Did Trump obstruct justice? 5 questions Congress must answer : The Conversation

“If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President of the United States did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. … However, we are unable to reach that judgment.”

That was special counsel Robert Mueller’s blunt conclusion about whether President Donald Trump committed obstruction of justice. It’s found early in Mueller’s report of his 22-month investigation into potentially criminal aspects of Donald Trump’s campaign and presidency.

Mueller’s full report – submitted to the Department of Justice on March 22 and published online with redactions on April 19 – highlights 10 areas in which the president may have committed obstruction of justice. I’ve read this 400-page document closely, and judging as a law professor and former elected official, I find multiple episodes that describe possible crimes.

These include: firing FBI Director James Comey, who was overseeing an investigation into possible collusion between Trump’s 2016 campaign and the Russian government; attempting to curtail the special counsel’s investigation and fire Mueller; and making statements that could have discouraged former campaign aides from testifying truthfully.

After reviewing all Mueller’s evidence, Attorney General William Barr determined that the president did not obstruct justice. But Mueller concluded that he could neither charge nor exonerate Trump, and indicated that Congress should consider the evidence.

Here’s how lawmakers will determine whether Trump committed a crime.

1. Did Trump act ‘corruptly’?

According to federal law, obstruction occurs when a person tries to impede or influence a trial, investigation or other official proceeding with threats or corrupt intent. Bribing a judge and destroying evidence are classic examples of obstruction.


Source: Did Trump obstruct justice? 5 questions Congress must answer : The Conversation

The Memo:  Mueller’s depictions will fuel Trump angst | TheHill

Special counsel Robert Mueller painted a damning picture of the Trump administration, even as he handed the president a victory on the central issue of collusion with Russia.

The Trump White House, as portrayed by Mueller, revolves around an impulsive and angry president who issues orders that underlings often defy, ignore or seek to delay.

The depiction will enrage a president who fixates on the concept of strength and is hypersensitive about any suggestion that he is not in absolute control of his administration.

“He will be livid to see this spelled out — and it is not clear that he is always aware when his advisers are doing this,” said Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. “For someone who is already a little bit paranoid about institutional opponents, it will create even more of a sense of distrust within the White House.”

But people who have served in the Trump White House told The Hill that they heard the ring of familiarity — and felt no surprise — at the depictions offered in the special counsel’s report.

“I’ve personally been on the receiving end of a Trump broadside for trying to get him not to do something nuts,” one former White House official recalled ruefully.

A GOP strategist with ties to the White House, asked about the willingness of advisers to frustrate the president’s desires, laughed and said, “I think it was a good thing.”

The strategist asserted that Trump could be “very impulsive and choose to pop off” — a trait that created an imperative among people around him to save him from himself.

“Many of his staff who have experience — legal or political — understood the great perils that he would put himself in,” the strategist said.

Referring to those details becoming public, this source added, “I think it will annoy him. It will make him angrier. But at the same time, it may be a private lesson that he is learning that his staff were loyal by protecting him.”

It is far from clear that Trump sees it that way.

The president tweeted on Friday that statements within the Mueller report “are fabricated & totally untrue.”

Trump added, “Watch out for people that take so-called ‘notes,’ when the notes never existed until needed.”

The remark could be seen as a reference to former White House counsel Donald McGahn.

According to Mueller,


Source: The Memo: Mueller’s depictions will fuel Trump angst | TheHill

Trump-Mueller report – live: Congress issues subpoena for full unredacted text as president lashes out amid talk of impeachment | The Independent

Donald Trump has lashed out at a number of perceived enemies after the publication of the long-awaited Mueller report, which painted a damning portrait of the president’s conduct since taking office.

Mr Trump attacked overnight the media, a federal investigator and former FBI official, all while claiming there “wasn’t any evidence” he committed a crime.

The 450-page document, released in redacted form on Thursday, in fact outlined numerous instances in which Mr Trump tried to obstruct the investigation; potential crimes Mr Mueller declined to reach conclusions on.


