Collusion and Obstruction: Two Different Kinds of Crime

 

If the President had been found guilty of Russian collusion — that is, of participating in a criminal conspiracy with the Russians to undermine our election — then it would have indicated that he was a particular kind of villain. It takes a particular kind of villain to knowingly work with our enemies to subvert the democratic process. That represents a treasonous betrayal of our country.

On the other hand, being oafish and ignorant of the nuances of executive authority in the context of a legal investigation, while it may arguably appear to meet the legal definition for a charge of obstruction of justice, need not suggest that the President is a villain. Rather, it may simply indicate that he is an amateur on matters of law and politics, and that he is accustomed to speaking his mind without considering the unique legal implications of doing so while being the head of federal law enforcement.

I never thought the collusion charges made much sense, and Mueller’s finding that no collusion occurred surprises me not at all.

As to obstruction, I find it much more plausible that the President expressed his frustration at what he rightly considered a relentless and unjustified witch hunt that was undermining his administration, and that he explored various avenues to put an end to it — but that, finally, he both allowed the investigation to continue and cooperated with it. We know that he resisted the temptation to invoke executive privilege, even when he might plausibly have done so.

I understand his frustration. I appreciate his transparency. I particularly appreciate the people who counseled him to let the investigation run its course.

I think it’s time his critics stepped back and considered the possibility that they’re trying to trap a normal person in a web of legal technicalities in an effort to undo, by hook or by crook, the outcome of a legitimate election that happens to have led to an outcome they find offensive.

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There are 40 comments.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  1. Member

    while it may arguably appear to meet the legal definition for a charge of obstruction of justice

    I understand your point on the whole. This is Trump after all. But even the above is a bridge too far. And yes, I see the qualifiers in the sentence. Had there been a case for obstruction, arguable or otherwise, it is very likely that the Special Counsel and his partisan staff would have brought it forward and let a court sort the situation out. That’s what prosecutors do. As it is, Mueller simply resorted to trying to save face by essentially reversing the burden of proof in his now infamous “we can’t prove a thing, but we can’t disprove it either” summary–the Special Counsel’s version of doth protesting too much.

    • #1
    • April 20, 2019, at 9:19 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  2. Reagan

    I think that a review of the Mueller Report itself would be appropriate.

    • #2
    • April 20, 2019, at 9:23 PM PDT
    • Like
  3. Contributor
    Henry Racette Post author

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    I think that a review of the Mueller Report itself would be appropriate.

    Feel free to cite specific portions of it if you think it will refute my comments. I’m open to being persuaded. 

    • #3
    • April 20, 2019, at 9:57 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  4. Coolidge

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    while it may arguably appear to meet the legal definition for a charge of obstruction of justice

    I understand your point on the whole. This is Trump after all. But even the above is a bridge too far. And yes, I see the qualifiers in the sentence. Had there been a case for obstruction, arguable or otherwise, it is very likely that the Special Counsel and his partisan staff would have brought it forward and let a court sort the situation out. That’s what prosecutors do. As it is, Mueller simply resorted to trying to save face by essentially reversing the burden of proof in his now infamous “we can’t prove a thing, but we can’t disprove it either” summary–the Special Counsel’s version of doth protesting too much.

    How about: “We’re really just a bunch of weasels.”

     

    • #4
    • April 21, 2019, at 6:06 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  5. Member

    An overarching fact, the President made the decision to fully cooperate with the Special Counsel’s investigation.

    To the best of our knowledge, there are no significant details of his conduct withheld from the investigation. A prudent man can reasonably determine the President believes he has nothing to hide. It wasn’t in his mind to obstruct the investigation.

    On a related note. How little faith must our best and brightest have in our republican institutions, if they think firing the director of the FBI brings an investigation to a screeching halt.

    Further, Comey looks even worse than I suspected. And what’s odd, it appears at no time before the election nobody, not one single responsible adult, recommended “We need to take Trump off to the side and tell him we suspect there are some potential rotten apples in his campaign.” 

    • #5
    • April 21, 2019, at 6:19 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  6. Member

    Steve C. (View Comment):

    An overarching fact, the President made the decision to fully cooperate with the Special Counsel’s investigation.

    To the best of our knowledge, there are no significant details of his conduct withheld from the investigation. A prudent man can reasonably determine the President believes he has nothing to hide. It wasn’t in his mind to obstruct the investigation.

    On a related note. How little faith must our best and brightest have in our republican institutions, if they think firing the director of the FBI brings an investigation to a screeching halt.

