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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 7/27/19

Mueller Should Have Subpoenaed Trump

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From Truthout

Trump escalates attacks on Robert Mueller
Trump escalates attacks on Robert Mueller
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During Special Counsel Robert Mueller's televised appearances before the House Judiciary Committee and the House Intelligence Committee, he testified to facts that amount to lawbreaking by Donald Trump. Contrary to Trump's mantra of "No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION," Mueller affirmed that his 448-page report did not exonerate the president or reach a conclusion about whether Trump committed obstruction of justice.

The Mueller team found "substantial evidence" of the elements required to convict Trump of obstruction of justice. But, constrained by a Justice Department rule forbidding the indictment of a sitting president, Mueller's report did not conclude whether Trump actually committed the crime.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler asked Mueller, "And your investigation actually found, quote, 'multiple acts by the president that were capable of exerting undue influence over law enforcement investigations, including the Russian interference and obstruction investigations.' Is that correct?" Mueller answered, "Correct."

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Those acts, according to the Mueller report, include "efforts to remove the Special Counsel and to reverse the effect of the Attorney General's recusal; to the attempted use of official power to limit the scope of the investigation; to direct and indirect contacts with witnesses with the potential to influence their testimony."

When Democratic Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell inquired whether the president's efforts were largely unsuccessful because the people around him refused to obey his orders, Mueller replied, "Correct." But Mueller also confirmed that an attempt to obstruct justice can be a crime even if it doesn't succeed.

Mueller's Failure to Subpoena Trump

During his 22-month investigation, Mueller did not interview Trump and did not subpoena him to compel his attendance. Mueller told Nadler that Trump refused a request to be interviewed even though the special counsel and his team told the president's lawyer that "an interview with the president is vital to our investigation" and "it is in the interest of the presidency and the public for an interview to take place."

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Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney asked Mueller why he didn't subpoena Trump. Mueller said they negotiated with Trump for a little more than a year. As they neared the end of the investigation with little success in getting the interview, they declined to use their subpoena power because Trump would fight it and they wanted to expedite the end of the investigation.

Maloney queried, "Did you have sufficient evidence of the president's intent to obstruct justice, and is that why you didn't do the interview?" Mueller responded, "We had to make a balanced decision in terms of how much evidence we had, compared to the length of time." That entails balancing "how much evidence you have, does it satisfy the last element against how much time are you willing to spend in the courts litigating the interview with the president."

When he said "the last element," Mueller was referring to the intent to obstruct, which is the third element necessary to prove obstruction of justice. The crime of obstruction of justice requires (1) an obstructive act (2) connected with an official proceeding (3) with an intent to obstruct.

Mueller's failure to subpoena Trump was a mistake. John Dean, White House counsel during the Watergate scandal, criticized Mueller because he didn't vigorously pursue Trump's testimony. Appearing on CNN, Dean speculated that Mueller wouldn't have gone after the Nixon tapes because it would take too long. It was the court order to produce those tapes that led to Nixon's resignation.

There is no substitute for an in-person confrontation to determine whether a person is being truthful. Bill Clinton was impeached for lying to a grand jury.

An interrogation of Trump by the special counsel could have made a significant difference in the findings of the report. Mueller admitted that Trump's written responses to the special counsel's questions were "certainly not as useful as the interview would be." When asked whether Trump "wasn't always being truthful" when he provided written answers, under oath, to the special counsel's questions, Mueller replied "I would say generally."

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Mueller should have subpoenaed Trump a couple of months after the investigation began.

While the Democrats on the committees queried Mueller about the contents of his report, the Republicans did not question the facts. They focused on the origins of the Russia investigation and tried to discredit Mueller's methodology. GOP Rep. James Sensenbrenner asked Mueller why he spent 182 pages analyzing obstruction of justice if he didn't make a traditional prosecutorial decision. Mueller replied that you don't know where it will go until you investigate and the Justice Department regulation says you can continue an investigation even if you don't indict.

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Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, former president of the National Lawyers Guild, deputy secretary general of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, and a member of the National Advisory Board of Veterans for Peace. Her most recent book is Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues. See  (more...)
 

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Aleksandar Sarovic

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You still do not get it. Mueller has found nothing because President Trump was completely innocent. Here is what it all was about:


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. The rich won again by fooling people.


Submitted on Saturday, Jul 27, 2019 at 10:15:43 PM

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911TRUTH

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You still do not get it. Mueller has found nothing because President Trump was completely innocent.

O-M-G. trump is a LOT of things, innocent isn't one of them.

