The Mueller Report Redactions and the Claims about “Collusion”

On Volume II page 121 of the Mueller Report, a partial transcript of the call Trump’s lawyer (WaPo says this is John Dowd) placed to Mike Flynn’s lawyer on November 22, 2017 appears, along with even more damning details about a follow-up call from the following day.

In late November 2017, Flynn began to cooperate with this Office. On November 22, 2017, Flynn withdrew from a joint defense agreement he had with the President.833 Flynn’s counsel told the President’s personal counsel and counsel for the White House that Flynn could no longer have confidential communications with the White House or the President.834 Later that night, the President’s personal counsel left a voicemail for Flynn’s counsel that said:

I understand your situation, but let me see if I can’t state it in starker terms. . . . [I]t wouldn’t surprise me if you’ve gone on to make a deal with … the government. … [I]f . .. there’s information that implicates the President, then we’ve got a national security issue, . . . so, you know, . . . we need some kind of heads up. Um, just for the sake of protecting all our interests ifwe can …. [R]emember what we’ve always said about the ‘ President and his feelings toward Flynn and, that still remains …. 835

On November 23, 2017, Flynn’s attorneys returned the call from the President’s personal counsel to acknowledge receipt of the voicemail.836 Flynn ‘s attorneys reiterated that they were no longer in a position to share information under any sort of privilege.837 According to Flynn’s attorneys, the President’s personal counsel was indignant and vocal in his disagreement.838 The President’s personal counsel said that he interpreted what they said to him as a reflection of Flynn’s hostility towards the President and that he planned to inform his client of that interpretation.839 Flynn’s attorneys understood that statement to be an attempt to make them reconsider their position because the President’s personal counsel believed that Flynn would be disturbed to know that such a message would be conveyed to the President.840

This is, of course, the call referenced in Flynn’s less redacted cooperation addendum released last week. A whole slew of reporters who have claimed to have read the Mueller Report over the last month claimed that this passage had been redacted in the report, which is something that Quinta Jurecic and I had a bit of a laugh about on Chris Hayes’ show Friday night.

In fact, there’s likely to be very little of great interest submitted when the government complies with Judge Emmet Sullivan’s order to submit an unclassified version of the Flynn passages of the report by May 31.

The revelation in Flynn’s cooperation addendum that he provided information on close-hold discussions about WikiLeaks means some of those conversations may be unsealed in that production. But aside from that, this redaction on Volume I page 183 — footnoting a discussion of the consideration of whether Flynn was a foreign agent and probably discussing an ongoing counterintelligence investigation into Russians, not Flynn — is the one of the only Flynn-related passages that might be of any interest that is not otherwise grand jury material.

With just a few notable exceptions, the redactions aren’t that nefarious.

Using Grand Jury redactions to protect the President from political pressure

I’ve noted two exceptions to that. One is the way DOJ used grand jury redactions to hide the details of how both Donald Trumps refused to testify (even while Jr continues to be willing to testify before congressional committees that don’t have all the evidence against him).

There are two redactions hiding details of what happened when Jr was subpoenaed.

Volume I page 117 on the June 9 meeting:

Volume II page 105 on President Trump’s involvement in writing the June 9 statement.

And there are two redactions hiding the discussion of subpoenaing Trump.

Volume II page 12 introducing the obstruction of justice analysis.

Appendix C introducing Trump’s non-responsive answers.

These redactions are all ones that Congress should ask more about. If Don Jr told Mueller he would invoke the Fifth, we deserve to know that (particularly given his willingness to appear with less informed committees). More importantly, the role of Trump’s refusal to answer questions (as well as any concerns he had about Don Jr’s jeopardy) are necessary parts to any discussion of obstruction of justice.

Plus, the President of the United States should not be able to hide his unwillingness to cooperate with an investigation into his own wrong-doing by claiming it’s grand jury material.

The use of “Personal Privacy” to hide central players

In his description of the four types of redactions in the report, Bill Barr described the fourth — “personal privacy” — as relating to “peripheral third parties.”

As I explained in my letter of April 18, 2019, the redactions in the public report fall into four categories: (1) grand-jury information, the disclosure of which is prohibited by Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e); (2) investigative techniques, which reflect material identified by the intelligence and law enforcement communities as potentially compromising sensitive sources, methods, or techniques, as well as information that could harm ongoing intelligence or law enforcement activities; (3) information that, if released, could harm ongoing law enforcement matters, including charged cases where court rules and orders bar public disclosure by the parties of case information; and (4) information that would unduly infringe upon the personal privacy and reputational interests of peripheral third parties, which includes deliberation about decisions not to recommend prosecution of such parties.

Some of the PP redactions do pertain to genuinely peripheral players.

For example, sometimes they hide the random people with whom Russian trolls communicated.

In others, they hide the names of other victims of GRU hacking (including Colin Powell, who is not a private person but is peripheral to this discussion).

In other places, they hide the names of genuinely unrelated people or businesses.

But as I have noted, Mueller treated this category as a declinations decision, not a privacy one.

I previously sent you a letter dated March 25, 2019, that enclosed the introduction and executive summary for each volume of the Special Counsel’s report marked with redactions to remove any information that potentially could be protected by Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e); that concerned declination decisions; or that related to a charged case. [my emphasis]

Among the people Barr claims are “peripheral” players who have been investigated but not charged are Don Jr in the second redaction in this passage:

Carter Page on page 183.

And KT McFarland and several other key players on page 199.

Don’t get me wrong: I think these redactions are absolutely proper. The description of them, however, is not. Barr is pretending these people are “peripheral” to avoid having to admit, “in addition to Trump’s Campaign Manager, Deputy Campaign Manager, Personal Lawyer, Life-Long Rat-Fucker, National Security Advisor, and Foreign Policy Advisor who have either pled guilty to, been found by a judge to have, or been indicted for lying in an official proceeding, Mueller seriously considered charging at least three other Trump associates with lying.”

The expansive redactions pertaining to WikiLeaks and Roger Stone

So aside from the grand jury redactions hiding how Trump Sr and Jr dodged testifying and the way Barr describes the declinations redactions, I think the redactions are generally pretty judicious. I’m less certain, though, about the redactions pertaining to Roger Stone, the bulk of which appear in Volume I pages 51 to 59, 188 to 191, 196 to 197. and Volume II, pages 17 to 18 and 128 to 130.

There are two reasons to redact this information: most importantly, to comply with the gag order imposed by Amy Berman Jackson that prohibits lawyers on either side from making statements that “pose a substantial likelihood of material prejudice” to Stone’s case, or to hide information from Stone that he doesn’t otherwise know.

Except that we know he has already gotten the latter category of information in discovery. In a filing opposing Stone’s bid to get an unredacted copy of the Mueller Report, prosecutors noted that “disclosable information that may have been redacted from the public version of the Special Counsel’s report to the Attorney General is already being provided to the defendant in discovery.”

And it seems highly likely that some of the information in these redacted passages is stuff that would only prejudice Stone’s case by raising the import of it to Trump.

Consider, for starters, that (unless I’m mistaken) not a word from Stone’s indictment appears in this Report. For example, the descriptions of how Stone asked Jerome Corsi to ask Ted Malloch to find out what WikiLeaks had coming and a follow-up email reflecting knowledge that John Podesta would be targeted must be reflected on pages 55 and 56.