    Further, Comey looks even worse than I suspected. And what’s odd, it appears at no time before the election nobody, not one single responsible adult, recommended “We need to take Trump off to the side and tell him we suspect there are some potential rotten apples in his campaign.”

    Nor is there a word about HRC and her campaign.

    • #6
    • April 21, 2019, at 7:12 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  7. Member

    Scott Adams made an excellent point regarding this topic. He explained that lawyers often talk their clients out of actions and threaten to resign if their advice is not followed. Good lawyers are the most cautious people non-lawyers talk with. That is the job. In a business or political situation, behavior is often discouraged by a good lawyer, and people are generally unaware of this dynamic because most people don’t consult with a lawyer about a business or political situation.

    The big difference in this case is usually the consultations are protected by attorney client privilege so nobody knows about them.

    The bottom line here is that justice was not obstructed. Move on.

    • #7
    • April 21, 2019, at 7:36 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  8. Member

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    I think that a review of the Mueller Report itself would be appropriate.

    Feel free to cite specific portions of it if you think it will refute my comments. I’m open to being persuaded.

    “I never read a book before reviewing it; it prejudices a Man so.” 

    • #8
    • April 21, 2019, at 7:46 AM PDT
    • Like
  9. Member

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    I think that a review of the Mueller Report itself would be appropriate.

    The obstruction section is a tendentious wish list of pseudo crimes. 

    The blunt truth is that the Mueller team tried to provoke Trump into a response that could be construed as obstruction. Nothing he did prior to Mueller’s appointment came close to obstruction. Mueller knew that almost as soon as he began.

    In much the same way that government power was abused to entrap the Trump campaign, Mueller abused his authority, and made every effort to protect and provide justification for the failed conspiracy that was the sole basis for his appointment. 

    Mueller is a knowing participant in the evolving effort to undo an election. He has no personal honor except in comparison to his unprincipled partisan associates. 

    • #9
    • April 21, 2019, at 7:50 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  10. Contributor
    Henry Racette Post author

    Jimmy Carter (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    I think that a review of the Mueller Report itself would be appropriate.

    Feel free to cite specific portions of it if you think it will refute my comments. I’m open to being persuaded.

    “I never read a book before reviewing it; it prejudices a Man so.”

    I’m a reasonably fast reader, but I haven’t read the report. I’ve skimmed it, looking for anything that would convince me that (a) contrary to the summary delivered by the Attorney General Barr, the document reported evidence of criminal collusion, or (b) that the President’s conduct could not be as I described in the post: the actions of a frustrated and incautious man trying to navigate an unfamiliar legal landscape to end what he correctly understood to be an unjustified investigation.

    I haven’t found anything to dissuade me. Again, I’m open to having my opinion changed, should someone care to cite specific content.

     

    • #10
    • April 21, 2019, at 8:36 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  11. Member

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    I think that a review of the Mueller Report itself would be appropriate.

    The obstruction section is a tendentious wish list of pseudo crimes.

    The blunt truth is that the Mueller team tried to provoke Trump into a response that could be construed as obstruction. Nothing he did prior to Mueller’s appointment came close to obstruction. Mueller knew that almost as soon as he began.

    In much the same way that government power was abused to entrap the Trump campaign, Mueller abused his authority, and made every effort to protect and provide justification for the failed conspiracy that was the sole basis for his appointment.

    Mueller is a knowing participant in the evolving effort to undo an election. He has no personal honor except in comparison to his unprincipled partisan associates.

    I wonder how much control Mueller actually exercised. Was Mueller “the adult in the room”, forced into mealy-mouthed compromises about how the report was worded? Just to placate hot heads.

    He’s the guy who owns the report in perpetuity. He has a reputation, a legacy, of prudent leadership in high profile jobs. The last thing he needs is a bunch of disaffected loose tongues surreptitiously undercutting his report. As a careful lawyer, he produced a lawyerly report. He knew with almost metaphysical certitude, this report was going to be public.

    Andy McCarthy opines that Mueller failed at his most basic charge. Instead of addressing obstruction directly, he kicked that decision upstairs to his bosses. Granted, it’s a complicated issue with no precedent. But by putting Barr and Rosenstein on the spot, he avoided a key charge of his mission. An odd place for a decorated Marine Officer. Marines attack and succeed or fail. They don’t report to the CO that the situation was too complex and without precedent.

    Sadly, I suspect few people will appreciate McCarthy’s critique.

     

    • #11
    • April 21, 2019, at 9:16 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  12. Member

    Steve C. (View Comment):

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    I think that a review of the Mueller Report itself would be appropriate.

    The obstruction section is a tendentious wish list of pseudo crimes.

