Wednesday, May 2, 2018

44 Questions of Russiagate

On Monday, a new report from The New York Times revealed dozens of questions that Special Counsel Robert Mueller wants to ask President Donald Trump if he agrees to an interview for the Russia probe.

The Times reports that Mueller wants to ask the questions so he can learn more about Trump's connections to Russia and to determine if he committed obstruction of justice. The questions are designed to "penetrate the president’s thinking," so that Mueller can try to understand the motivation behind some of Trump's actions, including the firing of former FBI Director James Comey and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. . . .
I don't see how you can expect truth about what someone is thinking.  Ann Althouse: 
I cannot imagine trying to answer questions about what was going on in my mind at all these precise points in the past. Do you have access to the contents of your mind like that? Even when an interaction is happening, I don't have a clear, precise view of my own motivations and intentions. Thinking about it immediately afterwords, I might puzzle about it, even when I'm under no pressure and it's only one incident. But I would never be able — even if I believed I deserved no criminal punishment — to sit down to a high-stakes questioning about many interactions that occurred over the course of many months and purport to tell the truth about what I was thinking on all those occasions. There would be no way not to lie. Continually.
Mueller has long list of questions for TrumpMueller Outlined Over 40 Questions for Trump in Potential Interview Ace: New York Times Publishes Lists of Mueller's Questions for Trump, Presumably Leaked by Member of Office of the Special Counsel
This list of questions seems to have two obvious purposes and one sneaky one.

The obvious purposes:

To get Trump to provide evidence against himself which Mueller's team has failed to gather from other sources. Obviously, Trump should not answer questions with this purpose.

To get Trump in a perjury trap in which his answer disagrees, if only slightly and arguably, from an answer of another interviewee, in which case Mueller will proclaim the other interviewee to be obviously telling the truth (even if that "truth" was obtained in exchange for immunity or a light plea deal) and claim Trump has committed perjury. Obviously, Trump should not answer questions with this purpose.

Alan Derschowitz proposes a sneaky angle to the questions: That they have been constructed to not be answered by "Yes" or "No," but have been constructed to invite open-ended answers and digressions, to encourage Trump to ramble on and wind up talking about things not even asked about or even much thought about, for which they can then charge him with perjury.
Alan Dershowitz: Robert Mueller's questions aimed at tripping Trump up
"If they were to ask him direct, tough questions to which he can answer yes or no, that might not give them the advantage they are seeking," he continued.
. . .
Dershowitz also advised Trump's personal attorneys to respond to as many queries as possible in writing, if permitted by Mueller, in order to prevent the president from making statements that could expose him to legal risk.

While most of the questions were predictable, Dershowitz added the line of inquiry about Trump's business transactions before he was elected could pose a problem.

"He can refuse to answer questions based on executive privilege that focus on reasons why he engaged in activities that are covered by Article II of the Constitution," Dershowitz said. "The problem is those are the easy questions and he can answer those whereas the hardest questions, the one about his financial dealings, he has no executive privilege."
Then let him take the 5 th on any questions about his business. Prove it, copper! Why Answering Mueller’s Questions Could Be A Minefield For Trump, Cobb Out After Suggesting Mueller Interview “Not Off The Table”WH hires lawyer who represented Clinton in impeachment

Mueller raised possibility of presidential subpoena in meeting with Trump's legal team. "This isn't some game," Dowd said, according to two people with knowledge of his comments. "You are screwing with the work of the president of the United States." Take it to the Supreme Court if necessary.  Message For Mueller? Obstruction Allegations “Setup & Trap,” Trump Tweets, Mueller still mulling Trump campaign collusion with Russians, but can't point to any.  Roger Simon: Worse than Beria? Mueller Could Damage the World
If only Comrade Beria had had such power. He would never have dared to subpoena Stalin. But never mind. The frightening part is the timing of this escalation of this endless witch hunt. (Yes, Trump is accurate in his characterization.)

