Here’s some good news. It turns out that the FBI’a former Director of 12 years who’s the FBI’s Special Counsel Robert Mueller III and the author of the FBI’s 3/22/2019 final report regarding its 22 months long Trump-Russia probe, has agreed to publicly testify on the 17th of July 2019, pursuant to 2 subpoenas issued by the US House Judiciary Committee and the Select Committee on Intelligence.
The former Detroit US attorney and the current University of Michigan’s Law School Professor Barbara McQuade wrote the below Just Security article which explains well why the “obstruction of Justice” acts, allegedly committed by the republican President Donald Trump is so important. Her premise is that while the Mueller report details numerous contacts between his campaign team and Russian officials where coordination has obviously occurred, he was never able to prove criminal conspiracy that would meet the “beyond the reasonable doubt” standard because the president and others went out of their way to obstruct him in his investigation.
On the 10th of June 2019, at that House Judiciary hearing where John Dean from the Watergate era, testified, Professor McQuade was also one of the witnesses. She told lawmakers that President Donald Trump’s conduct as described in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report “constituted multiple crimes of obstruction of justice.”
Here’s the rest of the story…
As per a 6/25/2019 Axios report, “Robert Mueller agrees to publicly testify to Congress:”
“Why it matters: Mueller previously said that he preferred not to testify and that his 400-page report would function as his testimony. (The subpoenas) are what ultimately broke the deadlock.”
As per the 6/10/2019 Detroit News report, “McQuade: ‘Multiple crimes’ by Trump in obstructing justice” by Melissa Nann Burke:
“McQuade, now a professor at the University of Michigan School of Law, has opined extensively on the Mueller investigation.”
“McQuade opined that the most important finding by Mueller was that Russia interfered in the 2016 election in “sweeping and systematic fashion.”
“(Mueller report) It’s supported by evidence of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and I’m confident that if anyone other than a sitting president committed this conduct that person would be charged with crimes,” McQuade said in testimony before Congress Monday (6/10/2019). “
“Why does that matter? The obstruction described in the report created a risk to our national security. It was designed to prevent investigators from learning all of the facts about an attack on our country by a hostile foreign adversary.”
“McQuade, who oversaw public corruption cases while in office, testified Monday before the House Judiciary Committee in the first hearing focusing on the findings of Mueller’s report — specifically highlighting the section on obstruction of justice.”
She said in written testimony that obstruction is one of the “most serious” matters that prosecutors investigate because it “conceals the truth” and should not be dismissed as a mere “process” crime.”
“She stressed that the crime of obstruction of justice can include attempts to obstruct and does not require proof of an underlying crime.”
“McQuade last month signed onto a statement with over 1,000 other former federal prosecutors saying Trump would be charged with crimes for obstruction of justice were he not in the White House.”
“She said she endorsed the document “to make clear what Mueller’s nuance may have obscured: Trump’s conduct violated the obstruction of justice statute, and he would be charged with crimes if he were not president.”
“The prosecutors in their statement noted that Trump is covered by a policy imposed by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel against indicting a sitting president. But for that policy, the details in Mueller’s report would result in “multiple” felony charges for obstruction of justice, the prosecutors said.”
“McQuade noted that in four of the 10 episodes described by Mueller, he found “substantial” evidence meeting all three elements of obstruction of justice.”
“McQuade on Monday (6/10/2019) specifically cited Trump’s alleged efforts to fire Mueller through former White House counsel Donald McGahn and to deny public reports about that order, as well as Trump’s efforts to persuade then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reverse his decision to recuse himself from the Russia probe.”
“President Trump asked various intermediaries, including Corey Lewandowski, who was at that point a private citizen, to convey a message to Mr. Sessions, but ultimately, none of them did it,” McQuade said.”
“But for the acts of those associates, Mr. Trump would have limited the investigation to future elections that would have prevented Mr. Muller from learning the facts about Russian interference in the 2016 election — essential to our national security.”
“McQuade has suggested that Mueller investigated to preserve evidence for Congress to consider the president’s misconduct and potentially take up impeachment.”
Special Counsel Robert Mueller documented efforts by the Trump campaign to impede his investigation into Russia’s attack on our election. He decided that because he was unable to charge a sitting president with a crime, he would not conclude whether any of these efforts amounted to the crime of obstruction of justice. But to what extent did these efforts successfully prevent Mueller from finding the truth?
“Far from “clearing” or “exonerating” the Trump campaign from misconduct, Mueller found numerous links between individuals with ties to the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump Campaign, but insufficient evidence “to charge a broader conspiracy” with Russian efforts to influence the election. Would an investigation free from obstruction have established evidence sufficient for criminal conspiracy charges?”
“Mueller documented numerous efforts by Trump and his associates that prevented his team from gathering the evidence that it sought. Despite Attorney General William Barr’s characterization of the White House as “fully cooperative with the Special Counsel’s investigation,” the Mueller report paints a different picture. Mueller wrote about numerous instances in which witnesses lied or withheld information, deleted communications and used encrypted messaging applications. Other practical obstacles prevented Mueller from completing his investigation, including some witnesses’ refusal to answer questions on the basis of their Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination, other legal privileges and the inability to obtain evidence located overseas.”
“In an important but somewhat overlooked passage, the Mueller report states that in light of these “identified gaps,” in the evidence, “the Office cannot rule out the possibility that the unavailable information would shed additional light on (or cast in a new light) the events described in the report.” That is, the obstruction may have worked.”
