The first part of the Mueller report details Russia's efforts to end the 2016 presidential campaignand examines the many interactions between Trump's associates and Russia. But it is in the second half, which provides a multitude of cases in which Trump was able to obstruct justice, that the real bombs are waiting.
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According to the report, Trump reacted to The appointment of Mueller as special counsel in May 2017 as follows: "Oh my god, it's terrible.It's the end of my presidency.I'm screwed up."
And then, as Mueller describes it sometimes sneakily, at least 10 episodes in the following months, Trump sought to block or stop this investigation. He did so even as Mueller stubbornly published the "radical and systematic way" in which the Russian government attacked the 2016 presidential electionand charged with serious criminal charges-And won guilty pleas-D'half a dozen of the president's main campaigning staff.
Few or none of these revelations had made their way into Four-page summary by Attorney General William Barr of the Mueller report last month. Even though he stated that Mueller had not concluded that Trump's campaign was conspiring – and distinct from the collusion, which the report makes clear – with the Russian government, he seems to have induced the public into error on the seriousness of the evidence relating to obstruction of justice. He also misunderstood Mueller's reasoning that he had not made "a traditional decision of the Crown" on half of his investigation of an obstacle.
The Attorney General suggested that Mueller left that choice to Barr. In truth, the report makes it clear that Mueller felt compelled by the Justice Department's policy not to indict a president. Do not confuse the lack of prosecution, in other words, with the absence of wrongdoing. "If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts about the fact that the president did not obstruct justice, we would be state," said Mueller's report. "Therefore, although this report does not conclude that the president has committed a crime, he does not exonerate him either."
Mueller then states that Congress, and not the Attorney General, is the appropriate body to answer the question of obstruction. As Mueller wrote in what appears to be anything but a referral for the purposes of an impeachment proceeding: "The finding that Congress can enforce the obstruction laws at the same time". The corrupt exercise of the president's powers is consistent with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no one is above the law. "
That the content of the Mueller report diverges so abruptly from Barr's portrayal has long been possible, on the basis of its initial summary and Subsequent appearance before the Congress. After all, Barr was named after writing a note making the Mueller investigation illegal. In the hours leading up to the release of the report, this suspicion has risen sharply.
Ninety minutes before the public had the opportunity to read the report, Barr held a brief and sometimes brief 22-minute press conference during which I recapitulated his points of view , presenting an argument that made him rather resemble the president's defense attorney. as the chief of the law enforcement of the nation. "The special council found no collusion," Barr said. "This is the end result," continued Barr, highlighting the frustration of the Russian president's investigation against Russia, asking reporters to take into account the emotions and mental state Donald Trump.
Mr Barr also congratulated Donald Trump on his "total cooperation", ignoring the president's refusal to grant him an interview with Mueller's investigators, as well as the fact that Trump attempted at least once to fire the Special advocate, systematically attacking the legitimacy of the investigation in public, and openly encouraged witnesses not to cooperate. In addition, Barr never mentioned that half a dozen of the president's senior campaigners, including the former campaign chairman, the campaign vice president, the national security advisor and a personal attorney, all pleaded guilty to the crimes resulting from the investigation.
The real scope and implications of Mueller's work did not come one hour later, when the report itself was published on the Department of Justice website. It soon became apparent that the report did not appear with the pink glasses Barr had presented to him the previous month.
The contrast was particularly striking in terms of obstruction. The 10 episodes contained in the report include an attempt by a Trump attorney to prevent national security adviser Michael Flynn from involving the president, and Trump's attempts to pressure a lawyer to the White House to conceal or block the investigation of National Security Councilor Michael Flynn the presidency, and Trump enjoining White House lawyer Don McGahn to deny the fact that Trump had ever ordered him to return Mueller. Trump adds that, according to the report, McGahn kept notes of their meetings.
Mueller also concluded that it was a good reason for the president to attempt to obstruct the FBI's ongoing investigation. "The evidence does suggest that an in-depth investigation by the FBI would reveal facts about the campaign and that the president himself might have understood that there would be personal or political concern," Mueller wrote.
