Justice

National flags of Russia and U.S. fly at Vnukovo International Airport in Moscow
FILE PHOTO – National flags of Russia and the U.S. fly at Vnukovo International Airport in Moscow, Russia April 11, 2017. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

March 25, 2019

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Moscow would be happy to mend ties with Washington after a report by U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller found no evidence of collusion between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia in the 2016 election, a senior Russian lawmaker said on Monday.

Mueller found no evidence of collusion but left unresolved the issue of whether Trump obstructed justice by undermining the investigations that have dogged his presidency.

“In any case, there is an opportunity to reset a lot in our relations but it is still a question as to whether Trump would risk that. We of course are ready,” Russian lawmaker Konstantin Kosachev said.

(Reporting by Maxim Rodionov and Polina Devitt; Writing by Tom Balmforth; Editing by Paul Tait)

Source: OANN

The summary of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report “raises as many questions as it answers," and thus the full document should be released to the public, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer said in a joint statement on Sunday, The Hill reported.

"The fact that Special Counsel Mueller’s report does not exonerate the president on a charge as serious as obstruction of justice demonstrates how urgent it is that the full report and underlying documentation be made public without any further delay," the Democratic Party leaders said.

They issued the statement after Barr sent a letter to Congress summarizing the key findings of Mueller's investigation into the Trump campaign's ties with Russia.

Barr stated in the letter that Mueller found no conclusive evidence that the Trump campaign conspired with the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 election. However, on the issue of obstruction of justice, the attorney general wrote that “while this report does not conclude the president committed a crime, it does not exonerate him.”

Several Democratic presidential candidates emphasized that point to press for a full release of the report.

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker tweeted that "The American public deserves the full report and findings from the Mueller investigation immediately – not just the in-house summary from a Trump Administration official." 

Source: NewsMax Politics

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s final report sounds like a “law school exam,” where he shirked his job and didn’t have “the guts” to make a decision on whether President Donald Trump obstructed justice, Harvard Law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz said Sunday during an appearance on Fox News where he also slammed CNN personalities and guests who “misinformed the American public.”

Mueller turned in his final report Friday, and Attorney General William Barr on Sunday in a letter to Congress said the investigation concluded there was no collusion between the Russian government and the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election.

On the topic of potential obstruction of justice on the part of President Donald Trump, the special counsel referred the question of criminality to the attorney general.

“I thought it was a cop out for him to say there was not enough evidence to indict, but it’s not an exoneration, and we’re going to put a report out,” Dershowitz told anchor Shannon Bream “… It sounds like a law school exam. That’s not the job of the prosecutor. The job of the prosecutor is to decide yes or no. Make a decision.”

The TV personalities and guests on CNN who predicted Mueller’s probe would result in indictments for collusion and obstruction “should be hanging their heads in shame,” Dershowitz added.

“I have to tell you, they should be hanging their head in shame when you think about how many people went out on a limb and predicted there would be indictments for obstruction, there would be indictments for collusion, there would be indictments for this and for that,” he.

“They made it seem like it was an open and shut case, and they misinformed the American public, and they have to have some public accountability when you say things that turn out not to be true.”

Source: NewsMax Politics

FILE PHOTO: Special Counsel Robert Mueller departs after briefing the U.S. House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington
FILE PHOTO: Special Counsel Robert Mueller departs after briefing the U.S. House Intelligence Committee on his investigation of potential collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 20, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein/File Photo

March 25, 2019

By Andy Sullivan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Special Counsel Robert Mueller has concluded that nobody associated with President Donald Trump’s campaign “conspired or knowingly coordinated” with Russia during the 2016 presidential election, and U.S. Attorney General William Barr says he does not see enough evidence to charge Trump with obstruction of justice.

But that does not necessarily mean Trump is in the clear – he still faces multiple investigations into his business and other aspects of his political campaign, and Democrats are launching a wave of probes from Capitol Hill.

Following are some possible next steps as Washington continues to wrestle over Russia’s role in the election, the conduct of Mueller’s investigation and other aspects of the Trump-Russia saga.

HOW MUCH OF MUELLER’S REPORT CAN BE MADE PUBLIC?