On or about July 25, 2016, STONE sent an email to Person 1 with the subject line, “Get to [the head of Organization 1].” The body of the message read, “Get to [the head of Organization 1] [a]t Ecuadorian Embassy in London and get the pending [Organization 1] emails . . . they deal with Foundation, allegedly.” On or about the same day, Person 1 forwarded STONE’s email to an associate who lived in the United Kingdom and was a supporter of the Trump Campaign.

On or about July 31, 2016, STONE emailed Person 1 with the subject line, “Call me MON.” The body of the email read in part that Person 1’s associate in the United Kingdom “should see [the head of Organization 1].”

On or about August 2, 2016, Person 1 emailed STONE. Person 1 wrote that he was currently in Europe and planned to return in or around mid-August. Person 1 stated in part, “Word is friend in embassy plans 2 more dumps. One shortly after I’m back. 2nd in Oct. Impact planned to be very damaging.” The phrase “friend in embassy” referred to the head of Organization 1. Person 1 added in the same email, “Time to let more than [the Clinton Campaign chairman] to be exposed as in bed wenemy if they are not ready to drop HRC. That appears to be the game hackers are now about. Would not hurt to start suggesting HRC old, memory bad, has stroke – neither he nor she well. I expect that much of next dump focus, setting stage for Foundation debacle.”

Page 56 actually includes new proof that Stone and Corsi had confirmed that Podesta’s emails were coming. Malloch describes Corsi telling him about Podesta’s emails, not vice versa.

Malloch stated to investigators that beginnin in or about Au ust 2016, he and Corsi had multiple Face Time discussions about WikiLeaks [redacted] had made a connection to Assange and that the hacked emails of John Podesta would be released prior to Election Day and would be helpful to the Trump Campaign. In one conversation in or around August or September 2016, Corsi told Malloch that the release of the Podesta emails was coming, after which “we” were going to be in the driver’s seat.221

Likewise, the indictment makes it clear that Stone was talking to the campaign about WikiLeaks releases.

ROGER JASON STONE, JR. was a political consultant who worked for decades in U.S. politics and on U.S. political campaigns. STONE was an official on the U.S. presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump (“Trump Campaign”) until in or around August 2015, and maintained regular contact with and publicly supported the Trump Campaign through the 2016 election.

During the summer of 2016, STONE spoke to senior Trump Campaign officials about Organization 1 and information it might have had that would be damaging to the Clinton Campaign. STONE was contacted by senior Trump Campaign officials to inquire about future releases by Organization 1.


By in or around June and July 2016, STONE informed senior Trump Campaign officials that he had information indicating Organization 1 had documents whose release would be damaging to the Clinton Campaign. The head of Organization 1 was located at all relevant times at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, United Kingdom.

After the July 22, 2016 release of stolen DNC emails by Organization 1, a senior Trump Campaign official was directed to contact STONE about any additional releases and what other damaging information Organization 1 had regarding the Clinton Campaign. STONE thereafter told the Trump Campaign about potential future releases of damaging material by Organization 1.

We see outlines of precisely who those references are to in the report.

Most notably, after describing Trump’s enthusiasm after Stone told Trump while Michael Cohen was listening on the speaker phone that the DNC emails would drop in a few days just before they did (which Cohen described in his testimony to Oversight), these two paragraphs, appear to to describe Manafort and Trump’s enthusiasm after the DNC release, with Manafort telling both Stone directly and Gates that he wanted to be kept informed via Stone of what was coming. And having gotten some indication of what was coming, the campaign started making plans to optimize those releases. It appears that Gates, like Cohen before him, witnessed a Stone-Trump call where the rat-fucker told the candidate what was coming.

These pages also have more background about how important all this was to Trump, who was frustrated that Hillary’s deleted emails hadn’t been found (something also told, in Flynn’s voice, in the Peter Smith section).

The references to Stone in these passages may well be appropriately redacted. But the descriptions of conversations between Trump and Manafort or Gates should not impact Stone’s defense — unless you want to argue that Trump’s personal involvement in Stone’s rat-fucking might change the deliberations for a jury. They don’t serve to hide Stone’s actions. They hide Trump’s enthusiasm for using materials stolen by Russia to win.

This affects the “collusion” discussion

All of this has particular import given the basis on which Attorney General Bill Barr tried to exonerate the President for obstruction. In Barr’s 4-page summary of the report, Barr emphasized that Trump did not conspire or coordinate with the Russian government, even going so far as to suggest that no Trump associate “conspired or coordinated with the Russian government on these efforts,” efforts which in context include, “publicly disseminat[ing hacked] materials through various intermediaries, including WikiLeaks.”

As the report states: “[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”


In assessing potential conspiracy charges, the Special Counsel also considered whether members of the Trump campaign “coordinated” with Russian election interference activities. The Special Counsel defined “coordinated” as an “agreement–tacit or express–between the Trump Campaign and the Russian government on election interference.”


The second element involved the Russian government’s efforts to conduct computer hacking operations designed to gather and disseminate information to influence the election. The Special Counsel found that Russian government actors successfully hacked into computers and obtained emails from persons affiliated with the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party organizations, and publicly disseminated those materials through various intermediaries, including WikiLeaks. Based on these activities, the Special Counsel brought criminal charges against a number of Russian military officers for conspiring to hack into computers in the United States for purposes of influencing the election. But as noted above, the Special Counsel did not find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in these efforts, despite multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign.

Of course, that leaves off coordinating with WikiLeaks because WikiLeaks is not the Russian government, even while in context it would be included.

Similarly, in Barr’s “no collusion” press conference, he again emphasized that Trump’s people were not involved in the hacking. Then he made a remarkable rhetorical move [I’ve numbered the key sentences].

But again, the Special Counsel’s report did not find any evidence that members of the Trump campaign or anyone associated with the campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its hacking operations.  In other words, there was no evidence of Trump campaign “collusion” with the Russian government’s hacking.

The Special Counsel’s investigation also examined Russian efforts to publish stolen emails and documents on the internet.  The Special Counsel found that, after the GRU disseminated some of the stolen materials through its own controlled entities, DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0, the GRU transferred some of the stolen materials to Wikileaks for publication.  Wikileaks then made a series of document dumps.  [1] The Special Counsel also investigated whether any member or affiliate of the Trump campaign encouraged or otherwise played a role in these dissemination efforts.  [2] Under applicable law, publication of these types of materials would not be criminal unless the publisher also participated in the underlying hacking conspiracy.  [3] Here too, the Special Counsel’s report did not find that any person associated with the Trump campaign illegally participated in the dissemination of the materials.

Given what we know to be in the report, those three sentences look like this:

  1. Mueller asked, did any Trump affiliate encourage or otherwise play a role in WikiLeaks’ dissemination?
  2. By the way, if a Trump affiliate had played a role in the dissemination it wouldn’t be illegal unless the Trump affiliate had also helped Russia do the hacking.
  3. After finding that a Trump affiliate had played a role in the dissemination, Mueller then determined that that role was not illegal.

Again, “collusion” is not a legal term. It describes coordination — legal or not — in sordid activities. What these three sentences would say, if Barr had been honest, is that Mueller did find coordination, but because Stone (via yet unidentified means) coordinated with WikiLeaks, not Russia itself, Mueller didn’t find that the coordination was illegal.

Note that even Bill Barr, who’s a pretty shameless hack, still qualified the “no collusion” judgment on which he presents his obstruction analysis as pertaining to Russia.

