Jim Jordan’s Bubble Has Allowed Him to Remain Painfully Stupid about the Mueller Investigation

Politico has a piece on Republican plans to blow up Robert Mueller’s testimony later this month with stupid questions. It’s a fair piece; it even quotes Louie Gohmert calling Mueller an asshole, in as many words.

The Texas congressman added that his reading of the special counsel’s report did little to temper his long history of animosity for the former FBI director: “It reinforced the anal opening that I believe Mueller to be.”

But it misses an opportunity when it presents what Jim Jordan imagines will be a doozy of a question with only a minimal fact check.

But Republicans preparing over the next two-plus weeks to questionMueller say they have their own points they hope to drive home to Americans as well. Several indicated they intend to press Mueller on when he first determined he lacked evidence to charge Americans with conspiring with Russia — insinuating, without evidence, that he allowed suspicions to linger long after he had shifted his focus to the obstruction of justice investigation.

“The obvious question is the one that everyone in the country wants to know: when did you first know there was no conspiracy, coordination or collusion?” said Jordan, one of the Republicans’ fiercest investigators. “How much longer did it take Bob Mueller to figure that out? Did he intentionally wait until after 2018 midterms, or what?”

Mueller emphasized in his report that he did not make a finding on “collusion,” since it’s not a legal term, and that his decision not to bring charges didn’t mean he found no evidence of them.

If Jim Jordan, who has been spending most of his time as a legislator in the last year investigating this investigation, were not so painfully stupid, he would know not only that not “everyone in the country” feels the need to know when Mueller finalized a decision about conspiracy, but that attentive people already do know that Bob Mueller wasn’t the one who decided to wait out the mid-terms.

The Mueller team told Amy Berman Jackson that Paul Manafort had breached his plea agreement on November 26, 2018. His last grand jury appearance — on November 2 — did not show up in his breach discussion (meaning he may have told the truth, including about Trump’s personal involvement in optimizing the WikiLeaks releases). But in his October 26 grand jury appearance, he tried to hide the fact that he continued to pursue a plan to carve up Ukraine well into 2018, and continued to generally lie about what that plan to carve up Ukraine had to do with winning Michigan and Wisconsin, such that Manafort took time away from running Trump’s campaign on August 2, 2016 to discuss both of them with his co-conspirator Konstantin Kilimnik. Mueller never did determine what that August 2 meeting was about or what Kilimnik and Viktor Boyarkin did with the Trump polling data Manafort was sharing with them. But the delay in determining that Manafort’s obstruction had succeeded was set by Manafort, not Mueller.

And until November 26, prosecutors still hoped to get Jerome Corsi to stop lying to them about how he and Roger Stone got advanced notice of John Podesta’s stolen emails — to say nothing about why Stone was talking to someone “about phishing with John Podesta.” Indeed, the government obtained a search warrant against Stone in February 2019 — possibly the one on February 13 to search multiple devices  — to investigate hacking allegations. If that warrant is the February 2019 one targeting Stone, the devices likely came in the search of his homes on January 25 of this year.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump refused to answer questions — all the questions he answered were about conspiracy, and most of his answers were non-responsive — until November 20, 2018. His answers about the Trump Tower Moscow deal were worse than non-responsive: they replicated the lies for which Michael Cohen is currently sitting in prison. Then, in December and January, Trump and Rudy Giuliani made comments that made it clear Trump’s answers were willful lies. Mueller offered Trump the opportunity to clarify his testimony, but he declined.

In light of the President’s public statements following Cohen’s guilty plea that he “decided not to do the project,” this Office again sought information from the President about whether he participated in any discussions about the project being abandoned or no longer pursued, including when he “decided not to do the project,” who he spoke to about that decision, and what motivated the decision. 1057 The Office also again asked for the timing of the President’s discussions with Cohen about Trump Tower Moscow and asked him to specify “what period of the campaign” he was involved in discussions concerning the project. 1058 In response, the President’s personal counsel declined to provide additional information from the President and stated that “the President has fully answered the questions at issue.” 1059

1057 1/23/19 Letter, Special Counsel’s Office to President’s Personal Counsel.

1058 1/23/ 19 Letter, Special Counsel’s Office to President’s Personal Counsel.

1059 2/6/ l 9 Letter, President’s Personal Counsel to Special Counsel’s Office.

In short, the public record makes it clear that the answer to Jordan’s question — when Mueller made a determination about any conspiracy charges — could not have happened until after the election. But the person who dictated that timing, more than anyone else, was Trump himself, who was refusing to tell the truth to Mueller as recently as February 6.

This is all in the public record (indeed, Trump’s role in the delay is described in the Mueller Report, which Jordan might have known had he read it). The fact that Jordan doesn’t know the answer — much less believes that his already-answered question is a zinger — is a testament to what a locked bubble he exists in, where even the most basic details about the investigation itself, rather than the fevered dreams Jordan has about it, don’t seep in.

Jordan should branch out beyond the spoon-fed journalists from whom he got this question, because even in its original incarnation, the question was utterly inconsistent with the public record.

When did you determine that there was no conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia?

Some congressional Republicans have asserted that Mueller figured out early on in his investigation — which started on May 17, 2017 — that there was no conspiracy or collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government.

Mueller’s report said that prosecutors were unable to establish that the campaign conspired with Russia, but the report did not go into detail about when that conclusion was reached.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m sure Jordan is going to pose unanswerable questions that will feed conspiracists (which is one of the reasons I was somewhat sympathetic for Mueller’s preference for a closed hearing). But it’s only within the closed bubble that can’t be pierced by obvious facts that such questions are legitimate questions.

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. 

100 replies
  1. Rugger9 says:

    Gym Jordan is doing Kaiser Quisling’s work for him, and apparently this is the best pushback that the Palace has been able to concoct to deflect away from what Mueller will say. Really, they have nothing and they know it, so it’s time to pound the table.

    So pay attention to the distractions to come out of Palace, and there are several to choose from here: Iran (which just scored a back channel for trade from the EU via Instex), the 4th of July parade with tanks now, apparently since KQ really wants a May Day parade like the one Putin has in Moscow (but ensuring that no one knows who got invited to the “VIP section”), ICE and Border Patrol cruelties, another Kim summit. I wonder if KQ will do anything about his brand-new Press Secretary getting roughed up by Kim’s goons, but then again she’s distantly similar to a journalist (like Tucker) and those are expendable. Also, where was Melania? Or, has Ivanka become the new “acting” FLOTUS?

    The bubble is all the MAGA tribe has and when the middle class economy takes its dumper in due course (I noticed this week that the banksters were authorized another buyback of shares to bump up stock prices) the suckers will be left holding the bag like the ones in Lordstown, the truck drivers, the farmers (soybeans and almonds) and the various coal miners around the country. Then again, they voted for KQ and they own it.

    • P J Evans says:

      Tr*mp really seems to believe that all he has to do is say “I want” for his self-praising extravaganza and it will happen automagically. Meanwhile the Park Service would like someone to provide the money for it – they’re way underfunded, thanks to the GOP-T – the military will have to spend several days trying to get tracked vehicles that won’t ruin the city streets, and this is all supposed to be ready to roll on Thursday.

    • Mongoose says:

      The expanded role of Ivanka on the international scene is disturbing. Will she be replacing Bolton shortly? Perhaps Jared will replace Pompeo, who was repeatedly eclipsed in Japan. These poor old guys must know by now that their replacements are poised to strike.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Daddy thinks so highly of his little girl-wife that he sent his National Security Adviser to Mongolia -literally – but took his know-nothing daughter on his visit to the DMZ.

