Mueller’s Presser

Robert Mueller just gave a press conference, at which he announced the conclusion of the investigation, the formal closure of the office, and his resignation.

The press conference emphasized several things:

  • There were “multiple systematic efforts to interfere in our election and that allegation deserves the attention of every American”
  • There was “insufficient evidence to charge a broader conspiracy” between Trump and Russia
  • They didn’t charge Trump for obstruction because of the OLC memo
  • The OLC memo nevertheless permits an investigation of the President, in part to gather and preserve evidence
  • Mueller’s office also did not charge Trump out of fairness, because there would not be a venue for him to assert his innocence
  • Mueller will not testify to Congress beyond the report
  • Any further “access to our underlying work product” is not being handled by the office

Mueller just made it clear this was an impeachment referral. Now it’s time for HJC to act on it.

Here are his full comments:

Two years ago, the Acting Attorney General asked me to serve as Special Counsel, and he created the Special Counsel’s Office.

The appointment order directed the office to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. This included investigating any links or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump campaign.

I have not spoken publicly during our investigation. I am speaking today because our investigation is complete. The Attorney General has made the report on our investigation largely public. And we are formally closing the Special Counsel’s Office. As well, I am resigning from the Department of Justice and returning to private life.

I’ll make a few remarks about the results of our work. But beyond these few remarks, it is important that the office’s written work speak for itself.

Let me begin where the appointment order begins: and that is interference in the 2016 presidential election.

As alleged by the grand jury in an indictment, Russian intelligence officers who were part of the Russian military launched a concerted attack on our political system.

The indictment alleges that they used sophisticated cyber techniques to hack into computers and networks used by the Clinton campaign. They stole private information, and then released that information through fake online identities and through the organization WikiLeaks. The releases were designed and timed to interfere with our election and to damage a presidential candidate.

And at the same time, as the grand jury alleged in a separate indictment, a private Russian entity engaged in a social media operation where Russian citizens posed as Americans in order to interfere in the election.

These indictments contain allegations. And we are not commenting on the guilt or innocence of any specific defendant. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in court.

The indictments allege, and the other activities in our report describe, efforts to interfere in our political system. They needed to be investigated and understood. That is among the reasons why the Department of Justice established our office.

That is also a reason we investigated efforts to obstruct the investigation. The matters we investigated were of paramount importance. It was critical for us to obtain full and accurate information from every person we questioned. When a subject of an investigation obstructs that investigation or lies to investigators, it strikes at the core of the government’s effort to find the truth and hold wrongdoers accountable.

Let me say a word about the report. The report has two parts addressing the two main issues we were asked to investigate.

The first volume of the report details numerous efforts emanating from Russia to influence the election. This volume includes a discussion of the Trump campaign’s response to this activity, as well as our conclusion that there was insufficient evidence to charge a broader conspiracy.

And in the second volume, the report describes the results and analysis of our obstruction of justice investigation involving the President.

The order appointing me Special Counsel authorized us to investigate actions that could obstruct the investigation. We conducted that investigation and we kept the office of the Acting Attorney General apprised of the progress of our work.

As set forth in our report, after that investigation, if we had confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said that.

We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the President did commit a crime. The introduction to volume two of our report explains that decision.

It explains that under long-standing Department policy, a President cannot be charged with a federal crime while he is in office. That is unconstitutional. Even if the charge is kept under seal and hidden from public view—that too is prohibited.

The Special Counsel’s Office is part of the Department of Justice and, by regulation, it was bound by that Department policy. Charging the President with a crime was therefore not an option we could consider.

The Department’s written opinion explaining the policy against charging a President makes several important points that further informed our handling of the obstruction investigation. Those points are summarized in our report. And I will describe two of them:

First, the opinion explicitly permits the investigation of a sitting President because it is important to preserve evidence while memories are fresh and documents are available. Among other things, that evidence could be used if there were co-conspirators who could now be charged.

And second, the opinion says that the Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting President of wrongdoing.

And beyond Department policy, we were guided by principles of fairness. It would be unfair to potentially accuse somebody of a crime when there can be no court resolution of an actual charge.

So that was the Justice Department policy and those were the principles under which we operated. From them we concluded that we would not reach a determination – one way or the other – about whether the President committed a crime. That is the office’s final position and we will not comment on any other conclusions or hypotheticals about the President.

We conducted an independent criminal investigation and reported the results to the Attorney General—as required by Department regulations.

The Attorney General then concluded that it was appropriate to provide our report to Congress and the American people.

At one point in time I requested that certain portions of the report be released. The Attorney General preferred to make the entire report public all at once. We appreciate that the Attorney General made the report largely public. I do not question the Attorney General’s good faith in that decision.

I hope and expect this to be the only time that I will speak about this matter. I am making that decision myself—no one has told me whether I can or should testify or speak further about this matter.

There has been discussion about an appearance before Congress. Any testimony from this office would not go beyond our report. It contains our findings and analysis, and the reasons for the decisions we made. We chose those words carefully, and the work speaks for itself.

The report is my testimony. I would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before Congress.

In addition, access to our underlying work product is being decided in a process that does not involve our office.

So beyond what I have said here today and what is contained in our written work, I do not believe it is appropriate for me to speak further about the investigation or to comment on the actions of the Justice Department or Congress.

It is for that reason that I will not take questions here today.

Before I step away, I want to thank the attorneys, the FBI agents, the analysts, and the professional staff who helped us conduct this investigation in a fair and independent manner. These individuals, who spent nearly two years with the Special Counsel’s Office, were of the highest integrity.

I will close by reiterating the central allegation of our indictments—that there were multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election.

That allegation deserves the attention of every American.


Note: The DC Circuit Court issued its mandate in the Andrew Miller subpoena yesterday, and there were two sealed filings in the District docket yesterday. That likely means Miller has complied and that’s what Mueller was waiting on.


Update: Katelyn Polantz reports that Miller will testify Friday at 9:30.

163 replies
    • Tom says:

      No, I think his message to the House was that now it’s time for them to show some vertebrate tendencies and here’s the evidence to begin impeachment hearings.

      • Peterr says:

        And yet he seemed to rule out coming before the House to answer their questions about his report and the evidence that undergirds it. This isn’t exactly assisting the House in doing their job.

        • Avattoir says:

          Speaking as a former fed prosecutor, AFAICT there’s more than enough for Congress to work from in the report plus the underlying documents and other material. If I were in the role of leading a case in court or before the House, I very much doubt I’d feel the prosecution side would be missing anything of material value from not receiving anything from the Special Counsel hisownself beyond what’s already available publicly plus, again, the underlying materials.
          If it were up to me, tho, I wouldn’t mind at all a serious sit-down with some of the SCO attorneys handling particular aspects of the investigation and court cases, starting of course with Andrew Weissmann. But even if those folks were to decline or be directed away from cooperating, I really don’t see the implications of that presenting any serious problems in pursuing a bill of impeachment.
          Finally, I find the Debbie Downer attitudes expressed in a number of the comments in this thread to be uninformed or naive or silly or disingenuous.

        • harpie says:

          Mueller said today:

          The report is my testimony. I would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before Congress.
          In addition, access to our underlying work product is being decided in a process that does not involve our office.

          Maybe I should know the answer to this, but who would be in charge of this process?

        • harpie says:

          This from Marty Lederman may be my answer:

          1:40 PM – 29 May 2019

          […] 5/ There do remain important questions for Congress–especially the intel committees–to answer, concerning *why* Trump made such efforts to obstruct and *why* he continues to be so keen on Putin.
          And thus I hope that Mueller and/or the FBI soon start .. 6/ … giving HPSCI full counterintel reports, and that HPSCI thoroughly investigates Trump’s financial and other entanglements, if any, with Russia and other foreign powers.
          But the Report itself is extraordinarily damning even without those explanatory details.

