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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 7/26/19

Mueller: Ten Takeaways

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Mueller contradicts Trump, says report did not exonerate him 5 key takeaways from Robert Mueller's testimony before Congress: abcn.ws/2Y5Xmj0 Former special counsel Robert Mueller addressed the president's ...
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On July 24th, Special Counsel Robert Mueller made his long-anticipated appearance before the Democratically-controlled House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees. Here are ten takeaways:

1. Mueller was not a great witness. Whatever your political persuasion, if you actually watched a segment of the hearings, you probably felt that Mueller came across as enervated, evasive, and -- particularly in his morning testimony before the Judiciary Committee -- doddering. That's not to say that Democrats didn't score points with Mueller's testimony, but rather that he was disappointing.

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2. Mueller cared more about Russian interference in the 2016 election than he did Trump's obstruction of justice. For whatever reason, Mueller seemed more animated when he appeared, in the afternoon, before the House Intelligence Committee. He was particularly emphatic when he spoke about Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Mueller's repeated, "The Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion," and emphasized the Trump Campaign welcomed that help: Trump publicly called on the Russians to hack Hillary Clinton's emails; Trump also pursued a business deal in Moscow while running for president; and Donald Trump Jr., the president's son, had responded "I love it," when asked if he was interested in dirt on Clinton provided as part of a Russian government effort to help his father.

One of the telling moments of the long hearing came when Intelligence Committee chair, Adam Schiff, asked Mueller, "The Trump campaign officials built their strategy, their messaging strategy, around those stolen [Wikileaks] documents?" Mueller responded, "Generally, that's true." "And then they lied to cover it up?" Mueller answered, "Generally, that's true." Schiff got Mueller to confirm numerous ties between Trump's campaign and Russia.

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Mueller concluded by warning about Russian interference in the 2020 election: "They're doing it as we sit here, and they expect to do it in the next campaign."

3. Congressional Republicans didn't seem to care. In general, the Republican members of the committees didn't seem to care about the Russian 2016-election interference or Trump's obstruction of justice. Led by Republican Doug Collins, they either attacked Mueller, defended Trump, or lied about the House Democrats behavior. (By the way: on July 25th the Senate Republicans. led by Mitch McConnell, blocked election-security legislation (https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/25/politics/republican-senators-block-election-security-legislation/index.html).)

4. Trump was not exonerated. At the beginning of the morning's Judiciary Committee Meeting, Mueller confirmed that his report did not exonerate Donald Trump. Further, Mueller indicated that when Trump leaves office he could be indicted for obstruction of justice.

During his Judiciary Committee testimony, Mueller gave a strong indication he believes Trump committed obstruction. When Democratic Congresswoman Val Demings asked Mueller if the lies told to him by "Trump campaign officials and administration officials impeded your investigation," Mueller answered, "I would generally agree with that."

5. The Mueller hearing will slow down the Democratic push to initiate impeachment proceedings. In a press conference, hours after Mueller's testimony ended, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi indicated that Democrats were still going forward building "the strongest possible" case for impeachment. Pelosi painted Mueller's testimony in positive tones, indicating that it was a step forward but there need to be more hearings. Nonetheless, this hearing was not the big win that impeachment advocates hoped for; it's unlikely to result in a huge swing in voter sentiment -- a recent Washington Post poll found that 59 percent of respondents do not want formal impeachment proceedings.

6. Trump's financial ties to Russia need explication. For whatever reason, the Mueller report didn't have much information about money flow between Trump and Russian oligarchs. (Or "counter-intelligence" in general.) This omission was briefly discussed during the House Intelligence Committee hearing when Democratic Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-8) questioned Mueller:

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"KRISHNAMOORTHI: Other than Trump Tower Moscow, your report does not address or detail the president's financial ties or dealings with Russia, correct? MUELLER: Correct. KRISHNAMOORTHI: Similarly since it was outside your purview your report does not address the question of whether Russian oligarchs engaged in money laundering through any of the president's businesses, correct? MUELLER: Correct. KRISHNAMOORTHI: And of course your office did not obtain the president's tax returns which could otherwise show foreign financial sources, correct? MUELLER: I'm not going to speak to that. KRISHNAMOORTHI: In July 2017 the president said his personal finances were off limits, or outside the purview of your investigation and he drew a "red line," around his personal finances. Were the president's personal finances outside the purview of your investigation? MUELLER: I'm not going to get in to that."

The House should investigate these financial ties and the related counter-intelligence data.

