FROM THE WASHINGTON POST, A REALLY IMPORTANT POST THAT EVERYONE SHOULD READ

Trump would have been charged with obstruction were he not president, hundreds of former federal prosecutors assert


From left, special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, President Trump and Attorney General William P. Barr. (From left: Charles Dharapak; Jabin Botsford; Bill O’Leary/AP; The Washington Post)

May 6 at 2:00 PM


More than 450 former federal prosecutors who worked in Republican and Democratic administrations have signed on to a statement asserting special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s findings would have produced obstruction charges against President Trump — if not for the office he held.

The statement — signed by myriad former career government employees as well as high-profile political appointees — offers a rebuttal to Attorney General William P. Barr’s determination that the evidence Mueller uncovered was “not sufficient” to establish that Trump committed a crime.

Mueller had declined to say one way or the other whether Trump should have been charged, citing a Justice Department legal opinion that sitting presidents cannot be indicted, as well as concerns about the fairness of accusing someone for whom there can be no court proceeding.

“Each of us believes that the conduct of President Trump described in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report would, in the case of any other person not covered by the Office of Legal Counsel policy against indicting a sitting President, result in multiple felony charges for obstruction of justice,” the former federal prosecutors wrote.

“We emphasize that these are not matters of close professional judgment,” they added. “Of course, there are potential defenses or arguments that could be raised in response to an indictment of the nature we describe here. . . . But, to look at these facts and say that a prosecutor could not probably sustain a conviction for obstruction of justice — the standard set out in Principles of Federal Prosecution — runs counter to logic and our experience.”

How Barr appeared to misrepresent Mueller’s findings

Attorney General William P. Barr repeatedly appeared to misrepresent or misstate special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s findings on May 1. 

The statement is notable for the number of people who signed it — 375 as of early Monday afternoon, growing to 459 in the hours after it published — and the positions and political affiliations of some on the list. It was posted online Monday afternoon; those signing it did not explicitly address what, if anything, they hope might happen next.

Among the high-profile signers are Bill Weld, a former U.S. attorney and Justice Department official in the Reagan administration who is running against Trump as a Republican; Donald Ayer, a former deputy attorney general in the George H.W. Bush Administration; John S. Martin, a former U.S. attorney and federal judge appointed to his posts by two Republican presidents; Paul Rosenzweig, who served as senior counsel to independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr; and Jeffrey Harris, who worked as the principal assistant to Rudolph W. Giuliani when he was at the Justice Department in the Reagan administration.

The list also includes more than 20 former U.S. attorneys and more than 100 people with at least 20 years of service at the Justice Department — most of them former career officials. The signers worked in every presidential administration since that of Dwight D. Eisenhower. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), a federal prosecutor before he became a lawmaker, joined the letter after news of it broke, and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, tweeted his support for its premise .

The signatures were collected by the nonprofit group Protect Democracy, which counts Justice Department alumni among its staff and was contacted about the statement last week by a group of former federal prosecutors, said Justin Vail, an attorney at Protect Democracy.

“We strongly believe that Americans deserve to hear from the men and women who spent their careers weighing evidence and making decisions about whether it was sufficient to justify prosecution, so we agreed to send out a call for signatories,” Vail said. “The response was overwhelming. This effort reflects the voices of former prosecutors who have served at DOJ and signed the statement.”

What’s in the Mueller report?

A redacted version of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report was released to the public on April 18. Here’s what’s in it. 

Weld said by the time he reviewed the statement, it already had more than 100 signatures, and he affixed his name because he had concluded the evidence “goes well beyond what is required to support criminal charges of obstruction of justice.”

“I hope the letter will be persuasive evidence that Attorney General Barr’s apparent legal theory is incorrect,” he said.

A spokesman for the special counsel’s office declined to comment. A spokeswoman for the Justice Department referred a reporter to Barr’s previous public statements on the subject.

Many legal analysts have wondered since Mueller’s report was released whether the special counsel believed he had sufficient evidence to charge Trump and was just unwilling to say it out loud.

By the report’s account, Trump — after learning he was being investigated for obstruction — told his White House counsel to have Mueller removed. And when that did not work, according to Mueller’s report, Trump tried to have a message passed to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to limit the scope of Mueller’s authority. Of that episode, Mueller’s team wrote there was “substantial evidence” to indicate Trump was trying to “prevent further investigative scrutiny” of himself and his campaign.

“All of this conduct — trying to control and impede the investigation against the President by leveraging his authority over others — is similar to conduct we have seen charged against other public officials and people in powerful positions,” the former federal prosecutors wrote in their letter.

They wrote that prosecuting such cases was “critical because unchecked obstruction — which allows intentional interference with criminal investigations to go unpunished — puts our whole system of justice at risk.”

Mueller’s team, though, wrote that it decided not to make a “traditional prosecutorial judgment” in part because of the Justice Department opinion on not indicting sitting presidents and because the evidence obtained “presents difficult issues that would need to be resolved” if they were to do so.

