Recognized, respected and discreet behind the scenes, she is – without a doubt – one of the most thoughtful, intelligent and impressive people I've met in the past twelve years, where she covered and national security. I have always felt more confident in the security of America after listening to his speech.
His forced departure by President Trump, announced last night, is only the latest reshuffling of the top national security posts under this administration. The model began during the first weeks of Trump, with the shoot Acting Attorney General Sally Yates and return the same night the acting director of the Migration and Customs Service, followed a few days later by the dismissal of the head of the Border Patrol.
Last week, Trump announced the departure of Gordon's chief, Dan Coats, director of national intelligence, and his intention to appoint representative John Ratcliffe in his stead. Ratcliffe, a theoretician of the Tea Party's fiery plot and without significant experience in national security, has not even last a week under the spotlight of the public after the journalists started to separate the exaggerations of his taken back.
The writing was written on the wall to prevent Gordon from playing the role of DNI – as she does legally supposed– Because she was insufficiently Trumpian. With Gordon out, Trump has appointed The director of the National Counter-Terrorism Center, Joseph Maguire, will take over as he continues to recruit a permanent intelligence chief.
It's easy to see the musical chairs of the Trump administration – where staff members and candidates often seem to be drawn from a cast for the Bar of Star Wars A careful examination that usually marked the old administrations rather than the primitive – like a little more of the daily noise that consumes America in Trump's day, where entire news cycles are dominated by the arrest of a rapper in Sweden or the possible commutation of old Apprentice Rodw Blagojevich, now convicted.
It is also easy not to overlook how Trump has blurred the US government's usual succession practice, raising Matt Whitaker as chief of staff Acting Attorney Generalby purging the deputy secretary of DHS and rewrite the rules install Kevin McAleenan as a the acting head Ken Cuccinelli to oversee an immigration agency, he knew that the GOP leader could never to be confirmed to lead. Sue Gordon clarified that her departure was involuntary, more purge than retirement: the note accompanying his letter of resignation read: "Mr. President – I offer this letter as an act of respect and patriotism, no preference. You should have your team. Good luck, Sue.
But such departures from a regular order have a cost. Policies and regulations designed to guide successions and vacancies in the executive have been developed to ensure that the most capable interim leaders can fill the gaps. The reason the federal law says that the senior MP is supposed to become the interim DNI in the event of a vacancy is that lawmakers felt that it was essential that the president get thoughtful and experienced advice. It meant Sue Gordon. Now, instead, the country's counterterrorism coordinator will be steered in new directions, overseeing the president's daily briefing on intelligence and DNI's role as cat breeder.
This is the last sign that vacancies in the country's national security apparatus are likely to overfill its leaders – and put too green people in roles essential to the lives of Americans.
Indeed, given the recent instability and the significant business figure – including the simultaneous departures of Gordon and Coats next week -, the United States appears on the verge of entering into a new dangerous phase of the Trump administration. The agencies on which we rely to ensure our security seem rather ready for the type of intelligence failure or erroneous geopolitical calculation that can lead to American loss of life.
The safety and security of the United States depends on the harmonious and symphonic collaboration of their 17 intelligence agencieswho collect and hold small pieces of the giant puzzle that constitutes the changing geopolitics of the world. Listening to the NSA, known as "intelligence transmissions" or SIGINT; human sources, spies and CIA analysis, known as HUMINT; monitoring the movements and posture of the world's armed forces by the Defense Intelligence Agency, known as Measurement and Signing Intelligence or MASINT; NGA satellite and aerial imagery and measurement, known as GEOINT and IMINT; and much more, including financial intelligence gathered by the Treasury Department, diplomatic analysis conducted by the State Department, nuclear information collected by the Department of Energy and national oversight foreign spies, suspected terrorists and organized criminal groups organized by the FBI, which relies on sophisticated satellite technologies thousands of kilometers away from us, run by the National Recognition Office, an agency whose name and existence existed until the 1990s.
As one would expect from this list, the intellectual world is a complex and sprawling universe, composed black budget Nearly $ 60 billion and about 100,000 employees – a fraction of the more than one million Americans holding a security clearance. The very role of the DNI was created after September 11, it is precisely because the government has recognized that the coordination and understanding of all parts of the black world required its own dedicated staff.
Yet little of this symphony about intelligence and national security was at stake in Trump's day. In fact, it is often difficult to know who is responsible for what.
At the Department of Homeland Security, one of the 17 components of the intelligence community, we are plunged into a position of interim secretary – the third head of department in less than three years of administration – with no confirmed assistant secretary, Acting Chief of Staff, Acting Deputy Secretary to the Board, Interim Chief Financial Officer, no Assistant Secretary of Science and Technology (and no Assistant Deputy Secretary), no Under Secretary of Strategy, Policy and Plans, Acting Head of Public Affairs, no Chief Privacy Officer, an Acting Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, an Acting Director of ICE, the curiously named Acting Director of US Citizens and Immigration Services and Acting Director of FEMA, even as the country is in the middle of a hurricane season. Overall, less than half major DHS positions have permanent leaders.
Even this disturbing but abbreviated list underestimates the real turmoil that has taken place within DHS even as the United States faces a serious humanitarian crisis at the border. CBP's current Acting Commissioner, Mark Morgan, who was there just a few weeks ago, was in fact one of the first dismissals of the Trump administration. He was transferred as chief of the border police of the first week of Trump's term, replaced by Ron Vitiello, who spent only three months at the border agency summit before becoming commissioner Acting CBP, before later becoming Acting Director of ICE, where Vitiello lasted just nine months before Trump crashed, forced him out and replaced him – twists! – by Morgan, who himself only spent a few weeks at ICE's interim management before moving to CBP.
