Mueller

Official binders given to reporters with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election are seen in Washington
Official binders given to reporters with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election are seen in Washington, U.S., April 18, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

April 19, 2019

By Sarah N. Lynch and Andy Sullivan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on his inquiry into Russia’s role in the 2016 U.S. election provided extensive details on President Donald Trump’s efforts to thwart the probe, giving Democrats plenty of political ammunition against the Republican but no consensus on how to use it.

Mueller’s 448-page report, the product of a 22-month investigation, built a broad case that Trump had committed obstruction of justice but stopped short of concluding he had committed a crime, although it did not exonerate him.

Mueller noted Congress has the power to address whether Trump violated the law, and Democrats quickly vowed to steam ahead with congressional investigations of the president.

But party leaders played down talk of impeachment just 18 months before the 2020 presidential election, even as some prominent members of the party’s progressive wing, most notably U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, promised to push the idea.

“Many know I take no pleasure in discussions of impeachment. I didn’t campaign on it, & rarely discuss it unprompted,” she said on Twitter. “But the report squarely puts this on our doorstep.”

Representative Doug Collins, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, said on Twitter: “There seems to be some confusion … This isn’t a matter of legal interpretation; it’s reading comprehension. The report doesn’t say Congress should investigate obstruction now. It says Congress can make laws about obstruction under Article I powers.”

Many of the report’s findings are certain to be repeated on the campaign trail as Democrats make their case against Trump’s re-election, although Democratic presidential candidates were cautious in responding on Thursday.

Mueller’s report noted “numerous links” between the Russian government and Trump’s campaign and said the president’s team “expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts,” referring to hacked Democratic emails.

But Mueller, a former FBI director, concluded there was not enough evidence to establish that Trump’s campaign engaged in a criminal conspiracy with Moscow.

After the report’s release, Trump appeared to be in a celebratory mood. Trump, having long described Mueller’s investigation as a “witch hunt,” on Thursday night told a crowd of well wishers in Florida where he will spend the weekend: “Game over folks, now it’s back to work.”

The report, with some portions blacked out to protect sensitive information, revealed details of how Trump tried to force Mueller’s ouster, directed members of his administration to publicly vouch for his innocence and dangled a pardon to a former aide to try to prevent him from cooperating with the special counsel.

“The President’s efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests,” the report stated.

The report said that when former Attorney General Jeff Sessions told Trump in May 2017 that the Justice Department was appointing a special counsel to look into allegations that his campaign colluded with Russia, Trump slumped back in his chair and said, “Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I’m fucked.”

Attorney General William Barr told a news conference Mueller had detailed “10 episodes involving the president and discusses potential legal theories for connecting these actions to elements of an obstruction offense.” Barr concluded last month after receiving a confidential copy of Mueller’s report that Trump had not actually committed a crime.

IMPEACHMENT UNLIKELY

Any impeachment effort would start in the Democratic-led House of Representatives, but Trump’s removal would require the support of the Republican-led Senate – an unlikely outcome.

The Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerrold Nadler, said he would issue subpoenas to obtain the unredacted Mueller report and asked Mueller to testify before the panel by May 23.

Nadler told reporters in New York that Mueller probably wrote the report with the intent of providing Congress a road map for future action, but the congressman said it was too early to talk about impeachment.

“Based on what we have seen to date, going forward on impeachment is not worthwhile at this point. Very frankly, there is an election in 18 months and the American people will make a judgment,” House Democratic leader Steny Hoyer told CNN.

The inquiry laid bare what the special counsel and U.S. intelligence agencies have described as a Russian campaign of hacking and propaganda to sow discord in the United States, denigrate 2016 Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and boost Trump, the Kremlin’s preferred candidate. Russia has denied election interference.

The report said Mueller accepted the longstanding Justice Department view that a sitting president cannot be indicted on criminal charges, while still recognizing that a president can be criminally investigated.

In analyzing whether Trump obstructed justice, Mueller looked at a series of actions by Trump, including his attempts to remove Mueller and limit the scope of his probe and efforts to prevent the public from knowing about a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower in New York between senior campaign officials and Russians.

In June 2017, Trump directed White House counsel Don McGahn to tell the Justice Department’s No. 2 official, Rod Rosenstein, that Mueller had conflicts of interest and must be removed, the report said. McGahn did not carry out the order. McGahn was home on a Saturday that month when Trump called him at least twice.

“You gotta do this. You gotta call Rod,” McGahn recalled the president as saying, according to the report.

