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The Russia Investigation: Trump Pardons Flynn

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And we know that Trump breaking arms controls treaties is against Putin's wishes or interest how?

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16 minutes ago, The Z Machine said:

And we know that Trump breaking arms controls treaties is against Putin's wishes or interest how?

You think Putin wants a nuclear arms race against the United States?  He offered to extend the New Start treaty with no conditions.  

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36 minutes ago, ren hoek said:

You think Putin wants a nuclear arms race against the United States?  He offered to extend the New Start treaty with no conditions.  

Putin has been having his way with America since Trump has taken office.  Let's not pretend he's fearful of us at this point.  He has to tread lightly because Trump doesn't wield full control over the country and congress still has significant power, but in every way Trump is capable he's been cutting his pal Vlad slack.

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4 minutes ago, adonis said:

Putin has been having his way with America since Trump has taken office.  Let's not pretend he's fearful of us at this point.  He has to tread lightly because Trump doesn't wield full control over the country and congress still has significant power, but in every way Trump is capable he's been cutting his pal Vlad slack.

The cold war is over Adonis.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1409sXBleg

 

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2 minutes ago, BassNBrew said:

The cold war is over Adonis.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1409sXBleg

 

The cold war may be over, but the relationship between Trump and Putin is pretty toasty.  That only benefits Russia right now, as Trump can't find enough balls to call Russia on much of anything, much less paying bounties on US troops.

Our POTUS can't be bothered to call out Putin on Russia paying to have our troops kills.  

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Quote

 

In the fall of 2017 and winter of 2018, the U.S. State Department and Pentagon had engaged in conversations about whether to send Ukraine Javelins—anti tank weapons—and whether the U.S. would provide those weapons through federal funding.

“The Secretary [Tillerson] went in to see the president and whether or not we should be doing this—giving Ukraine the Javelins. And the president’s reaction was, ‘Are you out of your ####### mind? Why are we giving them anything?” one former senior official told The Daily Beast. “His whole attitude was [the sale] would hurt the Russians. I wondered at that time what it was about the Ukrainians that particularly irritated him. Of course, we later found out.” Tillerson was fired in March 2018.

Later that month, Trump ignored the advice of his national security team, choosing on a phone call with Putin to congratulate him—instead of condemning him for Moscow’s election interference or its alleged nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy and his daughter on British soil. Trump even floated the idea that Putin visit the White House.

“He really wanted to get on track with Putin and we kept having to react,” one former senior official said. President Trump fired McMaster just a few days later, replacing him with Bolton. 

Officials said various Cabinet officials, including new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, and Bolton, had varying ideas on how to approach the “Russia problem,” as one former senior official put it. 

Not long after, Trump went to Helsinki for a summit to discuss bilateral relations with Putin. The meeting became instantly infamous when Trump publicly rebuked the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that Russia had interfered in the previous election. 

Bolton found it curious for another reason. “What both of them [Putin and Trump] really wanted to discuss was increasing U.S. trade and investment in Russia, a conversation that lasted a surprisingly long time given there was so little to say, with so few U.S. businesses really eager to dive into the Russian political and economic morass,” Bolton wrote in his book. It was a point Dmitriev and Kushner had been trying to get across for a long time.

Meanwhile, back in Washington, senior U.S. officials attempted to engage in intelligence sharing with Russia, including information on terrorist financing. But when the U.S. shared intelligence with Moscow, it was rarely reciprocated—and when it was, the information was unhelpful, officials said. 

“Moscow took a lot of license to really push our boundaries and our buttons very harshly,” as one senior official described it. 

 

Jared Kushner’s Private Channel With Putin’s Money Man - More than a dozen Trump administration officials, current and former, described a clandestine relationship between Jared Kushner and the CEO of a Kremlin sovereign wealth fund.

- This is a long, extensive article that deals with Ukraine, Deripaska/Rusal, coronavirus.... so this is just a snip about the Ukraine and intelligence sharing piece. There is so much in the SSCI report as well, it's just impossible to summarize or condense, almost every page has lengthy revelations, more so than the Mueller report even. 

