Impeach him. Now.

No, I’m not talking about impeaching President Trump. That is a knotty decision with excellent philosophical and legal arguments on one side and valid political and practical ones on the other.

AG William Barr

No, I’m talking about the prime law enforcement officer of the United States, William Barr, the Attorney General. He lied to the American public and apparently committed perjury when testifying to Congress. These are crimes that call out for impeachment, unless Barr resigns immediately.

Special Counsel Robert S. MuellerPhoto credit: USAToday

On April 10, Barr was asked in a Senate hearing whether Special Counsel Robert Mueller agreed with his summary of the results of Mueller’s investigation and his conclusions. Barr testified before the Senate that he didn’t know. That statement was not truthful. We now know that Mueller had written to Barr on March 27, three days after Barr had released his “summary,” that he did not agree with Barr’s conclusions. Mueller wrote to Barr that his memo “did not fully capture the context, nature and substance” of the probe and the Report.

Barr misrepresented both sections of the Mueller Report. In the second section, Mueller clearly documented 10 instances of Trump’s obstruction of justice. If anyone but the president had committed even one of these acts, (s)he would have been indicted. Mueller specifically said in the Report that he could not directly accuse the president of a crime because the Department of Justice has ruled that a sitting president cannot be indicted.

[W]e determined not to apply an approach that could potentially result in a judgment that the President committed crimes…. Fairness concerns counseled against potentially reaching that judgment when no charges can be brought.

“Accordingly,” Mueller wrote, “while this report does not conclude the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.” In his four-page memo, Barr directly contradicted Mueller on that point, saying that Mueller had not been influenced in any way by that DOJ ruling. Even more significantly, Barr wrote that there was evidence both for and against obstruction in the Report, but he had determined that there was no obstruction, thus giving Trump the pretext to proclaim, falsely, again and again, “No collusion, no obstruction.”

Mueller also condemned the delayed release of the Report, which allowed the misinformation that Barr had propagated to marinate and solidify in the minds of the public. In his letter to Barr, Mueller complained that

There’s now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation. This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the Department of Justice appointed the Special Counsel, which is to assure full public confidence in the outcomes of the investigations.”

And by extension, to undermine public confidence in the Department of Justice itself and the rule of law.

The Russian connections with the Trump campaign are covered in the first section of the Report. Though there were many of these, Mueller was not able to prove conspiracy between the campaign and Russia. Collusion is not a legal term. Barr elided the distinction between collusion and conspiracy. He ignored the ongoing investigation of Roger Stone, who was trafficking in stolen documents with Wikileaks and the Russians. It’s possible Stone can’t be successfully prosecuted under the current statute, because our laws outdated: they don’t account for digital documents.

With his letter Mueller included redacted introductions and executive summaries from the Report that he and his staff had written for Barr to release to the public. Barr did no such thing. He had said publicly that he “was not interested” in releasing summaries of the Report, that he didn’t want to release it piecemeal.

Can there be any doubt that the Attorney General has violated the sacred trust placed in him by covering up the President’s crimes and deceiving the American public? William Barr cannot be trusted to oversee the remaining prosecutions (redacted) in the Mueller Report nor those that will arise from the corruption of Trump and his family.

4 Comments

May 1, 2019 · 2:09 AM

4 responses to “Impeach him. Now.

  1. I often hear people say, when asked about someone else’s opinion, “I don’t know. You’d have to ask them.” The point is that people are generally uncomfortable speaking for someone else.

    With regards to obstructing justice, the legal standard, though not always observed, is that there can be no obstruction where no crime was committed.

    It was not in the purview of the Mueller Report to presume or conclude that anyone had obstructed the investigation. In fact, there was no cause beyond a reasonable doubt to even suggest criminal intent — that determination was left to the Attorney General and Congress.

    Not to mention that Assistant AG Rod Rosenstein (the man who appointed Mueller) signed off on the Justice Department summary of the final report.

    The substance of charges regarding obstruction of justice are related to public comments or tweets which are overt — not covert. Transparency is the legal threshold in determining criminal intent to obstruct justice.

