The redacted version of the findings from a two-year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election shows that the Kremlin sought to boost Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, and there were illegal actions aimed at covering up that fact.
The Mueller Report is essential reading for all citizens concerned about the fate of the presidency and the future of our democracy, but before the document is released — even in a redacted form designed by Attorney General William Barr to protect President Donald Trump more than it is intended to serve the interests of democracy or justice.
In at least ten instances, Mueller detailed acts that could be construed as obstruction of justice by Trump. Pages 66 through 140 of the report detail an extensive array of Russian government links to and contacts with the Trump campaign.
Much of ths factual presentation could form the basis for an impeachment — and in any other circumstances a bipartisan effort toward that end would already be in progress — but cowardice in Congress makes such a course unlikely despite the ongoing threats to US sovereignty, integrity and power.
The special counsel’s investigation looms as a turning point in American history, like an alarm to which we can react or hit the snooze button.
One of the most urgent and important investigations ever conducted, the Mueller inquiry focuses on Trump, his campaign associates, and those he brought with him into the White House but it is all an outgrowth of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The report draws on the testimony of dozens of witnesses and the work of some of the country’s most seasoned prosecutors, FBI agents and U.S. intelligence operatives.
Mueller found that Russia was actively working to elect Trump president, possibly even before his announcement covert operations began to parallel the Republican’s campaign organization.
If only occasionally did the two entities loosely work together, from start to finish both the Russian spy network and the Trump campaign team had the same goals. Page 9 of the report states: “the investigation identified numerous links between individuals with ties to the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump campagn…”
In convoluted terms, the report asserts that Trump did not commit obstruction of justice.
A list of items on page 3 of the second volume of the report says, “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. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment.”
“The evidence we obtained about the President’s actions and intent presents difficult issues that prevent us from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred,” it continued. “Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
In a highly unusual move, clearly one aimed at causing confusion, after creating a 4-page summary of the report last month Barr used the Department of Justice to hold a news conference hours before anyone had the report itself. That was an obvious ploy to spin the facts rather than allow independent alalysis from Congress or the media to filter out to inform the public.
The president’s aides have prepared an extensive spin operation ahead of Thursday’s release Mueller, but the White House’s reaction has a wild card in Trump, who can be unnerving to his staff while Washington is groing feverish with anticipation.
“Honor and integrity are not part of Barr’s legal DNA. Neither s respect for our Constitution and the norms of decency, not to mention international law,” said David Cay Johnston, a journalist who compared the Trump-appointing Attorney General to convicted video con artist James O’Keefe.
“Barr is a lawyer whose actions reveal that he thinks right makes might so long as he agrees with the leader holding the might,” wrote Johnston, on his insightful blog DC Report. “We know Barr dishonestly described Mueller report because people from team Mueller told friends, knowing no doubt that the friends would alert journalists.”
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