“Trump Wins!”: Whatever is next, it’s not impeachment—at least not on Russia charges

Discuss whatever you want here ... movies, books, recipes, politics, beer, wine, TV ... everything except classical music.

Moderators: Lance, Corlyss_D

Post Reply
jserraglio
Posts: 5450
Joined: Sun May 29, 2005 7:06 am
Location: Cleveland, Ohio

“Trump Wins!”: Whatever is next, it’s not impeachment—at least not on Russia charges

Post by jserraglio » Mon Mar 25, 2019 5:11 am

“Trump Wins!”: The President, the Mueller Report, and Our New Political NormalWhatever is next, it’s not impeachment—at least not on Russia charges.
https://www.newyorker.com/news/letter-f ... cal-normal

By Susan B. Glasser
March 24, 2019

Image
It’s now clear that Trump’s impeachment and removal from office, at least on charges stemming from Mueller’s investigation, are not going to happen.Photograph by Jabin Botsford / The Washington Post / Getty

The most consequential weekend of Donald Trump’s Presidency started with that classic Washington event, a Friday-afternoon news dump. Just before 5 p.m., right after a portentous thunderstorm and amid apocalypse-like TV-news coverage, the Justice Department announced that the special counsel, Robert Mueller, had completed his report on Russia, Trump, and the 2016 election, after nearly two years. Soon afterward came a short letter from Attorney General William Barr to Congress, which disclosed none of the special counsel’s findings. But a strong hint of things to come quickly emerged with news that Mueller would not be issuing any further indictments, beyond the charges that Mueller had already successfully pursued against the President’s former campaign chairman, national-security adviser, and longtime political counsellor, among others.

Washington is a machine that thrives on new news, and those cases were old and already priced into the market. The end of the probe, with no further action, was new, and, whatever your politics, the reality of where this was headed now seemed apparent. Barely an hour later, the President’s allies began publicly claiming vindication. At 6:05 p.m., the Republican congressman Mark Meadows, a key Trump ally and the head of the G.O.P. Freedom Caucus, tweeted, “The Mueller report delivery suggests no more indictments are coming from the Special Counsel. If that’s true, it would mean we just completed 2 years of investigating ‘Russian collusion’ without one collusion related indictment. Not even one. Why? Because there was no collusion.” Soon after that, Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski told PBS, “It’s clear vindication of what we already knew—that there was no collusion.” By later that evening, Trump’s previously Mueller-bashing allies on Capitol Hill—those who had so recently called to shut down the probe—now welcomed the report and urged that it be released as soon as possible. The “witch hunt” that Trump had been railing against was no more.

The emerging line from the White House’s defenders had an odd echo in the jitters of Trump critics, who also sensed which way the report was going. On Friday, Politico’s Playbook opened a day full of waiting (and waiting and waiting) with a telling item: “Several top Democratic lawmakers and aides tell us privately that they are certain the report will be a dud.” The news that evening that Mueller was closing up shop seemed to confirm it. The nervousness grew palpable, mixed in with heavy doses of sanctimony from across the aisle: the system worked! Isn’t it a good thing for the country if the President was not secretly conspiring with Russia to rig the U.S. election? Trump, meanwhile, spent Sunday morning golfing at Mar-a-Lago with the Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, his critic turned confidant Lindsey Graham, as the President’s lawyer, Rudolph Giuliani, reported him to be “in a remarkably good mood.”

Whether Trump already knew what was coming or not, he didn’t have much longer to wait. By Sunday afternoon, minutes after Barr delivered a four-page letter to congressional leaders summarizing Mueller’s findings, Trump proclaimed on camera his “complete and total exoneration.” In a strictly narrow sense, Trump’s bald assertion was not accurate. Indeed, Barr’s letter, which he released right before Trump made his statement, had quoted Mueller as saying, quite explicitly, something else entirely; in regard to obstruction of justice, Mueller wrote, “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

As a political statement, however, the President’s words were more true than not, given that Mueller did not establish, after nearly two years of investigation, that Trump or his campaign conspired with Russia. The President had insisted over and over and over again on “No Collusion!” Now Mueller agreed. “Trump Wins!” a banner on the pro-Trump Drudge Report read.

