July 8, 2019

"Mueller is...likely to be grumpy when you question him. And who can blame him? You would be grumpy too if you were being subjected to hours of unwanted hectoring by your colleagues, many of whom are not very bright..."

"... will not have done their homework, and will want to yell at the man and ask him things that would be wildly inappropriate for him to answer. But you are that rare thing: a diligent member of Congress who wants to use your time with Mueller to bring out important findings and nuances of the Mueller report. What do you do?"

Writes Benjamin Wittes in "If I Had Five Minutes to Question Robert Mueller." From the advice:
[A]sk him questions to which you know the answer. This is not an investigative hearing. It is an exercise in political and legal theater, and you are trying to provide a compelling elucidation of Mueller’s work and findings. Ask only questions you know he can answer and whose answers you know will reasonably contribute to the thread you are developing.
Wittes has a series of yes-or-no questions that end with:
So, to summarize, I take your report to state that you found substantial evidence of presidential obstruction of justice, which you chose not to analyze, because you were deferring to Congress on questions of impeachment and to federal prosecutors after President Trump leaves office on questions of criminality. Is that a fair reading?

134 comments:

rcocean said...

Oh Lord. The sure are stringing this out. What can Mueller say that's not in his report? He spent almost 2 years and wrote 900 pages in two volumes. I wonder if the whole point is to launch a preemptive attack on the IG report that is coming out. Or maybe its to get Mueller to say "Well, we couldn't put it in the report, but we think Trump was guilty of...."

LYNNDH said...

A fair reading? What a farce!

Nobody said...

Ask him questions you know he can’t answer. Like how was he certain that the Russians hacked the DNC and how did he dismiss so much evidence to the contrary?

traditionalguy said...

Leading questions are speeches. What they need to do is deputize a FBI Agent ask him a question and then no matter what he remembers to say , they arrest the SOB on the spot for lying to a Federal Agent.

Gov98 said...

So are you aware that in many states in order for their to be an obstruction charge the government has to establish that the government was acting in lawful performance of its duties. And that’s a prerequisite for moving forward on a charge. Isn’t it true that if any obstruction occurred here it was after significant bad behavior by the FBI and warrants that in any normal court setting would have been traversed for having been fraudulently obtained. If there was any obstruction wasn’t it only obstruction of injustice? Or what else would you call a witch hunt that continues after you exonerated the main suspect and kept investigating anyway? And correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t it a practical American duty to obstruct injustice?

J Scott said...

"So Mr. Mueller, now I am going to ask you a multi-part question and I understand you are under some duress, so I'm going to allow you to answer by blinking or not blinking your eye? Ok? No, no, not yet, I haven't asked the question yet."

David53 said...

Second, ask him only yes-or-no questions.

That doesn't work too well in Congressional hearings.

CJinPA said...

Jonathan Turley earlier posted 20 Questions for Robert Mueller and Wittes adds 16.

So, 36 questions should be enough to fill the final episode of this this once-compelling series that has long since jumped the shark.

steve uhr said...

That last question is nonsensical. How could he conclude there was evidence of obstruction without analysis.

BarrySanders20 said...

Poor Benjamin. Desperate to pull a few chestnuts out of the dumpster fire that is the Russia conspiracy investigation. He had such high hopes, certain that this probe with Mueller and the dream team of his colleagues would end Our National Nightmare and restore the elites to their formerly secure and rightful positions and status as our rulers.

Now Herr Mueller, an elite, has to endure some questioning from the not-so-bright non-elites? So totally Not Fair!

Cant we just skip this and go straight to impeachment and conviction? Benjamin knows Trump is guilty of something impeachable.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

...ask him only yes-or-no questions

At any point did President Trump stop obstructing justice?

DarkHelmet said...

The only questions I want answered:

1) At what point in the investigation did you conclude that neither Trump nor any of his staff had any illegal dealings with agents of the Russian government? Why didn't you shut down your investigation at that point?

2) Given that you chose to continue the investigation long after realizing that neither Trump nor his staff had illegal dealings with agents of the Russian government, why did you fail to investigate the possibly illegal interactions of the Hillary Clinton campaign and the DNC with agents of the Russian government?

Char Char Binks said...

I'd ask him if he ever contracted an STD from a goat, or any other farm animal. If I had confidence that he had never done so, I'd say so.

Lucien said...

“So you made up a ‘confident of clear innocence’ standard, and applying that standard you concluded that you were not confident that President Trump was clearly innocent of obstructing justice; but, presumably using that same standard, you did conclude that neither he nor his team conspired or coordinated with the Russian government, right?”

rcocean said...

Wasn't Wittes a great friend of Comey's and the guy Comey leaked his memos too? That seems like a million years ago, but it was only two. Its astounding how Comey was presented to us as such a Hero and Non-partisan G man back in May/June 2017, given what we now know.

RNB said...

"Give your spontaneous testimony just the way we rehearsed it."

rcocean said...

I wonder what we will think of Mueller, if anyone ever prints the truth. If he really the upright G man and pillar of rectitude? Or he really another fraud like Comey turned out to be?

Nobody said...

Ask him why he never looked into the original FISA application and why so many Clinton fixers from the FBI were on his hand picked team.

Ask him how many people who donated to Democrats were on his team and how many people who donated to Republicans.

Ask him how saying “countless” instead of “many” rises to the level of lying to investigators. Many FBI agents did distrust Comey, and undoubtedly countless others agreed, unless Mueller is trying to make the case that every single FBE agent with reservations about Comey wrote to the WH.

traditionalguy said...

Why not ask the crooked cop about Uranium One, the Epstein white wash and the 9/11 Bombing cover up. Mueller was the central cover-up man in everyone of those FBI con jobs. Which is why he is so withdrawn and quiet. He doesn't want the Tribunal Judges any angrier than they already are.

Nobody said...

agents of the Russian government? Why didn't you shut down your investigation at that point?

Well you know how hard it is to stop looking for a pony in a pile of horse shit once you’ve started!