The Pentagon, which accounts for nearly half of the country's intelligence agencies, spent months this spring without a confirmed defense secretary. in quick succession, after the departure of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, plunged deep into his own succession plan first raise the army secretary, then, after his appointment to the position of senior official, the secretary of the navy. (It's a good thing the Pentagon does not have to go any further, because the next post, the Air Force Secretary, has been vacant since Heather Wilson's departure this spring.) Finally, after a quick sitting of the Senate confirmation process in July, Mark Esper was back in the Pentagon's E-Ring to lead the Department of Defense, quickly followed by David Norquist, the new Deputy Secretary confirmed by the Senate.
The swearing-in of Esper ended the longest working period of the Ministry without a Defense Secretary confirmed by the Senate during its seven decades of existence. During this period, the United States was still engaged in two wars, knowing increased tensions with Iran, conducting low-level military operations on several continents and facing a more and more reckless China, an accusatory Russia where our nuclear treaties fall by the wayside, and a North Korea that is resume missile tests. Meanwhile, of course, the Pentagon had also spent nearly $ 2 billion a day on the country's defense, meaning it had spent the entire annual GDP of Denmark or Singapore without any official.
In the coming months, as part of normal rotations, army chiefs of staff will also travel, which means that almost all Pentagon leaders will be new to their work.
At the Justice Department, which is also at its third leader of the Trump era, there is no candidate for the Deputy Attorney General position No. 3 of the ministry, which has been vacant since February. There is no director or deputy administrator of the DEA – another intelligence agency of the nation – and particularly horrible outbreak of armed violence, there has been no leader of the ATF for years. (Trump's first candidate for the position of Director of ATF, more than two years after coming to power, Chuck Canterbury, had his confirmation of the Senate sitting a few days ago. fiasco he seems not to know if he will receive approval even from the body controlled by the GOP.) There is also no confirmed officer from the Bureau of Prisons.
The State Department – which is also part of the intelligence community, through its Bureau of Intelligence and Research – has been riddled with vacancies since Trump took office. In January, when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited the Middle East, a trip that took place during the closure of the government, which meant that the diplomats he was visiting supported him he worked without pay – six of the nine countries affected by Pompeo Low did not have US ambassadors in office: Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. Although the vacancy rate of the State Department has improved in recent months, it is far from normal. First diplomat for Latin America resigned this week amidst disagreements over immigration policy, and another diplomat resigned with a fiery Jerry Maguire-What it is written in the Washington Postentitled "I can no longer justify being part of Trump's" state of affairs ".
Many of these extended holidays are part of Trump's plan. He says that he likes the "flexibility"This comes with temporary officials – they are easier to mix, more desperate for his approval, more willing to do what he wants.It is an illogical thing that has spread even to completely useless places: Trump continues to insist that Mick Mulvaney be the White House's "interim" chief of staff, a role that does not require confirmation from the Senate, which means he "It is not necessary to act" acting "moniker at all. (The fact that Mulvaney is still officially at the head of the Office of Management and Budget means that he must make some progress. extra money).
Leaders make mistakes when they are new and learn on the job. Throughout American history, it is not a coincidence that there are often failures of the intelligence services in the administrations – the September 9th Bay of Pigs, even the administration of Trump. first secret mission to Yemen, which ended with the death of a Navy SEAL. Things slip, shades are lost, details are forgotten, procedures are forgotten.
Former presidents have tried to avoid such a massive turnover from their national security officials. President Obama, remember, kept the Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates. In 2011, when he was appointed to positions like that of CIA director, he extended for two years the FBI director, Robert Mueller – with the Senate's approval to 100-0 – passed his term of office. 10 years, to ensure the stability of the world of national security. For Trump, however, the constant Game of thrones– The business figure seems to be a feature, not a bug.
Intelligence professionals jokingly say that the only constant in their world is change, but it's hard to imagine that they meant that to apply to their own bosses. Buckle Your Belt: The next few months could be the most dangerous of the Trump era to date.
Garrett M. Graff (@vermontgmg) is a contributing editor for WIRED that covers national security. His next book, The only plan in the sky: an oral history of September 11will be published in September. It can be reached at email@example.com.
. (tagsToTranslate) National Affairs (t) national security (t) intelligence (t) us government
Focusing on electoral interference from 2016 amounts to thinking back, at least according to Virginia Senator Mark Warner. By 2020, he tells WIRED – in an exclusive interview – that the upcoming elections will force both parties to win now.
As the first Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Warner has long argued strongly for new legislation to strengthen electoral protection, such as the Honest Ad Act, which would require Silicon Valley companies to disclose when Political ads are paid by a third party. foreign nation It is also the origin of a bill that would impose warning campaigns to federal officials if they are approached by a foreign agent who provides them with information or other assistance. Both bills benefit from bipartite support – Senator Susan Collins became the first Republican to co-sponsor the Foreign Influence Relations Act in the electoral law earlier this week.
Even that GOP Leaders Warner, a former Virginia governor and co-founder of Nextel, is trying to position electoral security as a partisan issue. He has maintained the respect of his colleagues across the way. But his frustration seems to be increasing, especially now that Trump has Designated Representative John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) will be his next director of national intelligence. Unlike the leader of the Senate minority, Chuck Schumer, who has already opposed Ratcliffe, Warner told WIRED that he still had patience. Even if he is thin.