Submitted on Sunday, Jul 28, 2019 at 5:35:43 PM

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Aleksandar Sarovic

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Trump has probably committed a lot of crimes but he was not accused of them. Mueller did not get to investigate Trump's bombing of Syria for example which was a crime according to the laws related to it in the US. Mueller got to investigate Trump's cooperation with Russia at the election only which did not exist. He got the job to investigate his innocence and this was a part of the permanent deception of American people. BTW, whatever Trump has decided should be called a crime against humanity but it was not because of the terrible US laws.


Submitted on Sunday, Jul 28, 2019 at 6:37:35 PM

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Eric Arnow

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Mueller himself was hired because his whole career has been a scam. BCCI, 911, Iraq WMDs, Anthrax attacks, to name 4 out of 13 notable fake investigations. A recent article republished from 2017 details them. I knew from his flagrant Iraq WMDs lie and his 911 role why he was picked. The rich just led the people on another wild goose chase, while they Rob us blind and plunder and terrorize the world.

Submitted on Saturday, Jul 27, 2019 at 10:48:51 PM

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Devil's Advocate

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"...just led the people on another wild goose chase, while they Rob us blind and plunder and terrorize the world."

How true this is. While this particular piece of theater was going on, Trump was quietly putting the veto on the Saudi arms ban.

Just think of how much else has been done in the background, while everyone was busy following all the chapters of RussiaGate.

Submitted on Sunday, Jul 28, 2019 at 2:24:08 AM

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Lance Ciepiela

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What his report actually said - Russia meddled in the 2016 election and the Trump campaign was happy with it. "We are in an 'impeachment' investigation" - Rep Jamie Raskin (D-MD) @ 22:04 MINUTES.


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Submitted on Saturday, Jul 27, 2019 at 10:55:47 PM

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Ramani K V

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This article and others in similar vein demonstrate an astonishing capacity for delusion, hypocrisy and a complete lack of awareness of longer term implications. For two and a half years of his four-year term, a sitting American president has been (witch-)hunted with dogged determination and open collusion among even erstwhile adversaries brought together by the enemy of my enemy principle.

Even after an extraordinary special investigation failed to nail him down decisively after two years, people continue to grope for flimsy straws. What a waste of personal time that could be spent on so many other rewarding activities. For example, one could spend time on informed constructive debates to come up with a policy agenda that can pull the country out of its economic slump, extreme inequality, growing mountain of debt and endless wars against practically the whole world. If such an agenda carries sufficient mass appeal, it would be a well-deserved victory of positive thinking over the negative. Only in arithmetic one negative multiplied by another yields a positive. We do grave harm to ourselves when we equate people with numbers.

It is very clear Trump can be replaced only at the next election. Impeachment is dead in the water. The only use for it is as a tactics to keep fueling hatred of the man to win that election. I doubt very much any rational person, including the author of this article, seriously believes he can be removed from office before the end of his first term.

Aside from being a dirty tactics to win an election, it is hypocritical because it places form above substance and wilfully ignores his (more) eligible predecessor, Obama, for similar treatment. If Trump did not commit the crime of colluding with Russia, then whatever he did to hinder the investigation is irrelevant. The investigation itself was an orchestrated coup in which Obama played a key role before he vacated the seat. If Trump is to be impeached for obstruction of justice, Obama should be hauled up for perversion of justice at the same time.

Furthermore, if at all Trump is to be charged with a crime, his failure to stop the eternal war between the West and the Rest should rank far higher than any procedural violation of American domestic laws. Ahead of that, Obama (and Bush) and numerous high officials should be arrested and charged with war crimes of much greater proportions than any that Trump has committed. This persistent impeachment hysteria is not seeking any justice if it is driven by the belief one president's crimes are kosher but the other's are not because one was 'our bastard'.

Last, whatever is being done now under the get Trump any which way banner will come back to bite his successors with a vengeance. It is a model blueprint for overturning the outcome of a democratic election. It is also a stellar example of taking the wrecking ball to bring down the whole edifice to kill a rat. The rat might be dead but where will you all live?

Submitted on Monday, Jul 29, 2019 at 1:54:07 AM

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Lois Gagnon

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Mueller also did not interview Julian Assange, the very publisher who received the leaked documents. He also did not interview former technical director of the NSA, William Binney who conducted the tests of download speeds to determine if it was a leak or a hack. His conclusion is it was a leak from a party insider. The FBI allowed the DNC to refuse to turn over its servers for inspection in a criminal investigation. Who gets to do that?

The fix was in on the Russia-Gate myth from the beginning. That's why Mueller was chosen. He has a history of fixing manufactured evidence while purposely omitting evidence which contradicts the already decided upon conclusion.

Will we never learn to see through this type of manipulation?

Submitted on Monday, Jul 29, 2019 at 2:49:38 AM

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