        • BobCon says:

          There are two parts to a successful impeachment inquiry. One is the legal part, and I agree that there is a boatload of evidence in the report, sufficient for impeachment.

          But there is also the packaging, somewhat akin to what prosecutors need to do to present a case to a jury. The report by itself is not enough to educate and convince the public — supposed experts in the press are still doing a lousy job with it. The House’s job is to make the written text understandable for the public.

          I think there is a lot of value to having Mueller speak — his earlier silence during the Barr PR mission was already used as a weapon by the GOP. At a minimum he needs to show before Congress to affirm the report and reject the inevitable GOP lies.

          I don’t know the best way to manage this. I agree that having other attorneys speak will be very important too. I suspect the greatest impact of a Mueller appearance would be at the close of an inquiry, but that’s just a first impression I have. I certainly don’t think this will be easy for the House. But that’s why they need to get to work sooner rather than later.

        • Americana says:

          I would agree w/your assessment of many of the comments being inapplicable because they register on the Debbie Downer silly scale. In this statement at his press conference, Special Counsel Mueller was pursuing the very same principles that make his final report so damning and that’s that he was APOLITICAL THROUGHOUT THE TRUMP-RUSSIA INVESTIGATION. Mueller directed Congress that it is NOW TIME for Congress to do its job once each member has read the report and read whatever other material they wish about Trump’s activities and then they must act. The two houses of Congress have very different duties viz impeachment so, if the House decides to impeach, they will need to follow a highly scripted evidence chain that leaves very little to chance and the vagaries of House Republicans trying to ask stupid questions about Benghazi and Peter Strzok. The House must follow just as tight a chain of evidence in their impeachment proceedings as did Mueller and his team in chasing down all this information. Only then will it not be possible for the Senate to pretend they are unaware of the evidence compiled by Mueller’s team. Only after listening to all the evidence will Senate Republicans feel compelled to do their duty. Having watched the Senate Republicans try to rouse a witch hunt after Senator Burr demanded Don Jr. appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee, I have no doubt the Senate Republicans will try their damnedest to remain staunch defenders of Trump but there comes a breaking point when the evidence must be considered overwhelming. Trump must be impeached and he should be ejected from the office of the presidency. There should be no further plans by Republicans to ride the Trump tide for as long as it lasts. Take the high road. It’s the only one that hasn’t been washed out.

    • PR says:

      There’s an ongoing direct assault on our system of government, so be *lying* that Barr “acted in good faith” is self-defeating bureaucratic nonsense of a bygone era, and his *opinion* that a sitting president cannot be indicted is ill-conceived, short-sighted, and not actually fact; Nixon resigned before it got to that stage. To give Barr a pass is unforgivable. And to say he won’t testify beyond the report (while stuttering and trembling) speaks volumes. Trump Jr said he would “love it” and Trump Sr asked for it – that’s conspiracy in plain sight.

      A Republican of yesteryear cannot keep the checks and balances of our government in today’s multi-domain war. He failed and made it clear, self-censorship imperils even the most experienced experts.

      We no longer live in an age of legal footnotes, nuance, subtlety, or reading in between the lines. And he doesn’t get that. Not at all. We live in a barrage of base disruptions on connected mobile devices whose platforms give currency to Newspeak 140 characters (or more) at a time. Social media users get a dose of dopamine for a dollop of BuzzFeed quiz taking.

      Bill Clinton was impeached for lying about a blowjob. Don’t tell me this isn’t partisan, self-censorship, and bullshit.

      Please don’t put a bow on it. SOS

      [Moderators’ note: This appears to be another account for community member ‘PR’ — same name, different login./~R]

  1. jdmckay says:

    Disappointing to say the least.

    Sounded to me like this was his way of emphatically saying he would not participate in anything beyond what has happened to date. An implicit hand-off to Barr to do whatever he will do.

    • Jockobadger says:

      Nope. It was an explicit point of the finger at the House Dems to do what’s right and get the impeachment investigations rolling. He was right about his options and he was firm about what he could and could not do.

      It’s up to the House and it’s up to us to insist that they move forward. We have to get a rope on this coward and his gang.

    • Americana says:

      Nope. Wrong, jdmckay. This was former Special Counsel Mueller stating very clearly Congress is what stands between a presidency that goes full term and one that doesn’t. Mueller also gave Congress full knowledge of the high crimes and misdemeanors they must recognize and use as the legal tools to impeach Trump.

      Nope. Wrong. Mueller has already PUBLICLY UPBRAIDED AG BARR for having misrepresented the findings of the Mueller report by sending Barr a letter stating very clearly that Barr was out of line by lying about Mueller’s conclusions. The situation can’t be any starker than what Mueller stated today. Barr has just been given the last and final shot across his bow. If Barr continues down the path he’s chosen, he’s going the way of Nixon’s legal eagles.

  2. Rapier says:

    As has been broadcast, probably not coincidentally. the Senate is under no obligation to take up an impeachment referral from the House. Probably wouldn’t and wouldn’t impeach.

    Mueller saying Barr acted in good faith, while made in relation to the release of the report, will be interpreted as saying Barr is and has been acting in good faith on all matters.

    As I said elsewhere a few weeks ago Mueller will act as a good soldier and will do nothing, absolutely nothing, that would call his superiors into question. So it is.

    • bmaz says:

      Oh, I don’t think that is right at all. The Senate would have to take it up once delivered. What happens after that is a different question.

      • Troutwaxer says:

        I think you’re probably right. But depending on what the House finds/makes public, the Senate could look pretty bad and that could cause problems for individual Republican Senators.

      • sneakynordic says:

        If presiding over an impeachment, there’s no way CJ John Roberts lets McConnell pull political stunts. It’s a trial in which Senators are under oath, just as jurors, and under the charge of the Chief Justice. The plain meaning of the constitution makes the comment “the Senate is under no obligation to take up an impeachment” completely wrong.

        • timbo says:

          Yet here we are in ‘strange days’. The fact is that there has to be a willingness by the organs of government’s principals to actually take on their responsibilities under the law and the Constitution. When they spend much of their time ignoring that responsibility or searching for legal opinions that get them out of taking on any such responsibility, we find ourselves as we are today.

    • Chuffy says:

      I read this the other day, and there seems to be some wiggle room for McConnell to simply not schedule a time and a place for the impeachment trial:

      IV. When the President of the United States or the Vice
      President of the United States, upon whom the powers and
      duties of the Office of President shall have devolved, shall
      be impeached, the Chief Justice of the United States shall
      preside; and in a case requiring the said Chief Justice to
      preside notice shall be given to him by the Presiding Officer
      of the Senate of the time and place fixed for the consideration of the articles of impeachment, as aforesaid, with a request to attend; and the said Chief Justice shall be administered the oath by the Presiding Officer of the Senate and shall presideover the Senate during the consideration of said articles and upon the trial of the person impeached

      “notice shall be given to him by the Presiding Officer
      of the Senate of the time and place fixed for the consideration of the articles of impeachment,” – could McConnell simply refuse to schedule a time and place?

      (PDF warning)
      see 173

      • bmaz says:

        And, Chuffy, why in the world is this an issue at this point?

        Talk of a Senate trial is the exact lie Nancy Pelosi is selling to fraudulently kill the thought of merely opening an impeachment inquiry to solidify the legal arguments for obtaining discovery and accomplishing oversight vis a vis actions in court. It is a sham and a lie to frame things in those terms.