This transcript is slightly modified for length and clarity.
WIRED: After Mueller's testimony, the president and the Republicans said the case was over. What are you doing with that?
Mark Warner: I am not here to relaunch 2016, nor the testimony of Mueller, in particular. I want to point out, as part of the Mueller inquiry, that out of 37 indictments, the president's national security advisor pleaded guilty. The president's campaign director pleaded guilty. The deputy campaign manager of the president pleaded guilty. The chief political advisor to the president will be judged in the fall, Roger Stone. The Attorney General had to resign. There have been literally hundreds of contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian agents.
This is not normal And I think the biggest conclusion of Mueller's testimony is that the Russians who attacked us in 2016 are still attacking us and, as Bob Mueller said, daily. You combine this with the warnings of Trump's own FBI director (Christopher Wray) and his own national intelligence director (Dan Coats). And what concerns me the most is that we have not done more to protect the integrity of our electoral system in 2020.
I had just spoken to your co-chair (of the Intelligence Committee), Senator (Richard) Burr, and he said that states in 2018 have resisted these attacks, the national infrastructure is good for electoral security. Basically, the file is closed, again, it does not take much more.
I think everyone has resumed play in 2018, including the Department of Homeland Security, and our intelligence community has also been more active. But the intelligence community has itself reported that Russia has not made all its efforts in 2018. It is very likely that it will reserve its efforts in the presidential election. So, I think there are simple solutions that would get 75 votes in the Senate – if we could get them to these bills.
"If you add up all the Russian money spent on the Brexit vote, the French presidential elections and the 2016 US elections, that's a lower cost than the cost of a new F-35 plane."
Senator Mark Warner
I think there should be an affirmative obligation that if a foreign government, the Kremlin, offers you help for the campaign, your obligation should not be to say thank you, but to report to the FBI. I think we should make sure that every polling station in the United States has a backup copy of the ballot, so that, if a machine has been hacked, you still have the opportunity to protect the ballot box. integrity of the voting system. And I have not met anyone who does not think we need basic guards about Facebook, Twitter and Google manipulation by foreign and other entities. So it should be at least that if someone is advertising on Facebook on a political basis, but in fact it is a foreign government, it should have the same disclosure obligations as the one who is advertising on the radio or television.
Is not it a little ironic that, in the digital age, we were returning to paper ballots?
I think we have to make sure that we use the best technology, but if technology, as we see banks this week, can continue to be hacked, if the voting machines are not as protected as necessary, if the private companies that control the voters' files could have their information displaced … It is not necessary to change the votes to sow chaos . I think that people's confidence in the system increases when checking back the backup of a paper ballot. Again, this does not mean that we would not be using voting machines yet, but across the entire electoral community, everyone believes that it is safer to dispose of them. A backup copy of the ballots accompanying the machines to strip the votes.
And now that we know we are being attacked, cybersecurity is a major concern. Then, the President announced this week that he had appointed Representative John Ratcliffe as DNI, who seemed more like a politician and supporter of Trump than a member of the information community. Does that worry you?
That worries me a lot. The irony is that people named by Donald Trump in the world of information – his director of national intelligence, Dan Coats; His FBI director Chris Wray and CIA director Gina Haspel – were quite good at telling the truth to power, even when Trump did not want to hear the truth. They have been very successful in not letting American intelligence become politicized – while I am going to give Mr. Ratcliffe the courtesy of a meeting, I fear that it will be named in the mold of Bill Barr, the Attorney General, who basically is simply a first loyalist to Donald Trump and does not maintain that kind of independence.
If there was a time when everybody was saying that the Russians and others would be back, when we would have so many potential conflicts in the world, we had to make sure that the person in charge of our intelligence does not politicize the intelligence services. . This intelligence product is sent to our military, to the executive, to Congress. It can not be a political product. And we must make sure that the intelligence community will be willing to tell the truth to power, which means telling the truth to Donald Trump, even if he does not want to hear it. And until now, it seems to me that Mr. Ratcliffe, who does not have much experience and who seems – according to information published in the press – that his hearing was based on the interrogation of Mueller and on the legitimacy of the intervention of Russia in our electoral system, Quite scary
What do you think are the biggest threats – or are there new threats – that America faces in 2020?
So I think there are two new threats. First, Russia in 2016 was surprised by the vulnerability of our systems, our electoral systems. And how much Facebook, Twitter and YouTube should be handled easily. So I think this playbook is now out there, they used the same tactics during the vote in Brexit (and) during the French presidential election. So, my fear is that we can not only see Russiayou can see Iranwe could potentially see China, which has a lot of control over a number of its Chinese technology companies, start using these tools because they are economical and efficient. I'd like to point out that if you add up all the Russian spent for the vote on the Brexit, the French presidential elections and the 2016 US elections, the cost is lower than the cost of a new F-35 plane. So I think that Russia and its opponents have decided that the way to engage with us in a conflict will not be done through old armed forces, but through cybernetic activities, misinformation and the misinformation, trying to increasingly weaken and interfere, for example with our space communications. and I think that Russia will improve its game … and others … (This) means that there will be more opponents in 2020.
Second, I think that in 2016, we saw Russia trying to give a false picture – Russian agents pose as Americans on Facebook and Twitter by simply posting fake messages. The next iteration, the next generation of this will be the so-called "deepfake"Technology, where an American may not be able to see what his eyes are telling him, because you will see an image of you or me or a political figure who might look like this person but who is not. at all.