Paul Zrimsek said...

"Coventry City last won the FA Cup in what year?.... Well, I'm not surprised you didn't get it, it was a trick question, Coventry City have never won the FA Cup."

tim maguire said...

Let's see...

1) First, the obvious--when did you know that there was no collusion? Before or after the 2018 elections?
A) If before, did you know that the Russia collusion investigation was playing a large role in the election?
B) If yes, why did you remain silent?
2) Was your conclusion that the DNC's email servers were hacked by the Russian government supported by your own investigation? Was it supported by any direct evidence?
3) I'd like to discuss, one by one, every incident you think supports the claim of obstruction. Please get us started by listing them now.

I'm sure there are others, but those are the ones I'm most interested in.

MikeR said...

Couldn't disagree more with these questions. Mueller doesn't want to talk about his report. Ask him about everything else. See Turley's list.

Fen said...

This was supposed to be a different play, but Barr spoiled the ending.

Kinda like when someone blurts out the punchline and the comedian plods through the joke anyway.

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

So, to summarize, I take your report to state that you found substantial evidence of presidential obstruction of justice, which you chose not to analyze, because you were deferring to Congress on questions of impeachment and to federal prosecutors after President Trump leaves office on questions of criminality. Is that a fair reading?

Yes! Yes! Yes! oh boy YES!

wow - that's, like, totally new and stuff. Trump obstructed Justice. what justice? - well no matter. He obstructed it!
Trump wanted to fire the guy in charge of the hoax. Wow. We all did, and so, I assume most Americans should to be thrown in the clink for wanting to fire Mueller-Hillary?

To the ovens!
The left will finish Trump off after he leaves office. Revenge for corrupt Hillary never sleeps.

Bruce Hayden said...

“Poor Benjamin. Desperate to pull a few chestnuts out of the dumpster fire that is the Russia conspiracy investigation. He had such high hopes, certain that this probe with Mueller and the dream team of his colleagues would end Our National Nightmare and restore the elites to their formerly secure and rightful positions and status as our rulers.”

Keep this in mind. Wittes is LawFare, and they were tied very closely to the rabidly partisan Mueller prosecutors. A number have suggested that the extremely aggressive, never used in court, DoJ disapproved, Obstruction of Justice interpretation that is the basis for Part 2 of the Mueller Report came from Wittes, or was developed with his group’s assistance. So he very much knows what underlays the Mueller Report. Not legally, of course, but he knows. What he is doing here is trying to get around AG Barr’s strict interpretation of law and DoJ policy that Barr used to limit distribution of the material that the Mueller team had acquired.


So, yes, Wittes is rabidly partisan and his various lists of questions are designed for one purpose, and one purpose alone, and that is to harm Trump, and by association, harm Republicans and help Democrats.

Char Char Binks said...

Serve some softball questions. Wouldn't want to make Mueller grumpy, dontcha know.

Nobody said...

“What was it like when you broke through the brick wall and realized ‘Al Capone’s Vault’ was actually empty?

Nobody said...

“What aspect of ‘justice’ were you trying to serve by attempting to bait Trump into obstruction?"

Michael K said...

If he really the upright G man and pillar of rectitude?

We know he is not from the Whitey Bulgar story.

According to the FBI, Bulger served as their confidential informant beginning in 1975, a claim Bulger denied.[5] However, as a result, the FBI largely ignored his organization in exchange for information about the inner workings of the rival Italian-American Patriarca crime family.[6][7][8] Beginning in 1997, the media exposed criminal actions by federal, state, and local law enforcement officials tied to Bulger. For the FBI especially, this caused great embarrassment.[9][10][11][12]

Bulger fled Boston on December 23, 1994, and went into hiding after being tipped off by his former FBI handler, John Connolly, about a pending indictment under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). For sixteen years, Bulger remained at large. For twelve of those years, he was second on the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list, behind Osama bin Laden.


And:

On September 5, 2006, federal judge Reginald C. Lindsay ruled that the mishandling of Bulger and Flemmi caused the 1984 murder of informant John McIntyre, awarding his family $3.1 million in damages. Lindsay stated the FBI failed to properly supervise Connolly (convicted and jailed in 2002) and "stuck its head in the sand" regarding numerous allegations that Bulger and Flemmi were involved in drug trafficking, murder and other crimes for decades.[46]

Wikipedia is not right wing source and, of course,. omits Meuller's role.

Mueller was involved, though

89-year-old Boston mob boss James ‘Whitey’ Bulger was killed in prison by a ‘fellow inmate with mafia ties’ shortly after he was transferred to a West Virginia federal prison.

Bulger was reportedly wheeled away from security cameras and beaten with a lock in a sock and also had his eyes gouged out.

Sources told The Daily Mail that Whitey Bulger was about to out people in the FBI, specifically FBI officials of the informant program.

Via The Daily Mail:

Boston gangster James ‘Whitey’ Bulger Jr. has been killed behind bars shortly after he was transferred to a federal prison in West Virginia. He was 89.

Bulger was found dead overnight on Tuesday at USP Hazelton, a high-security prison with an adjacent minimum security satellite camp in Bruceton Mills.

It emerged in Bulger’s 2013 trial that he had served as an FBI informant as far back as 1975, though he always denied the claim.

Law enforcement sources tell DailyMail.com that Whitey had been talking about outing people in the FBI – people in the top echelon of the informant program.

The sources said he hadn’t even been processed at the West Virginia facility when he was killed. But someone who knew he was being transferred put the word out – the killer had to know he was coming.

The Whitey Bulger – Robert Mueller connection:

Congressman Louie Gohmert says, “Mueller’s minions helped mobster Whitey Bulger eliminate mob competitors.” Here is the published report:

Rob said...

There’s only one question that’s off-limits: Are you a citizen of the United States?

Mike Sylwester said...

Sundance's proposed questions

On May 16, 2017, were you applying to become FBI Director?

Why did you go to the White House?

When did Rod Rosenstein contact you about going to the White House?