    The blunt truth is that the Mueller team tried to provoke Trump into a response that could be construed as obstruction. Nothing he did prior to Mueller’s appointment came close to obstruction. Mueller knew that almost as soon as he began.

    In much the same way that government power was abused to entrap the Trump campaign, Mueller abused his authority, and made every effort to protect and provide justification for the failed conspiracy that was the sole basis for his appointment.

    Mueller is a knowing participant in the evolving effort to undo an election. He has no personal honor except in comparison to his unprincipled partisan associates.

    I wonder how much control Mueller actually exercised. Was Mueller “the adult in the room”, forced into mealy-mouthed compromises about how the report was worded? Just to placate hot heads.

    He’s the guy who owns the report in perpetuity. He has a reputation, a legacy, of prudent leadership in high profile jobs. The last thing he needs is a bunch of disaffected loose tongues surreptitiously undercutting his report. As a careful lawyer, he produced a lawyerly report. He knew with almost metaphysical certitude, this report was going to be public.

    Andy McCarthy opines that Mueller failed at his most basic charge. Instead of addressing obstruction directly, he kicked that decision upstairs to his bosses. Granted, it’s a complicated issue with no precedent. But by putting Barr and Rosenstein on the spot, he avoided a key charge of his mission. An odd place for a decorated Marine Officer. Marines attack and succeed or fail. They don’t report to the CO that the situation was too complex and without precedent.

    Sadly, I suspect few people will appreciate McCarthy’s critique.

    The obstruction issue was never complicated unless one was trying to fashion a charge out of nothing. By saying it is ever so complicated and punting to Barr, Mueller was gutlessly impugning Trump without finding the definitive answer he was required to find.I think that was McCarthy’s point.

    • #12
    • April 21, 2019, at 10:36 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  13. Coolidge

    Henry Racette: If the President candidate had been found guilty of Russian collusion — that is, of participating in a criminal conspiracy with the Russians to undermine our election — then it would have indicated that he was a particular kind of villain. It takes a particular kind of villain to knowingly work with our enemies to subvert the democratic process.

    Before we find her guilty, she should be investigated. We know that Hillary paid a law firm to pay guy who gathered up some Russian disinformation. Sure it sounds villainous and subversive, but is it illegal? What did she and when did she know it? Was Hillary behind idea of blaming Russian hackers for the insider that stole DNC emails? Was Hillary involved, when British agents made a run at four Trump campaign members?

    • #13
    • April 21, 2019, at 11:29 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  14. Member

    DonG (View Comment):

    Henry Racette: If the President candidate had been found guilty of Russian collusion — that is, of participating in a criminal conspiracy with the Russians to undermine our election — then it would have indicated that he was a particular kind of villain. It takes a particular kind of villain to knowingly work with our enemies to subvert the democratic process.

    Before we find her guilty, she should be investigated. We know that Hillary paid a law firm to pay guy who gathered up some Russian disinformation. Sure it sounds villainous and subversive, but is it illegal? What did she and when did she know it? Was Hillary behind idea of blaming Russian hackers for the insider that stole DNC emails? Was Hillary involved, when British agents made a run at four Trump campaign members?

    We would hate to blame Al Capone for crimes actually orchestrated by Frank Nitti.

    • #14
    • April 21, 2019, at 12:05 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  15. Member

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    Steve C. (View Comment):

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    I think that a review of the Mueller Report itself would be appropriate.

    The obstruction section is a tendentious wish list of pseudo crimes.

    The blunt truth is that the Mueller team tried to provoke Trump into a response that could be construed as obstruction. Nothing he did prior to Mueller’s appointment came close to obstruction. Mueller knew that almost as soon as he began.

    In much the same way that government power was abused to entrap the Trump campaign, Mueller abused his authority, and made every effort to protect and provide justification for the failed conspiracy that was the sole basis for his appointment.

    Mueller is a knowing participant in the evolving effort to undo an election. He has no personal honor except in comparison to his unprincipled partisan associates.

    I wonder how much control Mueller actually exercised. Was Mueller “the adult in the room”, forced into mealy-mouthed compromises about how the report was worded? Just to placate hot heads.

    He’s the guy who owns the report in perpetuity. He has a reputation, a legacy, of prudent leadership in high profile jobs. The last thing he needs is a bunch of disaffected loose tongues surreptitiously undercutting his report. As a careful lawyer, he produced a lawyerly report. He knew with almost metaphysical certitude, this report was going to be public.

    Andy McCarthy opines that Mueller failed at his most basic charge. Instead of addressing obstruction directly, he kicked that decision upstairs to his bosses. Granted, it’s a complicated issue with no precedent. But by putting Barr and Rosenstein on the spot, he avoided a key charge of his mission. An odd place for a decorated Marine Officer. Marines attack and succeed or fail. They don’t report to the CO that the situation was too complex and without precedent.