7. The Trump campaign's ties to Russian election interference need further investigation. Near the end of the executive summary for volume I of the Mueller Report is this telling paragraph:

"Further, the Office [of the Special Counsel] learned that some of the individuals we interviewed or whose conduct we investigated -- including some associated with the Trump Campaign -- deleted relevant communications or communicated during the relevant period using applications that feature encryptionor that do not provide for long-term retention of data or communications records." [Emphasis added]

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Bob Burnett is a Berkeley writer. In a previous life he was one of the executive founders of Cisco Systems.
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Rob Kall

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I disagree that the Mueller testimony will slow impeachment. There were hopes that it would accelerate them and I would support a claim that his testimony did not do that. But I don't think they could be any slower. The Democrats should have downplayed expectations-- though it was the MSM that hyped them. And now, the MSM is taking the hearing and selling it as a bomb.

Submitted on Friday, Jul 26, 2019 at 2:33:16 PM

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Susan Lee Schwartz

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His testimony was an important testimony to provide for several reasons. First, and most important-- most citizens and voters have not read the Mueller report, and so Mueller's testimony was important in order to spell out the criminal wrongdoing the Mueller investigation uncovered.

... and things may move slowly because there is not yet a formal impeachment inquiry. To begin an impeachment inquiry, the House Judiciary Committee must vote on a resolution to begin one, and then the full House must vote on.

Then, once passed, the House Judiciary Committee would then be endowed with grand jury powers which would strengthen their ability to compel witness testimony and documents currently being withheld by the Trump Administration.

Submitted on Saturday, Jul 27, 2019 at 3:03:46 AM

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Gene Engene

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I think one of the problems with the Mueller investigation is a general misunderstanding, not to say ignorance, about what the investigation was specifically, charged to do. It was not a general investigation of the (so-called) President and his various dealings, but a closely defined probe into the '16 election, any Russian involvement, and how the Trump campaign responded to that. In addition, there were specific questions about Trump's attempts to obstruct justice, and the investigation itself, but not obstruction of anything and everything. That seems to be a mistaken assumption on the part of many in the media, who loudly claim that no evidence was found about actions that were not in the investigation's purview. That effectively obscures the issue.

Submitted on Friday, Jul 26, 2019 at 5:37:42 PM

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Don Smith

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All the Russigate-deniers on OpEdNews have been shown to be liars or fools.

Submitted on Friday, Jul 26, 2019 at 7:19:01 PM

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Only in the Upside-Down where you exist.

Submitted on Friday, Jul 26, 2019 at 9:12:43 PM

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Susan Lee Schwartz

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find it astonishing that smart people will actively deny the truth. The flat -earthers are of the same mind-set of alternative facts.

Submitted on Saturday, Jul 27, 2019 at 2:59:38 AM

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Old Codger

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You folks are so focused on finding clear evidentiary grounds to impeach Trump that your eyes are clearly not on the bigger ball - the one that can do the most damage to the Democrats - that is not defeating Trump in 2020. An impeachment proceeding is a long way from guaranteeing that it will be successful. Trump so far, as his history seems to suggest, is coated with Teflon. He has been able to weasel past and around everything that has been tossed at him. The eternal optimists will hold that this time is bound to be different - just as they claimed that Sanders would beat Trump. If an impeachment proceeding is initiated, and it fails, which is likely, the Democrats will have lost any credibility they may have, and will become the Obstructionist Party. That in turn will hurt them in 2024. Y'all have a large field of candidates - the most in history. Whilst I wouldn't back any of them personally, there are a couple of them I wouldn't strongly oppose. Now is the time for y'all, to paraphrase John F. Kennedy, to ask not what the Democratic party can do for you, but what you can do for the Democratic party, and by extension, the country. And no, I don't believe that the Republicans have the best plans for America. No party does if we are going to be honest and realistic. At this point, we have to determine which and who is the lesser of two evils.

Submitted on Friday, Jul 26, 2019 at 7:28:28 PM

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Now there's one of your long, unbroken paragraphs I can completely agree with!

Submitted on Friday, Jul 26, 2019 at 9:14:54 PM

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Unbroken paragraphs I must blame on this website. They certainly are not because of my inability to follow basic and simple writing rules.



If I knew of a way to get around that problem, I most certainly would do it


Submitted on Friday, Jul 26, 2019 at 10:05:17 PM

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"Launching an impeachment inquiry is just as much about upholding the Constitution as it is about highlighting Trump's corruption for the American people. The inquiry would not only give the House Judiciary Committee increased legal leverage as we've discussed, it would be broadcasted live on networks across the US. This would likely shift public opinion on President Trump, as it did for Richard Nixon.

"A reminder that impeachment is an indictment of the President from the House, which leaves the decision to convict and remove from office up to the Senate. It's clear the Republican Senate will not convict Trump, but that does not mean impeachment would be fruitless and unnecessary." Consortium News

Submitted on Saturday, Jul 27, 2019 at 3:04:43 AM

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The questioning also got Mueller to admit something some of us have been saying for a long time. There is no proof that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, certainly not enough to change the outcome. click here

Submitted on Monday, Jul 29, 2019 at 1:59:33 AM

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