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Re: Trump eclipse of NASA moneypit by mythical Kennedy techn

Postby Meno_ » Fri Mar 22, 2019 5:32 pm

Space

NASA rocket becomes Boeing’s latest headache as Trump demands moon mission
By Christian Davenport, Joel Achenbach

March 22, 2019 at 8:39 AM

Boeing senior executives arrived at NASA headquarters two weeks ago for what they knew would be a tense meeting. The rocket they’ve been building for NASA was behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget. Worse yet, there was no way it was going to be ready for a scheduled maiden launch in June 2020.

One estimate had the rocket launch as late as November 2021, and NASA’s leaders were furious, according to people who spoke on the condition of anonymity to be candid about sensitive negotiations. President Trump and Vice President Pence wanted NASA to pull off something big and bold with human spaceflight before the 2020 election: sending a crewless capsule around the moon in a precursor to an eventual return of American astronauts to the lunar surface.

But the latest delays would push the flight well past the election.

“We’re not doing this,” a dismayed NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told the Boeing team. “We’re going to create an alternative solution. All options are on the table.”

This meeting, reported here for the first time, is the backstory to Bridenstine’s March 13 bombshell dropped during testimony before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. He said that although NASA still steadfastly supports the massive rocket, known as the Space Launch System (SLS), the agency would consider sidelining it and instead using commercially available rockets for the mission known as Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1).


Bridenstine’s comments at the Senate hearing touched off a political maelstrom — angering Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.), the chairman of the appropriations committee and SLS’s chief benefactor. Critics say the latest machinations are yet another example of how political pressures have sustained the lucrative rocket program for years, as it has maintained Congressional support no matter how high the costs or lengthy the delays.

In the space world, Bridenstine’s announcement set off shock waves. It not only signaled a potentially radical change in NASA’s plans to return to the moon, but was a major blow to NASA’s flagship rocket program and its main contractor, Boeing. The announcement came as the company has been under scrutiny for the way it has handled the crashes of two of its commercial airplanes that killed 346 people.


NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said that although NASA still steadfastly supports the massive rocket, known as the Space Launch System (SLS), the agency would consider sidelining it and instead using commercially available rockets for the mission. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Bridenstine’s announcement prompted critics of the program to question whether NASA truly needs a government-owned heavy-lift rocket. The private sector is already producing such rockets. And although they are not as powerful as the SLS, they’re cheaper to fly, with reusable boosters.

Trump’s latest budget request states that a commercial rocket, not the SLS as previously planned, would be used to send a robotic probe to Jupiter’s moon Europa.

The request also says commercial rockets would be used to put up a new outpost in lunar orbit, called the Gateway. Bridenstine testified last week that commercial rockets also could send astronauts to the Gateway — another presumed SLS function. And NASA has abandoned a much-derided mission to haul an asteroid to lunar orbit to be inspected by astronauts launched via the SLS.

“This is a rocket that has been looking for a mission,” said Lori Garver, who served as NASA’s deputy administrator under President Barack Obama.


For years, Boeing has long faced criticism for its handling of the program. Last year, a report from the NASA inspector general was withering in its criticism of the company, saying it already has spent $5.3 billion and is expected to burn through the remaining money by early this year, three years too soon, without delivering a single rocket stage. The report said problems at Boeing have led to a 2½-year delay and $4 billion in cost overruns.

“Boeing officials have consistently underestimated the scope of the work to be performed and thus the size and skills of the workforce required,” the report stated.

John Shannon, Boeing’s SLS program manager, said the company acknowledges widespread problems but recently has shown progress.

“We’re late and I completely own that, but we are dialed in now and the team is producing extremely well,” Shannon said. “I have high confidence that we’re going to come out with an amazing capability by the end of the year, and I can’t wait to get to that point.”

Related: Companies in the cosmos: The new space race

In 2017, the agency’s watchdog reported in an audit that NASA had spent more than $15 billion on SLS, Orion, and the ground systems needed between 2012 and 2016. And it estimated that the total would reach up to $23 billion.

Construction of the rocket and the Orion spacecraft is spread out so that every state has jobs connected to the program. In all, SLS supports about 25,000 jobs nationwide, with a total economic impact of $4.7 billion, according to NASA.

That has helped the rocket win support among members of Congress, but also has fueled critics who have dubbed it the “Senate Launch System.” In addition to primary contractor Boeing, key contractors are Aerojet Rocketdyne, Northrop Grumman and the United Launch Alliance.


No state has benefited more than Shelby’s state, Alabama, home to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville. The program has created about 13,000 jobs and has pumped $2.4 billion into the state’s economy.

So when the NASA administrator floated the idea of sidelining the rocket, Shelby released a statement saying: “While I agree that the delay in the SLS launch schedule is unacceptable, I firmly believe that SLS should launch the Orion.”

Privately, his aides angrily chastised NASA officials.

The next day, Bridenstine reiterated his support for the SLS program in a blog post, saying the agency is “committed to building and flying SLS.” The day after that, he tweeted: “Good news: The @NASA and Boeing teams are working overtime to accelerate the launch schedule of @NASA_SLS.”

‘Over budget ... and unexecutable’

The SLS was born in the ashes of an earlier rocket program. Called Constellation, the program emerged under President George W. Bush and would send Americans back to the moon, and eventually to Mars. One element of the plan was the creation of a new, heavy-lift rocket, the Ares V, a modern successor to the Saturn V. It would hurl a new capsule, Orion, to the moon.

When Obama entered office, the Constellation program was struggling, and administration officials called it “over budget, behind schedule, off course and ‘unexecutable.’ ”

Obama killed Constellation in 2010, and directed NASA to aim for an asteroid and Mars instead of the moon. But the move once again angered Shelby, whose state is home to the Marshall Spaceflight Center, where much of the work on Constellation would have been based.


"The president’s proposed NASA budget begins the death march for the future of U.S. human spaceflight,” he said at the time. “If this budget is enacted, NASA will no longer be an agency of innovation and hard science. It will be an agency of pipe dreams and fairy talks.”

Although the administration terminated the moon plan, it found it politically impossible to kill all of the projects already pouring billions of dollars into coffers of major aerospace contractors.

“The president’s proposed NASA budget begins the death march for the future of U.S. human spaceflight,” Shelby said at the time.

A quartet of powerful senators who have NASA space bases in their states — Shelby, Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.) — protected the heavy-lift rocket as well as the Orion capsule. They pushed through legislation mandating construction of a heavy-lift rocket and even dictating how it would be designed, including the use of legacy space shuttle hardware.

Related: The White House is in such a hurry to get to the moon that NASA is considering sidelining its major rocket to make it happen

With Constellation’s moon mission canceled, the precise purpose — the actual destinations — of the SLS and Orion became murky. The SLS clearly existed to launch Orion. But to where?

Throughout this process, the big rocket and Orion have crawled toward completion. NASA has been spending more than $3 billion a year on SLS and Orion. Both programs have faced delays.


Solid rocket boosters for the Space Launch System will be stacked at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral. (Mike Brown/Reuters)
The SLS has taken so long to build that it arguably is technologically obsolete, industry officials say. Much of the hardware is derived from the space shuttle, developed in the 1970s.

Meanwhile, a vibrant commercial launch industry, with Boeing, Lockheed and Northrop Grumman, is facing competition from relatively new entrants such as SpaceX, founded by Elon Musk, and Blue Origin, founded by Jeffrey P. Bezos (who owns The Washington Post). SpaceX has disrupted the launch industry by building largely reusable rockets and selling them at a discount: $62 million for its Falcon 9 and as low as $90 million for its Falcon Heavy.

By contrast, NASA officials have said that each launch of the SLS, a far more powerful rocket, would cost about $1 billion.

Garver, the former NASA deputy administrator, said that, if nothing else, these programs have delivered jobs to aerospace companies and NASA centers.

“Given that the purpose was to employ people and keep existing contracts going — they have delivered,” she said in an email.

Deep space aspirations

Since he was narrowly confirmed as NASA administrator a year ago, Bridenstine has been a steadfast supporter of SLS, a commitment he reiterated at the Senate hearing last week. He praised SLS and said it remains “a critical capability” for the U.S. space program.

The SLS is supposed to be the backbone of NASA’s deep space aspirations. But it still hasn’t flown, and the Trump administration is in a hurry to get to the moon.

At the Senate hearing last week, Bridenstine said NASA wanted to stick to its plan to launch no later than June 2020.

“Sir, if we tell you and others that we’re going to launch in June of 2020 around the moon ... I think it can be done. We as an agency need to consider all options to accomplish that objective," he said.

To meet the 2020 timeline, Bridenstine said the agency was looking at changing the mission profile, bypassing SLS for a pair of commercial rockets. Instead of launching Orion on a trajectory straight to the moon, it would look at the possibility of flying it to orbit the Earth. Then, on a second commercial rocket, NASA would launch a propulsion module. The Orion spacecraft would dock with it, and the propulsion module would shoot Orion to the moon.

Bridenstine’s blog post calls that option “not optimum or sustainable” and says having two rockets involved “adds complexity and risk that is undesirable.”

Boeing has said it is examining how to speed up work on SLS, including bypassing a months-long test program for the rocket’s first stage that was to occur at the Stennis Space Center and shipping it directly to the Kennedy Space Center.

Earlier this month, Jody Singer, the director of the Marshall Space Flight Center, acknowledged that the program was having challenges and that its maiden launch would need to be delayed, according to SpaceNews.

That didn’t faze Shelby, who introduced Singer at the luncheon.

“As chairman of the appropriations committee, I have more than a passing interest in what NASA does," he said, according to the news site. "And I have a little parochial interest, too, in what they do in Huntsville, Alabama. Jody, you keep doing what you’re doing. We’ll keep funding you.”



Christian Davenport covers the defense and space industries for The Washington Post's Financial desk. He joined The Post in 2000 and has served as an editor on the Metro desk and as a reporter covering military affairs. He is the author of "The Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and the Quest to Colonize the Cosmos" (PublicAffairs, 2018).

Joel Achenbach covers science and politics for the National desk. He has been a staff writer for The Post since 1990.




© 1996-2019 The Washington Post




AP NEWS


The Latest: Trump lawyers want early look at Mueller report
33 minutes ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation (all times local):

6:40 p.m.

President Donald Trump’s lawyers want an early look at special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings before they are made public.

That’s according to Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s attorney. He says Trump’s legal team hasn’t received any assurances that they’ll get the early look they want, though.

Mueller notified Attorney General William Barr on Friday that he had concluded his probe of Russian election interference and any possible coordination with Donald Trump’s campaign.


Now, Barr will review the findings and determine how much to make public.

___

6:38 p.m.

Special counsel Robert Mueller will be concluding his government service in the “coming days.”

That’s according to special counsel spokesman Peter Carr.

Carr says in a statement that a “small number” of the office’s staff will remain “to assist in closing the operations of the office.” He did not provide a specific timeline for when that might occur. As of Friday, 11 prosecutors were still employed by the special counsel’s office.

The statement comes just hours after Mueller turned in his confidential report closing his probe of Russian election interference and possible coordination with Donald Trump’s campaign.

___

6:35 p.m.

House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff says his panel will issue subpoenas if special counsel Robert Mueller’s report — and its underlying evidence — are not released to Congress for further review.

The California Democrat said on CNN that Congress needs to know “and so does the country.”

He said he’s willing to subpoena Mueller as well as Attorney General William Barr, if needed, to push for disclosure.

House Democrats now see the Mueller investigation as a starting point for their own probes of President Donald Trump and Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Mueller delivered his final report to Barr on Friday.

___

6:15 p.m.

One top Republican, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, says the findings of the special counsel’s Russia investigation must be made public to end the “speculation and innuendo” that hangs over President Donald Trump’s administration.

The former Judiciary Committee chairman says while it’s clear the Russians “tried to meddle in our democratic processes,” he still hasn’t seen any evidence of collusion.

Grassley says Attorney General William Barr Attorney General must provide the findings from special counsel Robert Mueller’s report to Congress and the American people “to finally put an end to the speculation and innuendo that has loomed over this administration since its earliest days.”

___

5:58 p.m.

Special counsel Robert Mueller is not recommending any further indictments in the Russia investigation.

That’s according to a Justice Department official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the person wasn’t authorized to speak publicly about the confidential recommendation.

Mueller notified Attorney General William Barr on Friday that he had concluded his probe of Russian election interference and any possible coordination with Donald Trump’s campaign.

—By Eric Tucker

___

5:57 p.m.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham expects that he and the panel’s top Democrat, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, will be briefed “in the coming days” about special counsel Robert Mueller’s report.

The South Carolina Republican says he was notified by the Justice Department that Mueller’s report has been turned over and that Attorney General William Barr “will pursue as much transparency as possible.”

Graham says he expects to be “more thoroughly” briefed. He says he believed it was important for Mueller to do his job “without interference, and that has been accomplished.”

___

5:55 p.m.

Attorney General William Barr says the Justice Department did not block special counsel Robert Mueller from taking any action during his Russia investigation.

Barr is required to disclose to Congress any instance in which he or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein decided an action Mueller proposed should not be pursued.

Barr said in his letter to members of Congress on Friday that “there were no such instances during the Special Counsel’s investigation.”

The attorney general notified four key lawmakers that he may update them over the weekend.

___

5:50 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he welcomes news that special counsel Robert Mueller has completed his investigation into Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 elections.

McConnell says he and other Republicans have long believed that Russia poses a significant threat to American interests, adding that he hopes Mueller’s report will “help inform and improve our efforts to protect our democracy.”

The Kentucky Republican says he hopes that Attorney General William Barr, who received Mueller’s report on Friday, will “provide as much information as possible” on the findings, “with as much openness and transparency as possible.”

Georgia Rep. Doug Collins, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, said he expects the Justice Department to release the report to the committee without delay “and to the maximum extent permitted by law.”

___

5:40 p.m.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer say it’s “imperative” to make the full report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller public.

The top congressional Democrats say, “The American people have a right to the truth.”

In a joint statement, they say Attorney Gneral William Barr must not give President Donald Trump his lawyers or staff any “sneak preview” of the findings or evidence.

“The White House must not be allowed to interfere in decisions about what parts of those findings or evidence are made public,” they say.

__

5:39 p.m.

The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee says Congress should receive the full report from special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

New York Democrat Jerrold Nadler says in a statement that “We look forward to getting the full Mueller report and related materials.” He adds that “transparency and the public interest demand nothing less” because the public needs to have faith in the rule of law.

Attorney General William Barr wrote in a letter to Nadler and other committee chairmen that Mueller had finished his investigation and delivered his report to Barr. The attorney general said he would update Congress as soon as this weekend, but it wasn’t clear now much of the report would be shared with lawmakers or with the public.

__

5:38 p.m.

Democratic presidential candidates are demanding that Attorney General William Barr make Robert Mueller’s report on Russia public.

Minutes after Barr notified members of Congress Friday that Mueller had delivered his report, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts tweeted that the attorney general should “release the Mueller report to the American public. Now.”

Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey tweeted that the report “should be made public immediately.”

The Trump administration’s handling of Mueller’s report foretells big fights to come, from the presidential campaign trail to, in all likelihood, the federal courts.

__

5:25 p.m.

President Donald Trump’s lawyers say they are “pleased” that special counsel Robert Mueller has delivered his report on the Russia investigation.

Rudy Giuliani and Jay Sekulow issued their joint statement within minutes of Attorney General William Barr’s letter to key members of Congress confirming the delivery and suggesting he could update lawmakers as soon as this weekend.

They say: “We’re pleased that the Office of Special Counsel has delivered its report to the Attorney General pursuant to the regulations. Attorney General Barr will determine the appropriate next steps.”

Mueller’s report, still confidential, sets the stage for big public fights to come, including in all likelihood, in federal court. It’s not clear how much of the report will become public or provided to Congress.

__

5:20 p.m.

Responding to the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, the White House says the next steps are “up to Attorney General (William) Barr.”

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders says “we look forward to the process taking its course.”

She adds, “The White House has not received or been briefed on the Special Counsel’s report.”

For 22 months, Mueller has probed allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election and other potential misdeeds by those in President Donald Trump’s orbit.

Barr has said he will provide updates on Mueller’s still-confidential findings to Congress as soon as this weekend.

__

5:15 p.m.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report concluding the Russia investigation was delivered by a security officer early Friday afternoon to the office of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

That’s according to Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec. It was then delivered within minutes to Attorney General William Barr.

The White House was notified around 4:35-4:40 p.m. that the Justice Department had received the report.

The letter was scheduled to be delivered at 5 p.m. to staff members on Capitol Hill.

Rosenstein was expected to call Mueller on Friday to thank him for his work in the last two years.

__

5:07 p.m.

Attorney General William Barr says he could update Congress as early as this weekend about special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings in the Russia investigation.

The Justice Department confirmed late Friday that Barr received Mueller’s final report. The report concludes Mueller’s nearly two-year-long investigation of Russian election interference and possible coordination with President Donald Trump’s campaign.

__

5:03 p.m.

Special counsel Robert Mueller has concluded his investigation into Russian election interference and possible coordination with associates of President Donald Trump.


The Justice Department says Mueller delivered his final report Friday to Attorney General William Barr, who is reviewing it.

Mueller’s report, still confidential, sets the stage for big public fights to come. The next steps are up to Trump’s attorney general, to Congress and, in all likelihood, federal courts.

It’s not clear how much of the report will become public or provided to Congress. Barr has said he will write his own report summarizing Mueller’s findings.

The nearly two-year probe has shadowed Trump’s presidency and resulted in felony charges against 34 people including six people who served on Trump’s campaign.

Smart systems are poised to dominate the retail space by 2021 – meaning certain precautions have become necessary.





Hopes shifting as Republicans, Democrats wait for Mueller
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has been calling the Russia probe a witch hunt for two years. But now, Trump and his allies are starting to see it as something potentially very different:...


Now here is an abrupt, about face policy turnaround!!!




Trump will remove new North Korea-related sanctions because he 'likes' Kim Jong Un
Jacob Pramuk | @jacobpramuk
Published 5 Hours Ago Updated 3 Hours Ago
CNBC.com
President Donald Trump says he will remove new North Korea-related sanctions announced only on Thursday.
The White House says he made the sudden move because he "likes" North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
The U.S. is pushing North Korea to abandon its nuclear and missile programs.
US President Donald Trump (R) gestures as he meets with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (L) at the start of their historic US-North Korea summit, at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore on June 12, 2018.
Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images
US President Donald Trump (R) gestures as he meets with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (L) at the start of their historic US-North Korea summit, at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore on June 12, 2018.
President Donald Trump said Friday that he would scrap action his administration took only a day earlier to crack down on companies accused of helping North Korea evade sanctions.

"It was announced today by the U.S. Treasury that additional large scale Sanctions would be added to those already existing Sanctions on North Korea," the president tweeted on Friday, though the Treasury announcement he appeared to reference took place Thursday and did not involve "large scale" sanctions. "I have today ordered the withdrawal of those additional Sanctions!"




In explaining the president's sudden announcement, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, "President Trump likes Chairman Kim and he doesn't think these sanctions will be necessary." Trump's tweet and the press secretary's clarification of it sent waves of confusion throughout Washington, from the Pentagon to the White House itself.

On Thursday, Treasury designated two China-based shipping companies that it said has aided Pyongyang in circumventing U.S. and international sanctions. The U.S. and its allies have used those economic measures to push North Korea to dismantle its nuclear and missile programs.


Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un have met face to face twice, but left a summit in Vietnam last month without reaching a deal on denuclearization. Since the summit, reports have emerged of new activity at a North Korean missile research center and rocket site.

Trump's surprise reversal Friday marks a departure from his administration's messaging a day earlier. In a tweet Thursday after the Treasury's announcement, White House National Security Advisor John Bolton said "everyone should take notice and review their own activities to ensure that they are not involved in North Korea's sanctions evasion."


Since exchanging explosive rhetoric with Kim during his first year in office, Trump has aimed to assuage his North Korean counterpart as he pushes for an agreement to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

The president has also tried to tread carefully around China as he tries to reach a trade deal with Beijing and end a potentially devastating trade conflict. The U.S. has viewed getting Beijing to pull back its support for North Korea as crucial to getting the isolated regime to abandon its nuclear ambitions.

A Treasury Department spokesman did not immediately respond to a request to comment on the president's tweet. The Pentagon referred all queries about it to the White House.








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Mueller delivers Report

Postby Meno_ » Sat Mar 23, 2019 2:10 am

The New York Times



Mueller Delivers Report on Trump-Russia Investigation to Attorney General

The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, has conducted an extensive investigation into Russian efforts to sway the outcome of the 2016 presidential race. Here is the story of how it all started.

By Sharon LaFraniere and Katie Benner
March 22, 2019
WASHINGTON — The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, on Friday delivered a report on his inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 election to Attorney General William P. Barr, the Justice Department said, bringing to a close an investigation that has consumed the nation and cast a shadow over President Trump for nearly two years.

Mr. Barr told congressional leaders in a letter that he may brief them on the special counsel’s “principal conclusions” as early as this weekend, a surprisingly fast turnaround for a report anticipated for months. The attorney general said he “remained committed to as much transparency as possible.”

In an apparent endorsement of an investigation that Mr. Trump has relentlessly attacked as a “witch hunt,” Mr. Barr said Justice Department officials never had to intervene to keep him from taking an inappropriate or unwarranted step. The department’s regulations would have required Mr. Barr to inform the leaders of the House and Senate Judiciary committees about any such interventions in his letter.

A senior Justice Department official said that Mr. Mueller would not recommend new indictments, a statement aimed at ending speculation that Mr. Trump or other key figures might be charged down the line. With department officials stressing that Mr. Mueller’s inquiry was over and his office closing, the question for both Mr. Trump’s critics and defenders was whether the prosecutors condemned the president’s behavior in their report, exonerated him — or neither. The president’s lawyers were already girding for a possible fight over whether they could assert executive privilege to keep parts of the report secret.



[What’s next? We break it down as well as the major moments in the case. And here’s the latest reaction to the news.]

Since Mr. Mueller’s appointment in May 2017, his team has focused on how Russian operatives sought to sway the outcome of the 2016 presidential race and whether anyone tied to the Trump campaign, wittingly or unwittingly, cooperated with them. While the inquiry, started months earlier by the F.B.I., unearthed a far-ranging Russian influence operation, no public evidence emerged that the president or his aides illegally assisted it.

Nonetheless, the damage to Mr. Trump and those in his circle has been extensive. A half-dozen former Trump aides were indicted or convicted of crimes, mostly for lying to federal investigators or Congress. Others remain under investigation in cases that Mr. Mueller’s office handed off to federal prosecutors in New York and elsewhere. Dozens of Russian intelligence officers or citizens, along with three Russian companies, were charged in cases that are likely to languish in court because the defendants cannot be extradited to the United States.


Republicans immediately seized upon the news that no more indictments are expected as a vindication of Mr. Trump and his campaign. Those reports “confirm what we’ve known all along: There was never any collusion with Russia,” Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the second-highest-ranking House Republican, said in a statement.

Image
The letter that William P. Barr, the attorney general, sent to Congress.
Democrats, including some of those hoping to supplant Mr. Trump in the White House in the 2020 election, insisted that Mr. Mueller’s full report be made public, including the underlying evidence. In a joint statement, Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the top Senate Democrat, warned Mr. Barr not to allow the White House a “sneak preview” of the document.

“The White House must not be allowed to interfere in decisions about what parts of those findings or evidence are made public,” they said.

Not since Watergate has a special prosecutor’s inquiry so mesmerized the American public. Polls have shown that most Americans want to know its findings, and the House unanimously passed a nonbinding resolution to publicize the report.



Mr. Barr’s letter said he would decide what to release after consulting with Mr. Mueller and Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general who has overseen his investigation. Justice Department officials emphasized that the White House had been kept at a distance.

Only a handful of law enforcement officials have seen the report, said Kerri Kupec, a department spokeswoman.

Although a White House lawyer was notified that Mr. Mueller had delivered it to Mr. Barr, no White House official has seen the report or been briefed on it, according to Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary. “The next steps are up to Attorney General Barr, and we look forward to the process taking its course,” she said.

Rudolph W. Giuliani, one of the president’s personal lawyers, said he planned to remain in Washington over the weekend in part because Mr. Barr might update Congress on Mr. Mueller’s findings.

He sidestepped a question about whether the president’s lawyers were seeking to review the report before any of it becomes public. White House lawyers have been preparing for the possibility they may need to argue some material is protected by executive privilege, especially if the report discusses whether the president’s interactions with his top aides or legal advisers are evidence of obstruction of justice.