    Sadly, I suspect few people will appreciate McCarthy’s critique.

    The obstruction issue was never complicated unless one was trying to fashion a charge out of nothing. By saying it is ever so complicated and punting to Barr, Mueller was gutlessly impugning Trump without finding the definitive answer he was required to find.I think that was McCarthy’s point.

    Yes, it was. I’m just wondering why Mueller, who has been lauded for his rectitude, would do such a thing. It was his obligation to make definitive conclusions. He failed to do so. Why? It seems cowardly. 

    • #15
    • April 21, 2019, at 12:57 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  16. Contributor
    Henry Racette Post author

    Steve C. (View Comment):

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    Steve C. (View Comment):

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    I think that a review of the Mueller Report itself would be appropriate.

    The obstruction section is a tendentious wish list of pseudo crimes.

    The blunt truth is that the Mueller team tried to provoke Trump into a response that could be construed as obstruction. Nothing he did prior to Mueller’s appointment came close to obstruction. Mueller knew that almost as soon as he began.

    In much the same way that government power was abused to entrap the Trump campaign, Mueller abused his authority, and made every effort to protect and provide justification for the failed conspiracy that was the sole basis for his appointment.

    Mueller is a knowing participant in the evolving effort to undo an election. He has no personal honor except in comparison to his unprincipled partisan associates.

    I wonder how much control Mueller actually exercised. Was Mueller “the adult in the room”, forced into mealy-mouthed compromises about how the report was worded? Just to placate hot heads.

    He’s the guy who owns the report in perpetuity. He has a reputation, a legacy, of prudent leadership in high profile jobs. The last thing he needs is a bunch of disaffected loose tongues surreptitiously undercutting his report. As a careful lawyer, he produced a lawyerly report. He knew with almost metaphysical certitude, this report was going to be public.

    Andy McCarthy opines that Mueller failed at his most basic charge. Instead of addressing obstruction directly, he kicked that decision upstairs to his bosses. Granted, it’s a complicated issue with no precedent. But by putting Barr and Rosenstein on the spot, he avoided a key charge of his mission. An odd place for a decorated Marine Officer. Marines attack and succeed or fail. They don’t report to the CO that the situation was too complex and without precedent.

    Sadly, I suspect few people will appreciate McCarthy’s critique.

    The obstruction issue was never complicated unless one was trying to fashion a charge out of nothing. By saying it is ever so complicated and punting to Barr, Mueller was gutlessly impugning Trump without finding the definitive answer he was required to find.I think that was McCarthy’s point.

    Yes, it was. I’m just wondering why Mueller, who has been lauded for his rectitude, would do such a thing. It was his obligation to make definitive conclusions. He failed to do so. Why? It seems cowardly.

    I speculate that one reason for doing it as he did is that his only other two choices would deflate Democratic impeachment ambitions. Consider:

    If Mueller had recommended charging the President with obstruction, two challenges would immediately have been raised: (a) that a sitting President can not be indicted, and (b) that evidence for conviction — specifically, the evidence of criminal intent, which (as I understand it) is a requirement in an obstruction case — is lacking. So prospects for a criminal conviction would be weakened and, the effort having failed, a subsequent impeachment effort based on the same premise would seem petty and redundant.

    On the other hand, if Mueller had recommended against charging the President with obstruction, then that would have directly undermined a subsequent impeachment effort focused on obstruction, since the investigation had argued that no such grounds existed.

    What Mueller did was kick the obstruction can down the road, without making a case as to who should deal with it and how it should be dealt with. If the AG chose to decline to prosecute, as Mueller undoubtedly knew he would given the weakness of the case, then Congress would be free to launch an impeachment effort focused on the obstruction non-charge, arguing, however implausibly, that the issue has merit but no one has yet addressed it.

    Mueller’s ambit did not include referring the matter to Congress for subsequent prosecution (i.e., impeachment proceedings); that isn’t what prosecutors do. But, whether or not he intended to, he effectively left that option open with his non-recommendation.

    • #16
    • April 21, 2019, at 1:31 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  17. Member

    As well known lefty squish John Yoo put it on a recent podcast, if Mueller had demanded a subpoena for a deposition [as Ken Starr did with Slick Willie] and tried to pin down Trump’s intent at various phases of this saga the outcome almost surely would have been different. The one thing that Trump’s lawyers, starting with John Dowd, knew is that Trump is a pathological liar totally unable to tell the truth in those kinds of circumstances. Dowd told Bob Woodward that and it’s documented in Woodward’s book. I think Mueller wanted to leave Trump’s fate up to the voters, not go down in history as causing a crisis by driving him from office.