House Judiciary Democrat Jamie Raskin pointed to Trump’s effort to get McGahn to fire Mueller and then lie about being told to do so as an area of interest for lawmakers, and said McGahn and former Attorney General Jeff Sessions could be valuable witnesses as the committee moves forward.

(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch and Andy Sullivan; additional reporting by Steve Holland, Eric Beech and David Morgan; writing by John Whitesides; editing by Grant McCool)

Source: OANN

Hackers from Russia were able to gain access to at least one county’s election computer network in Florida ahead of the 2016 election, it was revealed Thursday.

As the Miami Herald pointed out, special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the election included a portion about how hackers from the GRU, the foreign military intelligence agency in Russia, used a spear phishing email to get into one county. The report did not name which county, and the FBI would not reveal the name of the county when the Florida Department of State asked about it.

“We understand the FBI believes that this operation enabled the GRU to gain access to the network of at least one Florida county government,” the Mueller report reads. Mueller’s team of prosecutors and FBI agents “did not independently verify that belief.”

Florida’s Department of State told the Herald in a statement it is confident in its assessment the 2016 election was not compromised.

“The Department maintains that the 2016 elections in Florida were not hacked,” spokesperson Sarah Revell said. “The Florida Voter Registration System was and remains secure, and official results or vote tallies were not changed.”

The Mueller report was released Thursday, with many redacted parts to hide classified and privileged information. President Donald Trump was exonerated from conspiring with the Russians to win the 2016 election, but the report outlined several instances where Russia meddled in it.

Source: NewsMax Politics

Freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., says she will add her name to an impeachment resolution aimed at President Donald Trump following the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report.

The proposal, put forward by lawmaker Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., calls on the House Judiciary Committee to probe whether or not the president committed any offenses that rise to the level of impeachment.

“Mueller’s report is clear in pointing to Congress’ responsibility in investigating obstruction of justice by the president,” she tweeted Thursday night.  

“It is our job as outlined in Article 1, Sec 2, Clause 5 of the U.S. Constitution,” Rep. Ocasio-Cortez added. “As such, I’ll be signing onto @RashidaTlaib’s impeachment resolution.”

Mueller did not charge Trump for obstruction, but detailed numerous examples in his 448-page report released Thursday in which Trump asked his aides to take actions that would have obstructed the Russia probe.

“With respect to whether the president can be found to have obstructed justice by exercising his powers under Article II of the Constitution, we concluded that Congress has the authority to prohibit a president’s corrupt use of his authority in order to protect the integrity of the administration of justice,” Mueller wrote.

“The president’s efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests,” the special counsel added.

Source: NewsMax America

President Donald Trump is a “cancer” on the office, and Congress should “excise” it, lawyer George Conway charged Thursday.

In a scathing opinion piece for The Washington Post, Conway — an ardent Trump critic and husband of White House counsel Kellyanne Conway, a stalwart Trump defender — argued the president’s impeachable crime was putting his own interests above those of the nation.

“White House counsel John Dean famously told [President Richard] Nixon that there was a cancer within the presidency and that it was growing,” Conway wrote. “What the Mueller report disturbingly shows, with crystal clarity, is that today there is a cancer in the presidency: President Donald J. Trump.

“Congress now bears the solemn constitutional duty to excise that cancer without delay.”

According to Conway, Mueller’s report is “damning.”

“The president may have the raw constitutional power to, say, squelch an investigation or to pardon a close associate,” he wrote. “But if he does so not to serve the public interest, but to serve his own, he surely could be removed from office, even if he has not committed a criminal act.”

He argues Mueller’s investigation “found multiple acts by the president that were capable of executing undue influence over law enforcement investigations” — and compares the effort to that of Nixon.

“[Nixon] was almost certainly to be impeached, and removed from office, after the infamous ‘smoking gun tape’ came out,” Conway wrote, noting Nixon is heard on the tape directing his chief of staff to get the CIA director, Richard Helms, to tell the FBI not to go any further in the Watergate prosecution. Helms ignored the directive.

“The underlying crime in Watergate was a clumsy, third-rate burglary in an election campaign that turned out to be a landslide.

“The investigation that Trump tried to interfere with here, to protect his own personal interests, was in significant part an investigation of how a hostile foreign power interfered with our democracy. If that’s not putting personal interests above a presidential duty to the nation, nothing is.”

