Why isn’t Donald J. Trump in the prison cell next to Michael Cohen tonight? 525 former federal prosecutors are asking the same question today. If you invest the time and energy to read the full Mueller Report, you’ll be asking it too.
I highly recommend The Mueller Report: Presented with Related Materials by The Washington Post which is available on Amazon for just $10.32. It is a comprehensive 728-page compilation of Mueller’s report along with editorial commentary, several helpful glossaries, legal papers, etc. You may need a magnifying glass to read the tiny print of reproduced documents.
Why do we think Trump’s guilty? The Mueller report cited overwhelming evidence that they were unable to acquire what they deemed to be sufficient evidence of Trump’s conspiracy with Russia because Trump very effectively obstructed justice. The obstruction was conducted mostly in public with an arrogant air of impunity and clear corrupt intent.
Trump whined for years that he wanted his own Roy Cohn, a mobster consigliere, as his Attorney General. After eliminating everyone on his staff who objected, Trump fired Jeff Sessions and hired William Barr, who had a strategy to protect Trump and cover up his criminal behavior.
But for Barr’s cover-up, Trump’s prediction that he was “fucked” by the appointment of a Special Counsel would have been accurate. I was stunned to read that Trump’s personal attorneys suborned perjury and intimidated witnesses to follow the “party” line that Trump did not conspire with Russia. Paul Manafort and Cohen were offered pardons and discovered their loyalty would get them prison time.
Roger Stone is awaiting trial. Michael Flynn and Richard Gates are awaiting sentencing. George Papadopoulous has been released from prison. What do they have in common? They were the links to the Russians who either lied or refused to testify.
- Attempts to fire Mueller and create false evidence
- Attempts to limit the Mueller investigation
- Witness tampering and intimidation
Mueller summed it up on page 97-98 of Volume 2:
The President’s initial direction that Sessions should limit the Special Counsel’s investigation came just two days after the President had ordered McGahn to have the Special Counsel removed, which itself followed public reports that the President was personally under investigation for obstruction of justice. The sequence of those events raises an inference that after seeking to terminate the Special Counsel, the President sought to exclude his and his campaign’s conduct from the investigation’s scope.
Mueller was able to see the pattern of conduct which indicates justice was obstructed, but I am dumbfounded that he was unable or unwilling to connect the dots on conspiracy with Russia. I find it very hard to believe there wasn’t a conspiracy given that Trump walked away from the Trump Moscow project within weeks of a visit to his offices on June 9, 2016 by a Russian agent to deliver “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. Hell, his secretary traded e-mail messages with her counter-part in Putin’s administration including the sending of a copy of Trump’s passport. Sounds pretty damned cozy to me. Mueller said on page 49 of Volume 1:
Within approximately five hours of Trump’s [request for Hillary Clinton’s e-mails], GRU officers targeted for the first time Clinton’s personal office.
On election night, someone (identity redacted on page 149 of Volume 1) e-mailed Kirill Dmitriev (who drafted a US-Russia reconciliation plan in the Seyschelles for Trump):
Putin has won.
We know Flynn effectively negotiated with the Russian ambassador about sanctions imposed by Pres. Barack Obama during the transition.
Is a president above the law? Mueller may think he’s not allowed to indict a sitting president, but this is a crystal clear call to Congress to start investigations which may end with an impeachment (page 8 of Volume 2):
. . .inquiries to determine whether the President acted for a corrupt motive should not impermissibly chill his performance of his constitutionally assigned duties. . .Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the President’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law.
He repeats the call on page 169 of Volume 2:
Congress can validly regulate the President’s exercise of official duties to prohibit actions motivated by a corrupt intent to obstruct justice.
Finally, the infamous quote is repeated again in Mueller’s conclusion on page 182 of Volume 2:
. . .if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. . .we are unable to reach that judgment. . .while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.
Mueller and his team may not be able to reach a judgment that Trump belongs in prison, but I am. Mueller’s report is littered with the words “corrupt intent.” Apparently, a policy memo at the DoJ trumps <pun intended> the president’s oath of office:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.
At the end of the day, I am left wondering why Mueller wimped out. It is fairly obvious that he too thinks Trump is guilty as hell.