The Mueller Report was handed to AG Barr on March 22, 2019
“If we had confidence…the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice we would so state”; “we are unable to reach that conclusion”; “it also does not exonerate him.”Mueller Report, page 182.
With all of the worry about Covid-19, the Trump affair has taken a back seat, as it should. But let’s not forget about why he deserved to be impeached and the mistaken decision by the House not to include the Mueller Report’s findings in the Articles of Impeachment sent to the Senate.
Trump says the Mueller Report “totally exonerates me”. Right-wing media encourages that ignorance of facts, calling it a “hoax”, though that is obviously untrue. Further, Americans who have never read the Mueller Report (see analysis below) probably believe it.
Reviewing the poorly done Mueller Report, it is irrefutable that Trump obstructed justice, preventing Mueller from knowing whether or not Trump was guilty of conspiracy regarding the Russians. In his purposefully hard to understand, overly legalistic way, Mueller indicated that fact.
But he also stated it was not within his purview to comment about it or indict Trump (due to DOJ policy). Mueller believes that’s the job of Congress via impeachment or censor. That was one of Mueller’s many failures to properly do his job, including failure to demand that Trump (and Don Jr and others) be interviewed in person, which would have undoubtedly resulted in either more damning facts or charges of lying to Congress.
Here’s a brief summary of the Mueller Report. First, regarding conspiracy with the Russians:
- Russia actively tried to influence the election with the goals of electing Trump and causing Americans to lose faith in democratic elections. The effort started in 2014, even before Trump declared his candidacy.
- From 2013 on, Trump and his family had numerous business dealings with Russian oligarchs tied to Putin. One proposed venture was the building of a Russian Trump Tower. The project was abandoned in 2014. However, when Trump became a candidate (2015), Trump directed Michael Cohen to revive the project. Trump publicly denied he was involved with the Russians, an obvious conflict of interest.
- Numerous Trump associates were found guilty of crimes related to the Russians and/or the election, including: Stone, Manafort, Flynn, Cohen, Gates, Papadopoulos and others. Many lied to investigators.
- On 6-9-16, a Trump Tower meeting was held between a Russian agent and Don Jr., Manafort, Kushner and others. The purpose was to get dirt on Clinton. The report concludes that they should not be prosecuted because they did not understand what they were doing was illegal, a dubious finding.
- Don Jr. refused to appear before Mueller, while Trump provided only incomplete written answers.
In another questionable decision, Mueller concluded he did not have “sufficient” evidence to prove conspiracy. There was clear evidence that Russia worked with individuals close to Trump, but no proof that Trump and his campaign did so.
Volume II of the Report dealt with obstruction of justice, finding:
- A 1973 DOJ policy prohibits the indictment of a sitting President. However, per the above quote, Mueller did not find Trump innocent of obstruction.
- A multitude of examples show direct obstruction by Trump, including: asking Comey to limit his investigation of Russian interference, publicly state that the President was not being investigated and pledge personal loyalty to him; forcing the DOJ to terminate Comey due to his continuation of the investigation (per Trump’s statement to Lester Holt); instructing McGahn to speak to DOJ about supposed Mueller conflict of interest; directing McGahn to fire Mueller and demanding that McGahn lie about it after it became public; and lying about /covering up key items, including the Russian Trump Tower meeting.
Why didn’t the House include Russia investigation obstruction in the Impeachment articles? Pelosi made the decision that the Mueller Report would not be understood by most Americans and would be a negative in the 2020 elections.
Pelosi’s possibly correct, politically. But that doesn’t mean Trump isn’t guilty of obstruction. He obviously is, which Mueller should have more clearly stated. And, with lack of removal after impeachment, it is virtually assured that Russia will now interfere in the 2020 Presidential election to put its man back in the White House.