After over two years, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s “Report On The Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election” was released. It is 448 pages long and in two volumes.
Succinctly put, it found that there was Russian interference with the election but “no collusion” between the Russians and the Trump campaign to interfere with the 2016 election.
The Mueller report identifies at least 10 instances of possible obstruction of justice and gives details how President Trump sought to use top White House staffers, aides and the Justice Department to impede the Russia investigation.
You can read the entire redacted Mueller Report Here:
This article is a deep dive into the Mueller Report and the 10 instances of possible obstruction of justice by Trump and his campaign.
Much of the special counsel’s findings were linked to Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election and whether the Trump campaign actually colluded with Russia.
Mueller wrote that his investigation “identified numerous links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign … but did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”
In other words, there was no “collusion” when it came to interfering with the election process.
Although there was no collusion, Trump personally and very publicly solicited help from the Russians and they accommodated him.
The Trump campaign had numerous contacts and communications with Russians during the campaign and after the election but “contact” is not collusion.
What would have been criminal is if Trump and his campaign actually solicited the Russians to interfere with the election vote and then the help was accepted but based on the report, no such evidence was found.
What was found is that Russia did interfere with the election, but not at the Trump campaign’s request.
After the Mueller report was released, Trump proclaimed he was having a “good day” boasting “It’s called no collusion, no obstruction.”
The problem is, no collusion may have been found by Mueller but Trump lied when he said he was cleared of “Obstruction of Justice” when he boasted “no obstruction”
The Mueller Report states:
“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, however, we are unable to reach that judgment.”
The Mueller report makes it clear that it did not take a position on any potential obstruction of justice because Mueller was strictly limited by a Department of Justice rule that a sitting president cannot be indicted, at least not by the federal government.
There are approximately 12 pending criminal investigations in state jurisdictions relating to the Trump organizations and finances.
What is ironic in reading the report is that the only thing that ended up protecting Trump was many of those who are now gone, who have resigned or been fired by Trump, did not follow through on his direct orders. In other words, Trump’s own employees saved him from himself.
A ROADMAP FOR IMPEACHMENT BUT NOT REMOVAL
Despite the fact that the special counsel’s report on Russian interference did not come to a conclusion as to whether President Trump obstructed justice, the Mueller Report did examine and disclose at least 10 “discrete acts” in which Trump may have “obstructed justice”.
Mueller left it up to congress to decide for themselves if there was obstruction of justice.
Any one of the 10 acts could form the basis of impeachment by the Democratic Controlled US House of Representatives, but not necessarily result in a conviction by the Republican US Senate.
The Mueller Report says the 10 instances of potential obstruction of justice can be divided into “two phases, reflecting a possible shift in the president’s motives.”
The first phase of obstruction of justice took place before Trump fired FBI Director James Comey after Trump had been reassured by Comey he was not personally under investigation.
After Comey was fired by Trump and after Mueller’s appointment as special counsel, the report states Trump realized or knew he was under investigation for possibly obstructing justice and he changed course and became more aggressive to discredit the investigation.
The Mueller report states:
“At that point, the president engaged in a second phase of conduct, involving public attacks on the investigation, non-public efforts to control it, and efforts both in public and private to encourage witnesses not to cooperate with the investigation.”
CBS News did an exceptional summary of the 10 times Trump may have obstructed justice.
Following are the 10 times Trump may have obstructed justice quoting a CBS News article with the link below:
1.”THE CAMPAIGN’S RESPONSE TO REPORTS ABOUT RUSSIAN SUPPORT FOR TRUMP”
“The first instance of possible obstruction detailed in the report occurred during the 2016 campaign, when questions first “arose about the Russian government’s apparent support for candidate Trump. The report states that while Mr. Trump was publicly skeptical Russia had released emails from Democratic officials, he and his aides were also trying to get information about “any further Wikileaks releases.”The report also notes that despite Mr. Trump’s insistence he had no business connections to Russia, his namesake company was trying to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. And once the election was over, Mr. Trump “expressed concerns to advisers that reports of Russia’s election interference might lead the public to question the legitimacy of his election.”