Barr said he wants to release as much of Mueller’s report as he can, as long as it does not undermine legal proceedings that should be kept secret, such as grand jury interviews, or interfere with other ongoing investigations. He is now going through the report to determine what can be released.

Democrats are pressing Barr to release the entire report so they can draw their own conclusions. If he does not do so, expect a protracted tug-of-war that could end up in court.

THE QUESTION OF OBSTRUCTION

Foremost on Democrats’ minds is whether Trump obstructed justice by interfering with Mueller’s probe and other investigations.

Barr says he did not, but he adds that Mueller presented evidence on both sides of the question. Democrats will press for access to Mueller’s full report – as well as the underlying evidence he collected over the course of an investigation that interviewed 500 witnesses and issued more than 2,800 subpoenas.

The Democratic chairs of six House of Representatives committees said on Friday they expected that evidence to be turned over on request to their panels, which cover everything from taxes to banking.

The House Judiciary Committee is also expected to continue its own investigation into alleged obstruction of justice after requesting documents from 81 people and organizations several weeks ago.

TRUMP’S ALLIES SAY IT’S TIME TO MOVE ON – OR MAYBE NOT

The Russia probe has dogged Trump’s presidency from his first months in office. Trump allies say it is now time to move on and focus on substantive issues like trade and the economy.

But some of Trump’s biggest supporters on Capitol Hill do not want to put the issue to rest just yet.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, a Republican, has said he wants to investigate whether top officials at the Justice Department discussed forcing Trump from office, and is pressing the FBI to hand over documents relating to their surveillance of Carter Page, a foreign policy adviser on Trump’s election team.

BARR ON THE HILL

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat, said he planned to ask Barr to testify before his committee to explain why he thought Trump should not be charged with obstruction of justice.

Many Democrats are already suspicious of Barr’s views on the issue. As a private lawyer, Barr wrote an unsolicited memo to the Justice Department last year arguing that Mueller’s obstruction inquiry was “fatally misconceived” and saying that presidents have “all-encompassing” authority over law enforcement investigations, even those that relate to him directly.

Barr’s views of presidential power are relevant not only when it comes to obstruction of justice but other issues like how much the administration is required to cooperate with congressional investigators – which will be a key issue over the next two years.

Barr faced pointed questions from Democrats during his January confirmation hearing. Any session devoted to obstruction of justice and presidential powers could be much more contentious.

MUELLER SPEAKS?

Mueller has not spoken publicly over the course of the 22-month investigation, but that might change now that his work is done.

Nadler and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff have said they may try to get him to testify in front of Congress. The questioning might be relatively polite – as a former FBI director and decorated Vietnam War veteran, Mueller is one of the most respected people in Washington.

But his testimony may not be that revealing. Mueller has cultivated a reputation as a scrupulous prosecutor, and he may not be willing to discuss evidence or reach conclusions not contained in his report. Also, as special prosecutor, he is required to defer to Barr as to what can be disclosed to the public.

(Reporting by Andy Sullivan; Editing by Ross Colvin and Peter Cooney)

Source: OANN

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters as he returns to the White House in Washington
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters as the president returns from a weekend in Florida at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

March 25, 2019

By Steve Holland, Jeff Mason and Roberta Rampton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s conclusion that Donald Trump did not collude with Russia to win the presidency in 2016 gives the president a powerful weapon to use against his Democratic opponents and a potential boost to what is shaping up to be a tough bid for re-election in 2020.

Mueller’s conclusion that neither Trump nor his aides conspired with Russia in 2016 takes away a central charge that Democrats have flung at Trump for two years – that he did not win the presidency fairly or cleanly. The allegations have played out on an endless loop on cable TV news shows, overshadowing Trump’s presidency from day one.

Democrats have vowed to continue congressional investigations into the 2016 election campaign and Trump’s business practices. But without the solid foundation of a Mueller report that found evidence of any crimes by the president, they now risk seeming to overplay their hand.

“This is a gold star day for Donald Trump,” said presidential historian Douglas Brinkley. “Now the shackles are off. He’s able to demonize the news media and Democrats as perpetuating what he calls a hoax. And he’ll be able to use his innocence as fodder for the campaign trail.”

