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'A Damning Portrait Of Lies': House Chairs Blast Trump Obstruction of Justice


Posted on Thu, Apr 18th, 2019 by Jason Easley
‘A Damning Portrait Of Lies’: House Chairs Blast Trump Obstruction of Justice

The powerful chairs of all of the major House committees issued a joint statement blasting Trump’s lies and obstruction of justice.

House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, Committee on Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah E. Cummings, Committee on Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters, Committee on Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot L. Engel, and Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal said in a joint statement provided to PoliticusUSA:

Despite a series of statements and letters by Attorney General Barr which mischaracterized Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s findings – beginning with his four-page summary almost a month ago, his congressional testimony last week, and today’s misleading press conference – the Special Counsel’s report speaks for itself and explicitly does not exonerate the president. Attorney General Barr misrepresented important aspects of the Special Counsel’s findings and provided the White House advance access to the report.

Taken as a whole, Mueller’s report paints a damning portrait of lies that appear to have materially impaired the investigation, a body of evidence of improper contacts with a foreign adversary, and serious allegations about how President Trump sought to obstruct a legitimate, and deeply important, counterintelligence investigation.

We are profoundly troubled by the astonishing efforts by President Trump identified in the report to obstruct the investigation, including his attempts to remove the Special Counsel and encourage witnesses to lie and to destroy or conceal evidence. In direct contradiction to the statements of the Attorney General this morning that the Special Counsel did not consider Department of Justice policy against indicting a sitting president, the Special Counsel stated that ‘fairness concerns counseled against potentially reaching that judgment [of criminal conduct] when no charges can be brought.’ Nor do we believe it was the Attorney General’s place to make such a judgment, either, and it is now apparent that the Special Counsel expressed no desire to have Barr make that decision himself. Instead, as the Special Counsel undoubtedly anticipated, it must fall to Congress to assess the President’s improper, corrupt and immoral conduct in an effort to obstruct the investigation.

Despite redactions that appear to obscure important details, the Special Counsel’s report finds that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 election in a ‘sweeping and systematic’ fashion in order to assist the candidacy of Donald Trump, and that the Trump campaign was aware of those efforts and expected it would benefit electorally from Russia’s efforts. Contrary to Attorney General Barr’s statements, the report catalogues the extensive interactions between Russian officials and agents and Trump campaign associates of a profoundly compromising nature. The report details how Russia deployed a multi-faceted intelligence operation and sought to exploit and influence the Trump campaign and transition, while the Trump campaign, beginning with candidate Trump, sought to benefit from a hostile foreign intelligence operation.

The report also details the multiple convictions of Trump campaign officials and associates secured by the Special Counsel for crimes related to obstructing the investigation, which hampered the investigation, according to the Special Counsel. In addition, the report outlines efforts to destroy evidence, conceal evidence through encrypted apps, and otherwise interfere with the Special Counsel’s ability to conduct this investigation. This apparent coordinated effort to cover up illicit contacts and links with Russia should concern all Americans, whether or not criminal charges were brought.

Although the details of the report are shocking, much of it still remains redacted and many questions remain. We must get the full report and the underlying evidence, including grand jury material, in order to perform our constitutional duties, including deciding whether new legislation is necessary. Special Counsel Mueller’s fact-gathering has concluded. It is now Congress’ responsibility to review and assess the evidence.

The House will investigate Trump for obstruction of justice, and they will get the full Mueller report, after a likely court battle. The process for laying out a sweeping case against Trump has taken a big step forward with the release of the redacted report. Trump and Barr engaged in a cover-up, but their time is running out, and the lies are being exposed.
Posted by babylonsister | Thu Apr 18, 2019, 07:26 PM (1 replies)

Mueller report ropes in Senate GOP

Mueller report ropes in Senate GOP
Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr apparently supplied the White House counsel’s office with information about the Russia probe.
04/18/2019 02:14 PM EDT
Updated 04/18/2019 04:52 PM EDT

The Senate GOP found itself ensnared in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report Thursday, with new revelations about Sen. Richard Burr's communications with the White House and details about a GOP aide’s quest to obtain Hillary Clinton‘s emails.