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Posted (edited)

So - apparently the House has no subpoena powers.  :popcorn:

 

ETA - I should add - they can issue subpoenas, they simply can't enforce them

Edited by The Gator

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NEWS: The MCGAHN appeals court panel says the House has no legal ability to enforce subpoenas because there is no law on the books allowing it.

It may do so, but Congress must pass a law first, the panel says.

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4 minutes ago, The Gator said:

NEWS: The MCGAHN appeals court panel says the House has no legal ability to enforce subpoenas because there is no law on the books allowing it.

It may do so, but Congress must pass a law first, the panel says.

WTF?  

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5 minutes ago, The Gator said:

NEWS: The MCGAHN appeals court panel says the House has no legal ability to enforce subpoenas because there is no law on the books allowing it.

It may do so, but Congress must pass a law first, the panel says.

This is just so absurd. 

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5 minutes ago, The Gator said:

NEWS: The MCGAHN appeals court panel says the House has no legal ability to enforce subpoenas because there is no law on the books allowing it.

It may do so, but Congress must pass a law first, the panel says.

I thought judges enforced subpoenas.

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Posted (edited)

8-2 the Flynn case does not have to be dismissed.

Trump lost 7-0 among judges not on the original three judge panel.

Edited by Dinsy Ejotuz

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1 minute ago, The Gator said:

https://www.politico.com/f/?id=00000174-4582-d403-aff7-6dc334410000

This is the opinion.

 

Just reading the first couple of pages - I think they (majority opinion) have a valid argument.

This is the operative paragraph:

 

In this case, Congress has declined to authorize lawsuits
like the Committee’s twice over. First, Congress has granted an
express cause of action to the Senate—but not to the House.
See 2 U.S.C. § 288d; 28 U.S.C. § 1365(b). Second, the Senate
statute expressly excludes suits that involve executive-branch
assertions of “governmental privilege.” 28 U.S.C. § 1365(a).
The expression of one thing implies the exclusion of the other,
and authorizing the Committee to bring its lawsuit would
conflict with two separate statutory limitations on civil suits to
enforce congressional subpoenas. When determining whether
to “recognize any causes of action not expressly created by
Congress,” “our watchword is caution,” Hernandez, 140 S. Ct.
at 742, and we should not ignore Congress’s carefully drafted
limitations on its authority to sue to enforce a subpoena.

 

 

This is a very technical issue that will drive non-lawyers batty - because it feels like it flies in the face of common sense (and it does fly in the face of common sense)

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This is not to say that a different panel, or an en banc panel, might view this differently, and look to an implied power to enforce - but this argument is not devoid of merit (compare with the original Flynn appeal which was poorly decided)

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30 minutes ago, The Gator said:

So - apparently the House has no subpoena powers.  :popcorn:

 

ETA - I should add - they can issue subpoenas, they simply can't enforce them

 

20 minutes ago, The Gator said:

In this case, Congress has declined to authorize lawsuits
like the Committee’s twice over. First, Congress has granted an
express cause of action to the Senate—but not to the House.
See 2 U.S.C. § 288d; 28 U.S.C. § 1365(b). Second, the Senate
statute expressly excludes suits that involve executive-branch
assertions of “governmental privilege.” 28 U.S.C. § 1365(a).
The expression of one thing implies the exclusion of the other,
and authorizing the Committee to bring its lawsuit would
conflict with two separate statutory limitations on civil suits to
enforce congressional subpoenas. When determining whether
to “recognize any causes of action not expressly created by
Congress,” “our watchword is caution,” Hernandez, 140 S. Ct.
at 742, and we should not ignore Congress’s carefully drafted
limitations on its authority to sue to enforce a subpoena.

I haven't read anything but that quoted paragraph, but that paragraph doesn't say that Congress can't enforce its subpoenas. It says that Congress can't ask the judicial branch to enforce its subpoenas.

Congress should have its own inherent enforcement power.

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Just now, Maurile Tremblay said:

 

I haven't read anything but that quoted paragraph, but that paragraph doesn't say that Congress can't enforce its subpoenas. It says that Congress can't ask the judicial branch to enforce its subpoenas.

Congress should have its own inherent enforcement power.