The question for Trump now is whether he will be able to bring a minimum of discipline to his campaign messaging and to the presidency itself.

History suggests he will have trouble with self-discipline. Just last week, he was immersed in a strange fight with a dead man, sharply criticizing the late Republican Senator John McCain and falsely accusing him of being at the root of some of the collusion allegations against him.

He has also been prone to making baffling abrupt decisions, such as occurred last week when he called off a round of sanctions against North Korea before they had even been imposed.

Despite the Mueller report’s conclusions, Trump remains an intemperate president, eager to lash out at any and all critics and perceived slights.

“This was an illegal takedown that failed,” Trump said on Sunday, even though Mueller left open the question of whether the former real estate magnate had attempted to obstruct the Russia probe, which did find extensive evidence that Russia meddled in the 2016 election.

“Now is the time to get back on the offense on the economy and growth,” said Republican strategist Scott Reed. “This is a good time to get back to a real healthy dose of message discipline for the entire administration, department-wide and the White House. That’s what you do when something like this happens.”

Trump, on a golfing weekend in Palm Beach, Florida, got the news in his private quarters at his Mar-a-Lago retreat from White House counsel Emmett Flood, and watched TV coverage of the Mueller report in his cabin on Air Force One.

Trump’s initial comments in reacting to the Mueller conclusion suggests he is not inclined to move past the investigation.

Speaking to reporters before boarding Air Force One for the flight back to Washington, Trump called for Democrats to be investigated, expanding on his often repeated assertion that the Mueller probe was Democrat-inspired. Mueller was appointed by Trump’s Department of Justice in 2017 after he fired FBI director James Comey.

“It’s a shame that our country had to go through this. To be honest it’s a shame that your president has had to go through this,” Trump said. “Before I even got elected it began, and it began illegally.”

Trump’s comments could foreshadow an effort by his supporters to seek payback for the cloud that has hung over his time in the White House.

“I’m interested in moving on and trying to get this behind us, but people have to pay for what they’ve done for the past two years,” said former Trump campaign aide David Bossie. “We must investigate the investigators.”

CHALLENGES FOR DEMOCRATS

Trump’s path to re-election remains a perilous one. Analysts say he will probably need to win the Midwestern states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, just as he did in his improbable 2016 victory, and Democrats are already pouring resources into those states.

Trump will foreshadow his campaign message on Thursday night when he headlines a “Make America Great Again” rally in Michigan.

Trump supporters viewed the Mueller report as a blow to the more than a dozen Democrats who are campaigning for their party’s 2020 presidential nomination.

“This is very problematic for any Democrat who’s running for president in 2020 that was hoping they would face a weakened or beaten-down President Trump,” former Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller said. “In fact, President Trump will likely see a ratings boost coming out of this and a strong tailwind pushing him toward the upcoming election.”

Reuters/Ipsos polling has shown that Americans decided early on in Mueller’s investigation whether they thought Trump was guilty of collusion or not. The polling found few undecided voters.

Brinkley said Democrats will need to adjust their tactics and emphasize their differences with Trump’s record on issues ranging from healthcare and climate change to immigration.

“Some of those charges are going to have to rise to be the main charges against Trump,” he said, noting there was fatigue with the Russia issue.

(Reporting By Steve Holland, Jeff Mason and Roberta Rampton; Editing by Ross Colvin and Chris Reese)

Source: OANN

Kevin Daley | Supreme Court Reporter

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas did something extraordinary on Wednesday.

He spoke.

Appearing before the Supreme Court is rather like meeting your spouse’s family for the first time. The questions are relentless, probing and impolite. One hundred questions over the course of an hour-long argument is typical. Attorneys arguing cases can expect an interruption from a justice just moments into their presentation, and it is not unusual for the justices to interrupt one another.

Yet Thomas is generally an observer at the blood sport that is oral argument. Since taking the bench in 1991, he has rarely asked questions of the attorneys arguing before the Court. His silent stretches run so long (he did not ask one question from 2006 to 2016) that the very fact of his speaking is a news event.

