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The Russia Investigation: Trump Pardons Flynn


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8 minutes ago, timschochet said:

This morning on Meet the Press, Rand Paul made the best defenses I’ve heard of Trump’s situation since Friday’s revelations. Here are his arguments in a nutshell: 

1. Regarding the campaign finance violations, Paul claims that the John Edwards case demonstrates that paying off a mistress might not be a violation. Plus he claims the rules are so convoluted that Trump might have not known them. He acknowledges that Trump has lied about all this and that’s bad, but it’s not exactly an impeachable offense: “are we really going to remove the President for paying off his mistress and lying about it?” 

2. Lying about meeting the Russians, or contacts with the Russians, is also bad. There is nothing wrong with building a Trump tower in Moscow. There would be something wrong with getting permission to do so in return for political favors. There would be something wrong with working with the Russians to interfere in the election. So far there is no evidence of either. To remove the President you need to show quid pro quo, and that either he directly knew about it or directly tried to cover it up. These standards, for Paul, have not come close to being met. 

Thoughts? 

Did he say anything about obstruction of justice?  It seems like Trump has attempted that, and I figure that would be an impeachable offense.

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I will also say - I think Mueller is going to build a powerful obstruction of justice case.  

 

And, that should be sufficient to impeach.   It is so important to the rule of law, that we not have a president who flaunts the laws, and aggressively obstructs justice.

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Just now, Gr00vus said:

Did he say anything about obstruction of justice?  It seems like Trump has attempted that, and I figure that would be an impeachable offense.

He didn’t. 

The best defense I can think of for Trump regarding this is that he doesn’t really understand that it’s a crime- he sort of proved this to be true by publicly lambasting Sessions for recusal. 

Personally I would vote to remove Trump for obstruction of justice. But I can see the argument the other way. 

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5 minutes ago, timschochet said:

He didn’t. 

The best defense I can think of for Trump regarding this is that he doesn’t really understand that it’s a crime- he sort of proved this to be true by publicly lambasting Sessions for recusal. 

Personally I would vote to remove Trump for obstruction of justice. But I can see the argument the other way. 

How could he not understand that? And even if he didn't, I don't think ignorance would absolve him of responsibility. He needs to know the propriety and consequences of his actions in office. That's his job. If he can't do this job without committing crimes - knowingly or unknowingly - he needs to be removed from office.

Edited by Gr00vus
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1 minute ago, Gr00vus said:

How could he not understand that? And even if he didn't, I don't think ignorance would absolve him of responsibility. He needs to know the propriety and consequences of his actions in office. That's his job.

I agree. I would add this specific as well: before he asked Comey to go easy on Flynn, he ordered everyone else to leave the room. To me that proves understanding of bad behavior. 

But you and I won’t be the ones deciding this. Republican senators just need to have arguments against removal that sound reasonable to the public. Lack of understanding is one of them. 

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17 minutes ago, timschochet said:

This morning on Meet the Press, Rand Paul made the best defenses I’ve heard of Trump’s situation since Friday’s revelations. Here are his arguments in a nutshell: 

1. Regarding the campaign finance violations, Paul claims that the John Edwards case demonstrates that paying off a mistress might not be a violation. Plus he claims the rules are so convoluted that Trump might have not known them. He acknowledges that Trump has lied about all this and that’s bad, but it’s not exactly an impeachable offense: “are we really going to remove the President for paying off his mistress and lying about it?” 

2. Lying about meeting the Russian mobsters, or contacts with the Russian mobsters is also bad. There is nothing wrong with building a Trump tower in Moscow. There would be something wrong with getting permission to do so in return for political favors. There would be something wrong with working with the Russians to interfere in the election. So far there is no evidence of either. To remove the President you need to show quid pro quo, and that either he directly knew about it or directly tried to cover it up. These standards, for Paul, have not come close to being met. 

Thoughts? 