True - but it cant utilize the courts - which is where they are right now - to enforce the subpoenas.

 

Congress does not have the will power (or likely the facility) to lock someone up - but it would be interesting to watch.

 

 

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Just now, The Gator said:

Congress does not have the will power (or likely the facility) to lock someone up - but it would be interesting to watch

Not before the election.  

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Cool.  So effectively, Congress cannot compel testimony?  Or just that the House cannot compel testimony?  Or neither branch can compel testimony of people in the executive branch?  Doesn't the executive branch cover basically everything that the US Government does?

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Posted (edited)

Opinion: Henderson and Griffith in the majority. Rogers dissenting.

Politico

- This will get appealed en banc just like Flynn.

- Henderson has become as pernicious as Rao. Not quite as solipsistic, but bad, terrible, gutless reasoning.

Quote

... Because the Committee lacks a cause of action to enforce its subpoena, this lawsuit must be dismissed. We note that this decision does not preclude Congress (or one of its chambers) from ever enforcing a subpoena in federal court; it simply precludes it from doing so without first enacting a statute authorizing such a suit. The Constitution’s Necessary and Proper Clause vests Congress with power to “make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution” its constitutional powers, and that Clause gives Congress—and certainly not the federal courts—the broad discretion to structure the national government through the legislative process. U.S. CONST. art. I, § 8, cl. 18. If Congress (rather than a single committee in a single chamber thereof) determines that its current mechanisms leave it unable to adequately enforce its subpoenas, it remains free to enact a statute that makes the House’s requests for information judicially enforceable. Indeed, Congress has passed similar statutes before, authorizing criminal enforcement in 1857 and civil enforcement for the Senate in 1978. See Senate Permanent Subcomm., 655 F.3d at 1238 & n.26. Because no “legislation pursues its purposes at all costs,” CTS Corp. v. Waldburger, 573 U.S. 1, 12 (2014) (internal quotation marks omitted), any such statute might, for example, carve out certain categories of subpoenas, or create unique procedural protections for defendants. That’s exactly what Congress has done in the past. The 1857 statute, for instance, stated that “no person examined and testifying” before Congress “shall be held to answer criminally . . . for any fact or act [about] which he shall be required to testify.” In re Chapman, 166 U.S. 661, 665 n.1 (1897). And the Senate’s civil enforcement statute exempts from suit any defendant asserting a “governmental privilege.” 28 U.S.C. § 1365(a). Balancing the various policy considerations in crafting an enforcement statute is a legislative judgment. For that reason, the Constitution leaves to Congress—and not to the federal courts—the authority to craft rights and remedies in our constitutional democracy. ...

Basically - Congress has to pass a law to implement the power it already has under the Constitution, which is nuttery.

Edited by SaintsInDome2006
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17 minutes ago, Maurile Tremblay said:

 

I haven't read anything but that quoted paragraph, but that paragraph doesn't say that Congress can't enforce its subpoenas. It says that Congress can't ask the judicial branch to enforce its subpoenas.

Congress should have its own inherent enforcement power.

It's basically recapping Rao who said the Courts cannot intervene in Congressional-Executive disputes. Which 1. invites political discord by forcing Congress to take enforcement into its own hands (even though it literally created the DOJ to do just that) and 2. really puts a damper on Marbury, because what then can the courts intervene in.

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Best part of the Flynn ruling:  2-1 is a just application of the law, fairly reasoned; 9-2 is the DEEP STATE at work, out to get Flynn.

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If Biden wins and the Dems take the Senate, hopefully some smart Congressperson is ready with a bunch of bills that fix this and all the other crap that we never even thought we needed a law for.

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39 minutes ago, fatguyinalittlecoat said:

If Biden wins and the Dems take the Senate, hopefully some smart Congressperson is ready with a bunch of bills that fix this and all the other crap that we never even thought we needed a law for.

Also to enforce all the laws that have been broken already.  Otherwise, what's the point?

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7 minutes ago, Dinsy Ejotuz said:

Also to enforce all the laws that have been broken already.  Otherwise, what's the point?

I have mixed emotions about this.

I am not sure how we move forward, if we are constantly looking back.