Source: Trump-Mueller report – live: Congress issues subpoena for full unredacted text as president lashes out amid talk of impeachment | The Independent

What happens next with the Mueller report? 3 essential reads : The Conversation

One month after Robert Mueller submitted the final report on his investigation into Donald Trump, its contents have finally been made public – meaning that the Department of Justice is no longer the only one analyzing and interpreting Mueller’s findings.

Attorney General William Barr has publicly stated his belief that Mueller’s inquiry exonerates the president of criminal wrongdoing. Now, the American public will get to draw its own conclusions.

Congress, state prosecutors and district attorneys nationwide, too, are digging into the Mueller report to decide whether Mueller found evidence that Trump obstructed justice, colluded with Russia or committed any impeachable offenses. Beyond Mueller’s federal inquiry, a dozen city and state prosecutors have launched investigations into possible criminal wrongdoing by Trump, his family and his business.

As Mueller’s investigation evolves from political saga to legal analysis, here are three key threads our experts have been watching.

1. Obstruction of justice

Barr’s determination that Trump did not commit obstruction of justice differs from the conclusion Mueller drew in his own report. According to the special counsel, “while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

How can two people draw different conclusions from the same evidence?


Source: What happens next with the Mueller report? 3 essential reads : The Conversation

The Mueller report showcases eight Trump loyalists who resisted the president to protect themselves : The Daily 202 from PowerPost

THE BIG IDEA: It turns out the deep state wasn’t so deep. The resistance was coming from inside the White House.

President Trump repeatedly made his own top aides, appointees and advisers uncomfortable by making requests that they found unethical, legally questionable or otherwise inappropriate as he sought to gain some control over the federal investigation into himself and Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

While neither accusing him of a crime nor exonerating him, the second volume of special counsel Bob Mueller’s 448-page report details 10 episodes in which there is at least some evidence that Trump sought to obstruct justice. In most of them, at least one person from the president’s inner circle resisted entreaties to do something they felt was wrong.

“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 accede to his requests,” the Mueller report concludes.

In looking out for their own interests and reputations, Trump’s aides often protected the president from himself. Sometimes they said no and threatened to resign. Other times they said yes and just didn’t follow through, hoping the president would forget.

Mueller documents dozens of instances in which the president’s own people reined him in. If these officials had gone along with everything Trump had asked for, the evidence of obstruction would likely be much stronger, and calls for impeachment on the Hill today would almost certainly be louder.


Source: The Mueller report showcases eight Trump loyalists who resisted the president to protect themselves : The Daily 202 from PowerPost

Mueller report: Trump camp celebrates but danger is not past yet | US news | The Guardian

Robert Mueller, seen in 2009.
 Robert Mueller, seen in 2009. Photograph: Gerald Herbert/AP

It was, said Rudy Giuliani, lawyer to Donald Trump, like waiting for a baby to be born. Then he reached for a darker simile: it was more like waiting for a jury to deliver its verdict.

“I’ll hand out cigars if it’s good news,” he told the Washington Post.

At about 4.30pm on Friday, the wait was over. Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report into Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election was handed to the justice department. But it was still not clear if the baby was a boy or a girl, or if the jury found the defendant guilty or not guilty.

The conclusions of the Mueller investigation remained under lock and key, Washington’s biggest secret, fuelling feverish speculation. As Attorney General William Barr considers how much of the report to make public, a moment of truth that could break the Trump presidency, millions of Americans remain on the edge of their seats over the defining questions of whether he colluded with Moscow to win election and sought to obstruct justice once in the White House.

But one fact was established with certainty this week: after an investigation costing millions of dollars and spanning 674 days, hundreds of interviews, thousands of documents and criminal charges against 34 individuals – including six in Trump’s inner circle – Mueller will not recommend any further indictments. It therefore appeared that Trump’s son, Don Jr, and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, were off the hook.

This was despite both men attending a meeting at Trump Tower in June 2016 with a Russian lawyer to hear potentially damaging information about Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. “If it’s what you say I love it,” Don Jr wrote in an email to Rob Goldstone, a British publicist who arranged the meeting. Prosecutors said the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, was an agent for the Kremlin. Don Jr and Goldstone claim that she offered nothing of substance and wasted their time.


Source: Mueller report: Trump camp celebrates but danger is not past yet | US news | The Guardian