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Over the last two years talking heads in the major media developed high hopes that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe would crescendo with dramatic flare. 

Viewers likely started to imagine that the only possible outcome would be the Trump family being frog-walked out of the White House in handcuffs. 

Tonight, Mueller's probe officially concluded. No further indictments will be filed, and no one in the Trump family will be indicted. The two-year investigation never charged anyone with conspiracy related to the Trump campaign and Russia. 

The disappointment was evident on many of the news programs that served as the Mueller probe's biggest boosters. MSNBC's Rachel Maddow appeared to angrily ask why Mueller "let Trump off the hook?"

For a refresher on just how confidently these predictions were made, here are a few flashbacks. 

In December 2017, MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski said the Trump Team might be going to jail "for the rest of their lives."

In December 2018, CNN's Wolf Blitzer asked Delaware Sen. Coons — as he often does — if he thought Trump might be facing jail time. Sen. Coons said yes, "the issues outlined against both Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort, I think, continue to sharpen the ways in which it is clear that the Mueller investigation has produced a whole series of actions not previously exposed to the public."

Democratic lawmakers were not immune from setting lofty expectations from the outcome of the investigation. In December 2018, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said Trump could be the first president "to face the prospect of jail time."

"My takeaway is there’s a very real prospect that on the day Donald Trump leaves office the Justice Department may indict him, that he may be the first president in quite some time to face the real prospect of jail time," Rep. Schiff said. "We have been discussing the issue of pardons that the president may offer to people or dangle in front of people. The bigger pardon question may come down the road as the next president has to determine whether to pardon Donald Trump."

In March 2017, Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) said the evidence he had already seen was enough proof of collusion he predicted prison sentences. 

"My impression is after all of this is said and done that some people end up in jail,” he told CNN's Blitzer. "My impression is that people will probably be charged and probably go to jail.”

In March 2018, ABC's Joy Behar hopefully predicted of the Trump family:  “I think they’re all going to end up together in prison and maybe that’s a good thing.”

And that’s just skimming the surface. Check out the montage above for more. 

RELATED: 

— MSNBC’s Maddow Appears Emotional Reporting on Mueller Not Indicting Anyone Else

— Beto: ‘Beyond a Shadow of a Doubt’ Trump ‘Sought to … Collude with the Russian Government’

— Rep. Schiff Vows to Keep Investigating Trump: 'We Have to Find the Truth'

— Matthews Fumes over Mueller: ‘How Could They Let Trump off the Hook?’

Executive privilege cannot be used to hide wrongdoing and any attempt by the White House and President Donald Trump to block parts of special counsel Robert Mueller's report from Congress or the public would not be "right" nor "successful," according to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y.

"The president must personally assert executive privilege, and I do not believe it exists here at all because, as we learned from the [former President Richard] Nixon tapes case, executive privilege cannot be used to hide wrongdoing," Nadler told NBC's "Meet the Press."

". . . The president may try to assert it, may try to hide things behind it, but I don't think that's right or [would] be successful."

Rep. Nadler referred to the unanimous 1974 Supreme Court ruling on the Nixon tapes that rejected executive privilege overriding the judicial process.

President Trump has reportedly weighed using executive privilege to review classified material not related to any indictment legal proceeding, merely the public release of potentially politicized material that is not used in review criminality.

"Congress must get all the information and the evidence that the Department of Justice may have in order to exercise our function of being able to hold the president accountable," Nadler told host Chuck Todd. "If we don't do that, if we can't do that the president is effectively above the law."

Source: NewsMax Politics

Special counsel Robert Mueller attended church Sunday not far from the White House, leading to striking photos just after he submitted his report to the Justice Department.

Mueller and his wife Ann attended services at St. John’s Episcopal Church, which is right across from Lafayette Park, located in front of the White House.

Mueller church
Special counsel Robert Mueller, and his wife Ann, leave St. John’s Episcopal Church, across from the White House, after attending morning services, in Washington.

As they departed around noon, reporters snapped photos of pair, including some of Mueller with the White House in the background.

APTOPIX Trump Russia Probe
Special counsel Robert Mueller walks past the White House after attending services at St. John’s Episcopal Church. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Mueller is a regular attendee of the church. His attendance this weekend came a week after President Trump attended services at the church with wife, Melania Trump.

Mueller delivered his report to Attorney General William Barr on Friday, concluding his 22-month investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Barr told congressional leaders in a letter he may be able to provide them with the special counsel’s “principal conclusions” as early as this weekend, but has yet to do so.