Mueller Has Delivered His Report. Here’s What We Already Know. More than two years of criminal indictments and steady revelations about Trump campaign contacts with Russians reveal the scope of the special counsel investigation.
Even though Mr. Mueller’s report is complete, some aspects of his inquiry remain active and may be overseen by the same prosecutors once they are reassigned to their old jobs in the Justice Department. For instance, recently filed court documents suggest that investigators are still examining why the former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort turned over campaign polling data in 2016 to a Russian associate who prosecutors said was tied to Russian intelligence.

Mr. Mueller looked extensively at whether Mr. Trump obstructed justice to protect himself or his associates. But despite months of negotiations, prosecutors were unable to personally interview the president.



Mr. Trump’s lawyers insisted that he respond only to written questions from the special counsel. Even though under current Justice Department policy, a sitting president cannot be indicted, Mr. Trump’s lawyers worried that his responses in an oral interview could bring political repercussions, including impeachment, or put him in legal jeopardy once he is out of office.

Mr. Trump has helped make Mr. Mueller a household name, attacking his investigation an average of about twice a day as an unfair, politically motivated attempt to invalidate his election. He never forgave former Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself from the Russia inquiry, an action that cleared the way for his deputy, Mr. Rosenstein, to appoint Mr. Mueller.

Mr. Trump reiterated his attacks on the special counsel this week, saying Mr. Mueller decided “out of the blue” to write a report, ignoring that regulations require him to do so. But the president also said the report should be made public because of “tens of millions” of Americans would want to know what it contains.

“Let people see it,” Mr. Trump said. “There was no collusion. There was no obstruction. There was no nothing.”



In court, the evidence amassed by the Mueller team has held up. Every defendant who is not still awaiting trial either pleaded guilty or was convicted by a jury. Although no American has been charged with illegally plotting with the Russians to tilt the election, Mr. Mueller uncovered a web of lies by former Trump aides.

Five of them were found to have deceived federal investigators or Congress about their interactions with Russians during the campaign or the transition. They includes Mr. Manafort; Michael T. Flynn, the president’s first national security adviser; and Michael D. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s former lawyer and longtime fixer. A sixth former adviser, Roger J. Stone Jr. is to stand trial in November on charges of lying to Congress.

Glimpses of the Mystery That Is the Mueller Investigation Here are some pieces of the jigsaw puzzle. The full picture is missing.
Those who know Mr. Mueller, a former F.B.I. director, had predicted a concise, legalistic report devoid of opinions — nothing like the 445-page treatise that Ken Starr, who investigated President Bill Clinton, produced in 1998. Operating under a now-defunct statute that governed independent counsels, Mr. Starr had far more leeway than Mr. Mueller to set his own investigative boundaries and to render judgments.



[Make sense of the people, issues and ideas shaping American politics with our newsletter.]

The regulations that governed Mr. Mueller, who is under the supervision of the Justice Department, only required him to explain his decisions to either seek or decline to seek criminal charges in a confidential report to the attorney general. The attorney general was then required to notify the leadership of the House and Senate judiciary committees.

Despite pledging transparency, Mr. Barr may be reluctant to release the part of Mr. Mueller’s report that may be of most interest: who the special counsel declined to prosecute and why, especially if Mr. Trump is on that list.

The department’s longstanding practice, with rare exceptions, is not to identify people who were merely investigative targets to avoid unfairly tainting their reputations, especially because they would have no chance to defend themselves in a court of law. Mr. Rosenstein, who has overseen Mr. Mueller’s work and may have a say in what is released, is a firm believer in that principle.

In a May 2017 letter that the president seized upon as justification for his decision to fire James B. Comey as F.B.I. director, Mr. Rosenstein severely criticized Mr. Comey for announcing during the previous year that Hillary Clinton, then a presidential candidate, would not be charged with a crime for mishandling classified information as secretary of state. Releasing “derogatory information about the subject of a declined criminal investigation,” Mr. Rosenstein wrote, is “a textbook example of what federal prosecutors and agents are taught not to do.”



Weighing that principle against the public’s right to know is even more fraught in the president’s case. If Mr. Mueller declined to pursue criminal charges against Mr. Trump, he might have been guided not by lack of evidence, but by the Justice Department’s legal opinions that a sitting president cannot be indicted. The department’s Office of Legal Counsel has repeatedly advised that the stigma and burden of being under prosecution would damage the president’s ability to lead.

Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York and the head of the House Judiciary Committee, has argued that the department’s view that presidents are protected from prosecution makes it all the more important for the public to see Mr. Mueller’s report.

“To maintain that a sitting president cannot be indicted, and then to withhold evidence of wrongdoing from Congress because the president cannot be charged, is to convert D.O.J. policy into the means for a cover-up,” he said before the House approved its nonbinding resolution to disclose the special counsel’s findings.

Some predict that any disclosures from Mr. Mueller’s report will satisfy neither Mr. Trump’s critics nor his defenders, especially given the public’s high expectations for answers. A Washington Post-Schar School poll in February illustrated the sharp divide in public opinion: It found that of those surveyed, most Republicans did not believe evidence of crimes that Mr. Mueller’s team had already proved in court, while most Democrats believed he had proved crimes that he had not even claimed.

Nicholas Fandos contributed reporting.




And now, what goes with the whole nine yards of cleaning out Washington's political quagmire? And how will America get Great again? And will all these walled in scenarios meet the test of time for another two years?
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Sat Mar 23, 2019 2:37 am

lets see how this plays out now!!!





POLITICO



President Donald Trump gives the thumbs-up as he arrives on Air Force One on March 22 at Palm Beach International Airport, en route to Mar-a-Lago.

WHITE HOUSE

Trump faces Mueller report in Mar-a-Lago bubble
The president kicked off a weekend at Mar-a-Lago with a speech at a fundraising dinner but few words about special counsel Robert Mueller.


PALM BEACH, Florida – When the news finally broke that Robert Mueller had completed his investigation, President Donald Trump was cloistered in the safe space of his private club here, surrounded by senior aides and the diehard supporters who pay big bucks to catch a glimpse of him.

As Washington melted down over the long-awaited news 1,000 miles away, the fierce Trump defenders here girded for an epic battle.




“He seems to be able to deal with most of the stuff that most people can’t. I am convinced that he can weather anything he’s put through,” said Joyce Lewis Bass, a board member of the Boca Raton Regional Republican Club.

On Friday night, just feet from where Trump and his family were having dinner, local Republicans were holding a fundraising dinner. The logo for the event: a five-dollar bill featuring a MAGA-hat clad Abraham Lincoln.

Organizers had held out hope that Trump would make an appearance at the event, and White House officials initially signaled he wouldn't attend, saying he planned to spend his night on Mar-a-Lago’s patio with First Lady Melania Trump, their son Barron, and Melania Trump’s parents.

Schumer: Attorney General Barr must make the full Mueller report public
CONGRESS

Congress demands full Mueller report ahead of huge partisan fight
By KYLE CHENEY





The president spoke to the cheering crowd for about two minutes, with the first lady standing beside him on stage, according to a video of his remarks obtained by POLITICO. He said nothing about the Mueller news. Instead, he thanked “the legendary Pam Bondi,” Florida’s former attorney general who was honored at the dinner, and marveled at the first lady’s poll numbers. The president also cracked a joke about the keynote speaker, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

“If Lindsey’s speaking, I want to come down here,” Trump said, “for two reasons. No. 1: he’s a great speaker. And No. 2, I know if I’m here, he’s not going to say anything bad about me.”




The dinner capped another whirlwind day for Trump. As they braced for the report throughout the day Friday, Trump and his team tried to convey an image of a president putting his head down and focusing on the job. Aides arranged a meeting with the leaders of five Caribbean countries, the president announced his pick to join the Federal Reserve and he bragged about the defeat of the Islamic State.

But Trump quickly overshadowed those efforts, issuing a confusing tweet that implied he was undoing North Korea sanctions that his administration had just put in place. The tweet caught many in the White House by surprise and the administration later tried to clarify, insisting he was referring instead to not-yet-imposed sanctions.


Trump’s Islamic State victory lap was also quickly undercut. At the end of the flight to Florida, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders entered Air Force One’s press cabin wielding a map. ISIS no longer holds any territory in Syria, she declared, without offering any other details. Trump later held up the same map, at one point displaying it upside down, boasting about his success in diminishing the terrorist group.



“So here is ISIS on Election Day. Here's ISIS right now,” he said. The only problem: the graphic didn’t compare ISIS’s current territory to Election Day in 2016. According to photographs captured by reporters, it compared the territory to 2014, undercutting the president’s about turning things around immediately after taking office.



“You guys can have the map. Congratulations. You’ll spread it around,” Trump told reporters, handing them the document. Sanders quickly snatched up the paper.

Trump tried to project calm throughout the day, distancing himself from the image of a man about to suffer a political blow. On his arrival at the airport here, he delighted in the adoration of his supporters, signing a red “Make America Great Again” hat.


But there were more subtle signs that the White House — like all of Washington — had assumed crash position ahead of the transmittal of Mueller’s report to Attorney General Bill Barr, which happened at 5pm, shortly after a sudden blinding hailstorm tore through an already-anxious capital: White House counsel Pat Cipollone joined the president at Mar-a-Lago, according to a person familiar with the matter, as did Sanders, who doesn’t always travel with the president on weekend trips.

“We'll see what happens,” Trump had said early in the day as he departed for his weekend in Florida. “There was no collusion. There was no obstruction,” he repeated once again. “Everybody knows it. It's all a big hoax. It's all a witch hunt.”



But he didn’t mention Mueller for the rest of the day. Though the president is often eager to field reporters’ questions, he ignored journalists as he sat alongside the Caribbean leaders, under two gold and crystal chandeliers. For once, it seemed, Trump felt he had nothing more to say. He was content to wait. By late evening, he had resisted tweeting once about Mueller or Russia.

Friday's fundraising dinner was hosted by the Palm Beach County Republicans. Tickets for the fundraiser started at $375, with sponsorship packages going as high as $25,000.


By JOSH GERSTEIN
On Friday afternoon, a person helping to organize the dinner predicted Trump would attend, especially given that the event was held just feet from the room where Trump huddled with the Caribbean leaders. “We very much expect the president to come,” the person said. “It’s in his house.”



The mood at Mar-a-Lago Friday afternoon was low-key, despite the furor over the Mueller developments swirling in Washington. A nearby parking lot was packed with luxury cars, including a bright yellow Porsche and a chrome Rolls Royce. A woman in the parking lot sported a black fur coat in the nearly 75-degree weather.

Mueller’s actual conclusions remain under lock and key at the Justice Department. But supporters here seemed unfazed by the report’s imminent disclosure.



Asked if she’s certain the president can overcome the Mueller probe’s findings, Toni Holt Kramer, a Mar-a-Lago member and founder of the Trumpettes USA, a Trump fan club, said via email, “Positive!!!”

Marc Caputo and Anita Kumar contributed to this story.










© 2019 POLITICO LLC
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Re: Trump enters the stage The Mueller Report

Postby Meno_ » Sat Mar 23, 2019 12:44 pm

Opinion, Analysis, Essays


Mueller report's release to AG Barr is the end of the beginning for Trump, not the beginning of the end
Democrats are gearing up to fulfill their oversight responsibilities in a manner wholly consistent with what Republicans called for during the Obama years.

The fight continues.
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s 22-month-long investigation into the relationship between President Donald Trump's campaign and Russia is finally over, bringing an end to this dramatic investigative chapter into the activities of the American president and those closest to him.

But the thing is, this was just chapter one. Anyone thinking or hoping that the completion of the Mueller report would be the finale of the story will be sorely disappointed.


Because the next chapter belongs to Attorney General William Barr and the new Democratic majority in the House as they fight for full access to the report and the underlying evidence used to compile it. And remember, while Mueller’s long-awaited report was submitted to the Justice Department on Friday, Barr has yet to determine what will be publicly revealed to Congress, if anything at all.

Because while the report itself is important, the next few chapters of this investigation belongs to Congress and the new Democratic majority in the House.

First, Congressional oversight committees will fight for possession of the Mueller report. Then, they will use the Mueller report as a blueprint to guide their investigations into every part of Donald Trump’s presidency including his foreign policy decisions, financial interests, political activities, and personal relationships.

Just three months ago, Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said that “some of it should be sanitized…I’ll trust Mr. Barr too work with us to get as much out as we can.” Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, advocated for the president’s legal team to have the right to “correct it” before the report is made public or released to Congress.




Anything short of releasing the full, un-redacted report to Congress will presumably result in a high-stakes standoff between Congress and the executive branch. Should the attorney general fail to voluntarily produce the report, Congressional committees will subpoena the Justice Department for it. If the DOJ refuses to comply with the subpoena, a lawsuit will be filed and this could end up in the Supreme Court’s hands. Meanwhile, newly minted private citizen Robert Mueller will almost certainly be invited to testify at a congressional hearing to discuss his report’s findings.

Related
Mueller report and Trump-Russia investigation must push Congress to protect future special counsels
Withholding or sanitizing the Mueller report is a political loser for the president. Recent polls reveal that nearly 9 in ten Americans believe the full report should be made public. This is also a tough fight for Congressional Republicans given their past rhetoric about transparency and oversight during President Barack Obama’s time in office.

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, the ranking Republican on the Committee on Oversight and Reform, said this during a 2012 proceeding about getting documents from the Justice Department: “How can you ignore the facts when you don’t’ get the facts? That’s what this is all about…I just want to get the information…I think we’re right on target with this. We just want the information so we have the facts.”

At that same proceeding, former Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., then a member of the House Oversight Committee and now a Fox News contributor, opined that “the notion that you can withhold information and documents from Congress no matter whether you are the party in power or not in power is wrong. Respect for the rule of law must mean something, irrespective of the vicissitudes of political cycles.

VIEW THIS GRAPHIC ON NBCNEWS.COM
In fact, oversight Republicans’ fight with then Eric Holder’s Justice Department over the release of documents related to “Operation Fast and Furious” is instructive now. Following President Obama’s use of executive privilege to ignore a Congressional subpoena, Republicans filed a lawsuit in district court declaring, “The Attorney General’s conception of the reach of ‘Executive privilege,’ were it to be accepted, would cripple congressional oversight of Executive branch agencies, to the very detriment of the Nation and our constitutional structure.” U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson agreed, who is also the judge presiding over Roger Stone’s case, ruled against the Justice Department.


If Barr and the Trump White House resist efforts by Congress to get the full report, history could repeat itself.

Related
AOC and Cohen remind Trump that Mueller isn't the only investigator he needs to worry about
Once they’ve acquired the report, the real force of congressional oversight will be felt. Investigators will comb through every thread of evidence to create multiple lanes of oversight inquiries. Statements made to Mueller and his team will be cross-referenced with statements made to Congress during public hearings or depositions. Officials who have any inconsistencies in their testimonies will be called upon by Congress to address them under the threat of perjury. The Mueller report will effectively serve as the foundation of a forensic autopsy Congress will conduct examining every controversial decision the Trump administration has made.

In short, Democrats in Congress are gearing up to fulfill their oversight responsibilities in a manner entirely consistent with what Republicans called for during the Obama years. As House Republicans declared in 2010, “Congress is constitutionally obligated to provide thorough oversight of the Executive Branch. This obligation is recognized by scholars and the Courts and by the American public that expects its federal government to root out waste, fraud, abuse, mismanagement, and misconduct.”


Their words. Their standard. Now Trump will have to live with it.

Kurt Bardella

© 2019 NBC UNIVERSAL
------------------------- - --------------------------

Now what?

No new indictments, is this a positive sign to foreshadow a sign of political survival, with a clean ending of a stopped buck for Trump, hence forward?

The Guardian chimes in:

'How did the Mueller investigation manage to keep its secrets under wraps for two years?

My colleagues Oliver Laughland and Jon Swaine have a new article looking at the “leak-proof inquiry”:

Behind the walls of a nondescript concrete office building in south-west Washington DC, special counsel Robert Mueller has meticulously compiled one of the most important investigations in American history.

There have been 37 indictments or guilty pleas and 199 criminal charges. Five people, including some of Donald Trump’s closest former advisers, have been sent to prison.

And yet for all the political fallout, intrigue over Mueller’s prosecutorial strategy and obsession with the contents of his final report, the office of the special counsel has remained an almost sealed vessel.'



------------------- -- ---------------- -- --------
How in the world can things go back to some kind of ill defined normality, even after a public release of the Mueller Report, even as the supercharged political athmosphere grinds on and within its own ranks, produces newer and newer fashioned myth laden archetypes of anti constitutional severance, where perhaps the Supreme Court may turn out to be the final arbiter?

Can even they, produce some resemblance to clarity, in a starkly new world, where the very timbers which constitute the foundation , which served reverently and with absolute reference, tolling the faith and absolute allegiance of increasingly divided people?

Does an overly far reach from that into thus: the quagmire characterized as a swamp, become a politically brutal ball, seething in the language of animosity and division and contradiction hold up an outline with which the banner of oncoming generations may march forward in confidence?

Can a new internationalism arise out if a perplexing U.S. paradigm, which has served well as the blueprint for a clear manifest for the guarantee of human rights and transparently benevolent government with which it may cross over borders of faithful performance?

Can the 21st century live by a new motto, 'Beyond Truth and Fiction?

The ramifications are yet hidden, but what ideology could ever sustain a governance , before being uncovered for what it truly is?

None, the answer is always relentlessly compelling !


---------------- - ---------------- - ---------------


Boston.com

The Latest: House Democrats set group call on Mueller report
Associated Press AP, 9:43 AM

Attorney General William Barr leaves his home in McLean, Va., on Saturday morning, March 23, 2019. Special counsel Robert Mueller closed his long and contentious Russia investigation with no new charges, ending the probe that has cast a dark shadow over Donald Trump's presidency. (AP Photo/Sait Serkan Gurbuz) —The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation (all times local):

10:05 a.m.

House Democrats will gather by phone on Saturday as they wait for the Justice Department to send them details of what special counsel Robert Mueller has found in his investigation of Russian interference.

That’s according to a person familiar with the meeting. The person requested anonymity to discuss the private call.

Democrats planned the 3 p.m. conference call to discuss strategy and their next steps after they were notified Friday afternoon that Mueller had sent his completed report to Attorney General William Barr.



Barr said in a Friday letter to the House and Senate Judiciary committees that he would share Mueller’s “principal conclusions” with Congress as soon as Saturday.

— By Mary Clare Jalonick

___

10 a.m.

Attorney General William Barr has arrived at the Justice Department a day after receiving special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report on the Russia investigation.

Barr says he could notify Congress of Mueller’s “principal findings” as soon as Saturday. Mueller on Friday concluded his probe of Russian election interference and possible coordination with Donald Trump’s campaign.

The special counsel’s full report is confidential, but Barr says he will be deciding soon how much of it he will release to Congress and the public.

___

9:40 a.m.

President Donald Trump is on the golf course in Florida a day after special counsel Robert Mueller closed his 22-month-long Russia investigation with no new charges.

Mueller delivered his long-awaited report Friday to the Justice Department, which was expected to release the main findings as soon as Saturday.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Friday that the next steps are up to the attorney general and the White House will let the process take its course. As of Friday evening, the White House had not received or been briefed on the report.



Even with the details still under wraps, the end of the probe without additional indictments by Mueller was welcome news to some in Trump’s orbit who had feared a final round of charges could ensnare more Trump associates, including members of the president’s family.

___

1:45 a.m.

Special counsel Robert Mueller closed his long and contentious Russia investigation with no new charges, ending the probe that has cast a dark shadow over Donald Trump’s presidency. The Justice Department was expected to release the main findings as soon as Saturday.

Even with the details still under wraps, the end Friday of the 22-month probe without additional indictments by Mueller was welcome news to some in Trump’s orbit who had feared a final round of charges could ensnare more Trump associates, including members of the president’s family.

For now, the report is accessible to only a handful of Justice Department officials while Attorney General William Barr prepared to release the “principal findings” soon.

TOPICS: Politics
©2019 Boston Globe Media Partners, LLC




U.S.
DEFENSE ATTORNEY SAYS DONALD TRUMP STILL FACING LEGAL WOES, WARNS SDNY INVESTIGATION 'AIN'T A FISHING EXPEDITION'
By Donica Phifer On 3/23/19 at 9:12 PM EDT
Randy Zelin
Defense attorney Randy Zelin appears on MSNBC on March 23 to discuss the end of Robert Mueller's investigation and the legal challenges remaining for President Donald Trump.
PHOTO: MSNBC

U.S. DONALD TRUMP MSNBC
As the reactions continue to pour in following the delivery of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on accusations that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 special election, one defense attorney was quick to caution those celebrating President Donald Trump's alleged victory.

Appearing on MSNBC Saturday, criminal defense attorney Randy Zelin and MSNBC anchor Kendis Gibson discussed the report from Mueller and how Trump's legal troubles may not be over, despite Mueller's recommendation that no one else is indicted as a result of his investigation.

Zelin began by outlining the mandate from the special counsel's office, saying the report is "limited to investigation into Russian influence into 2016 and related matters."

"Which means that everything related to everything else is for someone else to do," Zerlin added. "In the Southern District [of New York] are they interested in Russian interference or are they interested in things like campaign finance violations unrelated to Russia."

Gibson responded to reference the president's frequent calls of Mueller's investigation being a fishing expedition, to which Zelin asked what Gibson would say about the SDNY investigation "which ain't a fishing expedition."

“You have Michael Cohen, who has already pleaded guilty, you have evidence of campaign finance violations, you have investigations into, now, Trump Organization business dealings, insurance fraud, tax fraud, all kinds of fraud which are unrelated to the Russia investigation,” Zelin said. “So how does the Mueller report extricate the president from his problems?”

Zelin later asked why Americans aren't concerned about learning if Russa interfered in the 2016 presidential election saying, "we've lost sight of that."

Zelin's comments echo what other legal experts told Newsweek on Friday.

"I think that [the Mueller report] certainly is not the end-all, be-all for legal problems and ethics problems for the president,” Noah Bookbinder, executive director at the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington said. “There’s just a lot of really problematic conduct that is being investigated, and that’s not to say that what special counsel Mueller found is not going to be incredibly important…but there’s some danger to looking at whatever he produces as the definitive statement on whether or not this president did anything wrong."

Speaking to MSNBC Saturday, New York Times justice reporter Katie Bennan said that while Trump and his family — including his children Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. — haven't shown themselves to be worried in public, the remaining investigations from Congress and the Southern District of New York cannot be discounted for their potential legal ramifications.

The Southern District of New York is currently investigating potential campaign violations and misuse of funds, an investigation that includes a recent subpoena for financial documents and donor records for Trump's inauguration committee.

"I think we do have to look back at the investigation at SDNY, especially the ones that concern the Trump Organization, where the president's children might be directly implicated," Bennan said, adding that Michael Cohen's testimony included statements that some of his actions were to protect Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr.

Gibson then asked Zelin if those with the last name of Trump should be worried.

"Hell yes," Zelin replied.

RELATED STORIES
Fox News Asks Dem Senator: 'Did Your Party Go Too Far?'
Russia Report Is 'Fraction' of Trump Legal Woes: Expert
Security Expert: Mueller Docs Will Leak If Not Released
Mueller Won’t Recommend Prison Sentence for Cohen
In an interview with Fox News which aired on Friday morning, hours before Mueller delivered his report, Trump expressed confusion that he was being investigated in other areas saying that his lawyers, “don’t even know what people are talking about.

© Copyright 2019 NEWSWEEK
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Sun Mar 24, 2019 6:20 am

MSNBC's Chris Matthews said it is "startling" that there were no indictments following the conclusion of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. Matthews questioned why there was no "interrogation" of President Trump following the announcement that Mueller submitted his report to the U.S. Attorney General on Friday.

"Why was there never an interrogation of this president?" Matthews asked. "We were told for weeks by experts, you cannot deal with an obstruction of justice charge or investigation without getting to motive. You cannot get to motive unless you hear it from the person himself who's being targeted, a subject of the investigation."






"How can they let Trump off the hook?" Matthews demanded.

"So far tonight we have no reason to believe Trump is going to be charged by rhetoric in the document itself, in the Mueller report, no he will not be charged with obstruction or collusion without ever having to sit down with the special counsel Mueller and answer his damn questions. How can that happen?" Matthews asked Friday night.