The reality, of course, is a bit more complicated—it always is with Trump. You could say that the weekend largely ended as it started. No one except Barr and a small handful of his aides has read the Mueller report. Trump has overreached in his victory statement. Democrats are demanding the release of the report before accepting its conclusions. Serious allegations about the President’s alleged obstruction of justice remain. An epic fight over what Congress can see of Mueller’s work is all but inevitable. The country is divided. And we still have no idea why Donald Trump seems to like Vladimir Putin so much.

But we do know something far more definitively now than we did at five o’clock on Friday afternoon, and it is big. It’s now clear that Trump’s impeachment and removal from office, at least on charges stemming from Mueller’s investigation, are not going to happen.

For more than two years, Washington has been stuck in the miasmic sinkhole of a Presidency enabled and compromised and surrounded by crooks and liars, and with no easy way to do anything about it. The Constitution does not stipulate that the President has to be a good person, or that his associates must refrain from mendacity or criminality. Impeachment and removal from office is the only way to force accountability on the President, and that has always been the longest of long shots in Trump’s case, no matter what Mueller found. The Senate is solidly in the hands of the President’s Republican allies, and might not have voted to remove him even if Mueller’s report had turned out differently.

All such investigations of the President, in the end, are about the same thing. They are, in the memorable framing of the late Senate Republican Leader Howard Baker, about “what did the President know, and when did he know it?” In Watergate, the answer turned out to be, unequivocally, just about everything, from beginning to end; there were even tapes to prove it, which is why Richard Nixon had to leave office. With the Iran-Contra affair, a decade later, Ronald Reagan was never conclusively blamed for his Administration’s scheme to bypass Congress and illegally sell arms to the Contras, because it was never clear just how much he knew about the plot that was hatched and carried out in his White House.

In the case of Trump, Mueller was asked to answer the sensational but relatively narrow question of whether this President or his campaign actively conspired with Putin’s Russia to help him win the election. The other wrongdoings that Mueller turned up were significant—most notably, Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort scheming to evade millions of dollars in taxes and lying to evade federal lobbying laws—but never went to the question of Trump’s own actions. The report may well contain much more about Trump himself; we just don’t know yet, beyond the broad conclusions that Trump’s own Justice Department has put out. The fact that Mueller explicitly refused to exonerate Trump of obstructing the investigation suggests that there is much more for Congress and the public to learn.

Yet that information, even if it is damning, will not change the single, seemingly straightforward fact of Mueller’s core finding: no conspiracy with Russia. Trump cheered the Russian hacking of his Democratic opponent; he seemed to publicly beg Putin to carry it out. But, according to Barr’s summary of Mueller, he did not make it happen. “Can you obstruct a witch hunt?” Rich Lowry, the editor of the conservative National Review, asked Sunday night. The answer may still be yes, but there is no one who believes that, without an underlying high crime and misdemeanor, Congress would take the unprecedented step of removing a President from office.

The worry now is that the country is too fragmented ever to agree on a single narrative anyway. Trump has spent the better part of two years trashing Mueller, in a bid to destroy the credibility of whatever conclusions he produces; Democrats built Mueller up. Both sides now crave a definitive resolution that will never be achieved. This episode of the Trump Show seems doomed to end in a much-argued-about cliffhanger.
One lesson of the Trump era, whenever it is finally over, will be that absolutely nothing is absolutely clear anymore. The end of the Mueller investigation should have been unambiguously good news for the President and the country. That it was instead confusing, partisan, uncertain, and guaranteed to be fought over for months and years to come is hardly surprising. It is our new normal.

Susan B. Glasser is a staff writer at The New Yorker, where she writes a weekly column on life in Trump’s Washington.

lennygoran
Posts: 14694
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:28 pm
Location: new york city

Re: “Trump Wins!”: Whatever is next, it’s not impeachment—at least not on Russia charges

Post by lennygoran » Mon Mar 25, 2019 5:25 am

On its face, the letter that Attorney General William Barr sent to Congress on Sunday afternoon, summarizing the key findings of the special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, is good news, not just for President Trump.