 

Part of that is just conflict avoidance, and part of that is recognizing that when two sides have backed each other into a corner, its sometimes best to start afresh.

 

I would happily trade a lack of accountability now, for simply being able to get past this era.  :shrug:

 

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It just feels like people want Flynn's scalp to vindicate the 3 years they wasted on the Trump/Russia falsehood.  Let it die already.  

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12 minutes ago, ren hoek said:

It just feels like people want Flynn's scalp to vindicate the 3 years they wasted on the Trump/Russia falsehood.  Let it die already.  

Uh, no.  I want him to be held accountable for his lawbreaking.

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I don't know anything about Judge Griffith, but I'm impressed with his (or her?) writing, both in the concurrence in Flynn and in the majority opinion in McGahn.

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One other note - the USSC has already overwritten the McGahn decision in Mazars - obviously the SC has already ruled, in a decision written the Chief Justice, that the courts can oversee a subpoena demand on the president (for private information no less, which should be more protectable than official acts) and that the Congress has that authority. 

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1 hour ago, SaintsInDome2006 said:

One other note - the USSC has already overwritten the McGahn decision in Mazars - obviously the SC has already ruled, in a decision written the Chief Justice, that the courts can oversee a subpoena demand on the president (for private information no less, which should be more protectable than official acts) and that the Congress has that authority. 

Yeah, but can they enforce their authority under the law?  Or do they need some Congressional constables to round up the scalawags that dodge Congressional subpoenas?

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Posted (edited)
38 minutes ago, The Z Machine said:

Yeah, but can they enforce their authority under the law?  Or do they need some Congressional constables to round up the scalawags that dodge Congressional subpoenas?

It's really skrewed up, don't get me wrong. IIRC Congress created DOJ back in the 1800s, yet now they can't even get DOJ to share documents with them much less enforce subpoenas. It's not supposed to work this way. however, we know right now that as a practical matter DOJ isn't doing what Congress tells it to do.

Technically though, this would be about DOJ (or say Treasury with the taxes) doing what the courts tell it to do. Even under this forsaken presidency DOJ has still been technically following court orders. I have no doubt this President and his major domo AG might try to change that but as for now if the court ultimately tells McGahn to show up a US Marshall can be dispatched from a local district where he is to make him show up. I hope. 

- eta - Even so IIRC McGahn has said he will show up voluntarily if a court tells him he must. And hopefully he sticks to that.

Edited by SaintsInDome2006

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It's pretty obvious that Trump is engaging in the same tactics he used as a private citizen to not comply with court orders.  Delay, counter sue, delay, give only incrementally until forced, etc. However, now he doesn't need to pay for those legal services, he gets them for free from the DoJ and WH office of legal counsel. 

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Mark your calendar: The judge in Michael Flynn's case scheduled the much-litigated-over hearing to consider DOJ's request to drop the prosecution against Flynn for 9/29 at 11am

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I have just checked out on the news recently but saw this posted. Nothing to see here. Just another set of electronic devices wiped. I'm sure they just had wedding plans and yoga appointments on them.

https://justthenews.com/accountability/mueller-investigators-accidentally-wiped-over-dozen-phones-turning-over-igs-office

This whole thing was a sham from the start and should be exposed, but not even the cover up is covered by normal media. The only people doing actual reporting on the Russia hoax now carry labels like alt-right media. Shameful #### all because we have a buffoon in office some want removed by any and all means possible.

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4 minutes ago, jplvr said:

I have just checked out on the news recently but saw this posted. Nothing to see here. Just another set of electronic devices wiped. I'm sure they just had wedding plans and yoga appointments on them.

https://justthenews.com/accountability/mueller-investigators-accidentally-wiped-over-dozen-phones-turning-over-igs-office

This whole thing was a sham from the start and should be exposed, but not even the cover up is covered by normal media. The only people doing actual reporting on the Russia hoax now carry labels like alt-right media. Shameful #### all because we have a buffoon in office some want removed by any and all means possible.

Except it wasn't a sham from the start.  Cover up?  And the reason the only places calling it a hoax are called alt-right media...is because its what they are.  Usually not credible and usually making accusations they can't actually back up with facts.