Matthews calls it "startling" that there will be no further indictments:

I haven’t seen MSNBC this upset since Election Night



Democracy Dies in Darkness
Partners
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© 1996-2017 The Washington Post

Politics

The battle over the Mueller report begins as Trump allies claim victory
By Philip Rucker, Robert Costa, Josh Dawsey, Ashley Parker

March 23, 2019 at 6:53 PM



Congressional Democrats on March 22 demanded the release of all underlying evidence in the Russia investigation while Republicans pointed to findings to vindicate President Trump. (JM Rieger/The Washington Post)
The political showdown over the Russia investigation that could reshape the remainder of President Trump’s term began in earnest Saturday even before the special counsel’s conclusions were known to the public, as Trump allies claimed vindication while Democrats demanded transparency and vowed to intensify their own probes.

Trump and his attorneys and aides were clouded by uncertainty because they did not yet know the contents of the Robert S. Mueller III’s report, which Attorney General William P. Barr and a small coterie of Justice Department officials spent Saturday privately reviewing.

Ensconced for the weekend in Palm Beach, Fla., Trump exuded optimism while playing golf, lunching at the clubhouse and chatting with friends. At the urging of his advisers, he also exhibited uncharacteristic caution, refraining from publicly crowing that the “witch hunt” was over or declaring victory prematurely. Asked mid-Saturday to evaluate the president’s mood, White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said simply, “He’s good.”

The Trump team clung to hopeful signs — such as word from the Justice Department that there would be no more indictments from Mueller’s team — that the president could end up exonerated after a nearly two-year investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Related: [Attorney general is preparing a set of conclusions from Mueller report]

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III completed his report on whether Trump's campaign colluded with Russia in 2016. Now the spotlight is on the attorney general. (Monica Akhtar/The Washington Post)
But there was also widespread recognition within the Trump orbit that the Mueller report could still contain damaging information for the president — and that his legal troubles are far from over, with separate investigations into Trump’s business, inaugural committee and conduct continuing apace in New York and on Capitol Hill.

Rudolph W. Giuliani, one of Trump’s personal attorneys, said he was in a “watch and wait” mode and had been urging the president to “keep your powder dry.”

“The information that has been revealed publicly, particularly no further indictments, has been helpful,” Giuliani said. But, he added, “until you read the report, you don’t know exactly what it entails. . . . My message is: We’ve all waited this long. Let’s just await the reading of what’s disclosed, and then we can have proper final reactions. There’s too much assuming going on, on the other side, and we shouldn’t fall into that trap.”

Still, the contours of the political battles ahead took form. The mood among Democrats was tense and urgent, with expectations running high that Mueller’s complete report could be explosive and spark a reckoning for Trump. Party leaders called for the report to be released in full, along with the underlying documents.

Americans “deserve the truth, to know the truth,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Saturday afternoon on a conference call with caucus members. “Transparency is the order of the day.”

Related: [Trump’s legal troubles are far from over even as Mueller probe ends]

Rank-and-file Democrats worried to House leaders that the Justice Department’s independence could be threatened, according to several aides involved in those talks, while Pelosi tried to fend off — for now, at least — calls within her party to seek Trump’s impeachment.

Attorney General William P. Barr departs his home Saturday morning in McLean, Va. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
“I think that day will come,” Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) told MSNBC’s Joy Reid on Saturday. “I don’t think he’s legitimate. I said it back at the end of the election. I still believe that today.”

On the campaign trail, Democratic presidential candidates called for full transparency from the Justice Department.

“We really need a full accounting of what happened,” Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Ind., told a breakfast crowd in Greenville, S.C. He added, “It may well be the case that the only appropriate response is impeachment, but to me the most decisive way to put an end to Trumpism is for it to be defeated massively at the ballot box.”

Among Republicans, meanwhile, the calls for caution from Trump’s attorneys did not seem to reach the ears of his allies, who took a victory lap on the president’s behalf.

“This is a vindication for the president and his family that after one year, 10 months and six days the Mueller report is concluding something which we already knew, which is there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians,” said Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s former campaign manager.

Stephen K. Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist, wrote in an email that the president would “weaponize Mueller report to bludgeon Democrats. Expect him to come ‘off the chain.’ ”

There was a defiant streak throughout conservative media. On Breitbart, headlines read “Leftists cope with Mueller report bust” and “MSNBC-onspiracy!” And on the Sirius radio program “Breitbart News Saturday,” upbeat tracks from the “Ghostbusters” and “Rocky” soundtracks played as a parade of Trump allies called in with commentary.

A feeling of relief set in among the many Trump associates who had spent hours being questioned by Mueller’s investigators, including former campaign official Michael Caputo.

“My family has lost everything and now we’re starting over, but I awoke today optimistic for us and for our nation,” Caputo said.

On Friday evening, after Mueller gave his report to Barr, Trump was at his Mar-a-Lago Club and in unusually good spirits, according to people who interacted with him. Cable news shows were abuzz with reports about the Mueller probe, but Trump was not seen watching much television. Rather, he sat at his usual table on the patio for dinner and to celebrate his son Barron’s 13th birthday with his wife, Melania, and Donald Trump Jr. and his girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle.

Trump Jr., who had been vacationing at Mar-a-Lago all week with his children, was on a boat fishing when the Mueller news broke Friday. The president’s son, who had come under scrutiny for the 2016 meeting he arranged at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer promising dirt on Hillary Clinton, responded by tweeting a picture of himself and his boys holding up the fish they caught and then retweeting pro-Trump reactions.

President Trump left the patio for about an hour Friday night to attend a Republican Party fundraising dinner in Mar-a-Lago’s ballroom, where the crowd chanted “Lock her up!” after one of the featured speakers, Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), called for an investigation of “both sides” — reflecting the desire of Trump supporters to go after Clinton, the defeated 2016 Democratic nominee.

Late in the evening, the president returned to the patio and appeared loose and upbeat, nodding and smiling as club members and other friends approached him at the table. Although nobody quite knew what the Mueller report said or what might happen next, people still cheered Trump. He in turn told several guests that he was proud of his accomplishments in office but did not speculate or engage in detailed discussion about the Mueller probe, according to people who were present.

At one point, White House lawyer Emmet Flood joined for a few minutes to talk with the president, as did Graham, who said he urged Trump to “listen to your lawyers.”

“He keeps saying he didn’t do anything with the Russians, and I said, ‘Well, there’s only one person that can really clear the air here, and that’s Mueller, and he’s been able to do his job and we’ll see here in a day or two what he found,’ ” Graham said in an interview Saturday.

Typically, Trump is accompanied by only a small staff entourage, sometimes with mid-level aides, on his weekend jaunts to Florida. But on Friday, several senior White House officials, including acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and press secretary Sarah Sanders, flew with him to Florida — in part so Trump would be surrounded by people he knows and trusts and therefore be less likely to do something rash, according to two people close to the president who spoke on the condition of anonymity to reveal internal details.

Trump agreed with his aides to be restrained in his public comments about the Mueller report until he gets a full briefing on its findings, which could occur as early as Sunday. Reminded that the president’s inclination has been to break the shackles his aides place on him by tweeting his feelings, one senior administration official replied, “The stakes are higher.”

On Saturday, Trump spent much of the day at the Trump International Golf Club in nearby West Palm Beach. Trump golfed and spent time with the musician Kid Rock, according to an administration official and the musician’s Instagram page, where he posted a picture posing with the president.

And there was a celebratory mood among the Trump fans — “my bridge people,” as the president calls them — who gathered near a bridge to cheer the presidential motorcade as it traveled to and from Mar-a-Lago, despite not knowing what the report says.

“I’m relieved that it’s finally out and it vindicates our president,” Paula Magnuson said. “Hopefully the Democrats will let it go now.”

Trump has told confidants he has not known Barr for long and that he cannot predict how the attorney general, who was sworn in only last month, will handle the situation. But the president also has said he is glad Barr is in charge and not former attorney general Jeff Sessions, and he has reiterated that his attorneys have told him Barr is fair, according to advisers who have spoken with him.

With little new information emerging Saturday, officials said Trump’s attorneys impressed upon the president to take a hands-off approach and to be patient with Barr — waiting for him to share Mueller’s conclusions on his own timetable and not to contact the attorney general or press for an update.

“He’s not going to engage a lot until he gets more information,” said David Bossie, Trump’s former deputy campaign manager.

That is the plan, but as those who work for him readily acknowledge, Trump rarely sticks to plans.

Meagan Flynn and Lori Rozsa in Palm Beach, David Weigel in Greenville and Colby Itkowitz in Washington contributed to this report.

3.0k Comments
Philip Rucker is the White House Bureau Chief for The Washington Post. He previously has covered Congress, the Obama White House, and the 2012 and 2016 presidential campaigns. Rucker also is a Political Analyst for NBC News and MSNBC. He joined The Post in 2005 as a local news reporter.

Robert Costa is a national political reporter for The Washington Post. He covers the White House, Congress, and campaigns. He joined The Post in January 2014. He is also the moderator of PBS's "Washington Week" and a political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC.

Josh Dawsey is a White House reporter for The Washington Post. He joined the paper in 2017. He previously covered the White House for Politico, and New York City Hall and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for the Wall Street Journal.

Ashley Parker is a White House reporter for The Washington Post. She joined The Post in 2017, after 11 years at the New York Times, where she covered the 2012 and 2016 presidential campaigns and Congress, among other things.
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Re: Trump enters the stage : WAITING

Postby Meno_ » Sun Mar 24, 2019 12:47 pm

Attorney General William Barr
AMueller delivered his report to Barr on Friday, and Barr is expected to brief members of Congress on the report this weekend. | Win McNamee/Getty Images

CONGRESS

Congress waits another day for Mueller findings
The Justice Dept. said it would not transmit a summary of the special counsel's findings Saturday, fueling Democrats' urgent pleas to release the entire document.

By KYLE CHENEY, HEATHER CAYGLE, ANDREW DESIDERIO and JOSH GERSTEIN 03/23/2019 09:28 AM EDT
The public and members of Congress will be in the dark for at least one more day on special counsel Robert Mueller's central conclusions about contacts between associates of President Donald Trump and Russia during the 2016 campaign.

The Justice Department informed Congress on Saturday afternoon that Attorney General William Barr would not provide findings to lawmakers until at least Sunday, officials at Justice and on Capitol Hill confirmed, prolonging rampant speculation about what might be in Mueller’s report and fueling Democrats' increasingly urgent pleas to release the entire document.




However, Barr, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and their top aides were at Justice Department headquarters Saturday poring over Mueller’s submission and considering how to boil down the core conclusions into a summary that can be made public before officials embark on a review of the whole document, an official said.

Access to Mueller’s report has been limited to “very few” individuals, a Justice official said, in part out of concern about leaks of one of the most politically sensitive documents in modern American history.

Democrats huddled on Saturday to strategize about how to talk about the as-yet-unseen report and how to force the Justice Department to make it public — a possible drag-out legal fight that could consume Washington for months.


Speaker Nancy Pelosi hosted a conference call with House Democrats on Saturday afternoon to discuss the report’s impending arrival. According to multiple sources who participated in the call, Pelosi said she would reject an offer for a classified briefing on Mueller’s underlying findings, arguing that the evidence should be unclassified despite DOJ guidelines that state the department should not disclose damaging information about individuals who are not indicted.





House Democratic committee chairs repeatedly referred to Republicans’ efforts to disclose documents related to other former top officials who were not indicted, including Hillary Clinton and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, when they controlled the House during the first two years of the Trump presidency.



Separately, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), a member of the Judiciary Committee, said Republicans' efforts during that time period to force the public release of elements of the Russia probe — as well as the investigation of Clinton's email server — had armed Democrats with an argument to require significant disclosure of the Mueller findings.

“Republicans have really shot themselves in the foot with what they approved,” Jayapal said. “They really undermined any argument Barr might want to make that there's longstanding precedent.”


In a letter to lawmakers Saturday afternoon, Pelosi dismissed Barr’s plan to summarize the findings for the relevant committees as “insufficient” and said any briefings on the report should be unclassified so members are free to share the details publicly.

“We are insisting that any briefings to any committees be unclassified so that members can speak freely about every aspect of the report and not be confined to what DOJ chooses to release publicly,” Pelosi wrote.


We’re hosting a live chat on Reddit with former federal investigators who worked on some of the biggest cases since Watergate and our senior reporter, Darren Samuelsohn. Join us on Monday, March 25 at noon ET.



Pelosi also reiterated that DOJ should release the report in its entirety and related documents, "even if DOJ chooses not to prosecute additional individuals."



“Congress requires the full report and the underlying documents so that the Committees can proceed with their independent work, including oversight and legislating to address any issues the Mueller report may raise,” she wrote.

Democrats have also expressed concern that the Justice Department’s sifting of the report for public consumption could be influenced by the White House. Justice officials confirmed that they alerted the White House to the receipt of the report just before congressional leaders were notified Friday afternoon.

However, a Justice spokesperson insisted that the only information conveyed was the brief letter also sent to lawmakers. Officials have declined to say whether they plan to vet future disclosures from Mueller’s report with the White House, although such consultations over executive privilege issues are typical.



Asked Saturday whether Justice Department leaders were “plotting” with the White House to stage manage release of more information about Mueller’s probe, a Justice official who asked not to be named said: “No, that’s ridiculous.”

While they await answers, the leaders of House committees who oversee the Justice Department and intelligence community have signaled they're prepared to unleash aggressive tactics to compel Barr to make the details of the report public.



“If the AG plays any games, we will subpoena the report, ask Mr. Mueller to testify, and take it all to court if necessary," said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, a comment echoed by committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.).

That could include issuing a subpoena that could plunge the two branches of government into a protracted court fight — and potentially demanding that Mueller himself testify publicly after nearly two years of operating in virtual secrecy.


“We’re potentially looking at a classic collision of Congress’s constitutional authority to investigate with the preferences of the executive branch to, in this case, to potentially withhold information from Congress. That is an issue that will have to be decided by a court if that’s how it evolves,” said David Laufman, who ran the Justice Department’s counter-intelligence unit from 2014 to 2018 and had a key role overseeing both the Clinton and Russia investigations.

Schumer: Attorney General Barr must make the full Mueller report public
CONGRESS

Congress demands full Mueller report ahead of huge partisan fight

Republicans were circling the wagons around Trump, noting that Mueller did not drop new indictments as he wrapped up his nearly two-year-long probe. But Democrats cautioned that Mueller was not the end-all-be-all, noting that Congress is still investigating allegations of obstruction of justice and abuse of power on the president’s part, and that other federal and state entities are conducting probes into several aspects of the Trumpworld.


“It’s the end of the beginning, it’s not the beginning of the end,” said Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “It’s important to remember that whatever is concluded by Robert Mueller doesn’t mean that the president and his core team are free of legal jeopardy from these other proceedings. And it’s important to remember that the Congress has a different scope of charge and responsibility than Special Counsel Mueller.”

But most lawmakers tempered their comments as they awaited word from Barr about what level of detail he intends to share with Congress and the public this weekend.



Barr’s decision carries enormous consequences for the Trump administration and the new Democratic House majority, which is wrestling with outspoken members eager to impeach Trump and is in the early stages of a crush of sensitive investigations of Trump and his administration. Democrats are also acutely aware of the dicey politics of probing a combative president.

Coloring the debate is the news that Mueller is not recommending any new indictments, a determination that has emboldened Trump, who has long claimed the investigation was a “witch hunt.” It’s unclear whether word that Mueller isn’t urging additional charges precludes the possibility that he obtained some indictments that remain sealed.



Mueller is also known to have referred or handed off responsibility for some matters to federal prosecutors in New York, Virginia and Washington, D.C., but the full extent and status of such spinoff probes has never been made public.

Announcement of the end of the Mueller probe, annotated
Announcement of the end of the Mueller probe, annotated

Republicans have emphasized that even though they, too, want much of the report to be public, Democrats seem to be demanding that the Justice Department reveal derogatory information about Mueller's witnesses even if they're not charged with a crime. Rosenstein has previously suggested the Justice Department would not take such a step, especially given the backlash after former FBI Director James Comey publicly disparaged Clinton in 2016 even while declining to recommend charges against her for her use of a private email server.



Democrats, though, say Mueller's report may contain crucial counterintelligence information that shows links and alliances between Trump associates and Russian operatives, information that could be crucial to future efforts to protect American elections from foreign interference.



And they also have raised concerns that even if Mueller's report found criminal wrongdoing by the president, a longstanding Justice Department policy against indicting sitting presidents could preclude the details from becoming public.

“To be clear, if the Special Counsel has reason to believe that the President has engaged in criminal or other serious misconduct, then the Justice Department has an obligation not to conceal such information,” Schiff, Nadler and other committee chairmen said in a late Friday statement. “The President must be subject to accountability and if the Justice Department is unable to do so, then the need to provide Congress with the relevant information is paramount.”



Trump spent much of the day golfing at Trump International Golf Club, just a few miles from Mar-a-Lago. He golfed with three other people, though the White House refused to identify his partners.



White House officials said the president was in a good mood. So far, Trump has not reacted publicly to the news that Mueller has completed his investigation. And aides said the White House has not yet been briefed on the contents of Mueller’s report.

White House officials remained largely in wait-and-see mode, even though they believe the final report will be a flop.

It was an unusually low-key response for a president known for indignant Twitter outbursts. But people close to the president predicted it wouldn’t last long.

Trump’s friends and advisers have also been privately assuring him that the report is going to be a flop and that he can spin the whole endeavor as a politically motivated waste of time. But it remains to be seen what the report might actually say — and if it’s worse than the president’s allies think, Trump could react with fury.

By Saturday afternoon, Trump had retreated back to Mar-a-Lago, his private club. He’s not expected to make any public appearances for the rest of the day.



As his client and the country awaited the Mueller report’s findings, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani was seen on Saturday shopping at a downtown D.C. Brooks Brothers, according to an eyewitness.




© 2019 POLITICO LLC






Mueller report: Why so many of President Donald Trump's aides lied to protect him in Russia investigations



BRAD HEATH AND KEVIN JOHNSON | USA TODAY | 17 hours ago


The conclusion of the Mueller investigation into whether Trump colluded with Russia in the election has been submitted. And, Mueller's report will be governed by rules written in the wake of the Starr Report. We explain.

WASHINGTON – The first lie – the first one that was a crime, at least – came on the fourth day of Donald Trump’s presidency, in a White House office down the hall from Trump’s own.


That day, a pair of FBI agents came to question Trump’s top national security aide, Mike Flynn, about his dealings with the Russian government. Flynn gave the agents a tour of his new spot in the new administration, interrupted at one point as Trump and some movers walked past discussing where to hang art on the walls. Then Flynn took them back to his corner office and calmly lied to them about conversations with Russia’s ambassador.

Flynn, agents later wrote, “did not parse his words or hesitate.” He simply lied.

The exchange was the start of a remarkable succession of lies over nearly two years by some of Trump’s closest political associates, told to federal agents, Congress and the public that distanced the president and his campaign from an investigation into whether his campaign participated in Russian efforts to disrupt the election that put him in office.

Whatever else special counsel Robert Mueller’s now-concluded investigation may reveal, it has devoted considerable attention to the Trump associates whose lies to lawmakers and investigators deflected attention from connections between Russia and the president’s campaign, and to a central question hanging over many of the charges Mueller has filed: Why did they lie?


Mueller delivered his final report Friday to Attorney General William Barr, marking the end of an investigation that has loomed over the first two years of Trump's presidency. The Justice Department has so far revealed none of the report's conclusions, but over the past year and a half, prosecutors have sketched some of them in hundreds of pages of court filings.

Prosecutors have revealed that Trump’s campaign worked eagerly to benefit from a Russian intelligence operation that hacked his opponents’ emails and echoed them in phony social media campaigns, an effort the U.S. government later concluded was aimed in part at helping to deliver Trump the presidency. And investigators charged that a succession of top aides then lied to pretend they hadn’t.

Barr's Letter: Read Attorney General Barr's letter to Congress announcing end of Mueller's Russia probe

Investigation Ends: Special counsel Robert Mueller delivers report marking end of investigation into Trump's campaign, Russia


Mueller’s office accused seven people, all but one of them former aides or advisers to Trump, with making dozens of false statements during the Russia investigation.

The investigation has produced a deluge of falsehoods on subjects from the president’s business dealings in Moscow to a meeting his son and campaign chief attended in Trump Tower in 2016 with a Russian promising “dirt” on his political opponent. But lying to the public is usually not a crime, and Mueller’s investigators zeroed in on those directed to lawmakers and federal investigators.

Trump’s lawyers maintain that the lies reflect little more than a misguided impulse to protect themselves from things that weren’t crimes to begin with. “The thing about all these lies is that if they all just told the damn truth they probably wouldn’t have been in any trouble,” said Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s lead attorney.

Prosecutors haven’t hinted at their answer, other than to reveal that it is one of the subjects they investigated.


But some of the people they have accused of lying have supplied answers of their own: One suggested he lied out of loyalty. Others appear to have been protecting the president. One, Michael Cohen, a former executive in Trump’s private business and his personal lawyer, said he lied because the president wanted him to.

“Everybody's job at the Trump Organization is to protect Mr. Trump. Every day most of us knew we were coming in and we were going to lie for him on something and that became the norm,” Cohen said in sworn testimony to a House committee Feb. 27. “And that's exactly what's happening right now in this country and it's exactly what's happening here in government.”


Special counsel Robert Muller arrives at his office building, Thursday, March
23 months of Russia lies
Flynn has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI on Jan. 24, 2017, about conversations with Russia’s ambassador, including one in which he discussed rolling back sanctions the Obama administration had imposed in response to Moscow’s election-meddling.

Three days after that meeting, two FBI agents went looking for a young campaign aide, George Papadopoulos. They took him from his mother’s house in Chicago to the bureau’s office there, switched on a video camera, and warned him to tell the truth.


“The only way you’re getting in trouble today is if you lie to us,” one said, according to court records.

For two hours, the agents quizzed Papadopoulos on his interactions with a professor in London named Joseph Mifsud and other people Papadopoulos believed had ties to the Russian government. Eventually, Papadopoulos revealed that Mifsud told him in early 2016 that Moscow had gathered “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, in the form of “thousands of emails,” months before the government revealed that Russia’s military intelligence service had hacked Democratic political organizations. But Papadopoulos passed his encounter with Mifsud off as a “strange coincidence,” unrelated to his work for Trump.

He later admitted that wasn’t true; Mifsud approached him because of his role on the campaign.

Foreign policy advisor to President Donald Trump's election campaign, George Papadopoulos and his wife Simona Mangiante Papadopoulos leave a federal court in Washington after his sentencing on September 7, 2018.
Foreign policy advisor to President Donald Trump's election campaign, George Papadopoulos and his wife Simona Mangiante Papadopoulos leave a federal court in Washington after his sentencing on September 7, 2018.

More lies by Trump associates followed.

That August, Michael Cohen lied in a written statement to two congressional committees about Trump’s efforts to construct a potentially lucrative high-rise in Moscow, telling them that they ended early in the campaign, when in fact those efforts continued until the point – almost six months later – when Trump had effectively secured the Republican presidential nomination. Cohen also tried to mislead members of Congress into thinking that Trump himself was uninvolved in the project.


A month after that, in September 2017, prosecutors allege that another Trump confidante, Roger Stone, lied to lawmakers about his efforts to gather information for the campaign about hacked emails that were being released by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks. Prosecutors said someone in Trump’s campaign directed a senior campaign official to get in touch with Stone about any other “damaging information” the group might have on Clinton.

When lawmakers summoned one of Stone’s associates to testify, Stone suggested he, too, stick to the story, saying in a text message obtained by prosecutors: “Stonewall it. Plead the fifth. Anything to save the plan’ … Richard Nixon.”

Cohen, Flynn and Papadopoulos have pleaded guilty to making false statements. So has Manafort’s former deputy Rick Gates, and an attorney who worked with the pair, Alexander Van Der Zwaan. Stone, who has maintained his innocence, is scheduled to go on trial in November on charges of lying to Congress and obstruction of justice.


Late last year, Paul Manafort, the former chairman of Trump’s campaign, met with investigators and appeared twice before a grand jury. There, prosecutors alleged in court filings, he lied about his interactions with a business associate in Ukraine who U.S. authorities say is tied to Russian intelligence. Prosecutors say Manafort passed polling data to the foreign associate while running Trump’s campaign.

Prosecutors didn’t charge Manafort with lying, though a judge concluded that he had. Instead they sought to use his lies against him when he was sentenced for other crimes, including conspiracy and tax and bank fraud related to years of lobbying work he conducted in Ukraine.

The full consequence of all the lies remains to be seen.

The personal legal jeopardy for Trump’s associates is playing out in courtrooms from New York to Washington. It’s less clear the implications those lies have had on Mueller’s effort to understand the scope of the Russian government’s intelligence operation around the 2016 election, and how directly it was able to tap into Trump’s campaign, if at all.