After finding no underlying collusion with Russia, the Special Counsel’s report goes on to consider whether certain actions of the President could amount to obstruction of the Special Counsel’s investigation.  As I addressed in my March 24th letter, the Special Counsel did not make a traditional prosecutorial judgment regarding this allegation.  Instead, the report recounts ten episodes involving the President and discusses potential legal theories for connecting these actions to elements of an obstruction offense.

After carefully reviewing the facts and legal theories outlined in the report, and in consultation with the Office of Legal Counsel and other Department lawyers, the Deputy Attorney General and I concluded that the evidence developed by the Special Counsel is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.

Barr bases his obstruction analysis on “collusion,” not conspiracy. But his 1-2-3 gimmick above lays out that non-criminal “collusion” did happen, only that it happened with WikiLeaks.

For his part, Mueller points to those same passages that get redacted in the first discussion in his background discussion for the obstruction volume.

Importantly, the redaction in this footnote makes it clear that the campaign was relying on what they were learning from Stone to plan their communication strategy for upcoming releases.

Remember, in his charging decisions on campaign finance, Mueller didn’t actually say no crime had been committed. He said the evidence was not sufficient to obtain and sustain a criminal conviction.

The Office similarly determined that the contacts between Campaign officials and Russia-linked individuals either did not involve the commission of a federal crime or, in the case of campaign-finance offenses, that our evidence was not sufficient to obtain and sustain a criminal conviction.

There are multiple places where the report makes it clear that, in addition to the June 9 meeting, the campaign finance crimes reviewed included the WikiLeaks releases, including the Table of Contents.

Indeed, the paragraph describing why Trump may have wanted to fire Jim Comey focuses closely on the campaign’s response to the WikiLeaks releases.

In addition, the President had a motive to put the FBI’s Russia investigation behind him. The evidence does not establish that the termination of Comey was designed to cover up a conspiracy between the Trump Campaign and Russia: As described in Volume I, the evidence uncovered in the investigation did not establish that the President or those close to him were involved in the charged Russian computer-hacking or active-measure conspiracies, or that the President otherwise had an unlawful relationship with any Russian official. But the evidence does indicate that a thorough FBI investigation would uncover facts about the campaign and the President personally that the President could have understood to be crimes or that would give rise to personal and political concerns. Although the President publicly stated during and after the election that he had no connection to Russia, the Trump Organization, through Michael Cohen, was pursuing the proposed Trump Tower Moscow project through June 2016 and candidate Trump was repeatedly briefed on the progress of those efforts.498 In addition, some witnesses said that Trump was aware that [redacted] at a time when public reports stated that Russian intelligence officials were behind the hacks, and that Trump privately sought information about future WikiLeaks releases.499 More broadly, multiple witnesses described the President’s preoccupation with press coverage of the Russia investigation and his persistent concern that it raised questions about the legitimacy of his election.500 [my emphasis]

And a more general discussion of Trump’s motives later in the obstruction discussion raises it — and the possibility that it would be judged to be criminal — explicitly.

In this investigation, the evidence does not establish that the President was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference. But the evidence does point to a range of other possible personal motives animating the President’s conduct. These include concerns that continued investigation would call into question the legitimacy of his election and potential uncertainty about whether certain events–such as advance notice of WikiLeaks’s release of hacked information or the June 9, 2016 meeting between senior campaign officials and Russians–could be seen as criminal activity by the President, his campaign, or his family. [my emphasis]

The most damning revelations about the President’s own actions during the campaign in this report pertain to his exploitation of the WikiLeaks releases. They go directly to the question of criminal liability (which Mueller says he couldn’t charge for evidentiary reasons, not because he didn’t think it was a crime), and if you want to talk “collusion” as opposed to “conspiracy” — as the President does — it goes to “collusion.”

And in the guise of protecting Roger Stone’s right to a fair trial — and possibly with an eye towards preserving the President’s ability to pardon Stone before a trial reveals even more of these details — DOJ used a heavy hand on the redactions pertaining to Trump’s own personal involvement in exploiting the benefit his campaign received from WikiLeaks releasing emails that Russia stole from Hillary. These details are the bulk of what DOJ is hiding by offering just a small number of members of Congress to review the less-redacted version of the report.

Perhaps Mueller agreed with all these redactions; it’s a question I hope he gets asked when he finally testifies. But the redactions serve to hide what was clearly a close call on prosecution and one of the most damning explanations for Trump’s obstruction, an explanation that involved his own actions on the campaign.

As I disclosed last July, I provided information to the FBI on issues related to the Mueller investigation, so I’m going to include disclosure statements on Mueller investigation posts from here on out. I will include the disclosure whether or not the stuff I shared with the FBI pertains to the subject of the post. 

90 replies
    • Areader2019 says:

      Great analysis.

      I was particularly steamed by the redaction of Jr. as a “Private Person” that Marcy pointed out was made clear from the two characters blacked out at the start of a line.

      Nobody who sits on the curvy couch at Fox and Friends is a private person.

  1. JamesJoyce says:

    “Whenever men resort to law or sword imposing systems of beliefs on others, it will not withstand the truth or the light.”

    -John Leland-

    The Baptist Minister detested discrimination in all its forms.

    Ms. Wheeler should be work beside counsel hired by the House in future.

    Politicians have their own self interests and agendas.

    Demorats need Repugs as Repugs needs Demorats. Both need votes…

    National Security was never intended to hide illegalities.

    Grand Jury Secrecy is to discern crime, not hide crime.

    Since when does the government give a rat’s ass about peoples’ reputations?

    Ask Al Capone?

    All redactions assumed proper still are insufficient to preclude the establishment of “probable cause” to an objective reader.

    Juries, Judges or Senate determines “beyond a reasonable doubt,” not the AG?

    Khashoggi was redacted, on purpose.

    Best thing to do is to start a “Persian Gulf Incident.”

    Then all current concerns go away, as the beat goes on!

    Blow dust off of old playbooks and avoid obstructions when skiing the fall line.

    Deja Vu

  2. Desider says:

    While some people have blasted Mueller for being too timid, I’d guess if he’d gone in any harder, Trump & gang would’ve played the no-cooperation stonewall much earlier than they’re doing now – and it would’ve been much harder to override without the large detailed Mueller Report of wrongdoing we have now to back it up. Better a half a loaf than a wish sandwich.
    Trump kept declaring his red line of self & family, and Mueller largely gave him that – and to some degree lulled Trump (& Rosenstein, I suppose) into a “it’s not so bad” acceptance, perhaps thinking he could pardon his way out using perjury and withheld testimony/evidence, plus have his administration & party cronies (sworn to loyalty) bury anything too negative. After doing so much to stack the courts, it must be #Sad that he hasn’t been able to get his way by throwing a tantrump. Today’s court defeat seems like a pretty big deal, as well as Republican Amash breaking ranks to call for impeachment hearings. Imagine Don Jr, McGahn and Mueller testifying will also break things open a bit as well, even before getting to official impeachment hearings that some are so antsy for. (as for me, I think it’s better to put off official impeachment talk until the visuals/evidence are overwhelming for the general apathetic or confused or partisan public – better to let a Republican make the case for impeachment than a Democrat in any case – Nixon goes to China moments are priceless).