When did Rod Rosenstein first contact you about becoming special counsel?

Did you speak to any members of the DOJ or FBI prior to going to the White House?

Were there conversations about a possible ‘special counsel position’ prior to May 16th, 2017?

Were you aware President Trump was under investigation prior to your conversation of May 16th, with President Trump?

Were you aware of the nature of the investigation, prior to May 16, 2017?

Were you aware of the possibility of being appointed ‘special counsel’?

Did you take any recording devices into the Oval Office meeting?

Did you own the cell phone you left in the Oval Office on May 16, 2017?

Between the afternoon Oval Office meeting and the next day announcement to the Gang-of-Eight by Rod Rosenstein and Andrew McCabe, when exactly did you agree to become special counsel?

How did Rod Rosenstein contact you between May 16, 2017 and early morning May 17, 2017, about becoming special counsel?

Did you immediately agree to become special counsel when asked?

How much time transpired between Rosenstein asking you to become special counsel and your acceptance of the position?

Mary Beth (the commenter) said...

"Your colleagues, many of whom are not very bright"

Does Wittes think "not very bright" is the same as "people with whom I disagree"?

Howard said...

When is Mueller anything other than parched deadpan?

steve uhr said...

Why didn’t you insist on an interview with trump and subpoena him if he refused?

When did Rosenstein find out that you were not going to say whether you thought the evidence of obstruction warranted an indictment?

Why didn’t Rosenstein recuse himself given his role in firing Comey? Was that discussed?

It is true is it not that you determined that trump welcomed assistance from Russia but it wasn’t next a crime?

It is true is it not that you did not conclude that the trump campaign did not illegally conspire with Russia; rather you concluded only that you didn’t find sufficient evidence of conspiracy to meet the beyond a reasonable doubt standard?

John Lynch said...

60 votes in the Senate is gonna be really tough.

AllenS said...

Do not ask any questions of Mueller until he is tied to a board, and you are standing over him with a soaking wet towel.

Howard said...

Barr is saving the democrats by carrying out Nancy's agenda.

Nobody said...

“Why didn’t you insist on an interview with trump and subpoena him if he refused?”

Why didn’t you carry our water across the goal line?

Bay Area Guy said...

Wittes is a clown. And he is part of the lawfare crowd. And he is an ally of Comey and Mueller.

Pretending to be neutral and objective.....

Nobody said...

“It is true is it not that you did not conclude that the trump campaign did not illegally conspire with Russia; rather you concluded only that you didn’t find sufficient evidence of conspiracy to meet the beyond a reasonable doubt standard?”

Isn’t it true, Hamilton Berger, isn’t it true that you were unable to prove Trump was innocent of these serious crimes that may have been committed?

What a vision of justice the Democrats are providing. Stalinesque in its perfidy.

Bruce Hayden said...

“So, to summarize, I take your report to state that you found substantial evidence of presidential obstruction of justice, which you chose not to analyze, because you were deferring to Congress on questions of impeachment and to federal prosecutors after President Trump leaves office on questions of criminality. Is that a fair reading?”

There was no Obstruction of Justice found. Period.

Remember. They essentially rewrote the Obstruction statutes to get there. The Wittes/Weissman Obstruction interpretation essentially turned the required Mens Rea from specific intent to general intent, almost strict liability. They were essentially interpreting Obstruction of Justice as any act that affected any criminal investigation (and esp their own), regardless of intent or legality. Firing Comey was Obstruction to them because it potentially affected the Crossfire Hurricane investigation into Trump’s (nonexistent) Russian collusion, despite Comey repeatedly telling Trump that there was no investigation, and Comey got fired for lying. Yet, according to. Wittes and Weissman, that was Obstruction of Justice. It was literally absurd - they believed that a President executing his core Article II duties using his core Article II power obstructed Justice by firing an employee who had repeatedly lied to him, just because one of his lies, not known when he was fired for lying, was that he wasn’t illegally investigating his boss, the President.

Let me repeat what I said above. That definition of Obstruction was invented out of thin air by these rabid partisans out to destroy our duly elected President. It has never been litigated in court, and would surely have never survived even a first level of appeal, and they probably couldn’t have found an Obama appointed District Court judge to accept it. It was rejected by AGvBarr, DAG Rosenstein, and the OLC, which is the organization in the DoJ tasked with interpreting statutes. Yet, it was the basis for Part 2, as well as Wittes’s question. The reason that Mueller did not determine whether or not there had been Obstruction in his Report was not that OIC policy forbid it, because it didn’t. Rather, there was so Obstruction under OLC policy and judicial precedent. If Mueller had said that there was, Barr could, and no doubt, would have asked him why he believed that he wasn’t bound by OLC rules and judicial precedents, then required a rewrite. This was the only way that Mueller’s prosecutors could throw their dirt at Trump.

Virgil Hilts said...

I'd ask him about Epstein! Who was he trying to protect when he oversaw giving Epstein the sweetest sweetheart deal that has ever been given a serial underage girl molester in the history of the United States.

Fen said...

60 votes in the Senate is gonna be really tough.

Although it would be hysterical if Mitch whipped 60 votes for a Letter of Reprimand.

Liberal heads would be spontaneously exploding all over America.

Fen said...

Strongly worded of course.

Nobody said...

"I'd ask him about Epstein! Who was he trying to protect when he oversaw giving Epstein the sweetest sweetheart deal that has ever been given a serial underage girl molester in the history of the United States.”

It does make that deal that Eric Holder and Bill Clinton worked up for Marc Rich look like chump change. I wonder if the State of New York ever went after Marc Rich to evade Clinton’s pardon authority and ensure that no man was above the law.

Browndog said...

Mueller isn't going to give the republicans anything. The only reason he's testifying is because his departing press conference didn't do enough to bolster support for impeachment like it was supposed to.

Henry said...