        I would gladly send Bolton to the moon, but it seems a little dangerous in so complicated a milieu to ostracize the buy you’ve hired to walk you through it. That Trump thinks Ivanka is competent to deal with any of this should be another item in his articles of impeachment.

        • Rugger9 says:

          “Buy” for Bolton / Pompeo et al is all too true.

          The note about muddying the waters is also too true, since the MSM is only too willing to give the GOP narrative enough legs to have their horse race. Looking at you Chuck Todd….

        • Americana says:

          It seems to me Trump is trying to create as much visual propaganda as he can for use in his 2020 campaign as well as for any future campaigns by family members Don Jr. and Ivanka. The denuclearization talks w/NK have gone nowhere but Trump needed a false impression of progress so he arranged for photographic false signs of progress. So despite his footsteps across the DMZ, Trump won’t be able to portray his love notes to Kim Jong Un and himself and his daughter stepping foot in NK as being significant milestones in U.S.-NK relations. Still, he’s going to milk those Kodak moments without revealing them for what they are — Russian-engineered propaganda dangles in support of Trump 2020.

          Trump tried to give Don Jr. the chance to assume his mantle but that effort has been overshadowed by Jr’s legal rodeos w/Mueller and Congress. For a while, there was a real effort to build Don Jr. up to be the successor to his father in 2024 but I think that effort has been stymied by Jr. being recalled for testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Don Jr. is tainted and will continue to be tainted for quite some time.

          Trump giving his daughter this degree of exposure at the G20 is a horrific sign to me he’s prepping her for an eventual run for the presidency. She’s going to be yet another uneducated Trump diddling her fingers in international affairs courtesy of her father’s hubris. Ivanka, whose only international exposure to diplomatic concerns is through the prism of her family’s corrupt business and her own eponymous corrupt business, will likely eye a run for the presidency based on her limited policy efforts during her father’s presidency. Not a good place to start, nonetheless her role as Trump WH senior advisor and her Trump Org. experience are what she’s going to use to portray herself as knowledgeable enough for the office of POTUS — her experience as an executive w/a corrupt international corporation and her experience w/a corrupt presidency.

      • Americana says:

        Ivanka is serving as the (questionably) unblemished banner carrier for the Trump brand on the national and international fields until further notice. Don Jr. is still prowling around under the cloud of his false testimony (and perhaps perjury) before Congress about the Trump Tower NYC meeting. So despite Don Jr. having been elevated to Heir Apparent by Trump Sr., his role might be in question for now.

        So who better for Trump to proffer up to the MSM as a distraction from his and his son’s present questionable legal status than someone he considers to be perfect Hollywood casting — Ivanka? Trump offered the position of Chief of the World Bank to Ivanka because “she’s very good w/numbers”. It’s unclear when Trump Sr. might try to throw Ivanka’s hat into the Republican POTUS race but it’s clear from her coy answer that “I’ll keep that between us,” there are other jobs Trump asked her to assume and one of them is likely the presidency.

        As for the interest Trump is generating w/his visit to the DMZ, that’s merely Russian-arranged visual propaganda that’s meant to give the impression there’s progress that’s been made in the denuclearization of North Korea when there hasn’t been any real progress. Such visual propaganda coming out of Trump’s state visit to the U.K. and his appearances w/the British royal family and his visit to South Korea is intended to be used to make Trump appear like an accomplished president and his family to be seen as potential presidential successors. But they’re postcards signifying nothing. Or, worse, they’re postcards signifying a corruption of the presidency that is potentially catastrophic.



  2. BobCon says:

    Mueller may well knock down a lot of the GOP’s stupidity, but he will do it in cold, technical, legalistic language. What he will say will largely be lacking in pith, vim and vinegar.

    It’s going to be up to the Democrats to prepare for the GOP framing and use Mueller’s responses as an opportunity to clarify the case. The trap the GOP is trying to set isn’t so much to knock Mueller down as to muddy the waters and turn it into two competing narratives, and convince the media to throw up their hands at any attempt to do their own work at interpreting what Mueller says.

    Which means that the Democrats will need to think through not simply plumbing the depths of Mueller’s report, but exposing the stupidity of the GOP in language the public and the press can understand. They have the raw materials at hand, but I’m not sure they have the PR skills to make it happen.

    • errant aesthete says:

      Re: BobCon

      Thoughtful, informed and well articulated. Some additional thoughts, I’d like to add: (Original is in quotes)

      “Mueller may well knock down a lot of the GOP’s stupidity, but he will do it in cold, technical, legalistic language. What he will say will largely be lacking in pith, vim and vinegar.”

      My understanding is that members of Mueller’s team will also be questioned. Unclear as to whether it is this same hearing or another, but that could be coordinated in advance. The point is to lend support to Mueller in his answers that may lack in “pith, vim, and vinegar.” It is essentially a duel presentation with Mueller leading off with an answer that “one” of his chosen team members (ideally the same one) artfully translates and finishes, providing those very elements that Mueller himself cannot.

      This is where a carefully coordinated answer to anticipated questions would be compelling and powerful. It may require establishing different ground rules on timing and methodology (admittedly, I do not know established procedure) but it would put the production of this hearing into the hands of the Democrats who are basically in charge and need to demonstrate that posture and attitude throughout.

      “It’s going to be up to the Democrats to prepare for the GOP framing and use Mueller’s responses as an opportunity to clarify the case. The trap the GOP is trying to set isn’t so much to knock Mueller down as to muddy the waters and turn it into two competing narratives, and convince the media to throw up their hands at any attempt to do their own work at interpreting what Mueller says.”

      On television, it is the perception that matters. It is the nuance of the moment, the small and large gesture that is captured and frozen in the eye of the camera. A viral moment is easily recognizable since most of us see something exactly the same way. Which again goes back to orchestrating this hearing like a carefully choreographed production of moving parts all synthesized to whittle the massive details down to the simplest of conclusions.

      It is in this preparation of claiming the narrative that the GOP excels. They stay on point. Each participant is a piece of the whole and they do it with organization, cunning, force, rage, anger, sarcasm, insult, etc. They are shameless in playing to the camera, always knowing precisely when to seize the moment. There will most certainly be two narratives, but based on past performance, it will likely be the GOP’s story of events that will prevail and overtake, leaving the viewer and the media to render an interpretation of their own.

      “Which means that the Democrats will need to think through not simply plumbing the depths of Mueller’s report, but exposing the stupidity of the GOP in language the public and the press can understand. They have the raw materials at hand, but I’m not sure they have the PR skills to make it happen.”

      Everything about the staging of this event, Mueller’s appearance as the prime witness and the sights and sounds of this hearing comes down to using the medium of television to enhance the message the Democrats hope to convey to the public.

      When BobCon says, “they have the raw materials at hand,” he’s right, they do, yet the Democrats always manage to fail at integrating all of what they know into a cohesive and well-produced whole that creates a solid and definitive impression. It’s bewildering and unthinkable to realize what resources are at their command and yet what they turn out often feels like an amateurish, hastily thrown together gathering of individuals in singular pursuit of achieving their own ends without thought or regard to what unites them. Are there no mission statements designated for these hearings? No team assessments? No rehearsals? No executive producers? No directors? And is this smart in going up against an opponent known as Mr. Reality Television himself? Just think about the pageantry and spectacle he orchestrated this last weekend.

      Unfortunately, to date, apart from the recent questioning of Hope Hicks by a highly-skilled interrogator that was tragically diminished in its impact “behind closed doors,” what has been reported thus far in explaining the success of the hearings is not encouraging.

