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Mueller Spoke. Are We Listening?

2019-May-30

Robert Mueller, former Special Counsel appointed two years ago to investigate Russian interference in our 2016 presidential election, spoke yesterday. He announced that the investigation was complete; he was resigning; and he thanked all the men and women who worked on the investigation.

And, oh, by the way, there were a few things he wanted all Americans to take away from his 448-page report. Specifically, he highlighted these three:

  1. The Russians did interfere in our 2016 presidential election to help Donald Trump get elected. The Russians “launched a concerted attack on our political system” with “multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election.”
  2. Mr. Mueller was not allowed to indict a sitting president due to Department of Justice guidelines. “[U]nder longstanding department policy, a president cannot be charged with a federal crime while he is in office.” However, a Special Counsel is allowed to investigate a sitting president, collect the evidence, charge co-conspirators, and leave it to Congress to proceed with impeachment inquiries of the President.
  3. Mr. Mueller said he could not exonerate Mr. Trump. He pointed out that if he had found that Donald Trump did not commit a crime, he would have been allowed under DOJ guidelines to state that in his report, but he did not. “[I]f we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.”

In truth, Robert Mueller did not say anything yesterday that was not already in his report. I highly recommend everyone read the Mueller Report, yes, all 448 pages. It is a real page-turner, seriously. You might need to remind yourself to close your mouth every few pages, but it is well worth a few flies in the mouth. It is critically important for us to understand the Russian attack on our country and what kind of man sleeps in the White House. But in case you don’t have the time right now to read the full report, I’ll give you a few additional highlights to whet your interest in reading it later.

The Mueller Report Title Page - BlueBeachSong

THE CHARGE

Mr. Mueller was assigned to not only investigate Russian efforts to influence our 2016 presidential election, but also Donald Trump’s complicity or participation – directly or indirectly through members of his family or campaign – with the Russians, and any attempts at obstructing the investigation.

THE FINDINGS

THE RUSSIAN INTERFERENCE: The investigation found that “there were multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election” by the Russians, using “sophisticated cybertechniques to hack into computers and networks,” stealing and weaponizing private information and emails, and engaging in a vast social media operation where they posed as Americans.

As alleged by the grand jury in an indictment, Russian intelligence officers who are part of the Russian military, launched a concerted attack on our political system. The indictment alleges that they used sophisticated cybertechniques to hack into computers and networks used by the Clinton campaign. They stole private information and then released that information through fake online identities and through the organization WikiLeaks.

The releases were designed and timed to interfere with our election and to damage a presidential candidate. And at the same time, as the grand jury alleged in a separate indictment, a private Russian entity engaged in a social media operation, where Russian citizens posed as Americans in order to influence an election. These indictments contain allegations, and we are not commenting on the guilt or the innocence of any specific defendant. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

[The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/29/us/politics/mueller-transcript.html%5D

THE TRUMP TEAM COLLUSION: Mueller’s investigation found that there was collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians, citing more than 140 instances of interactions. According to the Moscow Project’s analysis, there were “251 contacts between Trump’s team and Russia-linked operatives…including at least 37 meetings.” Although Donald Trump and “33 high-ranking campaign officials and Trump advisers” had knowledge of the Russian contacts, no one reported any of the contacts to the authorities. “Instead, the Trump team tried to cover up every single one of them.”

The Mueller report clearly identified collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, despite repeated denials from Trump and many of his senior advisers and close associates that there were any connections between the two campaigns.

A total of 251 contacts between Trump’s team and Russia-linked operatives have been identified, including at least 37 meetings. And we know that at least 33 high-ranking campaign officials and Trump advisers were aware of contacts with Russia-linked operatives during the campaign and transition, including Trump himself. None of these contacts were ever reported to the proper authorities. Instead, the Trump team tried to cover up every single one of them.

[The Moscow Project: https://themoscowproject.org/explainers/trumps-russia-cover-up-by-the-numbers-70-contacts-with-russia-linked-operatives/%5D

THE TRUMP TEAM CONSPIRACY: Mueller explained in his report that he was not able to find sufficient evidence to prove a criminal “broader conspiracy” charge between the Russians and Donald Trump to influence the 2016 election because the investigation was “materially impaired” due to the many acts to obstruct justice by Donald Trump and his team, including witness tampering – threatening or promising pardons to not cooperate with the investigation; destruction of evidence – including emails, text messages, and documents; as well as rampant lying to Congress, the FBI, and the Special Counsel’s Office.