I'm not sure if Wittes attempt to reduce Mueller's report to a game of 20 questions is
Panglossian or Shakespearean:

Dogberry: So, to summarize, I take your report to be a long report, a long-awaited report, a report of much tediousness. truly, for mine own part,
if I were as tedious as a king, I could find it in my heart to bestow it all of your report. 'Tis a weighty report that accomplishes all that thou has incredibly said to accomplish. Is this a fair reading?

Mike Sylwester said...

One of the best articles I have read about Robert "The FBI Whitewasher" Mueller's reort is Insinuendo: Why the Mueller Report Doth Repeat So Much, written by Eric Felten and published on the Real Clear Investigations website.

Mueller is a master of insinuation and innuendo -- a combination that Felten calls insinuendo. Felten provides many examples.

As one example, Mueller describes a reception that the US State Department hosted for 80 foreign diplomats who observed the Republican Party's national convention. Mueller writes in detail that J.D. Gordon, a Trump foreign-policy advisor, encountered Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at the reception.

[quote]

... Later that evening, Gordon attended a reception as part of the conference. Gordon ran into Kislyak as the two prepared plates of food, and they decided to sit at the same table to eat. They were joined at that table by the ambassadors from Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan and by Carter Page, who was still a Trump campaign adviser.

As they ate, Gordon and Kislyak talked for what Gordon estimated to have been three to five minutes, during which Gordon again mentioned that he meant what he said in his speech about improving U.S.-Russia relations.

[unquote]

Here, Mueller insinuates that this encounter incriminates Gordon and Page in some wrongdoing -- although Mueller was not able to obtain enough information to prove the wrongdoing beyond a reasonable doubt.

Felten's article is quite amusing. I highly recommend that everyone read it.

Ann Althouse said...

@CJinPA

Thanks for doing a link to the Turley questions. I blogged that at the time, but was too lazy to dig it up again.

Ann Althouse said...

Turley assumes serious inquiry can be had. Wittes says it's political theater and here's how to do it.

iowan2 said...

The list of questions to Mueller meme, always assumes the questions will be asked and answered without cross examination by Republicans.

Democrats are desparate for soundbites to use in the election campaign.

Republicans will focus on the various conclusions of the his report that have since been exposed and as fact free. ICA? No evidence to support Russian govt ties to those activities. The report says Russian govt in one sentence, followed by the group doing the ads, but never linking the tow together. The amount of money buying those ads is inconsequential, when stacked against the $2 Billion+ spent overall in the election. Ask Mueller how Russia was influencing the election using these FACTS. Facts he is well aware of.

Qwinn said...

What I'd like asked:

"There was a great deal of trepidation voiced around the notion that Trump might pardon Flynn, Manafort and others that you had imprisoned. In what material way does a pardon differ from the blanket immunity that you dispensed to virtually everyone associated to Hillary Clinton in her email investigation, in exchange for... well... absolutely nothing on the record?"

Bay Area Guy said...

My Qs to Mueller:

1. Did you establish that all the statements made in the Steele Dossier were true?

2. What did your office do to establish whether all the statements made in the Steele Dossier were true?

3. Did you establish whether any statements in the Steele Dossier were false? If so, which ones?

I like to keep things simple.

Bruce Hayden said...

“Why didn’t you insist on an interview with trump and subpoena him if he refused?”

That is easy. There is precedent that they couldn’t force the a President to take time out from running the government unless they could show that there was no other way to get the information. Trump is known to be a bad witness, never seeming to be able to stick to yes and no answers. Everyone knew this. They also knew that the real purpose of an interview was to spring a perjury trap on him, as they had done to so many of their other targets. So every time the Mueller people asked for an interview, the Trump people offered another 100k of documents, another 50 people to interview, etc.

Realization that they weren’t going to get their personal interview, and be able to spring their perjury trap, is why, in the spring of 2018, they developed the extremely aggressive Obstruction of Justice statutory interpretation that I have mentioned above. Trump’s lawyers figured out what was going on, when the Mueller prosecutors quit cooperating with them. That is where Barr came in. At the time, he was a respected senior partner in a major DC firm. He had several expensive associates do a bunch of legal research, then drafted a rebuttal to the Mueller team, eviscerating the legal reasoning behind it. But instead of giving Barr’s memo to Mueller or his prosecutors, it was given to DAG Rosenstein, the principal officer overseeing Mueller and his investigation. So far, we don’t know who went to Barr asking for his memo, but it had to somehow come from Trump’s attorneys. This of course put Barr on the fast track for AG, and his confirmation was only only delayed until this year, because the priority last fall became confirming Justice Kavenaugh.

One of the corollaries of this is that AG Barr wrote the book or at least the memo, eviscerating the Weissman/Wittes Obstruction interpretation on display in Part 2 of the Mueller Report. And that is why you need to read the Barr memo before you read Part 2, to fully understand what they were (and still are with Wittes here) trying to pull off. None of the fact patterns in Part 2 rises anywhere close to anything that a federal prosecutor could file charges for, given, as always, legal precedents and DoJ rules.

Browndog said...

If it were me, I'd take one issue and drill Mueller with it over and over. Eventually he'll run out of weasel words and nuance.

I'd go with his deceptive editing of the McGahn testimony. That one issue alone proves the Mueller report was partisan, deceptive, and discredited.

Bay Area Guy said...

When is Muller gonna impeach Trump? I was told repeatedly that Mueller was gonna impeach Trump.

William said...

Witte's essay is ponderous at best and pedantic at worst. Anyone who has followed this spy-gate thing could ask better questions that Witte came up with.

Gee, it's almost as if he likes to hear the sound (drone?) of his own voice.

P.S. He went to Oberlin. Need I say more?

steve uhr said...

You know how you avoid the perjury trap? Tell the truth.

bagoh20 said...

When questioning important men, ask the one question that matters: "Boxers or briefs?"

bagoh20 said...

So, lets look forward for a moment. When this Russiagate crap does not get rid of Trump, and he is still President after 2020, will CNN and MSNBC still cover it every. single. night?

CJinPA said...

