Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Monday, March 25, 2019

The brief letter sent by Attorney General William Barr to congressional leaders on Sunday afternoon summarizing Mueller's findings is a complicated document. In key respects, it contains very good news for President Trump about a scandal that has dogged his presidency since before he even took office. The determination of just how good the news is -- whether it amounts to the exoneration Trump claims on these points or whether we're dealing with conduct just shy of prosecutable -- will have to await the text of Mueller's report itself. But for those who quite reasonably demanded a serious investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and of cooperation and coordination with it on the part of the Trump campaign, it has to be significant that Mueller, after the better part of two years of investigating, has not found that anyone associated with the Trump campaign knowingly conspired with Russia's efforts.

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The Barr Summary -- a very different document from the Mueller Report -- is being woefully misread by media. It doesn't import what media is suggesting it does. Lawyers are welcome to comment on this thread as I report the Summary accurately. I hope you'll read on and retweet. Mueller was supposed to decide if Donald Trump could be charged with Obstruction of Justice -- or, if not chargeable, whether he should be referred to Congress for impeachment for Obstruction of Justice. But AG Barr usurped Mueller's job and decided to make that decision himself. Barr was selected by Donald Trump upon Trump's reading of documents written by Barr and sent to Trump allies arguing Trump *couldn't* be charged with Obstruction of Justice. So in not forcing Mueller to make the decision his appointment obligated him to make, Barr saved Trump.

Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, a witness in the Obstruction of Justice investigation against Trump, appears to have assisted Barr -- who had already put his position on Obstruction in writing prior to his nomination -- in usurping Mueller's obligation to make a decision on that question. Obstruction of Justice is an impeachable offense, and therefore we now have a *witness* in a case and a man who made his views known on the case *before he had any evidence on it* -- and who *got his job* because of his view on the question -- saving Trump from impeachment for that.

On "collusion," investigative reporters and independent journalists just spent years gathering evidence on a very specific allegation of collusion: that for his own enrichment, Trump traded away our foreign policy on Russian sanctions at a time he knew Russia was attacking us. We are now being told that *Mueller never investigated* the collusion allegation Trump was facing -- on a money-for-sanctions-relief quid pro quo -- and *instead* investigated the allegation *as Trump saw it*, which was whether he struck an agreement with the IRA or Russian hackers. For two years, as Trump's team defined the collusion allegation against him *falsely* -- saying he'd been accused of striking a secret accord with the Internet Research Agency and/or Russian hackers before-the-fact -- his critics shrugged and said, "Yeah, we're not looking at that."

On this collusion allegation no one was even making against Trump, the Special Counsel *didn't* find "no evidence" -- which I would've been fine with, as I've never accused Trump of that type of collusion -- he actually just found he didn't have 90%+ proof of that form of collusion. This isn't backpedaling: *anyone* who reads this feed -- or anyone else researching and reporting on collusion -- will *know* that we did *not* accuse Trump of striking a *secret deal with the IRA or Russian hackers before-the-fact*, and that "collusion" has *never* been about that. So we alleged Obstruction -- and people *ineligible to make a decision on that issue* made the decision. We alleged collusive activity -- and it appears the activity we alleged was *never investigated*. *That* is how critics of Trump should be seeing what has just happened. *That*. (much more at link below)

Seth Abramson

#1 | Posted by tonyroma at 2019-03-25 10:01 AM | Reply

MFA:

Depending on what's actually in Mueller's report, the news could get better still for the president. This section of Barr's summary, after all, is broadly consistent with the Trump campaign's having had very little to do with Russia's conduct. While the summary says that there were "multiple offers from Russia-affiliated individuals," its language is consistent with no one in the campaign having taken the Russians up on it -- beyond the public hints and the untoward meetings and communications that are already part of the public record, that is. Yes, the contacts were suspicious, even quite inappropriate, and some people did commit crimes in lying about them both during the campaign and during the transition. But this section of the summary is consistent with a report that says that Mueller looked everywhere yet couldn't find any knowing engagement on the part of Trump's campaign with Russia's interference in the election.