Though the vast majority of the report centered on Russian influence in the 2016 election and President Donald Trump’s apparent efforts to undercut Mueller’s probe, the report also offers a window into how the broad investigations have touched on individual senators and even a relatively unknown congressional staffer. It also shows how eager the White House was for insight into the series of federal probes that were launched early in Trump’s presidency.

Senate Intelligence Chairman Burr (R-N.C.), for instance, apparently supplied the White House counsel's office with information about FBI investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to the report. The report says that on March 9, 2017, then-FBI Director James Comey briefed congressional leaders and intelligence committee heads on the ongoing investigation into Russian interference. That briefing included "an identification of the principal U.S. subjects of the investigation."

Burr then corresponded with the White House a week later about the Russia probes, and the White House counsel's office, led by Don McGahn, "appears to have received information about the status of the FBI investigation," the special counsel report said.


Posted by babylonsister | Thu Apr 18, 2019, 05:57 PM (2 replies)

Steny Hoyer: "...going forward on impeachment is not worthwhile..."


Bonus Quote of the Day
April 18, 2019 at 3:52 pm EDT By Taegan Goddard

“Based on what we have seen to date, going forward on impeachment is not worthwhile at this point. Very frankly, there is an election in 18 months and the American people will make a judgement.”

— House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), quoted by CNN, affirming the House leadership’s strategy to avoid impeachment proceedings.
Posted by babylonsister | Thu Apr 18, 2019, 05:20 PM (93 replies)

The Mueller report's collusion section is much worse than you think

The Mueller report’s collusion section is much worse than you think
The contacts with Russians documented in the report amount to a devastating indictment of Trump’s approach to politics.
By Zack Beauchamp@zackbeauchampzack@vox.com Apr 18, 2019, 2:50pm EDT

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Donald Trump and Russia establishes a damning series of facts about the Trump campaign’s connections to the Kremlin.

We learned that two Trump campaign officials, campaign manager Paul Manafort and Manafort’s deputy Rick Gates, were regularly providing polling information to a Russian national whom Gates believed to be a “spy.”

We learned that, after Trump publicly called on Russia to find Hillary Clinton’s emails, he privately ordered future National Security Adviser Michael Flynn to find them. Flynn reached out to a man named Peter Smith who (apparently falsely) told a number of people that he was in contact with Russian agents.

We learned that Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos attempted to arrange meetings between Trump and Putin, and that Trump personally approved Papadopoulos’s work on this front.

The report is very clear that Mueller’s investigation did not establish that the Trump campaign criminally conspired on illegal Russian election interference, or that it coordinated with Russia through either an active or tacit agreement.

But the report, combined with other publicly known facts — that Donald Trump Jr. arranged a meeting with the express purpose of obtaining Russian “dirt” on Clinton, and that Papadopoulos was offered similar dirt from a Russian agent, among others — paints a damning picture of the campaign. It was both actively seeking to cultivate a relationship with the Russian government and willing to work with it to acquire damaging information about its political opponents. That willingness included explicitly sharing information with or soliciting information from Russian operatives.


Posted by babylonsister | Thu Apr 18, 2019, 04:43 PM (19 replies)

The Mueller Report Is an Impeachment Referral

The Mueller Report Is an Impeachment Referral
The special counsel has concluded he can neither charge nor clear the president. Only Congress can now resolve the allegations against him.
2:45 PM ET
Yoni Appelbaum

The redacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report released on Thursday runs 448 pages. But its most important implication can be summarized in a single sentence: There is sufficient evidence that President Donald Trump obstructed justice to merit impeachment hearings.

A basic principle lies at the heart of the American criminal-justice system: The accused is entitled to a fair defense and a chance to clear his name. Every American is entitled to this protection, from the humblest citizen all the way up to the chief executive. And that, Mueller explained in his report, is why criminal allegations against a sitting president should be considered by Congress and not the Justice Department. The Mueller report, in short, is an impeachment referral.

