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Mueller Reminds the Public: Trump Betrayed the United States

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This is the narrative Trump and his GOP defenders have wanted to obstruct and smother.

Robert Mueller's full testimony before U.S. House judiciary committee
Robert Mueller's full testimony before U.S. House judiciary committee
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There's an old saying in newsrooms: News is stuff that people have forgotten. Robert Mueller's dramatic appearance before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday morning was a striking reminder of this adage. The former special counsel did not drop any new revelations about the Trump-Russia affair. Yet in a simple but important manner, he reiterated the basics of this scandal -- perhaps the most consequential political scandal in American history. These are the fundamentals that have often been subsumed by all the never-ending partisan squabbling and by the ongoing crusade mounted by Donald Trump and his defenders to distract from his perfidy. These are the facts that Trump has refused to acknowledge, and they are the facts that taint his presidency and undermine its legitimacy.

In his opening statement, Mueller emphasized the key finding from his report: "The Russian government interfered in our election in sweeping and systematic fashion." And during the questioning, Mueller repeated the conclusion previously reached by the US intelligence community that Russia conducted this covert operation to help Trump get elected. "Did your investigation find that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from one of the candidates winning?" Mueller was asked by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.). He replied with one word: "Yes." Lofgren followed up: "And which candidate would that be?" Mueller responded, "Well, it would be Trump."

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So Russia attacked an American election to help Trump. And what did Trump do? "The Trump campaign wasn't exactly reluctant to take Russian help," Lofgren remarked to Mueller. "You wrote it expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts, isn't that correct."

Mueller answered with another brief sentence: "That's correct." That is, Trump sought to exploit a foreign adversary's clandestine assault. And as Mueller noted in his report, during the campaign Trump dismissed the notion that Russia was intervening in the election, and after he was elected he continued to deny "that Russia aided his election."

For a moment, put aside the question of collusion. (Despite Trump's insistence that Mueller found no collusion, Mueller testified that "we did not address collusion," but rather the issue of criminal conspiracy.) And consider the story so far: Russia attacked, and Trump denied the attack happened -- which provided cover for Moscow -- yet attempted to benefit from it. This is a profound act of betrayal. It is the essence of the scandal: A presidential candidate aiding and abetting an assault on the United States. And Trump's denials of the Russian operation during the campaign and his public statement asking Russian hackers to target Hillary Clinton could certainly have been read by Moscow as encouragement. (The same is true for the various private Trump campaign contacts with Russian intermediaries that occurred while the Kremlin was mounting its information warfare against the United States to subvert the election to assist Trump.)

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This is the narrative that Trump has desperately wanted to obstruct and smother since the campaign. He was elected president partly due to the Russian intervention he has refused to fully acknowledge and address. After the election, he did not want a comprehensive investigation of any of this, and, as Mueller's report noted, Trump took multiple steps to block Mueller's probe -- actions that could amount to obstruction of justice.

Yet Trump has escaped prosecution on that front. Mueller's report stated that Trump could not be charged with any crime because of a Justice Department policy prohibiting the indictment of a sitting president. Still, Trump has repeatedly brayed that Mueller exonerated him. In a notable exchange at the start of the hearing, Mueller was asked if his report did indeed absolve Trump. "That is not what the report said," Mueller declared. He later commented, "The president was not exculpated for the acts he allegedly committed." Muller also said that Trump could be charged with obstruction of justice after he leaves office. (As Mueller was testifying, Trump's 2020 campaign zapped out an email fundraiser falsely exclaiming, "NO COLLUSION, NO OBSTRUCTION, COMPLETE AND TOTAL EXONERATION!")

Though Trump's alleged obstruction was the focus of the morning's hearing -- with GOPers trying to distract by promoting their favorite conspiracy theories -- Mueller's appearance did call attention to the heart of the matter: the unprecedented attack on the United States, Trump's effort to exploit it, and Trump's refusal to recognize Moscow's assault. Whether or not Trump engaged in active collusion with Vladimir Putin's regime, he gained the presidency with covert foreign assistance and then abandoned his most fundamental duty: to protect the United States. Arguably, this is more significant than the obstruction issue, for Trump has permitted a foreign power to get away with perverting the foundation of American democracy.

Mueller finished his opening statement by remarking, "Over the course of my career, I've seen a number of challenges to our democracy. The Russian government's effort to interfere in our election is among the most serious." This could well be taken as criticism of Trump. After all, the president has never accepted this. Doing so would force Trump to acknowledge his own wrongdoing and affirm questions about the legitimacy of the election that landed him in the White House.

