LIEU: Thank you, director Mueller, for you long history of service to our country including your service as a Marine where you earned a brown star with a V device.
I’d like to now turn to the elements of obstruction of justice as applied to the president’s attempts to curtail your investigation. The first element of obstruction of justice requites and obstructive act, correct?
LIEU: OK. I’d like to direct you to page 97 of Volume 2 of your report, and you wrote there on page 97, quote, “Sessions was being instructed to tell the special counsel to end the existing investigation into the president and his campaign,” unquote. That’s in the report, correct?
LIEU: That would be evidence of an obstructive act because it would naturally obstruct their investigation, correct?
LIEU: OK. Let’s turn now to the second element of the crime of obstruction of justice which requires a nexus to an official proceeding. Again, I’m going to direct you to page 97, the same page of Volume 2. And you wrote, quote, “by the time of the president’s initial one-on-one meeting with Lewandowski on June 19, 2017, the existence of a grand jury investigation supervised by the special counsel was public knowledge.” That’s in the report, correct?
LIEU: That would constitute evidence of a nexus to an official proceeding because a grand jury investigation is an official proceeding, correct?
LIEU: OK. I’d like to now turn to the final element of the crime of obstruction to justice. On that same page, page 97, do you see where there is the intent section on that page?
MUELLER: I do see that.
LIEU: All right. Would you be willing to read the first sentence?
MUELLER: And that was starting with…
LIEU: Substantial evidence.
MUELLER: Indicates that the president…
LIEU: If you read that first sentence, would you be willing to do that?
MUELLER: I’m happy to have you read it.
LIEU: OK. I will read it. You wrote, quote, “substantial evidence indicates that the president’s effort to have Sessions limit the scope of the special counsel’s investigation be featuring (ph) election interference was intended to prevent further investigative scrutiny of the president and his campaign’s conduct,” unquote. That’s in the report, correct?
MUELLER: That is in the report, and I rely what’s in the report to indicate what’s happened in the paragraphs that we’ve been discussing.
LIEU: Thank you. So to recap what we’ve heard, we have heard today that the president ordered former White House Counsel, Don McGahn, to fire you. The president ordered Don McGahn to then cover that up and create a false paper trail. And now we’ve heard the president ordered Corey Lewandowski to tell Jeff Sessions to limit your investigation so that he — you stop investigating the president.
I believe any reasonable person looking at these facts could conclude that all three elements of the crime of obstruction of justice have been met. And I’d like to ask you the reason, again, that you did not indict Donald Trump is because of OLC opinion stating that you cannot indict a sitting president, correct?
MUELLER: That is correct.
At the opening of that afternoon's Intelligence Committee hearing, Mueller amended his response:
At the opening of that afternoon's Intelligence Committee hearing, Mueller amended his response:
“I wanted to go back to one thing that was said this morning by Mr. Lieu. It was said, and I quote, 'you didn't charge the president because of the OLC opinion.' That is not the correct way to say it.
As we say in the report and as I said in the opening, we did not reach a determination as to whether the president committed a crime.”
(Because of the OLC opinion, "a determination as to whether the president committed a crime" was not required.)
It's time to codify that a president can be indicted for crimes while in office. A president is not an emperor. The OLC opinion serves to place the president above the law.
The absurdity of it all is the OLC opinion isn't even a law. And why blame the DOJ when Democrats won't do their job?
Trump WILL gloat about Dems having no cause to impeach him. Don't they know that?
Worse yet, can't they understand how history will view their timid inaction? A failure to follow their constitutional mandate secures the demise of a failed republic.
On the flip-side of the argument, the House Impeaching the President dies in the Republican controlled Senate. Let's say the House impeaches the President. It's sent to the Senate and Mitch "My wife has significant foreign business interests, never forget why I'm doing what I'm doing" McConnell and the Republicans don't vote to unseat the President. This gives Trump a significant talking point. Know how he claimed/claims the Mueller Report "totally exonerated" him? He'll spin the Senate not unseating him as an absolute acquittal. And the majority of Americans who are not as politically engaged as you or I will simply accept that and the Impeachment will come off as a complete, utter waste of time.