2.”CONDUCT INVOLVING FBI DIRECTOR COMEY AND MICHAEL FLYNN”
“The second instance involves Mr. Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who left the administration just weeks into Mr. Trump’s presidency after he misled FBI agents and top administration officials — including Vice President Mike Pence — about his conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Flynn had said he had not discussed sanctions on Russia with Kislyak, a lie that Pence and others then repeated. The day that Mr. Trump found out Flynn had lied to Pence and the FBI, he had dinner with Comey, whom he asked for “loyalty.” Mr. Trump then secured Flynn’s resignation on Feb. 13, 2017. “Now that we fired Flynn, the Russia thing is over,” he told an outside adviser, who disagreed with the president’s assessment. That same day, Mr. Trump had another meeting with Comey and encouraged him to stop investigating Flynn. “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go,” Mr. Trump said. The president then asked Deputy National Security Adviser K.T. McFarland to draft an internal memo “stating that the president had not directed Flynn to discuss sanctions with Kislyak. McFarland declined because she did not know whether that was true, and a White House Counsel’s Office attorney thought that the request would look like a quid pro quo for an ambassadorship she had been offered.”
3.”THE PRESIDENT’S REACTION TO THE CONTINUING RUSSIA INVESTIGATION”
“The third instance involves then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was debating whether to recuse himself from the Russia investigation in February 2017, as well as Comey. Mr. Trump asked White House Counsel Don McGahn to talk Sessions out of recusal, and became angry when Sessions announced he would recuse himself on March 2. The president then asked Sessions to “unrecuse” himself. After Comey testified to Congress that there was an FBI investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, Mr. Trump reached out to his CIA and NSA directors to help “dispel the suggestion that the President had any connection to the Russian election-interference effort.” Comey had told Mr. Trump he wasn’t under investigation and, against Mc Gahn’s advice, the president twice called the FBI director to ask him to say that publicly.”
4.”THE PRESIDENT’S TERMINATION OF COMEY”
“The fourth instance stems from Mr. Trump’s decision to fire Comey, which directly led to Mueller’s appointment. Mr. Trump decided to fire Comey in May 2017 — days after the FBI director declined to tell Congress that Mr. Trump wasn’t under investigation. After Mr. Trump dismissed Comey, the White House insisted he had done so at the recommendation of the Department of Justice. In reality, Mr. Trump had not consulted with the Justice Department before deciding to fire Comey. In conversations that followed, Mr. Trump indicated the Russia investigation was the real reason he had let Comey go: “The day after firing Comey, the president told Russian officials that he had ‘faced great pressure because of Russia,’ which had been ‘taken off’ by Comey’s firing. The next day, the president acknowledged in a television interview that he was going to fire Comey regardless of the Department of Justice’s recommendation and that when he ‘decided to just do it,’ he was thinking that ‘this thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story.'”
5.”THE APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COUNSEL AND EFFORTS TO REMOVE HIM”
“The fifth instance revolves around Mr. Trump’s reaction to Mueller’s appointment. Upon hearing the news that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had tasked Mueller with investigating the Russia matter in May 2017, the president privately declared it was “the end of his presidency.” Mr. Trump then demanded Sessions’ resignation, although he did not accept it at the time, and told aides Mueller had conflicts of interest that should preclude him from acting as the special counsel. It was then reported in June that Mueller was investigating Mr. Trump for obstruction of justice, prompting the president to publicly attack Mueller and the Justice Department. Within days of the first report, he told Mc Gahn to tell Rosenstein that Mueller had conflicts of interest and must be removed. Mc Gahn ignored the request, explaining that he would rather resign.”
6.”EFFORTS TO PREVENT PUBLIC DISCLOSURE OF EVIDENCE”
“The sixth instance stems from the June 2016 meeting between top campaign aides and “a Russian lawyer who was said to be offering damaging information about Hillary Clinton as ‘part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.'” Mr. Trump told his aides “not to publicly disclose the emails setting up the June 9 meeting, suggesting that the email would not leak and that the number of lawyers with access to them should be limited.” Donald Trump Jr., who had been present at the Trump Tower meeting, wrote a press release saying “the meeting was with ‘an individual who [Trump Jr.] was told might have information helpful to the campaign'” — a line that was edited out about the president. Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer then denied to reporters the president had “played any role” in Trump Jr.’s statement.
7.”FURTHER EFFORTS TO HAVE THE ATTORNEY GENERAL TAKE CONTROL OF THE INVESTIGATION”
“The seventh instance has to do with Mr. Trump’s repeated attempts to have Sessions “reverse his recusal.” Mr. Trump asked Sessions to do this in the summer of 2017. The following December, Mr. Trump told Sessions he would be a “hero” if he took control of the investigation. Additionally, in October 2017, the president asked Sessions to “take [a] look” at investigating Hillary Clinton.”