Ann Althouse said...
@CJinPA

Thanks for doing a link to the Turley questions. I blogged that at the time, but was too lazy to dig it up again

--

I thought you did, but I was too lazy to find it on the blog!

bagoh20 said...

"Turley assumes serious inquiry can be had."

Just ask some of the questions, short and simple, then ask them again, and again. Kinda like an FBI "interview".

I predict Mueller will lie and it will be obvious.

Matt Sablan said...

"Isn’t it true that if any obstruction occurred here it was after significant bad behavior by the FBI and warrants that in any normal court setting would have been traversed for having been fraudulently obtained."

-- Wait -- why are you even conceding there WAS obstruction? What specific act are we saying obstructed what. Remember -- Mueller, repeatedly, stated that Trump was being responsive, and his people constantly were buried with the documents they requested. I see no reason to even go to a "well, you weren't treating me fair," defense when Mueller's team can't even assert an obstructive act.

lgv said...

I would ask:

"Has justice been served by concluding there was no collusion?"

"Is there such a crime as obstruction of injustice?"

Matt Sablan said...

"You know how you avoid the perjury trap?"

-- Ah, yes. The "an innocent man has nothing to hide" canard.

Original Mike said...

Blogger steve uhr said..."You know how you avoid the perjury trap? Tell the truth."

Doesn't work when the prosecutor is corrupt.

Matt Sablan said...

Or, as we see in the case of Flynn (or was it Manafort?) where even if they think you're telling the truth, they might change their mind later.

Yancey Ward said...

Mueller isn't going to give Wittes what he wants- the press conference from May is proof enough of this. Mueller will simply refer back to the report to all the questions Wittes proposes. This idea that Mueller is going to reveal something not in that report is delusional- to do so would undercut any credibility that Mueller still retains.

This hearing is a Hail Mary to get impeachment going again, and it will fail. Worse is that Mueller will have to answer the questions the Republicans will ask, and most of those can't be answered by referring to the report- in other words, almost all of which we will learn that is new will come from the minority's questioning. Mueller will either answer the questions, or will be evasive in refusing to do so.

Matt Sablan said...

I just want Mueller to clarify some timelines, since even with the report, it is unclear when things happened. I also want to know why Ohr was not reprimanded or fired for withholding the fact his wife worked for the company and was leaking him information.

I also want to know how many of the FBI people they learned traded secrets to the media for favors have been fired, and if the answer isn't "all of them," what's taking so long.

Bruce Hayden said...

Interesting thought experiment. Trump and the Republican leadership in the Senate decided late last summer to prioritize confirming Kavenaugh over confirming Barr as AG. The justification seems to have been that Kavenaugh was being confirmed into a lifetime appointment, whereas AGs have much shorter terms, and there was a probability that the Republicans might lose the Senate. Barr shut down the Mueller investigation in short order after being confirmed by asking what they had left to investigate in terms of Russia collusion, and when the answer was that they had long enough done with that, then asking WTF are you doing? If Barr had been confirmed first, then without the ongoing Mueller investigation, all of the FBI people being interviewed in the House, in particular, would not have then been prevented by the FBI from testifying about Crossfire Hurricane because of the ongoing criminal investigation. We might be much further along in figuring out Spygate in that case. But in that case, the Dems might have prioritized retaking the Senate over the House, and if successful, Trump would probably been stuck with a much more moderate Supreme Court nominee. But that still probably wouldn’t have worked, because the Senate electoral map in 2018 was fairly GOP friendly. It was still probably the right strategic decision but is still interesting to speculate about.

Matt Sablan said...

(Honestly though, Republicans should just accept there will be no consequences for those that screwed with the FISA process or other such things. Like, we have Samantha Powers stating her credentials were stolen to illegally access a database, and there's been zero follow-up. That revelation alone from this investigation should have sent the investigation rocketing into ACTUAL anti-espionage territory to find out who stole her credentials, how did they access the system, what were their political goals in doing so, etc. Instead? Nothing. She just claims: "Oh, I didn't do that," and no consequences for anyone. That really should have been a show stopper for the entire investigation into the Trump-Russia thing because we uncovered ACTUAL LEGITIMATE ESPIONAGE against America--if Powers is telling the truth. And no one bothered to figure that out.)

Yancey Ward said...

Steve Uhr,

Papadopoulos was charged with lying to the FBI on what could reasonably be described as misremembering a date when questioned about it a year later. Even worse, he could have misinterpreted what was meant by "being a member of the Trump Campaign"- does that mean actually starting the job, or when offer is accepted, or when the offer is made.

If you really want to avoid a perjury trap laid in an FBI interview, the best thing to do is to say nothing. Papadopoulos and Flynn would have been well advised to the the FBI to fuck off.

Matt Sablan said...

Bruce: I'm convinced the decision to go with Kavanaugh first is that that really should have been a fairly easy nomination. It was a slam dunk, until the rape party accusations surfaced out of nowhere that no one could have predicted. I think the goal was to knock them both out pretty quick, but no one knew exactly what minefield they were going to walk into.

Matt Sablan said...

Just general good advice.

Bruce Hayden said...

“Or, as we see in the case of Flynn (or was it Manafort?) where even if they think you're telling the truth, they might change their mind later.”

The problem here was that “they” changed from DoJ professionals to hyper partisan prosecutors working in a politically motivated investigation.

Yancey Ward said...

The problem is that the prosecutors get to decide what is truthful when leveling the charge. You might win in court, but then both Flynn and Papadopoulos were also threatened with additional charges if they didn't plead guilty to the lying charge. Both apparently thought pleading was better than going deep into debt fighting it.

0_0 said...

"Mr. Mueller, when did you stop beating your wife?"

narayanan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sebastian said...

"Mueller's team can't even assert an obstructive act."

For Mueller and his minions, justice meant taking down Trump. To take down Trump, they had to get him on perjury. But Trump and his lawyers obstructed the perjury trap. Hence, in progworld, he obstructed justice. Which prog fabrication Wittes' questions are designed to affirm.