      As for any effort to “plumb the depths” of the report, my own assessment is it will be a serious waste of time. Again, the Democrats in their statements, questions, rebuttals, etc. need to confine themselves to what is relevant and factual and stress those points repeatedly. It is a given that the report is complex and there is not adequate time to address that complexity, so use time prudently in getting the right message across that leaves no doubt, no error, no confusion.

      There is always MORE to say. As the psychologist, William James noted, “The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.”

      I would add that in addition to PR skills, the Dems need well-honed communication skills that focus on brevity, clarity, assuredness and the ability to keep it tight, relevant and interesting. No meandering, no grandstanding; just clean and powerful precision with no unnecessary verbiage.

      For most, if not all, politicians that is difficult since by trade they are actors who sell, persuade and appeal which is why it is the strategic, crafty, mission-driven interrogator who rules in these settings and I would encourage those committee members who are not adept at interrogation to relinquish their time to those who are and who can add to the spectacle and drama television invites. (It is no accident that Marcy’s post on Mueller’s upcoming hearing focuses on the talking head himself, Jim Jordan, who enjoys more screen time than anyone in the room, including the witness.)

  3. Savage Librarian says:


    “Where’s your document,”
    The clear voice shouted out
    To the current occupant,
    Who was without a doubt,

    A man well seasoned like a cheese,
    That’s ripe with age and zest,
    Someone who could shoot the breeze,
    When he was at his best.

    He cocked his head and bent his ear
    And gestured to hear more
    From the steadfast officer
    Who was standing at his door.

    “If I’m not mistaken,
    You’ve dropped it on the floor.”
    He was not at all shaken
    As he locked an oval drawer.

    The officer stepped forward
    to approach the hardened man
    Who crossed a foreign border
    To enact his ardent plan.

    It was the grandest bargain,
    He mused as he was cuffed,
    And begging someone’s pardon,
    He felt compelled to call this bluff.

    “It’s just a piece of paper,
    With some sketchy words on it,”
    Said the cagey shift shaper
    Who never cared a bit.

    They departed from the room,
    But someone soon retrieved
    The fallen precious heirloom
    That was so tragically aggrieved.

    He had his day in infamy
    With a purple heart to boot,
    Forty-five was full of bigotry,
    Plus he stole a lot of loot.

    When he declared his independence,
    The Constitution was upheld,
    With the appropriate sentence
    That all tyrants be expelled.

    Now it’s we the people
    Who have to carry on,
    To reinvigorate the eagle
    Almost brought down by the con.

    “Where’s your document,”
    The clear voice shouted out
    To the current occupant,
    Whose fraud was routed out.

  4. ItTollsForYou says:

    I love the double entendre in the Politico headline: Trump’s House allies LIE in wait for Mueller

  5. Geoff says:

    It would really be quite simple for Mueller to explain to Jordan (and the public) why the premise of his question is false, and thus, his question is preposterous. He could toss in that it appears Jordan didn’t read his report, and perhaps ask him if he did read it, and if he says he did, then say, well, it’s quite clear you didn’t understand what you wrote, so let me try to make it even more clear. It’s not that they knew there was no conspiracy, nor was it that there was no evidence of conspiracy. There was simply insufficient evidence to charge a conspiracy, and where there was sufficient evidence to charge obstruction, it was impossible to make that charge because of the law/precedent. Mueller should be able to make Jordan look like the absolute fool that he is, and reinforce his case, while setting up the argument that Barr’s conclusion was also false.

    • Americana says:

      I agree Mueller will always have that cagey response available to him— that these guys didn’t read his report so therefore they don’t understand the factual basis for its conclusions because they’ve been listening to incorrect interpretations of his report. The Mueller report is a millstone around their necks whether they wish to admit it or not. Trump’s witches will drown in their own deceit and they’ll deserve every ounce of that millstone around their necks. I’d love it if Mueller was able to read passages into the Congressional record from his report when Jordan tries to snag him by saying, “You’ll find this following statement on Page # of my report.. ”

      An even bigger conundrum for the GOP is what might ultimately happen with Roger Stone’s trial testimony. It’s not a good sign of a strong defense Stone and Corsi are relying on the absurd claim the FBI and the Special Counsel were trying to get them to lie about Trump et al. Should the Republicans refuse to deal w/Stone and Corsi’s actions viz serving as cut-outs between the Russians and the Trump campaign during this testimony by Mueller, they will be creating yet another factual millstone around their necks that will come back to haunt them.

    • Ruthie says:

      I agree that Jordan’s question opens a whole can of worms he’s seemingly unprepared for, including an answer highlighting the difference between no evidence and insufficient *admissable* evidence.

      • Tom says:

        Not just insufficient evidence to charge, but insufficient evidence to charge with an 85% to 90% chance of obtaining a conviction, which seems like a pretty high bar to me.

  6. AGoodEsq says:

    Perhaps Mueller could just answer as follows, “My report is my testimony and speaks for itself, Congressman, Unfortunately, you seem too stupid to understand it. Let me explain…”

    The Dems should also ask Mueller the following questions:

    (1) The President claims there was no collusion. Please point us to the page in your report where it says that.
    (2) The President claims there was no obstruction. Please point us to the page in your report where it says that.
    (3) The President claims you totally exonerated him. Please point us to the page in your report where it says that.

  7. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I imagine Jim Jordan has pocketed his VIP ticket to TrumpDay at the Lincoln Memorial. Tickets are nominally free, but you have to be on a “special” TrumpHouse list to be offered one. Getting on that list must cost a bundle in contributions, spending at TrumpWorld properties, and favors.

    Trump has renewed his demand for a Russian, Chinese, North Korean-style parade of tanks. Expensive to operate, those sixty-ton treaded monsters chew up paved roads. Overtime for clean-up and repairs will further strain DC’s and the National Park Service’s budgets. The Service is already burdened by an unfunded $11 billion backlog that Congress has ignored for decades.

    TrumpDay military flyovers will be dangerous and cost a mint. Each aircraft and pilot are supported by a large team of ground staff and air controllers. They and civilian and military first responders will be doubly stressed coordinating standby emergency crews and air operations over normally no-go terrain, which will be swarming with VIPs and the public.

    All the acts for TrumpDay have been booked at the last minute, disrupting meticulous schedules. The Navy’s Blue Angels aerobatics team, for example, will lose a much needed rest between shows. Trouble prone F-35s – the most expensive aircraft in the world – will be hauled out of their maintenance hangars to zoom past. I hope nothing falls off.

    The finale will be Caractacus Potts and Truly Scrumptious landing on the Mall to look for the children stolen by Trump’s head of CBP, Baron Bomburst.


    • Rugger9 says:

      The VIP section “who’s who” will be most interesting for those of us who remember Kremlinology. Back in the day it was all about the pecking order on Lenin’s tomb in Red Square and much analytical ink (in the days before rampant pixel use) was spilled over what it all meant. That and the occasional “cold” that routinely waxed Soviet General Secretaries.

      What might also be interesting is whether attendance will drop and/or which acts will pull out of the show now that the militaristic nature is revealed. It also might be interesting to see whether the service personnel engage in some sort of messaging. For example, on the full dress ship (where the pennants are all out on display) there is a formally prescribed sequence designed to prevent the signalmen from adding unapproved messages like the Fun Times Navy for everyone to see.

      • Tom says:

        The President could always claim a formation of Stealth fighters flew over but no-one could see them because they were invisible.

