Trump’s Attempted Conspiracy to Obstruct Justice?

The Mueller Report was released to the public on Thursday morning, and descriptions of some of its more notable findings were quick to follow.

We knew ahead of time that we weren’t going to learn of any new crimes (even though some folks in the liberal media were probably hoping otherwise), and that the president was innocent of colluding with the Russians during the 2016 election. Nonetheless, there was some pretty intriguing information revealed.

Along with confirmation that a number of past media reports that Trump had dismissed at the time as “fake news” were actually true, we learned some things about obstruction.

No, Mueller did not have sufficient grounds for charging President Trump with obstruction of justice in regard to the investigation. But according to the report, Trump really really really wanted to obstruct justice.

And he likely would have, had it not been for the (sometimes strenuous) efforts of those within his inner circle.

This included K.T. McFarland, who declined Trump’s directive that she draft a letter clearing him of having asked Michael Flynn to discuss sanction relief with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak (an issue the FBI was looking into). McFarland’s refusal came with good reason: she had no idea whether or not that statement was true. Trump wanted her to write it anyway.

The president actually instructed Dan McGahn (White House Counsel) to have Robert Mueller fired, and to say it was because Mueller had conflicts of interest. McGahn refused, saying that he would rather resign than trigger what he would have considered a “Saturday Night Massacre.”

When the media later found out about Trump’s order to McGahn, the president directed McGahn to lie about it. Again, McGahn refused.

Trump tried to stop Attorney General Jeff Sessions from recusing himself from the Russian investigation, and when Sessions did so anyway, Trump (both privately and publicly) repeatedly pressured Sessions to reverse his decision. He even wrote an incriminating letter and told campaign manager Corey Lewandowski to deliver the it to Sessions.

From the report:

“The message said that Sessions should publicly announce that, notwithstanding his recusal from the Russia investigation, the investigation was ‘very unfair’ to the President, the President had done nothing wrong, and Sessions planned to meet with the Special Counsel and ‘let [him] move forward with investigating election meddling for future elections.”

Lewandowski, understanding the inappropriateness and possible illegalities, chose not to deliver the letter. When Trump told him a second time to do it, Lewandowski verbally agreed to, but instead asked White House official Rick Dearborn to take care of it. Dearnborn was uncomfortable delivering the message as well, and ultimately declined to follow through with it.

There are other examples of Trump trying to limit the scope of the investigation and not comply with document requests, in which cases members of his crew stepped in and talked him down off the ledge. There were also instances of Trump suggesting pardons for Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, and Michael Cohen as they were presumably being pressured by prosecutors to give up dirt on Trump. Of course, that didn’t end up happening.

In summary, as written in the report:

“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 acceded to his requests.”

Call me crazy, but I’m thinking our president — despite his often repeated claims to the contrary — doesn’t have “the best instincts.”

Had it not been for some common sense from those around him, in refusing Trump’s directives to impede the investigation, there would have been a far stronger case for Mueller to charge the president with obstruction. These folks really did save their boss from himself.

Let’s hope, at some point, that Trump sent these individuals some thank you cards. It would seem only right.

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Mueller’s Findings: Good for America; Bad for Partisan Hacks

After nearly two years, Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel investigation into Russia’s interference in our 2016 election has come to a close. On Sunday, Attorney General William Barr announced (among other findings) that Mueller’s team had found no collusion between President Trump and the Russian government.

However you feel about Trump, it was a good day for America. Our sitting president and his family didn’t commit treason. They didn’t coordinate with another country to steal the election. But not everyone is celebrating.

A lot of people, especially on the Left, had invested an extraordinary amount of time and passion in the belief that collusion was a certainty. This included politicians and many in the media — journalists and commentators who were absolutely convinced (or at least pretended to be) that Mueller’s report would mark the end of Trump’s presidency. They pushed the narrative to their viewers and readers at every opportunity, virtually presenting their suspicions and wishful thinking as fact.

Now — disheartened, angry, and with egg on their faces — several are clinging to the notion that there’s much more between Trump and Russia that needs to be uncovered. Having previously placed complete faith in the Mueller investigation, they’re now framing the probe as just the beginning, and calling on the Democratic Congress to finish the job.

It’s a sad thing to watch, but these folks aren’t the only losers in this story.

Many on the Right have spent the last two years, at the direction of President Trump, smearing an honorable patriot in Robert Mueller. They insisted that Mueller was a vindictive, anti-Trump partisan who was running a corrupt investigation with the sole purpose of taking Trump down. They declared the probe to be illegitimate — a farce. This theme was fueled day after day by prominent media-conservatives who branded Mueller an agent of the Democrats and a Deep State plant.

Now this crowd is rejoicing over the vindication of their guy, and hailing the results of an investigation they tried very hard to delegitimize while Mueller and his team remained professional and completed their extremely difficult job. Sadly, this camp — like their counterparts on the Left — is expressing no guilt whatsoever over recklessly undermining an important legal establishment for political purposes.

If anyone should be gloating, it’s those who reserved judgement, and waited for the investigation to conclude before drawing definitive conclusions. They didn’t make fools of themselves. But in the media and elsewhere, such people were few and far between.

What has largely been lost in all of this — much to the disservice of our nation — is the true and expressed intent of the Special Counsel (which was put in place as a result of Trump’s controversial firing of James Comey).

Despite Trump and much of the news media framing Mueller’s investigation as being all about collusion, it wasn’t. It was about Russian interference in the election — something that every American should have wanted to get to the bottom of (though many didn’t, out of fear it would implicate someone they liked). In the end, Mueller’s unearthing of wrongdoing got indictments, convictions, and guilty pleas from 34 people and three companies. This was not a wasted or unproductive effort.

And again, the vindication of Trump on collusion charges was not a failure of the Special Counsel. It was a success. The job was to get to the truth, and the investigators did so to the best of their capacity. Trump had cast a lot of suspicion on himself through numerous statements on Russia and the hiring of some really bad people with Russian ties. But in the end, the rule of law was applied and Trump was cleared.

Good.

In the aftermath, the anti-Trump crowd is calling for the full release of the Mueller report, while the pro-Trump crowd is calling for the full release of documents detailing the grounds for the collusion component of the Russia investigation (including FISA applications, testimony in secret hearings, Rod Rosenstein’s scope memorandum, etc.).

Good. All of this should be done (except in cases of legitimate national security concerns). Just as the president isn’t above the law, neither are those who were involved in the investigation process. Let’s look at everything we can.

But let’s also not lose sight of those — especially those in Washington and in the media — who shamelessly politicized the investigation to the point that Americans were inundated with wild conspiracy theories and left with undue reason to believe that our national institutions were crumbling before our very eyes.

Unfortunately, there won’t be any societal retribution for these bomb throwers. They’ll just move on to, and capitalize off of, the next partisan debacle. And the tribes will continue to willingly follow and believe them.

Because that’s where we’re at as a nation.

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Poll: What’s Your Reaction to the Mueller Report?


On Sunday, Attorney General William Barr provided Congress and the public with a summary of main conclusions from Robert Mueller’s investigation on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Among those conclusions: President Trump did not collude with the Russians.

What’s your reaction?

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