Anyway, Mr. Mueller:

1. When did you end you investigation of Trump collusion with the Russians?

2. What efforts did you undertake and what specific evidence did you find in the months prior to this end that made you continue your investigation? Please provide specific dates for specific investigative steps.

3. In what way is "collusion" a crime under federal law? What collusive activities did you investigate that would have been demonstrably criminal if supported by evidence?

4. How did you select your associates? Did you interview them, and if so, when and how? Did anyone assist you in their selection, and if so, who? Did you consider their political partisanship? If you did, or if not, how did your team come to be composed of attorneys with Democratic ties?

5. Media reports supplied information drawn from sources apparently inside your team. What efforts did you make to to track down the source of the leaks, and to prosecute the leakers for violations of federal law?

6. Was your investigation predicated in whole or in part on the so-called Steele dossier? If it was predicated on that dossier in part, what other predicates formed the basis for your investigation? Since your evidentiary conclusions show that the claims in that dossier were incorrect, did you investigate how American officials could have used it to obtain a FISA court judgment? Since that dossier was produced at the behest of an American political campaign, relying on a British intelligence operative and Russian sources, to involve the American government in investigating a rival political campaign, did you investigate the foreign interference in American elections presented by the dossier itself?

Matt Sablan said...

"I would change your "all" to "any" - even simpler"

-- It is not. If he says "Yes," you then have to ask which ones. The goal here is to start by showing that they did not do their due dilligence to validate the Steele Dossier (we know that several things in there were false, so we know they did not confirm the validity of everything in it.) Then, once you've established they cut corners/ignored the problems with the Dossier, you find out WHY.

Yancey Ward said...

Sessions wasn't fired until after the election. Had the Republicans failed to hold the Senate, or had only held the same majority afterwards, Sessions would still be the AG today, and Mueller would still be running his investigation.

Sessions wasn't fired before the election because no nominee could be confirmed. I also think the Kavanaugh hearings probably changed the minds of certain Republicans about allowing a new AG to take office- like, for example, Graham and Grassley.

Yancey Ward said...

You can read appendices of the investigation- in the appendices, you can demonstrate that the collusion part of the investigation was over in September of 2017. It picked up again in September of 2018 in the focus on Corsi and Stone, and I think it is very clear that it was started up again because Rosenstein got cold feet on the obstruction angle- I think Rosenstein, in response to the Barr memo he received in the Summer of 2018, realized that obstruction was a no-go without an actual collusion crime behind it, so Mueller and his merry team of Democrats took up the best angle they thought they had- Stone's bragging about knowing Wikileaks' plans- the problem was that the public information from the Twitter accounts of both entities proved almost conclusively that Stone was full of shit about his connections to Wikileaks- I even knew this in the Fall of 2016, and wrote many comments during that time that Stone was a bullshit artist, and I didn't have $30 million dollars worth of investigative muscle to work with- just my own two fucking eyes.

Bruce Hayden said...

“Bruce: I'm convinced the decision to go with Kavanaugh first is that that really should have been a fairly easy nomination. It was a slam dunk, until the rape party accusations surfaced out of nowhere that no one could have predicted. I think the goal was to knock them both out pretty quick, but no one knew exactly what minefield they were going to walk into”

Which may bean that without Feinstein’s late hit on Kavenaugh, thus significantly extending the Kavenaugh confirmation process, they might have gotten Barr confirmed before the election. But I think that that somewhat depended on AG Sessions. He was one of them, in regards to the Senate. If he gracefully resigned, recognizing that he had majorly screwed up with his recusal, then confirming Barr might have worked. But if he had been butt hurt about being dumped tat early, then I wouldn’t expect his former Senate brethren to play nicely with the Administration.

Narr said...

Director Mueller, thank you for your long and distinguished service to your country in peace and war, and for appearing here today.

Now, can you show us, using the dolls, how the bad man obstructed your justice?

Narr
Oh, you need more dolls?

Leland said...

I think Democrats should continue to ignore their polling and keep ther concept of impeachment open, so that Trump supporters line up in droves to vote.

The only point in discussing questions is to excite those still interested. The hearing is closed door with no transcript. Anybody can walkout and claim anything was said. There is no document to refute. It is the opposite of transparency.

Mike Sylwester said...

33 Key Questions for Robert Mueller, published by Jeff Carlson on his The Markets Work website

Mike Sylwester said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike Sylwester said...

Carlson's article was published also by Epoch Times, where commenters suggested the following additional questions.

======

Just prior to his flight to JFK, George Papadopoulos was unexpectedly given $10,000 cash for a "retainer", that he left in his hotel room in Rome.

1. Was the FBI looking for those bills when he was arrested at JFK?

2. Are those bills marked? By whom?

3. Was the person who gave Papadopoulos the money an American or other Western asset?

Soon after volunteering for his first campaign, the 27 yr. old Papadopoulos was mysteriously inundated with offers to meet for drinks. Coincidentally, all these offers came from individuals with connections to various Western intelligence agencies.

4. Were Alexander Downer or Stephen Halper instructed by anyone in American or UK intelligence to meet with Papadopoulos? Who had foreknowledge of the meetings Downer & Halper set up?

5. Who instructed the others including Joseph Mifsud, to set up meetings with Papadopoulos?

6. Was his job in the UK at "The London Centre of International Law Practice" arraigned for him by US or UK intelligence?

======

Who authorized the FBI and SWAT teams to break into Stone's house to arrest him?

What was the reason for having those arresting Stone have guns drawn and wearing full body armor?

Who leaked to CNN the time and date of Stone's arrest?

Why were the streets cleared of everyone, except CNN, when Stone was arrested?

Please explain in detail your team's use of perjury traps, and who you used them against.

mccullough said...

Sideshow Bob

That guys like Mueller and Comey attained such positions shows what a farce DC is.

Wall Street melts the economy and these douchebags are hot on the trail of steroids in baseball.