        • Thomas Paine says:

          I think the House will ultimately impeach but jam the Senate so that they can’t conduct a sham trial and acquit. What we are seeing right now is an elaborate game of chicken. For the GOP a quick impeachment followed by a even quicker acquittal in the Senate, well before the election, serves them best.

          For the Dems, an deliberative investigation which creates and validates multiple Articles of Impeachment involving the Mueller Report definitized obstructive behavior, the campaign finance law conspiracy violations with Cohen, other financial crimes Trump has undoubtably committed both before and since taking office, obstruction of the Congress’s right to conduct oversight, and finally the cardinal crime of not defending the United States from Russian cyber warfare since the 2016 election, fits their objectives very well. An Impeachment referral which the Senate refuses to take up is as good as removing Trump from office, because it shows the complicity of the entire GOP. An Impeachment referral so close the the election that the Senate cannot act on is almost as good because it leaves the guilty taint on Trump on Election Day.

          That is why Pelosi is dragging her heels, she doesn’t want to have the whole thing politicized before the ugly facts come out, and after those ugly facts come out, she wants to hang them ALL around Trump’s neck in the thick of his re-election campaign. BUT she does NOT want to allow time or resources for the Senate to clear Trump’s name in a sham trial. Timing is therefore everything in this endeavor.

          The Minutemen were short on ammo at Valley Forge. To make every shot count the saying went “don’t shot until you see the white’s of their eyes.” No better advice was ever given. The whites of Trump’s eyes are still too far away. The only good of impeaching today is to drive him completely nuts, which is a possibility, but I’d rather have his insanity occurs closer to his expiration date.

        • P J Evans says:

          Not Valley Forge, but Breed’s Hill (AKA Bunker Hill). (Valley Forge was the infamous winter camp.)

        • bmaz says:

          Thomas Paine – I cannot emphasize this enough: The ONLY question on deck is whether to open a mere impeachment inquiry in order to facilitate investigation, evidence gathering, make court arguments on the same bulletproof, and conduct oversight that is cravenly being denied by the Trump Admin. That is the ONLY thing at issue.

          You seem to have bitten off on popular nonsense that it is tantamount to voting articles of impeachment and trial in the Senate. That is an outright lie, don’t fall for that.

    • Kick the darkness says:

      “With but one inning more to play…

      A straggling few got up to in deep despair. The rest
      Clung to the hope that springs eternal in the human breast;
      They thought, “If only Casey could but get a whack at that
      We’d put up even money now with Casey at the bat.”

      • Kick the darkness says:

        I read in the Guardian that in Michael’s Wolff’s new book he casts Mueller as a somewhat milquetoast Hamlet. Listening to him this morning I guess what came to mind for me was a more well intentioned Iago speaking to a perhaps not so nimble Othello. With apologies.

        Othello: I’ll know they thoughts…
        Iago: You cannot, if my heart were in your hand,
        Nor shall not, whilst ’tis in my custody.

        Aside, speaking to the Darkness
        I find this Othello accursed dense.
        These words placed before his eyes
        He sees not, it is a verdict for which he cries.
        Who said words were poison in the ear
        Whoever so, this fool listens not, or cannot hear.
        Blind and deaf, he leaves me dumb, so I leave hence.

  3. Erandall says:

    Simply shameful. He not only let himself down he let the whole of his team down. This is a day that will live long in infamy.

    • Rayne says:

      Nice of you to share that from your deeply informed position in the UK. By the way: why is it the UK has failed to thoroughly investigate and hold accountable the Leave(.)eu campaign for its illegal activities? Why hasn’t there been more done to assure the UK it is not prone to interference by foreign entities?

      • Troutwaxer says:

        I’ve often asked the same questions about our friends in the U.K. Why haven’t they investigated? Are the Tories owned as badly as we suspect the Republicans to be owned?

        • Rayne says:

          It’s ridiculous how pwned the BBC is as well as the rest of the commercial media in UK. They have gone very far out of their way to avoid looking into the problem of Arron Banks financing Leave(.)eu and coincidentally working on a Russian gold mine deal. Or avoiding the involvement of money launderer George Cottrell or his relationship to Nigel Farage, and Farage’s subsequent funding by Banks. Only Carole Cadwalladr and Luke Harding have done much legwork along with Channel 4 and they are uniformly ignored by the other media outlets.

          They’re worse off than the U.S. — they haven’t had a special counsel to investigate. For all the crabbiness about Mueller’s statement today, he did a good and thorough job within the narrow confines of his authorization and the limits DOJ regulations placed on the outcome. And it’s far more than the UK has had though their outcome post-referendum has brought the country to the brink of disaster.

      • Erandall says:

        How do you know how well (or badly) informed I am?

        I think the failures in the UK establishment and government go deep and are lamentable. But that wasn’t what I was commenting about here today.

        I didn’t think I was engaged in a competition to deplore that was ordered by and dependent nationality and identity.

        Perhaps you don’t think anyone but US citizens should be able to comment here. Please say so, if that’s your opinion.

        My answer, to your closing question is – I suspect – much the same as the answer (I believe) a knowledgeable US citizen would give to questions about the failures of the DoJ and Congress to hold foreign entities and their US partners to account.

        But I note your response and openness to comments from abroad. I guess it is an example, to be treasured, of how ‘Rayne’s Emptywheel’ goes about encouraging the sharing and exchange of opinions.

        • Rayne says:

          You’ve made a whopping 12 comments to date at this site, the earliest in 2008 and then nothing until this past December. In your first handful of comments in 2008 you pointedly admitted to a lack of knowledge about facets of the US political system.

          Now, with all that you’ve left here combined with your presence in the UK *AND* the influx of overseas trolls and bots we get immediately after key political events, you think I have no right as a moderator here to be suspicious of your drive-by commentary?

          How does ‘piss off’ translate in the UK? I mean, seriously, make a better contribution to comments or take another 10 year break.

        • Terry Sawyer says:

          This is my second comment. I guess I’m not qualified to speak.
          I’ve found the comments here to be informative and useful, till now. Your angry ethocentric and ad hominemresponse has no value whatever. I prefer the ones that nitpick punctuation.

        • ivaluemyprivacy says:

          actually he is correct. new commenters are treated like shit here. and the regulars, including the bloggers themselves, have the paranoia-gain set to 11.

        • Eureka says:

          An “objective observer” (as you describe below) would see that new commenters are explicitly and warmly welcomed here all the time.

        • e.a.f. says:

          Those on this blog need no defending from me. However, just to add my two cents worth, I’m a fairly new poster on this blog and find it informative and well written. Haven’t found others, who have posted here longer, to be rude or treat others “like shit”. My take on this blog, is they do not “entertain” idiots or people who write things which aren’t consistent with what they want this blog to be. I personally have no difficulty with that. This is their blog, if I don’t like the rules I can always go elsewhere. On the one occasion Rayne had something to say to me, didn’t feel I’d been badly treated or rudely. Read what she had written to me, re read what I’d written. She was correct.

          Reading and commenting here and several Canadian and American blogs, I find this one quite good at dealing with new comers and tolerant of those who go off topic. Blogs do not belong to the commenters. If we don’t like what is being said, we have the right to go some where else. Its best if we treat a blog as if you were in some one else’s living room having a political discussion.

        • P J Evans says:

          New commenters are welcome if they don’t post like trolls or post conspiracy sh*t. There’s never been any tolerance for that here.

          (Which group do you want to be in?)

        • Rayne says:

          I’ve found the comments here to be informative and useful, till now.

          Omit the comma and use ‘until’ instead of ’till’ as the latter is archaic.

          Feel better? And that was your third comment, not your second.

        • ivaluemyprivacy says:

          why are you being an asshole?

          if you don’t want random mofos commenting disable it, require logins.