The questions he asked Wednesday, in a dispute concerning racism in jury selection, were his first questions in almost three years and his second intervention this decade.

Thomas is alone in this approach to argument among his colleagues. His silence draws curiosity and ire in equal measure, particularly since he is widely regarded as the most gregarious of the justices.

Scholarly treatment of Thomas’s silence is similarly mixed. One 2017 journal article in the Northwestern University Law Review from Professors RonNell Andersen Jones and Aaron Nielson compiled and reviewed every question Thomas has ever asked during oral argument, encompassing his service on the Supreme Court and his prior work on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Jones and Nielson concluded that Thomas is an adept questioner who should intercede more often.

“Reviewing these questions demonstrates that although Thomas has not frequently spoken, when he has posed questions, they have been thoughtful, useful, respectful, and beneficial to his colleagues of whatever ideological stripe,” the study reads.

Jones and Nielson noted Thomas’s questions focus intensely on the text of the law. Following the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s death, they suggest oral arguments would benefit from a questioner with Thomas’s “laser-like focus on the text.”

“Putting aside the merits of textualism as an ending point, or even as a starting point, in statutory interpretation, the merits of having an active voice in oral argument that demands investigation of and discussion about the statutory language seem incontrovertible,” they write.

“With Justice Antonin Scalia’s departure from the Supreme Court, the need for a justice to ask these sorts of questions is obvious,” they add.

When Thomas does ask questions, Jones and Neilson say, they tend to come near the end of the argument. His Wednesday inquiries came during a brief rebuttal period, only after the attorney asked if there were any remaining questions. The justice himself speculated that his delicate approach to questioning is a function of his southern pedigree during an event at the University of Kentucky in April 2012.

“Maybe it’s the southerner in me,” Thomas wondered. “Maybe it’s the introvert in me, I don’t know. I think that when somebody’s talking, somebody ought to listen.”

Justice Clarence Thomas, at center, awaits the arrival of former President George H.W. Bush's casket at the Capitol Rotunda on December 3, 2018 (Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images)

Justice Clarence Thomas, at center, awaits the arrival of former President George H.W. Bush’s casket at the Capitol Rotunda on December 3, 2018 (Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images)

Others are more harsh in their appraisal of Thomas’s silence. Writing in the Florida Law Review in 2009, David Karp argued Thomas’s approach to oral argument is ultimately self-defeating. (RELATED: Clarence Thomas Clerks Dominate Trump’s Judicial Appointments)

Perhaps more than any other justice in modern history, Thomas is intensely interested in course correction. He does not believe the Court ought to abide by cases which offend his vision of the Constitution, and he regularly invites litigants to bring challenges to foundational decisions he believes are wrong. In February alone he released opinions criticizing and New York Times v. Sullivan (a landmark freedom of the press case), Gideon v. Wainwright (establishing a right to counsel for indigent defendants) and Roe v. Wade.

Thomas is a prolific opinion writer who has pressed his judicial philosophy over dozens of lone dissents and concurring opinions. Karp says Thomas could better advance his own views and enrich the Court’s internal debate by contributing to oral arguments.

“Through his silence, Justice Thomas not only evades the deliberative process, but he also diminishes his own influence,” Karp wrote. “Justice Thomas’s silence allows advocates to ignore him and his views.”

“Because of his willingness to rethink the constitutional order, Justice Thomas would force the Court to reconsider basic premises,” Karp added.

Karp believes the role of oral argument in the deliberative process makes Thomas’s silence especially strange. The justice told Newsweek in 2007 that his views on a given case are well-developed by oral argument. Before arguments he reads legal briefs from both sides, additional filings from interested parties, the decisions below, the record of facts, and discusses his thoughts with his law clerks. As such, in Thomas’s view, the argument is not especially important to the disposition of a case.

But Karp is skeptical of that perspective, arguing that it is unbelievable that even the most gifted jurist could approach the complex work of the Supreme Court without questions.

“It seems unbelievable that Justice Thomas genuinely has no questions to ask about any of the nation’s most difficult cases,” Karp wrote. “Even the most learned judge with well-developed outlooks on the law should have questions.”

The Supreme Court will hear cases through Wednesday touching partisan gerrymandering and the power of federal agencies.