According to Mr. Barr’s four-page summary, Mr. Mueller and his team were unable to establish that anyone connected to the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government when it interfered to help Mr. Trump in the 2016 presidential campaign.

This should provide some relief to all Americans who have harbored fears that a presidential candidate was conspiring with Vladimir Putin to subvert American democracy. Mr. Mueller — who never once responded to the shameless stream of insults Mr. Trump has hurled at him over the last two years — is as careful and thorough an investigator as there is. His investigation lasted almost two years, issued more than 2,800 subpoenas and roughly 500 search warrants and heard from a similar number of witnesses. If he couldn’t find any links, it’s doubtful anyone could.


What this outcome is not, however, is a “Complete and Total EXONERATION,” as Mr. Trump unsurprisingly spun it. Mr. Mueller explicitly declined to exonerate the president on the matter of obstruction of justice — a crime that constituted one of the articles of impeachment for both Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton. After examining Mr. Trump’s actions and weighing “difficult issues” of law and fact, Mr. Mueller punted. “While this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him,” the report states.

Mr. Barr wasn’t as cautious. Less than 48 hours after receiving Mr. Mueller’s report, the attorney general briskly decided that Mr. Trump had not obstructed justice. Why not? Because there was no underlying crime to obstruct, Mr. Barr said, and anyway, most of Mr. Trump’s behavior took place in full public view, had no connection to any legal proceeding, and wasn’t “done with corrupt intent.” How did Mr. Barr make these determinations so quickly? On what evidence in the report did he base it?

Recall that Mr. Barr got his current job only after Mr. Trump shoved out his predecessor, Jeff Sessions, for not showing him enough personal loyalty and shutting down the Russia investigation at the start. Among the reasons Mr. Barr may have appealed to the president was an unsolicited memo he sent last year to the Justice Department, taking the position that Mr. Mueller should not be allowed to question Mr. Trump about obstructing justice, and that the president could not be guilty of obstruction unless there were an underlying crime to obstruct.

In other words, Mr. Barr did exactly as Mr. Trump hoped he would. But there’s a reason obstructing justice is a crime on its own. The justice system doesn’t work when people lie to authorities, no matter why they do so.

Mr. Barr’s curious views on obstruction are just one reason that Mr. Mueller’s full report must be made available, immediately, to both Congress and the American people.


Also, while Mr. Mueller may not have found sufficient evidence of a criminal conspiracy, let’s not lose sight of what we already know, both from his investigation and from news reports over the past two years.


We know that the Russian government interfered repeatedly in the 2016 presidential election, by hacking into computer servers of the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign. We know that it did this with the goals of dividing Americans and helping Donald Trump win the presidency. We know that when top members of the Trump campaign learned about this interference, they didn’t just fail to report it to the F.B.I. They welcomed it. They encouraged it. They made jokes about it. On the same day that Mr. Trump publicly urged the Russians to hack into Hillary Clinton’s emails, they began to do just that. And we know that when questioned by federal authorities, many of Mr. Trump’s top associates lied, sometimes repeatedly, about their communications with Russians. None of this is in dispute.

That Mr. Mueller couldn’t find sufficient evidence that Mr. Trump or anyone involved in his campaign had coordinated directly with the Russians may be explained by the fact that they didn’t need to. They were already getting that help.
We also know that what began as a counterintelligence investigation quickly turned into a criminal investigation, in large part because Mr. Trump surrounded himself with criminals. To date, his campaign chairman, Paul Manafort; his deputy campaign chairman, Rick Gates; his national security adviser, Michael Flynn; his campaign foreign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos; and his personal lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, have all pleaded guilty or been convicted of federal crimes. In January, Mr. Mueller charged Roger Stone, Mr. Trump’s longtime aide, with multiple counts of witness tampering, obstructing justice, and making false statements.

Imagine if we’d learned all of this just Sunday, in one fell swoop, rather than in a trickle of indictments and prosecutions over the last 18 months.

