On today’s podcast, we argue (really!) about what Bob Mueller was saying in his statement yesterday, about what exoneration means, about what obstruction of justice is, and about all kinds of things. Also, what happened in the Israeli elections, and how can Biden be stopped. Give a listen.

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There are 10 comments.

  1. rdowhower Coolidge

    Noah needs to grow up. He has zero imagination and apparently has no sense of history or political realities.

    • #1
    • May 30, 2019, at 1:29 PM PDT
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  2. EDISONPARKS Member

    Thank God Noah never became a Federal Prosecutor, we would all be doing time for almost obstructing justice.

    • #2
    • May 30, 2019, at 4:30 PM PDT
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  3. Ronnie Listener

    Oh, for goodness’ sake.

    No suspect or witness has the power to fire the people investigating him/her, but they can try to obstruct that investigation in various ways that may or may not work.

    The president, on the other hand, has the power to fire people who work for him, including those who are investigating him. He can actually, decisively, clearly stop those people from investigating him & if his underlings refuse he can do it himself. He didn’t. What works as evidence against suspects who can’t fire their investigators cannot work for POTUS b/c they do not have the same power & so can fail in their attempt. POTUS ultimately can’t fail in an obstruction attempt because nothing can stop him from actually doing it if he decides to.

    This is a. not rocket science and b. yet another reason why the legislative branch should stop trying to outsource its responsibilities to the executive.

    I’m afraid Noah’s disgust with Trump interferes with his ability to think clearly. One can argue that Trump is unfit for office in a clear-eyed way & without losing one’s way. Charlie Cooke does this regularly & without resorting to wild tangents like the bit about all the officials who hate Trump. What was that about, anyway?

    • #3
    • May 30, 2019, at 5:04 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  4. EDISONPARKS Member

    Ronnie (View Comment):

    Oh, for goodness’ sake.

    No suspect or witness has the power to fire the people investigating him/her, but they can try to obstruct that investigation in various ways that may or may not work.

    The president, on the other hand, has the power to fire people who work for him, including those who are investigating him. He can actually, decisively, clearly stop those people from investigating him & if his underlings refuse he can do it himself. He didn’t. What works as evidence against suspects who can’t fire their investigators cannot work for POTUS b/c they do not have the same power & so can fail in their attempt. POTUS ultimately can’t fail in an obstruction attempt because nothing can stop him from actually doing it if he decides to.

    This is a. not rocket science and b. yet another reason why the legislative branch should stop trying to outsource its responsibilities to the executive.

    I’m afraid Noah’s disgust with Trump interferes with his ability to think clearly. One can argue that Trump is unfit for office in a clear-eyed way & without losing one’s way. Charlie Cooke does this regularly & without resorting to wild tangents like the bit about all the officials who hate Trump. What was that about, anyway?

    I had the same thought on Noah.

    Noah is clearly a very bright man in all matters other than subjects which involve Trump. If Rothman engages in a Trump related discussion his acute TDS symptoms kick in hard, at which point you need to lie him down and watch over him to make sure he doesn’t swallow his tongue … a cold compress on the forehead is recommended as well.

    • #4
    • May 30, 2019, at 8:57 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  5. Ronnie Listener

    EDISONPARKS (View Comment):

    I had the same thought on Noah.

    Noah is clearly a very bright man in all matters other than subjects which involve Trump. If Rothman engages in a Trump related discussion his acute TDS symptoms kick in hard, at which point you need to lie him down and watch over him to make sure he doesn’t swallow his tongue … a cold compress on the forehead is recommended as well.

    I happen to be well to the left of Noah (& Jonah & Kristol &c) and still I find it significantly more pleasant to listen to (and read) people with whom I disagree more strongly and on a larger variety of topics, because I find it jarring when anything to do with Trump requires a badly reasoned diatribe, and anything that’s not about Trump (which is most things, frankly) must be twisted to be about Trump.

    It’s not that I don’t understand the impulse. It’s just like when you’ve broken up with someone & you don’t understand how anyone can fail to see what a horrible human being your ex is & it drives you crazy & makes you want to pull your hair out & if you just explained to everyone how wrong they are they’d agree! But that impulse, if it exists about a politician, shouldn’t be indulged by people whose job it is to give reasoned analysis, and when it is indulged, it’s incredibly grating, glaringly obvious, and ultimately off-putting.

    • #5
    • May 31, 2019, at 7:14 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  6. JuliaBlaschke Coolidge

    Seems to me that the second part of Mueller’s report was simply opposition research on Trump for the Democrats to use and paid for by taxpayers. It essentially says that Trump is a horrible person. But people knew that already and they voted for him anyway. Now he is a horrible person with a great economy, once again running against a truly awful Democrat.

    Noah wants Trump to go away and is disappointed that Mueller didn’t make him do so.