    • Vicks says:

      So they are closing the mall to the public on July 4th and holding a private party for DJT; entertainment will be provided by multiple branches of our military. Real props will be used.
      If invited, are people expected to bring gifts?
      Where are the folks wearing their dress flip flops and bedazzled nails supposed to go to watch their 35 minutes of fireworks?
      Who is paying for this anyway? DC can’t afford it.
      It sounds like quite the military display, are these volunteers using PTO from the armed services?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Just for comparison, many commercial roads have a weight limit of 20 tons, 40,000 lbs, which is about the weight of a standard fully-loaded dump truck.

      The tanks that Trump demands parade past him weigh three times as much: 60 tons, 120,000 lbs. They roll along on cleated treads, not rubber tires. Bad for roads – worse for the bridges across the Potomac. It seems to please Donald that he destroys everything he touches.

      • P J Evans says:

        A fully-loaded trash truck – especially the large front-loading type – will run 16 to 18 tons.

        • TooLoose LeTruck says:

          I have to admit… I saw the phrase “a fully loaded trash truck” and immeditately thought you were referring to Trump…

          • P J Evans says:

            I think you could get him in a four-yard dumpster. Sideloaders (which are smaller) can handle those. Frontloaders can manage four and eight-yard dumpsters.
            (I worked for a couple of years in the scale room at a landfill. 70-foot truck scale.)

      • oldoilfieldhand says:

        Apologies to Punaise and Tennessee Ernie Ford…

        You drive a sixty-ton tank, and what do you get,
        A smile and a wave from the Presindebt.
        You’ve trashed all the roads, might as well be mined,
        but the Magats are happy so the news is just fine.

        Some people think that he’s full of shit,
        but the Presindebt knows that he can’t quit,
        He’s in for a penny, in for a pound,
        and only Robert Mueller can take him down.

        St Peter don’t call me, I can’t go,
        I’ve got a VIP ticket for Trump’s big show…

  8. sw_marks says:

    I fear that the expectations for Mueller’s testimony are the equivalent of the hope that Speaker Pelosi is playing n-dimensional chess. The best method that I see of ensuring against the idiocies of the GOP members of these committees is the skilled questioning of Mueller by competent, practicing lawyers skilled at using interrogation to build a logic structure that exposes the arguments of the GOP members.

    About 25 years ago, I saw the value of this type of questioning at a Zoning Board hearing in a rural town of roughly 1,200 in Connecticut. Literally, more cows than people. It seems the head of the board had arranged a deal with a realtor to sell some land to build a subdivision. It aso seemed to many of the town that the deal wasn’t exactly kosher.

    The side against the subdivision managed to obtain the services of a well-placed corporate lawyer in nearby Hartford. His questions seemed tedious at first. Would you please look at the contractor’s map and identify the property lines? Would you please look at the town’s zoning map and identify the same property lines? Then the contract verbiage; then the zoning regulations.

    It was brilliant.

    By the end of the hour, the lawyer had completely destroyed the justification of the Zoning board’s head for the subdivision. Indeed, at the beginning of the hour, the crowd of about 80 people packed into the room were split about 50/50. By the end, almost everybody was ready to tar and feather the head of the Zoning board.

  9. TooLoose LeTruck says:

    “It reinforced the anal opening that I believe Mueller to be.”

    Well… at least Gohmert’s finally talking about something he does have a certain level of expertise in… ya know, being an…

  10. OldTulsaDude says:

    I can hardly wait to see the Space Force flyby on Thursday – they are the cause of all the new UFO information, are they not?

      • OldTulsaDude says:

        I think that is Area 52 now, Obama had 51, and it was a disaster, and 52 is so much better, the best area probably ever, I don’t know.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Area 52 is for all the new stuff. Area 51 would be for all the stuff Trump would be cleared to see. :-)

  11. Observiter says:

    AGoodEsq, I like the questions you write for Mueller. Those are exactly what the Democrats should ask. And sw_Marks, your example reaffirms AGoodEsq’s point. Short, to-the-point, powerful questions. I hope the Democrats are listening.

  12. Observiter says:

    Something else I want to know re Jordan. Maybe you know, Marcy. What were Jordan and the other Freedom Caucusers doing in Moscow last year (July 4th weekend, 2018)? talking with Russian legislators about…what? I remember they specifically invited no Democrats to join them. What were they doing in Russia over our Independence Day holiday? This was just before a trip by trump.

    • P J Evans says:

      They won’t answer, and I don’t think anyone else in the US really knows. (Well, maybe the intelligence agencies have found out – but they probably won’t tell.)

  13. Frank Probst says:

    Mueller will probably simply state that his report did not conclude that there was no conspiracy or coordination, and his report makes clear that he did not even consider the question of “collusion”. I think that Mueller’s first answer to every question will be more or less “It’s in the report.” Neither the Dems nor the GOP is going to get some sort of “gotcha” answer to a direct question. What’s going to matter is how the follow-up questions are worded, and how Mueller chooses to answer them. He may just stick to legalese and keep referring back to the report regardless of what either side has to say, or he may decide to pick and choose what he “clarifies”. I think where things could get interesting is if his personal integrity is questioned. That might lead to some fireworks. Or he may just swat those questions aside, too. At this point, I have fairly low expectations.

    • OmAli says:

      Seems critical that the Dems meet to seriously game this out, and coordinate their questions based on Mueller’s prior responses. They need to know where they want this to go, and their path/s to get there, before they ever enter that room.

      I am not optimistic..

    • bmaz says:

      Frank, I think you have pretty much the perfect expectation and outlook on this. Would be wonderful if there was more that comes from it, but that is pretty much it.

  14. MattyG says:

    Regarding Muller not establishing conspiracy beyond a reasonable 85%+ doubt. Congress should be appaulled at even a 10% chance DT is working for the other side, or %1 or 0.5%…

    DT was never vetted and Mueller declined to make the call. Congress needs to vet him now.

  15. AitchD says:

    Mueller said out loud: “It’s unconstitutional”. What does he mean by that, exactly? If the chair begins with that question, the conversation could mandate, sort of, a formal impeachment inquiry.

    • MattyG says:

      Yes, he proclaims that very loud and clear in the introduction of the Report – no footnote or anything. It really puzzled me too since I am unware that this is a settled Constititutional interpretation – on the one hand it’s debated by jurists for sport all the time, and on the other the DOJ policy he seems to be leaning on has never actually been tested in court. Am correct? That he was so unequivocal – without offering supporting opinion seemed very strange – so loud as to bed the question..

        • MattyG says:

          It would interesting if Mueller was asked if he or someone else judged a potential presidential indictment as “unconstitutional”. And if someone else, who? Barr?

  16. Vicks says:

    There is a “mystery fbi transcript” that they are trying to blow life back into that supposedly exonerates Papadop that the FBI deliberately “withheld” when they applied for the FISA(S) Troy Gowdy is now saying seeing that document changed everything for him.
    The other hot defense is that Mueller should have refused the job because when he interviewed for Comey’s job he and Trump discussed why Comey was fired. The claim is that Mueller was a witness in his own investigation.
    What a nightmare.
    How does one shut down pure bullsh*t without adding fuel the their conspiracy defense?

    • P J Evans says:

      Ask them to provide their sources of information; then you can point out it’s all speculation evidence-free bullshytt that they’ve been fed by Tr*mp and Fox. At the very least, they should be able to provide their sources for their claims of secret documents, and interviews that none of them were present for.

      • Vicks says:

        That is the beauty of the deep- state- secret -society alternate conspiracy defense.
        They can’t produce the evidence because it has been hidden, destroyed or secret society members are using claims of national security to withhold the truth from the public.