David Laufman, who ran the Justice Department’s counter-intelligence unit from 2014 until early 2018, declined to comment on the cases Mueller filed, but said the urgency of finding and countering foreign intelligence operations should be obvious.


“It’s essential when a counterintelligence threat is discovered for the FBI and the Justice Department to be able to take appropriate investigative steps to get to the heart of the matter as quickly as possible,” he said. “If someone the FBI goes to interview is withholding information from the government, that’s a serious mater

'Loyalty' and 'orders'
Trump has tried repeatedly to discredit Mueller’s investigation, savaging it as a political “witch hunt.” The FBI has confirmed that it investigated whether the president also tried to obstruct it, and Mueller’s office closely scrutinized the false statements of Trump aides.

Both Cohen and Flynn have agreed to cooperate with prosecutors and have provided information about the circumstances in which they lied.


“The obvious question on the obstruction theory is who, if anyone, is suggesting that they’d want to cover it up,” said Shanlon Wu, a former federal prosecutor who represented Gates until last year.

“Isn’t it a remarkable coincidence — why are they all lying?” said Robert Ray, a former independent counsel who investigated President Bill Clinton. “Politics is one of those spaces where loyalty is prized above most everything,” Ray said. “When you look at these cases, it’s like everyone understood that — down to the lowest staffer.”

Flynn has never revealed why he lied, and it’s puzzled those who know him.

Giuliani said it was “stupid perjury,” because Flynn, the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency and a retired general, should have known the government was monitoring his contacts with Russia’s ambassador. Giuliani also said it was “outrageous” that agents questioned Flynn without a lawyer and didn’t give him a chance to correct his false statements.

National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and President Donald Trump arrive at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida to visit the U.S. Central Command and Specials Operations Command on Feb. 6, 2017.
MANDEL NGAN, AFP/GETTY IMAGES
Robert “Rocky” Kempenaar, one of Flynn’s longtime friends from Rhode Island, said he believes he lied to protect the president and his administration and that he did not decide to do it on his own.

“He’s a general,” Kempenaar said. “He was following orders from above him. Whether it was the president, I don’t know, but I kind of figured it out knowing Michael the way we do.”

Cohen, too, placed Trump squarely at the center of the obstruction investigation. In scathing testimony to the House Oversight Committee in early February, he said Trump had implicitly encouraged him to lie to lawmakers about plans to build a Trump Tower in Russia. And he testified that some of Trump’s lawyers reviewed and edited a false written statement before he delivered it to Congress in 2017.

“Mr. Trump did not directly tell me to lie to Congress, that's not how he operates,” Cohen said. “In conversations we had during the campaign, at the same time I was actively negotiating in Russia for him, he would look me in the eye and tell me, there's no Russian business, and then go on to lie to the American people by saying the same thing.

“In his way, he was telling me to lie.”


Cohen has not said when or where he had those conversations with Trump, but investigators revealed in warrant applications that they had extensively monitored both his communications and his location. He submitted documents to the House Intelligence Committee about his interactions with Trump's lawyers.

Prosecutors have so far offered nothing to substantiate that account, though they confirmed to a judge last year that Cohen had given them information about the “circumstances of preparing and circulating,” his written statement to Congress, which they found both “relevant and truthful.”

Beyond that, Mueller’s office has offered only brief explanations for why they think Trump’s aides lied.

One of its top prosecutors, Andrew Weissmann, told a judge last year that the special counsel’s office thought Manafort had lied to investigators – after promising to cooperate – to “augment his chances for a pardon.”

And they said Papadopoulos was seeking a job with Trump’s National Security Council or elsewhere in the administration when he lied to the FBI, telling agents he was “trying to help the country and you guys, but I don’t want to jeopardize my career.”

Papadopoulos' lawyer offered a clearer explanation last year before the former foreign policy aide was sentenced to 14 days in prison. He lied, Thomas Breen said, out of “misguided loyalty to his master.”

Contributing: Bart Jansen




© Copyright Gannett 2019



TheHill

ADMINISTRATION
March 24, 2019 - 06:00 AM EDT
Mueller's end shifts focus to New York prosecutors



The end of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation is shifting the spotlight to federal prosecutors in President Trump's hometown.

While all eyes this weekend are on the Department of Justice and Mueller's conclusions, the completion of the special counsel's report won't finish all the investigations into Trump.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) is reportedly already carrying out a series of probes related to the president, including efforts focused on Trump's inaugural committee.

It is also overseeing an investigation into potential campaign finance violations tied to the president.



Trump and his allies are well aware of the investigations and the dangers of the New York prosecutors.

The office is legendary for its ruthless and broad investigations and has shown a willingness to take on big names, from mafia bosses to celebrities and economic powerhouses.

Legal experts told The Hill that even as the Mueller probe ends, SDNY could pose an even greater threat to the president, his family and his businesses.


"That office has been very aggressive about going after high-profile targets," said former federal prosecutor Kendall Coffey, who called the Manhattan attorney's office "utterly fearless."

"Anybody that might be in their bullseye ought to be mighty worried," Coffey added.

Jonathan Turley, a professor at George Washington University Law School, said charges pursued by SDNY could have a statute of limitations extending beyond Trump's term, meaning Trump could be indicted once he leaves office.


"If the president was found to be part of a criminal conspiracy or violation, it's possible that they could proceed with charges after the election," said Turley, an opinion contributor to The Hill.

The White House and Trump attorney Jay Sekulow did not respond to requests for comment for this story.

Documents from the federal raids on former Trump attorney Michael Cohen released Tuesday indicated that federal prosecutors in New York are probing a potential campaign finance violation. Cohen has publicly implicated the president in the scheme to make payments to women alleging affairs with Trump, as have court filings from SDNY. Trump has denied any wrongdoing in the case.


The New York Times also reported Saturday that the Manhattan attorney's office is conducting several investigations tied to the president, including one into his inaugural committee and two others linked to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

A spokesperson for SDNY declined The Hill's request for comment.

A source close to Donald Trump Jr. dismissed any concerns over SDNY. Trump Jr. is overseeing the president's personal businesses alongside his brother Eric and has faced scrutiny over a 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Trump campaign officials and a Russian lawyer.

Legal sources told The Hill that as Mueller's probe wound down, it's possible he handed evidence not relevant to the Russia probe to other U.S. attorney's offices.

Mueller referred the Cohen investigation to SDNY after investigators on his team found evidence of crimes unrelated to Russian election interference, such as bank and wire fraud.

Coffey said that while Mueller had talented prosecutors on his team, his office lacked the longstanding structure and resources SDNY has in place. That could bolster any DOJ probes coming out of New York.

Several figures who were scrutinized as part of the Mueller probe have celebrated its conclusion, taking the lack of indictments issued as the investigation ended as a sign that they won't be prosecuted as part of the Russia probe.

However, Mimi Rocah, a former assistant U.S. attorney for SDNY, said those figures could still face charges from other parts of the Justice Department.

She said that because some figures such as Trump Jr. never interviewed with Mueller before the investigation concluded, those individuals could be targets of an investigation rather than just witnesses.

The experts also noted that many of the witnesses in the Mueller probe are now facing congressional inquiries. Democrats, who took over the House in January, have launched several investigations into Trump and his businesses.

The House Judiciary Committee alone has requested documents from 81 figures, including Trump Jr. and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, who is also Trump's son-in-law.

"The congressional investigations remain a live torpedo in the water for any unindicted person," Turley said.

Rocah said Mueller could hand over evidence that he uncovered in his probe to congressional investigations as long as it wasn't part of a grand jury investigation and wasn't classified.

Jill Wine-Banks, who worked as an attorney on the Watergate investigation, said investigations launched by the state of New York could prove to be a bigger threat than those coming out of the U.S. attorney's office.

She said SDNY would have to follow the same Justice Department guidance Mueller did, which states a sitting president cannot be indicted. However, state prosecutors wouldn't be held to the same standards.

The New York attorney general has personally targeted Trump before. The office last year sued the president over his foundation, demanding that it be dissolved and that he and his adult children be prevented from holding leadership roles at other charities, at least temporarily, over alleged "persistent illegality."

And the Manhattan district attorney filed fraud charges against Manafort shortly after he was sentenced on federal charges. The maneuver was viewed by some as an attempt to stop Trump from potentially pardoning Manafort, as the president cannot pardon an individual for state charges.

"New York is his homebase and it's where his corporation and foundation are," Wine-Banks said of Trump, noting that the state and SDNY could also attempt to claim jurisdiction over the Trump inaugural committee and transition teams over their New York ties.




The contents of this site are ©2019 Capitol Hill Publishing Corp., a subsidiary of News Communications, Inc.
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Re: Trump enters the stage - waiting game

Postby Meno_ » Sun Mar 24, 2019 2:56 pm

Initial Trump reaction from Trump


https://youtu.be/DaP54DQeUzg



Here is an op-ed from today's (Sunday, March 24, 2019) Los Angeles Times, in part.

'with all this, wjat do concerned citizens need with the report? A team of league eagles to cut our meat , for us , evidently.

And that's forgivable : The heart craves the whole truth, or should , whatever it's partisan implications.
As Garrett Graff wrote recently in Wired, all patriots must hope the Mueller report finds Trump blameless in any "conspiracy to defraud the United States."

That's because it's unthinkable that an American president would sell out his country to the Kremlin.Bit , depending on Mueller's conclusions . it might have to become thinkable . Remember Rocah's words, "That's when all real work begins."
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Re: Trump enters the stage-Is he in the clear?

Postby Meno_ » Sun Mar 24, 2019 8:22 pm

President Trump Is Vindicated. The Witch Hunt Is Over
By Mike Huckabee
Attorney General William Barr’s letter to Congress shows that the Russia collusion investigation is exactly what President Trump always said it was -- a witch hunt.


“In addition to this notification, the Special Counsel regulations require that I provide you with ‘a description and explanation of instances (if any) in which the Attorney General’ or acting Attorney General ‘concluded that a proposed action by a Special Counsel was so inappropriate or unwarranted under established Departmental practices that it should not be pursued.’ 28 C.F.R. 600.9(a)(3). There were no such instances during the Special Counsel's investigation.” Barr wrote in his one page letter to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees.


In other words, for a man Democrats said was hellbent on obstructing justice and preventing the Special Counsel from completing his investigation, President Trump did a lousy job.

CNN political analyst Gloria Borger admitted that the president is “vindicated” by the conclusion of Mueller’s probe.

Even one top Democrat in the Senate is now urging restraint. Sen. Chris Coons on Saturday said that House Democrats must use their oversight power in a "focused and responsible way" as they go forward with investigations involving President Trump, cautioning his colleagues to make sure they don’t "overdo it."


“We have to be careful to use the resources and the abilities of the House majority in a focused and a responsible way,” Coons said on CNN. “We need to focus on things that are relevant and matter to the average American.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are obsessing over the contents of the Mueller Report, but they’re overlooking the significance of what’s not in it.

Not one of the Democrats’ high-value targets — Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, or any other Trump family members — were indicted by Mueller, and the Department of Justice has already said there will be no more indictments forthcoming.

Of course, Mueller didn’t subpoena the president, either, crushing the hopes of the mainstream media journalists and pundits who had been confidently expecting that very outcome from the start of Mueller’s probe. If President Trump really was an agent of Russia, as they fervently believe he is, then surely Mueller would have taken the added step of at least interviewing him before ending the investigation.

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Among those who were indicted in the Mueller investigation, moreover, not one was charged with conspiring with Russia to fix the 2016 election -- the entire purpose of assigning a special counsel.

Here we are, two years and $30-plus million in taxpayer funds later, and nothing to show for it, except some completely discredited media commentators and partisan members of Congress who breathlessly all but guaranteed there would be evidence of the president and members of his family and staff colluding with the Russians. I won’t hold my breath for their admissions and apologies.

Lives have been ruined and America’s image on the world stage has been tarnished because rogue government agents and hyper-partisan Democrats thought they could overturn the results of an election they lost fair and square.

With the Mueller witch hunt behind him, perhaps now the President Trump can finally focus his full attention on the job that the American people elected him to do: making America great again.

















©2018 RealClearPolitics



Trump's Bully Pit
By Debra Saunders
WASHINGTON -- During a week when President Donald Trump should have been beating his chest nonstop to celebrate the strong U.S. economy, he instead chose to flog his enemies, dead and alive, on Twitter and on camera.
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Re: Trump enters the stage-Is he in the clear?

Postby Meno_ » Sun Mar 24, 2019 8:48 pm

Meno_ wrote:President Trump Is Vindicated. The Witch Hunt Is Over
By Mike Huckabee
Attorney General William Barr’s letter to Congress shows that the Russia collusion investigation is exactly what President Trump always said it was -- a witch hunt.


“In addition to this notification, the Special Counsel regulations require that I provide you with ‘a description and explanation of instances (if any) in which the Attorney General’ or acting Attorney General ‘concluded that a proposed action by a Special Counsel was so inappropriate or unwarranted under established Departmental practices that it should not be pursued.’ 28 C.F.R. 600.9(a)(3). There were no such instances during the Special Counsel's investigation.” Barr wrote in his one page letter to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees.


In other words, for a man Democrats said was hellbent on obstructing justice and preventing the Special Counsel from completing his investigation, President Trump did a lousy job.

CNN political analyst Gloria Borger admitted that the president is “vindicated” by the conclusion of Mueller’s probe.

Even one top Democrat in the Senate is now urging restraint. Sen. Chris Coons on Saturday said that House Democrats must use their oversight power in a "focused and responsible way" as they go forward with investigations involving President Trump, cautioning his colleagues to make sure they don’t "overdo it."


“We have to be careful to use the resources and the abilities of the House majority in a focused and a responsible way,” Coons said on CNN. “We need to focus on things that are relevant and matter to the average American.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are obsessing over the contents of the Mueller Report, but they’re overlooking the significance of what’s not in it.

Not one of the Democrats’ high-value targets — Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, or any other Trump family members — were indicted by Mueller, and the Department of Justice has already said there will be no more indictments forthcoming.

Of course, Mueller didn’t subpoena the president, either, crushing the hopes of the mainstream media journalists and pundits who had been confidently expecting that very outcome from the start of Mueller’s probe. If President Trump really was an agent of Russia, as they fervently believe he is, then surely Mueller would have taken the added step of at least interviewing him before ending the investigation.

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Among those who were indicted in the Mueller investigation, moreover, not one was charged with conspiring with Russia to fix the 2016 election -- the entire purpose of assigning a special counsel.

Here we are, two years and $30-plus million in taxpayer funds later, and nothing to show for it, except some completely discredited media commentators and partisan members of Congress who breathlessly all but guaranteed there would be evidence of the president and members of his family and staff colluding with the Russians. I won’t hold my breath for their admissions and apologies.

Lives have been ruined and America’s image on the world stage has been tarnished because rogue government agents and hyper-partisan Democrats thought they could overturn the results of an election they lost fair and square.

With the Mueller witch hunt behind him, perhaps now the President Trump can finally focus his full attention on the job that the American people elected him to do: making America great again.

















©2018 RealClearPolitics



Trump's Bully Pit
By Debra Saunders
WASHINGTON -- During a week when President Donald Trump should have been beating his chest nonstop to celebrate the strong U.S. economy, he instead chose to flog his enemies, dead and alive, on Twitter and on camera.



It apoears, that as formerly held in this forum, there may eventually evolve two types of interpretations resulting with Mueller's report

As any other major politically infused national trauma, the report can be compared with that of Kenneth Starr's analysis if the Clinton fiasco, or the report on Nixon, or even the even more ominous report on the Kennedy assassination.
Follow up examinations of any high profile political traumas generate the pragmatic believers, who would like the healing by applying the balls which usually heal the underlying pain caused by them. The residual skeptics will always perpetuate the possible interference with the facts, as presented, saturating any credibility within a pocket of gross conspiratorial underbelly, and that usually emerges through the extreme positions of both the right and left.

Since extremists on the right will not ever, it seems now, succumb to disbelieve a validation of Mueller's report, if it's interpretation will tend to support Trump's appearent confirmation of his non involvement, it will only be the work of the extreme left, to keep facts and falsehoods alive.

The validity of Mueller's work, even now, is beginning to be questioned, as the new democratic congress has voiced intentions to subpoena Miller to a series of question before Congress, if it seems as if he developed an ulterior attitude to pursue interviewing him , rather then relying on less obtrusive methods.
The written answer to the prosecutor's questions to elaborate any involvement, may be overly dismissive to that effort. In addition, ongoing legal processes, even if reaching the Supreme Court, may imply a political bias into its workings.

But we're far from that stage, and it just may follow, that a prosecurial immunity can not follow a criminal charge , after Trump leaves office.

This is w h y, for the president, the 2020 reelection becomes so very important:

He may avoid criminal prosecution for another term.

The follow ups, may vindicate him, even if district courts clearly show guilt, by virtue of how interpretations can mitigate, be the fading of public awareness.

This implies some overwhelming national/international determinancy, perhaps in the form of national security , to over-ride this whole astounding few historical years.
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Re: Trump enters the stage Barr's announcement a shocker!

Postby Meno_ » Mon Mar 25, 2019 2:45 am


The Barr letter is a massive political victory for Trump (or, is it?)
Barr’s letter will define the narrative on the Mueller investigation — even if it’s wrong.
By Zack Beauchamp on March 24, 2019 5:54 pm


US Attorney General William Barr listens while President Trump speaks on February 15, 2019, in Washington, DC. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
Attorney General William Barr’s summary of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russia and 2016 was delivered to Congress on Sunday afternoon. We still don’t know what the report itself says, but there’s no doubt that Barr’s summary is a huge win for President Donald Trump.


According to Barr’s letter, Mueller “did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia” during the 2016 campaign. Mueller apparently did not come to any firm conclusion on whether Trump’s interference with the investigation constituted obstruction of justice, instead asking Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to draw a conclusion based on their read of Mueller’s work. Barr and Rosenstein decided that “the evidence developed during the Special Counsel’s investigation is not sufficient to establish that the president committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.”


Bill Barr’s letter summarizing Mueller’s findings, explained
Substantively, this leaves a lot of big questions about the investigation unanswered. Barr doesn’t quote nearly enough of Mueller’s work on the 2016 election to support his brief summary. Nor does he explain in detail why he decided the evidence on obstruction wasn’t enough — something that is especially important since, prior to his Senate confirmation, Barr wrote a memo harshly criticizing the Mueller investigation and, in particular, its approach to the obstruction question.

But politically, Barr’s letter is a massive PR victory for the president. It allows Trump to claim victory on both substance of the investigation and the obstruction charges and to say that his oft-repeated mantra of “no collusion” is entirely accurate. This is the interpretation that will dominate cable news for the next few days, maybe even weeks, demoralizing Democrats and rejuvenating Republicans.

Barr says at the end of the letter that he wants to release Mueller’s full report, but that there are tricky legal issues surrounding what evidence detailed in the report can and can’t be made public. These issues are currently under review; Barr says that he will release the Mueller report “as soon as that process is complete,” but who knows how long the review will take.

It’s possible Barr’s summary is accurate and the report is as good as it seems for Trump. It’s also possible that it’s misleading, and that Barr’s decision on obstruction was influenced by the beliefs he held before becoming attorney general. We just don’t know at this point.

But what is clear is this: The president absolutely has to be thrilled today.

Barr’s letter is everything Trump could have asked for
The best way to understand the politics here is to look at this tweeted statement from Sarah Sanders, Trump’s press secretary:

The first two sentences in Sanders’ statement are essentially accurate summaries of what Barr wrote in his letter. The last one is more than a bit of a leap.


Barr does not say that Mueller proved Trump innocent on either collusion or obstruction, but merely that there was not sufficient evidence of his legal guilt on either count. The Mueller report, in Barr’s summary, doesn’t clear Trump or his campaign staff of any wrongdoing or shady ties to Russia — it just concludes what they found is not enough evidence to establish that what they did in 2016 was criminal.

And when it comes to obstruction, Mueller explicitly did not “exonerate” Trump. Barr himself is explicit on this point: “The Special Counsel states that ‘while the report does not conclude that the President has committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.” Does the president’s handpicked attorney general making the final call on obstruction constitute “exoneration” when Mueller didn’t go that far?

But these are fine-grained and detailed distinctions that will likely be lost on a lot of people. On the face of it, Sanders’s spin that this vindicates the “no collusion, no obstruction” line seems right. The cable news summary of this report is “no charges for Trump, no evidence of crimes” — and that’s basically the message Sanders is hammering away at. As is her boss, in characteristically blunter fashion:

This version of events will be repeated over and over again for the next few days, on cable news and talk radio and congressional Republicans’ social media platforms. Twitter is full of them right now. All Democrats can say in response is “we need to see the full report” — which is true, as far as it goes, but not exactly a resounding response.

The report’s phrasing hands the president and his allies a victory in the spin wars before they even have begun. That’s true regardless of how accurate his summary is or how open the underlying report is to different interpretations. Since it’s still not clear when we’ll get to see the full report, or just how complete any version released to the public would be, Barr’s version of Mueller’s report will likely be the version that’s treated as authoritative for at least some time.

Democrats are already trying to push back on this. Rep. Jerry Nadler, the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, is already threatening to haul Barr in for questioning.

Whether Nadler and other Democrats could get Barr to admit something damning under questioning — if there is indeed something damning to admit — is an open question. Without the full text of the report, demonstrating any discrepancies between it and Barr’s account will be hard. And it’s not clear, again, when the full report will be released.

So given how favorable Barr’s text is for the president, how easily it can be spun as complete and total vindication for Trump, that’s about as big a win as he could have hoped for.

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Does AG Barr’s summary of the Mueller report “exonerate” Trump? I asked 15 legal experts.:


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Does AG Barr’s summary of the Mueller report “exonerate” Trump? I asked 15 legal experts.
Not quite — but it’s mostly good news for the president.
By Sean Illing@seanillingsean.illing@vox.com Mar 24, 2019, 6:20pm EDT
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Special counsel Robert Mueller in Washington, DC, on March 24, 2019. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
dSpecial counsel Robert Mueller has finally completed his Trump-Russia report.


Attorney General Bill Barr made the announcement in a letter to congressional committee leaders on Friday. We’ve yet to see the full report, but on Sunday Barr released a summary of the report’s principal conclusions to Congress.

At first glance, it appears to be mostly good news for President Donald Trump. Barr’s summary explicitly states that “the Special Counsel’s investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election.”


On the question of obstruction of justice, the initial report is more ambiguous. The special counsel’s office, according to Barr, “did not draw a conclusion — one way or the other — as to whether the examined conduct constituted obstruction.” But Barr wrote that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein concluded that there wasn’t sufficient evidence for obstruction charges.


That doesn’t necessarily exonerate Trump or anyone in his campaign, but it leaves a lot of room for speculation.

So, given what we now know, where does all this leave us? What is the legal significance of this report for Trump? Does it actually exonerate the president?

To get some answers, I reached out to 15 legal experts and asked them to react to Barr’s initial summary of Mueller’s findings. Their full responses, edited for clarity and length, are below.

Victoria Nourse, law professor, Georgetown University
This report indicates that the president did not conspire with the Russians and did not obstruct justice — or at least that obstruction would be difficult legally and factually to prove. The criminal law is a poor measure — a very low bar — for a president.

The Constitution, which is our highest law, provides that the president must faithfully execute the law and the Constitution. One did not need a criminal investigation to determine that Russians hacked our election. Legally, that is the most important part of the report, since it goes to the heart of our democracy.

This report is likely to make efforts by those who seek to impeach the president more difficult. Some people wrongly believe that impeachment requires an actual crime. The Constitution does not so provide. Political offenses are sufficient. The founders, in my opinion, created impeachment as a means to oust an incompetent or disloyal president, but hoped that it would be used rarely.

This report does nothing to other investigations, in the Southern District of New York and elsewhere, that may provide more light on election hacking and may implicate the president in other potential crimes (money laundering, fraud, tax crimes etc.).

Jessica Levinson, law professor, Loyola Law School
Bottom line — this is a huge victory for Trump and his supporters. The report takes the wind out of the sails of the congressional Democrats who wish to continue investigating Trump, his businesses, his charity, and his inauguration. I think the American public could soon have “investigation fatigue.”

Mueller’s conclusion on collusion charges is an enormous vindication for Trump, who has been chanting “no collusion” for years. It’s slightly less helpful for Trump that his attorney general, Bill Barr, instead of the special counsel, concluded that Trump should not be charged with obstruction of justice, but the headline for Trump is the same — vindication on both major questions Mueller was investigating.