    It hurts me to see someone as sensible as Henry join the Trumpk**s – the astute and discerning Trump enthusiasts – trying to tear down folks like Mitt Romney or Bob Mueller while ignoring the manifest unfitness of Mr Trump himself.

    • #17
    • April 21, 2019, at 4:01 PM PDT
    • Like
  18. Coolidge

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    while it may arguably appear to meet the legal definition for a charge of obstruction of justice

    I understand your point on the whole. This is Trump after all. But even the above is a bridge too far. And yes, I see the qualifiers in the sentence. Had there been a case for obstruction, arguable or otherwise, it is very likely that the Special Counsel and his partisan staff would have brought it forward and let a court sort the situation out. That’s what prosecutors do. As it is, Mueller simply resorted to trying to save face by essentially reversing the burden of proof in his now infamous “we can’t prove a thing, but we can’t disprove it either” summary–the Special Counsel’s version of doth protesting too much.

    How about: “We’re really just a bunch of weasels.”

     

    Edited to add: “We’re really just a bunch of weasels who cannot think straight and smell bad too.”

    • #18
    • April 21, 2019, at 5:13 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  19. Member

    Petty Boozswha (View Comment):

    The one thing that Trump’s lawyers, starting with John Dowd, knew is that Trump is a pathological liar totally unable to tell the truth in those kinds of circumstances. Dowd told Bob Woodward that and it’s documented in Woodward’s book.

    Just curious. Do you think that hyperbolic characterizations such as the above (pathological liar) make your points more persuasive? That aside, I’d certainly be interested in a direct quote from the Woodward book.

    • #19
    • April 21, 2019, at 5:14 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  20. Coolidge

    Petty Boozswha (View Comment):

    As well known lefty squish John Yoo put it on a recent podcast, if Mueller had demanded a subpoena for a deposition [as Ken Starr did with Slick Willie] and tried to pin down Trump’s intent at various phases of this saga the outcome almost surely would have been different. The one thing that Trump’s lawyers, starting with John Dowd, knew is that Trump is a pathological liar totally unable to tell the truth in those kinds of circumstances. Dowd told Bob Woodward that and it’s documented in Woodward’s book. SNIP

    It hurts me to see someone as sensible as Henry join the Trumpk**s –SNIP trying to tear down folks like Mitt Romney or Bob Mueller while ignoring the manifest unfitness of Mr Trump himself.

    Yep he is obviously unfit. For instance all he accomplished during his first one 100 days in office was this paltry list of items noted by Jim Hoft:

    Complete List of President Trump’s Major Accomplishments in First 100 Days

    Jim Hoft by Jim Hoft April 27, 2017

    Presidential candidate Donald Trump held his final campaign rally at 1am on election day November 8th, 2016 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

    At the end of his final speech candidate Trump said this –

    Just imagine what our country could accomplish if we started working together as one people, under one God, saluting one American flag.

    After President Trump’s first 100 days in office, here is a complete list of his accomplishments and his resulting impact on the economy.

    The US Stock Markets are at record highs and millions of Americans are benefitting.

    * The DOW daily closing stock market average rose more than 15% since the election on November 8th. (On November 9th the DOW closed at 18,332 – on March 1st the DOW closed at 21,115).

    * The DOW took just 66 days to climb from 19,000 to above 21,000, the fastest 2,000 point run ever. The DOW closed above 19,000 for the first time on Nov 22nd, closing above 21,000 on March 1st.
    * The DOW closed above 20,000 on January 25th and the March 1st rally matched the fastest-ever 1,000 point increase in the DOW at 24 days.
    * The US Stock Market gained $2 trillion in wealth since Trump was elected!
    * The S&P 500 broke $20 Trillion for the first time in its history.

    President Trump decreased the US Debt in his first 100 days by $100 Billion. (President Obama increased the US debt in his first 100 days by more than $560 Billion.)

    Oh and through his executive order, he pulled the USA out of the Paris Accords, saving taxpayers some 110 billions of $$’s.

    The Washington Examiner lists over 250 accomplishments the President succeeded with during his first 20 months in office:

    https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/washington-secrets/trumps-list-289-accomplishments-in-just-20-months-relentless-promise-keeping

    ####

    • #20
    • April 21, 2019, at 5:25 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  21. Member

    CarolJoy, Above Top Secret (View Comment):

    After President Trump’s first 100 days in office, here is a complete list of his accomplishments and his resulting impact on the economy.