    • Gee says:

      Really??? Ugh. I have to disagree. If they stonewalled day 1, we could have gone straight to subpoenas two years ago. He’s stacked the courts and the DOJ and he so far IS getting his way. One lowly Republican deciding impeachment is a good idea at this point is almost meaningless. Jr is going to take the fifth or talk to people that dont know what he really did, McGahn and Mueller sure dont seem like they are even showing up, and Pelosi is doing everything she can to make sure none of the big Democratic players call for impeachment. Meanwhile, the public is already losing interest, the conventional wisdom is pushing Biden who will make sure Millennials and Gen z stay home, Trump is going full offensive on abortion, immigration, etc, to shore up the base, and is ready to start a war with Iran when that isn’t distraction enough. I’m sorry, but I cannot be optimistic seeing as it is now May 2019 and we are almost going backwards.

        • Bri2k says:

          From the article Geoff so kindly linked to:

          “During the Monday night leadership meeting, Pelosi spoke about how Democrats’ messaging isn’t breaking through because everyone is talking about corruption, Mueller’s report and impeachment. She bemoaned the fact that last week the investigations were making page one news while the House’s passage of the Equality Act — a bill aimed at ensuring that gay, lesbian and bisexual people are not discriminated against — was on “Page 26.”

          Glad to see Madame Speaker has her priorities straight. /s

          Criminey it’s not like you guys can’t do both. Besides, we all know this kind of legislation is DOA in the Senate, so it’s all just politicking for the next election.

          Madame Speaker needs to consider the damage she’s doing to her own caucus as well as the party rank-and-file by blocking impeachment inquiries.

          If the party I’ve loyally supported for over 30 years can’t perform their main constitutionally-mandated duty then what good are they?

          I’m going to call my congresscritter today and ask him to push back on this. We need to bring fire and fury against this mal-administration.

        • timbo says:

          Having almost finished reading all of Cohen’s testimony from Feb 28 (done) and March 6 (halfway through), I tend to agree. An impeachment inquiry needs to begin immediately two months ago.

        • dwfreeman says:

          Marcie asks two questions about Trump-related associates at the end of her report which I can answer positively with one name, Cambridge Analytica. CA, whose chief board member was Steve Bannon, Trump’s final campaign manager and messaging chief. At a certain point, CA asked Julian Assange about helping disseminate the WikiLeaks dirt on Clinton and the elusive missing emails, which it offered to organize for searchable access but got turned down. And CA also sought work with Lukoil, Russia’s no. 2 oil producer, subsequently sanctioned by the Obama White House, to demonstrate in 2014 how it could micro-target US voters, not US oil consumers who it might have legitimately sought to reach as part of their business interests in the US. The company never commissioned CA for anything more than a presentation of its work to show how it was possible to influence and manipulate large population segments to impact elections. At the time, the now-defunct CA had contracts with the US Defense Department and Britain. And then it worked in Nigeria and Malta to alter election outcomes. Its principal research came out of Cambridge University and was led by a Russian born professor who never disclosed a research policy connection with St. Petersburg University, Putin’s hometown, and the trolling farm location of the Internet Research Agency, the Bot center of Russian election propaganda using social media messaging to sow American voter discord and suppress the vote in the 2016 presidential election. The IRA got started well before Trump even announced his presidential bid.

          CA’s work which was enhanced by the private harvesting of millions of Facebook user accounts, incorporating stolen data for psychological warfare purposes (recognized and readily used for military application across the globe) was turned to benefit the Kremlin effort to elect Trump, that along with the GRU hack and leak operation of Democrat (and limited GOP party) servers to gain valuable oppo research information it sought to exchange, barter and lure Trump associates and affiliates in an all-out plan to help illegitimately elect Trump to obtain international sanctions relief. The Russians didn’t need a complete roadmap for the purpose, they just needed a little direction from CA to make their whole cyber campaign benefit their political interests and potentially put Trump in office.

          CA was also at the heart of the Brexit leave vote and the Russians helped manipulate that outocme. None of this happened in a vacuum. And you’ve got to ask yourself, how did the same players keep showing up in all these world-altering events? It wasn’t a coincidence.

        • Eureka says:

          You’re the only commenter I’ve happened to see mention Lukoil. Know what Lukoil has? A bunch of gas stations in PA* and elsewhere with the usual credit-card swipe terminals; also the usual storefront windows for displays. However, I don’t know any specifics about any franchisee-rules, if any.
          From Carole Cadwalladr and Emma Graham-Harrison:

          Alexander Nix, chief executive of Cambridge Analytica, emailed colleagues after initial contacts to say that Lukoil wanted a clearer explanation of “how our services are going to apply to the petroleum business”.

          “They understand behavioural micro-targeting in the context of elections (as per your excellent document/white paper) but they are failing to make the connection between voters and their consumers,” he wrote in an email seen by the Observer.

          Discussion of services offered by Cambridge Analytica was apparently going right to the top of Lukoil, even though its retail operations in America are a very minor corner of the oil and gas giant’s empire. Asking for a detailed presentation of Cambridge Analyticas’s work in July 2014, Nix told his colleague the document would be “shared with the CEO of the business”.

          Christopher Wylie, the whistleblower who has come forward to talk to the Observer, said it was never entirely clear what the Russian firm hoped to get from the operation.

          “Alexander Nix’s presentation didn’t make any sense to me,” said Wylie, who left Cambridge Analytica soon after the initial meetings. “If this was a commercial deal, why were they so interested in our political targeting?”
          (emphasis added)

          Cambridge Analytica: links to Moscow oil firm and St Petersburg university

          *PA and NJ got lots of (overtly) Lukoil-branded stations in the early-mid aughts. They own lots of stations under other brand names in more states (at least “thirteen” states, from what I’ve seen). See Lukoil, Mobil, and Getty Oil wikis, for example. It’s complicated. Putin came to NYC to open one in 2003– with Schumer present [] (the only cites I can find from time of event are at conservative or RWNJ sites, but Trump complained about this photo-op in 2017, see e.g. [] ).

        • Rayne says:

          Oh great. So Lukoil could have been doing data collection in certain states where they had gas stations…there’s no bottom to this.

        • Eureka says:

          Nothing like the grain of regular trips to the friendly neighborhood / travel-path (localized data) gas station, freshly painted red (as NYP link touts).

          CA (see Guardian) gave some explanation about Lukoil Turkey and loyalty cards; sounds like a disinfo-y mate to US and credit cards (info), if it’s even worthy of credence-parsing (and who knows, maybe they have loyalty cards in the US). Maybe related, dude I know had credit card number stolen twice (ca. same 2014 era cited above), and then-suspected source was getting gas there– bolstered by the type of charges made to the stolen numbers (which matched other known RU techniques).

          Sigh, as a separate matter, I suspect that other, large-scale ID theft events are also “active measures” and we will never know the bottom. Though we might get hints if we live past classification dates (and anyone’s left to know what to FOIA).

        • Rayne says:

          There are layers upon layers of active measures out there — I still wonder what will become/has been done with the Equifax data.

        • Ruthie says:

          True that, but on the other hand won’t it end up at the Supreme Court regardless? That’s where the rubber meets the road, and my gut churns when I think about it.

        • Rayne says:

          Probably — which is why I hope the hell somebody has been digging into Kavanaugh’s finances which remain unexplained to this day. We should already be insisting he recuse himself because he hasn’t been any more forthcoming than Trump has about his finances.