          I seriously don’t get how the bloggers on this site get away with being such dicks to their readership

        • ivaluemyprivacy says:

          I doubt that an objective observer would reach that same conclusion.

          I recall, several months ago, a commenter with experience working with Amazon AWS make what appeared to me, a software developer, to be a very reasonable comment, disagreeing with conclusions drawn by Ms. Wheeler about Russian/AWS, and bmaz and company tore into him like pit bulls, accusing him if all kinds of malicious motives. What was bulkahit wasn’t his comment, but bmaz and co’s paranoid and utterly rude behavior. I have never frequented a blog that treated it’s guests like that.

          and so, again, I ask why, if the bloggers have such disdain for commenters, or think that most are sock puppets, or what ever, that they do not close off commenting to those given accounts, using whatever identity verification process they prefer. It’s almost as if they *enjoy* having commenters they can be rude to.

        • Rayne says:

          You’re aware moderators here can see details about visitors that aren’t seen by commenters, yes? Perhaps you should ponder that fact a bit longer.

        • e.a.f. says:

          to ivaluemyprivacy, your comment of “if you believe bmaz and co’s paranoid and utterly rude behaviour”, omg, you obviously haven’t been on some Canadian blogs.

          I would not agree with your assessment. As to being paranoid, back in the day, some in the labour movement in Canada, used to have this line, “just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean its isn’t happening to you”. There is evidence foreign interest do “invade” blogs to put their point across and I’ve found in Canada, some can be very divisive within the progressive bloggers website. Its actually good when a blog knows who is commenting. It can give others who come to the blog a sense of security about the comments they read.

        • Rayne says:

          Seriously? We’re pretty here tolerant of someone who pushes the envelope on sockpuppeting because they value their privacy. We don’t require logins because we actually respect commenters privacy AND logins don’t prevent sockpuppeting.

          Meanwhile we are deluged with attempts to batter the door down, experience frequent visits by trolls/bots/provocateurs, and must be vigilant for commenters who will pull some disinformation crap and/or try to infect community members.

          I’ve also offered far more explanation than I’m obligated to on a day when this site will experience a huge uptick in attempted attacks.

          If you don’t like how we run this place nobody is stopping you from leaving.

        • Erandall says:

          I think your comment speaks for itself. No translation needed.

          I can say, as a foreigner, that I was and remain shocked by Mueller’s statement for a number of reasons; the reasons include my belief that:

          i. Making a short public statement about a complex document, the work of a large and specialist team, and saying you won’t be responding to questions about it, beyond confirming what is in your redacted report, amounts to a slap in the face for the legislative branch and the US public.

          ii. Failing to say explicitly that your work and the work of your team (and other investigators and law enforcement officers) has been misrepresented by you new boss and the POTUS personally – as you leave the building – is unconscionable.

          iii. Failing to commit to answering reasonable questions about how your investigation may have been compromised, limited and constrained, when you and your team have had to battle so hard to get the information needed to come to a (limited) judgement is simply wrong.

          iv. Refusing to take any questions – at the end of a short public statement – and making it plain that you have no intention of answering questions, because you have said all that you can say, isn’t reasonable (and shouldn’t be acceptable) when you are part of a team that has tried and failed to get the POTUS to answer reasonable questions about his behaviour and his state of mind about matters that bear directly on the government and governance of your country.


          v. Making it clear that you will not be drawn on issues and matters that still have to be investigated and explored is the very antithesis of the undertaking that an impartial and thorough inquirer should be expected to give when they and their team know that there are vital and highly relevant matters that REMAIN to be investigated.

          Mueller has handed many lines of investigation over to others. I’m my humble opinion he had a duty to make it clear that that continuing work was vital to America and should not be constrained or interfered with. He should have been willing to do that both explicitly and implicitly. He failed – in my opinion – when he did not do that.

          But hell – what does (or can) a foreigner know.I

          So, I will take your recommendation and clear off.

      • e.a.f. says:

        good question. the British Parliament is able to conduct an inquiry into the matter. Its not against any rules I know of.
        From what I’ve read fines have been levied for financial improprieties and questions have been asked about where the “extra” money came from.

        All countries need to be concerned about outside influences in this day and age of tech and such things. Canada has a federal election in Oct this year. Ottawa assures us Canada is ready for it. Me, I’m not so sure, so it was interesting to have followed all of this.

    • Bri2k says:

      I agree, Mueller saying he wouldn’t testify publicly and then wouldn’t say anything except what was in the report was the height of arrogance.

      As an American citizen, he would be obligated to either answer any question honestly or plead the 5th in a Congressional hearing. He shouldn’t get a pass on this due to his reputation.

      There are legitimate questions he failed to look into or answer that would’ve been considered due diligence in any other investigation, such as Trump’s finances.

      Instead of doing the right thing, Mueller is simply continuing to give cover to those who would enable this administration’s criminality.

      Regardless which country you call home Erandall, your comment echoes what this American felt while watching Mueller’s statement as it happened.

      • bmaz says:

        No,this is not right. Pleading the 5th is absurd, Mueller has done absolutely nothing criminal. There are all kinds of exceptions that could be properly asserted. Saying he either answer answers every ridiculous question or pleads the 5th is ridiculous.

  4. Valerie Klyman-Clark says:

    While I, too was hoping for some pyrotechnics, didn’t Mueller’s comments make sense, based on what we know about him? I wish he’d slammed Barr, but that doesn’t seem to be how he rolls. Didn’t he, in his own low-keyed, jar-headed manner reiterate the dark facts about Russia, SCO’s inability to charge a sitting president . . . etc? Watching him walk away from the podium, I was reminded of his age and that he may be oh-so-tired. By God, I know I am.

    • EchoDelta says:

      I saw Moses laying down the tablets there.

      Mueller laid out the case in print and summarized today. He isn’t Green Lantern or Superman and it isn’t his job to be-he is part of a process that is supposed to be fair, nonpartisan, and sufficiently clear so as to be followed by a legal proceeding by the appropriate authority, one that is filled with lawyers of a variety of specialties, who will pursue within the bounds of the law the disputation, conclusion and sentencing of the case.

      My perception as a naive observer is that the Democratic goal is to get the inquiry going and to time it in such a fashion that undeniable conclusions are revealed in a steadily and progressively increasing series of drips that will make the MAGA folks accept that they have been duped and do so on their own terms so as to preserve their dignity. Then Biden. is this true and will it work? IDK.
      thanks for all the hard work from MW, BMAZ, Rayne, and the commenters.

      • Valerie Klyman-Clark says:

        You’re right, I do hear what you’re saying, what all you wise folks are saying (Avattoir, Rayne, bmaz, Goddess-Marcy). Reading the text of Mr. Mueller’s presser made things clearer for me, too. I had a knee-jerk reaction, I admit and I appreciate your response.

        God help me, I feel so Old Testament some days; judgement can’t come soon enough.
        I’m gonna go have a big-girl drink now. Cheers.

    • Buford says:

      yeah…I got the feeling that “Professor Bob Mueller” just gave us our next assignment…we will be graded in how soon trump is gone, and if Mitch McConnell’s treachery will be highlighted or gaslighted…

  5. AitchD says:

    This morning, Robert Mueller’s buttoned-down collar made a rare appearance as an ‘open, rolled’ collar (usually formed by the index finger and thumb). Almost every other time, his white, button-down collar is bunched down (the index finger and thumb pressing the shape), not rolled, as to allow the necktie knot to rise above the collars rather than be underneath, as it were.

  6. Peterr says:

    Is Mueller really saying that “I’ve said all I want to say” is a legitimate reason for refusing an invitation (polite request or legal subpoena) to testify before Congress?