Now, if McConnell does not allow some of these bills, such as the Honest Ads Act or simply more general election security bills, what do you think Silicon Valley technology companies can do it by themselves?
Look, we have seen progress made by Facebook, Twitter, some progress made by Google. But I do not think that self-regulation, especially when regulation may mean that they may not collect as much information as they want, or that 39, self-regulation may mean that they have to go against the factual content or limit it. This goes against their business model. So, I think Facebook has made some progress in particular, but some of the tools they have – for example, the ability to easily access promised campaign ads, this tool is: not effective at all.
So in the end, when we talk about something as important as protecting the integrity of our democracy, when Americans lack confidence in so many institutions to start, if we do not make the extra effort We have put in place a set of rules and regulations – and God forbid if Russia, Iran or another foreign company again massively interferes – and we have not done our homework, so we are ashamed of all of us.
This week, two high-ranking Democrat Senators called for the start of the impeachment process. Where are you on that? We started this conversation with you stating that you did not want to give up 2016, but it seems that there are more and more choirs among the Democrats.
In fact, I think President (Nancy) Pelosi has taken up the challenge very well. I understand the frustrations with President Trump – his activities, his tweets and his antics. I think, however, that the best way to show that it is not what we are as Americans is to beat him at the polls in a free and fair election. And my concern is that if we do not guarantee this free and fair election, we will not do our job.
. (tagsToTranslate) elections (t) congress
The man who had spent the last two years conducting the investigation into Russia's attack on the 2016 elections and the apparent filibustering of Donald Trump, had promised – warned, really – that it would not be to go beyond the four corners of the 448-page report he had delivered earlier this spring. I have kept this promise.
"The report is my testimony," I told both committees. I even refused to read key parts of this report aloud, preferring that Congress representatives read it aloud to themselves, then confirming in monosyllabic answers whether these portions were accurate. CBS counted 41 answers of a word in the first half of the morning only with the hearing before the Judiciary Committee; Mueller declined in a more general way to discuss all kinds of other related and unrelated topics.
The most enlightening exchange of the day took place during the first five minutes of the hearing, when Judicial Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler reviewed a series of questions aimed at undermining President Trump's motto. : "No collusion, no obstruction".
While Nadler was opening his post, "Director Mueller, the President has repeatedly asserted that your report had found no obstruction and had totally exempted it, but it was not. not what your report says, is not it? "
"Okay, that's not what the report says," replied the former special council.
Nadler continued: "The report did not conclude that he had not obstructed justice, did he?"
"That's right," Mueller said.
Nadler: "And what about the total exemption? Did you really totally exonerate the president?
Nadler: "In fact, your report expressly states that it does not exonerate the president."
Nadler: "Your investigation has in fact revealed" several acts of the President likely to exert undue influence on law enforcement investigations, including investigations of the interference and l '. obstruction by Russia. "Is it correct?"
Even where Mueller could have said more, he chose not to do it.
However, after this strong opening, Mueller's reluctance over the next few hours made it clear that he would not show up at Capitol Hill to save American democracy. It is clear that Mueller feels he is bringing everything he needs into the process. He did his job, delivering page after page evidence and hard facts – not to say three dozen criminal cases, indictmentsand guilty pleas. Any other action or conclusion must come from the will of the congressional Democrats.
While the Democrats managed to draw disturbing disturbing behavior from the President at the morning hearing, and in the afternoon, they exposed the cheerful will of the Trump campaign. accept Russian help in the 2016 election, but the overall testimony was disappointing and disappointing.
Mueller was operating with strict, court-imposed restraints – which had issued restraining orders in ongoing cases involving Internet Research Agency and Roger Stone, Trump's partner – and by the Department of Justice, to avoid discussions during internal deliberations or ongoing investigations. But even when Mueller could have said more, he chose not to do it. He particularly seemed to use elaborate verbal gymnastics to avoid pronouncing the word "impeachment".
There was no bombshell, easy-to-understand audible acuity in campaign announcements or cablecasts, no clear and succinct verbal indictment of the president's behavior, no memorable phrase to be recorded in history books. There has been no harsh reprimand of Republican conspiracy theories, which looks likeDo you have any sense of decency, sir? "Moment, and Mueller did not clearly identify his own feelings about the president's anti-American behavior – in fact, he almost seemed to do his best to avoid providing the right phrases the Democrats wanted.
Perhaps the closest moment is where Mueller went after Trump's welcome for the escape of documents stolen by Wikileaks. "Problematic is a euphemism," Mueller said of the president's joining Julian Assange's website, which Mueller also described as "hostile intelligence." Trump candidate's enthusiastic bid for the Wikileaks hacking operation, said Mueller, said: "Has given a boost to what is and should be an illegal activity."
In one of the few comments that raised eyebrows, he also stated that he felt the chair was "generally" misleading in his written responses to the special board's office.
While the Democrats methodically strove to methodically defend the obstruction of the President – the representative Ted Lieu and other people have carefully analyzed the irrefutable evidence supporting various charges of impediment – he's not sure what's going on. It is unclear whether the message was conveyed to the American people, nor how the next six August holidays will have an impact on Wednesday's hearing.
Overall, it is difficult to say how the audience, confused by non-Republican conspirators on the part of Republicans and sources of investigation sometimes confusing on the part of Democrats, will play with the millions of Americans listened to the radio, television or the web. The threads of conversation and the narrative arc of Mueller's report were often difficult to follow and most of the day was not the best of legislative power. Congress members misrepresented the names of key actors, ranging from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya in the shadow of Joseph Mifsud. Arizona republished Debbie Lesko, who even misread the name of Mueller.