While Mueller was at church, Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein were spotted at the Justice Department. Trump is in Florida this weekend, and according to White House spokesman Hogan Gidley, the White House has not yet received or been briefed on the Mueller report.

The investigation led to the indictments of 34 people and three Russian companies, including six individuals close to Trump such as former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, but none relate to collusion with Russia. Mueller is not expected to recommend any new indictments.

Top Democrats appeared on the Sunday talk show circuit demanding the full release of Mueller’s report, while some Republicans want to take transparency a step further, including the release of the scope memo for the Russia investigation and related documents.

Trump left Washington, D.C., on Friday morning for Florida, where he is spending the weekend at his Palm Beach property, the Mar-a-Lago, with first lady Melania Trump and their son Barron, who turned 13 last week.

After not tweeting for roughly a day and a half, Trump broke his silence Sunday morning with an upbeat message that did not mention the Russia investigation.

“Good Morning, Have A Great Day!” he said in one tweet. “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” he said in the other.

So far the president has not said anything publicly about the end of Mueller’s investigation, which he has called a “witch hunt” run by “angry Democrats,” but he has been updated about any developments by his lawyers. Before leaving the White House, Trump repeated his assertion to reporters that there was “no collusion” between his 2016 presidential campaign and Russia.

While in Florida, Trump met with Caribbean leaders, stepped into a Mar-a-Lago fundraiser Friday evening where Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., delivered a speech and played golf with singer Kid Rock.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., on Sunday did not rule out an impeachment of President Donald Trump — but said it would depend on “overwhelming evidence of criminality.”

In an interview on ABC News’ "This Week," Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, qualified his remarks to the San Francisco Chronicle that if there’s no bombshell in the final report of special counsel Robert Mueller report, there’d be no impeachment.

"Not necessarily,” Schiff said Sunday.  “Because… [the Department of Justice]  can't indict the president. That's their policy. And therefore there could be overwhelming evidence on the obstruction issue [in the Mueller report]. And I don't know if that's the case, but if there were overwhelming evidence of criminality on the president's part, then the Congress would need to consider that remedy if indictment is foreclosed."

Schiff also pushed back at GOP claims saying declarations of vindication for Trump in the completed Mueller probe are wrong.

Trump’s allies have “been saying with each indictment that it's a vindication,” he said. “About six people close to the president have been indicted. That hardly looks like vindication to me.”

He also called it a “mistake” for Mueller to have not interviewed the president before ending the investigation.

“It was a mistake to rely on written responses by the president,” he said.That is generally more what the lawyer has to say than what the individual has to say. I can certainly understand why the lawyers like [Rudy] Giuliani were fighting this, because the president is someone who seems pathologically incapable of telling the truth for long periods of time.

Related Stories:

Source: NewsMax Politics

Congressional Democrats “intend to impeach” President Donald Trump — and “don’t care about the evidence,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said Sunday.

In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Cruz, though critical of the now-completed investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller, said House Democrats  have another agenda.

What they are basically saying is they are going to impeach the president for being Donald Trump. And they don't care about the evidence,” he said.

Cruz said if it remains true that “not a single person was indicted for colluding with the Russians to influence the 2016 election — that’s goodness for the American people.”

“I'm concerned that it may have become a fishing expedition,” he said of the Mueller probe.

“Bob Mueller made a serious mistake when he brought together the team of investigators and lawyers and selected so many partisan Democrats who had been longtime Democratic donors,” he said. “I think that was unfortunate because by doing that, it undermined the credibility and impartiality of the special counsel's office.”

Related Stories:

Source: NewsMax Politics

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said Sunday special counsel Robert Mueller’s report is off limits to executive privilege.

“The president must personally assert executive privilege and I do not believe it exists here at all,” Nadler told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“As we learned from the Nixon tapes cases, executive privilege cannot hide — cannot be used to hide wrongdoing,” he said. “In that case, the Supreme Court … ordered that all the claims of executive privilege be overridden and the tapes be public. I mean, the president may try to assert it, may try to hide things behind it. But I don’t think that’s right or [will] be successful.”

The 1974 United States v. Nixon case determined former President Richard Nixon must hand over tape recordings and other subpoenaed materials relating to meetings between the president and those indicted by a grand jury in the Watergate scandal. Eight Supreme Court justices, the ninth had recused himself, ruled that materials subpoenaed in a criminal trial could not be claimed under executive privilege solely in the interest of confidentiality.