Sarah George and Paul Ingrassia contributed research. 

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Source: The Daily Caller

“The Special Counsel’s investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.” — Letter to Congress from Attorney General William Barr

Now that the findings of the Department of Justice have exonerated the president, will Democrats follow their own advice, admit there was no collusion or obstruction and Move On?

The liberal activist organization of that name was founded a generation ago when Congress investigated and tried to impeach President Clinton. Congress didn’t take the advice of legal experts and constitutional scholars then, and unfortunately it looks like Democrats intend to repeat the mistake.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) says regardless of the report’s findings, he will pursue investigations even “broader” than what the special counsel has done with 2,800 subpoenas, 500 witnesses, some 500 search warrants and more than $25 million over the last two years.

Democrats and the media should be trying to heal the nation not divide us. Instead, Democrats intend to spend the next two years subpoenaing and dragging every member of Trump’s administration, his family and business associates to testify before their committees.

Nadler says he’s doing it to protect “the rule of law.”

But will House Democrats really respect the institutions and traditions of American jurisprudence? If the past is prelude, the answer to that questions is, sadly, no.

Democrats did away with the presumption of innocence for Judge Brett Kavanaugh and Justice Kavanaugh, with his family and the American people paying the price Now, Democrats are now ready to abandon other bedrock principles of American justice.

One of the most basic principles is equality before the law!

The Constitution prohibits double jeopardy. It’s a matter of basic fairness — no one should be victimized by vindictive prosecutors armed with the power of government and $25 million in financial backing of the U.S. Treasury.

Congressional Democrats’ endless investigations, leaks and political machinations violate the spirit of that constitutional prohibition. Americans understand that, no matter what the spin or who stands accused. The constitution guarantees fair and equal justice for every American regardless of who they are!

Democrats want to convict President Trump in the court of public opinion to set the stage for impeaching him. That’s what Rep. Nadler told George Stephanopoulos: “Before you impeach somebody, you have to persuade the American public that it ought to happen.” Fortunately Mueller’s exoneration of President Trump will make that extremely difficult to do, despite media persecution and false news stories,

The Democrats are ready to violate another norm of legal precedent by asking Attorney General Barr and the DOJ to release every scrap of paper the special counsel gathered.

Prosecutors normally don’t release confidential material gathered during an investigation out of respect for the privacy of individuals not charged with a crime.

”The normal procedure is that unless there’s a damn good reason, you don’t release grand jury material,” Nadler said a generation ago when he opposed releasing the evidence behind the Ken Starr report.

Nadler and fellow Democrats accused the Judiciary Committee of seeking the background material to build a public case for impeaching President Clinton.

“They don’t think there is enough of a vote for impeachment yet out in the public,” Rep. Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts), the second ranking Democrat on the committee, said. “So what you have a very one-sided, partisan effort to release material, before the president gets a chance to review it or respond to it, that makes the president look bad.”

Nadler took a page from that playbook and now demands the raw material Mueller obtained to build his own case for impeaching President Trump. Furthermore, he says the White House “should not get an advance look at the report” or the evidence.

That’s quite an about face from the Jerry Nadler of 1998 who fought for Clinton to have time to look at the Starr report. “The president is asking for two days. The Republicans say no,” he said bitterly.

The DOJ does not release such information to protect the innocent. Furthermore, the Trump administration has a legal right to review the report, prepare a response, rebuke any false accusations and information covered by executive privilege. 

As for an impartial hearing, President Trump can expect no better from House Democrats than Senate Democrats gave Judge Kavanaugh.

Chairman Nadler already convicted the president of obstruction of justice before seeing the attorney general’s letter and the Mueller report.

House Democrats don’t care that the special counsel found the president did not collude with the Russians or obstruct justice. They will continue their investigations, attempts to smear the president. Like Javert obsessed with Jean Valjean, Democrats can’t help themselves.

All Americans, Democrats, Republicans and independents alike, should be celebrating the fact investigators found no evidence of collusion. However, Democrats won’t take the finding of no collusion or obstruction for an answer.