As the hearings unfolded, Republicans mostly continued to fail the review of history books. Unable to discredit the President's obstructionist acts or Russia's attack, GOP members focused on Mueller's team confusion and on the scandal scandal caused by Steele's record . Continuing the three-year-old scheme of obscuring the party and choosing ignorance as their head in the sand, most members avoided engaging with Mueller against the Russian attack on the elections. Representative Tom McClintock even went so far in the morning hearing to express doubts about the fact that the Russian trolls farm, Internet Research Agency, is linked to the Russian government. The only exception was representative Will Hurd, a former CIA officer, who had focused his interrogations on Russia.
Mueller, his voice more serious and serious than the last time he had spoken in public years ago, seemed rusty at times – sometimes stumbling over small details and asking for repetition of various questions – but his level Energy seemed to increase all day. He was much more engaged and direct in the afternoon when discussing the Russian attack against the elections and the need for the country to face with greater confidence such foreign interference. I repeated his May statement that Russia had interfered in a "radical and systematic" way, and had told the committees: "During my career, I have witnessed many challenges for our democracy The efforts of the Russian government to interfere in our elections are among the most serious. "
I made it clear that even though the Democrats were still concentrating on volume I of his report, dealing with the obstruction of the president, he was more interested in volume II, the attack on Russia. "We have underestimated this part of our investigation," he said, calling on the country's leaders to read it and meet the challenges it will pose for 2020: "We must act quickly."
As Mueller said, his report was also "a signal, a flag for those of us who have the responsibility in this area to quickly carry out these responsibilities and not to let this problem persist as it has done for so long. years. "
Russia's attacks are ongoing – and America is not doing enough to stop it or stop other opponents, Mueller told lawmakers. "Many countries have developed capabilities to replicate what Russia has done," Mueller said. "They do it as we sit here, and they expect to do it in the next campaign."
Sphinx for the two years of the investigation, it remained one Wednesday.
Beyond the Russian attack, the few moments of Mueller's sparks – none of which had been able to qualify as fire – appeared when he defended his investigative team or the integrity of his report. I made it clear that he was not leading a "witch hunt", as the president has long claimed. At one point, I reacted immediately when Representative McClintock said, "After desperately trying not to prosecute the President, you have presented a political cause instead. You put it in a paper bag, you lit it, you dropped it on our porch, you rang the doorbell and ran.
Mueller answered quickly: "I do not think you have considered a report as complete, just, and consistent as the report before us."
He aggressively rejected accusations that his team was partisan. "We have tried to engage the people who could do this work," he said. "I have been working in this area for almost 25 years, and in those 25 years I have never had the opportunity to ask anyone of their political affiliation. This is not done What matters is the ability of the person to do the job quickly and seriously and with integrity. "
Such responses clearly showed that Mueller was able to make more expansive remarks, but he has never been so close to expressing his own unadorned thoughts about the president's behavior. Sphinx for the two years of the investigation, it remained one Wednesday. His theory seems to be that his independent inquiry will remain independent and he will not let his words be twisted for partisan purposes. Politicians must do it themselves. President Trump offered his own conclusion at the hearing, after spending much of Wednesday's day watching Mueller's testimony of the White House. J & # 39; I tweeted, "Truth is a force of nature!"
After the hearings, the Democrats made it clear that they saw in Mueller's testimony a turning point, a bridge that will open new audiences with other witnesses, such as the former White House lawyer, Don McGahn, who actually participated in the events described by Mueller.
"I urge the American people to pay attention to what is happening," Elijah Cummings, chairman of the House's monitoring committee, told reporters on Wednesday. "Because if you want to have an intact democracy for your children, and for the children of your children, and for future generations, we must protect this moment … This is our watch."
Cummings' comment was perhaps more personal than he would have liked – Mueller clearly left the next steps in the hands of Cummings and the other Democrats in the House.
Indeed, it is possible that for Mueller, who has spent nearly 40 years in the Ministry of Justice and almost 50 years in the service of his country, Wednesday's hearing is perhaps the last public appearance of his career. It seems that his 89th appearance before Congress is the last. One of the few sincere smiles that appeared on his face during the seven hours spent at Capitol Hill happened when, during the morning hearing, I confirmed his resignation from his tour in the spotlight: "I'm no longer a special advocate, "he said. he said. No matter what happens, that's not Robert Mueller's problem.
. (tagsToTranslate) Robert Mueller (t) Russian investigation (t) Donald Trump (t) Russia
Mueller will begin his day at 8:30 am ET with a three-hour session of the Judiciary Committee of the House devoted to obstructing justice. Although President Donald Trump has repeatedly insisted that the report finds none, Volume II of the document details 10 incidents in which Trump seems to have crossed the line. And although Attorney General William Barr has chosen not to prosecute Trump, Mueller's report states that "if we had confidence after a thorough investigation into the facts, the President clearly did not obstruct justice, we would know it. Based on the facts and applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach this judgment. "Expect many questions about the discrepancy between what the report says and the way Barr has phrased it – and refused to act accordingly – all the more so as Mueller has already he's complaining directly to Barr about this very thing.
The House Intelligence Committee will follow up after a short break. expect this game to start around noon and last two hours. His goal will apparently be Russian interference, which Mueller has meticulously documented in two indictments centered on: misinformation and piracy. Expect the Democrats to focus on the many points of contact between Russia and the inhabitants of the Trump campaign orbit. And again, while Trump repeatedly said "no collusion," Mueller explicitly stated that the collusion was not what his team investigated. The report instead focuses on the criminal plot that he has not been able to prove.
