Mueller report released (minus redactions)

The report following the investigation led by Robert Mueller into whether there was Russian interference or collusion has now been released, which has opened a bunch of discussion points.

Time:  Here Are the Biggest Takeaways From the Mueller Report

Although Russia “perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency” and the campaign “expected it would benefit electorally” from Russian hacking efforts, “the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities,” the report said.

When investigators began looking into Russian influence operations, however, Mueller found that Trump attempted to interfere with the investigation in a number of ways, from firing FBI Director James Comey to trying to limit its scope.

“If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment,” the report said.

Trump’s response to Mueller’s appointment: ‘I’m f-cked’

According to Mueller, the president was despondent when Attorney General Jeff Sessions informed him that the special counsel had been appointed in 2017.

“This is the end of my presidency. I’m f-cked,” the President said to Sessions.

Trump ordered a White House lawyer to fire Mueller

Trump called McGahn at his home on June 17, 2017, according to phone records. He ordered McGahn to call the acting attorney general and tell him that Mueller had conflicts of interest and needed to be removed, saying something to the effect of, “You gotta do this. You gotta call Rod [Rosenstein],” McGahn told investigators.

McGahn told Mueller that he decided that he would rather resign, because he didn’t want to end up like “Saturday Night Massacre Bork” — a reference to Solicitor General Robert Bork, who fired a special prosecutor at President Richard Nixon’s request during the Watergate scandal, setting off a massive political firestorm.

“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 said.

Trump didn’t like his lawyer taking notes

McGahn later told former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus that the President had asked him to “do crazy sh-t.”

After reports emerged in early 2018 that Trump had ordered McGahn to fire Mueller, the President told his aide Rob Porter to ask McGahn to tell the press that he’d never received the order. McGahn again declined, telling Porter that the media reports were true.

Later, the President met with McGahn and asked him to deny that he’d been ordered to remove Mueller.

“I never said to fire Mueller. I never said ‘fire.’ This story doesn’t look good. You need to correct this. You’re the White House Counsel,” Trump said, according to McGahn and former Chief of Staff John Kelly.

Trump also asked McGahn why he had told Mueller about the effort to fire the special counsel, and also why he had decided to take notes during their conversations.

“What about these notes? Why do you take notes? Lawyers don’t take notes. I never had a lawyer who took notes,” Trump said.

A White House spokeswoman admitted she made up a Trump defense

During a press briefing on May 10, 2017, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders defended Trump’s decision to fire Comey by saying that “the rank and file of the FBI had lost confidence” in him.

But under oath with Mueller’s team, Sanders conceded that she had not heard from any agents, calling it a “slip of the tongue.”

Trump said he was just joking about asking Russia to find Clinton’s emails

After Mueller inquired about the public comment, Trump replied that he made the statement “in jest and sarcastically, as was apparent to any objective observer.”

Despite his insistence that he was joking, Trump later emphasized his comments on Twitter, writing “If Russia or any other country or person has Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 illegally deleted emails, perhaps they should share them with the FBI!”

Trump fired Comey because he wouldn’t publicly exonerate the President

Two days after James Comey refused to deny that the Trump was under investigation during a 2017 congressional hearing, Trump told his family and advisors that he was planning to remove the FBI Director, according to senior advisor Stephen Miller.

Trump also insisted that Comey’s resignation letter declared that Trump wasn’t personally under investigation.

How much of the report is redacted?

Substantial portions of the report are redacted. The omissions make certain sections – including the portion of the document which concerns Wikileaks – difficult to understand.

Fox News – Mueller report sparks new DC war over Russia probe: Subpoenas, payback and more

The public release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Thursday marked the dramatic final note of a lengthy and contentious investigation, but also sparked a tinderbox of new calls for subpoenas, congressional testimony, resignations, and even impeachment proceedings — all despite the probe’s central finding that no evidence showed that President Trump’s team “coordinated or conspired” with Russia.

The whirlwind moments kept coming, even hours after the report’s release, as more and more revelations from the 448-page document trickled out. The White House, for its part, claimed total victory and vindication for the president who, according to the report, once fretted that the special counsel’s appointment meant he was “f—ed” beyond the possibility of redemption and that his agenda would be derailed by partisan distractions.

Within minutes of the report’s publication, House Judiciary Committee Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., charged that the special counsel had provided “disturbing evidence that President Trump engaged in obstruction of justice” and, referencing the report’s limited redactions, finished with a tantalizing flourish: “Imagine what remains hidden from our view.”

Nader immediately called on Mueller himself to testify, and top Republicans, including Trump personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General William Barr, said they would have no objections to him doing so.

Republicans, meanwhile, called the day a resounding win, pointing specifically to several portions of Mueller’s findings that debunked long-held conspiracy theories and media reports that misrepresented the Trump team’s contacts with Russia.

For example, notably absent from Mueller’s analysis was any mention of the unverified report that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort had “secret talks” with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in London’s Ecuadorian embassy months before stolen emails damaging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign were published.

Summing up the positive news for his administration in the report, Trump tweeted a reference to the popular “Game of Thrones” television series, with the words, “No collusion, no obstruction. For the haters and the radical left Democrats — Game Over.”

White House adviser Kellyanne Conway told reporters that Thursday was the “best day” since Trump’s election, calling the Mueller probe a “political proctology exam” and the final report a “clean bill of health.”