Thoughts

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1 minute ago, timschochet said:

I agree. I would add this specific as well: before he asked Comey to go easy on Flynn, he ordered everyone else to leave the room. To me that proves understanding of bad behavior. 

But you and I won’t be the ones deciding this. Republican senators just need to have arguments against removal that sound reasonable to the public. Lack of understanding is one of them. 

Too ignorant and lazy to perform the role is a reasonable argument for removal. I think it imperative in fact.

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21 minutes ago, timschochet said:

On the subject of impeachment, a Democratic senator raised a timing question: first he says there should be no impeachment committee until the Mueller report is released. Now let’s suppose that happens in the summer or fall of 2019. Any impeachment process would take several months, or even a year. Would it make sense to proceed if the process continued into the election? 

I find this a fascinating question. I wonder how the Founding Fathers would have responded to this. 

The founding fathers would have removed him from office long ago. 

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For what it’s worth, Rand Paul is ideologically opposed to most campaign finance laws.  It’s completely within his interest to describe them as convoluted.  Future White House counsel Don McGahn worked on the Trump campaign and is a former commissioner for the FEC.  Is there any evidence that Trump bothered to ask him if this stuff was legal?  

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18 minutes ago, timschochet said:
20 minutes ago, Gr00vus said:

Did he say anything about obstruction of justice?  It seems like Trump has attempted that, and I figure that would be an impeachable offense.

He didn’t. 

The best defense I can think of for Trump regarding this is that he doesn’t really understand that it’s a crime- he sort of proved this to be true by publicly lambasting Sessions for recusal. 

Personally I would vote to remove Trump for obstruction of justice. But I can see the argument the other way. 

Ok, let's say he didn't understand that it was a crime at that point. What about now? Don't you think he's been told over and over that he could be putting himself in jeopardy by all of his public statements since then?

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2 minutes ago, honky kong said:

Ok, let's say he didn't understand that it was a crime at that point. What about now? Don't you think he's been told over and over that he could be putting himself in jeopardy by all of his public statements since then?

Yeah, you’d think his team of lawyers, TV layers, and “lawyers” should have informed him of all the laws he’s breaking by now. 

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34 minutes ago, timschochet said:

On the subject of impeachment, a Democratic senator raised a timing question: first he says there should be no impeachment committee until the Mueller report is released. Now let’s suppose that happens in the summer or fall of 2019. Any impeachment process would take several months, or even a year. Would it make sense to proceed if the process continued into the election? 

I find this a fascinating question. I wonder how the Founding Fathers would have responded to this. 

I'm pretty sure they have you on ignore

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Trump has been implicated, and possibly identified in court papers, as committing one, two, possibly more felonies and people are asking us to forgive him because he is not very smart? GTFO with this mumbo jumbo. In all of the bad precedents that McConnel and the Republicans have set in the past ~5 years, some are asking us to let go a few broken laws because a guy is not very smart? Again, GTFO with that bull####.

Rand Paul and McConnel can both go back to Kentucky and wallow in their pity, if that is what they want. Both are complete jokes of human beings.

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58 minutes ago, timschochet said:

I’m not a fan of Paul but I find him honest. I believe that if Mueller’s report directly charges Trump, Paul is the sort that will change his mind- but it had better be a clear charge. It can’t be murky. 

 

You are deeply misjudging Paul.  Him and his father are very aligned with Russia.

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1 hour ago, timschochet said:

Regarding the campaign finance violations, Paul claims that the John Edwards case demonstrates that paying off a mistress might not be a violation. Plus he claims the rules are so convoluted that Trump might have not known them. He acknowledges that Trump has lied about all this and that’s bad, but it’s not exactly an impeachable offense: “are we really going to remove the President for paying off his mistress and lying about it?” 

I saw this piece and it was totally disingenuous. What he claimed was that golly every politician would be indicted following this. Total lie.