Source: NewsMax America

President Donald Trump quoted several Fox News personalities on Twitter on Thursday evening, and in one tweet he claimed to have held back on firing special counsel Robert Mueller during the Russia probe.

Hours after Mueller’s report was made public and Americans saw for themselves Trump did not conspire with Russia to win the 2016 election and the Department of Justice did not believe there was enough evidence to charge him with obstruction, Trump appeared to be watching Fox News.

Trump tweeted:

“‘Donald Trump was being framed, he fought back. That is not Obstruction.’ @JesseBWatters  I had the right to end the whole Witch Hunt if I wanted. I could have fired everyone, including Mueller, if I wanted. I chose not to. I had the RIGHT to use Executive Privilege. I didn’t!”

Trump wrote in another post:

“Anything the Russians did concerning the 2016 Election was done while Obama was President. He was told about it and did nothing! Most importantly, the vote was not affected.”

In other tweets, Trump simply quoted Fox News hosts in their analysis of the Mueller probe, which is now complete. Democrats, however, are taking a deep dive into Trump’s background and appear poised to use the Mueller report to find something on Trump.

Source: NewsMax Politics

U.S. Attorney General Barr speaks at a news conference to discuss Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential race, in Washington
U.S. Attorney General William Barr, flanked by Edward O’Callaghan, Acting Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General (L) and Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, speaks at a news conference to discuss Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential race, in Washington, U.S., April 18, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

April 19, 2019

(Advisory: Story includes language that might offend some readers.)

By Sarah N. Lynch and Andy Sullivan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on his inquiry into Russia’s role in the 2016 U.S. election described in extensive and sometimes unflattering detail how President Donald Trump tried to impede the probe, raising questions about whether he committed the crime of obstruction of justice.

The release of the 448-page report on Thursday after a 22-month investigation marked a milestone in Trump’s tumultuous presidency and inflamed partisan passions ahead of his 2020 re-election bid.

Democrats said the report contained disturbing evidence of wrongdoing by Trump that could fuel congressional investigations, but there was no immediate indication they would try to remove him from office through impeachment.

Mueller built an extensive case indicating the Republican president had committed obstruction of justice but stopped short of concluding he had committed a crime, though he did not exonerate the president. Mueller noted that Congress has the power to address whether Trump violated the law.

“The conclusion that Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the President’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law,” the report stated.

Mueller also unearthed “numerous links” between the Russian government and Trump’s campaign and said the president’s team “expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts,” referring to hacked Democratic emails.

But Mueller, a former FBI director, concluded there was not enough evidence to establish that Trump’s campaign engaged in a criminal conspiracy with Moscow.

(Graphic: Redactions in the Mueller report – https://tmsnrt.rs/2DnjTvk)

Trump appeared to be in a celebratory mood, saying at a White House event with wounded U.S. troops he was “having a good day” following the report’s release, adding, “It’s called no collusion, no obstruction.” Trump, whose legal team called the report “a total victory,” has long described Mueller’s inquiry as a “witch hunt.”

Trump headed to his resort in Florida for the weekend, and on landing on Thursday night told a crowd of well wishers at the airport: “Game over folks, now it’s back to work.”

The report, with some portions blacked out to protect sensitive information, provided fresh details of how Trump tried to force Mueller’s ouster, directed members of his administration to publicly vouch for his innocence and dangled a pardon to a former aide to try to prevent him from cooperating with the special counsel.

“The President’s efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests,” the report stated.

The report said that when former Attorney General Jeff Sessions told Trump in May 2017 that the Justice Department was appointing a special counsel to look into allegations that his campaign colluded with Russia, Trump slumped back in his chair and said, “Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I’m fucked.”

Attorney General William Barr told a news conference Mueller had detailed “10 episodes involving the president and discusses potential legal theories for connecting these actions to elements of an obstruction offense.” Barr concluded last month after receiving a confidential copy of Mueller’s report that Trump had not actually committed a crime.

Trump was wary of FBI scrutiny of his campaign and him personally, the report said. “The evidence does indicate that a thorough FBI investigation would uncover facts about the campaign and the president personally that the president could have understood to be crimes or that would give rise to personal and political concerns,” the report stated.

Any impeachment effort would start in the Democratic-led House of Representatives, but Trump’s removal would require the support of the Republican-led Senate – an unlikely outcome. Many Democrats steered clear of impeachment talk on Thursday, although a prominent liberal congresswoman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, embraced the idea.