It’s important to remember that it’s a high bar to charge obstruction of justice, and in particular it’s difficult to prove corrupt intent, but this likely isn’t what the public will remember. The public will remember that Trump will not be charged with either collusion or obstruction of justice.

Diane Marie Amann, law professor, University of Georgia
With his four-page letter on Mueller’s report, Attorney General William Barr drives the obstruction-of-justice ball firmly into Congress’s court.

Although the “‘report does not conclude that the President committed a crime,’” as Barr writes, quoting Mueller, “‘it also does not exonerate him.’” Barr continues that he and Rosenstein weighed the evidence presented in the report, and found it “insufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.”

This may not end the matter, however. That’s because the conclusion turns on whether Barr and Rosenstein believed prosecutors could prove beyond a reasonable doubt that President Trump’s actions, in their words, “had a nexus to a pending or contemplated proceeding, and were done with corrupt intent.”

“Beyond a reasonable doubt” is indeed the standard of proof for conviction in a federal criminal court. But the same is not true for other forums. Most notably, conviction in an impeachment proceeding depends on the judgment of senators following a trial in the Senate — a trial that cannot take place unless the House of Representatives votes to send to the Senate articles of impeachment. Thus the ball now lies in Congress’s court.

But given another Barr quotation of the Mueller report — that the special counsel’s “‘investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities’”— the obstruction-of-justice ball well may languish there.

Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, law professor, Stetson University
Russians were eager to offer help to the Trump 2016 campaign (from the Russian lawyer who showed up at Trump Tower in 2016 to meet Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort, to Alexander Torshin, who met Don Jr. at dinner at an NRA convention in Kentucky).

Barr’s characterization of the Mueller report is that no one in the Trump campaign came to an agreement with the Russian government to conspire with the Russian interference in the 2016 election.

This is reassuring to a point.

The fact that the Trump campaign did not report the Russian offers of help in real time in 2016 remains troubling at best. And this could be fertile ground for investigations by the Democratically controlled House. Moreover, to the extent that individuals lied to Congress during the course of House and Senate investigations into the 2016 election, this could still expose more people to liability on that perjury front.

The Barr letter also refers to ongoing matters including those that have been referred from the special counsel to other offices. This would clearly include the prosecution of Rick Gates, Roger Stone, and Michael Cohen. Another open question is whether the special counsel referred any other matter that is not yet public to another office for federal prosecution.

The Southern District of New York has already referred to President Trump as “Individual 1” and implicated him in Michael Cohen’s campaign finance crimes. One of the few times that Barr quotes the Mueller report is to state “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.” Presumably that “no exoneration” would apply to the Southern District of New York’s own investigations of criminality.

In other words, while Barr has exonerated the president on the question of obstruction of justice, the question of whether the president violated campaign finance laws could remain a live issue for SDNY.

Christopher Slobogin, law professor, Vanderbilt University
If the summary is correct that the special counsel found no evidence that the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian attempt to influence our electoral process, then the claim that Trump obstructed the investigation into that attempt is significantly undercut. It is difficult to show a corrupt motive to obstruct an investigation into a crime that did not occur.

At the same time, if there is weak to no evidence of collusion or obstruction, then concerns about tainting the grand jury are minimal and the full report should be released.

Miriam Baer, law professor, Brooklyn Law School
To show obstruction, a prosecutor must demonstrate a nexus between the particular conduct and the “proceeding” it is corruptly intended to obstruct. On page three of his letter to Congress, Barr advises that Mueller declined to say, one way or the other, whether President Trump obstructed justice.

The attorney general then goes on to advise that he and Rosenstein have reached their own joint conclusion that the facts laid out in the report fail to establish a “nexus” between Trump’s behavior and any specific “proceeding.”

Moreover, Barr states as well that report fails to establish evidence of “corrupt intent.” The determination that corrupt intent is lacking rests, at least in part, on Mueller’s other conclusion — that the evidence fails to establish that Trump himself conspired with the Russians to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

Many observers will question Barr and Rosenstein’s conclusions that none of Trump’s actions (not all of which occurred in public) were “obstructive,” or lacked “corrupt intent.” The nexus element may be more complicated, however, since it is contingent on the specific factual conclusions contained in the special counsel’s report.

For all these reasons, it will be crucial for the attorney general to provide Congress as full a recitation of the facts contained in the special counsel’s report as possible. Moreover, because the underlying facts potentially indicate behavior warranting impeachment, many members of Congress are sure to demand a recitation of the Mueller report’s facts and its underlying documents.

Trump may say he feels vindicated by this report, but the summary itself falls far short of exonerating him.

Keith Whittington, politics professor, Princeton University
The letter is notable in several aspects. It is significant in stating clearly that all indictments from the special counsel’s office have already been publicly disclosed and that no new indictments are recommended.

That does not preclude the possibility of further indictments arising from related investigations by either federal or state prosecutors, but those will presumably not focus on either Russian activities relating to the 2016 election or possible obstruction of justice.

The letter is clear that the special counsel found no coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian actors to interfere with the 2016 election. It appears that we already know the extent of the relationship between the two, and moreover we already know the extent of the Russian meddling in the election. There are no new revelations here on actions that Russia took to affect the election or of actions that campaign officials took to shape Russian interference.

The letter is particularly interesting on the obstruction of justice question. The special counsel did not rely specifically on the view that a sitting president cannot be indicted and did not factor in the issue of whether the president’s use of his Article II powers could provide the basis for an obstruction of justice charge.

Instead, the special counsel refrained from reaching any legal conclusions about whether or not the president engaged in obstruction of justice and the attorney general is now determining that no obstruction charge would be appropriate.

It would seem that both the attorney general and the special counsel are leaning heavily on the notion that the president could not have been acting with corrupt intent if there was no underlying crime for the president to attempt to cover up.

Given ongoing state and federal investigations, the president and his associates are not entirely out of the legal woods, but the Russian collusion angle is at least done. If the special counsel’s report is consistent with the attorney general’s letter, this will presumably take the steam out of the sails of an impeachment effort based on Russian collusion or obstruction of justice.

Robert Weisberg, law professor, Stanford University
A comment on obstruction: Barr’s reference to what Mueller says, and his own conclusion that he would not (if he constitutionally could) charge Trump with obstruction — these are careful and a bit slippery. He leverages the no-conspiracy finding to say that this bears on the question of whether Trump obstructed — i.e., if Trump didn’t conspire, he’d lack the motive to obstruct.

I suppose that is a legitimate evidentiary factor, but Barr may be imputing more thoughtfulness or awareness to Trump than is warranted. Further, Barr’s ultimate conclusion treats obstructive conduct and corrupt intent as if they are separate elements. Anyone who tries to make sense of the clotted and obtuse language of the obstruction statutes and the utterly unhelpful court interpretations — especially the Aguilar case—would realize that it is a little disingenuous to label these as separate elements.

In any event, it would (will) help if Barr explained what he thinks the notoriously vague term “corruptly” means. Obviously we look to appellate opinions, not prosecutorial decimations, to help us understand criminal statutes — but Barr owes us some explanation of how he understands these laws.

Jimmy Gurulé, law professor, Notre Dame
The order appointing Mueller to investigate whether Trump or members of his presidential campaign colluded with the Russians to interfere with the 2016 presidential election also authorized Mueller to investigate any crimes arising from the Russia investigation, which includes whether Trump engaged in obstruction of justice.

By failing to reach a conclusion on that matter, Mueller failed to fulfill his mandate. Furthermore, referring the obstruction of justice issue to Barr, who had decided that Trump had not obstructed justice prior to being appointed to serve as attorney general was a serious mistake and undermines the public’s confidence in the outcome.

Stephen Legomsky, law professor, Washington University
However informative the Mueller report may be, my sense is that the vast bulk of the salient revelations will end up coming from other sources.

Much information is or soon will be available from earlier news reports, the unredacted allegations in the various Mueller indictments, even the redacted allegations that hopefully will be provided to Congress, the indictments and evidence in the actions brought by both the Southern District of New York and the New York state attorney general, the previous closed-door and public testimony of the witnesses before the various congressional committees, future information from cooperating witnesses, and future leaks from administration sources.

Hopefully, too, the evidence on which the Mueller report was based will be shared with the congressional committees and will prove even more valuable than the text of the report. And all of this will generate leads from which the congressional committees can ferret out still more facts. So the Mueller report, while critical, will prove to be just one piece in the larger investigation.

Frances Hill, law professor, University of Miami
Barr’s brief letter is likely to become the centerpiece of the Trump political message for the 2020 campaign. While the Democrats will, as they should, continue to press for the prompt release of the Mueller report and all of the underlying documents, this is likely to be overshadowed by the action taken today by Barr.

The controversy will center on the obstruction charge and why the special counsel did not conclude that he found obstruction but followed the guidelines of the DOJ and thus did not indict a sitting president. Why did the special counsel leave the operative legal conclusion based on his work to the attorney general? We may never know.

We are also left to wonder whether the constraints on the investigation relating to the conspiracy issue, especially the constraints in the investigation of Trump’s business dealings with confidants of Russian President Vladimir Putin, did or did not provide evidence that Trump was sufficiently compromised that it might (or might not) have been possible to conclude that he was engaged in a conspiracy to prevent disclosure of his prior business dealings.

While these questions will linger and while they should continue to be investigated by both Congress and federal prosecutors, such efforts are now likely to be seen as either not constructive or excessive, even if they are ultimately proved to be true.

It is possible to conclude that Mueller in fact wrote a report that left the issues in this matter in the hands of the American people in the 2020 election. Whether that was the special counsel’s intent, that is where the issues now will be decided.

It becomes now particularly important to do all that is possible to counter ongoing efforts of the Russians and others to wage cyberwar against the voters. It is also important to counteract efforts by domestic political actors to selectively suppress the right of all Americans to vote.

Ilya Somin, law professor, George Mason University
Barr’s summary states that the special counsel did not find that Trump or members of his campaign colluded with Russian government efforts to influence the 2016 presidential campaign. This crucial finding appears to exonerate Trump on the crucial issue of “collusion” with Russia.

On the question of obstruction of justice, Barr’s summary quotes the special counsel’s report as stating that “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.” Barr goes on to state that he and Rosenstein have concluded that the evidence “is not sufficient” to conclude that Trump committed obstruction of justice.

The equivocal nature of the obstruction finding emphasizes the importance of publicly revealing as much of the report as possible, so that Congress and the public can make an informed judgment. While Justice Department policy forbids prosecution of a sitting president, Congress can still pursue impeachment proceedings against him.

Unlike a criminal trial, impeachment does not necessarily require proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In the view of most legal scholars across the political spectrum, impeachment is also possible in cases of illegal conduct or abuse of power that are not crimes.

Today’s revelations were beneficial to Trump’s cause. But he is not out of the woods yet. Multiple state and federal investigations into possible lawbreaking on his part are still ongoing. Congress would also do well to further investigate such technically non-criminal abuses of power as the president’s cruel “family separation” policy, which has been ruled unconstitutional by a federal court, in a June 2018 decision.

The administration continues to drag its feet on reuniting many of the separated migrant children with their families, and new separations still occur, even long after the court’s ruling.

The Barr letter is an important development. But it is far from the end of this particular road.

Jens David Ohlin, law professor, Cornell University
What strikes me as most important is the fact that Barr (not Mueller) made the determination not to indict the president for obstruction of justice. Based on just the evidence from the public record, even if the Mueller report added no new information, there was enough evidence to warrant a prosecution of the president for obstruction.

Incredibly, Barr states in his letter to Congress that his decision not to pursue an obstruction charge was based, in part, on the absence of evidence that Trump committed a crime related to Russian election interference.

It seems to me that this represents a major legal error on Barr’s part. Trump could still have a “corrupt intent” even if he didn’t personally conspire with the Russians, but nonetheless wanted to shut down an investigation that was threatening his close aides and associates — like former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

We’ll have to see if Congress is willing to rectify Barr’s legal error.

Ric Simmons, law professor, Ohio State University
The only possible conclusion to draw based on this summary is that the Mueller report is a complete exoneration of President Trump from any criminal activity regarding collusion with Russia or obstruction of justice. Robert Mueller has an unassailable reputation as a non-partisan professional law enforcement officer of the highest caliber, and he conducted an exhaustive, comprehensive investigation, leading a team of nearly sixty lawyers and investigators for almost two years, ultimately concluding that there was no coordination or collaboration between the Trump campaign and Russia.

It is true that Mueller did not explicitly exonerate the president on the obstruction of justice charges, but as the summary notes, the fact that there is no evidence of collusion on the part of the president makes it very unlikely that the president did in fact obstruct justice in this matter. More to the point, it would be nearly impossible to legally prove that Trump obstructed justice, since proving such a charge would require the prosecutor to establish intent, and it would be paradoxical to argue that the president intentionally obstructed justice when he was factually innocent of the underlying charge.

Peter Margulies, law professor, Roger Williams University School of Law
In declining to find that President Trump obstructed justice, Attorney General Barr ranked his view of the presidency as an institution over the unprecedented conduct of the White House’s current occupant. The matters that Special Counsel Robert Mueller described as “difficult” included whether Trump’s firing of FBI Director Jim Comey constituted obstruction. In deciding against obstruction charges, Barr had to weigh the disruption to the Russia probe caused by Comey’s dismissal against the president’s power to fire political appointees.

Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein apparently were concerned that criminalizing the Comey firing and other Trump actions that “took place in public view” would displace presidential accountability from the electoral and political realm to the courtroom. In the memo Barr wrote about the Mueller probe before becoming Attorney General, Barr worried that this shift in accountability might chill future presidents’ ability to make difficult decisions about policy and personnel.

But whether or not criminal prosecution proceeds now, Mueller’s statement that his report does not “exonerate” the President should give pause to Congress and to all citizens. Surely, the United States deserves a chief executive who is definitively free of the taint of obstruction. Mueller’s refusal to give the President that clean bill of health should spur further inquiry by Congress about the contents of Mueller’s report and the conduct of this particular president.




Russia is a threat to American democracy, with or without collusion
Robert Mueller was never going to end Donald Trump’s presidency.
© 2019 Vox Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved



© 2019 Vox Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved


The report did not exonerate Trump except to the extent that it found no collusion with Russia on which to prosecute. However. Mueller investigated much else in addition to collusion with Russia, most notably obstruction of justice, which the DOJ may pursue and the House committees clearly will pursue.

“There also are all of the Trump organization and Trump’s business dealings that could expose Trump to criminal and/or civil liability... In other words, Trump may be vulnerable on many fronts to legal challenges.”



Again, the beat goes on, and conspiracy theories may have some work cut out for them particularly if those conlirracirs were deliberately set up by real actions, and Miller was advised from the get go how to play That reality show, from an expert who am.ist got an Emmy.

(Right?)


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Trump's 'delight' and the discomfort of Democrats: How global media is reacting to the Mueller report
Holly Ellyatt | @HollyEllyatt
Published 5 Hours Ago Updated 52 Mins Ago
CNBC.com
Global media are reacting to the results of one of the most gripping investigations into a U.S. president in modern times and the somewhat unexpected result of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Donald Trump.
The investigation found that Trump did not collude with Russia to influence the 2016 election.
Global media are reacting to the results of one of the most explosive investigations in modern U.S. history.

Global media are reacting to the results of one of the most gripping investigations into a U.S. president in modern times — and the somewhat unexpected result of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into whether President Donald Trump colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election.

Attorney General William Barr summarized the results of Mueller's investigation on Sunday by sayingit had not found that the Trump campaign had"conspired or coordinated with the Russian government" to influence the 2016 vote.

In addition, Barr said Mueller had not concluded one way or another as to whether Trump obstructed justice by trying to influence the investigation. Barr said Mueller's evidence was not sufficient to establish that Trump committed a crime.

Trump tweeted that the report's conclusions were a "total exoneration" of him. But in a letter to key members of Congress on Sunday, Barr noted that while Mueller's report "does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him."


Disappointed by Barr's summary of the investigation, Democrats have called Mueller's report to be published in full. Meanwhile, much of the global media have focused on the shock result and whether or not Trump is really "exonerated."

Here's a selection of global media reaction and commentary to the results of the Mueller probe:

No conspiracy
The Washington Post is headlined Monday "Mueller finds no conspiracy," attorney general says and notes in a separate article that "No collusion!" goes from defiant mantra to rallying cry for Trump's re-election" but senior editor Marc Fisher also noted that Mueller's report "contains enough fuel for both sides to cling to their version of the truth."

The New York Times also headlined with Barr's conclusions but noted that the report "stops short of exonerating Trump on obstruction of justice." The paper said that "with no impeachment in view, Democrats push forward with an investigation." Nonetheless, the paper's White House correspondent Peter Baker notes that "a cloud over Trump's presidency is lifted" and that the results will have "fortified the president for the battles to come, including his campaign for re-election."

The Wall Street Journal said "Trump's team sees political gold" in the results and that his team was already "crafting plans to use Robert Mueller's findings as a line of attack against Democrats" in the 2020 election.


Democrats' discomfort
Media outside the U.S. have also followed every twist and turn of Mueller's 22-month long investigation and have eagerly anticipated the results of the probe that Trump often called a "witch hunt."

U.K. newspapers largely focused on Trump's jubilant and delighted reaction to Barr's summary of the report and the Democrats' disappointment at the result — and what it could mean for the 2020 election race.

The U.K.'s Daily Mail noted that "Trump revels in "complete exoneration" and blasts "illegal' probe" and reported the president's happiness at the result, quoting an unnamed senior administration official as telling the paper that he hadn't "seen Trump this happy in months. It's like election night again." The U.K.'s center-right Daily Telegraph newspaper said "The findings left the president and his allies delighted" and "amounted to a major victory for Mr. Trump after 22 months of Mr Mueller's investigation."

The paper also focused on Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer demanding the full confidential report be published and their joint statement in which they noted that "Attorney General Barr's letter raises as many questions as it answers."

The Telegraph's U.S. editor, Ben Riley-Smith, and Washington editor, Nick Allen, noted in their reaction that "Democrats found themselves in a politically uncomfortable position, being asked during TV interviews whether they agreed there was no collusion and whether they trusted Mr Mueller — a man whose integrity they had repeatedly trumpeted in public."

'No respite' for Trump
The Mueller report has also caught the attention of continental Europe, a region with its own conflicted relationship with Trump following threats from the president to impose import tariffs on European cars.

France's Le Figaro said that while the Mueller report "clears" Trump and that the White House "triumphs" at the findings, the Democrats "wince." Le Monde said the findings "reinforce Trump in upcoming battles."

Italy's Corriere della Sera newspaper said even though the report found "no proof (of collusion), the president is not absolved," while Germany's public broadcaster Deutsche Welle said on its website that the report actually gives "no respite" for Trump as other investigations into his administration and his business dealings will "continue unabated."

Daniel Friedrich Sturm, Die Welt's U.S. correspondent, wrote that "Sunday was a great day for the American president," and that the Mueller findings were "perhaps Trump's greatest triumph in the battle for power since his electoral victory two-and-a-half years ago." However, he noted that although the White House had downplayed the question of whether Trump had obstructed the investigation, "that will not be the last word" on the subject.

View interactive content
German business newspaper Handelsblatt said that "What remains after 3,000 subpoenas and more than 500 witnesses from the Mueller report (are) no conspiracy, no charges," but it added that while the result of the Russia investigation is "mostly good news" for Trump "the report contains worrying findings" and that "many questions remain unanswered, as long as the report is only a summary."

Trump's "victory" has barely made a dint in Chinese newspapers that largely report on the world through the lens of the ruling Communist Party. The China Daily newspaper is focused on President Xi Jinping's visit to France on Monday while the Mueller report's findings are also absent from the South China Morning Post and Communist Party-run People's Daily.

The view from Russia
Beyond Europe, Trump's reactions to the report will be just as closely scrutinized as Russia's. Russian President Vladimir Putin has not yet publicly commented on the Mueller findings.

Grigory Dukor | Reuters
President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands as they hold a joint news conference after their meeting in Helsinki, Finland July 16, 2018.
Despite an apparent mutual respect between Putin and Trump, U.S.-Russian relations have been frosty of late, particularly against a backdrop of continuing U.S. sanctions on Russian organizations and individuals it says meddled in the U.S. 2016 election, as well as sanctions for any entity deemed to have been involved in its 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

Russian newspapers Vedomosti, Kommersant and Komsomolskaya Pravda carried very little analysis of the Mueller findings but Rossiyskaya Gazeta, which is published by the Russian government, carried an opinion piece by Konstantin Kosachev, a senior Russian lawmaker and chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Kosachev was damning of the investigation, noting that "two years were not just lost for Russian-American relations (but were) simply crushing for them." "Will someone answer for this damage or apologize?" he asked.


© 2019 CNBC LLC. All Rights Reserved. A Division of NBCUniversal





Mueller report: Trump accuses enemies of 'treasonous, evil things' – live
President attacks unnamed adversaries in press conference day after summary of special counsel’s report is published



Trump threatens retaliation against 'evil, treasonous' opponents over Russia investigation – video
Ben Jacobs in Washington (now) and Erin Durkin in New York (earlier)

Mon 25 Mar 2019 15.01 EDT First published on Mon 25 Mar 2019 08.16 EDT
Key events
3.01pm

The American Enterprise Institute, a major conservative thinktank, just released the list of attendees at its retreat last month in Georgia.

It includes a number of Republican elected officials as well as New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger, former Vice President Dick Cheney and John Delaney, a former Democratic congressman running for President.

Facebook Twitter
2.50pm

The Wall Street Journal reports that celebrity lawyer Mark Geragos is the unnamed conspirator with Avenatti.

The Washington Post reports that Donald Trump is adamantly against further aid to Puerto Rico, which is still suffering 18 months after the island was devastated by hurricanes.

But at an Oval Office meeting on Feb. 22, Trump asked top advisers for ways to limit federal support from going to Puerto Rico, believing it is taking money that should be going to the mainland, according to senior administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share details of the presidents’ private remarks.

The meeting — an afternoon session focused on Housing and Urban Development grants — ended abruptly, and Trump has continued to ask aides how much money the island will get. Then, Trump said he wanted the money to only fortify the electric grid there.

Trump has also privately signaled he will not approve any additional help for Puerto Rico beyond the food stamp money, setting up a congressional showdown with Democrats who have pushed for more expansive help for the island.

A senior administration official with direct knowledge of the meeting described Trump’s stance: “He doesn’t want another single dollar going to the island.”



The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York has tweeted a chart that they are using to lay out the case against Avenatti.


Stormy Daniels has tweeted a statement about her former lawyer, Michael Avenatti.



Fred Malek, a longtime Republican activist and fundraiser died today at the age of 85.

The death was announced by the American Action Network, the Republican 501 (c)(4) he founded. Malek worked in both the Nixon and George H.W. Bush administrations. He gained notoriety after it was revealed that he counted the number of Jews working in the Bureau of Labor Statistics at the request of Nixon.



Senator Susan Collins of Maine will face a primary challenge to her right in 2020.

The moderate Republican will face Derek Levasseur, a conservative blogger upset with her vote to overturn Trump’s declaration of a national emergency. However, Levasseur has some baggage, being arrested in 2012 for assaulting four people, including his daughter at his own wedding reception.



Hillary Clinton has endorsed a candidate in the open race to be the next mayor of Dallas, Texas.

The former secretary of state endorsed Regina Montoya ahead of the city’s nonpartisan primary on May

Montoya, a lawyer, was a staffer in the Clinton White House and a major donor to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign

Updated at 2.50pm EDT
Facebook Twitter
2.01pm

Nancy Pelosi defended House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff after Donald Trump aides called for his resignation.

“Chairman Schiff has done an outstanding job and that’s the reason why he’s subject to these ridiculous attacks,” Pelosi spokeswoman Ashley Etienne told the Hill.

“Democrats aren’t going to be intimidated by the White House or Congressional Republicans, we’re not going to be distracted from securing the release of the full Mueller report and the underlying evidence, and we will continue to pursue legitimate oversight because that’s what the Constitution requires,” she said. “The days of Congress ignoring the mountain of legal and ethical misconduct by this President and Administration are over.”

Updated at 2.07pm EDT
Facebook Twitter
1.52pm

Attorney General William Barr is likely to testify before the House Appropriations Committee next month, the Washington Post reports.

The committee has tentatively scheduled a budget hearing for April 9 on the Justice Department’s budget. The attorney general typically testifies at such hearings.



Here’s the criminal complaint against Michael Avenatti in Los Angeles.

Prosecutors allege he “embezzled a client’s money in order to pay his own expenses and debts — as well as those of his coffee business and law firm — and also defrauded a bank by using phony tax returns to obtain millions of dollars in loans.”

