agree with Phillip that too many core principles have been violated here to ignore.*

                * With that said, I don’t think we’ll probably see actual impeachment proceedings.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Well we probably have to agree to disagree at this point. The only clarification is I don’t necessarily think they all will be investigated but I think anyone who actually is investigated could be accused of obstructing justice. I mean pretty much everyone indicated in a federal probe is charged with it or lying to the FBI or something similar.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

          Why do people say this, “it isn’t the crime, its the coverup”?

          They only say that when the underlying crime is trivial, like a consensual affair.

          Here the underlying crime is welcoming and participating in the attack on our democracy by a hostile foreign power, which they continue to do to this very day.

          The Republican party now is complicit, signaling to the world that they will look the other way while our country is attacked. No one is even bothering to deny this.Report

          • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            Except that none of that happened. The Mueller report “did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.” That was Mueller’s finding.

            Mueller couldn’t even establish any contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. Take the infamous Trump Tower meeting. The Russian lawyer (who the press described as a “Russian Crown Prosecutor” even though Russia still has poor relations with Tsar’s dead family) did not work for the Russian government, she worked with the law firm hired by the Hillary campaign, Fusion GPS. The meeting was set up by a guy representing a singer, and all she wanted to talk about was sanctions relief for some rich guy.

            If Russia wanted to talk to Trump, they have embassies and consulates full of official government employees who handle just such things. But they didn’t even bother doing that.Report

            • Avatar Philip H in reply to George Turner says:

              The what did Michael Flynn plead guilty to?Report

            • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to George Turner says:

              The problem I have is that Trump’s campaign was more than willing to accept dirt on Hillary from the Russian government, they were just too dumb to verify their sources. I have no doubt that if the source had actually been from the Kremlin, they would have gladly accepted the offer. So this speaks to intent. They were mostly just bumbling idiots on the front end, but Trump’s personal obstruction on the back end was a bit more profound IMO.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Accepting foreign intel a plus.

                Why would anyone not accept foreign intelligence? That’s part of why we spend billions trying to sniff up all kinds of foreign information, to see if any top officials over here might be up to their eyeballs in bribery, kickbacks, etc.

                In Hillary’s case, all kinds of foreign officials have pointed to corrupt and illegal activities, such as pressuring foreign officials to violate banking laws to benefit donors to the Clinton Foundation.

                The current government of Ukraine is quite upset that the previous government had given Joe Biden’s son extremely lucrative oil and gas contracts, and then had Joe Biden fly over and threaten to cut off all their US aid if they didn’t drop the investigation.

                It would be important to listen to their side of the story and see what they have, otherwise we’re voting in the dark.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner says:

                The final D- Defy:
                “We did not aid and abet a hostile foreign power” becomes “what’s wrong with aiding and abetting a hostile foreign power?”Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to George Turner says:

                None of Trump’s team were government officials at the time they were approached. They should have referred those sources to people that were.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Isn’t that kind of a double standard? Hillary was hiring foreign intelligence people to get dirt from Russian intelligence officials, which is the origin of the Steele dossier.

                Trump was trying to save the country money by getting any information for free.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to George Turner says:

                I don’t know enough about who Hillary was trying to hire, but being approached by someone who you believe is with the Russian government is something the Trump team should have reported. Period.Report

          • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            “They only say that when the underlying crime is trivial, like a consensual affair.”

            That phrase was coined after Watergate, not Clinton’s misbehavior.

            Maybe you could just create some kind of scale where we agree when obstruction of justice by a president is justified and when it moves into ‘not cool’ territory.Report

  9. Avatar Jaybird says:

    The opposite of evergreen:

    Report

  10. Avatar James K says:

    I think a lot of the frustration the media and congressional Democrats are having with Muller is that while he is happy to do his job, he’s not willing to do their jobs for them.

    He can’t actually do anything to Trump as for some reason your government thought it was a good idea for the President to be above the law. If Congress wants to go after Trump they have to do that themselves, though that will require them to rent spine from somewhere.

