Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Russiagate: Mueller Relents

The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, will accept written answers from President Trump on questions about whether his campaign conspired with Russia’s election interference, Mr. Mueller’s office told Mr. Trump’s lawyers in a letter, two people briefed on it said on Tuesday.
But on another significant aspect of the investigation — whether the president tried to obstruct the inquiry itself — Mr. Mueller and his investigators understood that issues of executive privilege could complicate their pursuit of a presidential interview and did not ask for written responses on that matter, according to the letter, which was sent on Friday.
Mr. Mueller did not say that he was giving up on an interview altogether, including on questions of obstruction of justice. But the tone of the letter and the fact that the special counsel did not ask for written responses on obstruction prompted some Trump allies to conclude that if an interview takes place, its scope will be more limited than Mr. Trump’s legal team initially believed, the people said.
The best sign that this is good news for the president is that Rep. Adam Schiff seems to think this is a bad deal for the prosecutors. Video of Schiff’s appearance is posted here but hasn’t turned up on YouTube yet. “Written answers to questions are of very limited value,” Schiff said. He added, “If this is being done in the hope that the President’s legal team will later make him accessible for an interview, I wouldn’t make a deal on written questions until I had a locked in commitment on an oral interview.”

But the bigger news here may be that Mueller seems to be giving up on an interview on the obstruction issue. Does that mean this part of the case will conclude without any input from Trump? It’s a little hard to tell from the NY Times story, but that’s how it sounds.
Ace: Mueller Will Accept Written Answers From Trump About Claims of "Russian Collusion;" Appears To Not Be Asking Questions, Either Live or in Written Form, About Alleged "Obstruction of Justice"

Collusion collapse?
. . .
I guess all of their chips are on "Sloppy" Daniels and "hush-money" now.

Oh -- and Trump can always still offer a Bofa Demurrer.
I wonder if da Beast still stands by this one: How Robert Mueller Outfoxed Donald Trump "The special prosecutor quietly and subtly played the president, who even now has no real clue what Mueller and his zipped-lipped crew are up to."

Via Wombat-socho's In The Mailbox: 09.04.18, A history lesson from Jack Cashill, The American Thinker: Mueller, Comey, and the Deep State Rescue of Sandy Berger. Remember this the next time somebody cites Mueller and Comey as Republicans.

It might even be true: Trump lost his temper during mock Mueller interview: Woodward book
The Washington Post, which obtained a copy of the book, reported Tuesday that former Trump attorney John Dowd arranged a mock interview for Jan. 27. As Dowd rattled off a series of questions about the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, Trump reportedly stumbled over his answers and contradicted himself.

“This thing’s a goddamn hoax,” Trump said, sparking a 30-minute rant.

“I don’t really want to testify," he concluded, according to the book.
Which, no doubt, was part of the reason for the exercise.

Jeff Carlson, themarketswork:  A Look at the Russian Ties to the Steele Dossier. The Democrats bought that dirt from the Kremlin fair and square, through a series of shell transactions designed to hide its origins. At Da Caller: Alleged Source For Steele Dossier Sets Up $1 Million Fundraiser. Sergei Millian. Didn't Steele share that good FBI coin? Tom Fitton at Judicial Watch: Tom Fitton: At Least 11 FBI Payments went to Steele

At Power Line: Cleta Mitchell: Glenn Simpson is a liar. Well, yes. And Papadopoulos court filing reminds us why Sessions needed to recuse himself.
CNN reports that George Papadopoulos, convicted of lying to the FBI, is saying through his lawyer that Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions both “apparently supported” his proposal that Trump meet with Vladimir Putin during the 2016 campaign. According to papers filed by Papadopoulos’ legal team:
While some in the room rebuffed George’s offer, Mr. Trump nodded with approval and deferred to Mr. Sessions who appeared to like the idea and stated that the campaign should look into it.
Sessions, by contrast, has testified to Congress that he “pushed back” against the idea of the Putin summit. Two CNN sources have supported Sessions’ version of events, stating that the then-Senator shut down the idea of a Putin meeting.

In all likelihood, Papadopoulos is lying, as he did to the FBI — lying about the reaction of both Sessions and Trump. In addition to the witnesses who support Sessions’ version of events, and to Papadopoulos’ status as a convicted liar, there’s the fact that no meeting with Putin occurred or, as far as we know, came close to occurring. If both Trump and Sessions — or even just Trump — had supported the idea of a meeting, things would have moved down that path. Apparently, they didn’t.

Papadopoulos’ story, though very likely false, highlights why Sessions made the right decision when he recused himself from the Russian investigation. He understood that his significant role in the Trump campaign made it inappropriate for him to oversee an investigation into that campaign, including the question of whether the campaign colluded with Russia.
Along with Rod Rosenstein, Bob Mueller, and Andrew Weissman, just to name a few. They're all conflicted. We either live by these rules or we don't, not just when it suits our side.

Papadop is composing, in an effort to get a favorable sentence recommendation from Mueller. Unless the meeting was video taped, there's no way of knowing the truth.

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