Promoted from the diaries by streiff. Promotion does not imply endorsement.
Although the infamous Mueller report found that the Trump campaign, transition and administration did not collude, conspire or do any other nefarious act with Russians to affect the 2016 election, the Mueller report is nevertheless being used for another purpose. The gist of that “other purpose” is to saddle the Trump administration with yet another prolonged series of accusations of obstruction of justice. The federal statute for obstruction of justice is pretty clear. It delineates, for example, several instances that are actionable: assault on an officer, influencing an investigating officer, refusing extradition, bribery, jury tampering, etc. Of course, you will not find a single one of these offenses in the Mueller report.
What you will find is Mueller’s bending of the law to fit his final narrative: they did nothing wrong, but I refuse to exonerate them. According to St. Mueller, a president can now be guilty of obstruction of justice for simply exercising his presidential powers if he does so with “an intent to obtain an improper advantage for himself or someone else, inconsistent with official duty and the rights of others.” Seriously- I’ve read the pertinent statute and I’ve re-read Article II of the Constitution and nowhere do I find such twisted ideas.
The investigation found no collusion and no related crime. That was his original mandate. So what was it exactly Trump was obstructing the administration of justice of? You won’t find words like “perjury,” or “destroying evidence,” nor will you find “accepting a cash bribe.” Perhaps the closest one can come is silence payments to a porn star, but porking a porn star and paying her to shut up is not a crime.
The report states: “An improper motive can render an actor’s conduct criminal even when the conduct would otherwise be lawful and within the actor’s authority.” Except the “actor” here is the President who derives his authority from the Constitution. If we follow through on Mueller’s “logic,” then every president can be scrutinized and investigated for anything they do within their constitutional powers. He is insinuating that courts and Congress can probe the President’s state of mind for just about any action taken. Want to order a drone strike on some terrorist in Yemen? Investigate the motives. Want to fire an Executive Branch secretary? Investigate. And the list can go on.
Imagine if this new standard was applied retroactively to say about 1992-2000. For example, Susan McDougal, a Clinton crony in Arkansas was tried and convicted for fraud and conspiracy. She sat in jail for 18 months on a contempt conviction. Yet, Clinton pardoned her. Why? He certainly has the Article II power to pardon convicted criminals- it is lawful and within his authority. But, what was his motive?
What was Clinton’s motives in selling ballistic missile guidance technology to China? After all, his State, Defense and Justice Departments vehemently opposed the sale. There are other instances of Clinton, Bush II, and Obama making decisions that are clearly lawful and within their constitutional authority, but under the Mueller doctrine of obstruction of justice, should there be an investigation into any these decisions, it is the President’s state of mind that counts, not the letter of the law, nor the Constitution.
If- and it is a huge hypothetical if- there was “obstruction of justice,” it was the most transparent and public obstruction in the history of the legal system. Notice that all those other actions- suborning perjury, bribery, jury tampering, etc.- are all rather private acts. Conversely, all the alleged “motive questionable” acts by Trump were public and amounted to nothing more than expressing an opinion in defense of himself- a defense the Mueller report agrees with: neither Trump nor anyone in his administration or campaign conspired with Russians to do anything.
Perhaps, Trump’s biggest pitfall was his mouth and Twitter. In that infamous interview when he explained the Comey firing- an action clearly legal and within his constitutional authority- he went too far when he mentioned the FBI’s handling of the Russia collusion hoax. In hindsight and among the more rational here, we knew the idea was preposterous, lacking in evidence, not to mention logic. In the end, Trump is actually proven correct: the FBI DID mishandle the hoax from the start going back to the Steele dossier, FISA warrants, and counterintelligence operations. Regardless, if he had stopped in that interview and blamed Comey for mishandling the Clinton email server investigation, the main complaint regarding “obstruction-” the Comey firing- would be a huge NOTHING.
Perhaps the most egregious of the Clinton pardons was that of Marc Rich. The tax cheat who owed the government $48 million, fraudster, and international fugitive who happened to be a friend of and donor to Clinton happened to have that pardon actually investigated. That investigation did not go into Clinton’s motives because the Mueller theory was a figment of Mueller’s imagination in 2019. In fact, that investigation determined that Clinton was within his legal and constitutional authority to grant the pardon and there was not even talk of “motive.”
Take one guess who headed that investigation and made that determination. If you guessed James Comey, pat yourself on the back because you just answered the $48,000,000 question.