One might expect Mr. Trump to feel happiness at Sunday’s news, but for him, that emotion seems to transform into a desire for vengeance. It’s no surprise that he and his allies are once again floating the idea of prosecuting Mrs. Clinton. Remember her? She was the candidate who, during a presidential debate all the way back in 2016, said: “It’s pretty clear you won’t admit that the Russians have engaged in cyberattacks against the United States of America, that you encouraged espionage against our people, that you are willing to spout the Putin line, sign up for his wish list, break up NATO, do whatever he wants to do and that you continue to get help from him because he has a very clear favorite in this race.”

Mr. Putin did have a clear favorite. He interfered on his behalf, and his favorite was elected president. Trump campaign officials knew about this and were more than happy for the help. Then they lied about receiving that help. This isn’t so complicated. And while Mr. Mueller may not be able to do anything about it, Congress, and the American people, certainly can.


https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/24/opin ... e=Homepage


Modernistfan
Posts: 1785
Joined: Fri Sep 10, 2004 5:23 pm

Re: “Trump Wins!”: Whatever is next, it’s not impeachment—at least not on Russia charges

Post by Modernistfan » Mon Mar 25, 2019 3:26 pm

The Democrats still do not get it. The reality is that no one outside the Beltway gives a rodent's posterior about the Russia investigation. The reality is that Trump and the conservative Republicans backing him are like a gang of pickpockets. Pickpockets generally work in teams; one distracts you by jostling you or starting some sort of staged argument or fight, and, when you have been distracted, another one grabs your wallet. The Democrats are still jumping at the distractions and ignoring the real issues: Trump's reckless deficit spending and excessive and unneeded military spending, his tax cut which gave everything to the 1% while whacking many middle-class taxpayers with tax increases, his attempts to cut Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, as well as killing the Affordable Care Act with no rational replacement, his failure to do anything about infrastructure or job retraining, and his ridiculous tariffs which have cost jobs, not to mention his racism and sexism or his encouragement to dangerous elements in the Alt-Right.

Rach3
Posts: 1126
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2018 9:17 am

Re: “Trump Wins!”: Whatever is next, it’s not impeachment—at least not on Russia charges

Post by Rach3 » Mon Mar 25, 2019 3:45 pm

Modernistfan wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 3:26 pm
The Democrats still do not get it. The reality is that no one outside the Beltway gives a rodent's posterior about the Russia investigation.
I agree there are all the other huge issues you mention, as well as degradation of the environment, spoiling National parks, ignoring climate change, BUT the American people needed to be concerned about Russia, whose tactics, with at least tacit approval of Trump, increased division in this Country,encouraging Alt-Right types, a Russia which now has troops in Venezuela.

jserraglio
Posts: 5450
Joined: Sun May 29, 2005 7:06 am
Location: Cleveland, Ohio

Re: “Trump Wins!”: Whatever is next, it’s not impeachment—at least not on Russia charges

Post by jserraglio » Mon Mar 25, 2019 5:29 pm

I agree with Rach3 about Russia.

I live outside the Beltway but am deeply concerned about Russian influence in the upcoming election b/c my state (along with me via FB) was targeted last time around by Russian bots and, as a possible swing state, is likely to be targeted again.

Another disturbing to me, but less sinister sign of Russia's pervasive meddling in US politics is the fact that RT, a blatant propaganda organ of the Russian govt with anti-Semitic proclivities, was sold a spot even on my basic, stripped-down, bare-bones cable TV plan.

Having said that, I do agree with the general thrust of Modernistfan's comments about the salient issues the Dems need to address. Hopefully they will nominate a centrist.