  17. Observiter says:

    The analyses and intellectualizing that folks provide are valid, but meaningless in this environment. GOP clearly don’t care about meeting regulatory/legal requirements or what the percentages indicate or anything else, other than they appear to be entirely focused on Winning regardless of anything else (such as right and wrong).

    Democrats haven’t caught up to noticing this, unless there’s a secret plan the Democrats are following behind the scenes.

    Well…a few Democrats are waking up. I will never forget Kamala Harris’ questioning of William Barr and how unbelievably effective she was at disarming him, and quickly. If she had spent her time intellectualizing and humming/hawing, Barr would have walked away a happy man.

    Mueller is very smart and experienced, and he is a prosecutor, like Harris. I would bet he does not want to get involved with the theatrics the GOP is planning. I also would bet he will not be led in to political discussions, especially related to Barr. My sense is he will be short and specific when answering questions.

    My hopes and dreams may be on a different track, but that is what I envision from Mueller. We also do not know what pressures are being placed on him and his staff behind the scenes. We hear about some of the crookedness, but I’ll assume there is A LOT of ugliness we are not privy to.

  18. CD54 says:

    I generally agree with most of the above limited expectations. But I think Mueller may be forced to explain both the discrepancies between the Report and Barr’s PR move as well as any DOJ action which had any effect on the timing of the Report’s release.

    • P J Evans says:

      Barr’s PR move was him protecting Tr*mp (and possibly his own tail end). Mueller shouldn’t have to explain it.

    • Americana says:

      I’m hoping Mueller will be asked to explain his letter of rebuke to Barr sent in late April a few days after Barr misrepresented the findings of the Mueller report and that preceded by a few weeks Mueller’s press conference of May 29. That will provide Mueller the opportunity to mention that over 1,000+ DOJ alumni signed a letter recognizing Mueller’s findings in the Mueller report, findings which AG Barr claims not to have recognized. Mueller can then read that letter from the DOJ alumni into the congressional record which cites the very same damning points made in the Mueller report. Perhaps Mueller should also insist all the names of the DOJ alumni who agreed w/him also be added to the congressional record even if not all those names are read out loud during his testimony.

      Yes, I’m also fascinated by what I consider an abrupt and suspicious closure to the Special Counsel’s investigation when certain individuals were still being investigated. The fact Republicans are still trying to claim Corsi and Stone were being suborned by the FBI is ridiculous given the emails that have been disclosed from both men. Republicans wish the Russia investigation to be declared over before the most heinous evidence comes to light. Well, what we’ve got for evidence is heinous enough for impeachment, Jordan/Meadows/Collins/Gohmert/et al.

    • Areader2019 says:

      Me too. I wonder if it is NSA intercepts, or from CIA sources. Which means it might also be classified, and will not be discussed in the public interview.

  19. Greg Hunter says:

    Every once in a while I wrote contemporaneous analysis when my Senator participated in cross examining a witness and I found one of those observations the other day. To be clear I am biased against the Senator as I always thought he was dumb and an example of right wing christian that legislated based on the bible and not the Constitution. He was a Senator when the State Department paid the Taliban 48 million dollars in April of 2001 which, I emailed him about in June of 2001 questioning why the Drug War was more important than human rights but he never answered. Mike DeWine started out as a County Prosecutor and grifted his christian “values” from the State House to the Senate, back to AG and now he is Governor of Ohio.

    In all the time I have studied DeWine I never saw him actually look intelligent, except on the day he questioned Robert Mueller. When I read this analysis, written in 2006, I was shocked that I thought Mueller was an idiot compared to DeWine as I had been caught up in the recent Mueller hype. Yes I was convinced of the Mueller hype, but I really should have known better as I find it hard to believe that those that believe in a Higher Power, like Comey, Mueller and DeWine, will do the right thing for the American Constitution.

    With the disappointment of Pelosi, the Supreme Court and the much hyped Mueller, I do not hold out much hope for the American experiment.

    • Americana says:

      Is this the Mueller testimony you found so wanting? Sen. Mike DeWine starts his testimony @ 1:22:35 or so… This is basically a dissection of the FBI’s tackling of the Patriot Act from its wording to its implementation and execution of its responsibilities within the FBI. DeWine is hardly brilliant in this hearing, in my view, and he certainly doesn’t deliver any KO’s to Mueller who’s basically been charged w/the responsibility of building an entirely new force within the FBI.


      • Greg Hunter says:

        Thanks for the link and it jogs the memory on my version of Mueller as he was in charge of the FBI during the implementation of the Patriot Act, which I hated as it was used to fight the ridiculous Drug War, which was part of my desire to end before we went to Afghanistan in 2002. In addition I had very little respect for his handling of the software development for FBI systems as it confirmed my bias against the firms like SAIC, CSC or others in this space. I had participated in and sold software to the federal government prior to 911 and I was already disgusted with the revolving door/payoffs one had to do to perform work in this space. I was naive as a younger person failing to understand the corruptness and incompetence in our elected officials and those that are appointed to leadership positions; yeah I was around for John Murtha. Mueller was in place from mid 2001 prior to 911 and at this point he was waffling on software development. DeWine is putting the heat on Mueller but DeWine is too stupid to understand how powerful and corrupt the revolving door contractors attempting to convince I was convinced then and nothing has changed my mind about how DC works.

        God the link is great as DeWine confirms that the focus in on terrorism and he asks what the FBI is not doing. Mueller recognizes or states that drug cases, white collar crime and crimes against the government. You can draw a direct line from the FBI’s lack of oversight of white collar crime to the corruption of Trump.

        So my bias against patriotic firms like SAIC, which later grifted so much against the New York City the company was forced to split into Leidos/SAIC, combined with my thinking that the Patriot Act would be used for domestic spying and continued fighting the useless drug war have been confirmed and Mueller played a part.

        This hearing was great as so far there are only three people out of position of power and two are dead, hmmm…..good stuff.

        Here is the software story


        • Americana says:

          Thanks for the software story link but I would like to write a post first before reading your link because of the thoughts you triggered in me about the FBI’s mission and how Trump keeps hiding right under their radar.

          Much of Trump’s corruption **was caught** by the FBI but being brought to trial sure didn’t stop Trump from pursuing his professional life as a developer w/ever-expanding criminal intent. Trump’s been caught in how many criminal activities and he’s been able to make those charges basically disappear by arriving at settlements w/plaintiffs. There are a good many trials where I thought Trump’s money laundering via real estate would nail him. There are a good many partnerships where I thought he’d be nailed for the various corruption entailed in those partnerships. This was especially true of the Trump SoHo trial where Trump lied in a deposition about “NOT knowing or being able to recognize FELIX SATER if he were in the room w/them”! Trump had long since given Felix Sater offices in Trump Tower NYC and had given him a Trump Org business card and title of Senior Advisor to the Trump Org thanks to Sater’s contacts within the Russia mafia. But once again, Trump begged off by offering the Trump SoHo plaintiffs a settlement.

          There’s nothing wrong w/the Patriot Act playing a role in catching a domestic criminal like Trump who is partnered w/external enemies of this country and who is undermining this country’s civic functioning because of his own desire to achieve massive self-aggrandizement in Russia. We all knew the Patriot Act could potentially nab Americans if the international intelligence trail led the FBI to those Americans. Trump just thought he could hide his criminality in plain sight because he believes so strongly in his ability to distort the legal process.