These guys are Waterboys. And they’ve been exposed.

narciso said...

well the doj under reno and hud under Cuomo and Cisneros (and Martinez and the other guy in the bush administration) put the fist to the banks to go full subprime, so obvious one wasn't going to investigate them, spitzer targeted the boards of lehman and aig, forcing out hank Greenberg, giving cassano free reign, then the govt tried to take control of the bank through the tarp, mister gardner, was a party to that, ultimately Greenberg won, but they only awarded him a dollar,

postscript, the only person that would be seen with spitzer, in his moment of disgrace is lis smith, who would go on work for mayor diblasio, who I've dubbed mayor bane, she is now working for buttigeg,

Chuck said...

Ann Althouse said...
Turley assumes serious inquiry can be had. Wittes says it's political theater and here's how to do it.


Was that message brought to us by Trump 2020?

At the time that Althouse blogged the Turley 20 questions, I pointed out that there were dozens of proposed 'lists of questions for Mueller.' 20 questions, 10 questions, 24 questions, 2 questions, 3 questions. Dozens of columnists, lawyers and other observers offering their lists of questions. But that Althouse chose to blog the Turley list. It was a Mueller-critical list; I presume it was Turley's way of saying, "Yeah, there are lots of questions to be put to Mueller about Trump that Trump fans will find uncomfortable, but here's some that will make Mueller fans uncomfortable."

I credit Althouse with posing the essential question from Ben Wittes. I see that not only has no one answered it specifically, almost none of the Althouse commentariat seem to want to even address it.

I hope that that question is asked, so that it can be combined with the one-word answer, "Yes," in a soundbite that can be played along with Trump's wailing, "No collusion, no obstruction."


Althouse's editorial choice on full display.

Mark said...

Question: Absent an actual indictment or other criminal proceedings, fundamental fairness, due process and prosecutorial ethics prohibit a prosecutor from making statements that a person has committed a crime. Yet you did so in your report.

Why should you now not be disbarred?

Douglas said...

I feel sorry for Wittes. He had a lot invested in the whole Russia conspiracy thing and has never quite recovered from Mueller’s conclusion that there was no there there.

narciso said...

Admittedly the banks did get greedy, but the big short left out the whole first act of the story, which only Gretchen Morgenstern, peter Wallison and a few others have deigned to reveal,

Howie carr has followed Mueller's record re bulger, Edward Epstein, his part in the anthrax investigation, along with carl cannon, there was also another writer who tangentially referred to that kangaroo tribunal,

narciso said...

as part of lawfare, he knows from his boss, jack goldsmith, how to sabotage administrations, withdrawing finding of fact, that undermine the legal sanctuary of government personnel, like Haynes and yoo,

TheOne Who Is Not Obeyed said...

I read that as Benjamin Witless. Probably more appropriate, considering.

Achilles said...

In a decent society with laws and equal justice Mueller would be in jail for life.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

steve uhr @7/8/19, 11:50 AM: "You know how you avoid the perjury trap? Tell the truth."

You are astonishingly naive. So naive that you don't even know what a perjury trap is. Which makes you a fool.

Democrats love fools like you. You are their base.

narciso said...

that's how I have dubbed him,

Original Mike said...

"You are astonishingly naive. So naive that you don't even know what a perjury trap is."

He claims to be a former federal prosecutor.

Andy said...

Nice info -andy4you.blogspot.com

dreams said...

Mueller is basically a stupid man, he had to keep on until he permanently soiled his overrated reputation, dumb.

narciso said...

Evil, not stupid, there's a difference.

Mark said...

Both.

Michael K said...


Blogger steve uhr said...
You know how you avoid the perjury trap? Tell the truth.


You mean like Scooter Libby did ? Nobody is this dumb. If an FBI agent ever asks to interview you, get a lawyer.

Seeing Red said...

Kabuki.

mccullough said...

Mueller and Comey are Waterboys. They did what they were told and in return made millions and obtained status. They may be brilliant or idiots. It doesn’t matter. These guys have no input. They do what they are told.

narciso said...

And eichenrode lost the transcripts of the interviews, quelle surprise

Phil said...

FBI, Sheriff, or local dogcatcher, NEVER TALK TO THE COPS WITHOUT A LAWYER. Only a fool or a fascist argues otherwise.

Nobody said...

“He claims to be a former federal prosecutor.”

Maybe he is... “'Come into my parlor,' said the spider to the fly."

Ralph L said...

If an FBI agent ever asks to interview you, get a lawyer.

And a recording device.

It's absurd and unconscionable that the FBI does not record interviews.

Narr said...

"Never agree to a vehicle search--especially if you have nothing to hide," is a piece of advice I have heard from practicing attorneys.

Also, never give legal advice without a licence to do so! (Oh no! I just did it!)

Narr
That's one of the first things they teach you at library boot camp

StephenFearby said...

Mike Sylwester said...
"Carlson's article was published also by Epoch Times, where commenters suggested the following additional questions."

Question #20 includes the following, which explains WHY the PREVIOUSLY-OBSCURE George Papadopoulos SUDDENLY became the object of concerted interest from both American and foreign intelligence agencies...which then swarmed him like black flies:


'...On May 5 or 6, 2016, immediately following an interview with The Times of London—in which Papadopoulos said then-UK Prime Minister David Cameron should apologize for calling Trump “divisive, stupid, and wrong”—two Americans from the U.S. embassy in the UK, Gregory Baker and Terrence Dudley, reached out to him and they met for dinner. Papadopoulos has said he was “just deflecting them” throughout the dinner.

“They’re spending a lot of money on me, their probing me, they’re asking me about my ties in the Middle East. They’re asking me about what Trump wants to do with Russia,” Papadopoulos noted.

The following day, Papadopoulos was contacted by Australian diplomat Erika Thompson, who wrote to him, “Hi George, I would just like to let you know that Alexander Downer just wants to meet with you.”'

https://www.theepochtimes.com/33-key-questions-for-robert-mueller_2988876.html

Pertinent excerpts from the Times of London article:

Say sorry to Trump or risk special relationship, Cameron told
Francis Elliott, Political Editor
May 4 2016, The Times


'David Cameron should apologise for calling Donald Trump “divisive, stupid and wrong”, a foreign policy adviser to the Republican frontrunner has said.