But Barr's summary would also be broadly consistent with many other possible reports. It would be consistent with, for example, a report that finds lots of "evidence of collusion" that for one reason or another falls short of criminal conduct. It would be consistent with a report that describes conduct that falls short of the criminal standard by the barest of technicalities. It would be consistent with a report that finds that individuals associated with the president's campaign were aware of the Russian efforts to interfere in the election, welcomed such assistance, and did not in any way warn the American public about it -- but who did not take the requisite step of entering into any criminal agreement to assist the effort either. It would also be consistent with a report that suggested that Trump's principal engagement with the Russians was not over hacked emails at all, but instead about the tower he was negotiating to build in Moscow even as the campaign was going on.

#2 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2019-03-25 10:18 AM | Reply

Bottom line:

We need to see Mueller's report because, as Greg Olear, author of Dirty Rubles, colorfully puts it:

"Any document, whether authored by Barr, Mueller, or the reincarnated spirit of Otto von Bismarck, can't JUST tell us there wasn't coordination. It MUST explain why ALL of these examples listed here ARE NOT coordination. If it can't, it's just Vichy PR."
twitter.com

IOW, trust but verify. If Mueller's report truly does what Trump has claimed ("No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!"), the President will have no problem releasing the full report; in fact, he will welcome such a release as will his supporters both in and out of Congress.

#3 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2019-03-25 10:26 AM | Reply

The Barr summary is kind of embarrassing.

We need yes or no answers. No well maybe there was obstruction and maybe is not Exonerated and maybe if we get to read the report maybe then we might know?

Barr is trying to hedge his bets. Like a good lawyer does.

You see there will be Life after Trump.

And Americans deserve to know if their President is a Crook.

I am not a lawyer do it is easy for me.

Trump is a criminal. A liar and a thief.

#4 | Posted by donnerboy at 2019-03-25 10:43 AM | Reply

As a private attorney, Barr wrote an unsolicited 19-page memo criticizing a strawman variation of the Mueller investigation.

As AG he just wrote a 4 page letter that's supposed to encapsulate the entire actual investigation.

Nobody should take it at face value.

#5 | Posted by JOE at 2019-03-25 10:50 AM | Reply

It's important to note the narrow definition of collusion covered in the Mueller report (italics mine):

Question: Does the "Russian Government" phrase in Barr's letter give you pause? How broadly do you think "Russian Government" is construed (apologies that I'm asking for speculation) and is it broad enough? How broad should we construe?

Short Answer: This distinction is the key to the problem. Putin's mafia structure is designed to give "Russia" deniability. Like using mercenaries instead of conscripts. How broadly was Mueller allowed to construe someone like Deripaska serving "Russia"?
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Long Answer: The private-state nature of corrupt criminal dictatorships like Putin's Russia confounds law enforcement the way hybrid war confounds traditional military response.

Putin uses his oligarchs as emissaries to corrupt, cultivate, and compromise foreign business people and politicians. But they aren't officially state actors. It's a mafia using a nation for cover.

So Trump's campaign manager sharing data with a Ukrainian loyal to the Kremlin or a billionaire crony of Putin isn't "conspiring with Russia" only in the most technical, least accurate sense.

This pattern has repeated all over. Loans to Western politicians & parties with Russian backing, millions in donations from private citizens. Technically very little of it is "Russia," but it's always Putin.
twitter.com

#6 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2019-03-25 10:56 AM | Reply

No chargeable crimes.

Sucks for the dead enders.

#7 | Posted by DixvilleNotch at 2019-03-25 10:58 AM | Reply

www.cnn.com

Washington (CNN)Nearly a year before his letter Sunday telling lawmakers he did not believe President Donald Trump committed obstruction of justice, Attorney General William Barr authored a memo saying he thought the obstruction investigation was "fatally misconceived."

Barr, then a private citizen and former attorney general to President George H. W. Bush, issued the memo to senior Justice Department officials in June 2018.
Trump went on to nominate Barr to lead the Justice Department on a permanent basis after Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions in early November. As CNN reported in December, Barr's June 8, 2018, memo offers a detailed analysis of one of the most consequential episodes of Trump's presidency, concluding that while he was "in the dark about many facts," special counsel Robert Mueller's obstruction inquiry was "fatally misconceived."