    The US Stock Markets are at record highs and millions of Americans are benefitting.

    * The DOW daily closing stock market average rose more than 15% since the election on November 8th. (On November 9th the DOW closed at 18,332 – on March 1st the DOW closed at 21,115).

    * The DOW took just 66 days to climb from 19,000 to above 21,000, the fastest 2,000 point run ever. The DOW closed above 19,000 for the first time on Nov 22nd, closing above 21,000 on March 1st.
    * The DOW closed above 20,000 on January 25th and the March 1st rally matched the fastest-ever 1,000 point increase in the DOW at 24 days.
    * The US Stock Market gained $2 trillion in wealth since Trump was elected!
    * The S&P 500 broke $20 Trillion for the first time in its history.

     

    I agree Trump did a great job in not being Obama or Hillary. Otherwise his impact on the stock market is questionable.

     

    President Trump decreased the US Debt in his first 100 days by $100 Billion. (President Obama increased the US debt in his first 100 days by more than $560 Billion.)

    I don’t think fiscal probity is an issue he or his supporters would want to run on.

    Oh and through his executive order, he pulled the USA out of the Paris Accords, saving taxpayers some 110 billions of $$’s.

     

    I was glad he pulled out of this agreement if it did indeed save taxpayers money.

     

    The Washington Examiner lists over 250 accomplishments the President succeeded with during his first 20 months in office:

    I will read that article. I still think most of the benefits of Trump’s Presidency could have been accomplished more effectively with another Republican President.

     

    • #21
    • April 21, 2019, at 5:33 PM PDT
    • Like
  22. Member

    Just curious. Do you think that hyperbolic characterizations such as the above (pathological liar) make your points more persuasive? That aside, I’d certainly be interested in a direct quote from the Woodward book.

    In one revelatory anecdote, Woodward describes a scene in the White House residence. Trump’s lawyer, convinced the President would perjure himself, put Trump through a test — a practice interview for the one he might have with Mueller. Trump failed, according to Dowd, but the President still insisted he should testify.Cillizza: Bob Woodward's peek behind the Trump curtain is 100% as terrifying as we feared Woodward writes that Dowd saw the “full nightmare” of a potential Mueller interview, and felt Trump acted like an “aggrieved Shakespearean king.”But Trump seemed surprised at Dowd’s reaction, Woodward writes. “You think I was struggling?” Trump asked.Then, in an even more remarkable move, Dowd and Trump’s current personal attorney Jay Sekulow went to Mueller’s office and re-enacted the mock interview. Their goal: to argue that Trump couldn’t possibly testify because he was incapable of telling the truth.”He just made something up. That’s his nature,” Dowd said to Mueller.The passage is an unprecedented glimpse behind the scenes of Mueller’s secretive operation — for the first time, Mueller’s conversations with Trump’s lawyers are captured.”I need the president’s testimony,” Mueller said. “What was his intent on Comey? … I want to see if there was corrupt intent.”Despite Dowd’s efforts, Trump continued to insist he could testify. “I think the President of the United States cannot be seen taking the fifth,” Trump said.Dowd’s argument was stark: “There’s no way you can get through these. … Don’t testify. It’s either that or an orange jump suit.”What he couldn’t say to Trump, according to Woodward, was what Dowd believed to be true: “You’re a f***ing liar.”

    • #22
    • April 21, 2019, at 5:51 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  23. Coolidge

    Petty Boozswha (View Comment):

    CarolJoy, Above Top Secret (View Comment):

    After President Trump’s first 100 days in office, here is a complete list of his accomplishments and his resulting impact on the economy.

    The US Stock Markets are at record highs and millions of Americans are benefitting.

    * The DOW daily closing stock market average rose more than 15% since the election on November 8th. (On November 9th the DOW closed at 18,332 – on March 1st the DOW closed at 21,115).

    * The DOW took just 66 days to climb from 19,000 to above 21,000, the fastest 2,000 point run ever. The DOW closed above 19,000 for the first time on Nov 22nd, closing above 21,000 on March 1st.
    * The DOW closed above 20,000 on January 25th and the March 1st rally matched the fastest-ever 1,000 point increase in the DOW at 24 days.
    * The US Stock Market gained $2 trillion in wealth since Trump was elected!
    * The S&P 500 broke $20 Trillion for the first time in its history.

     

    I agree Trump did a great job in not being Obama or Hillary. Otherwise his impact on the stock market is questionable.

     

    President Trump decreased the US Debt in his first 100 days by $100 Billion. (President Obama increased the US debt in his first 100 days by more than $560 Billion.)