  3. Molly Pitcher says:

    OT, NPR is reporting that the House Intelligence Committee has just released 100’s of documents related to Cohen’s testimony about the Moscow deal. They say it implicates the president’s attorneys in pushing to change the testimony.

    • P J Evans says:

      Cohen’s Feb 2019 testimony is here and his March 2019 testimony is here. (Links are to PDF files.)

      Also, McGahn is saying that he’s going to defer to Tr*mp’s wishes and not answer the subpoena. I don’t think either Congress or the courts are going to agree.

        • timbo says:

          Yeah, I’m still digging my way through the March testimony. I mean, really, it’s apparent even after the Feb 28 testimony that an impeachment inquiry should have been begun… but then the DP was waiting for the Mueller report as some sort of way to avoid an impeachment inquiry? Oh, sorry, I mean Speaker Pelosi and her biggest supporters were hoping that the Mueller report would avoid an impeachmen… yeah, that doesn’t make any senses either, given the information the DP Leadership in the House already had… but, sigh, no, they want to not have to seize documents from the DoJ… actually, that’s probably going to have to happen too now… but, gee, who could have seen that… well, gosh, never mind I said anything at all!

  4. AitchD says:

    This week the other SCOTUS Trump appointee, Justice Gorsuch, like Justice Kavanaugh last week, voted with the four democracy preservationists. How about that.

    • fpo says:

      How ’bout the ‘And now, as a public service…’ intro from Hayes…isn’t that just the truth.

      Imagine if they dared devote an hour a day to such discussion, where public awareness and sentiment might be. And of course, Marcy killed it. Breath of fresh air, that was!

    • Eureka says:

      Ha- I didn’t even notice that Friday, but now that you mention it, I can “hear” it clear as day. George Carlin would be proud. Baby steps…

  5. x174 says:

    i particularly liked the salience of “the President of the United States should not be able to hide his unwillingness to cooperate with an investigation into his own wrong-doing by claiming it’s grand jury material,” and “The most damning revelations about the President’s own actions during the campaign in this report pertain to his exploitation of the WikiLeaks releases.”

    i also liked when you showed step-by-step how Barr managed to sidestep the Trumps’ collusion with wikileaks.

    many thanks for carefully reading these two volumes and de-ciphering some of their key redactions.

    • timbo says:

      And WikiLeaks itself still apparently have not been charged with a crime by that President’s own DoJ, although they have been going after Julian Assange suddenly with 17 new charges… but none for WikiLeaks itself… anyways, I’m sure there’s something ahead here that I need to read but I’m trying to work my way forward in time instead of salmoning it like I normally try to do at ew.n

  6. Bay State Librul says:

    Is the OLC (Office of Legal Counsel) an adjunct of the Constitution?
    I ask the legal world.
    Are lawyers manipulative?
    Abbe, Jay, etc are in my view “venomous snakes”.
    Have I gone to far?

  7. oldoilfieldhand says:

    Thank you again Ms Wheeler: Your analysis is a ray of sunshine in gray, swirling mists of systemic media collusion; veritable fingernails on the chalkboard of clarity in a cacophony of deliberately distracting, headline maneuvering gibberish. I look forward to discussions with my grandchildren, of how you stood, nearly alone, in the breach, during the actual making of history. They will think me a sage historian, but I will simply be quoting the esteemed potty-mouthed analytical historian of our time.
    We remain in your debt!

  8. harpie says:

    7:07 AM – 21 May 2019

    NEW: When prosecutors released parts of Michael Cohen’s search warrants, they continued to redact sections largely pertaining to campaign-finance crimes. They just asked to keep these sections secret.
    [From this filing:] “Relevant here, the Court authorized redaction of certain portions of the materials in order to protect an ongoing investigation”
    7:34 AM – 21 May 2019

    Update: Judge Pauley has ruled that SDNY can maintain the redactions in the Michael Cohen search warrant materials “in view of the ongoing aspects of the government’s investigation articulated in the government’s status report.”

    • harpie says:

      In this post:

      […] There are multiple places where the report makes it clear that, in addition to the June 9 meeting, the campaign finance crimes reviewed included the WikiLeaks releases, including the Table of Contents. […] The most damning revelations about the President’s own actions during the campaign in this report pertain to his exploitation of the WikiLeaks releases. They go directly to the question of criminal liability (which Mueller says he couldn’t charge for evidentiary reasons, not because he didn’t think it was a crime), and if you want to talk “collusion” as opposed to “conspiracy” — as the President does — it goes to “collusion.” […]

    • harpie says:

      3/9/16 [9:16 AM twitter time] WikiLeaks sent a tweet with a poll asking if they should add Hillary Clinton’s Goldman Sachs speeches to their ”Most Wanted” page for six figure rewards for materials. When the poll completed twenty four hours later, 93% of respondents said that WikiLeaks should offer a reward for the speeches.

      Emma Best: Technical report shows Russian hacking began hours after WikiLeaks mentioned a reward
      Do we know who offered to pay WL for this “six figure rewards for materials”?

      • bmaz says:

        That is not a good look if you want to claim you are a journalistic enterprise as opposed to a common malefactor.

        • harpie says:

          Yeah. As Ryan Goodman noted in March:
 11:39 AM – 15 Mar 2019

          Breaking: Federal court holds First Amendment does not protect Trump Campaign in alleged conspiracy with Russia-Wikileaks.
          Court holds that Supreme Court case (Bartnicki) does not apply for the reasons that Bob Bauer and I argued here: [11/2/18 link]
          Also, federal court’s reasoning that First Amendment does not protect Trump Campaign in alleged conspiracy with Wikileaks also closely tracks the reasoning of legendary First Amendment expert Floyd Abrams. [10/10/18 link]
          That said, the court does not reach whether a conspiracy existed. Judge Hudson states, “This Court…offers no assessment of the veracity of the factual assertions underlying Plaintiffs’ claims.”
          Document: #Cockrum et al vs. Trump Campaign US federal district court for the Eastern District of Virginia, March 15, 2019 (Judge Henry E. Hudson) [link]

          From the 3/15/19 ruling:

          […] Bartnicki is distinguishable from the immediate case in several respects. Here, unlike Bartnicki, the Campaign is alleged to have conspired with the Kremlin and WikiLeaks prior to the information being released and for its own benefit. […]
          Furthermore, the information at issue in Bartnicki pertained to a contemplated act of violence, clearly a matter of public concern. […]

        • harpie says:

          Goodman wrote in that November link:

          Despite the president’s signature hostility toward the press, the Trump campaign is strenuously trying to wrap itself and Wikileaks in the protective garb of the First Amendment in defending against a lawsuit involving the hacking and dissemination of Democratic National Committee emails in 2016. […]

        • timbo says:

          Oddly though, WikiLeaks hasn’t been charged yet… which raises at least one or more interesting questions…

    • harpie says:

      2/22/16 Stone and Corsi first meet

      2/29/16 Manafort reaches out to the Trump campaign an “offer that appealed to the candidate’s need for professional guidance, thirst for political payback — and parsimony.” That outreach included two memos passed to Trump by his friend, the businessman Tom Barrack [WaPo].
      “I really need to get to” trump, Manafort told an old friend, the real-estate magnate Tom Barrack, in the early months of 2016. Barrack, a confidante of Trump for some 40 years, had known Manafort even longer. When Manafort asked for Barrack’s help grabbing Trump’s attention, he readily supplied it. […] Barrack forwarded to Trump’s team a memo Manafort had written about why he was the ideal match for the ascendant candidate. Old colleagues describe Manafort as a master pitchman with a preternatural ability to read his audience. […] [The Atlantic]

      3/9/16 [9:16 AM twitter time] WikiLeaks sent a tweet with a poll asking if they should add Hillary Clinton’s Goldman Sachs speeches to their ”Most Wanted” page for six figure rewards for materials.