    • #6
    • May 31, 2019, at 7:29 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  7. rdowhower Coolidge

    Christine is similarly disappointing. “Only Trump partisans would think the report was good for Trump”? Maybe she meant the second part, but how can it not be good for him when it found he was not guilty of collusion? You don’t have to be partisan to see that.

    • #7
    • May 31, 2019, at 8:28 AM PDT
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  8. Daniel Sterman Listener

    Noah is 100% right about obstruction of justice. If you destroy or forge documents for a subpoena, it doesn’t matter whether or not there’s an “underlying crime” – you are attempting to prevent an investigation from proceeding properly.

    Which is an academic argument, because here there were plenty of underlying crimes! If Trump obstructed justice to protect Michael Flynn (who definitely committed crimes) or Paul Manafort (who definitely committed crimes) or Roger Stone (who definitely committed crimes), are those not still crimes? It doesn’t stop being obstruction of justice because the one specific crime that the public was expecting didn’t turn out to exist. There are plenty of others, and the investigation of those others was materially obstructed.

    John’s simile about “talking to somebody else about how you will cheat on your taxes” doesn’t hold. This isn’t the same thing at all. What Trump did was more similar to instructing your CPA to help you cheat on your taxes. Even if he refuses to comply, that’s a crime.

    • #8
    • June 1, 2019, at 10:48 AM PDT
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  9. Daniel Sterman Listener

    A few corrections to the segment on the Israeli election:

    • Although it’s true that the ultra-Orthodox draft law expires this summer, the election automatically postpones that expiration. So they didn’t actually shoot themselves in the foot all that much; in fact, if it proves to be too difficult to pass a replacement law, they can just keep calling new elections every three months and keep it perpetually in force :)
    • The Likud did not get more seats than the opposition Blue & White party. They both got 35 seats. That doesn’t affect John’s ultimate point, though – they could easily have made a 70-seat coalition between them if not for the massive enmity Blue & White leaders hold towards Bibi.
    • #9
    • June 1, 2019, at 11:12 AM PDT
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  10. EDISONPARKS Member

    Daniel Sterman (View Comment):

    Noah is 100% right about obstruction of justice. If you destroy or forge documents for a subpoena, it doesn’t matter whether or not there’s an “underlying crime” – you are attempting to prevent an investigation from proceeding properly.

    Which is an academic argument, because here there were plenty of underlying crimes! If Trump obstructed justice to protect Michael Flynn (who definitely committed crimes) or Paul Manafort (who definitely committed crimes) or Roger Stone (who definitely committed crimes), are those not still crimes? It doesn’t stop being obstruction of justice because the one specific crime that the public was expecting didn’t turn out to exist. There are plenty of others, and the investigation of those others was materially obstructed.

    John’s simile about “talking to somebody else about how you will cheat on your taxes” doesn’t hold. This isn’t the same thing at all. What Trump did was more similar to instructing your CPA to help you cheat on your taxes. Even if he refuses to comply, that’s a crime.

    The issue is not whether there is a obstruction of justice case … there can always be a case ….the issue is whether it is a prosecutable case the Feds would anticipate convincing a jury to convict on obstruction of justice. The the obstruction case as outlined in the Mueller Report may very well be entirely convincing to some … predisposed to wanting Donald Trump out of office. But would the same set of facts be as convincing if they were aligned against you, a family member, friend, or just someone with whom you shared political alliances.

    The Mueller Report was written by opposition political partisans with the express purpose of presenting the best possible case of obstruction of justice, and from there it is not particularly compelling or you could bet your ass Mueller would have recommended indictment and not played this bizzarro world Hamlet weirdness.

    Moreover, all the witness testimony was given voluntarily with the full cooperation of the Administration(ie: no subpoenas) which would infer the Trump Administration did not believe the the witness testimony was worth shielding(ie: Presidential privilege), which would further infer the Trump Admin had no criminal intent to obstruct …. and “criminal intent” is a key component of proving obstruction of justice.

    Most importantly, the fact the entire Trump/Russia collusion narrative was an illicit construct of a politically corrupt Obama DOJ/FBI/IC and their unprecedented machinations are what created what we now know was a entirely unnecessary Mueller investigation which apparently quickly veered off to the nonsensicle Trump/Russsia collusion debacle and honed in the the very malaeble and subjective “obstruction of justice” investigation.

    Is there a obstruction case to be made? … yes … a really, really bad one.

    In normal circumstances would the Feds lose the case in court? … yes … in fact they would never prosecute.

    Could Donald Trump lose this case through jury nullification …. yes …. Donald Trump is so hated he would lose any case is brought against him because normally bright rational citizens are evidently willing to bend their objectivity and understanding of civil liberties to get rid of this dude.

    • #10
    • June 1, 2019, at 1:26 PM PDT
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