“It should make people feel really great that a campaign I managed to its successful end did not collude with any Russians,” Conway said. “We’re accepting apologies today, too, for anybody who feels the grace in offering them.”

Democrats, however, raised a slew of objections and charged that Barr had improperly given cover for the president. 2020 presidential contender Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., called on Barr to “resign,” after Barr pointed out in his press conference that Trump’s mental state — including his apparent frustration at the long-running investigation — was relevant to the question of whether he obstructed justice.

On collusion, according to the report, the Trump team believed it would benefit from Russian efforts and sought to share published emails that had been pilfered from the DNC and Clinton campaign, but did not coordinate with Russia on any hacking or misinformation efforts.

In one notable lead that was explored, former national security adviser Michael Flynn told investigators that Trump repeatedly requested that his team find tens of thousands of emails deleted from a private server controlled by Hillary Clinton.

At a July 2016 campaign rally, Trump remarked sarcastically, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.”

After that statement, Flynn contacted operatives in the hopes of uncovering the documents, according to Mueller. And Peter Smith, a GOP consultant, “created a company, raised tens of thousands of dollars, and recruited security experts and business associates,” the report stated.

The full report (redacted) plus more comment at NZH: The four key takeaways from the Mueller report into Russian interference in US election

3. Aides often ignore Trump’s false and dubious directives

One of the most intriguing parts of this report is the window it provides into how Trump’s aides view him. We’ve had many leaks suggesting internal discord in the White House, but here the aides were compelled to tell the truth.

And a common thread is forming: Trump often asks aides to falsely deny things or do things that make them uncomfortable. Oftentimes, they simply didn’t follow through.

In one section, then-White House counsel Donald McGahn got a message from Trump’s personal lawyer saying Trump wanted McGahn to put out a statement denying a New York Times report that said Trump had tried to fire Mueller. McGahn declined, because Trump had in fact tried to fire Mueller.

4. Many of Trump’s “fake news” claims are disproven

One of the unhelpful realities of the Russia probe thus far has been that so many revelations were based upon anonymous sources. That has allowed Trump to argue to his supporters that the stories were wrong, totally made-up “fake news.”

Except now many of them have been confirmed by the Mueller report.

And so the Washington circus continues.

11 Comments

  1. FarmerPete

     /  April 19, 2019

    Honestly, the Washington Post is a thoroughly discredited source. Too many false reports to cite here. The really big story emerging is the origins of the spying on the Trump campaign, the potential illegal activities of the Clinton campaign, Fussion GPS and a small cabal in the Obama administration. On top of all that a media that was in the tank for the Democrats and are too arrogant to acknowledge their myopia.

    • I don’t think the Mueller is a discredited source, and that’s what this post is about, and it’s the big story in Washington right now.

      Trying to divert won’t make it go away, and won’t make Trump look any better. One good thing about the report is it shows that some of his staff are not prepared to break the law and lie for him (but some are).

      • A Special Counsel in search of a crime. They didn’t find one. I expect the new AG will go after the real conspirators in the russia collusion story.

    • duperez

       /  April 19, 2019

      If a credible report is in a discredited media source does that make the report untrue, irrelevant, not credible?

  2. FarmerPete

     /  April 19, 2019

    I did not say, or infer, that Mueller was a discredited source. My point was, and it remains valid inspite of your accusation of a logical fallacy, is that some of the sources you quoted (eg Time and the Washington Post ) have been thoroughly discredited in terms of reliability and therefore can not be relied on for a balanced analysis. For example, point four from the Washington Post – one of the outcomes of the Mueller report was to show that many of the claims made by the media were in fact false. Trump’s fake news claims could not have survived if in fact so many of the stories about Trump and collusion were either not true, or were over embellished. The blind pursuit of a narrative has contributed to the media being unable to recognise that their own reporting has been woeful. NZH and Stuff routinely reprint without review articles from the Washington post , so we get the same very low standard of analysis that has plagued the US. Also that quote from the WP saying ‘I’m f—-d’ left the end off, where Trump goes on to say that Special Counsel’s ruin a presidency. Changes the meaning somewhat, doesn’t it?
    There is an enormous amount of commentary now from both sides of the spectrum about Muellers report, what it contained and also importantly, what it did not. For example some legal experts are surprised that prosecutors would not make a choice either way about obstruction, as the role of the Justice Department is not to have a ‘bob’ each way but to make a definitive declaration of indictment or not.That is their mandate. By not making a decision, they have by default made a decision of ‘no obstruction’.
    The US and the world has been fed the narrative of Trump collusion, treason and obstruction for the last two and a half years. The damage to the country and presidency is incalculable. What the report has witnessed today is the collapse of the collusion narrative, and the start of a new phase of the resistance. Lord help the US!

    • Gezza

       /  April 19, 2019

      I have said it before & I don’t mean it to sound flippant, but the way American society has evolved over the last half century or so, they simply have ended up with the government they deserve, & that I think, on reflection, was probably eventually inevitable.

      • Pink David

         /  April 19, 2019

        Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.
        H. L. Mencken

    • Patzcuaro

       /  April 20, 2019

      At least you can watch Fox where you get no news and no truth all neatly packaged for your consumption.

    • Patzcuaro

       /  April 20, 2019

  3. Patzcuaro

     /  April 20, 2019