The billionaire’s team was shocked to be attacked by the prime minister, George Papadopoulos told The Times. The lawyer, who is advising Mr Trump on Europe and the Middle East, revealed that the likely Republican candidate was considering a tour of both regions but that he had yet to be invited to Britain by the government.

Mr Cameron rejected calls to ban Mr Trump from the UK after the tycoon proposed barring Muslims from the US but said that his remarks were “divisive stupid and wrong”. “I think if he came to visit our country he’d unite us all against him,” Mr Cameron told the Commons in December.

As Mr Trump all but secured his party’s nomination by winning the Indiana primary last night, British diplomats are rushing to mend fences. Mr Papadopoulos, one of a five-strong team of foreign policy advisers named by Mr Trump in March, said that any overture would be welcomed, as long as it came with an apology.'

'...Mr Obama’s intervention in the EU referendum campaign was a “blunder of historic proportions”, according to Mr Papadopoulos. “The will of the people is paramount in this decision. Whether the UK remains in a reformed EU or opts for Brexit the relationship with the US will survive, adapt and remain resilient,” he said..."

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/say-sorry-to-trump-or-risk-special-relationship-cameron-told-h6ng0r7xj

A comment that will probably soon come true:

" OOO ! I just woke from a nightmare ! Trump was president and Boris PM.........all it needs now is Leicester to win the premier league .................That's the thing about sleeping, whilst you are, all things are possible............... "

narciso said...

now who was national security advisor, until November of that year, and as such was receiving reports from steele, downer, and halper, among others, if you say kim darroch, the soon to be png'd ambassador, you win a case of rice aroni

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

It's the on-going freak show created to give Maddow, schit, and the late night TV propagandists more talking points and garbage for the hiveminders and arf arf seal-clappers.

Obstruction of justice!

Original Mike said...

"It's absurd and unconscionable that the FBI does not record interviews."

I'd love to hear steve uhr defend that.

Seriously, we all know why they do it, but they can't admit to that. What's their official reason for not recording interviews?

Drago said...

I will rate LLR-leftist Chuck's last comment as:

- 50% Smear (by our proudly declared Smear Merchant)
And
- 50% "driving wedge between Althouse and her readers"

LOL

Something tells me LLR-leftist Chuck is truly regretting that likely 11th gin and tonic which led him to admit his feeble and laughable purpose in attempting to drive a wedge between Althouse and her readers.

A drunken admission that pairs perfectly with LLR-leftist Chuck's Admitted Smear Merchant purpose.

narciso said...

so this is the real story, he was the liason between deep staters in the uk, so they moved him over to dc, where he could be in direct contact with these players. it's much more interesting than baiting Chuck,

narciso said...

who else was setting snares,

https://dailycaller.com/2019/07/08/amazon-dod-james-mattis/

Bruce Hayden said...

“It's absurd and unconscionable that the FBI does not record interviews”

Esp since the contents of the 302s that they use to record their recollections of interviews can be fluid. It appears that there were several drafts of Peter Strzok’s White House interview of Gen Flynn, with the critical one apparently personally approved by DD McCabe, who was the one who had misleadingly set up the interview in the first place. This was apparently disclosed in the Strzok/Page text messages.

Think about it for a minute - the #2 at the FBI calls up the National Security Advisor at the White House and sets up an appointment for the NSA and a couple of McCabe’s senior agents. He lies to Flynn about the purpose of the interview, and, advises him that there was no reason to get attorneys involved, suggesting that it was a social call. Then, without telling Flynn that they had read the transcripts of his call with the Russian Ambassador, they quizzed him on it. The DDir then personally approves the 302 of the interview, after it had already been revised several times. My view is that McCabe should be in prison for a long, long time for that sort of abuse of Justice.

Kirk Parker said...

Bruce,

"...suggesting it was just a social call."

Arlo had it right: "They're not really your friends, are they?"

narciso said...

Hold my ale:
https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7226527/amp/Foreign-Office-investigate-leaked-Sir-Kim-Darroch-Trump-memos-cyber-hack-Russia.html

Fen said...

. My view is that McCabe should be in prison for a long, long time for that sort of abuse of Justice.

I look back and am embarrassed by how stupid and naive I was. I actually believed the FBI were the guys in white hats. They gave me hope, they served as a pillar of my belief in the rule of law.

You know the saying about how you go bankrupt? Slowly at first, then all at once.

narciso said...

Across the pond:

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/07/05/five-ex-heads-scotland-yard-call-public-inquiry-state-policing/

Ray - SoCal said...

It was the right decision to have Kavanaugh first, especially after the Dem hit job that may have cost them 3 seats.

I don’t think Barr could have been confirmed at that time.

Michael K said...

He lies to Flynn about the purpose of the interview, and, advises him that there was no reason to get attorneys involved, suggesting that it was a social call.

I still think he will withdraw his plea due to prosecutorial misconduct. His new lawyer is going to have the FBI for lunch.

madAsHell said...

McCabe should be in prison for a long, long time

I'm really surprised he hasn't eaten his hand gun......freiwillig oder nicht!

wholelottasplainin' said...

I haven't read the entire thread, but I would ask:

"Isn't it true that a person can lawfully resist a UNlawful arrest." [it is]

"Then why was it UNlawful for Trump to make comments disparaging an UNlawful investigation based on UNlawful conduct by the NSA, FBI and DOJ"? What overt ACTIONS did he take to obstruct your investigation"?

Michael McNeil said...

lotta: see Bruce Hayden's explanation at 10:52.

Unknown said...

Poor baby. Spent two years on a witch-hunt t trying to FIND ways to arrest people. And we allowed it. I would much rather see him in jail.

PhilD said...

So the bloodhound is tired of being hounded. Tough.

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