We will incorporate a broadcast feed above so you can watch Mueller testify here. You can also capture it on all major networks including ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News, CNN and MSNBC. And do not forget C-SPAN, which will broadcast it on television, online and on the radio. Basically, you have to actively try to find a news outlet that does not broadcast Mueller's hearings. To stay simple, stay with WIRED!
In the meantime, you can not find a shortage of questions that Congress should ask Mueller. But the most important preparation you can make for the historic moment of tomorrow is to manage your expectations. Mueller will almost certainly stick to the content of the report, not just because the Justice Department explicitly tells him to. This means that there will be no revelation at the 11th hour, nor a staggering revelation that obliges the impeachment procedure to be committed immediately. He will not discuss ongoing investigations of Roger Stone, and will not scrap the writing of his own report. Mueller's testimony will not give any credence to the Deep State conspiracy theories, though much time bad faith amateur Devin Nunes arrives at the podium.
Robert Mueller has already told you everything he was going to say. All this is in his report of 448 pages, the culmination of years of work. It already describes, with absolute clarity, many abuses of power, impediments to justice and unsavory relations with a hostile foreign power. he almost implores the Congress attack Donald Trump. Here, see for yourself.
But Mueller's testimony will always be valuable, even if everything he does is read directly from the report. (Or especially when.) The large majority Americans have not read it. Many in Congress do not even read the And the loudest voices to weigh up to now – Barr and Trump – have flagrantly denatured His conclusions Most people will hear about what Mueller discovered for the first time on Wednesday, including those who ask questions.
. (tagsToTranslate) Russia investigation (t) Robert Mueller (t) Congress (t) Donald Trump</pre></pre>
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Robert Mueller is ready to to testify before the Congress
Robert Mueller will testify before the US Congress Wednesday at two separate hearings, the first starting at 8:30 am EST. You can watch it live just here. What should you expect? There are probably a lot of questions about the report's findings in relation to how attorney general William Barr formulated it, as well as about the many points of contact between the Russia and Trump campaign. However, do not expect new upsetting details – if we know all about Robert Mueller, it's probably going to stay pretty close to the book.
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Let's be clear about what Mueller has found. His work revealed two separate criminal plots that took advantage of Donald Trump's surprise election. The first was allegedly led by Trump himself, along with his lawyer Michael Cohen, to conceal prejudicial stories about him through funding offenses the federal crime campaign; the second, that Mueller literally accused of "conspiracy against the United States", was ruled by the Russian government and involved various anti-Clinton pro-Trump information operations, advanced by identity fraud, computer hacking crimesand other crimes. There is a lot of evidence – even overwhelming – that Trump sought to obstruct the investigation of Russia.
The two plots represent attempts to thwart the democratic practice of free, open and transparent elections.
It is important for Democrats to keep the key message at the center of next week's hearing, as GOP members have made it clear that they intend to blur Mueller's findings – and reputation – by shouting a lot about Peter Strzok. , Lisa Page, Christopher Steele, as well as other vague allusions and conspiracy theories that ultimately do not count for Mueller's main conclusions.
Robert Mueller will even pose a challenge to the Democrats present: a friendly witness but uncooperative, more inclined to silence and deflection than the verbosity of a James Comey. Many, including some of his former colleagues at the Department of Justice, hope that the former special advocate will break with tradition and be frank.
Like someone who has tracking Mueller tightly for a decade, writes a book about his time at the FBI, and read or watched almost every minute of testimony or public statement that he gave, I can tell you that it is not a strong bet to let the fate of American democracy rest on a statement without ambiguity of Robert Mueller – especially on the issue of obstruction. Instead, Democrats will have to structure their questions carefully, which requires a thorough understanding of the man at the witness table. To help guide this reflection, I have presented below a series of key principles to know, as well as various questions and areas of investigation to ensure the maximum impact of his testimony.
Note: This guide is intended for serious and thoughtful members of Congress interested in the rule of law and the prevention of foreign interference in elections. That means Mark Meadows of North Carolina and Ohio's Jim Jordan, you can stop reading now.
The old special council is better than you. Robert Mueller has been a prosecutor for more than 40 years, longer than any member except one of these committees sitting in Congress. He spent decades interrogating and questioning witnesses in a number of cases with prosecutors, and dismembering the innumerable intellectual weaknesses of "memos for the pros," write memos from prosecutors to substantiate their charges. inform him as if they were themselves in cross-examination. 60 times, he almost certainly answered more questions from lawmakers than the members who cooked it never landed.
Mueller does not care what matters to you. The FBI auxiliaries never knew the word "inheritance" around him. He is not likely to be particularly concerned about the way he appears at the hearing, nor about Twittersphere's decision to judge him or report back. Spend two years as a special advocate – the central figure of the most-watched and most anticipated investigation and political scandal of modern times – I have already notedIt's probably no more than the third toughest job Robert Mueller has ever had, after leading men in action in Vietnam and leading the FBI following 9/11.
He does not play puns and he has already done your job. Do not waste your time asking hypothetical questions. He does not answer them and you will not persuade him to say something unintentional. He told you what he meant, so pick him up. Use his own force against him: have him use his own words. Go ahead and formulate your question as the "most opportune moment," then ask him to read the relevant quote from the report rather than give his impromptu opinion. Mueller has has already given you 448 pages of overwhelming, juicy, rich and detailed testimonials so that you can organize a "Choose your adventure" audition.