“At the same time, if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state,” Mueller’s team wrote.

After receiving Mueller’s report, Barr said he and Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein reviewed the case themselves and determined the evidence was not there. He offered a robust defense of that decision at a recent congressional hearing, detailing for lawmakers possible defenses Trump could have raised in each episode.

“The government has to prove things beyond a reasonable doubt,” Barr said. “And, as the report shows, there’s ample evidence on the other side of the ledger that would prevent the government from establishing that.”


I do not usually reblog items from the Washington Post, but this article is so important, I felt it deserved the bigger airing. I am a subscriber and I find it frustrating that I can’t make some of these posts available, but usually, I assume someone else will post the same material. I’m sure someone else will post the material, but nobody writes it better or with more clarity than the Post. 

This is a completely non-profit blog (I wish it were a little less non-profit) so this is truly public service!

ENMITY? NO THANKS – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Enmity

I saw this and I thought about writing to it. Except aside from how I feel about Trump, I don’t think I’ve ever felt enmity towards anyone.

Anger? Absolutely. Very, very angry? A lot more than once. Even rather furious and enraged? Uh huh. But nothing that lasted longer than the event. Nothing long-term, permanent, or unforgivable.

So unless I’m going to write about the president and how much I really hate the man — and is “hate” the same as “enmity”?

Junco with our sundial

Regardless I felt that writing about this was going to ruin my day which has been going pretty well, all things considered. Garry vacuumed and dusted — without my asking, which has to be a first in our very long relationship. I took a few bird pictures that I think are kind of cool.

Do I need to write about enmity?

No, I don’t. So instead, please accept this lovely photograph of a Junco having an emotional moment with the toad and our sundial.

STEADIER THAN ANY ROCK – Marilyn Armstrong

STEADY AS HE GOES


Trump will never abandon Russia. He can’t afford it. And he might not live long if he tried.

From highly reliable sources.

Putin’s got the goods on Trump’s massive money laundering with the head of the Russian Mafia in the US. The head who is #1 on the FBI’s most wanted list. His headquarters is a social club in little Russia in Brooklyn that was until very recently co-owned by Michael Cohen. Trump’s fixer. You can’t make this shit up.

If you think about it, it makes sense. Follow the money. Forget “sex scandals” because Trump doesn’t care and neither do his people. But huge amounts of illegal money being laundered by the Russian Mafia? Through a club that was recently co-owned by Trump’s now indicted fixer? That might make a big dent.

That is why, despite his behavior sitting on the knife-edge of treason, Trump is quite literally owned by Putin and his fellow oligarchs. For Trump, there’s not pulling away from this. There’s no safe way out. There’s a giant trail of money leading to his tippy toes.

Owned and operated by the Russians.

So talk about steady? Trump is as steady as you can get because he is owned and operated by Russia. He will continue to be O&O by the Russians, no matter what anyone in any party or department says about it. That is, until they finally put the cuffs on him.

High crimes and misdemeanors? You think?

AMIBIGUITY – Marilyn Armstrong

The Ambiguity of Our Times

Ambiguity. That’s when you say “I love you,” but pause afterward and think (out loud) that you used to love other people and you don’t love them anymore, so maybe loving you doesn’t really mean very much.

That’s how I feel about “Our Power President.”

He is making America great. Again. Because our previous greatness wasn’t “his” kind of great.

He has solved all our problems, yet somehow, none of them seem solved. But that’s only because the press lies all the time and refuse to admit all the important fixes he has made in the world.

Trump and Putin

Meanwhile, the kids are still living in baby jails. Kim Jun Un has a lot of rockets and no intention of giving them up. Russia is taking over the United States and our Chief Moron doesn’t seem to notice. We are going to be a new — and really BIG — satellite of Russia. Cool!

Russia is very good at taking over other countries. It’s one of their “things.” At one time, they dominated more than half of Europe and were working on Asia and Africa, until the Chinese beat them to it.

We used to be pretty good at it ourselves, but now, we bow and suck up to Putin.

Dave Granlund / politicalcartoons.com

I’d like to know why this is true. What does Putin have on Trump? It can’t just be something sexually embarrassing. It’s got to be something seriously illegal in an international kind of way. Will we ever know what it is?

Thoughts on the matter?

SKEWED LIBERTY (THIS COUNTRY FOR SALE) – Judy Dykstra-Brown

DSC00967

 SKEWED – Judy Dykstra-Brown

Everything is tilted. Slightly unaligned.
The constitution set askew. Liberty maligned.
Some of the well-heeled citizens think that this is fine.
They cannot see that everything is slightly out of line.
All the pretty Philistines queue up at their tees
while their flunky lawyers determine what to seize.
Contracts with the Russians. Schemes to sell off national land.
Cronies helping cronies. Off-shore drilling by demand.

Rivers being sullied and oceans compromised
while insuring rights to bear arms are exercised.
Certain pious preachers line up behind the svelte,
proclaiming to the masses that they know what Jesus felt.
Indeed, the smallest sparrow  no longer matters much
so long as all the mighty increase their greedy clutch––
all the money-changers, corrupt to the core,
filling all their pockets with the money of the poor.