From DOJ:

According to an affidavit filed with the criminal complaint in this case, Avenatti negotiated a settlement which called for $1.6 million in settlement money to be paid on January 10, 2018, but then gave the client a bogus settlement agreement with a false payment date of March 10, 2018. The affidavit states that Avenatti misappropriated his client’s settlement money and used it to pay expenses for his coffee business, Global Baristas US LLC, which operated Tully’s Coffee stores in California and Washington state, as well as for his own expenses. When the fake March 2018 deadline passed and the client asked where the money was, Avenatti continued to conceal that the payment had already been received, court documents said.

Avenatti also allegedly defrauded a bank in Mississippi by submitting to the lender false tax returns in order to obtain three loans totaling $4.1 million for his law firm and coffee business in 2014. According to the affidavit, Avenatti obtained the loans by submitting fabricated individual income tax returns (Forms 1040) for 2011, 2012, and 2013, reporting substantial income even though he had never filed any such returns with the Internal Revenue Service.

Updated at 2.07pm EDT
Facebook Twitter
1.39pm

Donald Trump Jr. is already taunting Michael Avenatti.

Michael Avenatti faces a separate set of charges in Los Angeles, where prosecutors allege “he embezzled a client’s money in order to pay his own expenses and debts — as well as those of his coffee business & law firm — and also defrauded a bank by using phony tax returns to obtain millions of dollars,” per NPR.

That’s in addition to the case in New York, where he’s charged with attempting to extort millions out of Nike.

Updated at 2.06pm EDT







Trump set to weaponize Mueller report in war on Democrats and media
What we learned from Barr's summary of the Mueller report

William Barr: attorney general plays 'It has proved what we already knew'
Russia on Mueller report: 'It has proved what we already knew'
The key findings of the Mueller report

No collusion, plenty of corruption: Trump is not in the clear
Richard Wolffe



© 2019 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.




---------------------- -------- ----- ------------



Robert Mueller and the collapse of American trust
The reaction to AG William Barr’s Mueller letter reveals a disturbing truth about America.
By Zack Beauchamp on March 25, 2019 3:50 pm


The US Capitol pictured on November 7, 2018, in Washington, DC. Zach Gibson/Getty Images
Attorney General William Barr’s summary of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report has not resolved all of the disputes surrounding Donald Trump’s ties to Russia during the 2016 election. But the reaction to it has revealed one of the ways in which American politics is deeply and profoundly broken.

Democrats have responded to Barr’s summary by calling the attorney general’s impartiality into question (not entirely without reason). Leading members of Congress have raised the alarm about “very concerning discrepancies and final decision making at the Justice Department” and are pushing for the full release of Mueller’s report and for Barr to testify under oath.

Congressional Republicans, meanwhile, have responded by blasting “the biased media” for spreading “a collective scam and fraud.” The chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), even called for investigations into the FBI’s investigation itself, to see if the bureau’s pursuit of Trump and his allies was in any way improper.

A quick gander at social media shows this polarized reaction from partisan politicians is reflected in their parties’ respective media surrogates and rank-and-file voters. There’s not even a pretense of neutrality: Everyone is reading what they want into Barr’s letter, establishing a reality in which their side is right and the other side is making things up.

Barr’s document is particularly vague on some points, an ambiguity heightened by the fact that no one weighing in — from either side — has read the full report. But even the most unequivocal report would be subject to the deeper forces: the death of the neutral arbiter.

All in all, this reflects a collapse in trust in two core American institutions: politically independent federal law enforcement and the free press. This lack of faith, combined with a concomitant rise in partisanship, means that virtually every major political event is interpreted through a partisan lens. There’s no political institution widely accepted as being neutral anymore; instead, Americans judge the quality of the country’s leading institutions based on how favorable each one’s outputs are to their political interests.

The big problems haunting the Mueller debate
The fact of the decline in trust in core American institutions is well established and undeniable.

Two charts from a 2018 RAND Corporation report called “Truth Decay” tell the story elegantly. The first looks at long-term Pew data on Americans’ trust in government, finding a significant decline beginning in the mid-’60s. The data seems to track real-world government failures, such as the Vietnam War, Watergate, and the war in Iraq:






RAND Corporation -------- -------- ---------
The second chart looks at public confidence in Congress, specifically, as well as the media. Once again, it shows a pretty clear decline from peaks several decades ago.

Rand Corporation
The causes of these declines in faith in public institutions are complex. Some of it reflects actual policy and reporting failures, like the Iraq WMD debacle. Some of it reflects attempts by political actors to delegitimize these institutions, like the conservative campaign against the “liberal media” and Trump’s cries of “fake news.” It’s difficult — maybe even impossible — to separate out the relative causal power of these different events.

But this decline of faith intersects with a separate and equally important trend: rising partisanship. While people were losing faith in core institutions, the major political parties were becoming much more ideologically unified — with liberals sorting into the Democratic Party and conservatives becoming Republicans.

Like the decline in trust, the rise in polarization has complex and intertwined causes. The political aftermath of the civil rights movement, the politicization of evangelical Christianity, and the rise of the modern conservative movement all play major parts in this story. The result is that Americans have come to closely identify their social groups, like race or religion, with their political party. Lee Drutman, a senior fellow at New America, put it well in a Vox essay in September 2017:

Over the past half-century or so, partisan identities have become much more closely aligned with other social identities. Partisan divides now overlay religious divides, cultural divides, geographical divides, and racial divides. In the past, these identities used to cross-cut each other more often. Thirty years ago, you could be a culturally conservative Democrat, or culturally liberal Republican. These overlaps made the parties less distinct. They also made it easier to find common ground with opposing partisans based on other shared identities.

But as social sorting took place, we lost those potentially bridging ties. Moreover, our collective sense of cultural, regional, and ethnic status become more and more linked to the status of our two political parties, which came to represent these different identities. This made politics more emotional because it felt like even more was at stake with each election. It was not just the parties fighting each other, but also competing ways of life they represented.

As political scientist Lilliana Mason convincingly argues, “The more sorted we become, the more emotionally we react to normal political events.” And when emotions are heightened, everything becomes a threat to status. Politics becomes more about anger. And, here’s the warning from Mason that should give you goose bumps: “The angrier the electorate, the less capable we are of finding common ground on policies, or even of treating our opponents like human beings.”

When your partisan identity becomes so closely tied to your personal identity, information that challenges your political beliefs becomes a more existential threat — changing your mind or even admitting you might be wrong feels like a major betrayal. So partisans come to believe that their side has to be right — it just has to be — because the alternative is unthinkable.

Like polarization itself, the problem isn’t symmetrical on right and left. “Tribal epistemology,” as my colleague Dave Roberts terms it, is far more prevalent on the right, with media organizations like Fox News dedicated to selling comforting, often false, information to viewers.

But Democrats are hardly immune to confirmation bias. A number of laboratory experiments and surveys have shown that partisans on both sides of the political aisle work to fit facts into their existing narrative and beliefs. Polarization makes people interpret facts to fit their feelings.

This intersects with the decline of faith in political institutions in a particularly nasty way.

The less confidence people have in media and government institutions, the harder it is for information coming from one of these sources to override their partisan judgments. There are very few sources that are seen as politically neutral, and the quality of information is determined by the perceived political alignment of the source. A majority of Americans told Gallup pollsters in 2017 that they could not name a single news organization they would describe as “objective”; among those who could, Republicans named Fox News while Democrats typically cited one of several mainstream media outlets.

Every piece of information is evaluated less on the merits and more on its provenance. Court rulings are evaluated by whether the deciding judge was appointed by a Republican or a Democrat. Congressional reports are judged by which party controlled the committee that produced them. Media watchdogs on the left and right scrutinize every piece of work in the mainstream media for “bias.”

The reaction to the Barr letter was no exception. Democrats see the attorney general as a hackish Trump loyalist and evaluate the letter through that lens. Republicans see the media as in the tank for the Democrats and thus see the letter as confirmation that they were right to mistrust reporters on the Trump-Russia beat.

The result is that partisans, from politicians on down to rank-and-file voters, are living in two distinct worlds. One of those is more connected to reality than the other, to be sure, but hardly perfect. On complex political issues like Trump’s connection to Russia, where the truth of the matter is by its nature difficult to determine, people will interpret reality in a way that flatters their biases.

This leads me to be profoundly pessimistic about the future of the Mueller investigation. Even if Mueller’s full report is released in a timely fashion — and that’s still an “if” at this point, not a “when” — people will read it differently, in each case trying to vindicate their narrative of events. There will never be a shared sense of reality about what really happened in 2016 or whether Trump obstructed justice during the investigation. No authoritative document could overcome the deep systemic forces that produced this dispute.

All of this raises a series of disturbing questions: How much further can this political relativism be pushed? What happens when the subject of partisan dispute isn’t election interference, but the legitimacy of the vote counting itself?

And most broadly, how can American democracy work when there are essentially two polities living in two separate realities?



The progressive base is not as far left as you might think
Michael Avenatti has been arrested for allegedly trying to extort $20 million from Nike
Attorney General Bill Barr could wind up testifying in front of both the House and Senate

© 2019 Vox Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved

-----------'-------------


Mueller report public
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has blocked a non-binding resolution put forth by Senator Chuck Schumer calling for the Mueller report to be made public






All charges dropped against actor Jussie Smollett. Watch CNN



Mueller told Justice Dept. three weeks ago he wouldn't reach a conclusion on obstruction
By Laura Jarrett, CNN

Updated at 7:48 PM ET, Mon March 25, 2019



03:03
Barr delivers his summary of Mueller report to Congress

01:03
CNN reporter prediction: Look for pardons

00:51
Wolf Blitzer: Sounds like Russians got what they wanted

02:02
WH says Mueller report is 'complete exoneration' of Trump

02:42
Toobin: Total vindication of Trump on collusion

03:11
Giuliani responds to Mueller report summary

01:34
CNN reporter: This line is key

02:16
Barr: Mueller finds no Trump-Russia conspiracy

00:58
Ex-Trump aide: Trump will use report as political bludgeon

02:58
How the Mueller report stacks up with Watergate

01:54
Trump responds to AG summary of Mueller report

03:03
Nadler: Conclusions raise more questions than they answer

03:03
Barr delivers his summary of Mueller report to Congress

01:03
CNN reporter prediction: Look for pardons

00:51
Wolf Blitzer: Sounds like Russians got what they wanted

02:02
WH says Mueller report is 'complete exoneration' of Trump

02:42
Toobin: Total vindication of Trump on collusion

03:11
Giuliani responds to Mueller report summary

01:34
CNN reporter: This line is key

02:16
Barr: Mueller finds no Trump-Russia conspiracy

00:58
Ex-Trump aide: Trump will use report as political bludgeon

02:58
How the Mueller report stacks up with Watergate

01:54
Trump responds to AG summary of Mueller report

03:03
Nadler: Conclusions raise more questions than they answer

Washington (CNN) — Roughly three weeks ago the special counsel's team told Attorney General Bill Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that Robert Mueller would not be reaching a conclusion on whether President Donald Trump obstructed justice, according to a source familiar with the meeting.
The source said that conclusion was "unexpected" and not what Barr had anticipated.
Barr released a four-page summary on Sunday of Mueller's principal conclusions, writing that the special counsel "did not draw a conclusion -- one way or another -- as to whether the examined conduct constituted obstruction."
"Instead," Barr explained, "for each of the relevant actions investigated, the report sets out evidence on both sides of the question and leaves unresolved what the Special Counsel views as difficult issues of law and fact concerning whether the President's actions and intent could be viewed as obstruction."

News of Mueller's decision to punt on the crucial question of whether the President's actions amounted to obstruction of justice was particularly notable given that he never received a sit down interview with Trump to assess his state of mind.
Meno_
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 5206
Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2015 2:39 am
Location: Mysterium Tremendum

Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Tue Mar 26, 2019 5:47 pm

On the contrary: the base of Trump's linkage to his constituents understand only the language of appearances, contrary to a submerged corresponding reality.
The news therefore is,: that contrary to ALL appearances , International Capital won the game. Perfectly scripted and well delivered by the guy who is well known for saying "You're fired."

And weren't all his underlings suffer that sad fate in "reality"?

The message has proven not to be in the media. A perfect coup, and all the other legal skirmishes will follow suit.
Consequential proof has shown politocal philosophies' cherished tenet of representative democracy win over objectives (objectionable issues) to be non sequitur, - the Constitutional Rights of Men(( men)) to be no longer a matter of accountability , but preference.

Now preference has become vested iron clad without the possibility of actually guilloteening sub stance from form, cause it has been perfectly re-fused figuratively.

The stage is not really cleared: props and a few minor characters drift, but the system has been saved, universally.
Putin and other mega billionaires with the aid of Trumpian deception , saved the day, for those who would have mired the landscape with an equally indisposed socialistic decline.

The decline would have paralleled a historical precedent of almost unveliavable nuclear showdown.

So I guess we should all revel at the monumental deception for the sake of following a totally self deceptive objective interpretation of the value of
demonizing excesses necessarily based on primal narcissism.

It's a fait accompli.
Meno_
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 5206
Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2015 2:39 am
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Wed Mar 27, 2019 4:32 am

House fails to override Trump's veto on bill that would have blocked his national emergency
Jacob Pramuk | @jacobpramuk
Published 9 Hours Ago Updated 5 Hours Ago
CNBC.com
The House fails to override President Donald Trump's veto of a measure that would have ended the president's national emergency declaration at the southern U.S. border.
Fourteen House Republicans support the measure, but it was not enough to reach a two-thirds majority.

House Democrats' attempt to override President Donald Trump's first veto failed Tuesday, leaving the president's national emergency declaration in place for now.

The chamber fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to overcome the president's opposition to a resolution that would end his executive action. Only 14 Republicans joined with Democrats in voting to override the veto in a 248-181 vote — one more GOP representative than when the House passed the measure last month.

In a joint statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Joaquin Castro, a Texas Democrat who authored the resolution, said the congressional votes would "provide significant evidence for the courts as they review lawsuits" challenging the move to secure money for the president's proposed border wall. They signaled the House would vote again on ending the national emergency in six months, which lawmakers can do as long as it is in effect.

"The President's lawless emergency declaration clearly violates the Congress's exclusive power of the purse, and Congress will work through the appropriations and defense authorization processes to terminate this dangerous action and restore our constitutional system of balance of powers," they said following the vote. "In six months, the Congress will have another opportunity to put a stop to this President's wrongdoing. We will continue to review all options to protect our Constitution and our Democracy from the President's assault."

Al Drago | Bloomberg | Getty Images
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, speaks to members of the media while departing a House Democratic Caucus meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, March 26, 2019.
Last month, Trump declared a national emergency to divert money already approved by Congress to the construction of barriers on the U.S.-Mexico border. Democrats and some Republicans worried about Trump circumventing the legislature's appropriations power after lawmakers passed only about $1.4 billion of the $5.7 billion the president sought for structures.

In a tweet later Tuesday, Trump celebrated what he called a "BIG WIN on the border."


Both the House and Senate previously passed the legislation to block the emergency declaration with bipartisan support.

Trump hopes to use the declaration to secure $3.6 billion of the $8 billion total he wants to put toward barriers on the border. It would come from the Defense Department's military construction budget. The president has argued he has the full authority to divert the funds.

Though Congress cannot terminate the emergency declaration for now, Trump's action still will face its share of scrutiny. Numerous states and outside groups have filed lawsuits challenging the declaration.

Lawsuits have in part cited Trump's own words last month, when he said "I didn't need to do this" to get border wall funding, "but I'd rather do it much faster."

After acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said Monday that the Pentagon would move $1 billion away from military construction projects to build the border wall, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wa., denied the move. He said his committee had not approved it.

It still may go through, as the Pentagon will argue it has the authority to use the funds.

Trump also requested $8.6 billion for border wall construction in his fiscal 2020 budget, which could spark yet another standoff with Democrats over his signature campaign promise.








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-------- ------ ------- ---------







Donald Trump
During a private lunch with Senate Republicans, Donald Trump laid out an ambitious legislative agenda and reveled in the findings of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report. | Andrew Harnik/

‘He's doing a victory lap’: Rejuvenated Trump pushes aggressive agenda post-Mueller
The president appeared to move past intraparty squabbles at a private lunch with Republican senators.




President Donald Trump is acting like he just hit the lottery.

In a private lunch with Senate Republicans on Tuesday, a rejuvenated Trump laid out an ambitious legislative agenda and put past intraparty conflicts behind him as he reveled in apparent vindication after special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into allegations that the president colluded with Russia during the 2016 campaign.




Trump looked like a president eager to run for reelection in 2020, and Senate Republicans — who face a tough map next year — were happy about it.

“I look at this as sort of a new election. A fresh start,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, a close Trump ally. He said Trump put it this way: “I’ve got this behind me now. It’s a fresh start. So let’s see what we can do — starting with health care.”

The president urged his party to swiftly pass a new North American trade deal, said he would pursue an “excellent” pact with China and even called on the GOP to formulate a new health care plan as he seeks to invalidate the Affordable Care Act. He endorsed a probe by Graham into whether there was an anti-Trump effort in the Justice Department in 2016 and at one point handed Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pages listing unconfirmed nominees and directed the caucus: “Please get these done.”

McConnell is expected to bring a rules change to the Senate floor pushing some confirmations as soon as next week.



Trump specifically called out Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) for slowing ambassador nominees and remarked that Menendez, who survived a corruption trial, is “lucky” to be in the Senate, according to a person briefed on the meeting. Trump also complained that Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell’s policies are hindering gross domestic product growth from reaching 4 percent, the person said.



The meeting with Republicans, described by a dozen GOP senators, showcased Trump’s new outlook as he enters his reelection campaign in earnest. With much of the cloud of the special counsel probe removed, Trump dictated an aggressive blueprint for Senate Republicans that seems impossible to execute with Democrats in the House majority.



But for Trump anything seemed possible on Tuesday as he declared both inside and outside the lunch that Republicans are going to become the “party of health care.” Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said Trump is “reinvigorated” and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) said the president feels “vindicated” after nearly two years of scrutiny by the special counsel.

“His perception: … That there was a concerted attempt to smear him and to cripple his presidency with something that was probably false,” Cassidy said.



"He's doing a victory lap, no doubt about it," said Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia. “But he earned it. He spent two years going through all this stuff with Mueller."

Trump’s decision to jump headlong into another divisive health care effort — with Democrats in control of the House no less — shows that he isn’t shying away from conflicts, even those that could hurt vulnerable GOP lawmakers. In fact, Republicans had no real plans to pass or even necessarily plan for sweeping health care legislation as of 24 hours ago. And most in the party have been eager to put the disastrous effort to repeal Obamacare behind them.

But at Trump’s direction, that all seemed to change on Tuesday.



“His real mission statement of the day was: take up a Republican health care package,” said Sen. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota

Graham to speak with attorney general about releasing Mueller report
By KYLE CHENEY and JOHN BRESNAHAN
Not everybody was that eager: "I want nothing to do with this," said one Republican senator scarred from the failed attempt to repeal the health law in 2017.

Trump also picked on favorite targets. He complained about spending in Puerto Rico as Congress tries to forge a disaster aid deal for the island states affected by recent storms. He even showed Republicans a chart that laid out what he views as profligate spending as the island recovers from a recession and a hurricane.



“And he’s right on that. A lot of it has been misused and abused,” said Shelby, the Senate Appropriations Committee chairman. “It doesn’t have the best record of spending wisely.”

Trump also griped about a lack of investigations into the Justice Department and urged Graham to move forward. He said he wants Congress to act quickly on a new deal to replace NAFTA despite the steep hurdles posed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s ambivalence.



And Trump brought up the cost of stationing U.S. forces in Europe as part of NATO, but didn't complain as much as he normally does, GOP senators said.

"Compared to the way [Trump] used to be about anything multi-national, I thought it was pretty good," said Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma. "It wasn’t bad at all."



The president told Republicans he wants to protect intellectual property produced by “nerds” in Silicon Valley from China, angling for a new pact with the country by driving a hard bargain, according to one attendee.

“Very good deal. Not a good deal. Not an OK deal it has to be a great deal,” Trump said, according to Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.

Nancy Pelosi
CONGRESS

‘Let’s just get the goods’: Pelosi rallies dejected Dems post-Mueller
By ANDREW DESIDERIO and HEATHER CAYGLE
But what was most striking is that even after Republicans voted against his national emergency on the border and his administration’s presence in Syria, he viewed the caucus as a cohesive and loyal unit instrumental to his success.



There was no apparent pushback over Trump’s posthumous attack on Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) nor did Republicans express disdain for the Trump administration’s support on Monday for obliterating Obamacare. And the president didn’t single out GOP senators that have voted against him, either.

For once, Trump was somewhat magnanimous, at least by Trumpian standards. And rather than pick fights with Republicans who have slighted him, Trump thanked the GOP for the support.

Story Continued Below

“He was grateful. He expressed gratitude for the last two years of support he’s gotten from the institution and the members in there. It was a real sincere expression of gratitude,” Cramer said.


‘Let’s just get the goods’: Pelosi rallies dejected Dems post-Mueller
Trump hands Democrats a gift with new effort to kill Obamacare
House fails to override Trump veto on border emergency
Supreme Court weighs crackdown on gerrymandering
‘He's doing a victory lap’: Rejuvenated Trump pushes aggressive agenda post-Mueller

Special counsel Robert Mueller walking in front of the White House
If You Thought Mueller Had Settled Matters, Think Again
By JOHN F. HARRIS

© 2019 POLITICO LLC
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Wed Mar 27, 2019 4:40 pm


Mueller’s many loose ends
What comes next now that the probe is finished.
By Andrew Prokop on March 27, 2019 8:00 am


Special counsel Robert Mueller arrives at his office on March 21, 2019, in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s sprawling, 22-month investigation has ended with a terse four-page letter from the attorney general — and a whole lot of loose ends.


Foremost among these is the question of when we will get to see more of Mueller’s report itself, rather than just William Barr’s summary. But commentators are already confused and divided on what we can infer from Mueller’s failure to “establish” conspiracy to interfere with the election means, and why Mueller decided not to decide on whether Trump obstructed justice.

More broadly, it’s also unclear how a great many threads Mueller investigated that weren’t mentioned in Barr’s letter were resolved — or unresolved. Congress will try to get answers in the coming days, and here are some of the biggest questions they will have.

The biggest loose end: When will we see (some of) the report?
Of course, the biggest loose end is that we still haven’t seen Mueller’s report itself. We’ve only seen Barr’s summary of it, which does not reveal Mueller’s reasoning or any details, and only quotes the special counsel a handful of times.

Barr wrote Sunday that his “goal and intent is to release as much of the Special Counsel’s report as I can consistent with applicable law, regulations, and Departmental policies.”

The first step in that process, he said, will be identifying what obtained Mueller from his grand jury — because he says grand jury material cannot by law be made public. Barr said materials impacting “other ongoing matters,” such as investigations Mueller referred elsewhere, must also be identified.

It’s unclear how long these steps will take, but once they are completed, we could get a (heavily redacted) Mueller report released. A Justice Department official told reporters Tuesday this will likely take “weeks not months,” but there’s some ambiguity about whether that refers to a redacted version of Mueller’s actual report, or simply another Barr summary with more information. If some version of the report is released, though, there will likely be more political and legal battles about revealing what’s under those redactions.

Did Mueller find nothing on collusion — or just not enough to prosecute?
The special counsel’s decision not to charge Americans with criminally conspiring with the Russian government to interfere with the election has spurred skeptics of the Russia probe to claim vindication. Trump supporters claim this confirms his “no collusion” mantra, and critics of the investigation from both the left and right have acted as if Mueller definitively declared there was nothing here at all.

Other commentators, though, have cautioned against jumping to that conclusion before seeing Mueller’s fuller findings. “Without seeing Mueller’s full report, we don’t know whether this is a firm conclusion about lack of coordination or a frank admission of insufficient evidence,” defense attorney Ken White writes at the Atlantic.

Barr quotes the Mueller report’s exact language twice on this topic. The first quote is, “the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” The second is, “the evidence does not establish that the President was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference.”

So it’s not yet entirely clear whether Mueller’s report describes a murky situation in which there’s some evidence that collusion occurred — or whether this part of the investigation truly did lead nowhere.

What did Mueller find on obstruction — and why didn’t he make a recommendation one way or the other?
On the topic of obstruction of justice, Mueller’s report specifically says it “does not conclude that the President committed a crime,” but that it “also does not exonerate him,” according to Barr. (Barr then proceeded to exonerate Trump himself.)