His moral compass is the most direct in Washington. No matter what mud Republicans might throw, there is no one in Washington who is less partisan than Mueller. In fact, in reading his final report, there is an interesting question as to whether Mueller was too fair in his treatment of Trump, if his adherence to the standards of the Department of Justice and the principles of the American justice system eventually blurred the message – and if that would now prevent him from speaking as clearly as hopefully the democrats.
Mueller is not James Comey. The last two years have clearly shown how the two men, who seem so similar on paper, approach life in a very different way. Comey took part in two very dramatic and very dramatic congressional hearings on the political earthquake, during which he openly criticized two presidents. This style is anathema to Mueller, who avoids the spotlight at all costs and makes Jack "Just the Facts" Webb's Dragnet look like a motormouth of opinion.
Do not waste time with redactions or ongoing investigations. House Democrats have spent weeks – and rightly so – pushing to learn more about the approximately 12% of the Mueller report that has been written, and to a dozen open investigations spun out of the Mueller probe. Some of these deletions may indeed contain interesting information, and some of these mystery investigations may prove damaging to members of the president's circle, but do not waste time trying to get Mueller details. . The unedited parts of the report are rather overwhelming. Concentrate on that.
Trump is at home as a leader. It's not collusion that's a problem, it's corruption, secret business with the Kremlin and hindering justice at do not defend the United States against the interference of Vladimir Putin in the US elections. From the campaign to the oval office, the Mueller report describes a man obviously unfit for the presidency. ace I wrote earlier, "(Mueller) two volumes paint a picture of Donald Trump deeply narcissistic and incompetentin turn deceived and ignored by everyone around him. The Congress must dwell on this point. It is dangerous to leave this man responsible.
So how should the Congress deal with its issues? Mueller has already made it clear that he will not go beyond the four corners of the report, which is good. That should be the strength of the committee, not a weakness. By staying close to the report, you can accurately predict its answers. The Congress needs questions for Mueller to review the most important passages of the report aloud. Something like this exchange should be in the first round, Democrats ask him:
Question: "Mr. Mueller, President Trump and his supporters have summarized your report as a" complete and complete exemption: no collusion or interference. "Your report actually concluded the opposite. Can you read your fourth point on page two of volume two?
Reply Mueller: "If we had confidence after a thorough investigation into the facts, the president clearly would not have obstructed justice, we would let him know. On the basis of the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are however unable to reach this judgment. The evidence we have obtained about the actions and intent of the President raises difficult questions that prevent us from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct has taken place. As a result, although this report does not conclude that the President has committed a crime, he does not exonerate him either. "
Ideal follow-up: "So you say that this report would say it if you believe it's exonerating the president – can you tell me where the report exempts it?"
Mueller's answer (presumably): "There is not such a passage. The report says nowhere that it exonerates the president. "
You can imagine progressing through a complete audience like this: selecting passages by hand so that Mueller can read them out loud, building and advancing the story of his conclusions. Although the final report has spent weeks on bestseller lists – and also free online to download– The number of Americans who have read the report remains a rounding error. In fact, most members of Congress seems not to have read the report. On the contrary, the televised audience will be the first opportunity for most Americans to hear what the report really contains, and this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and this, even from the man who wrote it.
"If (Mueller) says what was in the report – and tells the American people to hear it – it will be very, very important," said the representative and president of the judiciary of the House, Jerrold Nadler, New York. told reporters. "It will be important in itself. If he goes further than that, we'll see.
Assuming that it will not go beyond the report, Democrats should focus on clarifying and highlighting Mueller's arguments. On the issue of obstruction, for example, frame the exchange as follows:
Question: "Mr. Mueller, how does US criminal law define the obstruction of justice and how did you define it in your investigation?"
Mueller's answer (presumably something like): "As we pointed out in Volume II, page 9, according to US v. Silverman, the obstruction of justice law "applies to all corrupt behavior that may have an effect that prevents justice from being properly rendered, regardless of the means employed." Three basic elements are common to most applicable obstruction laws: 1) obstruction; 2) a link between the act of obstruction and an official procedure; and 3) a corrupted intention. We also considered a more specific law to tamper with witnesses and outlined the requirements for attempted offenses and attempts to obstruct justice. "
Followed: "Your report seems to make it clear that President Trump has repeatedly tried to block, block or conceal your investigation and the FBI inquiry into Russia. Could you share with the committee what you wrote in point A on page 157 of volume two?
Mueller: "Our investigation revealed several acts of the president likely to exert undue influence on law enforcement investigations, including investigations into the interference and obstruction by Russia. Incidents often took place in individual meetings during which the president sought to use his official power outside the usual channels. These actions were efforts to remove the special advocate and reverse the effects of the Attorney General's challenge; the attempt to use official power to limit the scope of the investigation; establish direct and indirect contact with witnesses who may influence their testimony. Seeing the acts collectively can help clarify their meaning. For example, the direction given by the President to (Donald, White House lawyer, to have the special advocate removed) was followed almost immediately by his request to Lewandowski to ask the Attorney General to limit the scope of the investigation of Russia to eventual interference in the elections – a temporal connection suggesting that both acts were committed for a related purpose in relation to the investigation. "
Followed: "Wow, Mr. Mueller, thank you for sharing this – it seems to me that President Trump has committed multiple acts of obstruction of justice, which Congress had already considered twice as an impenetrable offense. From what I understand, the penal code considers the attempt to obstruction as a successful obstruction, is not it?
