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I'm too tired to do the full legal review, tonight, but I have a number of thoughts having read Barr's "summary". The short answer is that Barr is whitewashing, and trying to fix the playing field before Mueller's actual report hits the street. The wording is too cute, which makes me suspicious. He "quoted" only parts of sentences, and I believe it is going to turn out to have overstated Mueller's conclusions.

For example, he said the report states: "[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities." Not that he didn't find evidence of it, just that it didn't "establish" it. I suspect he's playing with burdens of proof, here. Not beyond a reasonable doubt, maybe, but to a preponderance of evidence?

More bothersome, to me, is the AG's treatment of the obstruction findings. He declines to prosecute, but because he bootstraps from a collision that the underlying crime wasn't prosecuted. That is NOT the standard for obstruction. This conclusion is mighty suspect, in my view.

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Now that I have had the chance to review this more thoroughly, it is much more disturbing. I promised a brief legal analysis earlier, and I am going to attempt one now, with two caveats: First, this is a "summary" of the Mueller report, written by a partisan (so there is more to come); second, I can only address what is in the summary, which has been made public (I'll be interested in comparing these thoughts with what eventually comes out). BLUF: Barr did what he was appointed to do, and that was to cover for the President. This is a very political, not legal, document. Let's get to the details:

1) Barr did not quote a single full sentence from the Mueller report, so, we really don't know what the edited determinations really were. This is cherry-picking at its highest level.

2) the wording of the quotes that were provided are curious, and significant. The quotes:

a) [T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities. First, notice that this is an excerpt of a quote, not the actual sentence from the report. What is missing is as important as what is there. Second, "did not establish" is legal jargon for "probably could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt." In other words, there was probably substantial evidence and the first missing part of the sentence likely laid out the evidence that supported collusion. Barr has elided this for a reason. In the fullness of time we'll discover that reason.

b) Coordination [is defined as an] agreement tacit or express between the Trump Campaign and the Russian government on election interference. This is the definition Mueller (apparently) used. What it says is that there was no direct evidence that coordination took place, but there were "coincidences" that suggested it. Again, what is missing here may be more important than what is included in the "summary".

c) Mueller determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment about whether the president obstructed justice over the course of the two-year investigation of Russian interference in the election. Instead, Mueller laid out the relevant evidence on both sides of the issue, but did not resolve what the special counsel saw as the difficult issues of fact and law concerning whether the Presidents actions and intent could be viewed as obstruction. Muellers report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it does not exonerate him. This is a doozy of cherry-picking and covers up more than it exposes. What Mueller apparently concluded was that while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him. What were the "difficult issues"? Which "actions and intent"? And, that brings us to the primary purpose of Barr writing this letter, and being appointed in the first place:

AG Barr concluded that the evidence developed during the Special Counsels investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense. This was not Mueller's conclusion, nor really anyone else's. It is consistent with the memo he produced that got him the job as AG. As one observer pointed out: "Crucially, we dont know whether Barr concluded that the president didnt obstruct justice or that he couldnt obstruct justice." The latter was the premise of his unsolicited memo. It is this conclusion that is most suspect in the summary and will still be litigated in the future. Barr is not in the mainstream on this one.

3) Was Mueller really done? I admit I have been suspicious for some time that the Mueller probe was concluding not because he was finished, but because the new AG was demanding it. The circumstances of the release, the summary, and the language bolsters that suspicion. Mueller is a famously thorough investigator and prosecutor. Some of the language of the summary also suggest that - they are acutely defensive and excessively laudatory of the thoroughness of investigation - and the fact that Mueller didn't reach a "conclusion" on the fundamental question of obstruction.

4) Is this a legal document? No, not really. The Special Counsel is required to provide a confidential memo to the AG. The AG is now "summarizing" that memo for Congress - but it is abundantly clear that this summary is excessively slanted toward a predetermined conclusion (hence the quick turn-around). This is a cover-up memo intended to "set the stage" for future disagreements, and slant coverage for now. I am even more suspicious of Barr's motives than I was before, and it was obvious to any observer that this is exactly what he was hired to do. When the Mueller Report actually sees the light of day, I will bet significant money that it looks radically different from this "summary".


