Hot on the heels of Attorney General William Barr’s distressing performance before the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday comes this letter from Emmet T. Flood, Special Counsel to President Donald Trump.
tl;dr summary: Trump is not happy with Volume II of the Mueller report, which outlines at least a dozen instances of Trump trying to interfere with Mueller’s investigation of the Russian efforts
to throw the election toward Donald Trump to interfere with the 2016 US presidential election.
To put this letter in perspective, let’s recall that the FBI was investigating whether agents of the Russian government had interfered with the election and whether members of the Trump campaign or Trump associates cooperated or coordinated with such interference. FBI director James Comey was leading the investigation when he was suddenly dismissed by Trump. The dismissal resulted the appointment of former FBI director Robert Mueller as special counsel (a Watergate-era legacy) to continue the investigation and determine whether Trump was trying to obstruct justice by interfering with the FBI investigation or any others, beginning with the firing of Comey.
Volume I of the Mueller report concludes that the Russians did indeed interfere in several ways with the election, and did indeed have several meetings and communications with the Trump campaign and Trump associates, but it stopped short of charging anyone in the Trump orbit with actively working with the Russians to throw the election. Volume II of the report concluded that several actions by the president could be construed as obstruction, but left the prosecution to Congress. Mueller holds to a Department of Justice “tradition” that sitting presidents cannot be indicted for crimes, but they can be impeached by the House and tried by the Senate, as detailed in the Constitution.
Soon after the report was released publicly, Trump insisted that it showed there was “no collusion” and that he was innocent. Several weeks on, though, Trump has apparently realized that the report in fact is really bad news for him, so now he’s pushing back against it by accusing Mueller (Mr Straight Arrow Lawman) of writing a politically biased report that damages the presidency.
Basically, Trump’s worried. The argument presented here amounts to objections regarding procedure, and curiously, seems unconcerned with the conclusions of Volume I — that the Russians directly attacked our system of government.
But don’t take it from me. Here’s a more expert opinion as to why Trump has now realized he’s in hot water.
I feel that these two sentences from Volume II of the Mueller report have not gotten anything like the attention they deserve (My retyping; my highlighting) pic.twitter.com/DfXAlmiftS
— David Frum (@davidfrum) May 3, 2019
Here’s the text of the letter from Flood to Barr, and a link to the original PDF.
I don’t get paid for covering this unfolding drama. Donations are welcome!