          It’s horrific what Trump has done to the intelligence and justice communities. It’s no longer possible to allow Trump to evade justice by letting him pay fines. This is going to the mat by Trump’s own choices of tactics and alliances over decades. Denigrate the Patriot Act and claim it’s flawed, but Trump was ensnared because of his long-term foreign criminal links. Trump’s actions in these events, done on foreign soil and domestic soil, indicate what role this legislation legitimately played in compiling the evidence of Trump’s crimes.


        • Americana says:

          PS — Trump didn’t expand his criminality because Mueller’s FBI’s focus was elsewhere other than on white collar crime. Trump expanded his criminality because he had developed the Russian partnerships and they needed an American funnel for their money laundering.

          Not sure why you’re confused about so many factually indisputable aspects of Trump’s business when they are clear based on the evidence.

        • Americana says:

          That link wasn’t particularly enlightening as to what made the SAIC efforts such a clusterfluck. I can understand why contracts w/known tech entities can turn into nightmares. Can you provide a better techno article dissecting the technical aspects gone wrong that also unveils what you claim was SAIC corruption? This article left me w/too many questions. Thanks.

  20. orionATL says:

    for me, this is the heart of this post:

    “… the Mueller team told Amy Berman Jackson that Paul Manafort had breached his plea agreement on November 26, 2018. His last grand jury appearance — on November 2 — did not show up in his breach discussion (meaning he may have told the truth, including about Trump’s personal involvement in optimizing the WikiLeaks releases). But in his October 26 grand jury appearance, he tried to hide the fact that he continued to pursue a plan to carve up Ukraine well into 2018, and continued to generally lie about what that plan to carve up Ukraine had to do with winning Michigan and Wisconsin, such that Manafort took time away from running Trump’s campaign on August 2, 2016 to discuss both of them with his co-conspirator Konstantin Kilimnik. Mueller never did determine what that August 2 meeting was about or what Kilimnik and Viktor Boyarkin did with the Trump polling data Manafort was sharing with them…”

    it seems reasonable to me that there was a conspiracy between the trump campaign (to get trump elected president) and the putin campaign (to see that the democrat, clinton, was not elected), and that manafort and kilimnik were the couriers who transported “messages” (information) back and forth between these two conspiring campaigns.

    while much has been made of the ukraine talk between the trump and putin campaigns, little if any has been said about trump’s attacks on nato. yet trump, who is profoundly ignorant of political matters, including foreign policy matters, immediately upon assuming the presidency began attacking the nato nations and undermining the alliance. how is it that trump knew to do this and has continued to do so? it couldn’t have all been about his “pay your way” prejudice. i suspect there were more agreements between the two campaigns.

    i suspect that the mueller investigation and report is only the beginning of a full understanding the conspiracy between trump and putin and their campaigns.

    • Americana says:

      I’m not meaning to knock your theory about Trump and NATO however, Trump has always harbored a desire to reduce American spending on NATO. Trump has also been cultivated since 1987 by Russia.

      Based on how long the Russians have been dangling the Trump Tower Moscow deal in front of Trump’s nose, it seems clear the cultivation of Trump has been a long-time project for Russian intelligence. The fact Trump made such a rant about NATO expenditures once he returned from his Russia trip is a coincidence that’s beyond a coincidence.



      • orionATL says:

        americana –

        you are right and i note that (“pay their way”). trump has long been obsessed about the nation being taken advantage – by china, by nato nations, by nafta partners. (that is ironic since his own business style is to take advantage of others in spades.) but trump has gone out of his way to disrupt relations with nato nations (except turkey). nor has he put forward any “plan” for those nations to consider in terms of “fair payments”. the upshot is uncertainty, unease, and fisarray in the major american line of defense in europe against Russian military movements westward and southward (into ukraine). this combines with disarray in the defense dept and other parts of our war machine. the guy is a Russian general’s dreaml

        i don’t see any reason to push this thinking too far, but it would be foolish not to consider it. after all, it was the Russian general gerasimov who first conceived using the internet to disrupt nations socially and it was the gru, Russian military intelligence, which was both k. kilimnik’s training ground and the organization that stole democratic party material and then devised web sites to disseminate stolen material, e.g., guccifer 2.0.

        it would take no more than a whisper or two for trump to get the message and follow up as president.

        as for manafort and kilimnik i called them “couriers”, but i think they were far more, strategists as well. i suspect manafort felt obliged to lie to the mueller investigators because had he not done so, he would have been revealed as a spy, which is what i personally think he was, rather than merely an american political businessman plying his trade among the ukraine’s billionaire politicians. his work companion in ukraine for years was the russian kilimnik, not some ukranian familiar with the nation. i’d guess manafort and kilimnik were working for Russia.

        i’m not going to lose any sleep over any of this speculation, but i think it foolish not to consider it and be on the lookout for confirmation.

        • Rayne says:

          Gerasimov was not the first who “conceived of using the internet to disrupt nations socially.”

          The first published suggestion was in 1999 by two PRC colonels in a white paper entitled, “Unrestricted Warfare.”

          In spite of the fact the US military reviewed this paper they didn’t grasp its significance. They are still struggling with Gerasimov’s warmed-over version of Unrestricted Warfare.

          • orionATL says:

            rayne –

            this is interesting history.

            one should know that when the top general in the Russian general staff is listed as the author of a major strategic concept then, at the very least, some of his staff probably did the writing and research for him :)

            am i right in assuming that the Chinese colonels’ writing specifically mentioned use of the internet and cyberwarfare?

            • Rayne says:

              In the PRC-PLA paper the first reference to network attacks is in regard to “kinder weapons”:

              Kinder weapons represent a derivative of the new concept of weapons, while information weapons are a prominent example of kinder weapons. Whether it involves electromagnetic energy weapons for hard destruction or soft-strikes by computer logic bombs, network viruses, or media weapons, all are focused on paralyzing and undermining, not personnel casualties.

              ‘Media weapons’. Communications are also part of the network to be disrupted via information warfare+cyberwarfare.

              Our biggest blindspot has been a lack of imagination. PRC warned us what they were going to do and we just plain blew it because we didn’t grasp it, too bound up in the military-industrial complex’s investment into traditional kinetic warfare.

              I wrote a post about this six years ago already, with a followup on Gerasimov last summer. We’re still not gaining any ground.

              • orionATL says:


                that is an absolutely fascinating paragraph. these guys had it all nailed down, in abstract, even before there was an internet. the availability of the internet greatly multiplies the concept’s reach and power over individuals.

                personally, given the success of the russian effort in the u.s. in 2016, i don’t see any end to the use of “kind weapons” involving the manipulation of individual citizen psychology in the future. it is so much cheaper and less destructive of physical structures (forget human lives) than weapons of war and may prove as effective in obtaining forms of “surrender”, which is where warfare always goes.

                as for “hard destruction”, the americans are reported to have been dicking with the russian electrical grid recently. there have been previous reports, including at emptywheel, about russian probes here. my wife and i have discussed the consequences for large cities of system wide power failures – talk about disaster! in michigan during an arctic breech or georgia during a summer heatwave? i think paris a couple of years ago suffered hundreds of deaths from a heat wave. my family in nederlands tells me europeans don’t use ac much. they just close the blinds in the day. women’s world cup being played in unimaginably hot temps for france.

                american war thinkers may have been asleep in the past but they surely have seen the light now. right?

                • Rayne says:

                  That we are having any kind of conversation about cyberwarfare threats to the U.S. power grid should tell you that power companies have not adequately taken to heart the ample warnings they have had to isolate their systems sufficiently.