What information do you think you are getting from phones as far as the investigations that you aren't getting from computers and the documents of their actual investigation?

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1 hour ago, jplvr said:

I have just checked out on the news recently but saw this posted. Nothing to see here. Just another set of electronic devices wiped. I'm sure they just had wedding plans and yoga appointments on them.

https://justthenews.com/accountability/mueller-investigators-accidentally-wiped-over-dozen-phones-turning-over-igs-office

This whole thing was a sham from the start and should be exposed, but not even the cover up is covered by normal media. The only people doing actual reporting on the Russia hoax now carry labels like alt-right media. Shameful #### all because we have a buffoon in office some want removed by any and all means possible.

Fwiw, this is an old claim, maybe 2 years old, and it's false. I forget who runs Just The News, one of the right wing mavens, and while Judicial Watch is good at Foia it's usually misrepresenting what's in the documents it gets. What I recall from this is that the DOJ  (not OSC) wiped phones when employees left as a standard procedure which the documents actually show. Doubt it's worth revisiting an old claim from 2017 with links.

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Intelligencer @intelligencer

Rudy Giuliani has been working with Andriy Derkach, an active Russian agent, to smear Joe Biden. Giuliani’s reason for not suspecting Derkach as a Russian agent is that he didn’t tell him he was a Russian agent.

@jonathanchait writes

 

 

 

Oh, Rudy....

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23 minutes ago, Sinn Fein said:

Intelligencer @intelligencer

Rudy Giuliani has been working with Andriy Derkach, an active Russian agent, to smear Joe Biden. Giuliani’s reason for not suspecting Derkach as a Russian agent is that he didn’t tell him he was a Russian agent.

@jonathanchait writes

 

 

 

Oh, Rudy....

File this under "I didn't specifically say quid pro quo".

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How exactly is Derkach a Russian agent?  Not trying to be defensive, just want to understand.  

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1 hour ago, SaintsInDome2006 said:

Fwiw, this is an old claim, maybe 2 years old, and it's false. I forget who runs Just The News, one of the right wing mavens, and while Judicial Watch is good at Foia it's usually misrepresenting what's in the documents it gets. What I recall from this is that the DOJ  (not OSC) wiped phones when employees left as a standard procedure which the documents actually show. Doubt it's worth revisiting an old claim from 2017 with links.

I'm shocked, truly shocked.....

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18 minutes ago, ren hoek said:

https://twitter.com/milesklassin/status/1304450430664138758

The dishonesty of the “reporting” on this #### is astounding.  

Which part was dishonest...did you read the article...the associated tweet that said trying and failing?

Do you believe Russian Troll farms are not, in fact, doing so?  Why the constant defense of all things Russia?

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2 hours ago, sho nuff said:

Which part was dishonest...did you read the article...the associated tweet that said trying and failing?

Do you believe Russian Troll farms are not, in fact, doing so?  Why the constant defense of all things Russia?

I couldn’t read the article- it’s behind a paywall.  This Daily Beast writer just wanted to slime ‘left’ news orgs as somehow being useful to official bad guys and adjacent to evildoers.  

Look at yourself.  I am disagreeing with the suggestion that this “infiltration and exploitation”- apparently a singular email to the editor of a magazine that wasn’t even responded to- was worthy of a fearmongering headline that tars “left-wing publications” as vulnerable to “Russian troll farms.”  And you say it’s a “constant defense of all things Russia.”  

Schachtman pretends that junk emails to website editors are somehow a sinister plot to infiltrate progressive magazines.  That’s dishonest.  What a bunch of baloney.  

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9 minutes ago, ren hoek said:

I couldn’t read the article- it’s behind a paywall.  This Daily Beast writer just wanted to slime ‘left’ news orgs as somehow being useful to official bad guys and adjacent to evildoers.  

Look at yourself.  I am disagreeing with the suggestion that this “infiltration and exploitation”- apparently a singular email to the editor of a magazine that wasn’t even responded to- was worthy of a fearmongering headline that tars “left-wing publications” as vulnerable to “Russian troll farms.”  And you say it’s a “constant defense of all things Russia.”  