    Granted, Congress has more latitude in determining whether obstruction has been committed. Mueller essentially said, “Obstruction cannot be proven legally. It will have to be charged politically.”

    Which is what the Democrats will do. I have no doubt that the House will bring charges of impeachment, and it will be politically motivated.

    Make no mistake, the “witch hunt” began months before the 2016 election. Hillary was supposed to win. The so-called “insurance policy” was the phony investigation into Russian collusion — the purpose of which was to overturn a duly elected president, Donald Trump.

    People seem to forget that FBI Director James Comey charged Hillary Clinton with felony “gross negligence” in her handling of Top Secret information — not to mention her willful destruction of 33,000 emails that had been subpoenaed by the Justice Department.

    Loretta Lynch, President Obama’s AG, advised Comey to reduce the charge to “extreme carelessness” because there was no precedent to prosecute Mrs. Clinton.

    That whole incident simply reeks of corruption. The irony is that Democrats were demanding, after the election, that President Trump fire James Comey who was continuing to investigate Hillary. Obstruction of justice?

    Imagine that I accused you of robbing a bank. There was no probable cause, other than my accusation which, by the way, I confessed to close friends was a fabrication. (Think Steele dossier which was the falsified evidence behind the FISA warrants.)

    Investigators determined that the robbery was an inside job. You were brought in for questioning, but insisted that you had never been in the bank and didn’t know anyone who worked there.

    The investigation uncovered that a former high school classmate was employed at the bank. You didn’t recall their name and said that you never knew them. Other classmates told investigators that both you and the bank employee had worked on various class projects.

    One of your classmates even told investigators that you pleaded with them to testify that you really didn’t know the bank employee.

    The facts are this:

    You lied about not “knowing” the former classmate/bank employee, and you told a witness to lie on your behalf.

    In legal terms that’s called a “gotcha”.

    When all the facts are in, you are cleared of the robbery charges, but are now facing various misdemeanor and felony charges including perjury, suborning perjury, witness tampering, and obstruction of justice.

    A fair-minded judge would dismiss all charges because the investigation was in search of a crime that never was. All of the incidental facts are irrelevant. You did not rob the bank, and the fact that a former classmate was an employee is immaterial.

    Likewise, there was no Russian collusion, but facts don’t matter when you are motivated by revenge.

    Attorney General Lynch determined that Hillary Clinton did not violate the law with criminal intent. Fine, conservatives have to live with that.

    In turn, Mueller concluded that obstruction of justice is a difficult thing to prove. When there is no evidence of criminal intent, and where there was no original crime to obstruct, the law is mute.

    Some will suggest that the president obstructed justice when he fired James Comey. However, as noted before, the Democrats were clamoring for Comey to be fired; and the president does have the executive privilege to hire or fire the director of the FBI at will.

    Mueller even noted that a potential charge of obstruction should not prohibit a president from exercising his Constitutional authority — that the law could not make that judgement, but Congress might.

    “Impeachment,” said Nancy Pelosi, “is the most divisive path we could take.” According to a Washington Post/ABC poll, 56% of Americans don’t want the president impeached. Progressive scholar Noam Chomsky told a Boston forum that Democrats made a big fuss over nothing:

    “The Democrats invested everything in this issue. Well, turned out there was nothing much there. They gave Trump a huge gift. In fact, they may have handed him the next election.”

  2. Unfortunately, WordPress doesn’t allow me to format your text or quotes from the Mueller Report to set them apart.

    –With regards to obstructing justice, the legal standard, though not always observed, is that there can be no obstruction where no crime was committed.

    I’m not lawyer, but my understanding of the obstruction statute is that there need not be an underlying crime. If, for example there is an attempt at witness tampering, it’s the attempt that is obstruction, regardless of the crime the witness will testify about. Proving corrupt intent would admittedly be difficult to prove in court. From Muller’s discussion of the obstruction-of-justice statute 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2):
    “Our analysis led us to conclude that the obstruction-of-justice statutes can validly prohibit a President’s corrupt efforts to use his official powers to curtail, end, or interfere with an investigation.” (Vol. II, III.)