    Half the Trump people Mueller’s team spoke with probably wish they could have said the same thing to him: “We talked last month, and I don’t want to come back.”

    • BobCon says:

      I don’t see how that can fly IF (and this is a big if) the House makes a strong public case.

      Impeachment is a core constitutional issue. Refusal to testify would be on a par with refusing to pay income taxes despite the 16th Amendment. It would be like unilaterally refusing to serve on a jury. He is allowed to make his case, but he can’t decide on his own.

      Obviously there needs to be a sales job to get Mueller to cooperate, and I doubt he would go much past the report. But simply having him on the stand affirming the report and swatting down GOP blather would be a very big deal.

    • Charles says:

      “Is Mueller really saying that “I’ve said all I want to say” is a legitimate reason for refusing an invitation (polite request or legal subpoena) to testify before Congress?” –Peterr

      This is especially true because he is one of the very few people who could talk about the underlying testimony in a manner that doesn’t compromise GJ secrecy or ongoing matters. Since Barr is refusing to provide that to Congress and it has been left to the Courts to decide whether to release it, Mueller really should agree to discuss material that is covered by the Report. Failing to do so effectively says that no one may review the details of how he reached his declination decisions, something that is of special interest in the declination of DJT Jr. Saying that DJT Jr is too stupid to have known he was committing a crime, which is how I believe Marcy paraphrased it, raised my eyebrows.

    • JAFive says:

      Of course they can subpoena him, but I don’t think that Mueller does any good as a hostile witness. He’s sending a clear signal that he’s not going to play ball with House Dems.

      Mueller retains considerable public legitimacy, so being aggressive in order to get him to answer questions is likely counterproductive. And the statement makes it clear that he’s not looking for an opportunity to make anything additional public.

      • P J Evans says:

        And you get that conclusion from what? Mueller said that the report was his testimony – outside of the redactions, which the public can’t get past, but Congress should be able do that.

        • JAFive says:

          Which conclusion? That subpoenaing Mueller and then treating him as a hostile witness would prove counterproductive?

          As you say, Mueller said the report was his testimony, and he “would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before Congress.” Unless he was lying (which seems unlikely), that means there’s not much chance that subpoenaing and badgering Mueller will uncover interesting or useful information. That is to say, there’s no apparent upside (unless you think there are political points to be scored by badgering Mueller – maybe I’m not seeing it, but that seems very implausible to me).

          Given that the public has fairly high confidence in Mueller (, there does seem to be a downside of subpoenaing him against his wishes and then questioning aggressively. Discrediting Mueller doesn’t help anyone, and it seems more likely to me that House Dems end up looking petulant in such a hearing.

        • P J Evans says:

          Your very-obviously-trolling conclusion that he’s not going to play ball with House Dems. He already has a time set to talk with them – Friday this week.

        • JAFive says:

          So when Bob Mueller said this morning: “Any testimony from this office would not go beyond our report… And the report is my testimony. I would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before Congress”, what did you interpret that to mean?

          You took that as Bob Mueller would provide information to the House beyond what is already public?

        • bmaz says:

          First off, the assertion that he would have to treated as hostile is nonsense. Second, as 99% of the country, including most members of Congress, have not actually read the Mueller Report, just having him go through what all is in the Report in televised hearings could be extremely helpful. So, yeah, there is an upside.

        • JAFive says:

          Good point that most people haven’t read the report, and I think you’re right there’s an upside there.

          But, to the other point – did we watch the same remarks?

          Mueller could easily have said: “I’d be happy to appear before Congress and answer any questions about our report. To the extent that there is any public confusion about our report or its conclusion, I would appreciate the opportunity to set the record straight.”

          He did not say that. Instead, he said: “There has been discussion about an appearance before Congress. Any testimony from this office would not go beyond our report… So beyond what I’ve said here today and what is contained in our written work, I do not believe it is appropriate for me to speak further about the investigation or to comment on the actions of the Justice Department or Congress.”

          This is clearly not a man who wants to testify about this before Congress.

        • Rayne says:

          You realize if Mueller goes before Congress he testifies before both parties? And the GOP will be total asshats to paint Mueller as an evil defector? That’s the problem. He’s warning he won’t respond to their partisan bullshit, only what’s in the report.

          I believe at this point you are splitting hairs to do little more than create churn in this thread. The House should simply subpoena him if they need him to answer questions pertinent to the report. Period.

        • JAFive says:

          I’m not trying to create churn, and I really thought my initial statement would be uncontroversial. I saw Mueller as indicating a very clear aversion to testifying or answering questions. I’m genuinely very surprised that other people heard the statement as saying something else.

          I disagree on Republican strategy (but of course that’s all just speculation). The Republicans have the Barr inquiry and so on to use to uncover embarrassing nuggets in a much more effective way than poking at Mueller during testimony. And their obsession is mostly with the pre-Mueller stages anyway.

          If Mueller says nothing new in testimony, then Republicans have nothing to fear and no reason to go on the attack. And Mueller is sending unambiguous signals that he has no desire to add anything to the record.

          To expand the record, Dems need to focus on getting the underlying documents, talking to witnesses, etc. Personally, I think going after an unwilling Mueller (and again, I really do want to know why others are seeing Mueller as anything other than unwilling) is a waste of time and a diversion of valuable resources from more important investigative avenues.

        • bmaz says:

          I don’t think so. Of course Mueller doesn’t want to subject himself to that. Who does (okay Cohen seemed fairly desirous)? But Mueller was sending a signal as to how it was going to go and that he may require a subpoena. That is okay.

        • JAFive says:

          Having read more of the coverage now, you’re right about this.

          To me, the statement “If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so” just sounded like a close paraphrase of one of the key sentences in the report. Apparently, to others, this was big news, and it’s dominating the coverage. So, yea, Mueller repeating stuff matters.

        • Rayne says:

          Mueller has not been pointedly asked how the Trump-Russia investigation came to an end. He nor his spokesperson has said whether Barr or Trump ordered the investigation to wrap up when Barr came on as AG. That much should be explored by the House Judiciary Committee. This question would not require badgering and it would be helpful since it may inform the committee whether the termination of the investigation was another attempt at obstruction.

          It’s a matter of opinion whether subpoenaing Mueller has any downsides. It’s also a matter of opinion whether a subpoena would be “against his wishes” since he has only said he would repeat the report if asked to testify in front of Congress.

          There may be points where Mueller can help interpret what was meant in the report — this would not discredit him but shed light for the investigation. And Rep. Amash is already pressing for an impeachment hearing — Dems will look worse for not proceeding with it after his remarks to date along with Mueller’s statement. “House Dems end up looking petulant” is yet another matter of opinion.

        • JAFive says:

          I’m repeating myself from above, but when Mueller said that he “would not provide any information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before Congress”, I took that at face value. Similarly, his statement: “Beyond what I’ve said here today and what is contained in our written work, I do not believe it is appropriate for me to speak further about the investigation or to comment on the actions of the Department of Justice or Congress”

          Taking those at face value, he wouldn’t answer questions about how the investigation ended except with reference to what’s in the report and maybe the letters.

          I take it that the rest of you are interpreting his remarks considerably less literally than I am. I’m genuinely curious as to why you think he would say make those remarks if he meant them in a less than literal way. Perhaps I’m missing something.

          To the point that Mueller could help in interpreting the report or even merely calling attention to what was written rather than the Barr et al spin, I agree. But Mueller has to be a willing participant in any such process. A dry hearing where he simply repeats the report doesn’t do much.