That tells you they were never pursuing the truth, just a political vendetta and a different outcome for the 2016 election. Their obsession with President Trump will only further divide the nation, not help unite us.

Rep. Nadler says he wants to protect the rule of law and “the institutions we depend on for our democratic form of government.”

But Democrats are weakening those institutions by engaging in relentless political warfare. Voters elected Congress to address the very real challenges our country faces — an opioid epidemic, China’s economic aggression, the crisis on our southern border, the difficulty of raising a family, to name, just a few.

Our system is founded on belief in equal justice under the law. All will be held accountable.

We hope the politicians, intelligence officials, journalists and media executives who fed Americans unfounded speculation, conspiracy theories for the last two years that have done incalculable damage to our country and its institutions will be held accountable.

Preserve the principles of justice on which our incredible country was founded.

Kimberly Guilfoyle (@KimGuilfoyle) is vice chairwoman of America First Policies, a nonprofit organization supporting key policy initiatives that will work for all citizens in our country and put America first.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.

Source: The Daily Caller

The text of Attorney General William Barr's letter to congressional lawmakers outlining the principal conclusions reached by the special counsel in the Russia probe (with footnotes below):

March 24, 2019

Dear Chairman Graham, Chairman Nadler, Ranking Member Feinstein, and Ranking Member Collins:

As a supplement to the notification provided on Friday, March 22, 2019, I am writing today to advise you of the principal conclusions reached by Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III and to inform you about the status of my initial review of the report he has prepared.

THE SPECIAL COUNSEL'S REPORT

On Friday, the Special Counsel submitted to me a "confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions" he has reached, as required by 28 C.F.R. 600.8(c). This report is entitled "Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election." Although my review is ongoing, I believe that it is in the public interest to describe the report and to summarize the principal conclusions reached by the Special Counsel and the results of his investigation.

The report explains that the Special Counsel and his staff thoroughly investigated allegations that members of the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump, and others associated with it, conspired with the Russian government in its efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, or sought to obstruct the related federal investigations. In the report, the Special Counsel noted that, in completing his investigation, he employed 19 lawyers who were assisted by a team of approximately 40 FBI agents, intelligence analysts, forensic accountants, and other professional staff. The Special Counsel issued more than 2,800 subpoenas, executed nearly 500 search warrants, obtained more than 230 orders for communication records, issued almost 50 orders authorizing use of pen registers, made 13 requests to foreign governments for evidence, and interviewed approximately 500 witnesses.

The Special Counsel obtained a number of indictments and convictions of individuals and entities in connection with his investigation, all of which have been publicly disclosed. During the course of his investigation, the Special Counsel also referred several matters to other offices for further action. The report does not recommend any further indictments, nor did the Special Counsel obtain any sealed indictments that have yet to be made public. Below, I summarize the principal conclusions set out in the Special Counsel's report.

Russian Interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election. The Special Counsel's report is divided into two parts. The first describes the results of the Special Counsel's investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The report outlines the Russian effort to influence the election and documents crimes committed by persons associated with the Russian government in connection with those efforts. The report further explains that a primary consideration for the Special Counsel's investigation was whether any Americans – including individuals associated with the Trump campaign – joined the Russian conspiracies to influence the election, which would be a federal crime. The Special Counsel's investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. As 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." (1)

The Special Counsel's investigation determined that there were two main Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election. The first involved attempts by a Russian organization, the Internet Research Agency (IRA), to conduct disinformation and social media operations in the United States designed to sow social discord, eventually with the aim of interfering with the election. As noted above, the Special Counsel did not find that any U.S. person or Trump campaign official or associate conspired or knowingly coordinated with the IRA in its efforts, although the Special Counsel brought criminal charges against a number of Russian nationals and entities in connection with these activities.

The second element involved the Russian government's efforts to conduct computer hacking operations designed to gather and disseminate information to influence the election. The Special Counsel found that Russian government actors successfully hacked into computers and obtained emails from persons affiliated with the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party organizations, and publicly disseminated those materials through various intermediaries, including WikiLeaks. Based on these activities, the Special Counsel brought criminal charges against a number of Russian military officers for conspiring to hack into computers in the United States for purposes of influencing the election. But as noted above, the Special Counsel did not find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in these efforts, despite multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign.