“Mueller found “substantial evidence” to support multiple counts of obstruction of justice, including 10 episodes involving President Donald Trump interfering with the investigation. For instance, in June 2017, Trump asked White House Counsel Donald McGahn to fire Mueller. When reports of that incident became public, Trump ordered McGahn to falsely deny the report and create a false document for their files. If successful, this conduct would have had the natural tendency to impede the investigation. In another instance, Trump asked his former campaign chairman Corey Lewandowski, a private citizen, to tell then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reverse his decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation and publicly announce that the special counsel’s investigation would focus only on future elections, and not the 2016 election. If successful, this effort wouldn’t only have shielded the Trump campaign from scrutiny, but also would have harmed our national security by preventing our government from learning about the details of Russia’s attack on the 2016 election. Of course, both McGahn and Lewandowski avoided carrying out the president’s orders. And while the president’s efforts weren’t successful, even attempts to obstruct justice are illegal because they interfere with an investigator’s quest to find the truth.”
“But besides these ham-handed attempts at obstruction, other efforts appeared to successfully impede Mueller from learning the full truth about the conduct of Russians and members of the Trump campaign.”
Trump’s Refusal to Be Interviewed
“One important act that prevented Mueller from conducting a fulsome investigation was Trump’s refusal to participate in an interview with Mueller. For more than a year, Trump resisted efforts to schedule an interview, even though Mueller told the president’s counsel that an interview was “vital” to the investigation, and that it was “in the interest of the Presidency and the public for an interview to take place.” In the end, Trump answered written questions instead, limiting responses to conspiracy and not addressing obstruction. In more than 30 instances, Trump responded that he didn’t recall or remember the information called for by the question.”
“Mueller found Trump’s written responses “inadequate,” “incomplete” and “imprecise.” If Trump had sat for an interview and had been forthcoming and truthful, the outcome of the investigation may have been different. Trump’s refusal to answer questions accounts for some of the gaps in Mueller’s factual findings.”
Lies and Incomplete Information
“Other acts that prevented Mueller from reaching the full truth were witnesses who lied or provided incomplete information. Mueller wrote: “the investigation established that several individuals affiliated with the Trump Campaign lied to the Office, and to Congress, about their interactions with Russian-affiliated individuals and related matters. Those lies materially impaired the investigation of Russian election interference.” The report cites lies by former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, former Trump attorney Michael Cohen and former policy adviser George Papadopoulos, all of whom pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators.”
“Papadopoulos lied about his interactions with Joseph Mifsud, the professor who told Papadopoulos that the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton in the form of thousands of emails. Lies by Papadopoulos “hindered investigators’ ability to effectively question Mifsud when he was interviewed in the lobby of a Washington, D.C., hotel,” by undermining their ability to challenge inaccurate statements. Lies by Papadopoulos and Mifsud prevented investigators from learning all of the facts about Mifsud’s knowledge of Russia’s purported possession of the Clinton emails.”
“Mueller also noted that former campaign chairman Paul Manafort “lied to the Office and the grand jury concerning his interactions and communications with Konstantin Kilimnik about Trump Campaign polling data and a peace plan for Ukraine.” According to the Mueller report, the FBI assessed that Kilimnik has “ties to Russian intelligence.” Manafort’s lies about providing polling data prevented Mueller from fully understanding the purpose of delivering the information to Kilimnik. The data included polling results from Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Trump ended up winning upset victories in 3 of those 4 states. Manafort lied about sharing the polling data even after he began cooperating, and, in doing so, risked severe legal consequences. The lingering questions about the exchange of polling data and why Manafort refused to explain it leaves unresolved whether there was coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign, and the effect of the polling data on the outcome of the election.”
“In addition, some witnesses took active steps to conceal their text and email messages. Mueller noted that some individuals who were interviewed “deleted relevant communications or communicated during the relevant period using applications that feature encryption or that do not provide for long-term retention of data or communications records.” The results of those efforts hampered Mueller and his team, which “wasn’t able to corroborate witness statements through comparison to contemporaneous communications or fully question witnesses about statements that appeared inconsistent with other known facts.”
“In addition to obstructive efforts, in some instances legal obstacles prevented Mueller from learning the full story. He writes,”
“The investigation did not always yield admissible information or testimony, or a complete picture of the activities undertaken by subjects of the investigation. Some individuals invoked their Fifth Amendment right against compelled self-incrimination and were not, in the Office’s judgment, appropriate candidates for grants of immunity.”
Link to entire report:
Gronda, good work, as usual. Many things frustrate me about this issue, but here is yet one more judge, lawyer or law-professor who has read the report noting major concerns over the president’s actions in the Mueller report. They are imploring Trump sycophants who did not bother to read the report to act. This is why Barr’s summary was disingenuous. He knew he could sway opinion with a nation who does not read or watch real news. Keith
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You are so right. The Attorney General William Barr knew exactly what he was doing when he misrepresented in the Mueller report and he has succeeded in muddying up the waters.
Mr. Mueller has to testify. Rep Nadler is smart enough to know not to mess with Mr. Mueller and to treat him with respect. But the GOP members cannot resist. They will attempt to test the waters with their conspiracy type questions about the legitimacy of his investigation and I can’t think of a better person to swat them back.
Gronda, speaking plainly, Barr did a disservice to America by whitewashing the Mueller report findings. And, that is the opinion of former federal prosecutors and several other Republicans. Keith
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