In his report, Mueller took pains to detail why he “determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment” as to whether the president had broken the law by obstructing justice. He began by noting that he accepted the opinion of the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC)—which issues guidance for the executive branch on questions of law—that a sitting president cannot be indicted.

That, Mueller explained, posed an insurmountable problem. A normal investigation would end with a prosecutor deciding to bring charges, or to drop the case. It’s a binary choice. But “fairness concerns counseled against potentially reaching that judgment when no charges can be brought.” Ordinarily, a criminal charge would result in “a speedy and public trial, with all the procedural protections that surround a criminal case.” But if Mueller were to state plainly that, in his judgment, the president had broken the law and obstructed justice, it would afford “no such adversarial opportunity for public name-clearing before an impartial adjudicator.” In other words, because a sitting president cannot be indicted, making such a charge publicly would effectively deny Trump his day in court, and the chance to clear his name.


Posted by babylonsister | Thu Apr 18, 2019, 04:30 PM (3 replies)

Blackwater founder Erik Prince helped fund effort tied to obtaining Clinton's emails



Blackwater founder Erik Prince helped fund effort tied to obtaining Clinton's emails
By John Bowden - 04/18/19 02:48 PM EDT

Blackwater founder Erik Prince was involved in funding an effort to verify if a cache of stolen emails purporting to be from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's private email server were legitimate, according to special counsel Robert Mueller's report.

Prince in 2016 was approached by Barbara Ledeen, an aide to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and agreed to fund the hiring of a tech expert to verify if the emails were from Clinton's server, which was the subject of a 2016 FBI investigation.

"Ledeen claimed to have obtained a trove of emails (from what she described as the 'dark web') that purported to be the deleted Clinton emails. Ledeen wanted to authenticate the emails and solicited contributions to fund that effort. Erik Prince provided funding to hire a tech advisor to ascertain the authenticity of the emails," reads a section of the Mueller report, which was released Thursday.

"According to Prince, the tech advisor determined that the emails were not authentic," the report continues.

Prince, who advised the Trump campaign throughout 2016, admitted last month to have also been involved in a key meeting at Trump Tower during the campaign. At that meeting, businessman George Nader told top members of the campaign that the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia were interested in supporting President Trump's bid for the White House.

Prince, the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, previously testified before Congress that he only had an "unofficial" role with the Trump campaign, limited to placing yard signs and attending fundraisers. But in March he told Al Jazeera he had discussed Iran policy with top members of the campaign.

Prince and Nader have both been asked to cooperate in the House Judiciary Committee's ongoing investigation into the president and his advisers.
Posted by babylonsister | Thu Apr 18, 2019, 03:49 PM (6 replies)

Sarah Sanders Admitted to the Special Counsel that She Lied About Comey


1 hour ago
Sarah Sanders Admitted to the Special Counsel that She Lied About Comey
She says her claims about the former FBI director were a “slip of the tongue.”

We’re still making our way through a redacted version of Robert Mueller’s 448-page report on the Russia investigation, but one of the early revelations that has emerged is the extent to which President Donald Trump’s officials have lied on his behalf. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders produced one sizable whopper in May 2017, in the aftermath of FBI Director James Comey’s firing, when she suggested that he was unpopular among the bureau’s rank and file.

After a reporter claimed that a “vast majority” of agents supported Comey, Sanders replied, “Look, we’ve heard from countless members of the FBI that say very different things.”
That response was “not founded on anything,” Mueller’s office concluded after interviewing Sanders, who told special counsel staffers she had made a “slip of the tongue.” The report also says she spoke to the president after that press conference and he told her she did a “good job and did not point out any inaccuracies in her comments.”

The lack of evidence for this sentiment didn’t stop Trump from latching on to it in an interview with Lester Holt of NBC News a day later. He said the FBI was in “virtual turmoil” under Comey.