DONALD TRUMP’S OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE: Although Robert Mueller was not allowed to indict a sitting president with criminal charges, he did find and collect evidence of possible instances of obstruction of justice by Donald Trump, which could be prosecuted when the President is no longer in office. Mueller grouped the acts of obstruction into eleven sections:

  1. The Campaign’s Response to Reports About Russian Support for Trump
  2. The President’s Conduct Concerning the Investigation of Michael Flynn
  3. The President’s Reaction to Public Confirmation of the FBI’s Russia Investigation
  4. Events Leading Up To and Surrounding the Termination of FBI Director Comey
  5. The President’s Efforts to Remove the Special Counsel
  6. The President’s Efforts to Curtail the Special Counsel Investigation
  7. The President’s Efforts to Prevent Disclosure of Emails About the June 9, 2016 Meeting Between Russians and Senior Campaign Officials
  8. The President’s Further Efforts to Have the Attorney General Take Over the Investigation
  9. The President Orders McGhan to Deny that the President Tried to Fire the Special Counsel
  10. The President’s Conduct Towards Flynn, Manafort, REDACTED NAME
  11. The President’s Conduct Involving Michael Cohen

Some of these instances of obstruction of justice, or attempts at obstruction, include:

  1. Trump asked FBI Director James Comey in January 2017 for loyalty, and, in February 2017, he asked Comey to let his National Security Adviser Michael Flynn go and end the FBI investigation into Flynn.
  2. Trump asked Deputy National Security Adviser McFarland, in February 2017, to draft an internal letter stating that Trump had not directed Flynn to discuss sanctions with Russian Ambassador Kislyak.
  3. Trump asked White House Counsel Don McGhan to stop Attorney General Jeff Sessions from recusing himself in March 2017.
  4. Trump repeatedly pressured AG Sessions to “un-recuse” himself.
  5. Trump asked the directors of National Intelligence, CIA, NSA, in March 2017, to publicly dispel the suggestion that Trump had any connection to the Russian election interference efforts.
  6. Trump twice asked FBI Director Comey to publicly “lift the cloud” that the FBI was investigating him in March 2017.
  7. Trump fired FBI Director Comey, in May 2017, after he testified before Congress, but declined to answer whether the president was personally under investigation.
  8. Trump told Russian officials visiting him in the Oval Office, the day after firing Comey, that he “faced great pressure because of Russia” and by firing Comey he had “taken off” that pressure.
  9. Trump said in a television interview, a couple of days after firing Comey, that he fired the FBI Director because “this thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story.”
  10. Trump demanded that AG Sessions resign, in May 2017, when he found out that a Special Counsel had been appointed to investigate the Russian election interference, telling advisors that this was “the end of his presidency.”
  11. Trump tried to get Special Counsel Mueller removed, in May 2017, by claiming that he had conflicts of interest.
  12. Trump published a series of tweets criticizing the Special Counsel and the Department of Justice, in June 2017, when he found out that he was being investigated for obstruction of justice.
  13. Trump directed White House Counsel McGhan, in June 2017, to call the Acting Attorney General Rosenstein and tell him that the Special Counsel had conflicts of interest and needed to be removed.
  14. Trump directed former campaign manager and trusted non-government advisor Corey Lewandowski, in June 2017, to deliver a dictated message to AG Sessions. The message directed Sessions to publicly declare that the Special Counsel investigation was “very unfair” to the President; the President had done nothing wrong; and the Special Counsel, moving forward, would be allowed to investigate only “election meddling for future elections.”
  15. Trump criticized AG Sessions in a New York Times interview and in a series of tweets, in July 2017, after Lewandowski told the President that the dictated message limiting the investigation to future election meddling had not yet been delivered to Sessions.
  16. Trump made efforts to prevent public disclosure of evidence, in the summer of 2017, of a meeting at Trump Tower between numerous Russians offering “damaging information about Hillary Clinton” and his son, Don Jr., his campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and his son-in-law and campaign official, Jared Kushner. The President directed aides to not publicly disclose emails between Don Jr. and the Russians; and he also dictated a false statement claiming the meeting was only about Russian adoptions.
