Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Full Text of the Mueller Report's Executive Summaries - Lawfare

"Several features of the conduct we investigated distinguish it from typical obstruction-of-justice cases. First, the investigation concerned the President, and some of his actions, such as firing the FBI director, involved facially lawful acts within his Article II authority, which raises constitutional issues discussed below. At the same time, the President's position as the head of the Executive Branch provided him with unique and powerful means of influencing official proceedings, subordinate officers, and potential witnesses—all of which is relevant to a potential obstruction-of-justice analysis. Second, unlike cases in which a subject engages in obstruction of justice to cover up a crime, the evidence we obtained did not establish that the President was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference. Although the obstruction statutes do not require proof of such a crime, the absence of that evidence affects the analysis of the President's intent and requires consideration of other possible motives for his conduct. Third, many of the President's acts directed at witnesses, including discouragement of cooperation with the government and suggestions of possible future pardons, took place in public view. That circumstance is unusual, but no principle of law excludes public acts from the reach of the obstruction laws. If the likely effect of public acts is to influence witnesses or alter their testimony, the harm to the justice system's integrity is the same."     

However, at no point in the summary does it say that the President directed people to lie to investigators.  He did try to direct what people said to the public.

The President made some effort to control the investigation or have Sessions control the investigation.  The President is the head of the executive branch, and can legally do this, but it is on very shaky ground.  For example, an attempt to limit the investigation to future elections looks like a coverup.

The President expressed the opinion that some people were being treated unfairly and suggested possible pardons.  There was no quid pro quo here, although some people might say that it is implied.

It is well known that the President's comments toward Manafort were over the often expressed fear that Manafort would lie about the President in order to get a better deal from prosecutors. 

It is possible to explain away everything the President did in terms that he knew that he was innocent of collusion and therefore saw the investigation a witch hunt.   Under those circumstances, the President made some effort to limit the investigation.

 However, it seems clear that Muller thinks that the President obstructed justice.  He could not definitively make that conclusion, so he left the conclusion up to others.  In effect, he has given Congress enough ammunition to impeach the President.  If he were doing his job properly, he would say that there is not enough evidence to convict the President and leave it at that, but instead, he chooses to not make a conclusion and leave it ambiguous.


"Because we determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment, we did not draw ultimate conclusions about the President's conduct. The evidence we obtained about the President's actions and intent presents difficult issues that would need to be resolved if we were making a traditional prosecutorial judgment. At the same time, 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, we are unable to reach that judgment. Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him."

Andy Rooney - Bottled Water

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Is the EU Democratic? Does Your Vote Matter?

There is this false notion that without a powerful central authority, weak countries are raped by strong countries.

Giving the government too much power means that everybody is going to use the government to advance their own interest, i.e. steal from their neighbors. There is no guarantee that the powerful central government won't exploit people. We see it all the time in democratic nations, and the communist nations are worse.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Rio Grand

BTW, I spent some time looking at the Rio Grand on the map. That river starts in Colorado. It is a hell of a long border. Imagine building a wall.