    –It was not in the purview of the Mueller Report to presume or conclude that anyone had obstructed the investigation. In fact, there was no cause beyond a reasonable doubt to even suggest criminal intent — that determination was left to the Attorney General and Congress.

    The second paragraph of the Introduction to Vol. II of the Mueller Report states:
    “Beginning in 2017, the President of the United States took a variety of actions towards the ongoing FBI investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election and related matters that raised questions about whether he had obstructed justice. The Order appointing the Special Counsel gave this Office jurisdiction to investigate matters that arose directly from the FBI’s Russia investigation, including whether the President had obstructed justice in connection with Russia-related investigations. The Special Counsel’s jurisdiction also covered potentially obstructive acts related to the Special Counsel’s investigation itself. This Volume of our report summarizes our obstruction-of-justice investigation of the President.”

    –Not to mention that Assistant AG Rod Rosenstein (the man who appointed Mueller) signed off on the Justice Department summary of the final report.

    Rosenstein’s actions remain somewhat of a mystery. He offered to wear a wire to get evidence for a removal of the President under the 25th Amendment, and he protected the investigation, yet he signed off on Barr’s 4-page misleading summary and stood behind Barr staring, glassy-eyed, and looking for all the world as if he were trying to will himself 1,000 miles away.

    –The substance of charges regarding obstruction of justice are related to public comments or tweets which are overt — not covert. Transparency is the legal threshold in determining criminal intent to obstruct justice.

    [M]any of the President’s acts directed at witnesses, including discouragement of cooperation with the government and suggestions of possible future pardons, took place in public view. That circumstance is unusual, but no principle of law excludes public acts from the reach of the obstruction laws.
    —The Mueller Report, Executive Summary of Vol. II
    Trump used implied threats against Cohen’s father and bribed Cohen and Manafort by dangling pardons to influence their testimony.

    –Granted, Congress has more latitude in determining whether obstruction has been committed. Mueller essentially said, “Obstruction cannot be proven legally. It will have to be charged politically.”

    I agree.

    –I have no doubt that the House will bring charges of impeachment, and it will be politically motivated.

    Impeachment is political, but it is also a defense of the Constitution. When the president violates the Constitution by defying the emoluments clause, by denying First Amendment rights to Muslims, by impugning and undermining public trust in the free press, Congress has the responsibility to oversee and impeach.

    –Make no mistake, the “witch hunt” began months before the 2016 election. Hillary was supposed to win. The so-called “insurance policy” was the phony investigation into Russian collusion — the purpose of which was to overturn a duly elected president, Donald Trump.

    Trump was not the “duly elected president” months before the 2016 election. The Mueller Report confirms the finding of U.S. intelligence agencies that the Russians attempted to influence the election in Trump’s favor, and the Trump campaign willingly accepted help from the Russians. Manafort handed closely guarded campaign polling data over to officers of the GRU and Russian intelligence. Trump called out, “Russia, if you’re listening, find Hillary’s missing emails,” and within five hours Hillary’s campaign manager had been hacked. Roger Stone was the intermediary between the Trump campaign and Wikileaks.

    –People seem to forget that FBI Director James Comey charged Hillary Clinton with felony “gross negligence” in her handling of Top Secret information — not to mention her willful destruction of 33,000 emails that had been subpoenaed by the Justice Department.

    How could anyone forget when that was a pillar of the Trump campaign?

    –Loretta Lynch, President Obama’s AG, advised Comey to reduce the charge to “extreme carelessness” because there was no precedent to prosecute Mrs. Clinton.

    Unjust as that may be, how does it relate to the many contacts between the Russians and the Trump campaign? Or to Trump’s obstruction of justice?

    –That whole incident simply reeks of corruption.

    Do I have to enumerate the corrupt acts of Trump, his family and his political appointees? No one comes out smelling like a rose. Yes, there is a certain irony in the Democrats’ demands that Comey be fired and their subsequent indignation when Trump did fire him. But Comey’s offenses were quite different in each case. It can be argued that Trump may have been obstructing justice by trying to influence the investigation of Michael Flynn. Comey’s comments certainly had an adverse effect on Hillary’s vote count.