#8 | Posted by LauraMohr at 2019-03-25 11:09 AM | Reply

No chargeable crimes.

Sucks for the dead enders.

#7 | POSTED BY DIXVILLENOTCH

The "Dead Enders". You mean the ones in prison? Yup. They are done. Stick a fork in em.

Did know? Bob firmly believes that "A sitting president cannot be charged." So surprise surprise !! No charges for the Orange Presnit.

But. Did you forget Multiple indictments multiple convictions (But none for Hillary!) and multiple cases against Teunp going thru the courts that Humpy will have to defend amhimsekf against and that's that's just so SAD! So many Witches!!

And it as it turns out Nancy Pelosi is a genius!!

Smarter than ALL the "stable geniuses" in Humpy's stable. She knew exactly how Barr would play this. Apparently this is not her first rodeo. Good job Nancy!!


#9 | Posted by donnerboy at 2019-03-25 11:14 AM | Reply

If a sitting President can emerge from Iran-Contra unscathed and pardon his criminal underlings, then Trump had little to worry about. There is simply nothing here that rises to such a level of treasonous crime.

It is surprising, however, that junior and Jared were not charged along with the underlings that were charged.

#10 | Posted by bayviking at 2019-03-25 11:40 AM | Reply

re# 9

Bill... "Did you know "Bill"..." as in Bill Barr.

doh

#11 | Posted by donnerboy at 2019-03-25 03:12 PM | Reply

It's like Mueller dumped puzzle pieces on Barr's desk. Barr gave vague hints about how the pieces fit . Now it's up to the House Judicatory Committee to put it together.

#12 | Posted by lee_the_agent at 2019-03-25 04:15 PM | Reply

Now that I have had a day or so to think about this, I realize that this is basically how I figured it would play out.

Mueller delivers a report that is vague enough that Barr can say No Collusion. No Obstruction.

Of course no definitive statement one way or the other is made. That is politics.

President Bucket of ---- will not be indicted and President Bucket of ---- will not resign.

Partisans on both sides will use this for and against President Bucket of ----.

The heart of the issue is that it is impossible to square the conclusion that no Americans conspired or coordinated with the Russians, when the Stone indictment has Stone coordinating with Wikileaks, Manafort giving the Russians polling data and the President Bucket of ---- Tower meeting, etc.

It is impossible to square the conclusion that President Bucket of ---- didn't obstruct justice when he said he fired Comey because of the "Russia thing".

#13 | Posted by truthhurts at 2019-03-25 04:28 PM | Reply

It took you a day or so to figure out that what you claim to have already known was true...

Get over yourself you simple ----.

#14 | Posted by 101Chairborne at 2019-03-25 04:31 PM | Reply | Funny: 1

Now that I have had a day or so to think about this, I realize that this is basically how I figured it would play out.

Translation: Holy Schitt, what do I say now??? thinkthinkthink...

#15 | Posted by Rightocenter at 2019-03-25 04:51 PM | Reply | Funny: 1

TRUTHHURTS has always said exactly what is happening so far.

Trump will not be indicted.
Trump will not be impeached.
Trump will not resign.

Get over your own foolish selves. Celebrate all you like.

The Fat Orange has not even begun to sing yet.

#16 | Posted by donnerboy at 2019-03-25 07:37 PM | Reply

Now that I have had a day or so to think about this, I realize that this is basically how I figured it would play out.
Translation: Holy Schitt, what do I say now??? thinkthinkthink...
#15 | Posted by Rightocenter

My reaction is quite simple to understand. Despite knowing that this would be the conclusion, I was still disturbed by the announcement. (as any conscientious American should be).

I have predicted that this is how it would play out.

Anyone celebrating this should get their ethics recalibrated.

#17 | Posted by truthhurts at 2019-03-25 07:44 PM | Reply

Which letter? The one he wrote to trump to get the job, in which he said he'd let trump get away with everything?

#18 | Posted by SpeakSoftly at 2019-03-25 10:18 PM | Reply

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