    I don’t think fiscal probity is an issue he or his supporters would want to run on.

    Oh and through his executive order, he pulled the USA out of the Paris Accords, saving taxpayers some 110 billions of $$’s.

     

    I was glad he pulled out of this agreement if it did indeed save taxpayers money.

     

    The Washington Examiner lists over 250 accomplishments the President succeeded with during his first 20 months in office:

    I will read that article. I still think most of the benefits of Trump’s Presidency could have been accomplished more effectively with another Republican President.

     

    First of all, I believe that no other Republican candidate would have won. Of course, maybe the people who got enthused enough about Trump would have stayed home if he was absent on the ballot. Then some R person might have won it. But I don’t think so. Remember, it was only a handful of voters inside a handful of states that gave him the Oval Office.

    The nation really needed someone to pull us out of the trade agreements that have been so detrimental. By January of this year, we had already succeeded in eliminating a quarter of a billion dollar loss to China, simply through Trump pressuring the Chinese to do better in our tariffs’ exchange.

    The tax code is much fairer, and regulations have been cut back. The people in Hawai’i are hopeful he will keep them out of harm’s way. The islands lie totally inside the target range of No Korea’s missiles. This is not some abstract issue to them.

    • #23
    • April 21, 2019, at 5:56 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  24. Member

    Petty Boozswha (View Comment):

    Just curious. Do you think that hyperbolic characterizations such as the above (pathological liar) make your points more persuasive? That aside, I’d certainly be interested in a direct quote from the Woodward book.

    In one revelatory anecdote, Woodward describes a scene in the White House residence. Trump’s lawyer, convinced the President would perjure himself, put Trump through a test — a practice interview for the one he might have with Mueller. Trump failed, according to Dowd, but the President still insisted he should testify.Cillizza: Bob Woodward's peek behind the Trump curtain is 100% as terrifying as we feared Woodward writes that Dowd saw the “full nightmare” of a potential Mueller interview, and felt Trump acted like an “aggrieved Shakespearean king.”But Trump seemed surprised at Dowd’s reaction, Woodward writes. “You think I was struggling?” Trump asked.Then, in an even more remarkable move, Dowd and Trump’s current personal attorney Jay Sekulow went to Mueller’s office and re-enacted the mock interview. Their goal: to argue that Trump couldn’t possibly testify because he was incapable of telling the truth.”He just made something up. That’s his nature,” Dowd said to Mueller.The passage is an unprecedented glimpse behind the scenes of Mueller’s secretive operation — for the first time, Mueller’s conversations with Trump’s lawyers are captured.”I need the president’s testimony,” Mueller said. “What was his intent on Comey? … I want to see if there was corrupt intent.”Despite Dowd’s efforts, Trump continued to insist he could testify. “I think the President of the United States cannot be seen taking the fifth,” Trump said.Dowd’s argument was stark: “There’s no way you can get through these. … Don’t testify. It’s either that or an orange jump suit.”What he couldn’t say to Trump, according to Woodward, was what Dowd believed to be true: “You’re a f***ing liar.”

    Thanks for engaging on this. It’s good info. However, I see more Woodward than direct quotes. For example: “Their goal: to argue that Trump couldn’t possibly testify because he was incapable of telling the truth.” Sorry Bob, who said that? Oh wait, it was you.

    Also, and rather important. I think that I’d want more before claiming POTUS is a “pathological liar.”

    • #24
    • April 21, 2019, at 6:03 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  25. Contributor
    Henry Racette Post author

    Petty Boozswha (View Comment):

    As well known lefty squish John Yoo put it on a recent podcast, if Mueller had demanded a subpoena for a deposition [as Ken Starr did with Slick Willie] and tried to pin down Trump’s intent at various phases of this saga the outcome almost surely would have been different. The one thing that Trump’s lawyers, starting with John Dowd, knew is that Trump is a pathological liar totally unable to tell the truth in those kinds of circumstances. Dowd told Bob Woodward that and it’s documented in Woodward’s book. I think Mueller wanted to leave Trump’s fate up to the voters, not go down in history as causing a crisis by driving him from office.

    Pet, I will agree that, were President Trump to be placed under oath and asked to testify, it seems likely that he would soon perjure himself, given his slipshod approach to facts and willingness to speak for effect rather than accuracy. I’ve thought that since before he was elected, and always hoped that he would not be questioned under oath for that reason.

    That is distinct from the conjecture that, had Mueller grilled him under oath, he would have found evidence of obstruction of justice. That’s purely speculative, even if John Yoo is doing the speculating.