“Many know I take no pleasure in discussions of impeachment. I didn’t campaign on it, & rarely discuss it unprompted,” she said on Twitter. “But the report squarely puts this on our doorstep.”

The House, when it voted to impeach President Bill Clinton in 1998, included obstruction of justice as one of the charges. The Senate ultimately decided not to remove Clinton from office.

The Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerrold Nadler, said he would issue subpoenas to obtain the unredacted Mueller report and asked Mueller to testify before the panel by May 23.

Nadler told reporters in New York Mueller probably wrote the report with the intent of providing Congress a road map for future action, but the congressman said it was too early to talk about impeachment.

“Mueller’s report paints a damning portrait of lies that appear to have materially impaired the investigation, a body of evidence of improper contacts with a foreign adversary, and serious allegations about how President Trump sought to obstruct a legitimate, and deeply important, counterintelligence investigation,” the Democratic chairs of six House committees said in a statement.

ELECTION MEDDLING

The inquiry laid bare what the special counsel and U.S. intelligence agencies have described as a Russian campaign of hacking and propaganda to sow discord in the United States, denigrate 2016 Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and boost Trump, the Kremlin’s preferred candidate. Russia has denied election interference.

In analyzing whether Trump obstructed justice, Mueller looked at a series of actions by Trump, including his attempts to remove Mueller and limit the scope of his probe and efforts to prevent the public from knowing about a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower in New York between senior campaign officials and Russians.

In June 2017, Trump directed White House counsel Don McGahn to tell the Justice Department’s No. 2 official, Rod Rosenstein, that Mueller had conflicts of interest and must be removed, the report said. McGahn did not carry out the order. McGahn was home on a Saturday that month when Trump called him at least twice.

“You gotta do this. You gotta call Rod,” McGahn recalled the president as saying, according to the report.

House Judiciary Democrat Jamie Raskin pointed to Trump’s effort to get McGahn to fire Mueller and then lie about being told to do so as an area of interest for lawmakers, and said McGahn and former Attorney General Jeff Sessions could be valuable witnesses as the committee moves forward.

“There are these dramatic episodes of presidential attempts to interfere with the Mueller investigation, and I think people would like to hear from a number of officials involved. White House counsel McGahn jumps out as an important witness,” he told Reuters.

It also said there was “substantial evidence” Trump fired James Comey as FBI director in May 2017 due to his “unwillingness to publicly state that the president was not personally under investigation.” The FBI headed the inquiry at the time.

Mueller cited “some evidence” suggesting Trump knew about former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s controversial calls with the Russian ambassador to the United States before Trump took office, but evidence was “inconclusive” and could not be used to establish intent to obstruct.

The report said Trump directed former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski to ask Sessions to say the Russia investigation was “very unfair.”

Barr, a Trump appointee, seemed to offer cover for Trump’s actions by saying the report acknowledges “there is substantial evidence to show that the president was frustrated and angered by a sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents, and fueled by illegal leaks.”

“President Trump faced an unprecedented situation. As he entered into office and sought to perform his responsibilities as president, federal agents and prosecutors were scrutinizing his conduct before and after taking office and the conduct of some of his associates,” Barr said.

Mueller’s team did not issue a subpoena to force Trump to give an interview to the special counsel because it would have created a “substantial delay” at a late stage in the investigation, the report said. Trump refused an interview and eventually provided only written answers.

The report said Mueller accepted the longstanding Justice Department view that a sitting president cannot be indicted on criminal charges, while still recognizing that a president can be criminally investigated.

The report listed 14 criminal referrals for investigation by U.S. prosecutors but 12 of those were fully blacked out because they are open investigations.

Mueller said evidence he collected indicates Trump intended to encourage his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, not to cooperate and that the evidence supports the idea that Trump wanted Manafort to believe he could receive a presidential pardon.

The report said the special counsel’s team determined there was a “reasonable argument” that the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., violated campaign finance laws, but did not believe they could obtain a conviction.

The report cited Trump’s repeated efforts to convince Sessions to resume oversight of the probe after he had recused himself because of his own prior contacts with Russia’s ambassador to the United States.

(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch and Andy Sullivan; Additional reporting by David Morgan, Doina Chiacu, David Alexander, Susan Cornwell, Richard Cowan, Amanda Becker, Jan Wolfe, Nathan Layne, Karen Freifeld, Steve Holland and Makini Brice; Writing by Will Dunham and John Whitesides, Editing by Alistair Bell and Grant McCool)

Source: OANN

The release to the public of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election was no comfort to veterans of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign.