          And yes, how the hearing would play politically is entirely an opinion question. Maybe the mere agenda setting effect on the media would be beneficial (I hadn’t really thought about this before reading the comments above). But, overall, I interpret Mueller as saying that Nadler et al need to take another road, and they’re not going to get anything much from him.

        • Rayne says:

          Focus on the question I offered as an example. It’s a big one. Mueller as a prosecutor knows damned well the obstruction may not have ended and Congress and the public need to know this. He has an obligation to respond to a question relevant to both the investigation, its subsequent report, and potential obstruction.

          In short, Mueller isn’t above the law any more than Trump should be. He needs to answer relevant questions.

        • JAFive says:

          I think he *should* answer questions like that one. I just don’t think he will (“I do not believe it is appropriate for me … to comment on the actions of the Justice Department”).

        • RWood says:


          Try it this way. Instead of assuming that Mueller is speaking to the House democrats when he made those statements, instead assume he was speaking to the GOP members. From there it gets clearer.

          As Muller said, he chooses his words very carefully. It takes skill to have one sentence mean two different things to two different party’s at the same time. To the Right he’s saying “Attack me at your own peril”, while to the left he’s saying “I’m ready for the fight.”

        • JAFive says:

          I hope so?

          And I’m sure he doesn’t want to go out there and get hit by Jim Jordan or Lindsey Graham or whomever.

          I just didn’t hear that “I’m ready for the fight” message in there.

  7. pjb says:

    It just seems so silly to me that people have built Mueller up to be the savior of the republic and are disappointed he didn’t go full-on Comey in his presser. He is a federal investigator and prosecutor, not a scold, activist or politican. He was never going to go beyond the four corners of his report. He actually did a real service today by simply reiterating the point (obvious to anyone who has read the Report or even the executive summaries) but vital to everyone else who only watches tv: there was substantial evidence the President of the United States obstructed justice in manifold ways and he is not exonerated on the merits, the OLC memo was jurisdictional and thus he was powerless to prosecute, fairness dictates if a prosecutor isn’t going to prosecute, he/she should not accuse, and most importantly, this is properly Congress’ job.

    Everyone has a job to do here; he did his.

    • taluslope says:

      Thank you for your comment. Mueller has presented his case and now constitutionally it’s up to congress. It seems clear to me that Mueller is speaking directly to congress and telling them that they must act as he has given them all the information that they need (and that he effectively can say) to come to a judgement on impeachment.

  8. Terrapin says:

    Mueller is dreaming if he thinks he can say “read the report” and not testify publicly to the House Judiciary Committee. No doubt Jerry Nadler has the subpoena ready to be served on RM. While private testimony with a release of the transcript would probably be more productive, I can’t imagine either the House Dems or the GOP members of the committee are willing to let Mueller walk away back into retirement without him answering their questions live on television.

    • Troutwaxer says:

      I suspect he knows that. Right now he wants his resignation to be an “unremarkable” resignation, rather than have Trump tweeting something stupid or having some Faux-News blowtard claiming he resigned so he wouldn’t be fired/investigated/prosecuted for treason. An ordinary resignation where he doesn’t do any drama gives him a lot more gravitas when testifying before Congress.

  9. Lulymay says:

    I listened very carefully to Mueller’s words, which it seemed to me that he read from a prepared list of points and did not intend to deviate from those words. One that got my attention was that (and I paraphrase) that his report did not say that Trump was the NOT guilty of anything. It also seems that because there is a ruling that prohibits charging a sitting President, it was also important to document information that might be used in the future to charge an ex-President.
    I hope I somewhat understand your justice system with respect to your political system. He also referred to the parameters that guided what he could investigate and why it was passed on to Congress to explore further. Could it be, then, that some of those issues he passed on to SDNY and others is where Congress could further explore and perhaps use in their assessment of what the President and/or members of his election team were up to?

    I really appreciate having access to this thread and read it daily to better understand your system and where it differs from ours. Thanks to everyone who contributes.

  10. PSWebster says:

    What are Mueller’s responsibilities to DOJ after he becomes a civilian? Can he freely discuss his work or is there a NDA or equivalent?

    • JAFive says:

      Mueller will remain bound by NDAs covering specific forms of information protected against disclosure.

      That will include classified information (, sensitive but unclassified information (something similar to, and grand jury information (something similar to

      It’s conceivable that Mueller was asked to sign something extra, but I think it’s generally understood that a blanket NDA covering matters of public concern would be unconstitutional.

      Nonetheless, one of the DOJ sensitive but unclassified categories is “[d]etails pertaining to ongoing and completed law enforcement investigations.” It’s not hard to construe that to extend to just about any interesting question that you would want to ask Mueller.

      Technically, all of those requirements remain in place forever.

      • bmaz says:

        There is no evidence of non-disclosure agreements, and no reason to believe there are. The statutory law and Rule 6 already cover that.

        • JAFive says:

          Huh? You mean that you think Mueller was given an exemption from the standard requirements? I’ve never seen any evidence of that, although I guess it’s vaguely possible.

        • P J Evans says:

          {citation needed] on NDAs being standard practice.
          (Outside the Tr*mp lot, they’re not.)

        • JAFive says:

          See my post above specifically linking to the standard DOJ NDAs. Not sure how much more of a citation I can give than the documents themselves.

        • bmaz says:

          To my understanding, Mueller still had full clearance. So I am not sure he would have had to sign anything above and beyond that entering this job. Certainly no Trump like NDA’s.

        • JAFive says:

          Sure, certainly none of the BS Trump NDAs (which appear to be unconstitutional anyhow), but whenever he signed the NDAs, they remained in force.

          In terms of pre-existing clearance, I think that Mueller would probably have needed new paperwork from main justice as his previous clearance would have been from the FBI.

          Maybe the SF312/SF4414 would remain in force, but he’d still need the DOJ-specific agreements for unclassified information.

        • Rayne says:

          The security forms like SF312 and SF4414 are agreements between the individual signatory and the United States. Says so right at the top of the form. They aren’t agreements with an agency or department.

          Any NDA issued by Trump or Trump org is bullshit. Trying to recall which community member here suggested NDAs may constitute a quid pro quo — you get a job/remain employed only if you sign this privacy agreement with non-government entity. Employment with the government is not contingent on any third party agreements; if the NDAs are intended to obstruct justice or tamper with witnesses they are altogether unlawful.

  11. Bay State Librul says:

    Burn the DOJ Memo
    Burn it twice.
    Is the Office of Legal Counsel in the Constitution.
    Ruth Bader Ginsburg should be given the next assignment.

    • Rayne says:

      I know you’re hot under the collar but you can do better than this. For starters: by DOJ memo do you mean the Special Counsel’s report? Barr’s summation letter? Rosenstein’s crappy authorization? The OLC’s restriction on indicting a seated president?

      • Bay State Librul says:

        No, of course not. The Report I liked. I’m referring to the OLC Memo where you can’t indict a sitting Prez. that makes no sense to me.

        • Rayne says:

          Thank you, the clarification helps. It makes sense if you look at the memo in the case of special counsel’s investigation like Ken Starr performed on Clinton. It would have undermined Clinton’s legitimacy over a fucking blowjob, one which might not have happened or been documented had Starr not been a total asshole in the execution of his investigation.

          But sadly the memo also covers scofflaws like Trump, which means it’s up to Congress to deal with a criminal president.

    • Rayne says:

      Andrea Mitchell doesn’t help matters. She is really slow to react which gives asshats like Pete Williams too much time.

      • AndTheSlithyToves says:

        You forget that she’s married to Mr. “Irrational Exuberance” himself, and has probably had her senses dulled over the years listening to his nonsense.