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1 hour ago, timschochet said:

I’m not a fan of Paul but I find him honest. I believe that if Mueller’s report directly charges Trump, Paul is the sort that will change his mind- but it had better be a clear charge. It can’t be murky. 

 

When did Paul visit Moscow last?

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1 hour ago, fatguyinalittlecoat said:

For what it’s worth, Rand Paul is ideologically opposed to most campaign finance laws.  It’s completely within his interest to describe them as convoluted.  Future White House counsel Don McGahn worked on the Trump campaign and is a former commissioner for the FEC.  Is there any evidence that Trump bothered to ask him if this stuff was legal?  

McGahn was totally excluded from all this, so were other norm lawyers. That’s the point. Normals would have guided them to do it on the books albeit maybe vaguely. 

This is the stuff I wonder if McGahn knew about.

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2 hours ago, timschochet said:

 

1. Regarding the campaign finance violations, Paul claims that the John Edwards case demonstrates that paying off a mistress might not be a violation.

 

I get that this is the main talking point from Trump's defenders, but it's total nonsense. If they're saying that the Edwards and Trump cases are very similar, their  talking point actually says the opposite of what they think it does. By taking such a high profile case to trial, it pretty much assures us that the DOJ thinks this is a crime (also by accepting Cohen's guilty plea they're saying they think it's a crime). US Attorneys have a ton of discretion, but I cannot imagine that indicting and taking to trial John Edwards wasn't approved by Main Justice.

The result of the Edwards case doesn't say any more than if I'm found not guilty of murder says anything about the applicability of a homicide statute. Cases at the trial level rise and fall on their own facts. They are not binding on anyone or anything else. If the government had convicted Edwards and an appellate court had overturned the conviction, there would be some binding precedent that would control new cases. That doesn't exist here. 

By saying this is just like the Edwards case you're saying that you agree that the DOJ thinks this is a crime. Just because your local drug dealer is found not guilty of dealing meth, doesn't mean meth is now legal. That's what the Trump talking point is trying to get you to believe. It's not how this works. It's not how any of this works.

Edited by Rirruto
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8 minutes ago, Rirruto said:

I get that this is the main talking point from Trump's defenders, but it's total nonsense. If they're saying that the Edwards and Trump cases are very similar, their  talking point actually says the opposite of what they think it does. By taking such a high profile case to trial, it pretty much assures us that the DOJ thinks this is a crime (also by accepting Cohen's guilty plea they're saying they think it's a crime). US Attorneys have a ton of discretion, but I cannot imagine that indicting and taking to trial John Edwards wasn't approved by Main Justice.

The result of the Edwards case doesn't say any more than if I'm found not guilty of murder says anything about the applicability of a homicide statute. Cases at the trial level rise and fall on their own facts. They are not binding on anyone or anything else. If the government had convicted Edwards and an appellate court had overturned the conviction, there would be some binding precedent that would control new cases. That doesn't exist here. 

By saying this is just like the Edwards case you're saying that you agree that the DOJ thinks this is a crime. Just because your local drug dealer is found not guilty of dealing meth doesn't mean meth is now legal. That's what the Trump talking point is trying to get you to believe. It's not how this works. It's not how any of this works.

Damn good posting. Makes total sense about the trial level cases not creating precedent. I didn't know that, and I would bet that most non lawyers don't know what either.  That's gonna be a tough sell to those that are inclined to align with the President.  They don't want to hear about the way the system works if they think he's being railroaded.

The ironic thing is that the sitting POTUS is the least likely person to be railroaded in this entire country.

 

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2 hours ago, timschochet said:

Lying about meeting the Russians, or contacts with the Russians, is also bad. There is nothing wrong with building a Trump tower in Moscow. There would be something wrong with getting permission to do so in return for political favors. There would be something wrong with working with the Russians to interfere in the election. So far there is no evidence of either. To remove the President you need to show quid pro quo, and that either he directly knew about it or directly tried to cover it up. These standards, for Paul, have not come close to being met. 