Schachtman pretends that junk emails to website editors are somehow a sinister plot to infiltrate progressive magazines.  That’s dishonest.  What a bunch of baloney.  

Except you admit you didn't read the article...so you are basing the call of dishonesty on a tweet where one place it was only one email.  I dont get that...just seems to be the same thing the complaint is about the reporting.

Amd the constant defense goes beyond this one issue

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1 hour ago, sho nuff said:

Except you admit you didn't read the article

Yes- because I don't want to give The Daily Beast money sho nuff.  Is that ok?  Am I supposed to give websites money to check whether their reports are bogus or not?  They should not hide leaked documents behind a paywall.  It's an extraordinary allegation that demands serious evidence and something less crass than a Russian flag with a troll face on it.  

1 hour ago, sho nuff said:

...so you are basing the call of dishonesty on a tweet where one place it was only one email.

Yes- because it was written by the editor of the accused magazine.  Who has been published in several mainstream papers and The Nation, all of which are more credible than DB (which isn't saying much). 

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I just spent way too much time digging through juniorNB's posts.  Not to call him out specifically either, there were tons of people making posts to this effect.  But I kind of miss the extremely cringe Mueller posts, when he was a 12D puppet master, a law enforcement mastermind 100 steps ahead of everyone.  

On 1/28/2019 at 7:29 PM, JuniorNB said:

Yeah I would find it very hard to believe that Don Jr is not getting indicted. He was the ringleader of the very Russian coordination that everyone else is going to jail for. Mueller has to play it smart though. If he'd of indicted him six months ago, Trump would have probably shut the whole thing down. He knows he's dealing with a man-child plus a cowardly Senate that will do anything he says. Just remember that Mueller is the smartest person in the room.

 

On 11/29/2018 at 11:40 AM, JuniorNB said:

Agree.  Mueller was waiting to get that in writing from Trump. He knew all of this for weeks/months. But until he got Trump to lie about it, he kept it under wraps. This is playing out beautifully. Mueller is a puppet master.

 

On 9/14/2018 at 1:55 PM, JuniorNB said:

The most hilarious part of all this is that some people are still claiming that Mueller doesn't have one piece of proof that Trump colluded. lol  4 hours ago, no one knew that he convinced Manafort to cooperate. Every time someone is indicted, it's a shock to everyone. There are never clues or leaks. Yet they think that Mueller would accidently tell someone about collusion evidence at his monthly book group meeting. 

 

On 9/14/2018 at 1:15 PM, JuniorNB said:

Be patient little one.  Mr Mueller is the consummate professional. Methodically picking them off one by one. The walls are closing in. Everyone Trump thought would be loyal are realizing he doesn't give a rat's ### about them and he'd send every single one of them to jail to save his own ###. Stone is next. This is a marathon, not a sprint. It could be another year or more. The best part is how Mueller doesn't leak a single thing. While Trump frantically tweets and tweets and tweets. Totally in the dark about what he knows. The drawn out torture to Trump and his paranoia is the best part.  :lmao:

 

On 2/5/2019 at 2:55 PM, JuniorNB said:

There is a 100% chance that the only reason Mueller hasn't indicted Don Jr yet is because he wants to do more behind the scenes investigating before going scorched Earth. He knows the reaction once he starts busting Trump's actual family.  He's obviously waiting till he's practically finished. 

 

On 4/23/2019 at 10:07 AM, JuniorNB said:

While it may be true that you don't impeach purely for political reasons, in this desperate time, you don't do anything that improves this lying criminal's chance of getting reelected.

That being said, I am not dead-set against impeachment. I may change my mind after Mueller testifies in front of congress. Not that it would change the opinion of the 35% hardcore Trump fans who would stick by him regardless of what he did. But Mueller is a widely respected figure amongst the huge percentage of the country who actually think freely and aren't a slave to a particular party. His testimony could be damaging enough that no amount of  Trump spin can mend the wounds. Once I think a failed removal won't help Trump, then I'll be aboard the impeachment train.

 

On 12/8/2018 at 11:11 AM, JuniorNB said:

Yes, it's being revealed that Mueller has proof of Trump's coordination of Russian collusion and illegal use of campaign funds, but did you know a few black guys kneel during the national anthem??!?