Andrew McCabe, then acting FBI director, defended the bureau’s ousted leader in a congressional hearing that week, telling lawmakers that Comey “enjoyed broad support in the FBI and he still does to this day.” A survey of FBI employees released a year later by Lawfare backed up McCabe’s description. “Morale at the FBI had in fact improved during Comey’s tenure, and the former director was widely admired among FBI personnel,” the site found. It was only under Christopher Wray, Comey’s successor, that morale plummeted and employees expressed “less confidence in the ethics and vision of the bureau’s new leadership,” the New York Times noted.
Posted by babylonsister | Thu Apr 18, 2019, 02:49 PM (3 replies)

Kellyanne Conway declares Mueller report's release 'best day' since Trump's election

Kellyanne Conway declares Mueller report's release 'best day' since Trump's election
By Brett Samuels - 04/18/19 02:15 PM EDT

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway declared Thursday "the best day" since President Trump's election, reveling in the findings of special counsel Robert Mueller's full report.

Conway spoke to reporters at the White House, where she swiped at Democrats and the media after Mueller's investigation and downplayed any potentially damaging information included in the more than 400-page document, which did not implicate Trump in conspiracy with the Russian government or obstruction of justice.

"I called this a political proctology exam," Conway said of the report, claiming Trump had received a "clean bill of health."

Mueller's report did not establish that there was collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. On obstruction of justice, Mueller looked at 10 episodes and did not exonerate Trump, but Attorney General William Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein determined there was not sufficient evidence to charge the president.

Conway said she read the entire report.

"That should make people very good about democracy," Conway said of the report's main findings. "And it should make people feel really great that a campaign I managed to its successful end did not collude with any Russians."

"We’re accepting apologies today, too, for anybody who feels the grace in offering them," she added.


Posted by babylonsister | Thu Apr 18, 2019, 02:44 PM (16 replies)

Mueller Report Finds Trump Tried to Control Russia Investigation

Mueller Report Finds Trump Tried to Control Russia Investigation
The effort included “non-public efforts to control [the Mueller probe], and efforts in both private and public to encourage witnesses not to cooperate with the investigation.”
Justin Miller,
Betsy Woodruff
04.18.19 9:34 AM ET

Special Counsel Robert Mueller found that President Trump tried to control the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and encouraged witnesses not to cooperate—but Attorney General William Barr decided that wasn’t a crime.

At a press conference ahead of the Mueller report’s release, Barr went out of his way to explain how he disagreed with Mueller’s legal theories and explain away Trump’s behavior. Barr proclaimed Trump’s innocence and justified the president’s actions as the understandable behavior of a man persecuted by political opponents.

But when the report was finally released to the public, it outlined 10 episodes of possible obstruction of justice by Trump, including: ordering James Comey to drop the FBI investigation into national security advisor Michael Flynn; directing the White House counsel to fire Mueller; dictating a message to Attorney General Jeff Sessions to limit the Mueller probe; telling witnesses publicly not to cooperate; having Cohen not contradict him in congressional testimony about Trump Tower Moscow.

“The president engaged in... conduct involving public attacks on the investigation, non-public efforts to control it, and efforts in both private and public to encourage witnesses not cooperate with the investigation.”
— Mueller Report


Posted by babylonsister | Thu Apr 18, 2019, 12:29 PM (4 replies)

Lindsey Graham 'not interested' in calling Mueller to testify before Judiciary Committee

Lindsey Graham ‘not interested’ in calling Mueller to testify before Judiciary Committee
By Emma Dumain
April 18, 2019 11:38 AM, Updated 20 minutes ago

Lindsey Graham has no plans to ask White House special counsel Robert Mueller to testify before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.

The South Carolina Republican, reached by phone by McClatchy as he traveled on official business in Rwanda, said he was “not interested” in hearing from Mueller, the lead author of the just-released report detailing the years-long investigation into whether President Donald Trump colluded with Russia and obstructed justice.

Graham could face increased pressure to invite Mueller to appear before the committee, which he chairs.

U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-New York, has asked Mueller to come speak to members of his panel, and Attorney General William Barr said at a press conference earlier Thursday morning he had no problem with Mueller testifying on Capitol Hill.


Posted by babylonsister | Thu Apr 18, 2019, 12:07 PM (9 replies)
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