A US election was hijacked. Trump stood by as it happened and profited from it. And ever since he has attempted to cover up this original sin of his presidency. At the hearing, Mueller did not rail about Trump's serious misconduct. But in the quiet way of an institutionalist who respects norms and rules, Mueller made it clear: Trump engaged in treachery. This is not news. But it remains a defining element of the Trump presidency that deserves constant attention.

 

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Aleksandar Sarovic

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No president of the US has ever been a more evident supporter of corporations than President Trump. Among other things, he relieved the corporations by lowering their taxes and privileged them by reducing free trade. He waged a trade war with China, economically sanctioned Russia, blindly supported Israel, pressured Venezuela and Iran politically and economically. President Trump can hardly support the rich more and the rich can hardly find a better president for themselves. And yet, the corporate media owned by the rich have been attacking President Trump from the beginning of his mandate. I know, Trump has a weird character and lies a lot. But why would the rich attack their best asset in the US?

Another question is why the rating of President Trump increases with a policy which is traditionally despised by people. His policy should have been rated low. But with a low rating, Trump would not be able to support the rich. I think this is the reason the rich have created a conspiracy which increased Trump's rating by misleading the American people completely. I have created a conspiracy theory which presents how it was done. It is a brilliant deception of the American people.

The rich have invented the Russian meddling into the US election and falsely accused Trump of cooperation with the Russians. Then the rich assigned a special prosecutor, Robert Mueller, to investigate the Russian "interference" in the 2016 United States elections and "suspicious" links between Trump associates and Russian officials. The investigation lasted two years, and the opposition welcomed it hoping Trump with his awful policy will be impeached. During this time, the rich have encouraged the opposition to attack President Trump claiming that the proof of Russian support for Trump in the election will emerge in just a matter of time. The media controlled by the rich hysterically covered every event which rose suspicion about Trump's cooperation with Russia. This fooled the people.

Finally, after two years of hard investigation, the Mueller report stated that they did not find proof that President Trump's campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russians; neither did they find that Trump obstructed justice. Of course, they could not possibly find proof for it because the rich people invented it. The Mueller report has made President Trump innocent after two years of accusations. It has increased Trump's rate so that he is welcome to continue performing his terrible policy. The rate of the opposition dropped because it lost credibility by two years of supporting the false accusations of President Trump. It will not be able to change Trump's terrible policy. The rich won by fooling people.

Submitted on Saturday, Jul 27, 2019 at 10:25:49 PM

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Eric Arnow

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Corn predictably betrays the USA as he has been paid to do. A professional black propagandist for the last 20 years. Mother Jones magazine betrays everything the real labor leader Mother Jones stood for. Israel, Ukraine, the UK, Saudi Arabia are where this hack excuse for a journalist should be directing his attention.... But that is not what he is paid to do. Russia Russia Russia is where the Benjamin's are.

Submitted on Saturday, Jul 27, 2019 at 10:58:01 PM

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David William Pear

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You know what news people have forgotten? In 1960 the Nixon campaign put out the same kind of crapola: Who would Khrushchev prefer?

When will this nonsense stop? This is a totally factless article. It has all been debunked, and based on the word of a fascistic FBI that lied about WMD, and hounded Muslims after 911.

More news that people have forgotten, and seem not to care about:

*more Palestinians killed on Friday

*Yemen babies with cholera

*Civilians dying because of US sanctions on Iran and Venezuela

*Yellow Vests resisting austerity

*Syrian war rages on

*Torture of Julian Assange

*Glen Greenwald threatened with jail by Balsonaro

BTW, McCarthyism didn't work for Nixon in 1960 and it is a losing strategy for Democrats in 2020. Between being accused of a Russian stooge and anti-Semitic there will not be a liberal candidate left standing.

Submitted on Sunday, Jul 28, 2019 at 2:13:31 PM

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I don't even bother reading Corn's stuff. What's the point?

Submitted on Sunday, Jul 28, 2019 at 6:58:49 PM

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Brenda Schouten-Beckett

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Yeah. The only reason I am over here is because I asked to get flagged whenever David William Pear comments on something. This isn't the first time he accidentally lured me over to a heap of bull pucky but I learned to read only the comments first.

Submitted on Tuesday, Jul 30, 2019 at 8:48:48 PM

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