Mueller Finally Speaks, Albeit not for Long

I watched Special Counsel Mueller’s 10 minute statement in a press conference this morning in which he told us nothing new.  But that doesn’t make it unimportant.

Many would point out everything he said today is in his 400 page report, but that totally misses the point.  For the many, many, many millions who didn’t read the report, including me, it was a needed, simple way to contrast with Trump’s narrative of innocence – “no collusion, no obstruction.”  Which I believe has been the takeaway for many.

Our politics has diminished to a battle of bumper stickers.  So the challenge is to shorten what Mueller emphasized today to licence plate size.  That there was “insufficient evidence” to charge conspiracy (hardly the same as “innocent”) and there was quite a bit of evidence to charge for obstruction (which he lays out in the report), but Mueller felt constrained by justice department policy preventing charging a sitting president with a crime (see bottom for more on that).

As you can see, the truth is a bit complicated, so turning the truth into a bumper sticker is hard to do, unless like Trump you distort the truth to fit your simple messages.  A powerful technique I have to admit.

How about Not innocent, just not guilty yet.


P. S. – A curious aspect to this report is Mueller’s insisting his actions were circumscribed by D. O. J.  policy disallowing indictments of sitting presidents.  That would suggest that he wouldn’t have indicted for conspiracy even if he had sufficient evidence.

This point has been brought up by both Michael Smerconish and Brit Hume, the former a  moderate CNN talk show host and the latter a conservative senior commentator on Fox.  If Mueller was restricted from indicting on evidence of obstruction, then wouldn’t he also have been restricted from indicting on conspiracy had they found sufficient evidence?

I’d like some congressman to ask Mueller about that, even if it is in a closed door session.

Advertisements

Deconstructing “Don the Con”. Why Nancy Pelosi is My Hero.

In my April 29 post I backed Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s approach of “one step at a time” regarding the possible impeachment of president Trump.  I continue to applaud her tight rope walking skills between Trump, media commentators and party activists who claim the moral necessity of impeaching him right now.  As a matter of principle.  Even Trump likes the idea, but for unprincipled reasons of course.

For those who do not recognize the wisdom of her ways, Speaker Pelosi knows it would be foolish to go the impeachment route right now because there is a lack of outcry from Americans for it.  It is not for the House to demand it, but the American people.   Right now the outcry is below 50%, with a plurality of those all important “independents” being against it in a May 9 poll.  To prompt more outcry a slow pealing of the onion  of Trump’s fabrications must take place.  A course we might title:  Deconstructing Don the Con.

As Speaker Pelosi has often asserted, Trump wants the Dems to launch impeachment hearings because that would fit his narrative of victimization which he could then cap off with Republicans in the Senate rejecting the measure.  One more rationale for Trump to proclaim his innocence and decry all that wasted time, as we approach the 2020 election.

Pelosi is not saying never move to impeachment.  Only move to it as a final act after all other avenues have been exhausted while educating the American public in the process.  Let’s hope Robert Mueller will testify soon.  And let the House committees finish their investigations and a number of Trump’s phony court cases get rejected.  Also let’s see what happens when the New York legislature directs Trump’s state tax statements to the House committees.   Whatever is useful to educate the American public.

Some anti-Trumpers would argue that at least an “impeachment inquiry” could be launched for a start.  It sounds good, but to the general public there is no difference between an impeachment inquiry and impeachment itself.  And the notion of impeachment only fires up the already fervent at this time.

That’s why Nancy keeps pressing the point of finding out the facts and going where they lead, rather than talking of impeachment.   The “facts” don’t have a negative connotation as “impeachment” has right now given the mental fatigue of living in “investigation nation”.

The goal is to keep marshaling facts until the picture becomes so clear that the balance of American political opinion shifts in favor of impeachment.   The American people need to demand it, not just the Democratically controlled House of Representatives.

This Crap of Reporters Allowing Trump to Mislead, Fabricate, or Just Plain Lie Must Stop!

Having posted yesterday, I was not eager to do so again so soon, but I’m so mad watching a Trump so-called press conference provide this morning a platform for Trump to spew his twisted narrative of events, I just have to.

PRESS PEOPLE:   You know that this is happening, that he bats your feckless questions away or employs them to bring up another distortion or lie.  Then after his “speech” you sit in groups and analyze much of what he says as if any of it can be taken seriously, as if he won’t come up with something completely different later today or tomorrow.  Depending on the wisdom of his gut.

The guy has no respect for the truth, so why believe anything he says.

What you are doing is providing this scoundrel with yet another platform for his fabricated narrative.   His propaganda.  Hey, I am empathetic.  I don’t have any marvelous suggestions.  I just know Trump has beaten you at the traditional journalistic game and you need to stop playing that game and create a new one.

Maybe like a labor union you can go on strike.  In your case making a group statement that you will not attend these charade sessions any more unless you can challenge Trump (and his mouthpieces) on his lies.   Of course, he wouldn’t allow that……………………

…..so what’s next?  I don’t know.  That’s your job to figure it out.

Still Waiting for Mueller to Testify to Congress

The Trump extravaganza of issues keeps expanding exponentially, but short of a noteworthy military conflict, I’m still most concerned if and when Special Counsel Robert Mueller will testify to Congress.  I’ve heard May 15 bandied about for a testimony date, but nothing from Mueller about that.

At the moment, my sense is Trump is winning the message game, asserting that the report’s lack of indictments clear the president.  From what I’ve gleaned from many who have read the report, the actual picture is much less flattering.  Even incriminating if you believe over 700 federal prosecutors who have signed a joint letter to that effect.

But we need Mueller to testify in order to substantiate that, as well as showing Attorney General Barr has misinterpreted the findings to the public.  Which in turn has allowed Republicans to parrot it’s a done deal.  Let’s move on.

Linked here is a story from CBS news that delve’s into the question of whether Trump can stop Mueller from testifying once he leaves office (no public date set yet).

I would say the basic conclusion is that while Trump might be able to limit Mueller’s comments to only what he said in the report on the basis of executive privilege, even that argument might not prevail.  In any case, it looks like it comes down to Mueller’s willingness to testify and I can only hope he wants to set the record straight enough to overcome his preference to remain out of the public eye.