      3/16/16 First WikiLeaks drop (in reality, indexing of documents obtained via FOIA) [EW]

      3/29/16 Manafort hired to Trump campaign. He was joined by his longtime business partner, Rick Gates, who stayed on with the campaign after Manafort left.

  9. Bay State Librul says:

    TPM reports.

    “According to CNN and the Washington Post, Mueller is reluctant to publicly testify on his sweeping Russia probe and its findings. The special counsel reportedly fears that he’ll come off as political after conducting his two-year investigation behind the scenes.
    Mueller is hoping that any testimony that goes beyond the special counsel’s public report would happen in a private setting, according to the Post.
    Judiciary Committee chair Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) said last week that he expected the hearing to be delayed until June. Originally, the committee hoped to have a hearing with Mueller this week.”

    Comment: Fear? Fear? Fear?. If this story is true, my faith in Bob is rapidly diminishing.
    What the fuck – private setting – where in his own living room.
    Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!
    Everyone fears the Prez.

    • P J Evans says:

      I think he wants the committee to read the report first. And of course he’s afraid of Tr*mp, who is a sadistic vindictive POS. Even Mueller knows that his life can be turned into something from hell, with Tr*mp pushing it.

      • Bay State Librul says:


        I’m old myself, and he is 73. What can he possibly fear at this stage in your life?
        He is a Vietnam Vet. What could be possible worse than someone firing bullets at you.
        I’m not buying your excuse.

        • P J Evans says:

          Not an excuse, and I do NOT appreciate that remark at all – I thought better of you.
          And I’m not going to dis him because he’s also GOP, which a lot of otherwise-apparently-intelligent people are doing.
          Besides which, Tr*mp had people at his last “rally” booing Fox – he can get them to do a lot of damage.

        • Bay State Librul says:

          The remark is not against you.
          I’m just not buying his reluctance.
          The Nation is severely damaged already.
          I wish someone will tell me what Mueller’s game plan is.
          I’m totally baffled and bamboozled

        • bmaz says:

          Jesus. He is still at DOJ, so he kind of has to honor Trump and Barr’s commands. Try to see some of the nuance here as to relative power. The question is not that Mueller would like to stay at a distance, that is entirely reasonable. The question is whether the Dems will see fir to maximize their authority to attach Mueller and get his testimony. Taking you frustrations out on Mueller at this moment is dubious.

        • Bay State Librul says:

          I agree. But what if you are wrong and time is running out. If Hillary did what dickhead did, she would be impeached and removed from office by now. Dems need to grow some spine. You trust the law but Jay lied and Abbe lied and they are officers of the court. As I said, I’m ready to move to Toronto.

        • bmaz says:

          This exactly my point. Time is running out, and they do need to grow a spine. FWIW, I would not lump Sekulow in with Abbe Lowell. They are on completely different planes as attorneys.

        • Hops says:

          I think he doesn’t want to be forced to reveal things that really do need to remain secret for now. Sounds like he’d be willing to testify in a closed session.

          What would be interesting would be to ask publicly whether he agrees with redactions. He knows what’s redacted.

        • timbo says:

          Maybe, maybe not. He may just be being a good soldier and sticking with directives from DoJ, his employer. Yeah, if Congress wants to hear from him sooner, then they need to actually stop scratching [their heads] and get with an official impeachment inquiry.

    • Rayne says:

      Dude. Chill the fuck out. Use some of Marcy’s fine reading. This:

      The special counsel reportedly fears that he’ll come off as political…

      isn’t about Mueller worrying about his appearance, but that what he says in public will be used to further muddy public opinion while adding another layer of obstruction.

      Jesus, just look at your own overreaction as an example of what public opinion is capable of doing if he sticks his neck out in public. Now imagine what right-wing owned media will do to shape that opinion when we’re trying to get an impeachment inquiry off the ground.

      Go take a walk around the block, get some fresh air, and then rethink what Mueller may have been trying to do versus what TPM communicated through its own filter (and yes, every outlet has its own perspective which acts as a filter).

      • Bay State Librul says:

        Final comment:

        I don’t give a fuck what the right-wing media thinks or shapes, and I don’t think you should either.
        As I said we need a whistleblower, by the time we act, we could be at war with Iran. Never underestimate the evilness of this dictator.

        • vicks says:

          For what it is worth, Tillerson was seen slinking into a meeting with the leaders of the house foreign affairs committee this morning.

        • Rayne says:

          You should damned well give a fuck what the right-wing media says because they are the likely vector for violent triggers. Imagine all the goddamned Nazi gun nuts compelled to start shooting up because their favorite media told them their democracy was being stolen people who were attacking Trump. It’s already come damned close to mass murder a couple times (ex. Caesar Sayoc and his failed pipe bombs).

          You don’t want a war with Iran? Call your members of Congress and tell them that. Don’t lay that on Mueller’s shoulders if you haven’t called or asked other like-minded citizens in your state to do the same.

      • jayedcoins says:


        Far be it from me to pretend I know Mueller. But if you look at all the publicly available evidence of how he has comported himself through his entire DOJ/LE career, it seems really clear that this report fits his MO.

        Sorry for reading tea leaves, but it is really difficult not to conclude — based on the aforementioned factors, along with the content of the SCO report itself — that Mueller’s preferred result here would be for HJC to take the report seriously as an impeachment referral, and open proceedings. All the best signs we have read something like Mueller saying, “Here’s what we know, take it and do your jobs, this requires a political remedy which I cannot and will not provide.”

        • bmaz says:

          I think that is exactly right. I do think Mueller could have been more direct in saying that, but your synopsis looks exactly right to me.

        • timbo says:

          The way the report appears to be written, it certainly strongly suggests that this is the case.

  10. Hops says:

    I don’t think Dems have made it clear enough. The trouble really isn’t what Trump has done. Yes, much is illegal. The problem is what will he do because someone has leverage on him. The challenge should be to Trump: prove you’re not compromised; open it all up.

  11. Margo Schulter says:

    Please let me join bmaz and others in defending Robert Mueller. From what I’ve read in the Mueller Report itself and elsewhere, he’s acting out of his own view of the Constitution and legal propriety, however convenient or otherwise it may seem at a given moment from this or that political perspective.

    For example, in the “Introduction to Volume 2,” p. 1, he notes that beyond the OLC opinion, “we recognized that a criminal accusation against a sitting President would place burdens on the President’s capacity to govern and potentially preempt constitutional processes for addressing presidential misconduct.” In other words, even if the OLC opinion (in 1973 and 2000) against indicting a sitting President weren’t in place, Mueller himself takes the view that indictment would be inappropriate.

    At the same, his reference to “constitutional processes for addressing presidential misconduct,” coupled to his following detailed report in Volume 2 of various incidents of arguable obstruction of justice, including at least three or four where the evidence supports all the elements of the crime, leads to the obvious conclusion that this is an impeachment referral.

