Mueller: Barr Is A Dick Head (Okay, I May Be Paraphrasing)

Fasten your seatbelts. It’s gonna get bumpy:

The summary letter the Department sent to Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24 did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office’s work and conclusions,” Mueller wrote. “There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation. This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the Department appointed the Special Counsel: to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations.”

The letter made a key request: that Barr release the 448-page report’s introductions and executive summaries, and made some initial suggested redactions for doing so, according to Justice Department officials.

Justice Department officials said Tuesday they were taken aback by the tone of Mueller’s letter,

Oh, I’m just sure they were taken aback…that it leaked.  Shot across the bow.

ETA this tweet I posted down thread:


Cold Grey Pre-Dawn Open Thread: Maybe Vlad’s Saving the Big Reveal for October

Putin’s a traditionalist, after all. And let’s be honest, Trump is last cycle’s Big Disrupter, all the gilt has worn off his grift. Especially when there’s an up-and-coming new cult political team pushing some very foreign-interference-friendly projects

Late Night Open Thread: Russian Assets in Harness

This is, of course, potential serious spycraft. And yet, the jokes are irresistable (probably NSFW)…
Read more

Late Night Open Thread: Jared Kushner Is Not Very Bright

Two and a half million his old man paid to get Young Jared into Harvard, and the kid still can’t buy a clue!

Per NYMag:

Asked why the Trump campaign didn’t reject Russia’s attempts to swing the election toward the president, Kushner said, “The notion of what they were doing didn’t even register to us as being impactful. In the campaign we didn’t know that Russia was doing what it was doing.”

The idea that Russia’s election interference attempts could be reduced to “some Facebook ads” doesn’t comport with the Mueller report, the second sentence of which reads: “The Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion.”

The claim that the Trump campaign didn’t know what Russia was up to doesn’t fly either, especially coming from Kushner, who was one of several campaign members to attend a 2016 Trump Tower meeting that promised dirt on Hillary Clinton as a “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

Speaking of restoring felons’ voting rights…

Hillary Clinton: It’s the National Security Threat, Stupid

Clinton published a must-read op-ed in Le Post this afternoon. Here are a couple of excerpts:

Our election was corrupted, our democracy assaulted, our sovereignty and security violated. This is the definitive conclusion of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report. It documents a serious crime against the American people.

The debate about how to respond to Russia’s “sweeping and systemic” attack — and how to hold President Trump accountable for obstructing the investigation and possibly breaking the law — has been reduced to a false choice: immediate impeachment or nothing. History suggests there’s a better way to think about the choices ahead.

Obviously, this is personal for me, and some may say that I’m not the right messenger. But my perspective is not just that of a former candidate and target of the Russian plot. I am also a former senator and secretary of state who served during much of Vladi­mir Putin’s ascent, sat across the table from him and knows firsthand that he seeks to weaken our country.

Clinton urges Congress to hold hearings on the Mueller report findings, not jump straight into holding a vote on impeachment, citing the Watergate inquiry as a model. She notes that during Watergate, a Senate select committee held hearings that added to the facts of the case before an impeachment inquiry began and suggests that a committee could do something similar now by calling Mueller and McGahn to testify. Clinton doesn’t spell this out, exactly, but this would all have to be on the House side since the Republican-controlled Senate has demonstrated that it will do nothing.

Clinton calls out Trump in deservedly savage terms:

We have to get this right. The Mueller report isn’t just a reckoning about our recent history; it’s a warning about the future. Unless checked, the Russians will interfere again in 2020, and possibly other adversaries, such as China or North Korea, will as well. This is an urgent threat. Nobody but Americans should be able to decide America’s future. And, unless he’s held accountable, the president may show even more disregard for the laws of the land and the obligations of his office. He will likely redouble his efforts to advance Putin’s agenda, including rolling back sanctions, weakening NATO and undermining the European Union.

Clinton emphasizes a key point that Trump and the Republicans are determined to ignore: the Mueller report isn’t only or even primarily about Trump. It’s about an attack on our democracy by a hostile foreign power, and the report establishes that the attack happened unequivocally. That requires action. By making it solely about Trump and crowing about his supposed “exoneration,” Trump and the Republicans are derelict in their duty to protect the country.

Clinton is right, of course. But given that just today Trump signaled refusal to cooperate with any oversight at all because NO COLLUSION HOAX WITCH HUNT I WON, with the full support of his Republican toadies in Congress, impeachment might truly be the only way forward. Greg Sargent explains, outlining how stonewalling on requests for tax returns, urging former and current administration officials to disregard subpoenas and requests for committee appearances, etc., might force Democrats to use an impeachment inquiry to get anywhere at all:

Trump, in a new interview with The Post, just made it overwhelmingly clear that he will henceforth treat the House and its reasonable oversight efforts as fundamentally illegitimate.

“There is no reason to go any further, and especially in Congress where it’s very partisan — obviously very partisan,” Trump said, referring to the latest round of oversight requests House Democrats have made…

Perhaps Trump views an impeachment inquiry as a less bad outcome than releasing his tax returns. Or perhaps he hopes to run out the clock, gambling that Democrats won’t have the guts to pull the trigger.

If so, that creates a torturous dilemma. Democrats themselves say the full truth must be pursued, for the sake of the country. But if Trump blocks them from doing that, it would seem to force their hand and require an impeachment inquiry.

Clinton’s op-ed is a timely reminder that the stakes are much higher than the orange fart cloud’s presidency. Perhaps the House Democrats’ first move should be to get Mueller’s testimony about the true purpose of the report and underscore the national security implications, then proceed from there within that framing, explicitly pursuing impeachment if that’s the only way to get at the facts.

The op-ed also brushes back the notion voiced by some Democrats that we should close the book on the Mueller report and focus on removing Trump via the ballot box in 2020. What ballot box, if Putin or someone else decides to diddle our election again? Anyone who urges Democrats to move on has lost the plot — it’s not only about Trump, though holding a lawless president accountable is a Congressional duty; it’s the national security threat, stupid.