                  I don’t set much store by the chatter about U.S. threats to the Russian power grid. I honestly haven’t spent time on it but given our current administration’s ownership by Putin combined with inadequate leadership at certain levels of US government I doubt this is anything more than disinformation. I’m extremely cynical about this.

                  “Kinder weapons” once implied a lack of casualties. It’s been two decades since Unrestricted Warfare was published and I think we now realize how deadly “kinder weapons” can be. Consider how many US citizens died each year from gun violence after Russia began its cash infusion into the NRA and subsequently into Congress. Consider the deaths of 3,000 Puerto Rican Americans after Russia’s information warfare interfered with 2016 election and possibly with attitudes towards relief efforts.

    • Frank Probst says:

      I think Rick Gates was at the meeting between Manafort and Kilimnik, so the Mueller team probably knew exactly what was discussed. The problem is that you can’t make a case for conspiracy based entirely on Gates’ word, and there wasn’t enough documentation (if any) to make the charge stick.

  21. Observiter says:

    I feel it is still too soon to know what Pelosi and others are actually up to.

    I do believe Barr intervened in Mueller’s investigation and report. But Mueller’s a company guy. Will he spill the beans about Barr? I suspect he’s torn a bit, but I think he’ll diplomatically, lawyerly evade answering directly about this, if asked. Then again, he did write those statements pointing out Barr’s misleading/inaccurate previous communications.

    But to the topic at hand regarding Jim Jordan, I don’t believe Jordan or his associates care what anyone thinks about their tactics. They’ve won a lot the last two years and I think they are drunk with it.

    I’m repeating myself, but I just have to do it. I hope we find out what Jordan and the so-called “freedom caucus” were doing in Russia last year. These so-called “patriots.” Our day (July 4) to recognize our freedoms and they are there outside the U.S. having a mysterious meeting with a major dictatorship. Maybe they did a trade for help in making NRA data disappear. Maybe they did a trade for the Ukraine nuclear codes. Maybe they like vodka and gladly abandoned participating in the annual July 4 parade and BBQ in their home town with their family.

  22. Stryx says:

    I think all the Dems should ask some form of “Mr.Mueller, when you said that if you had confidence that the president didn’t obstruct justice you would say so, but you didn’t say so. Could you explain that?”

    The day after Mueller told Congress that he would have exonerated Trump if he could have, Trump announced out of the blue, with great fanfare, his insane plan to raise tariffs on Mexico. Then it was the weekend and by Monday, Mueller’s double negative accusation was lost.

    Someone ought to pick that back up and revisit it. A lot.

  23. carla breeze says:

    re:Frump’s 4th of July extravaganza and critique of NATO members who are not “paying their share”. Even if Frump commits to paying any DC expenses, he will resort to his decades old strategy of nonpayment. He has yet to reimburse the City of El Paso for his campaign rally (ostensibly to highlight border crisis) there. See El Paso Times, June 3, 2019.

    • P J Evans says:

      He’s stealing the money from the Park Service – funding that had been intended for much-needed repairs and improvements. $2.5 million.

  24. dwfreeman says:

    Jim Jordan, the former Ohio State wrestling coach, who couldn’t come clean about his own players allegations of sexual molestation against a late OSU athletic doctor for fear of how it might impact his new, political career as a Freedom Caucus attack dog, plans again to ignore reality and pursue a line of questioning against Mueller that satisfies marginal partisan interests.

    Jordan truly is a product of his past and university environment, a Buckeye, or as University of Michigan fans are want to call them, hairless nuts.

    The fact that the Republicans can’t read a timeline or don’t want to acknowledge Trump’s decades of cultivation as a Russian asset by Moscow, their agreement to greenlight his adulthood vanity project on the banks of the Moscow River in the months following his entry in the 2016 presidential race, and then hired advisors, pollsters and campaign chairmen who were eager to embrace Trump’s Kremlin bent, makes him more than a political stooge. And he and his partners in crime in the Republican congress will someday atone for thinking backing Trump was ever a smart choice.

  25. Savage Librarian says:

    About Jim Jordan:

    Most notable to me is that, as you see from the excerpts below, The Constitution first addressed, “We the People.” It then reinforces this in Article 1 which addresses the legislative branch. And of the two chambers, it first addresses the House of Representatives. So, it appears that “the people” were uppermost in the minds of the founders.

    Jim Jordan and his abusive colleagues don’t seem to respect this, as illustrated by their treatment of witnesses and Representatives who are Democrats.

    In Article 1, Section 5, item 2, below, The Constitution states that each House may “punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour.” Yet, Jim Jordan (and others) don’t seem to be held to account for their disruptive and disorderly conduct.

    Ironically, in recent memory, we know that members of the House considered punishing Ilhan Omar, not for disorderly conduct, but for expressing concerns within her 1st Amendment rights. But there seems to be little attempt on the part of House members to address actual, and very real, instances of disorderly conduct in their chambers.

    If there is a question as to what disorderly behavior is, maybe all of our Representatives should take a look at this to determine who are the real perpetrators (measure Jim Jordan, Matt Gaetz, and their ilk against this):

    36 CFR § 2.34 – Disorderly conduct.
    § 2.34 Disorderly conduct.
    (a) A person commits disorderly conduct when, with intent to cause public alarm, nuisance, jeopardy or violence, or knowingly or recklessly creating a risk thereof, such person commits any of the following prohibited acts:
    (1) Engages in fighting or threatening, or in violent behavior.
    (2) Uses language, an utterance, or gesture, or engages in a display or act that is obscene, physically threatening or menacing, or done in a manner that is likely to inflict injury or incite an immediate breach of the peace.
    (3) Makes noise that is unreasonable, considering the nature and purpose of the actor’s conduct, location, time of day or night, and other factors that would govern the conduct of a reasonably prudent person under the circumstances.
    (4) Creates or maintains a hazardous or physically offensive condition.
    (b) The regulations contained in this section apply, regardless of land ownership, on all lands and waters within a park area that are under the legislative jurisdiction of the United States.
    [48 FR 30282, June 30, 1983, as amended at 52 FR 35240, Sept. 18, 1987]
    “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

    Article I (Article 1 – Legislative)

    Section 5
    “2: Each House may determine
    the Rules of its Proceedings,
    punish its Members for
    disorderly Behaviour, and,
    with the Concurrence of
    two thirds, expel a Member.”

    • Savage Librarian says:

      I suggest that the House tighten up its Rules, particularly as they relate to comportment. This is something they could do without having to rely at all on the Senate. If they can’t do this, I would seriously wonder if they can do anything.

  26. Americana says:

    Sorry, Savage Librarian, but I don’t think that disorderly conduct statute(?) applies to the behaviours these Republicans have been engaged in whether it applies to being rude during hearings or attempting to introduce red herrings into hearings. Most of the time, they are not overtly physically threatening physical violence to anyone even if they are psychologically intimidating someone. The somewhat open-ended expulsion clause under “disorderly conduct” certainly could result in expulsion actions taken against members but the “disorderly conduct” might prove an issue.