    As Mueller also points out, at p. 2, note 5, he concluded that he couldn’t properly avail himself of another recourse famously used by Leon Jaworski in 1974 in Nixon’s case: naming Trump as an unindicted conspirator. (As Marcy commented on the Cohen case with Trump’s payments of hush money to women alleging affairs with him, SDNY felt free to name Trump as directing the payments, effectively making him an unindicted conspirator.) We can agree or disagree, but Mueller cites _United States v. Briggs_ from 1975 as to why this practice is now frowned upon.

    In short, Mueller like Jaworski has shown integrity and diligence in marshalling the facts. Now the question is whether Congress, as it did in 1974, while meet its responsibilities.

  12. North Jersey John says:

    I am now wondering if Speaker Pelosi’s still very visible reluctance is a sort of virtue signaling to the reluctant members of her own caucus (hey – I also want to see more/not convinced we’re there yet)? I’ve read a lot of reports that if an impeachment vote were held today, it might not pass out of the House, due to a lack of support from 30ish members of her own caucus. So, what if the Speaker’s dilemma is how to keep the caucus from fracturing while creating space for the reluctant members to discover the need on their own timeline?

    One solution might be to take up the reluctant members own objections, then have her own leadership start to do the persuasion themselves. At the end of this process, she now agrees that the need to open an impeachment inquiry has been made manifest, and she has retained alignment with fellow Members who were reluctant. I have deep faith that Speaker Pelosi can count past 218 in order to unify the overwhelming majority of her caucus. Call me a deluded optimist, but this feels like a plausible process, that still brings the House to begin an inquiry before the August recess. And, the drumbeat of subpoenas keeps accelerating — now Hope Hicks and Anne Donaldson have been added — 2 central players in Vol II.

  13. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Pelosi needs to keep her coalition together. Blue Dog Democrats are essentially Republicans in sheeps’ clothing. Her party’s most fervent Wall Street supporters in both houses are pretty much the same thing. Neither are much in favor of holding the wealthy and powerful accountable.

    But the House’s authority for a long time to come depends on holding Trump to account. So, too, does it matter for the country. Part of that is that being seen to hold Trump to account or not will determine the Democrats’ fate at the polls in 2020. If they fail to gain the Senate or the White House, all bets are off.

      • P J Evans says:

        I’m wondering if she’s going for “make me do it”. (And, yeah, a lot of the Dems in the House are really not eager to impeach, even if they’ll admit it’s the only way out of this mess.)

        • Marinela says:

          Can it be that she is actually running the clock to get to impeachment proceedings really close to the election?
          So that Trump cannot claim on the campaign that Senate cleared him from impeachment.
          He will be in impeachment proceedings while voters go to the polls.

        • Rayne says:

          It’d look really bad on the 20 GOP senators up for re-election not to have done anything at all for their last four years in office. It’d be easier for the DNC to make the case they must be removed if any executive is to be held to account.

        • Marinela says:

          Good points.

          Just thinking now about this scenario.
          The House impeaches Trump, then Senate votes and he gets acquitted in the Senate, maybe close vote, maybe not. Not important.
          Then for the election, which is around the corner, this Senate vote I think would probably be a good motivator for electoral to show up to vote since voting Trump out of the office would be the last legal resort possible to get Trump out.
          And yes a lot of people show up and vote, but the election gets rigged, and there will be nobody left willing to investigate Trump now that he has even more power, and a second term. Trump survived…

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Frustrate the left in her coalition, that is, not the Schumer lookalikes.

        I tend to agree with bmaz. Pelosi is not asking those on her left to “make me do it.” Nor is she passively accepting their pressure. She seems to be actively frustrating it and accountability in general. A supposed lefty from San Francisco. Must be from the Transamerica neighborhood rather than the Haight.

        I can understand why she would disdain her young turks. But they are her party’s future and those who will get out the vote in 2020. Without them, she would not be Speaker now and won’t be again. The time is past where a leading Democrat could use the left for electoral success and then leave them at the altar, unloved and uwed. I think that’s the great fight going on under the table and inside the party in DC.

        • bmaz says:

          That last paragraph is sooo true. Pelosi is worried about the vote. But that old vote is not going to cut it in 2020. Dems will not win on the old paradigm. They need the young and minorities that feel sold out to date. 2018 was but a preview of the difference that could make.

          Pelosi is the smartest and most capable Dem congressional vote counter and tactician in memory. She is that good. But she is very wrong in this instance. Very wrong.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          I think Pelosi is a smart, gifted politician. I think she understands this dynamic but is following an opposite course for a reason, convinced that she’s doing the right thing. That’s what bothers me.

          If I thought she was doing this based on a misreading of her electorate, more facts and political pressure might move her to change tack. She doesn’t behave as if that’s the case. Persuading her to change becomes a tougher problem because she is keeping her reasons – as opposed to her public arguments – hidden.

          Were she doing this out of a mistaken belief that she is protecting an old guard and its wealthy patrons – in their view, the real Democratic Party – and keeping a fractious party a party rather than an outright coalition, I think she would be promoting her party’s demise, and along with it, the demise of the vast majority of Americans.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          My fear is that Pelosi is following the Obama-Geithner approach to the Wall Street Crisis: Upsetting hard fought relations of power and patronage – regardless of the damage those do and risks they represent – is seen as being more frightful and causing more chaos than bringing about abundantly necessary reforms.

          If that’s true, she might think about the many that harms as well as the few it protects. “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche” didn’t work out so well when the French tried it.

        • bmaz says:

          That may well be. But the many harms in this case include not just people, but the health and vibrancy of the Constitution itself. It is allowing the complete destruction of checks and balances and separation of powers. And, in the process, completely neutering the specifically designed remedy provided by the founders in the Constitution for defense thereof. She is effectively excising the impeachment remedy. If even just an inquiry cannot be initiated here, then there is no situation in which it ever could be.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Nancy Pelosi, mocking her party’s advocates for starting an impeachment inquiry []:

          “Our activists were so preoccupied with whether or not we could impeach,” she continued, “they didn’t stop to think if we should.”

          Bobby Kennedy, paraphrasing George Bernard Shaw, reverses the usual perspective to challenge political inertia and resistance to action:

          There are those that look at things they way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Top Democrats keep echoing Barack Obama, saying “impeachment will distract from their agenda.” It’s been their all-purpose put down for over a decade, but it begs the question, what agenda.

          There is no potential for bipartisanship here. How many footballs does Lucy McConnell need to yank away from the erstwhile efforts of Charlie Pelosi?

          There is no legislation top Democrats want and that mainstream Americans need that House Democrats will get past Donald Trump and a Republican-controlled GOP. The GOP will not allow the Dems a “victory,” even if they want it, too. Trump thinks that would look bad for him and McConnell thinks that would look bad for the GOP.

          More importantly, how is protecting the House’s authority from attacks by a wildly errant president and attorney general not part of their agenda? How is documenting the public record concerning the abundant evidence of apparent presidential wrongdoing not part of their agenda? The argument is obvious bullshit. So what’s their real problem?

        • timbo says:

          Corruption in the DP leadership itself. Ever wonder why the first thing Pelosi did in 2006 was take impeachment off the table? Many people have been wondering that for the past 13 years… why do you decide to not assert Congressional power to the detriment of the Republic itself? Got a good answer yet?