Obstruction of Justice. The report's second part addresses a number of actions by the President – most of which have been the subject of public reporting – that the Special Counsel investigated as potentially raising obstruction-of-justice concerns. After making a "thorough factual investigation" into these matters, the Special Counsel considered whether to evaluate the conduct under Department standards governing prosecution and declination decisions but ultimately determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment. The Special Counsel therefore did not draw a conclusion – one way or the other – as to whether the examined conduct constituted obstruction. Instead, for each of the relevant actions investigated, the report sets out evidence on both sides of the question and leaves unresolved what the Special Counsel views as "difficult issues" of law and fact concerning whether the President's actions and intent could be viewed as obstruction. The Special Counsel states that "while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him."

The Special Counsel's decision to describe the facts of his obstruction investigation without reaching any legal conclusions leaves it to the Attorney General to determine whether the conduct described in the report constitutes a crime. Over the course of the investigation, the Special Counsel's office engaged in discussions with certain Department officials regarding many of the legal and factual matters at issue in the Special Counsel's obstruction investigation. After reviewing the Special Counsel's final report on these issues; consulting with Department officials, including the Office of Legal Counsel; and applying the principles of federal prosecution that guide our charging decisions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and I have concluded that the evidence developed during the Special Counsel's investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense. Our determination was made without regard to, and is not based on, the constitutional considerations that surround the indictment and criminal prosecution of a sitting president. (2)

In making this determination, we noted that the Special Counsel recognized that "the evidence does not establish that the President was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference," and that, while not determinative, the absence of such evidence bears upon the President's intent with respect to obstruction. Generally speaking, to obtain and sustain an obstruction conviction, the government would need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person, acting with corrupt intent, engaged in obstructive conduct with a sufficient nexus to a pending or contemplated proceeding. In cataloguing the President's actions, many of which took place in public view, the report identifies no actions that, in our judgment, constitute obstructive conduct, had a nexus to a pending or contemplated proceeding, and were done with corrupt intent, each of which, under the Department's principles of federal prosecution guiding charging decisions, would need to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to establish an obstruction-of- justice offense.

STATUS OF THE DEPARTMENT'S REVIEW

The relevant regulations contemplate that the Special Counsel's report will be a "confidential report" to the Attorney General. See Office of Special Counsel, 64 Fed. Reg. 37,038,37,040-41 (July 9,1999). As I have previously stated, however, I am mindful of the public interest in this matter. For that reason, my goal and intent is to release as much of the Special Counsel's report as I can consistent with applicable law, regulations, and Departmental policies.

Based on my discussions with the Special Counsel and my initial review, it is apparent that the report contains material that is or could be subject to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e), which imposes restrictions on the use and disclosure of information relating to "matter(s) occurring before (a) grand jury." Fed. R. Crim. P. 6(e)(2)(B). Rule 6(e) generally limits disclosure of certain grand jury information in a criminal investigation and prosecution. Id. Disclosure of 6(e) material beyond the strict limits set forth in the rule is a crime in certain circumstances. See, e.g., 18 U.S.C. 401(3). This restriction protects the integrity of grand jury proceedings and ensures that the unique and invaluable investigative powers of a grand jury are used strictly for their intended criminal justice function.

Given these restrictions, the schedule for processing the report depends in part on how quickly the Department can identify the 6(e) material that by law cannot be made public. I have requested the assistance of the Special Counsel in identifying all 6(e) information contained in the report as quickly as possible. Separately, I also must identify any information that could impact other ongoing matters, including those that the Special Counsel has referred to other offices. As soon as that process is complete, I will be in a position to move forward expeditiously in determining what can be released in light of applicable law, regulations, and Departmental policies.

***

As I observed in my initial notification, the Special Counsel regulations provide that "the Attorney General may determine that public release of' notifications to your respective Committees "would be in the public interest." 28 C.F.R. 600.9(c). I have so determined, and I will disclose this letter to the public after delivering it to you.