“Apparently it’s not criminal to help foreign agents carry out their plans to disrupt an election,” Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook told Politico. “I wish instead of just relitigating the past, we would spend some time crafting laws to prevent this in the future.”

One of the revelations in the report was President Donald Trump’s obsessive interest in Clinton’s deleted emails, according to Politico. The Trump campaign, however, never found them.

“After candidate Trump stated on July 27, 2016, that he hoped Russia would ‘find the 30,000 emails that are missing,’ Trump asked individuals affiliated with his campaign to find the deleted Clinton emails,” the report stated, the news outlet noted.

“Michael Flynn — who would later serve as national security adviser in the Trump administration — recalled that Trump made this request repeatedly, and Flynn subsequently contacted multiple people in an effort to obtain the emails.”

Jesse Ferguson, a senior spokesperson on the Clinton campaign, told Politico that “aside from Trump’s scandal, corruption, and potential criminality in the Mueller report, it also confirms that Trump got elected thanks to an extensive Russian infiltration and operation.”

Clinton spokespeople Jennifer Palmieri and Brian Fallon both called for impeachment hearings.

“This should be a reminder to all 2020 opponents that you aren’t dealing with a normal candidate. They are playing incredibly dirty,” Adrienne Elrod, the campaign’s director of strategic communications and surrogates, told Politico, adding the report should be used to to guide congressional probes. “This is far from over.”

Source: NewsMax America

Dems and the fake news media are struggling to come to grips with the release of the FBI Special Counsel’s report, which found no collusion between President Trump and Russia!

Source: The War Room

Jerome Corsi, an associate of former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone who was caught up in the Russia investigation, told Newsmax TV the Mueller report released Thursday shows no legal action will be taken against him.

“I’m feeling pretty good, John,” Corsi told “Newsmax Now” host John Bachman. “First of all, it’s very clear I’m not gonna be indicted, even though they gave me a plea deal, that they wanted me to plead to one charge on.

“In my most recent book, ‘Silent No More,’ I explain it was psychologically very abusive. These Mueller people, I think, used prosecutorial misconduct techniques in the way I was questioned. They were desperate to have me make a link between Roger Stone and Julian Assange, which then I think was fundamental, very key to their whole collusion argument.”

President Donald Trump was cleared of conspiring with the Russians, and the Department of Justice said there was not enough evidence to show he obstructed justice by trying to squash the investigation.

Corsi echoed his past claims Mueller’s team tried to have him admit he was the conduit between WikiLeaks, which published documents damaging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016, and Stone.

“The prosecutors went insane that I figured this out on my own that [WikiLeaks founder Julian] Assange had [Clinton campaign chairman John] Podesta’s emails, and I did not have a contact with Julian Assange or Wikileaks whatsoever,” Corsi said.

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Source: NewsMax America

The Mueller report should never have been written in its current form because it is unfair to President Donald Trump, who was found not to have committed a crime, attorney Alan Dershowitz told Newsmax TV.

During an appearance on “Newsmax Now,” Dershowitz reacted to the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian collusion and said it will give Democrats a “roadmap” to pursue more investigations and, potentially, an impeachment.

“He’s been vindicated legally, but factually, morally, politically, there’s a lot in there that will be used by Democrats to try to show that although he may not have committed criminal conduct, he certainly committed conduct that’s not desirable by a president,” Dershowitz said.

“That’s exactly why there should never have been a Mueller report. The tradition of the Justice Department — a very good one, we remember when [former FBI Director James] Comey violated it with Hillary Clinton — is that when you decide not to charge somebody with a crime, you then don’t write a series of essays, or in this case a book, about all the bad things that they did that didn’t amount to criminal conduct. That seems to be very, very unfair, and that’s the negatives that have come out of this for President Trump.”

Dershowitz added he has thought for months Mueller would exonerate Trump but lay out the evidence that could have been used to charge the president with a crime.

“I predicted months ago that he would provide a roadmap to Congress for further investigations, impeachments – also a roadmap for other prosecutors in various districts of the United States. And he’s done exactly that,” Dershowitz said.

“That’s appropriate if you do it discreetly. . . . But when you issue a public report that includes innocent conduct, non-criminal conduct, however conduct that is condemnable, not criminal, that really violates the long tradition of the Justice Department in the same way that Comey violated the traditions of the Justice Department when he accused Hillary Clinton of being sloppy with her emails after concluding that she committed no crime.”

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Source: NewsMax America


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