 

On 2/16/2018 at 1:27 PM, JuniorNB said:

Mueller has already locked up Time Person of the Year for 2018. 

 

On 12/1/2017 at 11:56 AM, JuniorNB said:

May be too late, but Mueller is Time Magazine Person of the Year by a longshot. Decade, maybe

 

On 7/17/2018 at 11:37 AM, JuniorNB said:

This country desperately needs Mueller right now. He may be the only person in the world who can save us at this point.

 

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The knives come out for Robert Mueller

The disgruntled ‘Resistance’ turns on its former hero

Cockburn

September 22, 2020

3:57 AM

For two years, Robert Mueller was the closest thing to a living saint Donald Trump’s political opponents could imagine. The FBI veteran was recast as St Michael, descending into the maw of Hell to strike down the Cinnamon Satan himself. 

A dedicated page on Reddit, titled only ‘The Mueller’, amassed more than 170,000 subscribers. The women of SNL serenaded Mueller during the holidays. Avid fans bought Robert Mueller buttons, action figures, ugly Christmas sweaters, and mugs (‘After a long day of treason, It’s Mueller Time!’). The most pious lit Mueller-themed prayer candles.

By the final days of the investigation, the Associated Press even profiled elderly, dying Trump haters whose deepest wish was to live just long enough to see Mueller’s fateful report. Sadly, the AP never followed up. Cockburn would like to know how many made it that far — only to die of sheer disappointment.

St Mueller the Archangel did not cast the President into Hell, to put it mildly.

And so now, a year later, he is suffering the fate of so many others who are no longer useful to the American left. Rather than merely be forgotten, he has joined the cast of villains.

Playing the role of Brutus in this tragedy is Andrew Weissmann, once Mueller’s senior deputy, now the first member of his team to cash in with a book deal. Weissmann once put 85,000 people out of work by destroying the accounting giant Arthur Andersen with a bogus criminal probe that was later overturned unanimously by the Supreme Court. He is, you might say, an aggressive prosecutor. In Where Law Ends, he sticks pins into his old boss, blaming his timidity for the failure of the investigation to achieve more spectacular results. According to Weissman, Mueller ‘let the American people down’ by not issuing enough subpoenas, not probing Trump’s financial records and not openly accusing the President of obstruction of justice. 

Weissman’s criticisms have unleashed a torrent of abuse against the #Resistance’s erstwhile champion.  The same Twitter hoi polloi who may once have attended Muller testimony viewing parties now dubbed Mueller a ‘coward’, a ‘failure’ and even a ‘traitor’. Bluechecks were more measured in their language, but kept the clear venom.

But it is not Mueller’s conduct in 2018 that discredits the Mueller investigation, but Weissman’s conduct right now and the press’s coverage of it.

The Atlantic’s original headline on Monday says it all: ‘The Inside Story of Why Mueller Failed.’ It has been many years since Cockburn studied rhetoric, but he believes this is what Aristotle called ‘assuming the conclusion’. A special investigation looking for a vast conspiracy to collude with a foreign power to rig an election is not a ‘failure’ if it does not find that conspiracy. It is a success, so long as it manages to find the truth. 

But the truth was not what the President’s enemies wanted. That is why Weissmann told the Atlantic that the report was a ‘historic missed opportunity’. The opportunity in question wasn’t learning the truth about Trump. It was the chance to nullify the 2016 election. But Mueller’s conclusions were unambiguous: he found no evidence the President colluded with Russia and no evidence he tried to. Without collusion, the ‘obstruction’ charges Weissman wanted become a farce; Trump would have been accused of obstruction for angrily calling a baseless, politically-motivated investigation baseless and politically motivated.

Nevertheless, Weissman’s book makes it clear that exact situation is nearly what happened. And that, perhaps, is the real disturbing revelation from Weissmann’s book. A groundless investigation, driven by a political temper tantrum, didn’t just sidetrack US politics for two years. It nearly succeeded in bringing down a presidency. And while Weissmann may have ‘accidentally’ erased his phone twice during the course of the investigation, he doubtless has notes to ensure the next political inquisition does not fail.  

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