Thursday, April 18, 2019

The (Lightly Redacted) Mueller Report Drops Into Bitterly Polarized Political Climate; Some Thoughts, Links On This Trumpian Grotesquery

Title page of the Mueller Report.


So, let's just get this out of the way.

The less-redacted-than-expected Mueller report -- "Report on the Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election" -- dropped earlier today, and it was far more damning than that four-page garbage "summary" put out late last month by Personal Defense Attorney to Donald Trump's Criminal Enterprise, I mean, Attorney General of the United States and all-around-fat-fuck William Barr.

In the end, Robert Mueller did not indict Donald J. Trump, the titular President of the United States thanks to the vestigial slave-owning state institution of the Electoral College, simply because he could not, per Justice Department standards, indict a sitting American president, but he expressly did not "clear" him of obstruction of justice.

On the question of conspiracy, Mueller concluded he didn't have enough to bring a criminal case. (This has nothing to do with the repeated-ad-nauseum but legally meaningless term of "collusion" -- as in "no collusion" bandied about by the rightwing media/infotainment complex.) But Mueller and his team laid out page after page of Trump efforts to obstruct justice and conspire with a foreign, highly adversarial power.

As for William Barr, he's a fat, troll-hack sack of shit whose vaunted decades-long-reputation is akin to that of failed ex-House Speaker Paul Ryan -- all bullshit and totally at odds with his actual record of being a Republican hack and now Trump criminal syndicate legal goon.

His unusual-to-the-point-of-bizarre and totally ethically disgraceful pre-release news conference this morning was more akin to a defense attorney making the Fox News rounds -- and, no matter how or when the Trump historically mistaken era ends, his own historical reputation is, appropriately, shit.

It goes without saying that William Barr should never have been U.S. Attorney General, and indeed, the only reason he IS Attorney General is because he auditioned for the role by writing that bullshit piece that said a President, ipso facto, cannot obstruct justice, and his decades' long career as a Republican operative masquerading as a high-minded, highest-of-high-ranking law enforcement official.

What's more the morally diseased and ethically rotted state of the Republican Party -- now more an ethno-nationalist cult with oligarchs on top and racially-and-culturally panicked, economically-downwardly-moving whites making up the base and run cart-before-horse-like by a media-entertainment complex -- ensured the Senate would confirm him.

While House Dems (who managed to gain control of the chamber last year despite massive GOP gerrymandering) are eager to get Mueller to testify before the summer recess -- preferably, in public -- there really is no appetite among the House Democratic leadership to include Speaker Nancy Pelosi to go down the route of impeachment despite the fact that the Mueller report is specifically written to hand off the entire matter to Congress.

On the one hand, there is the admitted impossibility of getting a Senate conviction and the fact that an impeachment proceeding will change no minds in a country as savagely politically polarized as this one. (At the end of the day, Trump's reelection chances are basically a coin toss no matter what.) And the GOP has set up a federal judiciary that is basically an adjunct of the party. That's been the decades-long-goal and now mostly achieved.

On the other hand, it seems almost incumbent on Dems to have impeachment proceedings against a president not just running a grotesquely corrupt family-based criminal enterprise, but who by any normal understanding of those terms conspired with Putin's Russia to fuck with the 2016 election and then repeatedly attempted to obstruct justice in the investigation.

It was indeed an unprecedented and historic political scandal in American history -- in some ways, much worse than Watergate or any ones from an earlier era. The moral pressure to do so will be enormous.

In the end, I suspect Dems will not pursue the political decision of impeachment since from a strategic point of view in our current zero-sum political environment, they've a bit more to lose than gain by doing this. It will just come down to that.

Vox news headline; the story in that image is linked here.


Of note, the redacted parts mostly related to a series of a dozen or so ongoing cases that Mueller -- deeming them outside the scope of his Special Counsel mandate -- handed over to other prosecutors.

OK, that's all I wanted to say on this matter. And I'll give Jonathan Chait (linked above) the final say:

Trump's defenders have muddled the distinction between the standard of proof required to convict a defendant in court -- the standard Mueller was operating under -- and the standard of proof in the court of public opinion.

When you’re charged with murder, you might beat the rap if the key witnesses recant or mysteriously die right before the trial. You would then be legally entitled to walk free, but your fellow citizens are not required to accept your boasts of exoneration.

And they are certainly not required to disavow news reports that described you as a murderer.

Trump beat the rap. But Mueller's report shows in excruciating detail the moral culpability that oozed out of the candidate and covered everybody beneath him. Pending the outcome of a couple of outstanding trials, the Russia investigation is no longer a question of law. It is a question of corruption, of ethics, of politics.

Well said.

OK, that's all for now. I'll try to post an entry tomorrow evening.


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