    Much of the Steele Dossier has been validated.

    I believe your hypothetical is correct insofar as the charges. There was no robbery, but you still suborned and committed perjury and tampered with a witness. It would have been better to engage a good lawyer and collect damages.

    Mueller couldn’t prove existence of a conspiracy with evidence that would stand up in court, yet there was a degree of cooperation with the Russians. Revenge is totally irrelevant. Do you honestly think that the country is better off now with a president that is a pathological liar who takes children from their parents and keeps them in cages, neglecting to keep records that would facilitate an eventual reunion of the families? And so much more.

    Yes, criminal intent without an original crime is difficult to prove. But that doesn’t mean the criminal intent wasn’t present. Trump is a germophobe. He doesn’t like to get his hands dirty, so he always has someone else do his dirty work. He wanted McGahn to fire Mueller. When McGahn refused, he tried to convince Lewandowski to do it. And when that didn’t work, he told McGahn to deny that Trump had ever asked him to fire Mueller. What do you call that behavior? Trump has said that as president, he had every right to fire Mueller. Then why didn’t he? Can a president fire someone who is investigating him? Nixon tried, but look where it got him. A presidential action may be facially lawful, but not if committed with corrupt intent.

    Noam Chomsky’s mental agility has apparently abandoned him. More likely, he didn’t read the Mueller Report. He must have read only Barr’s distorted summary. Anyone who reads the Report will learn that there is in fact a great deal there. None of it exonerates Trump.

    • “The Mueller Report confirms the finding of U.S. intelligence agencies that the Russians attempted to influence the election in Trump’s favor, and the Trump campaign willingly accepted help from the Russians.”

      The Washington Post quoted the Mueller Report:

      “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 U.S. presidential election.”

      The Post concluded:

      “After a nearly two-year investigation, Mueller’s findings seemed to dispel the cloud of conspiracy that has hung over the administration since its inception.”

      *******

      “Trump called out, ‘Russia, if you’re listening, find Hillary’s missing emails’.”

      That was a tongue-in-cheek comment … sort of like Hillary’s:

      “The only other adversary of ours who is anywhere near as good as the Russians is China. So why should Russia have all the fun? And since Russia is clearly backing Republicans, why don’t we ask China to back us. And not only that, China, if you’re listening, why don’t you get Trump’s tax returns? I’m sure our media would richly reward you.”

      *******

      “Do you honestly think that the country is better off now with a president that is a pathological liar who takes children from their parents and keeps them in cages …?”

      Where to start … the term “cages” was circulated in a wire report from the Associated Press (no fan of Trump). Since the AP is the news outlet for the mainstream media, it became part of the narrative at sources like CNN and the New York Times.

      This, according to The Atlantic, was disputed by Homeland Security and the Border Patrol. Sources like the Los Angeles Times changed the word to “chain-linked yards”, or “fenced grounds” to more accurately describe the facilities.

      “Cages” is an unfair depiction. In any case, President Obama also separated families in the very same facilities. The Trump Administration simply carried out the detention policies of Obama who was challenged in court for not only separating families, but denying them legal representation.

      Leon Fresco (deputy assistant attorney general under Obama) was tasked with defending the administration’s policy of family detention. A federal judge in California ruled against Obama’s prosecution of mothers who entered the country illegally. In some cases, mothers were deported to Mexico without their children.

      Obama detained families to deter illegal immigration. Fresco said that the administration could “not devise a safe way where men and children could be in detention together in one facility” so the families were separated into what are now referred to as “cages”.

      *******

      “Much of the Steele Dossier has been validated.”

      The Wall Street Journal said that the Mueller Report “dismissed many Steele Dossier claims that were fabrications and Russian disinformation”.

      So the dossier was bought and paid for by Trump’s opponents. Does that mean that Clinton’s allies colluded with Russians to discredit Trump and influence the election?

      Of course, Trump was not the duly-elected president when this all began, but you don’t buy an insurance policy after the fact.

      *******

      While we respectfully disagree, I appreciate the opportunity to present my counterpoints. Thank you.

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