[Since I went to bed last night, lawyers have jumped in all over the internet with similar analyses, e.g.,
Barrs Startling and Unseemly Haste
(The Atlantic);William Barr Did What Donald Trump Hired Him to Do (Slate); What to Make of Bill Barr's Letter (Lawfare)]

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Yes, Trump Obstructed Justice. And William Barr Is Helping Him Cover It Up. (The New Republic)
Quote:
In a letter to House and Senate leaders on Sunday, Attorney General William Barr revealed that he would not charge President Trump with obstruction of justice over his efforts to thwart the investigation into whether his campaign conspired with Russia to swing the 2016 election. In order to do so, Barr performed a remarkable gimmick that allowed him to not only break promises he made during his confirmation process, but also gloss over the crimes that Trump is suspected of committing.

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There is, obviously, more to come. The collusion thing is kinda interesting. Basically the collusion thing seems to be a Republican thing more than anybody else's as they have been the ones mentioning it, over, and over, and over again. Eventually we will get the reasons why there were no charges, we just get to wait a bit longer. What was not mentioned was the possibly traitorous behavior of our dear leader, the lies of his children (they CAN be indicted), his dealings with the Russians, including debt, how wealthy he really is and any bailouts he might have experienced since becoming president, etc. Remember too that the house has virtually every committee, with subpoena power, working on this one. Pretty soon they will all have access to most of what Mueller did and probably a more detailed map of the roads to travel.

I know, we all hoped for the Mueller report to clear everything up, charge all bad guys, etc. Not gonna happen. We are now in round two - the House, and Fed, investigations. The Republicans, incidentally, are going to whine loudly about all the expense. Hopefully somebody will point out that they spent 100 million on getting Hillary, to no avail.

Remember too, Jackass has already almost presented his new budget, part of which wants to take 378 billion out of medicare in one fell swoop. This is not going to fly and the Dems and Republicans with the slightest backbones are going to have to collude to write a budget that they can agree on enough so that gov is not shutdown for the foreseeable future.

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Welp, it turns out that Bill Barr has a stunning history of covering-up the shenanigans or Republican Presidents.

Say it's not so! coffee


Contrarian, extraordinaire


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We should keep in mind that EVERYONE investigating Trump so far is a Republican, including Comey and Mueller. Congress is supposed to have oversight on the Executive Branch, but we all know how that has gone for the last two years. Now it's the Democrats' turn to investigate. That might just turn out a little different.

I don't see how Barr can do anything about that. For example, Mueller is now a non-employee of the Justice Department. They can subpoena him and ask in an open investigation on C-Span about anything. So Barr's and the Congress' efforts to hide the truth will all come to naught. It's pretty stupid, like you cat pulling the rug over the pile he missed getting in the litter box. It's almost like they want to get caught.

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I think you are suggesting that the congress hire Mueller to investigate for them. That's actually pretty interesting. He could then hire everybody that Jackass has gotten fired? Now THAT would get interesting!

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I would think they want somebody a little more enthusiastic about pointing out all the Russia connections, like Joe McCarthy for example. We could use a good Red Scare about now. I can just see all the Republicans rushing to assure everyone that they are not communists. Ronald Reagan is spinning in his grave.

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[quote= We could use a good Red Scare about now. I can just see all the Republicans rushing to assure everyone that they are not communists. [/quote]

WTF!?

Seriously. Stop carrying the rights water...

Russia is more alike to our present political state than it is to communism now. Bill Clinton's economic shock doctrine saw to that.

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The russian connections has been explored, I think, to exhaustion. We know about all the people that talked to them. Mueller knows what they said and, according to the four pages, nothing interesting, etc. On the other hand the Dems would be providing a living for the fired and they could try and work over Jackass, just because.

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