        • Rayne says:

          She’s also 72 years old. I don’t want to be ageist being no spring chicken myself but there’s a strong possibility that her age may be a reason why she’s slower on the uptake compared to the rest of MSNBC’s cohort. I’d like to see her more carefully tasked with focusing on comparisons between past impeachments and this one likely impending because she brings institutional knowledge the younger cohort don’t have.

  12. Bay State Librul says:

    New Perry Mason thriller: The Case of the Reluctant Prosecutor.
    Subpoena Paul Drake and Lt Arthur Tragg.

    • Mooser says:

      New Perry Mason thriller: The Case of the Reluctant Prosecutor.
      I remember that episode, the Prosecutor was reluctant until that chilling moment when he realized he was to be the criminal’s next victim. I won’t spoil the ending.

      • P J Evans says:

        Since it’s Perry Mason (and I almost used the family joke there: “Merry Pason”), we oldtimers know how it will end.

  13. MattyG says:

    The line that caught my eye:

    “In addition, access to our underlying work product is being decided in a process that does not involve our office.”

    It’s spoke in the present tense – something in the works. Barr is clearly active – to what ends we can speculate. But regardless it’s Mueller’s underlying “work product” that is of greatest interest in any impeachment investigation.

  14. Bay State Librul says:

    I only have one thought to give to my country:

    Mueller: Please don’t use the negative in your public pronouncements as in “if we had had confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.”

    Please change to: we were confident that the President did commit a crime.

    Never, never use a negative in this context……

  15. Rayne says:

    MSNBC’s Ari Melber and Julia Ainsley are discussing a draft memo they’ve just received today, hasn’t been seen before.

    I’ve missed the context, trying to catch it now.

    Special Counsel’s office handed this memo out today, addresses the decision not to come to a conclusion about charges. I can’t read the damned thing on the screen and Ainsley is talking too fast. Melber is trying to get clarification.

    Sounds like this document reveals a bigger gap between Mueller and Barr.

    EDIT: Frank Figliuzzi says this memo is a rebuke to Barr, that the decision not to recommend charges wasn’t the OLC memo on indicting seated presidents.

    EDIT-2: So frustrating. I missed the very first part of what Ainsley was saying, think she was going as fast as she was because she may have broken the story that the Special Counsel’s office issued a post-Mueller statement memo or letter or document.

    There’s something in this which is important and we won’t be able to address it until they post a copy online.

        • Rayne says:

          @nycsouthpaw has a Twitter thread up on it now.

          Jesus Christ, we’re reduced to reading bloody tea leaves and dissecting entrails because they were worried about the effect of “stigma and opprobrium” on a man who was recorded on camera talking about grabbing women by the pussy.

        • harpie says:

          Thanks, Rayne!

          11:03 AM – 29 May 2019

          […] The SCO’s idea is that there’s some great constitutional advantage to speaking in riddles–
          “we wouldn’t tell you if the president committed a crime, but we would tell you if he did not commit a crime, and we’re not telling you that” is preferable to “he obstructed justice.”
          […] [good explanation] […]
          So, while it’s frustrating that he made it into a puzzle, I am not uncertain about what he means

          Here’s Limericking on this subject:

          9:54 AM – 29 May 2019

          The Russia inquirer sought
          To clarify matters a jot:
          If he’d not at the time
          Not had proof of no crime
          He would not have not said he had not

  16. sneakynordic says:

    What of the subpoena to the Mystery Corporation? Has the Corporation complied with the subpoena?

  17. Willis Warren says:

    Most of the takes on here are wrong, and this is probably the worst comments section I’ve seen on the MTW blog

    Probably by design, but anyway…

    Mueller made it clear that Russia interfered in our election to help Donald Trump, who knew about that and welcomed it. He also made it clear that he can’t charge the president, who he cannot clear.

    I don’t know how much more he could have done given that his hands were tied. What we need now is for Pelosi to stop sucking at SotH

    • OldTulsaDude says:

      We have had the criminal investigation into conspiracy and found evidence but not enough to convict. It is somewhat fanciful to think the House can find out more in that one regard; however, what we need now is an impeachment inquiry in order to uncover corruption and possible monetary crimes and a host of other high crimes and misdemeanors.

      There is no try. Just do.
      To hell with trying to read tea leaves about future election results.

  18. Joe Student says:

    It seems to me that Congress was hoping that Mueller would do their job for them. That is a mistake.

    IIRC, the report from the special prosecutor in the Watergate hearings was simply 45 pages with the questions at the top of the page “Did the president interfere with the investigation?” And essentially bullet points underneath detailing evidence and citing documents, but no conclusion.

    Mueller has provided more than that but stayed within the same guidelines, as amended.

    Now it’s up to Congress to live up to its constitutional duty.

  19. Jenny says:

    Thank you Marcy.
    Clear to me. Congress is the next step to hold the president accountable. It is their job to start the impeachment proceedings. Just Do It!

  20. Diviz says:

    I feel like Aaron Maté and Greenwald need to have this speech replayed on a loop in font of them, A Clockwork Orange style. Enjoy your victory lap, EW!

  21. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Will hope to catch up later. But this:

    “Mueller just made it clear this was an impeachment referral. Now it’s time for HJC to act on it.”

    This summation needs to be about size 80 font, blinking red, and if you can insert a siren sound, all the better.

    I think that we have a ‘hidden problem’ of the Seniority System in Congress that needs a serious rethink moving forward: both parties, not only one of them. Nadler is as good as they come, and I hope to heaven that he’s in good health. But if he has *any* need for a sabbatical, here’s hoping that he hands the reins to someone in their 50s or early 60s, and advises by Skype as he takes some time off and comes back in a few weeks feeling better.

  22. JD12 says:

    It was surprising to hear Mueller say that he doesn’t think he needs to testify to Congress. If he truly believes it “deserves the attention of every American,” then he should gladly testify. He wants more people to read the report, and they should, but frankly one must have at least average or above-average reading-comprehension skills to see it clearly as the impeachment referral it is. He’s giving the public too much credit if he thinks he can just spell it out instead of saying it. It is also unreasonable to assume that follow-up questioning won’t yield anything valuable that Mueller’s team either didn’t think of or dismissed because of group think.

    That could just be an excuse, though.

    Recent reports said that he wanted to testify in a closed-door setting because he was worried about it being a circus. That is a more likely reason since he genuinely appears uncomfortable in the spotlight. But we must live in the world as it is, not as we’d like it to be, and the circus comes with the territory. In fact by letting Trump run wild with the narrative it’s an even bigger circus from now until 2020—Mueller just isn’t the one swinging from the trapezes.

    Presumably he’ll end up testifying at some point but his reluctance is a bit strange. Perhaps he is feigning reluctance so Trump doesn’t go nuts and preemptively undermine his testimony. That doesn’t seem like a good reason, but then again, world as it is.

  23. Elevator48 says:

    Subscibed and posted my first time earlier today under Elevator48, but don’t see my post. Is there a reason? Thanks.

  24. Ollie says:

    So. I’d like to share a few thoughts or two: I’ve read all of the comments here. First impressions? I think the lines have been blurred so seriously bad from Trump and his mouthpieces that it has affected us and how many feel let down by Mr. Mueller. I think he did exactly what his job description called for: a report. We. sorta/kinda got the report or most of it but not many want to sit down and read/digest it. I believe Mr. Mueller was very clear on moving forward: Congress do your job (not justice from here on out) and he could NOT rule out Trump’s evil doings. As a special prosecutor, he did his job. His testimony would only be the report: read it. He spoke today as a employee of the DOJ. Now. He also informed us of his resignation. I believe Mr. Mueller, if served w/a order to give a sworn testimony to the House, he would.