That, of course, raises the questions of what exactly Mueller found on obstruction. Here, the special counsel is known to have investigated:

The circumstances around Trump’s firing of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn
Trump’s conversations with FBI Director James Comey and his eventual firing of Comey
Trump’s pressures on Attorney General Jeff Sessions over the Russia investigation
Trump’s treatment of and contacts with various other Justice Department and intelligence officials, with regards to investigations implicating him or his associates
Whether Trump or his associates may have hinted at or offered pardons to witnesses in exchange for not incriminating him
False testimony from Trump associates to congressional committees investigating Russian interference
Trump’s involvement in crafting a false public story about Donald Jr.’s meeting with the Russian lawyer
Barr’s letter also says that “most” of the presidential actions Mueller analyzed in the obstruction report have “been the subject of public reporting.” But most is not all, so there appear to be some potentially obstructive Trump actions we don’t yet know about. So what are they?

Then there’s the question about why Mueller couldn’t make up his mind about whether Trump committed a crime here. Barr suggests that Mueller was stymied by “‘difficult issues’ of law and fact concerning whether the President’s actions and intent could be viewed as obstruction.” But he is vague on why, specifically, Mueller “determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment.” Some have suggested that Mueller may have intended to leave the topic to Congress and not Barr — but again, we need to see his fuller report for more information.

What happens to Mueller’s existing cases?
As the special counsel’s office closes down, any pending cases and matters Mueller’s team has dealt with will be handled off to other Justice Department offices to resolve.

For instance, the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia will handle the prosecution of Roger Stone — that office has been involved in Stone’s charges from the get-go, and Stone’s trial is currently scheduled for November 5, 2019.

DC federal prosecutors are also taking over unresolved matters relating to Paul Manafort, Rick Gates (who has not yet been sentenced), and a mysterious company owned by a foreign government that’s been fighting a subpoena. Michael Flynn’s sentencing, and an appeal from an associate of Stone’s who is fighting testimony, will also likely be handed off to other prosecutors.

What happened to ... everything else Mueller investigated?
One surprising aspect of Mueller’s findings on Russian interference with the election, as summarized by Barr, is that they were quite narrowly tailored.

Barr writes that Mueller did not find that any Trump associates conspired or coordinated with the Russian government on the Kremlin’s two main efforts to interfere with the election: the Internet Research Agency’s social media propaganda operation, and the hacking and leaking of Democrats’ emails.

Yet Barr’s summary mentions nothing about ... well, many, many other topics related to the Trump team and Russia that we know Mueller has investigated. These include:

The Trump Organization’s business dealings related to Russia
The Trump Tower Moscow talks
Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower
Russian efforts to influence US policy on sanctions and Ukraine, both during the election and afterward
Paul Manafort’s handing over Trump polling data to Konstantin Kilimnik
Manafort’s efforts to reach out to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska
Connections between the NRA, a Russian central bank official, and spending on behalf of Trump’s campaign
Potential efforts to coordinate with WikiLeaks over the stolen emails
An offer from Gulf princes to the Trump team for election help on social media
Russia and other foreign-tied donations to Trump’s inauguration
Efforts by Jared Kushner to set up back-channel communications with Russia after the election
Barr’s summary tells us nothing of what became of Mueller’s inquiries into all these matters. But there are a few possibilities.

1) Dead ends: It’s simply possible that some of the above turned out to be investigative dead ends not worth mentioning in a top-line summary.

2) Included in separate counterintelligence findings: A second possibility ties into how the Russia investigation originated as a counterintelligence probe into whether Trump campaign advisers were working on Russia’s behalf, either wittingly or unwittingly. That probe was eventually expanded to include President Trump himself.

Some of these are not about criminal conspiracy with the Russian government to interfere with the election, which was the focus of Barr’s report. Instead, these are about potential compromise or links to Russia — something that would be part of a counterintelligence probe rather than a criminal one.

So these counterintelligence findings may well have been separated out from Mueller’s main report (which focused on prosecution or nonprosecution decisions), to be handled elsewhere. And indeed, NBC News now reports that congressional leaders may be briefed on Mueller’s counterintelligence findings in the next 30 to 60 days. So stay tuned for more on that.

3) Referred elsewhere to DOJ to investigate: According to Barr’s letter, Mueller “referred several matters to other offices for further action” during his investigation. That is — matters on which the special counsel chose not to bring charges, but on which he think other Justice Department offices might.

We know of some of these. By February 2018, Mueller had referred an investigation into Michael Cohen’s finances to SDNY. And by August 2018, Mueller had referred cases about several people who had worked with Manafort on his Ukraine lobbying work — Tony Podesta, Vin Weber, and Greg Craig — to other offices. However, we don’t know how many matters Mueller referred elsewhere or what those offices might do with them moving forward.

What is Congress going to find out?
Probably before that is done, Barr will end up testifying before Congress. He has a scheduled appearance before an appropriations subcommittee to talk about the Justice Department’s budget on April 9. But Democrats want him to testify before the House Judiciary Committee before that to answer questions about the Mueller investigation, and are currently trying to nail down the timing.

Additionally, as mentioned above, the FBI is expected to brief key congressional leaders and committee chairs on the findings of the counterintelligence investigation into whether Trump or his campaign advisers were working on Russia’s behalf, per NBC News. That briefing would happen behind closed doors, but information from it could leak.






© 2019 Vox Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved
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Re: Trump enters the stage - antithesis

Postby Meno_ » Thu Mar 28, 2019 4:59 am

Fox News

OPINIONPublished March 27, 2019 Last Update 8 hrs ago
Andy Puzder: How Mueller’s report cleared Trump, and exposed the deep state





To paraphrase the French poet Charles Baudelaire, the greatest trick the deep state ever pulled off was convincing Americans that it didn’t exist. While Baudelaire was, of course, speaking of the devil, it seems an appropriate phrase. It expresses perhaps the most significant aspect of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report. There is a deep state, and it just got caught using a lie to try to reverse a presidential election.

In this respect, Mueller’s report did more than simply exonerate President Trump and his campaign from patently fake claims of Russian collusion. It did more than validate his election victory. It proved beyond any doubt, for anyone from either side of the aisle willing to listen, that the deep state exists, respects no bounds on its power, has no allegiance to the truth, and, left unchecked, threatens the very foundations of our constitutional democracy.

This is not to say there is a coordinated group of conspirators that gathers in smoke-filled rooms; just that there is undeniably a power that comes with many government positions. While the majority of those in government are honorable people who respect the limits placed on their power by our Constitution and traditions, there are always those who believe they have a higher purpose, and are willing to use government power to manipulate events and further their political beliefs. A distrust of common Americans – the deplorables – can ignite a temptation to use that power to achieve a goal the deep state deems significant, even if it may subvert our democracy.

HOW LONG HAS MUELLER KNOWN THERE WAS NO TRUMP-RUSSIA COLLUSION?

The American people have intuited the deep state’s existence. They elected Donald Trump in part because he promised to “drain the swamp” and take on the systemic corruption of the D.C. establishment. In this instance, the Democrats, along with a cabal of unelected bureaucrats and certain supportive elements of the media, responded by trying to take down the duly elected president. Some of those involved sincerely believed the unsubstantiated allegations of “Russian collusion.” Others always knew – or clearly should have known – that the claims against President Trump were politically motivated fabrications.



Our nation and our institutions are strong, however, and this deep state effort failed to bring down our president. According to Attorney General William Barr’s summary, Mueller concluded that his investigation “did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities . . . despite multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign.” That’s definitive.


True believers remain incredulous, but Mueller deserves credit for sticking to the truth despite the deep state pressure to do otherwise. He also deserves credit for taking an approach that enhanced his Report’s credibility. While it took what seemed like an unduly long time to conclude the investigation, it was undeniably thorough.

Mueller also assembled a team that included a number of Hillary Clinton supporters to investigate the claims of Russian collusion. The fact that even these potentially biased investigators were unable to find evidence of collusion following an extensive and unrestricted investigation is a compelling reason to believe the Mueller report’s conclusion. In retrospect, it was a smart move by Mueller, enhancing his report’s credibility. Had he hired a staff of Trump supporters, the Democrats could credibly have attacked the report as biased. Now, they cannot. Kudos to Special Counsel Mueller for that.

Mueller declined to reach any conclusions on the charge of obstruction of justice, properly leaving it “to the Attorney General to determine whether the conduct described in the report constitutes a crime.” After reviewing the report’s findings, Barr stated that “Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and I have concluded that the evidence developed during the Special Counsel's investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense,” stressing that this decision was made without regard to Department of Justice rules forbidding criminal prosecution of a sitting president.

Rosenstein’s involvement in that determination is significant. It was Rosenstein who appointed Mueller in the first place, and Rosenstein who authorized Mueller to investigate “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation” – language that opened the door to investigating possible obstruction of justice. His concurrence in the Attorney General’s no obstruction conclusion enhances its credibility.

Let’s be honest about it. The collusion probe was a politically motivated, deep state effort to lay the groundwork for impeaching President Trump – a mission Democratic Party operatives spearheaded with cooperation from partisan elements in the FBI and supported by a barrage of fake news coverage that all but assumed an unsubstantiated claim that a duly elected president colluded with Russia to win an election were true. As we now know, it was simply untrue.



President Trump also had powerful allies – the American people and the truth. Mueller’s report proves that Trump’s campaign message was accurate from the start – there really is a deep state, and it only tolerates those who play by its rules. Mueller’s report doesn’t just vindicate the president; it validates what he’s been saying about the corrupt D.C. establishment ever since he embarked on the road to the White House.

Those who would continue this circus of investigations and unsubstantiated accusations should be on notice: Mueller’s report was a wake-up call for the American people, and there is another election on the horizon.



Andy Puzder was chief executive officer of CKE Restaurants for more than 16 years, following a career as an attorney. He was nominated by President Trump to serve as U.S. labor
Fox News

©2019 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved.





Rebecca Falconer
3 hours ago
Trump: FBI officials committed treason in Russia probe
President Trump told Fox News' "Hannity" Russia would've preferred Hillary Clinton as commander-in-chief.
Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
President Trump told Fox News' "Hannity" Wednesday FBI officials investigating possible Russia links to his campaign had "committed treason."

What he's saying: "They wanted an insurance policy against me,” he told Fox News host Sean Hannity, referring to former FBI officials Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, who upset him previously over anti-Trump campaign texts. “And what we were playing out until just recently was the insurance policy. They wanted to do a subversion. It was treason ... We can never allow these treasonous acts happen to another president."

The big picture: Strzok was fired from the FBI in 2018 because of his anti-Trump texts with his then-colleague Page in the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election. He had worked on the Hillary Clinton email server investigation and joined Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation but was kicked off the team and demoted when the texts surfaced.

Why it matters: This is Trump's first interview since Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation concluded, and he didn't hold back in the wide-ranging phone interview.

On the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act: Trump said he would release the FISA warrants and related documents used by the FBI to investigate his campaign in full and unredacted. He told Hannity he wanted to "get to the bottom" of how the long-running Russia collusion narrative began.

On the Mueller investigation: Trump called it "an attempted takeover of our government, of our country, an illegal takeover."

On William Barr: Trump said it would never have happened Attorney General William Barr in the position from the start of his presidency. Barr said in a summary of the Mueller report Sunday finding no evidence of a Trump campaign conspiracy with Russia. On obstruction of justice, Barr said the report "does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him."

On Russia: Trump said Russia would’ve "much rather" had Hillary Clinton as president than himself. "I will tell you this about Russia; if they had anything on me, it would have come out a long time ago," he said. "You look at all of the different things."

On the Green New Deal, spearheaded by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: "I really do want to campaign against it," Trump said. "It's ridiculous. The new green deal is going nowhere."

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Re: Trump enters the stage - antithesis

Postby Meno_ » Thu Mar 28, 2019 2:38 pm

Meno_ wrote:Fox News

OPINIONPublished March 27, 2019 Last Update 8 hrs ago
Andy Puzder: How Mueller’s report cleared Trump, and exposed the deep state





To paraphrase the French poet Charles Baudelaire, the greatest trick the deep state ever pulled off was convincing Americans that it didn’t exist. While Baudelaire was, of course, speaking of the devil, it seems an appropriate phrase. It expresses perhaps the most significant aspect of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report. There is a deep state, and it just got caught using a lie to try to reverse a presidential election.

In this respect, Mueller’s report did more than simply exonerate President Trump and his campaign from patently fake claims of Russian collusion. It did more than validate his election victory. It proved beyond any doubt, for anyone from either side of the aisle willing to listen, that the deep state exists, respects no bounds on its power, has no allegiance to the truth, and, left unchecked, threatens the very foundations of our constitutional democracy.

This is not to say there is a coordinated group of conspirators that gathers in smoke-filled rooms; just that there is undeniably a power that comes with many government positions. While the majority of those in government are honorable people who respect the limits placed on their power by our Constitution and traditions, there are always those who believe they have a higher purpose, and are willing to use government power to manipulate events and further their political beliefs. A distrust of common Americans – the deplorables – can ignite a temptation to use that power to achieve a goal the deep state deems significant, even if it may subvert our democracy.

HOW LONG HAS MUELLER KNOWN THERE WAS NO TRUMP-RUSSIA COLLUSION?

The American people have intuited the deep state’s existence. They elected Donald Trump in part because he promised to “drain the swamp” and take on the systemic corruption of the D.C. establishment. In this instance, the Democrats, along with a cabal of unelected bureaucrats and certain supportive elements of the media, responded by trying to take down the duly elected president. Some of those involved sincerely believed the unsubstantiated allegations of “Russian collusion.” Others always knew – or clearly should have known – that the claims against President Trump were politically motivated fabrications.



Our nation and our institutions are strong, however, and this deep state effort failed to bring down our president. According to Attorney General William Barr’s summary, Mueller concluded that his investigation “did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities . . . despite multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign.” That’s definitive.


True believers remain incredulous, but Mueller deserves credit for sticking to the truth despite the deep state pressure to do otherwise. He also deserves credit for taking an approach that enhanced his Report’s credibility. While it took what seemed like an unduly long time to conclude the investigation, it was undeniably thorough.

Mueller also assembled a team that included a number of Hillary Clinton supporters to investigate the claims of Russian collusion. The fact that even these potentially biased investigators were unable to find evidence of collusion following an extensive and unrestricted investigation is a compelling reason to believe the Mueller report’s conclusion. In retrospect, it was a smart move by Mueller, enhancing his report’s credibility. Had he hired a staff of Trump supporters, the Democrats could credibly have attacked the report as biased. Now, they cannot. Kudos to Special Counsel Mueller for that.

Mueller declined to reach any conclusions on the charge of obstruction of justice, properly leaving it “to the Attorney General to determine whether the conduct described in the report constitutes a crime.” After reviewing the report’s findings, Barr stated that “Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and I have concluded that the evidence developed during the Special Counsel's investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense,” stressing that this decision was made without regard to Department of Justice rules forbidding criminal prosecution of a sitting president.

Rosenstein’s involvement in that determination is significant. It was Rosenstein who appointed Mueller in the first place, and Rosenstein who authorized Mueller to investigate “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation” – language that opened the door to investigating possible obstruction of justice. His concurrence in the Attorney General’s no obstruction conclusion enhances its credibility.

Let’s be honest about it. The collusion probe was a politically motivated, deep state effort to lay the groundwork for impeaching President Trump – a mission Democratic Party operatives spearheaded with cooperation from partisan elements in the FBI and supported by a barrage of fake news coverage that all but assumed an unsubstantiated claim that a duly elected president colluded with Russia to win an election were true. As we now know, it was simply untrue.



President Trump also had powerful allies – the American people and the truth. Mueller’s report proves that Trump’s campaign message was accurate from the start – there really is a deep state, and it only tolerates those who play by its rules. Mueller’s report doesn’t just vindicate the president; it validates what he’s been saying about the corrupt D.C. establishment ever since he embarked on the road to the White House.

Those who would continue this circus of investigations and unsubstantiated accusations should be on notice: Mueller’s report was a wake-up call for the American people, and there is another election on the horizon.



Andy Puzder was chief executive officer of CKE Restaurants for more than 16 years, following a career as an attorney. He was nominated by President Trump to serve as U.S. labor
Fox News

©2019 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved.





Rebecca Falconer
3 hours ago
Trump: FBI officials committed treason in Russia probe
President Trump told Fox News' "Hannity" Russia would've preferred Hillary Clinton as commander-in-chief.
Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
President Trump told Fox News' "Hannity" Wednesday FBI officials investigating possible Russia links to his campaign had "committed treason."

What he's saying: "They wanted an insurance policy against me,” he told Fox News host Sean Hannity, referring to former FBI officials Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, who upset him previously over anti-Trump campaign texts. “And what we were playing out until just recently was the insurance policy. They wanted to do a subversion. It was treason ... We can never allow these treasonous acts happen to another president."

The big picture: Strzok was fired from the FBI in 2018 because of his anti-Trump texts with his then-colleague Page in the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election. He had worked on the Hillary Clinton email server investigation and joined Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation but was kicked off the team and demoted when the texts surfaced.

Why it matters: This is Trump's first interview since Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation concluded, and he didn't hold back in the wide-ranging phone interview.

On the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act: Trump said he would release the FISA warrants and related documents used by the FBI to investigate his campaign in full and unredacted. He told Hannity he wanted to "get to the bottom" of how the long-running Russia collusion narrative began.

On the Mueller investigation: Trump called it "an attempted takeover of our government, of our country, an illegal takeover."

On William Barr: Trump said it would never have happened Attorney General William Barr in the position from the start of his presidency. Barr said in a summary of the Mueller report Sunday finding no evidence of a Trump campaign conspiracy with Russia. On obstruction of justice, Barr said the report "does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him."

On Russia: Trump said Russia would’ve "much rather" had Hillary Clinton as president than himself. "I will tell you this about Russia; if they had anything on me, it would have come out a long time ago," he said. "You look at all of the different things."




.




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© Copyright Axios 2019









Puerto Rico's Governor Officially Sick of Trump's Shit

Samantha Grasso
Today 1:13pm

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló and President Donald Trump

Following a very strange, inaccurate presentation by President Donald Trump to Republican senators earlier this week on the amount of federal disaster relief funds given to Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló has sent a message to the president essentially telling him that he’s tired of Trump’s bullshit.

“If the bully gets close, I’ll punch the bully in the mouth,” Rosselló said in an interview with CNN. “It would be a mistake to confuse courtesy with courage.”




Rosselló is currently in Washington to meet with members of Congress in an effort to grant Puerto Rico statehood, CNN reported, which Rosselló views as necessary to receive the disaster recovery funds it needs to continue the nearly-two-year-long process after Hurricane Maria.

At a weekly policy lunch on Tuesday, Trump, with the help of a misleading visual aid, questioned why Puerto Rico was getting $91 billion in aid, when Texas received $29 billion and South Carolina got $1.5 billion in aid for disaster recovery from storms. Puerto Rico, in fact, has not received even close to $91 billion—that figure is closer to the amount of damage the hurricane caused to the island, according to the Washington Post.

Following Trump’s joust at Puerto Rico, the latest in months of attacks on the island’s finances and accusations that it’s spending irresponsibly, Rosselló said Trump’s comments “are below the dignity of a sitting President of the United States. They continue to lack empathy, are irresponsible, regrettable and, above all, unjustified.”



“I invite the president to stop listening to ignorant and completely wrong advice,” Rosselló said at the time.

His thoughts shared with CNN today hit at Trump even harder. From CNN (emphasis mine):

Rosselló said the President is working off of bad information provided by White House officials.

“It’s unfortunate that we are having to hear this. These statements lack empathy, but more so they lack the true facts of the matter,” Rosselló said in response to Trump’s comments. “They’re not aligned with the truth and reality, No. 1. And No. 2, I just think we have to end this battle of words and just recognize we’re not his political adversaries, we’re his citizens,” the governor added.

[...]

“He treats us as second class citizens, that’s for sure,” he said. “And my consideration is I just want the opportunity to explain to him why the data and information he’s getting is wrong. I don’t think getting into a kicking and screaming match with the President does any good. I don’t think anyone can beat the President in a kicking and screaming match. What I am aiming to do is make sure reason prevails, that empathy prevails, that equality prevails, and that we can have a discussion.”



It’s not just Trump treating the Puerto Ricans with disrespect, but his administration too. Puerto Rican officials told CNN that on Wednesday, they were told by White House senior officials including trade adviser Peter Navarro that Puerto Rico was being too adamant in setting up a meeting between the governor and Trump. “You guys have to fucking stop with the meeting request,” one official reportedly said, while Navarro reportedly added: “Your governor is fucking things up.”

I don’t know, y’all. Maybe if the president actually gave a shit about helping Puerto Rico and the people who live there recover from the worst disaster to hit the island in modern history, Puerto Rican officials wouldn’t have to hound him for a meeting. But sure, Rosselló’s the one “fucking things up” here.

Either way, if Trump thinks dealing with Puerto Rico is going to get any easier any time soon, he’s got another thing coming—last week, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, an even more ferocious critic of the president and his response to Hurricane Maria, announced that she would run for governor of Puerto Rico in 2020.


Splinter Staff Writer, Texan


© 2018 Gizmodo Media Group


----------------------------'


It took Trump 90 seconds to lie about the “Mueller report” during Michigan speech
The president then took a victory lap.
By Aaron Rupar on March 28, 2019 9:40 pm



Less than two minutes into President Donald Trump’s speech in Grand Rapids, Michigan, he lied about special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report.


“The collusion delusion is over,” Trump said on Thursday night, in his first speech since Attorney General Bill Barr announced some of Mueller’s key conclusions on Sunday. “The special counsel completed its report and found no collusion and no obstruction.”

It is not true, however, that the special counsel exonerated Trump of obstruction of justice. While we still can’t say for sure what the special counsel said — all we know of Mueller’s final report came by way of a brief summary of it sent to Congress on Sunday by Barr, Trump’s hand-picked attorney general — even Barr’s letter acknowledged Mueller did not exonerate Trump of obstruction.

“While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him,” says Mueller’s report, according to one of the few direct quotations from the special counsel’s report included in Barr’s summary.

Barr, together with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, made the subsequent decision to clear Trump of possible obstruction of justice charges. The public still hasn’t seen the final report, which the New York Times reported on Thursday is over 300 pages long. It remains unclear if the special counsel intended for Barr and Rosenstein to resolve the obstruction question, or if he primarily meant to use his report to present evidence to Congress.


It’s also not not quite the case that Mueller said “no collusion,” as Trump claimed. According to another quotation from the report included in Barr’s summary, Mueller concluded that “[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” But not establishing a conspiracy is not the same as finding no evidence of collusion at all.

After falsely claiming total exoneration, Trump used Barr’s letter to go on the attack against some of his most prominent Democratic critics — including the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, who went viral earlier in the day when he responded to a Republican effort to compel him to resign during a hearing by reciting the major pieces of evidence suggesting the Trump campaign did in fact collude with Russia.

“Little pencil-neck Adam Schiff,” Trump said, prompting boos from the crowd. “He has the smallest, thinnest neck I have ever seen. He is not a long-ball hitter. But I saw him today — ‘well, we don’t really know, there could still have been some Russia collusion.’ Sick. Sick. These are sick people.”

While Trump and his allies have spent the week crowing over the fact that the special counsel apparently won’t be indicting Trump or any additional associates of his, it remains unclear when members of Congress or the public will be able to see more of the Mueller report beyond the less than 100 words quoted in Barr’s summary.


Following a phone call with Barr on Wednesday, House Judiciary Committee chair Rep. Jerry Nadler (NY) said the attorney general made it clear that he won’t meet an April 2 deadline Democrats set for making the report public.

“We’re not happy about that, to put it mildly,” Nadler said, according to the Times.

During his speech in Michigan, Trump did not bother trying to explain the apparent disconnect between his misleading declarations of total exoneration on one hand, and his administration’s apparent reluctance to release the Mueller report on the other. After all, if the report is as exonerating as Trump has indicated, then why not make it public and take yet another victory lap?






© 2019 Vox Media, Inc.




Dee Margo, the Republican mayor of El Paso, met with Customs and Border Protection commissioner Kevin McAleenan when the federal official visited the border in the city on Wednesday and declared the system there to be “at breaking point”.

Margo told NPR shortly after that that the idea of shutting the border in response to the current migration surge would not be helpful.

He put the problem down, in the big picture, to the lack of “intestinal fortitude” exhibited on either side of the aisle in Congress on immigration laws for the past three decades.