    I wonder about the legal potential for censuring (or taking other legal measures) certain members of Congress who have performed their duties in a manner that doesn’t respect the separation of powers. bmaz could tell us if there is anything that can legally be done about someone like Rep. Devin Nunes serving as an intermediary/conduit for Trump. To me, there are countless instances where I feel certain congressmen have breached the ethics inherent in their oaths of office and I cannot see all of these instances being protected by the First Amendment. Sure, public remarks might be protected but are covert actions protected that break the ethics laws and which flout the separation of powers when the oversight role of Congress is in play? Sharing of privileged congressional committee information w/the Chief Executive and his staff seems to legally breach an aspect of the separation of powers that should be legally indefensible especially given the gravity and nature of this situation. The separation of powers in Trump’s situation is especially relevant, to me at least, since there are/were reasonable counter-intelligence grounds for investigating the Chief Executive, in which case, given these highly unusual circumstances surrounding Trump’s lifelong criminal links to Russia, there should have been an even more stringent legal protocol in effect over the separation of powers. The fact most actions taken by Nunes were covert implies there’s awareness on his part of criminal intention to obstruct justice by Trump. If the members of Congress are aiding and abetting criminal actions by Trump or any of his henchmen, where does their legal liability start demanding accountability under the law? Surely all these covert actions by Nunes cannot be permissible under the separation of powers concept or under his First Amendment rights because he’s acting as a member of Congress in providing Trump w/privileged committee material and vice versa? Nunes is not merely mouthing off in Congress or at a D.C. bar.

    I think what’s bizarre about these events is that someone like former AG Jeff Sessions recused himself because he understood the law and knew he’d already overstepped the law on Trump’s behalf once or twice and he could do so no longer without imperiling himself and without flouting the law. Where does that same risk of overstepping the law apply to members of Congress aiding and abetting criminal actions by Trump in his role of CE? Congress was given a clear illustration by AG Sessions of what they should do and yet they performed as Trump’s lackeys.

    bmaz, I’m not trying to muck up the conversation w/this post so if you consider it too off-topic, please delete it. I’m struggling w/my understanding of the separation of powers, co-equal branches and how they interact legally in such a fraught situation. Of course, I’d prefer if you wrote a legal mumbly jumbly post delineating the interaction between the First Amendment rights of members of Congress and their legal responsibilities under the separation of powers. To me, this is a huge issue that is as yet relatively unexplored because of the enormity of other legal aspects of this mess. But, to me, it seems like that conundrum between the responsibilities of the separate branches might be a very fruitful aspect to explore (even if you don’t wish to explore it until after his impeachment is over). Again, I’m not trying to derail the convo.

    If that’s too demanding of a post to write quickly in response to this request, think about it and post whenever. I’m sure it’ll be applicable for a long while to come! ;(

    • Rayne says:

      Let’s get some terminology straight: you are a commenter. You are publishing a comment. You are NOT writing a blog post.

      I would appreciate it if you used the correct terminology. You may NOT describe what you are doing here as “posting at emptywheel.”

      Secondly, your comments lack concision. Many of our community members read on small mobile device screens. Optimum comment length is 100 words or less. 300 words is pushing it. This comment at 679 is really pushing it when you have shared multiple +300 word comments. Pare down or the algorithm will continue to hold you backend.

      • Americana says:

        The bios of those who are EW bloggers are on your masthead. I don’t confuse my role w/theirs. If I’d known there was a character limit as w/Twitter, I’d observe that limit. It never occurred to me you were trying to stick to technical limits of devices since I read books on my phone.

        I write about what’s currently bothering me about these events. I expect if they’re sensible thoughts, they might trigger others’ thinking. Perhaps mentioning the role behind the separation of powers and the responsibilities that entails for members of Congress might push the impeachment process as we call congressmen (this was meant to possibly aid your whip blogpost in achieving an uptick in congressional ‘Y’ folk).

        My apologies. 100 characters or less from now on. I read books on my phone so I’m not flustered by length of people’s posts.

  27. jay graham says:

    Jim Jordan:

    “The Democrats were all saying that the president of the United States worked with a hostile foreign country to seal the election, and again, there has not been one bit of evidence to suggest that any of that happened.”

    “The question the country has for Bob Mueller: When did he learn that there was no collusion? And once he learned it, why didn’t he tell the American people?”

    Bill Barr:

    “After nearly two years of investigation, thousands of subpoenas, and hundreds of warrants and witness interviews, the Special Counsel confirmed that the Russian government-sponsored efforts to illegally interfere with the 2016 presidential election but did not find that the Trump campaign or other Americans colluded in those schemes. Americans “should be grateful for the findings.”

    There is plenty of evidence of collusion [defined as secret cooperation] between the campaign and the Russians. It was not legally coordinated and conspiratorial. However, responses to Russian help through allowing it, not reporting, & not rebuffing it may not rise to the level of conspiracy but it’s not OK and it is collusion. Mueller must clarify the differences between conspiracy and collusion and if we get lucky tell the Senate and the House collusion is a danger to democracy and we need to address it. Case not closed.

    Mueller does not need to ever step beyond the bounds of the report. All he needs to do is neutralize the destructive spin and half truths we have been drowned in since the report came out.

    It’s aggravating hearing the media, legislators, the president, and the attorney general continuously repeat “NO COLLUSION” shouting it at every American listening. It has destroyed the Mueller Report and relegated it to “case closed”[another Barrism] , unimportant and irrelevant. Why are they still using collusion? Does it make it a skosh more truthful since it doesn’t exist as a crime as far as the report is concerned. Thus legally “no collusion” is probably correct but deceitful to the hilt.

    Mueller can do something as simple as read from the damn thing, ignore the GOP noise and use the platform to make it clear that “NO COLLUSION” as a crime does not exist and that the failure to find the sustainable documentary evidence to charge conspiracy does not close the case on our skewed and tainted campaign result resting heavily on Russian collusion. And that, as Adam Schiff said, is “not OK”.

    Mueller need only define collusion for all of us and repeat:

    “[T]he two parties taking actions that were informed by or responsive to the other’s actions.”

    The two parties building on each others actions were the trump campaign and the Russians and that is a long way from exoneration, being OK , & case closed.

    Some things Mueller can just read to Jim Jordan, Gohmert and the rest of the GOP who clearly have not read and processed the report and need some edumacation:

    “In evaluating whether evidence about collective action of multiple individuals constituted a crime, we applied the framework of conspiracy law, not the concept of “collusion.”

    “The two parties taking actions that were informed by or responsive to the other’s actions
    the investigation did not establish that the Trump Campaign coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.[ this is particularly subtle and acknowledges there was response between Russia and trump intended to affect the election but it was not coordinated]

    “The investigation identified numerous links between individuals with ties to the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump Campaign, the evidence was not sufficient to support criminal charges.”

    “The Special Counsel’s investigation established that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election principally through two operations. First, a Russian entity carried out a social media campaign that favored presidential candidate Donald J. Trump and disparaged presidential candidate Hillary Clinton”

    “The investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome.”

    Enter Flynn and sanctions relief and KT McFarland and on to the hundreds more pages and characters that lay out the Russian benefits, the secrecy, the lying and the evidence that it happened. Is that OK?

    • P J Evans says:

      Conspiracy is a legally-defined crime. Collusion is not a legally-defined crime. It’s more of a popular term for conspiracies, formal or informal. This is why Mueller didn’t use it.

      • jay graham says:

        Yes collusion was never a part of the report. If Jim Jordan asks when Mueller learned there was no collusion I fervently hope Mueller tells him it was the day he opened the investigation, Ditto for why he did not tell the American people once he learned it–he never “learned it”. Jordan never read the report. He has no business barking at Mueller during the hearing. We can only hope he can be humiliated for his ignorance.Mueller may be able to do it without even trying.

  28. Tom says:

    Mueller should take the stance that he’s prepared to answer questions about his report, but only if his questioner has read the report as well. He should make it clear that he doesn’t have time or patience to humour or indulge people who haven’t done their homework by reading his report.

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