Rach3
Posts: 1126
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2018 9:17 am

Re: “Trump Wins!”: Whatever is next, it’s not impeachment—at least not on Russia charges

Post by Rach3 » Mon Mar 25, 2019 8:26 pm

jserraglio wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 5:29 pm
Another disturbing to me, but less sinister sign of Russia's pervasive meddling in US politics is the fact that RT, a blatant propaganda organ of the Russian govt with anti-Semitic proclivities, was sold a spot even on my basic, stripped-down, bare-bones cable TV plan.
??!! We may already have lost. Does your local government's licensing/franchising authority know what the cable company is doing with its privilege ?

lennygoran
Posts: 14694
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:28 pm
Location: new york city

Re: “Trump Wins!”: Whatever is next, it’s not impeachment—at least not on Russia charges

Post by lennygoran » Tue Mar 26, 2019 6:04 am

jserraglio wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 5:29 pm
I live outside the Beltway but am deeply concerned about Russian influence in the upcoming election ...Having said that, I do agree with the general thrust of Modernistfan's comments about the salient issues the Dems need to address. Hopefully they will nominate a centrist.
I too live outside the beltway-after all this time spent on the report it's very important to get that full report-Barr and Mueller must appear before Congress and as soon as possible. Barr's report seems like it could be a politically motivated cover up. The other bread and butter issues are also important so the Dems have to chew gum and etc, etc, etc.....Regards, Len

jserraglio
Posts: 5450
Joined: Sun May 29, 2005 7:06 am
Location: Cleveland, Ohio

Re: “Trump Wins!”: Whatever is next, it’s not impeachment—at least not on Russia charges

Post by jserraglio » Tue Mar 26, 2019 5:20 pm

Rach3 wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 8:26 pm
jserraglio wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 5:29 pm
Another disturbing to me, but less sinister sign of Russia's pervasive meddling in US politics is the fact that RT, a blatant propaganda organ of the Russian govt with anti-Semitic proclivities, was sold a spot even on my basic, stripped-down, bare-bones cable TV plan.
??!! We may already have lost. Does your local government's licensing/franchising authority know what the cable company is doing with its privilege ?
The short answer is that RT exploits a loophole in order to pay for "must-carry" status and cannot legally be dropped under FCC regulations. This WSJ article explains how and why — RT Channel’s Unique Carriage Deals Make It Difficult to Drop in U.S. https://www.wsj.com/amp/articles/rt-cha ... 1485361056

Rach3
Posts: 1126
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2018 9:17 am

Re: “Trump Wins!”: Whatever is next, it’s not impeachment—at least not on Russia charges

Post by Rach3 » Tue Mar 26, 2019 7:56 pm

jserraglio wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 5:20 pm
The short answer is that RT exploits a loophole in order to pay for "must-carry" status and cannot legally be dropped under FCC regulations.
Thanks ! As I feared , we have already lost.

Rach3
Posts: 1126
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2018 9:17 am

Re: “Trump Wins!”: Whatever is next, it’s not impeachment—at least not on Russia charges

Post by Rach3 » Wed Apr 03, 2019 10:31 am

Now we know , we have Bavaria to blame for the Trumps being in the USA :

https://www.yahoo.com/news/trump-keeps- ... 20749.html

jserraglio
Posts: 5450
Joined: Sun May 29, 2005 7:06 am
Location: Cleveland, Ohio

Re: “Trump Wins!”: Whatever is next, it’s not impeachment—at least not on Russia charges

Post by jserraglio » Wed Apr 03, 2019 11:52 am

Another megalomaniac, Mad King Ludwig of Bavaria, is a notable precursor to MagaMan.

Rach3
Posts: 1126
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2018 9:17 am

Re: “Trump Wins!”: Whatever is next, it’s not impeachment—at least not on Russia charges

Post by Rach3 » Wed Apr 03, 2019 1:50 pm

jserraglio wrote:
Wed Apr 03, 2019 11:52 am
Another megalomaniac, Mad King Ludwig of Bavaria, is a notable precursor to MagaMan.
And location of Hitler’s retreat.

lennygoran
Posts: 14694
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:28 pm
Location: new york city

Re: “Trump Wins!”: Whatever is next, it’s not impeachment—at least not on Russia charges

Post by lennygoran » Thu Apr 04, 2019 6:14 am

jserraglio wrote:
Wed Apr 03, 2019 11:52 am
Another megalomaniac, Mad King Ludwig of Bavaria, is a notable precursor to MagaMan.
I don't think we ever saw Ludwig's tax returns but I sure hope we get Magaman's! Regards, Len :lol: [GO NEAL GO]

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 16 guests