Mueller submitted his final report on the Russia investigation to Attorney General William Barr on Friday. Barr previously vowed to be as transparent as the law allows, but did not commit to releasing the entire report.

President Trump has said he does not mind if Mueller’s report is released to the public, but has also repeatedly criticized the investigation.

Deputy White House press secretary Hogan Gidley told reporters Sunday that Trump and the White House have not received Mueller’s report or been briefed on it.

In an early look at hypothetical 2020 presidential election fields, both former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., lead President Donald Trump head-to-head, according to Fox News.

Biden leads President Trump in a hypothetical by 7 percentage points (47-40 percent), the voters polled leading candidate. The only other Democrat to lead President Trump in a hypothetic campaign was Sen. Sanders (3 percentage points, 44-4 percent), according to the other poll results.

The poll's leading candidates to win the Democratic primary:

  1. Biden – 31 percent.
  2. Sanders – 23 percent.
  3. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif. – 8 percent.
  4. Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas – 8 percent.
  5. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J. – 4 percent.
  6. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. – 4 percent.
  7. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. – 2 percent.
  8. All other candidates are 1 percent or less.

Among the candidates above, only Biden has yet to officially announce his candidacy.

The Fox News poll surveyed 1,002 registered voters – including 403 Democratic primary voters – from March 17-20 with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Source: NewsMax Politics

Democrats are pressing for full disclosure of special counsel Robert Mueller's report on the Russia investigation and vowing to use subpoena powers and other legal means if necessary to get it.

Attorney General William Barr was expected to release his first summary of Mueller's findings on Sunday, people familiar with the process said, on what lawmakers anticipated could be a day of reckoning in the two-year probe into President Donald Trump and Russian efforts to elect him. Since receiving the report Friday, Barr has been deciding how much of it Congress and the public will see.

Democrats are on a hair trigger over the prospect that some information may be withheld.

"I suspect that we'll find those words of transparency to prove hollow, that in fact they will fight to make sure that Congress doesn't get this underlying evidence," Rep. Adam Schiff of California, chairman of the House intelligence committee, said on ABC's "This Week."

His plan: Ask for information and if that's denied, "subpoena. If subpoenas are denied, we will haul people before the Congress. And yes, we will prosecute in court as necessary to get this information."

At his resort in Florida, Trump stirred from an unusual, nearly two-day silence on Twitter with the anodyne tweet Sunday morning: "Good Morning, Have a Great Day!" Then followed up: "MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!"

Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said Democrats won't be willing to wait long for the Justice Department to hand over full information on the probe into whether Trump's 2016 campaign coordinated with Russia to sway the election and whether the president later sought to obstruct the investigation.

"It won't be months," he said on CNN's "State of the Union."

Asked if he still believes Trump obstructed justice, he indicated there has been obstruction but "whether it's criminal is another question."

Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller and oversaw much of his work, analyzed the report on Saturday, laboring to condense it into a summary letter of main conclusions.

The Russia investigation has shadowed Trump for nearly two years and has ensnared his family and close advisers. And no matter the findings in Mueller's report, the probe already has illuminated Russia's assault on the American political system, painted the Trump campaign as eager to exploit the release of hacked Democratic emails to hurt Democrat Hillary Clinton and exposed lies by Trump aides aimed at covering up their Russia-related contacts.

Barr has said he wants to release as much as he can under the law. That decision will require him to weigh the Justice Department's longstanding protocol of not releasing negative information about people who aren't indicted against the extraordinary public interest in a criminal investigation into the president and his campaign.

Democrats are citing the department's recent precedent of norm-breaking disclosures, including during the Clinton email investigation, to argue that they're entitled to Mueller's entire report and the underlying evidence he collected.

Even with the details still under wraps, Friday's end to the 22-month probe without additional indictments by Mueller was welcome news to some in Trump's orbit who had feared a final round of charges could target more Trump associates or members of the president's family.

The White House sought to keep its distance, saying Sunday it had not been briefed on the report. Trump, who has relentlessly criticized Mueller's investigation as a "witch hunt," went golfing Saturday and was uncharacteristically quiet on Twitter. Not so one of his guests, musician Kid Rock, who posted a picture with the president and the tweet, "Another great day on the links!" He added: "What a great man, so down to earth and so fun to be with!!"

The conclusion of Mueller's investigation does not remove legal peril for the president.

He faces a separate Justice Department investigation in New York into hush money payments during the campaign to two women who say they had sex with him years before the election. He's also been implicated in a potential campaign finance violation by his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, who says Trump asked him to arrange the transactions. Federal prosecutors, also in New York, have been investigating foreign contributions made to the president's inaugural committee.