        • Eureka says:

          Well today a couple more HJC dems broke forward with what they and their constituents want. Seeing these felt like occasion for one bourbon, one scotch, one beer. In chronological order, THANK YOU Reps Scanlon and Dean:

          Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon:
          “No one is above law. It’s time to start an impeachment inquiry. Having the courage to think about the long-term consequences of this administration, including the foundation of our republic, should not be partisan. It is the courage that we as Americans must have, together. (image of two-page statement)”

          “Many of you probably have the same questions about #ImpeachmentInquiryNow as my son. I thought I’d share our text exchange. (image)”

          (@RepMGS also has great Mueller Report images/GIFs citing text, pp. numbers- click her photos & videos tab, back to May 16th when they read the MR into the record)

          Congresswoman Madeleine Dean:
          “Statement on Impeachment Inquiry THREAD: (1/5) Given countless opportunities to work with Congress — a co-equal branch of government responsible for oversight on behalf of the American people — to get to the truth.”

          “President Trump and his Administration have obstructed justice over and over again, leaving us no choice: we must open an impeachment inquiry into the President of the United States.”

          “The President’s outrageous disregard for the law — his cruel and constant corruption — cannot go answered. It will not go unanswered. The American people deserve the truth on the President’s ongoing obstruction of justice, corruption, and abuses of power.”

          “I take no pleasure in calling for this historic action, and yet I do so with an American sense of optimism — that our government of, by, and for the people is far stronger than a singularly amoral president.”

        • timbo says:

          And also, by extension, this is an attack on the Speakers own lack of leadership. There is something boiling here that is exhausting Pelosi’s options.

  14. Jenny says:

    A bit off topic, tonight PBS Frontline “Supreme Revenge” at 10/9 C.
    Here are two trailers:

    Inside the no-holds-barred war for control of the Supreme Court. From Brett Kavanaugh to Robert Bork, an investigation of how a 30-year-old grievance transformed the court and turned confirmations into bitter, partisan conflicts.

    • timbo says:

      The nomination of Bork was an insult to the Congress and the Republic. Hopefully Kavanaugh actually being appointed doesn’t end up being worse… it certainly is a symptom though of a system that seeks to undermine the Congress and give power to whomever controls the Executive.

      Go back and look at CJ Roberts confirmation hearing video and see how uneasy he became when the Federalist Society was brought up during questioning from DP senators. Then look at the GWB and DJT DoJ and White House counsels, etc, etc. The Federalist Society is not interested in giving Congress back any power. Interestingly, Robert’s appears to be aware of this…

  15. vicks says:

    Perhaps there may not be much of interest in unveiling what is behind the redacted portions regarding Flynn in the Mueller report but what about “transcripts of any other recordings of Mr. Flynn” that Sullivan is also requesting?
    (Cut and paste from above)
    May 16, 2019
    MINUTE ORDER as to MICHAEL T. FLYNN. The government is hereby ORDERED to file on the public docket in this case the transcript of the “voicemail recording” referenced in the 75 Addendum to Government’s Memorandum in Aid of Sentencing and the transcripts of any other audio recordings of Mr. Flynn, including, but not limited to, audio recordings of Mr. Flynn’s conversations with Russian officials, by no later than May 31, 2019. It is FURTHER ORDERED that the government shall submit to Chambers audio versions of the recordings on a DVD by no later than May 31, 2019. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on 5/16/2019. (lcegs3)
    If Flynn was under surveillance prior to the transition, the recording of Flynn and Kislyak that Mueller used for Flynn’s indictment was probably not the result of a “one and done” operation and it seems logical to consider the possibility of more recordings
    Another example that comes to mind from Flynn’s charging documents;
    “a very senior member of the Presidential Transition Team directed FLYNN to contact officials from foreign governments, including Russia, to learn where each government stood on the resolution and to influence those governments to delay the vote or defeat the resolution.” (The resolution was one submitted by Egypt regarding Israeli settlements.) Correct me if I am wrong but wouldn’t these people all qualify as “agents of a foreign power” and fair game to wire tap?
    If Flynn was going down the list making his calls as directed and there is a recording with some foreign leader telling Flynn what his vote will cost isn’t what Judge Sullivan doing dangerous?
    Again I have no proof there are more recording just pointing out that it is reasonable to believe that there very well could be.
    I also understand that transcripts will not be turned over if they reveal sources and methods or if there is continued work being done, but what I don’t know is how that process works. Are there ways it can be done without drawing attention or giving clues to any counterintelligence investigation?

  16. Bay State Librul says:


    I have chilled out (back from 3 mile jog).
    My wife believes I’m suffering from Bruins Withdrawal Syndrome (BWS) which should be cured by Monday.
    Re:You don’t want a war with Iran? Call your members of Congress and tell them that. Don’t lay that on Mueller’s shoulders if you haven’t called or asked other like-minded citizens in your state to do the same
    FYI — No need to call my members from Massachusetts. Luckily, all nine reps and 2 senators were the blue. Only Lynchie from Southie would be hesitant. I would not blame the war on Bob. As I said, he needs to march into the camera and lights to ignite the world on the corrosive corruption of the Con Man.

    • Rayne says:

      You still need to call because they count the calls. Imagine the kind of horsetrading that will go on to wrangle support for a narrow AUMF which we know will be wrenched open in the future. Even Democrats are vulnerable to that if they haven’t heard enough dissent from their constituents.

      And I know it matters because I’ve been one of the few phone calls against an issue while all the conservatives in my district/state have been burning up the phones. It’s not just that you’re represented by Dems but that there are still conservatives+hawks who are making calls in support of war.

  17. Voxxy says:

    First off, I just want to suck up a little here so I don’t get too scolded when I ask a question that is likely not directly relevant or related to the discussions at hand.
    Luckily I don’t think the question is one which will require much more than a quick sentence or two as my sought after answer.
    I absolutely love reading EW, and even more so, I love the discussions and intelligent perspectives by those on here. Aside from the occasional troll, the articles and subsequent comments are very informative and truly can help those of us that lack the background, experience or even familiarity with such complex topics that ever expanding regard this administration. I’m too young for familiarity with past administrations and their similarities to the current one. I’m also not one with any legal background nor have I experienced any sort of similar event(s) that mirror the current administrations attack on seemingly all things democratic. Reading what I read here helps keep me from spiraling down too often, to a dark place that I’m sure is very much occupied by other despondent people who see a future bleak and dismal. At the same time it sucks, because reading all the insights and all the ties between scandals etc will make it even more shattering if this administration manages to pull off this con. Thank you to everyone here who takes the time of day to put their thoughts, opinions, evidence, perspectives and journalistic and legal backgrounds to good use here. That being said, my question is regarding the Mueller report’s footnotes. I feel kinda stupid for having to ask but its driving me nuts and I’ve tried to find the answer and, I got to say, I’ve rarely encountered something so simple and yet so apparently complicated. I wish I took the time to figure out how to insert an example of a footnote in question, but alas, I’ll never ask if I stop now.
    A lot of the footnotes, especially regarding IIRC phone calls, texts, and emails have the indicating # to which it refers, and some details such as the name of who it referenced or mentioned and then after all that it ends it with an “at 7” or “at (a) #”. Can anyone please explain to me what this means? I know its silly and I probably shouldn’t have asked here, but if someone could tell me, it would allow me to find something new to fixate on while reading the reports last handful of pages. Appreciate any responses, thank you.

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