071 – … TO AVOID EVEN THE “APPEARANCE” OF A CONFLICT OF INTEREST (An Editorial)

That is a significant element of the reason for any official, and particularly for one in a position of authority such as a judge … or an Attorney General … to recuse themselves from involvement in any specific case which may come before them.

Just as Donald Trump has made Richard Nixon seem almost quaint in his own blatant disregard of the law, William Barr has now actually made Jeff Sessions seem almost saintly because of his decision to recuse himself from the Mueller investigation.  When Jeff Sessions has to be looked upon as a role model for doing the right thing, then you know that something really  STINKS TO HIGH HEAVEN !

Likewise, Barr has made the totally unqualified flunky Matthew Whitaker look good in comparison to himself because despite everything Whitaker was obviously put in that position to do, he was for some reason not able to put the brakes on the Mueller investigation.

So now Barr comes out and, in his summary and comments on Mueller’s report, provides a total green light for the most corrupt individual ever to hold public office, at any time, to claim total vindication.

With each passing day over the past three years, it has been understandable to question how much lower this country can sink.

Now we know.  This is the rock bottom.

 

In less than a month and a half since Barr was confirmed by the Republican Senate, the Mueller investigation has come to an end, and wonder of all wonders, the conclusions of the report represent a total whitewash of Trump and of his campaign.

Amazing.  Barr was able to do all that, and in just 48 hours.  It’s almost as if he was prepared to do it all along.  YA THINK ?

Looks like you finally got the Roy Cohn you have so longingly been seeking, Donny.

Just as Whittaker did before him, Barr auditioned for the job as Attorney General in June of 2018 with his 19 page memo (manifesto) explaining all his supposed reasons for believing that a President was immune to charges of Obstruction of Justice.

He expressly said in that memo that Mueller’s investigation was “fatally misconceived”.  THAT is the same person who just wrote the summary that now essentially tries to completely exonerate Trump.   As to more of Barr’s history, yes he is a former Attorney General.  But he is also the same man who famously and strongly advised Pappy Bush to pardon all of the folks involved in the Iran-Contra scandal.  That certainly does not speak well for a person’s ability to be an unbiased arbiter on Obstruction of Justice.

 

Here is a link to Barr’s memo from June 8, 2018.

https://int.nyt.com/data/documenthelper/549-june-2018-barr-memo-to-doj-mue/b4c05e39318dd2d136b3/optimized/full.pdf

I urge you to at least to scan through it, if not read it in its entirety, and then ask yourself the following …

“In what alternate universe can there be any doubt that the man who wrote that memo on Obstruction of Justice NOT recuse himself from being in a position to summarize the findings of the Mueller report?”

 

Now that the recusal bar has been set as low as humanly possible, what’s next?  I know.  How about the regents at the University of California – Fullerton asking Brett Kavanaugh to decide whether Dr. Christine Blasey Ford should receive tenure?

 

So where do we go now?

 

Unless and until Mueller’s complete report is released, and until Mueller himself is subpoenaed, if necessary, to testify in public to Congress,  Barr’s comments so far have not only irreparably removed any credibility from William Barr, but almost unbelievably, even Robert Mueller’s integrity can now been called into question.  In my wildest imagination, I never thought that I would ever think that, given what we have come to know about the man’s life history.

I really don’t give a damn about hearing William Barr testify in front of Congress.  What he says will have no more value than if Roger Stone was answering those same questions for him.

But Mueller is something else entirely.  We really need to hear in that man’s own words, and in public testimony before Congress, the answers to questions that I hardly think I am alone in having.

071 - TO AVOID EVEN THE APPEARANCE OF A CONFLICT OF INTEREST - questions   Questions like …

  • Do you agree with A.G. Barr’s summary of your 22 months of work?
  • Did you express any concerns to Barr which were not reflected in his summary which has the clear perception of trying to fully exonerate the President?
  • Did Attorney General Barr or then Acting Attorney General Whittaker, attempt to, in any way, impede or attempt to influence your decisions to proceed on any matters related to your investigation?
  • Did Attorney General Barr in any way attempt to influence your decision to bring this investigation to a close?
  • Why did you decide not to subpoena Donald Trump to testify before your Special Counsel investigation, and then to instead allow his lawyers to submit written answers only to a very limited set of questions?
  • Did you and, if so, why  did you conclude that Donald Trump Jr. was not guilty of lying to Congress in his testimony before them?
  • Have you specifically provided any information to Congress which they may be able to use in their ongoing investigations?
  • Why did you send Jerome Corsi a draft plea agreement in Nov 2018, which clearly outlined your belief that he lied to the Special Counsel’s investigation, and then apparently decide not to pursue it in any way?
    • Were you just trying to bluff him into accepting a plea agreement?

http://media1.s-nbcnews.com/i/today/z_creative/MUELLERDraftPleaAgreementCorsi11142018.pdf

  • Here are two facts which are not in question.