    You know we have to fight for the Speaker of the House to do her job. Enough is enough. O didn’t want to investigate the past behaviors of those thugs who created the financial crisis in ’08. Move forward he said. Well he didn’t do this country any favors and I happen to love Obama but facts are facts. Trump has basically erased black and white rules/laws to govern this country w/his own bullshit and if he serves another term? This country is done for.

    There are a whole lot of very smart people here and I’m not one of them. HAHAHA Reality has gotten so eschewed by the lies and lies and the GOP losing their souls to party……..and SO much anger in everyone…..well…anyhow. I think Mr. Mueller, overall, brought us the workload and now it’s up to us. Making new signs/mapping out my next protest spot. I also tweeted @SpeakerPelosi to do her job and start impeachment proceedings.

  25. Njrun says:

    Mueller went about as far as I thought he could. Great that he talked about the danger posed by Russia, pushed back on Barr’s spin, and practically screamed that Trump obstructed the investigation and broke the law.

    However, I’m a bit perplexed by him saying he won’t say more than is in the report because most of the most damning stuff (almost certainly) remains redacted. It’s easy for Republicans to defend Trump for obstructing what they say is a bogus investigation with no underlying crime.

    But the details about the indefensible and traitorous activity such as the horse-trading of foreign policy, the cooperation with Wikileaks and curious Ukraine peace plan — to just name a small few — remain under seal. It is critical those crimes come to light or it will establish a precedent that a candidate/president can get away with anything if they can control the investigation.

  26. arice says:

    I didn’t hear Mueller say he wouldn’t testify in front of Congress. In fact, in the language of bureaucratese, it sounded like he was practically BEGGING them to subpeona him to testify.

    All his comments about limiting his testimony to what is included in the report are just a head fake to make it seem he’s resisting. He knows that it’s not up to a witness what he gets asked. And he also knows that there’s a lot of valuable context and insight to be gained talking about everything that is in the report.

  27. MattyG says:

    Another line that caught my eye besides “In addition, access to our underlying work product is being decided in a process that does not involve our office” telling us that the process of gaining access to underlying evidence is currently underway, was his categorical statement that the DOJ policy forbidding the indictment of a sitting president was unconstitutional.

    “It explains that under long-standing Department policy, a President cannot be charged with a federal crime while he is in office. That is unconstitutional.”

    “That is unconstitutional”. Since he is refering to his report he must mean that the policy is constitutional, and that indicting a sitting president is unconstitutional – the conclusion that drove the decision not to indict. But it’s an odd sentence and can be interpreted read as saying the policy itself is unconstitutional.

    It would just be a stupid semantic game except that it unclear why Mueller needed to invoke the constitution to justify the “long standing DOJ policy” in the first place – without any elaboration. Jurists and constitutional schollars are hardly in agreement on whether the constitution formally prohibits indictment of a sitting president. So why has Mueller stated the position so unequivocally? Has this department policy – and it’s just a policy – ever been tested in court or argued before the supreme court?

    • P J Evans says:

      “Has this department policy – and it’s just a policy – ever been tested in court or argued before the supreme court?”

      AFAIK, it hasn’t been tested or argued. And, IIRC, it’s in opposition to the DOJ views when Nixon was being investigated. (They didn’t want to indict him – but they did describe him as an unindicted conspirator.)

      • MattyG says:

        That’s my understanding too. The 2 word declaration feels out of place in an otherwise fairly nuanced delivery. Why lean so heavily on such a manifestly gray area of the constitution?

    • harpie says:

      Here’s the text of that statement:

      “The Attorney General has previously stated that the Special Counsel repeatedly affirmed that he was not saying that, but for the OLC opinion, he would have found the President obstructed justice. The Special Counsel’s report and his statement today made it clear that the office concluded it would not reach a determination – one way or the other – about whether the President committed a crime. There is no conflict between these statements.”
      – Kerri Kupec, Spokeswoman for the Department of Justice and
      Peter Carr, Spokesman for the Special Counsel’s Office.

      • Herringbone says:

        So when Barr said

        the Special Counsel repeatedly affirmed that he was not saying that, but for the OLC opinion, he would have found the President obstructed justice.

        What he meant was

        the Special Counsel repeatedly affirmed that he would have found the President obstructed justice—and would have said as much—if the OLC opinion allowed him to say anything at all about the criminality of a President’s actions.

        Do I have that right?

        • harpie says:

          There are lots of pretty smart people talking about that statement [each link should have the twitter dot com in front]:
          1] /qjurecic/status/1133872994592448513
          4:09 PM – 29 May 2019
          Ironically, what this really does is drive home just how slippery and dishonest Barr was in his wording / What he said is not a lie by the absolute barest of technicalities

          2] /chrislhayes/status/1133873688145780737
          4:12 PM – 29 May 2019
          If someone in your life, a friend or co-worker or whatever tried to pull this nonsense, you’d be (rightfully) livid.

          3] /nycsouthpaw/status/1133875759154716675
          4:20 PM – 29 May 2019
          Imagine the Yalta-esque summit that produced this joint communique from two spokespeople who work in the same public affairs office.

          4] /rickhasen/status/1133876382491172865
          4:22 PM – 29 May 2019
          The locution in that first sentence alone tells you that this was a heavily negotiated statement

          5] /ssamcham/status/1133877038824247304
          4:25 PM – 29 May 2019
          [Replying to @rickhasen] I can’t help but notice that the Special Counsel is not _agreeing_ that he “repeatedly affirmed” this to DOJ. He’s just acknowledging that Barr has previously stated as much.

          6] /JJGass/status/1133877488030027776
          4:27 PM – 29 May 2019
          [Replying to @rickhasen] I count five subordinate clauses, of which four are relative clauses. As a speaker of a Germanic language, I raise my hat in salute.

  28. harpie says:

    Speaking of Impeachment, I wonder what Senator/JAG/ Chairman of Senate Judiciary Committee Lindsey Graham thinks of this fucked up mewling by POTUS:
    5:00 PM – 29 May 2019

    The White House wanted the USS John McCain “out of sight” during Trump’s visit to Japan, WSJ reports.
    U.S. military officials worked to ensure Trump would not see the warship that bears the name of the late senator McCain.

    • P J Evans says:

      You mean Lindsey former-friend-of-McCain-and-now-Tr*mp-fluffer Graham?
      At this point, I don’t think he’d recognize Truth and Reality if they jumped up and bit him in tender places.

  29. e.a.f. says:

    Saw some of his speech on the evening news, so now I know what he sounds like. During this entire two years, I’d never heard him speak and always wondered what his voice sounded like.

    Thank you very much for printing Mueller’s full speech on the blog. I’ve read it and its amazing. Not all may agree with me on that. Having watched this go forward over the past two years I’ve been impressed with Mueller and the work he and his team did. I’ve also been impressed with the work this blog did. It helped me understand it all and provided important information.

    Even though none of this happened in my country, it gave me a firmer grasp of how good some people can be and how much work they can do on behalf of their country. There is still something amazing about some in the U.S.A. when it comes to things of this nature. It can stand as a lesson to others.

    thank you again, now I’ll go read the comments.

  30. Kevin Shields` says:

    Mueller just repeated what his report said. Not one word was new today. He was completely unethical. He is an embarrassment to the Justice Department. He is a coward who must go before the House and Senate. He is compromised and he is scared. You know why he did this press conference today? Because his boss, Bill Barr was in Alaska! Nuff said!

      • Glen Dudek says:

        I agree, this post was ludicrous. I am guessing (without evidence) that Barr may have been away when Mueller did his press conference so Barr would have an excuse not to be there, pretty much the opposite of what our friend Kevin thinks.

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