Also terrible. The lie they tell purposefully moves the events to pre-January 2016, before Trump became the presumptive and actual nominee. They know the reason for this lie. And it’s a blatant one, to misdirect the investigation from the issue. We know this because OSC actually says this in their status memo.

Same pattern with the mistress NDAs. Trump told the public he had no idea and it was all Cohen’s idea, and then Giuliani said there was a reimbursement and a retainer agreement. Look at the memo, investigation revealed there was no retainer, no fee structure. It’s all a huge blatant lie and they did it to avoid the investigation. Criminals do this,.

Edited by SaintsInDome2006
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3 hours ago, timschochet said:

He didn’t. 

The best defense I can think of for Trump regarding this is that he doesn’t really understand that it’s a crime- he sort of proved this to be true by publicly lambasting Sessions for recusal. 

Personally I would vote to remove Trump for obstruction of justice. But I can see the argument the other way. 

I think you mean "he doesn't really care that it's a crime."

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I am starting to come around on the idea that Trump will not finish his term as President.

 

Now, it may be a technicality, because he could wait until the day or two before inauguration in 2021 - but I think he is taking a big risk in not getting a pardon for himself before a Democratic President takes office.  So, even assuming he is not impeached/convicted - I think he will ask Pence to pardon him, after Trump resigns.  Pence would presumably do that "in the best interests of the country", even if he were only president for one day.

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16 minutes ago, Sinn Fein said:

I am starting to come around on the idea that Trump will not finish his term as President.

 

Now, it may be a technicality, because he could wait until the day or two before inauguration in 2021 - but I think he is taking a big risk in not getting a pardon for himself before a Democratic President takes office.  So, even assuming he is not impeached/convicted - I think he will ask Pence to pardon him, after Trump resigns.  Pence would presumably do that "in the best interests of the country", even if he were only president for one day.

I still think Pence is mired in transition indiscretions that will neuter his ability to serve.

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Just now, No One said:

I still think Pence is mired in transition indiscretions that will neuter his ability to serve.

Probably - but I am assuming this is a very short-term deal - after the election, but before the inauguration.  Sometime in January.  So, his only real role will be to issue the pardon.*

 

*in my prediction.

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4 hours ago, timschochet said:

The best defense I can think of for Trump regarding this is that he doesn’t really understand that it’s a crime- he sort of proved this to be true by publicly lambasting Sessions for recusal. 

How does this prove it to be true? I appreciate the devil’s advocate positions especially as Trumpites are rarely seen roaming the plains these days, but anyone making this argument has to explain the cover stories. People invent cover stories - like ‘adoptions’ - when they know they’ve committed wrongdoing and want to evade detection.

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SaintsInDome2006 said:


How does this prove it to be true? I appreciate the devil’s advocate positions especially as Trumpites are rarely seen roaming the plains these days, but anyone making this argument has to explain the cover stories. People invent cover stories - like ‘adoptions’ - when they know they’ve committed wrongdoing and want to evade detection.


They'll just say "We lied about it because we knew it would look bad. But we didn't think that it was an actual crime."

(Not unlike Bill Clinton's excuse for lying about Monica.)
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4 hours ago, timschochet said:

He didn’t. 

The best defense I can think of for Trump regarding this is that he doesn’t really understand that it’s a crime- he sort of proved this to be true by publicly lambasting Sessions for recusal. 

Personally I would vote to remove Trump for obstruction of justice. But I can see the argument the other way. 

Ignorance of the law is no excuse ....

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1 hour ago, pecorino said:

I’m not a lawyer but I’ve heard (and I believe) that ignorance of a crime is not a viable defense. Whether Trump knows what comprises obstruction of justice or campaign finance violations is immaterial.

This is not entirely true with respect to campaign finance laws.  There are lots of exceptions and caveats but as a general rule campaign finance violations must be “willful and knowing” to be criminal.  Otherwise they are just civil offenses that can result in fines but not jail time.