Sincerely,

William P. Barr

Attorney General

(1) In assessing potential conspiracy charges, the Special Counsel also considered whether members of the Trump campaign "coordinated" with Russian election interference activities. The Special Counsel defined "coordination" as an "agreement_tacit or express_between the Trump Campaign and the Russian government on election interference."

(2) See A Sitting President's Amenability to Indictment and Criminal Prosecution, 24 Op. O.L.C. 222 (2000).

Source: NewsMax Politics

Illustration photo of a U.S. Dollar note
A U.S. Dollar note is seen in this June 22, 2017 illustration photo. REUTERS/Thomas White/Illustration

March 25, 2019

By Shinichi Saoshiro

TOKYO (Reuters) – The dollar edged back from a six-week low against the yen early on Monday, as a degree of calm returned to the market gripped by fears of a recession in the United States.

The greenback had tumbled on Friday as the spread between 3-month Treasury bills and 10-year note yields inverted for the first time since 2007 following weak U.S. manufacturing PMI data.

An inverted yield curve has historically signaled an impending recession.

Cautious comments from the U.S. Federal Reserve last week had also raised worries about the growth outlook in the United States and the rest of the world.

The dollar was up roughly 0.2 percent at 110.13 yen after sinking to 109.745 on Friday, its lowest since Feb. 11.

“The dollar’s slide on Friday appeared to have been an algo-led reaction to the yield curve inversion and quite simply overdone. Some bargain hunting by market participants emerged to support dollar/yen,” said Yukio Ishizuki, senior currency strategist at Daiwa Securities in Tokyo.

“The response, on the other hand, to the Mueller report has been limited.”

Special Counsel Robert Mueller found no evidence of collusion between President Donald Trump’s campaign team and Russia, and did not present enough evidence to warrant charging Trump with obstruction of justice, U.S. Attorney General William Barr said on Sunday.

The dollar index was unchanged at 96.651 after scraping out a gain of 0.15 percent on Friday.

The euro was little changed at $1.1297. The common currency has lost roughly 0.7 percent on Friday after a much weaker-than-expected German manufacturing survey raised concerns for Europe’s biggest economy and the wider euro zone.

The Australian dollar, viewed as liquid proxy for global growth, stood little changed at $0.7077.

The pound was 0.1 percent lower at $1.3200

Sterling had rallied 0.8 percent on Friday, helped by a weaker euro and after European Union leaders gave British Prime Minister Theresa May a two-week reprieve to decide how Britain will leave the European Union.

(Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

Source: OANN

Scott Morefield | Reporter

Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz called Sunday a “good day” for President Donald Trump before ripping CNN and media outlets that “misinformed the American public.”

Attorney General William Barr on Sunday delivered to Congress a four-page letter summarizing special counsel Robert Mueller’s recently-delivered report, which put to rest any accusations of collusion with Russia on the part of the president or anyone in his campaign.

WATCH:

“But it’s important that we did learn there are no sealed indictments,” Dershowitz told Fox News anchor Shannon Bream Sunday. “There’s no recommendation in the report for any further indictments, and so this is not what many people feared, just shifting it over to the southern district and saying we’re not going to indict this guy, but maybe you should. That was done with the attorney general as far as the obstruction of justice, but he didn’t do it with the southern district.”

Dershowitz then launched into the media, calling Sunday “a good day for the president” and a “very, very bad day for CNN.”

I have to tell you, they should be hanging their head in shame when you think about how many people went out on a limb and predicted there would be indictments for obstruction, there would be indictments for collusion, there would be indictments for this and for that. They made it seem like it was an open and shut case, and they misinformed the American public, and they have to have some public accountability when you say things that turn out not to be true.

The liberal attorney, often criticized from the left for publicly defending President Trump in the media against what he considers the criminalization of “political sins,” then took a victory lap. (RELATED: ‘Essentially Jaywalking’ — Alan Dershowitz Goes On CNN And Lays Out Worst Case Scenario For Trump)

“Look, I’ve been vindicated,” he said. “I’ve been saying this from day one and been criticized and condemned for simply doing a legal analysis that I think any reasonable, objective, nonpartisan lawyer would have done, would have come to the same conclusion I came to and, essentially, the conclusion that was come to today by the attorney general.”

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Source: The Daily Caller


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