    As I said in the post, nothing I’ve seen in the report leads me to believe that Trump was doing other than attempting to end what he perceived — correctly, in my opinion — as unjust harassment. It’s easy to catch someone like Trump in contradictions and inaccuracies, and easy to entrap him that way. But that doesn’t a case of obstruction make.

    It hurts me to see someone as sensible as Henry join the Trumpk**s – the astute and discerning Trump enthusiasts – trying to tear down folks like Mitt Romney or Bob Mueller while ignoring the manifest unfitness of Mr Trump himself.

    And there we go, making it personal. I’ll going to withhold comment, for what I hope are obvious reasons.

     

    • #25
    • April 21, 2019, at 6:36 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  26. Member

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    And there we go, making it personal. I’ll going to withhold comment, for what I hope are obvious reasons.

    If this was more personal or more out of bounds than other comments I sincerely apologize. I think Mitt Romney is a good man. I think Bob Mueller is a good man. I think attacks on these men on behalf of Trump, who I consider a true villain, are unwarranted. 

    I am going to withdrawal from further commenting because I know my opinion is unpopular and disagreed with. Good night all.

    • #26
    • April 21, 2019, at 6:49 PM PDT
    • Like
  27. Member

    Trump is a nightmare client with zero verbal discipline. He would never limit himself to “yes” or “no”. He would be easily goaded. He would argue and assume he was smarter than his adversary. The standard perjury trap is to ask the same question in multiple forms then charge perjury when the answers are discrepant. 

    After what Mueller’s vile hit squad did to Flynn and Papadopoulos, there was no way Trump’s legal team was going to allow that even though Trump had nothing to hide.

    To spin this into some never-Trump pious judgment as evidence of Trump’s character flaws in inapt. And believing Woodward’s spin in this instance requires more credulity than I can muster.

     

    • #27
    • April 21, 2019, at 6:51 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  28. Contributor
    Henry Racette Post author

    Petty Boozswha (View Comment):

    I think Mitt Romney is a good man. I think Bob Mueller is a good man. I think attacks on these men on behalf of Trump, who I consider a true villain, are unwarranted.

    I also think Romney and Mueller are good men. I don’t doubt that Romney is, in general, a man of integrity and ability. (That’s why I supported him so enthusiastically in 2012.) I suspect Mueller is as well — which is why I was pleased when he was appointed to perform this investigation. I suspect that both of them have more integrity than President Trump.

    I don’t think Trump is a villain; I think he is a promoter and a bit of a cad. I think he’s often foolish, casually dishonest in a boastful and self-promoting way. I don’t think he’s sinister, secretive, or scheming. I think he’s doing a good job, perhaps in spite of himself. I think he has been treated unjustly by both the press and much of our political class. I think elevating his weaknesses to the level of villainy is misguided.

    I want him to be re-elected because I think it is very much in the best interests of the country for a Republican to win, and I see no plausible path for a Republican victory that doesn’t go through Trump. It will be hard enough to win with Trump; trying to win with anyone else will be, I believe, much harder. And so I support Trump.

    • #28
    • April 21, 2019, at 7:47 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  29. Member

    DonG (View Comment):

    Henry Racette: If the President candidate had been found guilty of Russian collusion — that is, of participating in a criminal conspiracy with the Russians to undermine our election — then it would have indicated that he was a particular kind of villain. It takes a particular kind of villain to knowingly work with our enemies to subvert the democratic process.

    Before we find her guilty, she should be investigated. We know that Hillary paid a law firm to pay guy who gathered up some Russian disinformation. Sure it sounds villainous and subversive, but is it illegal? What did she and when did she know it? Was Hillary behind idea of blaming Russian hackers for the insider that stole DNC emails? Was Hillary involved, when British agents made a run at four Trump campaign members?

    I agree . Except that they’ve been trying to make much less clear and ultimately baseless accusations into treason when it came to Trump. I would have favored letting it go in November 2016 and early 2017, but they pressed it. So now I favor making them eat every last bit of bitter poison they’ve been trying to make Trump and the country eat.

    • #29
    • April 21, 2019, at 8:08 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  30. Member

    I’ll go further than your summation of Trump being frustrated and unschooled in procedures at this level. I think he not only cooperated but also did everything he could, short of tainting the trail with his direct influence, to lead congress and the media to the actual story. Whenever someone would ask why Trump doesn’t declassify everything or fire Mueller I would say that to do so would hopelessly muddy the resolution to this hoax. I say he showed great restraint – knowing he didn’t do what they were accusing him of – and he expertly laid out the bread crumbs for those interested in following the real trail.

    • #30
    • April 21, 2019, at 8:13 PM PDT
    • 1 like
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