8.”EFFORTS TO HAVE MCGAHN DENY THAT THE PRESIDENT HAD ORDERED HIM TO HAVE THE SPECIAL COUNSEL REMOVED”
“The eighth instance concerns Mr. Trump’s efforts to get Mc Gahn to dispute press accounts that the president had instructed him to try and get rid of Mueller. In early 2018, Mr. Trump told White House officials to tell Mc Gahn to rebut the stories, but Mc Gahn told the officials the stories were true. Mr. Trump then personally appealed to Mc Gahn, telling him in an Oval Office meeting to deny the reports. In the same meeting, the president also asked McGahn why he had told the special counsel about the president’s efforts to remove the Special Counsel and why McGahn took notes of his conversations with the president,” the report states. “McGahn refused to back away from what he remembered happening and perceived the president to be testing his mettle.”
9.”CONDUCT TOWARDS FLYNN, MANAFORT, [REDACTED]”
“The ninth instance stems from Mr. Trump’s response to the prosecutions of Flynn and Paul Manafort, his former campaign chairman, as well as an individual whose identity was redacted.
“After Flynn withdrew from a joint defense agreement with the president and began cooperating with the government, the president’s personal counsel left a message for Flynn ‘s attorneys reminding them of the president’s warm feelings towards Flynn, which he said ‘still remains,’ and asking for a ‘heads up’ if Flynn knew ‘information that implicates the president,'” the report states. When Flynn’s counsel reiterated that Flynn could no longer share information pursuant to a joint defense agreement, the president’s personal counsel said he would make sure that the president knew that Flynn’s actions reflected ‘hostility’ towards the president. Meanwhile, Mr. Trump praised Manafort during his “prosecution and when the jury in his criminal trial was deliberating. At one point, he praised Manafort as “a brave man” who refused to “break.”
10.”CONDUCT INVOLVING MICHAEL COHEN”
“The tenth and final instance of potential obstruction concerns Mr. Trump’s behavior toward Michael Cohen, his onetime personal lawyer. Mr. Trump profusely praised Cohen when he remained loyal to the administration, at one point personally calling to encourage him to “stay strong,” only to criticize him viciously when he began cooperating with the government. After the FBI searched Cohen’s home and office in April 2018, the president publicly asserted that Cohen would not ‘flip,’ contacted him directly to tell him to ‘stay strong,’ and privately passed messages of support to him,” the report states. Cohen also discussed pardons with the president’s personal counsel and believed that if he stayed on message he would be taken care of. But after Cohen began cooperating with the government in the summer of 2018, the president publicly criticized him, called him a ‘rat,’ and suggested that his family members had committed crimes.”
You can review the full CBS News report here:
OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE DEFINED
Article II, Section 4 of the United States Constitution provides that “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
The power and authority to bring Articles of Impeachment rests solely with the United States House of Representatives and a trial is then conducted by the United State Senate for removal from office.
A “high crimes and misdemeanor” can be whatever the House of Representatives say it is in Articles of Impeachment and “obstruction of justice” is clearly a high crime and misdemeanor.
Under federal law, “obstruction of justice” is defined as an act that “corruptly or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication, influences, obstructs, or impedes, or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede, the due administration of justice.” (18 U.S.C. § 1503)
Someone obstructs justice when that person has a specific intent to obstruct or interfere with a judicial proceeding, such as the firing of an FBI Director during an ongoing FBI investigation which is what the Russian probe investigation is all about.
For a person to be convicted of obstructing justice, that person must not only have the specific intent to obstruct the proceeding, but that person must know:
(1) that a proceeding was actually pending at the time; and
(2) there must be a connection between the endeavor to obstruct justice and the proceeding, and the person must have knowledge of this connection.
TRUMP’S OVERT SOLICITATION FOR RUSSIAN HELP
On July 27, 2016, while running for office, Donald Trump encouraged Russian hackers to find emails that had been deleted from Hillary Clinton’s private server that she used while serving as secretary of state when he said:
“I will tell you this, Russia: If you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing … “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.” Trump said at a press conference in Florida.
On July 27, 2016, Vladimir Putin and Russia were listening and heeded Trump’s call for help.
According to the federal indictment of the 12 Russian intelligence officers for their involvement in hacking the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 election, the Russian hacking occurred on July 27, 2016 hours after Trump gave his press conference and encouraged Russian hackers to find Clinton’s emails.
The indictment states that on July 27, 2016, the same day as Trump’s press conference, Russian hackers, “for the first time,” attempted to break into email accounts, including those used by Clinton’s personal office.
Notably, the indictment is very specific that the hack happened in the evening, meaning the Russian officials could have done it after Trump’s press conference.
RUSSIAN MONEY MAKES TRUMP’S “WORLD GO AROUND”
Donald Trump has maintained that neither he nor his businesses have any ties to Russia whatsoever and he has not done business in Russia.