    As for the media, there’s lots of significant stuff int he report, but reporting on it would require them to do actual work, and when given an opportunity to dumb it down for them, Muller declined because he’s walking a careful line here, and the way you walk a careful line is by writing a long report, where you can properly hedge your language. Breaking it down into soundbites would defeat the purpose of writing it.Report

    • Avatar Philip H in reply to James K says:

      Spot on. Depressingly so.Report

    • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to James K says:

      He can’t actually do anything to Trump as for some reason your government thought it was a good idea for the President to be above the law.

      Not explicitly, but effectively. It’s a structural issue stemming from the Executive branch’s role as enforcer of law, which normally works ok until you get to situation like this. The Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) has issued an opinion that a sitting President can’t be indicted. But that’s all it is, an opinion — neither law nor Constitutional prohibition.

      Mueller took that even farther, deciding that since he couldn’t be indicted he couldn’t even be accused since he would have no opportunity to clear his name in a court of law. Republicans in the hearing yesterday took that logic even further, stating that a prosecutor can’t exonerate a President either, first because exoneration is simply not the role of a prosecutor, but also by declining to exonerate the prosecutor is effectively saying he did it. The end of that logic chain would seem to be that the prosecutor can’t even really investigate the President or at least can’t report any findings to anybody.

      I think Congress needs to wrap their arms around this and maybe re-establish something closer to the Independent Counsel law that was in effect for Watergate that took prosecutorial decision-making away from the Justice Department for a certain class of defendants.Report

  11. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    Did anyone think it would stop with just Russia?
    How Iran is quickly catching up with Russia’s election meddling capabilities
    https://theweek.com/speedreads/855019/how-iran-quickly-catching-russias-election-meddling-capabilitiesReport

  12. Avatar Aaron David says:

    Given Obama’s record on Russia, one operating theory is that his people needed a smokescreen to obscure just how wrong they were. They’ve blamed Trump. They’ve even blamed Mitch McConnell, in some twisted attempt to deflect blame to another branch of government. Joe Biden once claimed McConnell refused to sign a letter condemning the Russians during the 2016 election. But McConnell’s office counters that the White House asked him to sign a letter urging state electors to accept federal help in securing local elections — and he did. You can read it here.
    I guess if I had failed to stop Russia from marching into Crimea, making a mess in Syria, and hacking our democracy I’d be looking to blame someone else, too.
    But the Mueller report makes it clear that the Russian interference failure was Obama’s alone. He was the commander-in-chief when all of this happened. In 2010, he and Eric Holder, his Attorney General, declined to prosecute Julian Assange, who then went on to help Russia hack the Democratic National Committee’s emails in 2016. He arguably chose to prioritize his relationship with Putin vis-à-vis Iran over pushing back against Russian election interference that had been going on for at least two years.

    https://edition.cnn.com/2019/04/19/opinions/mueller-report-obama-jennings/index.html?no-st=1564056785

    I think Obama was a Russian spy.Report

    • Avatar Hoosegow Flask in reply to Aaron David says:

      McConnell blocked two election security bills just yesterday.

      Thanks, Obama!Report

      • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Hoosegow Flask says:

        And despite the warnings about the Russia threat, he argues that Congress has already done enough — passing $380 billion worth of grants for states to update their election systems and supporting executive branch agencies as they make their own changes.
        Some administration officials have suggested that the issue is not getting enough high-level attention because Mr. Trump equates any public discussion of malign Russian election activity with questions about the legitimacy of his victory.

        “It’s just a highly partisan bill from the same folks who spent two years hyping up a conspiracy theory about President Trump and Russia and who continue to ignore this administration’s progress at correcting the Obama administration’s failure on this subject,” Mr. McConnell said of the Democratic bill.

        (emph. added)
        https://www.msn.com/en-za/news/world/russia-targeted-elections-systems-in-all-50-states-report-finds/ar-AAEROyu

        Thanks a lot, Mr. Russian Spy Obama!Report

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