After reading the many episodes, it seems almost nothing of the miracle that the probe Mueller seems to have looped at will, although this is not due to lack of effort on the part of Trump to derail it. Instead, Mueller portrays the portrait of a commander-in-chief who fought back in public and privately against the spacecraft, but who was finally rescued from his worst instincts by advisers such as McGahn, who largely cooperated with the Mueller probe and testified 30 hours before. his team "The president's efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful," reads the report, "but that's largely because of the people who surrounded the president who has refused to execute orders or to accede to his requests ".
The probe of Russia
The issue of obstruction will rightly occupy much of Thursday's day. But the Mueller report also clarifies some issues regarding the Trump campaign and Russia, which again proposes a fix to Barr's enthusiastic exemption of Trump.
The first volume of the report is a very detailed and deeply informed investigation of Russia's two-part attack on the 2016 campaign. It encompasses both the information influence operations of the Internet Research Agency and the outstanding viruses and viruses of the Russian military intelligence agency GRU, routed through WikiLeaks with the help of thinly veiled online personalities of DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0. As Mueller wrote, "the Russian government intervened in the 2016 election in a radical and systematic way".
In the first 200 pages of the report, Mueller describes Moscow's efforts, as well as the various strange cases in which Trump campaigners or Trump aides met with people related to Russia. Although none of the interactions between Trump's associates and the Russians appeared to be at the level of a ployable prosecution, Mueller himself set the bar very high to define such accusations, as defining the applicable charges as resulting solely from an agreement, tacit or explicit, with the Russian government itself. Mueller however took the precaution of saying that the Trump campaign "wait" apparently to benefit from Russia's help.
In his summary of the second part of a sentence on the first page of Volume I, Barr had already stated to Congress that "the investigation did not establish that the members of the Trump campaign had conspired or coordinated their efforts with the Russian government in its attempts at electoral interference. "The complete sentence is decidedly more troubling. As Mueller actually wrote: "Although the investigation established that the Russian government would benefit from a Trump presidency and would strive to achieve this result, and that the campaign hoped to benefit from the information stolen and published by voters through to Russian efforts, the investigation has not established that members of the Trump campaign have conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its efforts to electoral interference. "
In addition, Mueller makes it clear that one of the reasons he could not find a plot to continue between the Trump campaign and Russia was that it was blocked by lies, obstruction and evidence erased by its investigation targets. "The Office can not exclude the possibility that unavailable information may also be slightly clearer (or shed new light) on the events described in the report," Mueller wrote. In one specific example, Mueller said that he was unable to reconcile the purpose of a mysterious meeting in Seychelles because of two key personalities, the campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and the founder of Blackwater, Erik Prince, had suppressed their exchanges on the meeting.
What happens next?
There have been countless moments – some described in great detail in the Mueller report – where it seemed that Mueller himself could be put to death or his investigation blocked, including President's threats and the always inexplicable appointment of Matthew Whitaker as Acting Attorney General. Despite everything, despite the breathtaking cable coverage and newspaper headlines, Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein endured the investigation under the conditions reserved for them. In his first letter to Congress announcing the end of the investigation, Barr, legally bound to do so, explained that there were no significant areas where he or Rosenstein were blocking Mueller.
Given the nearly 200 pages of episodes related to obstruction and evidence collected by Mueller, including the confirmation that Trump attempted to remove and take control of it. investigation itself, this fact alone seems to testify to the resilience of the country's democratic institutions.
But the publication of the report also showed how many investigations still needed to be conducted, even though Mueller himself was preparing to finish his work in the coming days and return to private life. Mueller obviously referred to at least 14 ongoing investigations of other prosecutors, of which 12 are redacted in the report to avoid harming the ongoing cases. The other two, dedicated to Michael Cohen and former White House lawyer Greg Craig, have been known to the public for some time.
And beyond that, the House Judiciary Committee Chair, Jerry Nadler, has already asked Robert Mueller to testify before Congress by May 23rd. Nadler also announced his intention to subpoena unreduced support, as well as any underlying elements. Which is to say: it's far from over. The long awaited "Mueller Time" may have arrived on Thursday, but the impact of Mueller will be felt for a while.
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