On January 11, 2017, Donald Trump tweeted:
“Russia has never tried to use leverage over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA – NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!”
During a February 2O17, news conference, President Trump said:
“I can tell you, speaking for myself, I own nothing in Russia … I have no loans in Russia. I don’t have any deals in Russia” a statement that has proven to be a complete lie.
On May 8, 2017, Vanity Fair reported that the Trump Organization received substantial financing from Russia when the business was struggling in the mid-1990s and again during the Great Recession, since major U.S. banks had refuse to make any loans.
On March 17, 2017, Reuters reported that a group of 63 Russia billionaires have invested nearly $100 million in several Trump properties in Florida.
On September 12, 2018, BuzzFeed News Reported that federal investigators looked into a pair of suspicious money transfers from some of the planners and participants in a 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Trump campaign officials and a Kremlin-connected lawyer who promised “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.
They involve money from Russia and Switzerland being moved to places such as the British Virgin Islands, Bangkok and New Jersey, according to the BuzzFeed report.
The documents evaluated show a complex web of financial transactions between Trump organizations and the Russians.
The documents show Aras Agalarov, a billionaire real estate developer close to both Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, at the center of this vast network and how he used accounts overseas to filter money to himself, his son, and at least two people who attended the Trump Tower meeting.
LETTER OF INTENT TO DO BUSINESS IN RUSSIA
On December 19, 2018 CNN reported that in 2016, as the Trump Organization was in negotiations to build Trump Tower Moscow, Donald Trump signed a “letter of intent” to move forward with the project.
The letter of intent to build the Moscow Trump Tower was also signed by the head of the Russian firm that Trump’s company was working with, corroborates the argument Trump was lying when he said he did not do business with Russian interests.
The letter of intent with Trump’s signature to build a Trump Tower in Moscow shows he lied when he said “I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA – NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!” and “I can tell you, speaking for myself, I own nothing in Russia. … . I don’t have any deals in Russia.”
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
Articles of Impeachment in the US House of Representatives are passed by a simple majority vote, but conviction and removal is a long shot at best.
It is clear that the Democratic controlled House of Representatives has more than enough grounds from the Mueller Report and more than a majority of votes to impeachment Trump for obstruction of justice.
What is as equally clear is that the Republican controlled United State Senate would never vote to convict and remove Trump from office.
After Articles of Impeachment are passed by the House, the charges are forwarded to the United States Senate for a trial presided over by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court which today is John Roberts.
Two-thirds of the Republican controlled Senate, or 67 votes, are needed to convict and remove Trump.
If all 48 Senate Democrats would vote yes to convict, 19 Republican Senators would have to vote with all the Democrats to convict and remove.
Nineteen Republican Senators voting to convict is not at all likely given Trumps strangle hold over the Republican Senators and the Republican Party.
When you review the entire 466 page Mueller Report, the one conclusion that any reasonable person can come to is that the Russian probe uncovered evidence of a President “giving aid and comfort” to Russia to influence his election to become President and to hide or stop the Russia investigation to disrupt the 2016 election by firing FBI James Comey or both.
Trump has spent a lifetime being loyal to only two things: himself and his money.
Given the millions and millions of dollars involved with Russian financing of Trump enterprises, Trump’s love of money and his love for Russia probably outweighs his love for his own country if he really ever had love for the country in the first place.
When Richard Nixon resigned from the Presidency, it was a different day and age when it came to many elected officials.
Nixon resigned from office after a delegation of United States Republican Senators headed up by then Republican United States Senator Barry Goldwater met with Nixon in the White House and told him there were two thirds of the Senate willing to vote to convict him and remove him from office.
The Republican Senators told Nixon his resignation was necessary and he needed to resign for the good of the country.
Goldwater and his Republican colleagues put our countries interest over their own and their parties’ best interest for the sake of the country and its people.
Today, the Republican Majority in the Senate is led by the 3 Republican Stooges Mitch McConnel, Lindsay Graham and John Cornyn who publicly help or gives credibility to the “Fool In Chief” because they are desperate to hold onto power and running for reelection with Trump in 2020.
Any one of the 20 Democrats and even the one Republican running to replace Trump would be a better President than Trump could ever hope to be.
No doubt impeaching Trump will take upwards of a year and into the 2020 election cycle with no sure outcome while beating Trump at the polls is the only guaranteed way to end the moral and political disaster he has been.
The only sure way to remove Trump as President once and for all and to end the nightmare and insanity that is Trump is to beat him both at the polls and in the electoral college.
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