071 - TO AVOID EVEN THE APPEARANCE OF A CONFLICT OF INTEREST - Trump and Lester1:  The President told Lester Holt in the NBC interview that he fired James Comey because of the Russia investigation.

071 - TO AVOID EVEN THE APPEARANCE OF A CONFLICT OF INTEREST - Oval Office2:  The very next day after that interview was aired, in an Oval Office meeting with Russian officials Lavrov and Kislyak, Trump told them that “Comey was a real nut job” and that “I faced a great deal of pressure because of Russia.  That’s taken off.”

  • Based upon present law, no one correctly questions the right of a President to fire a Director of the FBI. However, in light of what the President clearly stated on those two occasions, and in the context of all the other things that the President has said and done since then to hinder and to defame your investigation, how did you conclude that it was not worth pursuing by Congress as even possible  Obstruction of Justice?
  • Without getting into the specifics, unless of course you wish to provide that information, to what other agencies, other than the Southern District of New York, have you referred matters for investigation and possible criminal prosecution?
  • Your investigation has established that Russian intelligence is responsible for leaking the stolen Democratic emails. It has also been established that the Russians received those emails from WikiLeaks.
    • Why then did you decide not to issue any type of indictment at all against WikiLeaks, or to even cite them in your report?
  • In multiple previous indictments, you made references to unnamed individuals who were involved, either knowingly or unknowingly, with the Russians during the course of their efforts to influence the result of the 2016 election.
    • Why then have there been no indictments issued to anyone at all regarding a possible conspiracy, knowing or unknowing, to work with the Russians?
  • In multiple previous indictments, there has been voluminous information redacted. The reason that has most often been given for those redactions is that they are necessary because of ongoing investigations.
    • Without getting into the specifics of the exact nature of these investigations, unless again you choose to disclose that information to us, are there any ongoing criminal investigations you are aware of that are either still being pursued by your office or which are now being pursued by other federal or state law enforcement authorities?
    • If so, to your knowledge, is the President of the United States either the subject or the target of any of those ongoing investigations?
    • Does the submission of your final report also mean the end of any ongoing investigations by the Office of the Special Counsel?
      • If so, will you share that information with Congress?
  • Regarding the prosecution of Paul Manafort …
    • Do you have any regrets at all with the way that investigation and prosecution was handled?
    • How is it possible that Paul Manafort was allowed to witness tamper while in federal custody?
    • How is it possible that Paul Manafort was allowed to remain in contact with the Trump team, apparently without your knowledge, during the entire period of his supposed cooperation with your investigation?
  • Regarding the prosecution of Michael Flynn …
    • Because of his supposed cooperation with your investigation, you recommended that Michael Flynn serve little or no jail time as a result of his guilty plea. It is difficult to tell what, if any, helpful information Michael Flynn may have provided to you in light of the lack of indictments which seem to have any direct involvement with or connection to Michael Flynn.
    • Of what specific value to you was Michael Flynn as a cooperating witness?
  • Regarding the prosecution of Roger Stone …
    • Now that your investigation has apparently ended, which legal authority will pursue the current indictments against Roger Stone?
    • Numerous members of Congress are quite convinced that Roger Stone and others lied to them during their testimony before Congress.
      • What was your specific reason not to indict Roger Stone for lying to Congress?
    • Given the amount of information that was seized from Roger Stone when he was taken into custody, how have you possibly had enough time to evaluate all of that information?
    • Without yet having been able to fully evaluate all of that information seized from Roger Stone, how can you be certain that information will not yet be uncovered that may implicate either WikiLeaks, the President, or other individuals involved in the Trump campaign in a conspiracy to work with WikiLeaks and/or the Russians?
  • Regarding the Hillary Clinton email investigation …
    • During your investigation, do you feel that Donald Trump and members of his campaign have been treated any differently than were Hillary Clinton and members of her campaign?

 

I am certainly no legal expert and yet I had very little trouble coming up with that most decidedly incomplete list of questions to ask Robert Mueller.   I am quite sure that if any of you reading this put your mind to it, you would likely have no problem in coming up with a few important additional questions that could be asked.

 

In fact, if you do have any additional suggestions for questions you would like to see Robert Mueller asked, I encourage you to please attach them in a comment to this editorial.

 

The Democratic Congress has not exactly demonstrated their collective ability (or willingness) to ask witnesses meaningful, insightful questions in the past.   It is almost due exclusively to the efforts of some freshmen Congresswomen that we have seen anything approaching serious inquiry.

  • Will Congress be able to ask important questions in any upcoming hearings?
  • Will Robert Mueller ever even appear in public testimony before Congress?

 

Attorney General Barr’s rushed, essentially unequivocal assessment that Mueller’s report completely exonerates the President and his campaign of any collusion/conspiracy, and which also exonerates the President for any possible Obstruction of Justice, is a complete, unmitigated farce and disgrace.

Donald Trump has sought to disparage, demean and to otherwise completely undermine the system of Justice in this country since the day he took office.

William Barr, Rod Rosenstein and possibly now even Robert Mueller as well, have clearly made the Justice Department complicit in those efforts.

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