At this very moment the United States is about to enter into negotiations with North Korea and to consider whether to continue the Iran Deal. These issues are titanic, affecting literally billions of people across the globe in an effort to avoid nuclear Armageddon.

But Bob Mueller seeks to distract the president of the United States from giving these issues full attention with his endless investigation that was once about collusion with Russia but is now about obstruction of justice in the investigation of a collusion that never happened.

Comrade Beria lives! Show me a Carter Page and I'll find you a crime!
Mueller requests Flynn's sentencing be delayed at least two more months Does he need more time to plant testimony on Flynn?
Special counsel Robert Mueller on Tuesday requested that sentencing for former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn be delayed by at least two months.

Mueller’s team and attorneys for Flynn submitted that Flynn is not ready for sentencing “due to the status of the special counsel’s investigation,” according to a court filing in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.
A judge should step in and free Flynn from his guilty plea, based on the impeachment of many of the people who collected evidence against him (McCabe, Strzok, Page to name a few).

The real reason Mueller hasn’t called Ivanka Trump, The special counsel seems to be leaving the president's children for last. Bring Chelsea Clinton before Congress to testify on the Clinton Foundation.
Calling in Ivanka Trump for an interview, former Justice Department officials and legal experts said, would be risky primarily for two reasons: It would give the public the perception that the prolonged investigation has reached the point of harassing the president’s family members, giving Trump more ammunition to decry how unfairly he and his family are being treated in an investigation he has already deemed a “witch hunt.”
And it would carry with it the very real possibility that the reactive president would “go nuclear,” according to a former federal prosecutor, once again raising the possibility of pardons or toying with the idea of firing the special counsel altogether.
Top prosecutor 'won't be extorted' over Republican threat,  Rod Rosenstein: People Are Threatening Me, Privately And Publicly, But The DOJ Won’t Be Extorted,  Rosenstein On Impeachment Threat: The DOJ ‘Is Not Going To Be Extorted’ Call his bluff or theirs, I don't care. Did President Trump Just Send Rod Rosenstein And Jeff Sessions A Message?

Michael Caputo slams Senate intel panel in interview The process is the punishment.

Via Wombat-socho's "In The Mailbox: 05.01.18", Power Line has The Comey Conundrum (With Clarification)
Robert Mueller’s team, if it decides not to prosecute President Trump, will almost certainly produce a report. That report may well resemble Comey’s statement on Clinton in the sense that it will lay out incriminating facts but go on to explain why, for technical reasons, the case should not be prosecuted.

Hillary Clinton wasn’t the president, but she was going to be the Democratic nominee for president. James Comey wasn’t a special counsel, but the matter he investigated was a perfect example of a case that should be handled by a special counsel, rather than the DOJ, if special counsels weren’t such a bad idea.
Comey Keeps Claiming That Reports That the FBI Found Michael Flynn to be Truthful Are #FakeNews-- But Republicans Say They'll Release a Less-Redacted Transcript of His Testimony Making That Same ClaimWho are ya gonna believe, Jim Comey our Jim Comey's lyin' mouth? Show me the tapes. Comey: I Don’t Think President Hillary Would Have Fired Me Show me your shocked face!

Are NBC and CNN Paying Off Top Spies Who Leaked Info With On-Air Jobs? Magic 8-ball says "Signs Point to Yes."

Ace's Morning Report 5/2/18 Report: Mueller Warned of Action He Might Take if PDT Refused to be InterviewedMueller's Leak: Deep State Doubles Down on Collusion with DemocratsDid Obama's DoJ Tell FBI to End Clinton Foundation Investigation?,  Rod Rosensteinpenis Suggests Effort to Impeach Him Amounts to "Extortion"DiGenova Sees "Fireable Offense" in Rosensteinpenis Blocking CongressClinton Fixer's "Second Dossier" Was Met with SkepticismRush: Flashback - Obama Himself Told Us the Russians Couldn't Rig an Election

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