And so on. Ask Mueller why the president's attempts to impede the investigation have been in vain (Volume Two, page 158, first paragraph). Ask him specifically about Lewandowski's actions and ask him if, over the past decades in the Justice Department, has Mueller ever sent a presidential political advisor outside the government? Ask him if it is appropriate to do so.
For the question about Russia, go to Volume 1, page 10, where Mueller makes it clear that he could not establish to the conspiracy, not that one did not exist. "The (special council) office has learned that some of the people we interviewed or investigated, including those associated with the Trump campaign, removed relevant or communicated communications during the reporting period. Using applications that use encryption or do not provide long-term data, long-term storage of data or communication records, "reads the report. "Therefore, while this report contains factual and legal determinations that the Office considers to be accurate and complete to the extent possible, given the shortcomings identified, it can not rule out the possibility that unavailable information will shed additional light on (or throw in a new light) the events described in the report. "
Or Konstantin Kilimnik, Paul Manafort and poll data, which Mueller claims to have never really understood in volume one, page 130: "The office could not reliably determine the purpose of Manafort in the sharing of internal survey data with Kilimnik during the campaign period. . " This transfer is in many ways the most suspicious act of the entire campaign, especially considering the fact that Mueller mentions that the exchange was "going on" rather than isolated. What was in it for Manafort? As the judge in charge of the case clearly explained, this was not an email link with the average RealClearPolitics rolling polls. This was detailed information, which only deserved from someone who knew the American polls perfectly and understood how to operationalize it. The mystery remains: do these interrogation data explain the unexpected targeting of the The efforts of the Internet Research Agency on the states of the battlefield like Michigan and Wisconsin?
These two sets of questions – on the remaining riddles of the case and the missing pieces – address one of the most critical questions that the Mueller Report leaves to diligent readers: The obstruction efforts are successful- they conceal other crimes, plots, or misdeeds of the president, his campaign or associates like Roger Stone and Wikileaks?
Beyond the strict interpretation of the report, however, it is important to clarify some issues, although I doubt that Mueller tackles these topics as deeply or as brutally as America asks:
What is the difference, in his mind, between collusion and conspiracy? It seems that his report actually evokes a lot of collusion, but no conspiracy, at least according to the very narrow definition he has chosen.
Why did not I summon the president to appear? Mueller seems to say that he did not summon Trump because he felt he had all the evidence he needed. It's overwhelming in itself; apparently, the available evidence so convinced Mueller that the president had obstructed justice that he had never needed to ask the president himself.
Did Mueller screw up the funding side of the campaign's investigation? One of the most intriguing – and convincing – criticisms of Mueller's work has been set up by Jed Shugerman, who said that the special council had blatantly misinterpreted the campaign finance law, in part because his team did not have real campaign finance experts. As Shugerman wrote, "Mueller has weakened the anti-corruption law by validating the First Amendment's objections to some of the most fundamental provisions of the campaign finance law – by actually creating , a loophole – and making sure that the Congress statutes relating to the "coordination" of the campaign are erroneous. then refuse to announce the violations that I actually noticed. How would Mueller react to this situation and what light would he bring, if any, to his decision-making? (Quinta Jurecic of Lawfare has a good roundup other serious reviews of Mueller's work from thoughtful people if you're interested – but, again, focus on Trump, not Mueller.)
Did Mueller intend to Barr "decide" on the obstruction? I do not know exactly how you say that to go beyond the basic fact that Mueller will not comment, but a letter Mueller wrote in Barr clarifies his dissatisfaction with how Barr took him on himself declare the president free of criminal charges. Perhaps try the following: "Mr. Mueller, at any point in your written or oral communication with the Attorney General, did you ask Mr. Barr to decide the issue of the charges of obstruction on your behalf? "
What else can he tell us about this letter and what led him to write it? Something like: "During your forty years of experience in the Ministry of Justice, have you ever protested in writing against a decision of the Attorney General in writing?" The only known similar conviction of Mueller was addressed to Scottish Justice. Minister following the release of the only prisoner targeted by the bombing of Pan Am 103.
Why did he decide to close the investigation when he did it? Natasha Bertrand of Politico have suggested this question particularly good. The more we learn about Mueller's case, the more disturbing the moment of its conclusion, especially given Roger Stone case is in progress. Stone seems to be the key to answering the unanswered questions about Trump's knowledge and his coordination with Wikileaks – a case that itself becomes more intriguing because of new recent report.
Regardless of the specific issues, Congress will probably judge Wednesday's hearing extremely important and deeply unsatisfactory. Instead of the final act of Mueller's investigation, the hearing will probably be a strange interregnum, the intermediary between the two camps, while the Congress wonders how long and how long to put pressure on its members. own investigations. After Wednesday's testimony, the Congress must question the importance of foreign interference in US elections and how to rethink, where appropriate, the office of the special council for future investigations.
Nadler and Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi will decide how Congress will behave on Wednesday and how it will choose to act on this decision. It should be clear to both and to the American people that for the moment, Robert Mueller will not save Congress. Congress will have to choose instead if it wants to stand up and defend America alone.
Garrett M. Graff (@vermontgmg) is a contributing editor for WIRED and the author, among other works, of The Mueller War, available on Scribd. His next book, The only plan in the sky: an oral history of September 11will be published in September. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
. (tagsToTranslate) Robert Mueller (t) Russian Congress of Investigation (t) Congress (t) Donald Trump