  17. Trump pressured AG Session again, in early summer of 2017, to reverse his recusal from the Russian investigation.
  18. Trump asked AG Session, in October 2017, to “take a look” at opening an investigation into Hillary Clinton.
  19. Trump again pressured AG Session to “un-recuse” himself, in December 2017, after Michael Flynn pleaded guilty and entered into a cooperation agreement with the Special Counsel, telling him he would be a “hero” if he took back control of the Russian investigation.
  20. Trump directed White House officials to tell McGhan – in early 2018, after news reports came out that the President had directed Don McGhan to remove the Special Counsel, but McGhan threatened to resign rather than carry out that directive – “to dispute the story and create a record stating he had not been ordered to have the Special Counsel removed.” McGhan told them that the story was true.
  21. Trump met in the Oval Office with Don McGhan, in early 2018, and pressured him to deny the media reports claiming he had directed McGhan to remove the Special Counsel. In the same meeting, the President asked McGhan why he had told the Special Counsel about the President’s efforts to remove the Special Counsel. And asked why “McGhan took notes of his conversations with the President.”
  22. Trump had his personal counsel reach out to Flynn’s lawyers after he entered into a cooperation agreement with the Special Counsel, asking them to give the President a “heads up” if Flynn knew “information that implicates the President,” reminding them that the President’s warm feelings toward Flynn “still remains.” When Flynn’s lawyers replied that they could not do that, the President’s lawyer said he would let the President know of Flynn’s “hostility” towards the President.
  23. Trump publicly praised Paul Manafort during the criminal trial and the jury’s deliberation, claiming that Manafort was being treated unfairly, and refusing to rule out a pardon.
  24. Trump publicly called Paul Manafort “a brave man,” after his conviction, for refusing to “break,” claiming that “flipping” should “almost…be outlawed.”
  25. Trump praised his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, when he lied to Congress in 2017 about a Trump Tower project, minimizing the President’s involvement and Russian connections. The President’s personal counsel reminded Cohen to “stay on message” and not contradict the President.
  26. Trump publicly asserted that Cohen would not “flip,” after the FBI executed warrants to search Cohen’s home and office in April 2018, contacting him directly to tell him to “stay strong,” and passing messages of support to Cohen.
  27. Trump’s personal counsel discussed pardons with Michael Cohen, making him believe that he would be taken care of if he stayed on message.
  28. Trump publicly called Michael Cohen a “rat,” in the summer of 2018 when Cohen began cooperating with the government, suggesting that Cohen’s family members had committed crimes.

People are busy with their everyday lives and reading nearly 500 pages of anything, even a great book, might be tough to fit into a busy schedule. But at some point, if you have not yet read the Mueller Report, I strongly urge you to do so. You don’t need to read all the attachments, just read the summaries, they are not that long. In the meantime, at least watch the NowThis videos below. They will give you a very good summary of the report and may even convince you to read it or write to your Congressional representatives or not vote for Trump or even run for office.

If a democracy is going to survive, it will require informed citizens who will vote judiciously and hold their representatives and elected leaders accountable. Read the report. Watch the videos. Call your representatives. Run for office. But do something. We need you.


NowThis: The Truth About Trump Collusion and Obstruction in the Mueller Report (A Must Watch Video)


NowThis: Why Trump Impeachment Proceedings Must Follow the Mueller Report


NowThis: Robert De Niro and Former Federal Prosecutors on the Mueller Report


NowThis: Why Robert Mueller Didn’t Charge Trump With a Crime


NowThis: 10 Potential Cases of Obstruction of Justice in the Mueller Report


NowThis: Why Did Trump Think He Was ‘F*cked?’ Mueller Report Full Break Down


NowThis: Breaking Down the Legalese in the Mueller Report


WSJ: The Mueller Investigation By the Numbers

 



Martie Hevia © 2019 | All Rights Reserved | Updated: 2019-06-20



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