As for Mueller, absent the report's details it was not known whether he concluded the campaign colluded with the Kremlin to tip the election in favor of the celebrity businessman. A Justice Department official did confirm that Mueller was not recommending any further indictments, meaning the investigation had ended without any public charges of a criminal conspiracy, or of obstruction of justice by the president.

In a letter to the Republican and Democratic leaders of the congressional judiciary committees, Barr noted on Friday that the department had not denied any request from Mueller, something Barr would have been required to disclose to ensure there was no political interference. Trump was never interviewed in person by Mueller's team, but submitted answers to questions in writing.

In a conference call Saturday about next steps, Delaware Sen. Chris Coons, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued a warning for his fellow Democrats, some of whom have pinned high political hopes on Mueller's findings: "Once we get the principal conclusions of the report, I think it's entirely possible that that will be a good day for the president and his core supporters."

A number of Trump associates and family members have been dogged by speculation of possible wrongdoing. Among them are Donald Trump Jr., who helped arrange a Trump Tower meeting at the height of the 2016 campaign with a Kremlin-linked lawyer, and Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who was interviewed at least twice by Mueller's prosecutors.

All told, Mueller charged 34 people, including the president's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, his first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and three Russian companies. Twenty-five Russians were indicted on charges related to election interference, accused either of hacking Democratic email accounts during the campaign or of orchestrating a social media campaign that spread disinformation on the internet.

Five Trump aides pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with Mueller and a sixth, longtime confidant Roger Stone, is awaiting trial on charges that he lied to Congress and engaged in witness tampering.

Peter Carr, spokesman for the special counsel, said Saturday that the case of former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates will be handed off to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia. Gates was a key cooperator in Mueller's probe and court papers show he continues to help with several other federal investigations.

Justice Department legal opinions have held that sitting presidents may not be indicted. But many Democrats say Trump should not be immune from a public accounting of his behavior. Though the department typically does not disclose negative information about people who are not indicted, officials have at times broken from that protocol.

Former FBI Director James Comey famously held a July 2016 news conference in which he criticized Clinton as "extremely careless" in her use of a private email server but said the FBI would not recommend charges. The Justice Department also took the extraordinary step of making available to lawmakers the details of a secret surveillance warrant obtained on a Trump campaign aide in the early days of the Russia probe.

Source: NewsMax Politics

House Democrats don’t think special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report is the “bombshell they anticipated” — and have pivoted to conducting their own probes of President Donald Trump, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said Sunday.

In an interview on ABC News’ “This Week,” Jordan said “we haven’t seen any” indication of the “central charge of the special counsel … to see if this was conspiracy, coordination, or collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to impact the election.”

“They don't think this Mueller report is going to be the bombshell they anticipated,” he said of House Democrats. “Now they're launching other charges, other investigations.”

He also chided Democrats for clamoring for Mueller to head the nearly two year investigation.

“Remember, this is Bob Mueller — the guy the Democrats, the Republicans, everyone in town said, ‘this is the guy we need to pick. He can almost walk on water. He's right next to Jesus. This is the guy,’” he said.

“But all indications are that there is not going to be any finding of any collusion whatsoever,” he said.

Source: NewsMax Politics

Sen. Ted Cruz said Sunday the Democratic Party will do everything in their power to impeach President Trump, no matter what the findings are in special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report.

“If anyone thinks that the Mueller report being concluded is the end of the Democrats’ attempt to take down President Trump, they haven’t been attention the last two years,” the Texas Republican said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

He said Democrats were already pivoting away from Mueller’s findings, which have not yet been released. Cruz said “yesterday the Mueller report was the end all and be all.” But now that it appears there won’t be further indictments, Democrats will find another way to impeach Trump, he added.

“The extreme left in the Democratic Party, they have so much anger and hatred directed at the president that we’re going to see the Democrats moving forward with impeachment whatever the evidence,” Cruz said. “ … They fully intend to impeach the president and they don’t care about the basis.”

In the months leading up to the conclusion of Mueller’s investigation, Democratic leaders backed away from an impeachment rallying cry. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said on “Fox News Sunday” that it is “way too early” to talk about impeachment, asserting that Congress needs to see all the facts.

Cruz would not go as far to say the Mueller investigation was a “witch hunt” as Trump frequently said, but called it a “fishing expedition.”

Mueller delivered his final report to the Justice Department Friday. Attorney General William Barr is working to get a summary of the report released to Congress by the end of the day.


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