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4 hours ago, timschochet said:

He didn’t. 

The best defense I can think of for Trump regarding this is that he doesn’t really understand that it’s a crime- he sort of proved this to be true by publicly lambasting Sessions for recusal. 

Personally I would vote to remove Trump for obstruction of justice. But I can see the argument the other way. 

I don't know. I remember another high profile, psychotic New Yorker tried to use this defense when attempting to keep his job because his boss found out he slept with the cleaning woman in the office.  IIRC, there were even bribes of cashmere. 

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5 minutes ago, Thunderlips said:

I don't know. I remember another high profile, psychotic New Yorker tried to use this defense when attempting to keep his job because his boss found out he slept with the cleaning woman in the office.  IIRC, there were even bribes of cashmere. 

If it just weren’t for that damn red spot.  

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30 minutes ago, fatguyinalittlecoat said:

This is not entirely true with respect to campaign finance laws.  There are lots of exceptions and caveats but as a general rule campaign finance violations must be “willful and knowing” to be criminal.  Otherwise they are just civil offenses that can result in fines but not jail time.

Now, I don't know specifically about the campaign finance laws, but generally speaking the intentional conduct - is generally that you intended to do whatever conduct you are accused of doing - not that you intended to break the law.

So, I imagine that in this case - the prosecutors would have to prove that Trump intended to pay the women, and that he intended to do so to influence the election (or he intended to have Cohen and/or David Pecker pay the women).  John Edwards defense to his accusations were that the payment was made irrespective of the campaign - and that would be Trump's defense here as well.  But that is a factual question that would have to be decided by a jury.  The prosecution has gotten Cohen to admit, under oath, that this is not a viable defense - so it becomes a battle of bigger liars.

 

I don't really think that the prosecution has to prove Trump knew this was a violation of campaign finance laws - but willing to be educated if someone knows better.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Mario Kart said:

Trump has been implicated, and possibly identified in court papers, as committing one, two, possibly more felonies and people are asking us to forgive him because he is not very smart? GTFO with this mumbo jumbo. In all of the bad precedents that McConnel and the Republicans have set in the past ~5 years, some are asking us to let go a few broken laws because a guy is not very smart? Again, GTFO with that bull####.

Rand Paul and McConnel can both go back to Kentucky and wallow in their pity, if that is what they want. Both are complete jokes of human beings.

LAW AND ORDER CANDIDATE

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6 hours ago, timschochet said:

This morning on Meet the Press, Rand Paul made the best defenses I’ve heard of Trump’s situation since Friday’s revelations. Here are his arguments in a nutshell: 

1. Regarding the campaign finance violations, Paul claims that the John Edwards case demonstrates that paying off a mistress might not be a violation. Plus he claims the rules are so convoluted that Trump might have not known them. He acknowledges that Trump has lied about all this and that’s bad, but it’s not exactly an impeachable offense: “are we really going to remove the President for paying off his mistress and lying about it?” 

2. Lying about meeting the Russians, or contacts with the Russians, is also bad. There is nothing wrong with building a Trump tower in Moscow. There would be something wrong with getting permission to do so in return for political favors. There would be something wrong with working with the Russians to interfere in the election. So far there is no evidence of either. To remove the President you need to show quid pro quo, and that either he directly knew about it or directly tried to cover it up. These standards, for Paul, have not come close to being met. 

Thoughts? 

TO #1....the precedent was set with Clinton.  Just because it hasn't been under oath (yet) means little.

To #2:  Been saying this from the beginning.  You have to connect it "pay for play" otherwise it's just doing business.  It's much more logical to focus on the obstruction of justice, campaign finance issues, money laundering etc.  

Trump can scream "no collusion" until he's blue in the face and be 100% correct.  It's the other crap that's going to bite him in the ###.

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