Surely it is clear that at ruling they’re inept,
and if he was watching, surely Jesus wept
as all the pearls of liberty were cast before the swine
with each self-serving libertine declaring  what is “mine.”
What is true no longer matters. What “they” say is now what now counts.
They say it’s holy scripture as they settle their accounts.
People, take off your blinders. Consider what is real.
One nation, under God, was not set up for them to steal!

EXPELIO TRUMPUS! – BY ELLIN CURLEY

David Brooks wrote an editorial in the June 2, 2017 New York Times called “The Axis Of Selfishness.” I just reread it. It really helps you understand where Trump is coming from. It makes his attitudes and actions a bit more comprehensible.

Brooks posits that Trump has a very dark view of humanity and the world. Trump believes that man is motivated solely by selfishness and self-interest. Life is merely a competitive struggle for gain and dominance at the expense of others.

There are only winners and losers. There is a limited amount of ‘stuff’ to be had and everyone has to try to get as much as possible for themselves. You are either on top or you are on bottom beneath someone else’s heel.

There is nothing in the middle. No area of compromise, no mutual interest, no sharing. No neutral zone where people coexist in peace, prosperity and equality.

This explains a lot. He is simpatico with brutal dictators because they share his philosophy of life. They are ‘winners’ who have come out with the most power and the biggest piece of the finite pie. It’s every man for himself, us against them, eat or be eaten, dominate or be subjugated in a dark world with no humanity or humanism.

No touchy feely stuff like morality, good, selflessness, compassion, caring, or justice enter his world. It’s as if those qualities don’t exist for him. That really is sad. If he weren’t screwing up the entire free world I might feel sorry for him — another squishy emotion that he doesn’t recognize.

If this is how Trump sees the world, his behavior almost makes sense. No wonder he’s such a dick! No wonder he’s paranoid. No wonder he thinks all Muslims are out to kill us, that Western European democracies as well as Canada and Mexico are out to cheat us, that all non wealthy, non white Americans exist entirely to mooch off everyone else — and all liberals want only to destroy him.

No wonder Trump can’t let anything go — or stop tweeting. He has to be right and everyone else must be wrong. No wonder he has to demean others. In his mind, the only way you can lift yourself up is by denigrating others.

Brooks says the problem is that Trump’s worldview is self-perpetuating. If you act aggressively, competitively, and selfishly towards all others (people or nations), they will respond to you in kind. Thus your misanthropic attitudes are confirmed and the vicious circle of the worst humanity has to offer goes around and around.

The rest of us acknowledge the existence of greed and venality, but we believe social evolution pushes mankind to be cooperative, empathetic, idealistic, loyal, and righteous. We believe humanity is designed to strive for these ideals in our personal and public lives. We can see the wonderful world we can make if we work together and care for one another.

In our world, Harry Potter beats Voldemort every time. In Trump’s world, Harry Potter is a minor character with little power or even influence. Voldemort is the undisputed king.

I don’t want to live in that world! Neither does most of America.

We have to hope the people who share our better view of life can muster the strength needed to banish Orange Voldemort’s darkness, and bring back America’s light. We have to fight to reinstate compassion, decency, justice, and right as the guiding forces for America.

EXPELIO TRUMPUS!

IDENTICAL? NOT EXACTLY, BUT ABSOLUTELY RHYMING

No two things are identical, though many things seem to be on the surface.

Even identical twins are not precisely identical. There’s always some small difference. Every snowflake is unique. Each part of history is slightly different from any other.

But if things aren’t identical, they can be remarkably similar. “Rhyming” as Samuel Clemens artfully phrased it.

Our world today rhymes well with the rise of Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany. Every single day that passes make this more obvious. The U.S. is not 1930s Germany, yet we resemble it sufficiently to make some of us — me for example — very worried.

Many people describe the German government at the time as weak — or mostly too weak to fight back. There was a time — quite a long time — when they could have fought back. When Hitler could have been forced down and out, but it didn’t happen.

Will we do a better job? Are we trying? What more can we do?

My friend, Martha Kennedy pointed out to me that Trump is not a Republican.

Trump is a fascist.

It caught me off-guard for a second. My breath went in and stopped there … and then I knew she was right. He isn’t a Republican. He isn’t even an American. There isn’t a patriotic, nation-loving bone in his bloated body. He is a greedy, bigoted, narcissist who cares about no one but himself. He is loyal to nothing.

In my heart, I would like to see him in handcuffs off to a long-term in Federal prison, but I would settle for him and all those wretched people he has sucked into our government removed and banned from government. If you can ban Pete Rose from baseball, how much more so should we be banning that thing from any kind of government — or even the possibility of getting any sort of government assistance for any project. Ever.

But don’t worry. I’m sure someone will hire him to do play by-play on a TV news show somewhere. Let’s take a wild guess here. You think possibly Fox?

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