Immediately on the ground, if the president closes the border next week, the effects will immediately be dramatic, if that’s not stating the obvious. Just in El Paso, Margo pointed out that:

“We have a hundred billion-plus in trade back and forth in imports and exports. We have six of the 28 bridges that cross from Texas to Mexico...We have 23,000 legal pedestrians that come north every day. We’ve got 13 million vehicles that come north every year.

“It affects us all the way around, from commerce - and the wait times on the bridges are approaching two hours, that’s an environmental issue, while cars are just sitting there idling. It’s a major problem.

“But the issue is not just Mexico and whatever they’re doing. The issue is the lack of action by our Congress to deal with this.”

Updated at 1.11pm EDT
Facebook Twitter
12.46pm

Politicians disagree about whether there is a crisis at the border and, if there is, to what extent it is self-inflicted by America’s own dysfunctional immigration policies.

My colleagues Amanda Holpuch, taking to experts from her well-informed purchase in New York, and Nina Lakhani, who’s based south of the US-Mexico border and reports from Mexico City, analyze the latest and jointly write today:

US authorities’ failure to keep up with a steep increase in Central American families seeking asylum at the US-Mexico border has left El Paso aid workers, churches and city government scrambling to respond.

After a sudden surge in arrivals, migrants have been crowded into hotels, churches and even held under a bridge behind a chain-link fence and razor wire while their asylum claims are processed.

The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) commissioner, Kevin McAleenan, said the number of new arrivals in March is expected to reach 100,000, including 55,000 family members. “The immigration system is at breaking point,” he told reporters on Wednesday.

The chaotic scenes in El Paso are the result of a regional crisis in which growing numbers of Central American families flee violence, corruption and poverty – only to come up against failed migration polices in Mexico and the US.




Comedy writer and political observer Nick Jack Pappas isn’t laughing.

He tweeted: “$558 billion in goods flow across the U.S.- Mexico border in both directions, making Mexico our third-biggest trading partner for goods. Closing the border would cost billions.”

Pappas then continues, including a think tank quote: “If you are thinking about a total shutdown of the border, then it’s hundreds of millions of dollars A DAY -- maybe a billion.” - Duncan Wood, director of the Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute. Our economy would stall. The U.S. would become one of Trump’s failed businesses.



The Trump administration’s hardline immigration policies demand the detention of migrants entering the US unlawfully, even if they are claiming asylum after escaping violence and crushing poverty in Central America.

Most migrants are arriving from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, a region my world affairs colleague in Washington, Julian Borger, has described, politically, as “a hell the US helped create” with its foreign policy.

The federal agencies on the front line, Customs and Border Protection, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, are overwhelmed.

Hundreds of migrant families who’ve crossed the border are packed under a highway overpass on the border in El Paso, in western Texas, next to the border processing station, behind razor wire and fencing, as CBP struggles to figure out where to put them.

-------'------'------'------"-----------'----'----'----'---''''''--



U.S.
DONALD TRUMP DEFENDERS ARE FAILING TO ACCEPT REALITY OVER MUELLER'S REPORT, JOHN BRENNAN'S SPOKESMAN SAYS
By Shane Croucher On 3/29/19 at 7:52 AM EDT
John Brennan Donald Trump Mueller Report


Former Director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) John Brennan testifies before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on Capitol Hill, May 23, 2017 in Washington, DC. Brennan has accused President Donald Trump of treasonous behavior.


U.S. DONALD TRUMP RUSSIA INVESTIGATION

A spokesman for former CIA Director John Brennan has accused President Donald Trump and his defenders over the Mueller report of failing to accept reality amid criticism of the ex-intelligence chief.

Trump has claimed total exoneration by special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, which is confidential and has so far only been briefly summarized in public by Attorney General William Barr.

But Barr’s summary states explicitly that Mueller, who investigated Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, does not exonerate Trump on the charge of obstruction of justice.


The president attacked Brennan in a Fox News interview with Sean Hannity on Wednesday night, calling the intelligence veteran sick and saying he was not good at his former job.

“Let’s not forget that the special counsel’s investigation resulted in indictments against 34 people and three entities on nearly 200 separate criminal charges,” Brennan’s spokesman told Newsweek.

“Five associates of the president have been convicted, and another is awaiting trial. Those who think nothing happened and who are now going after critics of the president aren’t accepting reality and they are just playing politics.”


Trump and Brennan, who was director of the CIA from 2013 to 2017, have clashed over the president’s approach to Russia.

The former intelligence head, who has worked for Republican and Democratic presidents, is a fierce and frequent critic of Trump. In response to the criticism, Trump revoked Brennan’s security clearance.

At an infamous joint press conference with Trump and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin after the pair met for private talks, the U.S. president cast doubt on the conclusion of his own intelligence agencies that the Kremlin sought to interfere in the 2016 election.


On Twitter following the press conference, Brennan suggested Trump is a traitor whose comments were impeachable.

“Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors,’” Brennan tweeted. “It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin.”

In the final days before Mueller finished his report and handed it to the attorney general, Brennan speculated that there could be last-minute indictments of Trump family members, though he caveated that he did not know anything about the investigation.

In the end, there were no further indictments. But Trump and his supporters seized on Brennan’s comments to MSNBC, accusing him of making a phoney prediction.

“I think Brennan's a sick person, I really do,” Trump told Hannity in an interview giving his thoughts about the Barr summary of the Mueller report.

“I believe there's something wrong with him...For him to come out of the CIA and act that way was so disrespectful to the country, and to the CIA, and to the position he held.

“He was not considered good at what he did. He was never a respected guy. Tough guy, but not a respected guy. But he lied to Congress. And the other night before the report came out, he predicted horrible things. The things he said were horrible.”

Barr has so far only released a four-page summary of Mueller’s findings in his book-length report, which spans more than 300 pages.

The attorney general intends to release at least some of the report into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election in April.

The U.S. intelligence community concludes that Russia attempted to sway the election in Trump’s favor. Mueller indicted many Russian intelligence officers over election interference.

According to Barr’s summary, Mueller’s report did not find that the president, his campaign, or any of its associates conspired or coordinated with Russia to influence the election.

Barr also noted that Mueller did not exonerate Trump on charges of obstruction of justice related to the special counsel’s long-running investigation.

But the special counsel also did not conclude that the president committed a crime.

Trump’s critics accuse the president of meddling with the investigation by constantly discrediting it as a politically motivated witch hunt, attacking Mueller’s witnesses, and taking action such as firing the former FBI Director James Comey when he had oversight of the probe.

Mueller deferred the decision to prosecute on the obstruction charges to Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who declined to pursue Trump.

“On the issue of obstruction of justice, Brennan believes it is too important to be dismissed by a Trump-appointed AG with a predetermined view on presidential accountability to the rule of law, and that we all need to see the report,” Brennan’s spokesman told Newsweek.

“As for the president and his own actions, Brennan will leave to others how it is possible that one can engage with a foreign power in a most unethical, unprincipled, and unpatriotic way without violating criminal statutes.

“But Mueller determined those actions weren’t illegal and Brennan fully accepts that.”

The spokesman added that Americans should expect much more of a president than the ability to escape criminal liability. “Traits such as decency, honesty, integrity, and competence in our president sure would be nice,” he said.

The president is still the subject of multiple investigations spanning his political, business and personal life.

Among those investigating Trump are various House committees, which plan to use the Mueller report to advance their own probes, including connections between Russia and his campaign, and the Southern District of New York.



Donald Trump on Wind Power Is ‘Malicious Ignorance’








© Copyright 2019 NEWSWEEK
Last edited by Meno_ on Fri Mar 29, 2019 10:33 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Trump enters the stage Lunacy or Collusion?

Postby Meno_ » Fri Mar 29, 2019 5:22 pm

'This Is Lunacy': Scalise Calls Out Schiff for Continuing to Push Trump-Russia Collusion 'Lie'

Mar 29, 2019 // 8:23am |
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise joined the "Fox & Friends" hosts Friday morning to call out Democrats for continuing to push the Trump-Russia collusion "lie."

On Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) defended Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), an outspoken critic of President Trump who is facing calls to resign for continuing to push collusion claims despite Special Counsel Robert Mueller's findings.

"What is the president afraid of? Is he afraid of the truth, that he would go after ... a respected chairman of a committee in the Congress? I think they're just scaredy cats," Pelosi said at her weekly press conference Thursday.

Scalise (R-La.) said Democrats are ignoring the facts in their continued pursuit of the Russia "witch hunt."

He lamented that Democrats have become the party of "constant harassment of the president."

"For the last two years, Adam Schiff's been going around saying he's got more than circumstantial evidence of collusion. And they've been hanging their hat on the Mueller report. They were convinced there would be evidence of collusion and all these indictments. And there was none," Scalise said.

Despite that, Schiff and his fellow Democrats will never admit that they were wrong, Scalise said.

"They just move on and make some other baseless accusation. ... Whatever they're gonna say next, just consider the source."



'This Is a Big Circle': Sen. Paul Claims Brennan Internally Pushed 'Fake Steele Dossier'

'Totally, Profoundly Dishonest': Gingrich Slams Schiff for Continued Collusion Claims

Schiff Blasts 'Unpatriotic' Actions of Trump Campaign, Insists 'Collusion' With Russia Occurred
Latest from Fox News Channel
1 Wallace: It's Not Premature for Trump to Take 'Victory Lap' After Receiving 'Clean Bill of Health' on Collusion




©2019 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved.



Lunacy or Collusion?

In the vernacular of contra-indicated state of affairs, at what point do impressions signal a state of affairs when this difference becomes of tripartite concern? At what point do the paradoxical asertions cross the line from individual psychic breaks to social-national~international urgency where appearing fissures signal particular projective breaks?
World social nationalism in itself is particularly an ominous label, where from any shrewd politician would want to steer clear of, but it seems like that line was already passed unnoticed, and a newer no holds policy has been reintegrate on assumptions yet to be determined.

This entails risk taking on a new plateau, one with which a desperation could be unearthed .

This is most probably why, Miller , as Pontious once had, washed his hands.

This is way thicker then even a crucifixion would suggest, because it is never transparent here who or what the victims are, not to mention the victims are the very ones who unwarily become the agents .

This confusion seeks clarity, a clarity that is at once desired and further obfuscated.
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby promethean75 » Fri Mar 29, 2019 6:53 pm

It's called slipping a nice fat check to Mueller for scrapping the report.

Politicians in back rooms
Rich people with heirlooms
Handshakes at clambakes
Clear the record for namesake
You don't believe they're all this fake?

c'mon meno
or should I call you Janet Reno?
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Jakob » Fri Mar 29, 2019 9:41 pm

Caliphornia.

:-?
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Re: Trump enters the stage The biggest State the big orange

Postby Meno_ » Fri Mar 29, 2019 9:57 pm

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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Fri Mar 29, 2019 10:56 pm

promethean75 wrote:It's called slipping a nice fat check to Mueller for scrapping the report.

Politicians in back rooms
Rich people with heirlooms
Handshakes at clambakes
Clear the record for namesake
You don't believe they're all this fake?

c'mon meno
or should I call you Janet Reno?




Not really, but perhaps it's too late in the game for that.
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Jakob » Fri Mar 29, 2019 11:30 pm

this thread must be so therapeutic.

I wont mention to immensity of the wealth difference in favour of the anti trump charade vs what the actual base controls.
Instead, I will just cheer you on. This is going to be a hell of an interesting elections.

https://www.peteforamerica.com/meet-pete/
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Re: Trump enters the stage The biggest State the big orange

Postby Jakob » Fri Mar 29, 2019 11:35 pm

Meno_ wrote:https://youtu.be/YlUKcNNmywk

Forever.




Compare this to Pete, though. The Dems have come a long way. Of course Biden is even more macho dan Arnold is, but you have to wonder if he ll really run.
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Re: Trump enters the stage The biggest State the big orange

Postby Meno_ » Fri Mar 29, 2019 11:51 pm

Jakob wrote:
Meno_ wrote:https://youtu.be/YlUKcNNmywk

Forever.




Compare this to Pete, though. The Dems have come a long way. Of course Biden is even more macho dan Arnold is, but you have to wonder if he ll really run.





https://www.americanpossibilities.org/? ... lcEALw_wcB


I bet 3/4 75 % for he will run even before looking at the published odds if there is any, of winning.



ODDS TO WIN THE 2020 UNITED STATES PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
Name Odds
Donald Trump +175
Bernie Sanders +650
Kamala Harris +650
Joe Biden +650
Beto O’Rourke +900
Andrew Yang +2200
Pete Buttgieg +2800
Sherrod Brown +2800
Elizabeth Warren +3000
Amy Klobuchar +3300
Cory Booker +3300
Tulsi Gabbard +4000
Mike Pence +4500
Kirsten Gillibrand +4500
Nikki Haley +5000
Michelle Obama +6600
John Hickenlooper +6600
John Kasich +6600
Julian Castro +7500
Howard Schultz +7500
Mitt Romney +8000
Oprah Winfrey +8000
Marco Rubio +10000
Mark Cuban +10000
Eric Garcetti +10000
Michael Avenatti +10000
Tom Wolf +10000
Orrin Hatch +10000
Rahm Emanuel +10000
Paul Ryan +10000
George Clooney +10000
Joe Kennedy III +10000
Ted Cruz +10000
Rand Paul +10000
Ben Shapiro +10000
Bill Gates +10000
Hillary Clinton +12500
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson +12500
Andrew Cuomo +12500
Mitch Landrieu +12500
Chris Murphy +12500
Tom Steyer +12500
Terry McAuliffe +12500
Martin O’Malley +12500
Tammy Duckworth +15000
Bob Iger +15000
Jeb Bush +15000
Mark Zuckerberg +15000
Tim Kaine +15000
Trey Gowdy +15000
Ivanka Trump +15000
Kanye West +15000
Chelsea Clinton +20000
Leonardo DiCaprio +20000
Will Smith +20000
Joe Rogan +25000
Tom Brady +25000

Harris, Biden and Sanders are projected equally at almost 75% less likely, then the incubant, which is a wide spread, but can change dramatically, if Trump's political and economic fronts change for the worse substantially.

If he holds on, then Biden may increase his lead considerably, opting finally to run. The barometer is very uncertain, and this will be a wild ride, affordably.
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Re: Trump enters the stage. Conspiracy around Mueller Report

Postby Meno_ » Sat Mar 30, 2019 3:12 am


The Mueller investigation is over. QAnon, the conspiracy theory that grew around it, is not.
Why a conspiracy theory with an expiration date will endure.
By Jane Coaston on March 29, 2019 5:30 pm


Trump supporters displaying QAnon posters at a rally for President Donald Trump on July 31, 2018, in Tampa, Florida. NurPhoto via Getty Images
One would think that a conspiracy theory that’s based on the idea that special counsel Robert Mueller and President Donald Trump are working together to expose thousands of cannibalistic pedophiles hidden in plain sight (including Hillary Clinton and actor Tom Hanks) and then send them to Guantanamo Bay would be doomed. Mueller’s investigation has ended and Attorney General Bill Barr’s summary of Mueller’s report has been published — all without any mention of pedophiles, cannibals, or child murderers.


One would be wrong.

As evidenced by Trump’s Thursday night rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan, QAnon — a conspiracy theory that took root in online forums before bursting into the public eye in early 2018 — is alive and well.

It’s not just left-leaning or mainstream outlets that have argued the conspiracy theory’s inherent, and pervasive, ridiculousness. Major supporters of the president have denounced QAnon as a “grift” and a “scam.” Many of the conspiracy theory’s allegations — like that Hillary Clinton was executed by lethal injection in February — are patently false (and wild).

But the people who follow QAnon don’t care. In their view, QAnon — a conspiracy theory that alleges hundreds of thousands of child-eating pedophiles are due to be arrested any day now by Trump and Mueller (oh, and John F. Kennedy Jr. is alive) — is bringing America together.

A quick refresher on #QAnon
QAnon is a conspiracy theory based around an anonymous online poster known as “Q” — a pseudonym that comes from the Q-level security clearance, the Department of Energy equivalent of “Top Secret.” Beginning on October 28, 2017, Q began posting on the 4chan message board /pol/ about Hillary Clinton’s imminent arrest. Followers of Q became known as QAnon, and they began awaiting “The Storm,” during which all of Trump’s enemies, including Rep. Adam Schiff and others, would be arrested and executed for being murderous child-eating pedophiles.

From a QAnon Twitter user, March 29, 2019.
I wrote about QAnon last year, when the conspiracy theory first gained attention in mainstream circles. And as I wrote then, most, if not all, of Q’s posts and predictions were unadulterated nonsense.

In a posting on November 1, 2017, Q said that on November 3 and 4, John Podesta, chair of Clinton’s 2016 campaign, would be arrested, military control would take hold, and “public riots would be organized in serious numbers to prevent the arrest and capture of more senior public officials.” Q posted, “We will be initiating the Emergency Broadcast System (EMS) during this time in an effort to provide a direct message (avoiding the fake news) to all citizens. Organizations and/or people that wish to do us harm during this time will be met with swift fury – certain laws have been pre-lifted to provide our great military the necessary authority to handle and conduct these operations (at home and abroad).”

Obviously, none of this happened. There were no public riots or mass arrests or the use of emergency broadcasts. (In fact, the Emergency Broadcast System went out of service in 1997, replaced by the Emergency Alert System.)

But none of QAnon’s most fervent followers seemed to care. And even with the release of Barr’s summary of the Mueller report — which, though very short, would probably have mentioned the indictments of Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton had they been included in the document — QAnon believers aren’t deterred.


We will never see the end of QAnon
And that’s why, despite everything that’s taken place over the last week, QAnon will persist — because QAnon wasn’t built on facts, but on almost religious fervor. In fact, that’s how most conspiracy theories work. As I wrote last year:

Conspiracy theories like QAnon are “self-sealing” — meaning that evidence against them can become evidence of their validity in the minds of believers, according to Stephan Lewandowsky, a professor at the University of Bristol who studies conspiracy theories and conspiracists. Trying to disprove a conspiracy theory thus usually only serves to reinforce it.
Take conspiracy theorists who believed, falsely and without evidence, that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg had secretly died earlier this year and her death was being withheld from the American public by the government. As SCOTUSblog found in a case study it conducted, RBG conspiracy believers whom the blog confronted with evidence that the justice had not, in fact, passed away, reacted by leaning into the conspiracy theory even further.

Two users insisted that Ginsburg was dead. According to one, with over 15,000 followers: “Nope, that’s a body double if ever there was one.” And as another user, with over 435,000 followers, suggested, “That’s total hoax and a planned delay – bet she’s dead.”
And that’s just one conspiracy theory. QAnon — which began relatively simply as a conspiracy theory about the Mueller investigation — now includes references and allusions to the Pizzagate conspiracy theory and “false flag” mass shootings. That means that the end of the Mueller investigation won’t end QAnon. Nothing will.


As Travis View, a conspiracy theory researcher and QAnon expert, wrote on QAnon in the Washington Post on March 26:

... failed predictions and misplaced expectations haven’t damaged the size or enthusiasm of the QAnon community. They persist in their faith that high-level Democrats will be arrested at any moment, weathering several more disconfirmations of Q’s legitimacy and trustworthiness. Some QAnon followers even claim that failed predictions are irrelevant, because dates that pass without incident serve the purpose of tricking the evil “cabal” they imagine they’re fighting.
Like 9/11 trutherism and moon-landing truthers, QAnon, it appears, is with us for good.



© 2019 Vox Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved
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Re: Trump enters the stage North Korea

Postby Meno_ » Sat Mar 30, 2019 10:57 pm

Iii
The day North Korea talks collapsed, Trump passed Kim a note demanding he turn over his nukes
Published 4 Hours Ago Updated 2 Hours Ago
Reuters
During talks in Hanoi last month, U.S. President Donald Trump passed a piece of paper to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un calling on the leader to hand over the country's nuclear weapons
After Kim received the document during a meeting of the two leaders at Hanoi's Metropole hotel on Feb. 28, the summit collapsed
The document took a hard line on North Korea's denuclearization, calling for Kim to turn over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons and bomb fuel
U.S. President Donald Trump walks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a break in talks at the U.S.-North Korea summit in Hanoi on February 28, 2019.
Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images
U.S. President Donald Trump walks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a break in talks at the U.S.-North Korea summit in Hanoi on February 28, 2019.
On the day that their talks in Hanoi collapsed last month, U.S. President Donald Trump handed North Korean leader Kim Jong Un a piece of paper that included a blunt call for the transfer of Pyongyang's nuclear weapons and bomb fuel to the United States, according to the document seen by Reuters.

Trump gave Kim both Korean and English-language versions of the U.S. position at Hanoi's Metropole hotel on Feb. 28, according to a source familiar with the discussions, speaking on condition of anonymity. It was the first time that Trump himself had explicitly defined what he meant by denuclearization directly to Kim, the source said.

A lunch between the two leaders was canceled the same day. While neither side has presented a complete account of why the summit collapsed, the document may help explain it.


The document's existence was first mentioned by White House national security advisor John Bolton in television interviews he gave after the two-day summit. Bolton did not disclose in those interviews the pivotal U.S. expectation contained in the document that North Korea should transfer its nuclear weapons and fissile material to the United States.

The document appeared to represent Bolton's long-held and hardline "Libya model" of denuclearization that North Korea has rejected repeatedly. It probably would have been seen by Kim as insulting and provocative, analysts said.

Trump had previously distanced himself in public comments from Bolton's approach and said a "Libya model" would be employed only if a deal could not be reached.

The idea of North Korea handing over its weapons was first proposed by Bolton in 2004. He revived the proposal last year when Trump named him as national security advisor.

The document was meant to provide the North Koreans with a clear and concise definition of what the United States meant by "final, fully verifiable, denuclearization," the source familiar with discussions said.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The State Department declined to comment on what would be a classified document.

After the summit, a North Korean official accused Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of "gangster-like" demands, saying Pyongyang was considering suspending talks with the United States and may rethink its self-imposed ban on missile and nuclear tests.

The English version of the document, seen by Reuters, called for "fully dismantling North Korea's nuclear infrastructure, chemical and biological warfare program and related dual-use capabilities; and ballistic missiles, launchers, and associated facilities."

Aside from the call for the transfer of Pyongyang's nuclear weapons and bomb fuel, the document had four other key points.

It called on North Korea to provide a comprehensive declaration of its nuclear program and full access to U.S. and international inspectors; to halt all related activities and construction of any new facilities; to eliminate all nuclear infrastructure; and to transition all nuclear program scientists and technicians to commercial activities.

The summit in Vietnam's capital was cut short after Trump and Kim failed to reach a deal on the extent of economic sanctions relief for North Korea in exchange for its steps to give up its nuclear program.

The first summit between Trump and Kim, which took place in Singapore in June 2018, was almost called off after the North Koreans rejected Bolton's repeated demands for it to follow a denuclearization model under which components of Libya's nuclear program were shipped to the United States in 2004.

Seven years after a denuclearization agreement was reached between the United States and Libya's leader, Muammar Gaddafi, the United States took part in a NATO-led military operation against his government and he was overthrown by rebels and killed.

'Miserable fate'
Last year, North Korea officials called Bolton's plan "absurd" and noted the "miserable fate" that befell Gaddafi.

After North Korea threatened to cancel the Singapore summit, Trump said in May 2018 he was not pursuing a "Libya model" and that he was looking for an agreement that would protect Kim.

"He would be there, he would be running his country, his country would be very rich," Trump said at the time.

"The Libya model was a much different model. We decimated that country," Trump added.

The Hanoi document was presented in what U.S. officials have said was an attempt by Trump to secure a "big deal" under which all sanctions would be lifted if North Korea gave up all of its weapons.

U.S.-North Korean engagement has appeared to be in limbo since the Hanoi meeting. Pompeo said on March 4 he was hopeful he could send a team to North Korea "in the next couple of weeks," but there has been no sign of that.

Jenny Town, a North Korea expert at the Washington-based Stimson Center think tank, said the content of the U.S. document was not surprising.

"This is what Bolton wanted from the beginning and it clearly wasn't going to work," Town said. "If the U.S. was really serious about negotiations they would have learned already that this wasn't an approach they could take."

Town added, "It's already been rejected more than once, and to keep bringing it up ... would be rather insulting. It's a non-starter and reflects absolutely no learning curve in the process."

North Korea has repeatedly rejected unilateral disarmament and argues that its weapons program is needed for defense, a belief reinforced by the fate Gaddafi and others.

In an interview with ABC's "This Week" program after the Hanoi summit, Bolton said the North Koreans had committed to denuclearization in a variety of forms several times "that they have happily violated."

"We define denuclearization as meaning the elimination of their nuclear weapons program, their uranium enrichment capability, their plutonium reprocessing capability," Bolton said.


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