If Mueller is going to have more indictments, they would come before the report. “They’d be returned, if not revealed,”
said one of the talking heads on Sunday morning’s “Meet the Press” on February 24, 2019.
Q: Would we see the Russian collusion charge revealed? (From Chuck Todd)
A: “Mueller has indicted Roger Stone for conspiring with WikiLeaks, which is a Russian organization”. Solomon Wisenberg, former special counsel, says “Everyone should be concerned about and be worried about” the obstruction of justice charge. [Does obstruction of justice mean the same thing as collusion? “These are crucial crimes because they delay the revelation of the truth.”]
A: Wisenberg: “It’s a big mystery why some of the people did lie and we should absolutely be concerned about it.”
“At the conclusion of the Special Counsel’s work, he or she shall provide the Attorney General with a confidential report….” Chuck Todd: “Does this mean the public will never see it?”
A: “The overall intent of the regulation is public confidence in the investigation and any sort of suppression will flunk the test.”
The charging of the Mueller investigation said:
“The A.G. will notify the Chairman and ranking minority member of the House with an explanation…”
Wisenberg: “Barr has great discretion over what he reveals. How will Mueller reveal his report to Barr? He can do it in a way that makes it easier for Barr to release it to the public.”
Neal Katyal, former acting solicitor general: “We’re in a different world than when those regulations (from the Clinton impeachment hearings under Ken Starr) were created. There will be a lot more pressure on Mueller to give all of the information to Congress.”
Chuck Todd notes that the President will get to read the report first.
The catch, they say, is whether the president will order someone to do something about the Mueller report. “That is when things would get interesting. The obstruction of justice is of great consequence to anyone, but especially when committed by the Chief Executive of our land, the President.” (Asa Hutchinson R/Ar of Kentucky, now the Governor of Arkansas said this in 1999 when commenting on the Kenneth Starr investigation into Bill Clinton.) Hutchinson says it is a very serious charge. “The American public look at any charge against the president of the United States with great scrutiny, as they should…This one is less than 2 years of time, where the investigation of President Clinton took 4 years under Kenneth Starr.”
Q: What are you looking for in this report?
Q/A: Jim Himes (D/CT): “I’m looking for a report that gets to the truth and gets out there. More than anything else, the question of the Russian interference and the possibility of collusion and obstruction has twisted our politics into something unrecognizable. The way to end that is to get the truth out there. First and foremost, given that we’ve been on the edge of our seats for the past 2 years, everyone needs to know what happened and then we’ll be ready to take it further.”
Hutchinson: “You have to have conversations in a bi-partisan way in the timing of what should be revealed. This could simply be a report that does not list any offenses against the president of the United States. Let’s communicate. Let’s see if that can be done in a bi-partisan way.” (Jim Himes expressed doubt that there would be much bi-partisanship in the current political climate).
Chuck Todd: Q: “Is there anything that can be done (to make it more bi-partisan)?
A: Jim Hines, D/CT: “One answer is that Devin Nunes is no longer the head of the investigative committee. I sort of chuckle at Governor Hutchinson’s optimism, because today, facts are disputed. Now, each and every fact is disputed. I point out that we’re going to get a sort of partisan warping of our system because there will be legislation before the House saying that his decision to spend money on his border wall is not constitutional. I suspect that the GOP are going to vote that Trump is not going to be held accountable for going around the Congress to get money for his wall.”
Jim Hines: “There’s always some question about whether Michael Cohen feared retribution for his testimony.”
Chuck Todd: “The House GOP seems to be rigging the rules to keep the president from having a challenge in 2020.”
Asa Hutchinson (R/AR): “Obviously, in our system of democracy, anyone is free to make a challenge. It will be very difficult for someone to make a successful challenge against President Trump. You’re always going to have a debate…It’s about what he has accomplished.”
“You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows and you don’t need a special report to know what kind of president Trump is.” (David Graham)
Talking heads: It’s (the Mueller Report) a political document and a historical document. “We have to have a long view of the reckoning that we have to take after this administration is over.” (Al Cardenas, Republican strategist): “A lot of people who are bad people around the President of the United States have been indicted…I don’t feel the President will be indicted…I think the Mueller Report will leave a lot of unfinished business. This will be a setting of the bar.”
How serious is obstruction of justice to Congress (Andrea Mitchell): “We have let people normalize criminal and abnormal behavior. If this is a witch hunt, they found a coven—37, so far. Going forward in 202 we do not know what impulses in social media are being programmed from Moscow. I’m now so suspicious of anything we’re reading.”
Lanhee Chen, Republican strategist – “Clearly the president not directly saying, ‘I look forward to the report’ is telling. I think it’s a fairly simply political calculus.”
Chuck Todd: “Will Democrats regret it if they DON’T open an impeachment investigation?” (Many now regret not standing up to Mitch McConnell over Obama’s right to name a Supreme Court Justice.)
Talking Heads, A: “These are people who took an oath to the Constitution.” (Implied: yes there must be an impeachment).
Andrea Mitchell: “Mueller’s reputation in the country seems impeccable. It will not go well with the Republicans if they attempt to impugn him. I’m curious how the Attorney General will handle the Mueller Report.”
COAST GUARD HOME-GROWN TERRORIST
It was 72 hours before the public learned of the Coast Guard officer who had stockpiled weapons since 2017 and planned to massacre as many people as possible, especially Democratic leadership and various political commentators. The head of Homeland Security, commenting, said he was glad that they found this individual’s writings on his Homeland Security computer.
Todd: “How did someone with this ideology get into the Coast Guard and stay in the Coast Guard and not get caught doing things like this at his work computer?”
A: (Jeh Johnson, former Head of Homeland Security): “We don’t probe into people’s political leanings. We need to do a better job of rooting out people with extremist leanings that could lead to terrorist actions.” In 2016, the budget was $21 million, whereas in 2018 the budget has been reduced to $8 million to ferret out plots like this. (Fewer employees, less money).In 2017 , there were 65 incidents totalling 95 deaths. Muslim extremists committed just 7 attacks. “Very definitely there is a rise in the level of extremists and violent actions directed towards individuals perceived to be in positions of power: “the list.” “The levels of hatred and violence that we see are going up. It’s got to start at the top. Leaders lead. We’ve got to see it start at the top. Individuals like the Coast Guard individual become emboldened and may even feel entitled. It is incumbent to raise the levels of our political discourse.”
THE BORDER WALL
Q: Is a wall at the border a national emergency? (Chuck Todd)
A: Jeh Johnson, former head of Homeland Security: “I do not believe it was appropriate for the President to evoke the National Emergency statute. Better to work with Congress and collectively come to a decision.”
Florida: Amendment 4 returning voters’ rights to convicted felons who have served their time; the end result is that 1.4 voters could be added to the rolls. Many are African American. 52% of those who had lost their voting rights were Democrats and 14% were Republican. Democrats could see a net gain of voters. Amendment 4 has the potential to be a game-changer in Florida. Not happening yet as newly enrolled voters were nearly evenly split between the GOP and Democrats, so far.