Do not get me wrong; I'm in your camp. I think the President should go through the impeachment process. If for nothing else, the Precedent the Republicans gave us with the ridiculousness of Clinton's Impeachment. Trump whines about fishing and witch hunts? He's lucky Mueller wasn't empowered the way Ken Starr was. Start by investigating a decades old land deal and end up impeaching the President over lying about getting some action from an intern. I digress...
Nancy's and the Democrat's path is clear here. It's a jagged pill to swallow for you and I, but Impeachment followed by Acquittal gets us nothing more than an energized base of racists and diehards for the 2020 election.
That's the dilemma, and that's also the fear the Dems have to deal with.
I think it would be a wash in terms of people swayed one way or the other by impeachment. Some may pay attention and learn some facts, others will not.
Trump would certainly crow about acquittal by his party in the Senate. That needs to be weighed against his crowing that Dems had no cause to impeach, AND the Mueller Report was a wasteful hoax.
Impeachment will bring continued focus on the report's evidence of Russian interference, convictions of Trump cronies, and list of acts of obstruction. It would also add more focus on Trump being "Individual 1" in a campaign finance felony.
Dems can then run on claiming the moral high ground by upholding the rule of law and Constitution. They can take those buzzwords back from the Republican Party and add new relevance to them.
I also think the impeachment process would rattle the Tangerine Tyrant into more racist attacks and other outrageous behavior. I think his behavior has eroded some of his moderate supporters.
I would also suggest Democrats could lose some voters, frustrated and angered by their inaction.
The only certainty is it will be ugly, with or without impeachment.
No impeachment whatsoever and Dems walking away from the Mueller Report would be a bigger win for Trump, and a more tragic national disgrace, than acquittal by the Republican Senate. Better to go down defending the Constitution, rule of law, and basic human decency than NOT doing so.
There's their slogan. "Democrats: Defending the Constitution, rule of law, and basic human decency". Imagine seeing that message on billboards, TV, and the internet, instead of "No cause to impeach, AND the Mueller Report is a wasteful hoax".
And will Dems have the guts to frame the other real issue? "It's about patriotism and equality vs racist white nationalism"?
Which cases would be harder to defend? Unfortunately Democrats are so conditioned to be defensive, I doubt they can pursue even this simple avenue of attack.
"That's the dilemma, and that's also the fear the Dems have to deal with." - DD
But by not impeaching, they've dealt with it.
"Trump would certainly crow about acquittal by his party in the Senate. That needs to be weighed against his crowing that Dems had no cause to impeach, AND the Mueller Report was a wasteful hoax." - DD
It's kind of a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation for Democrats. They are clearly working with some calculus in mind. Maybe they intend to have Impeachment in their back pocket for if he wins the next election? Maybe the evidence isn't as damning as we think it is? Maybe they think there's better unity among the country in no impeaching or giving Trump yet another wedge to use to separate us all?
"Impeachment will bring continued focus on the report's evidence of Russian interference, convictions of Trump cronies, and list of acts of obstruction. It would also add more focus on Trump being "Individual 1" in a campaign finance felony." - DD
So will continued Congressional investigations. Republicans already showed us they will investigate the hell out of stuff, so their whining about witchhunts and misuse of public funds falls on ears deafened by the chants of "Benghazi!" and "But Her Emails!".
"I also think the impeachment process would rattle the Tangerine Tyrant into more racist attacks and other outrageous behavior. I think his behavior has eroded some of his moderate supporters." - DD
We're already getting this from the current investigations and scrutiny. Let's not pretend his lashing out at Elijah Cummings and his district aren't about his Committee's scrutiny on the finances and actions of Ivanka and Jared.
"I would also suggest Democrats could lose some voters, frustrated and angered by their inaction." - DD
And it'd be most unfortunate that those voters couldn't see the forest for the trees. There was a conversation we all had in a previous post of yours about voting Democratic because that's the only way Trump loses. Very similar logic here. If a person opts to "Vote their conscience" and not vote Democrat because of perceived inaction on the Dem's vis-a-vis impeachment, that's how we get a Trump second term. If those Democrats can't see some of the comments that Trump makes on twitter hopes to stoke that sort of division, than they are blinded to the forest around them.
"No impeachment whatsoever and Dems walking away from the Mueller Report would be a bigger win for Trump, and a more tragic national disgrace, than acquittal by the Republican Senate. Better to go down defending the Constitution, rule of law, and basic human decency than NOT doing so." - DD
Is it, though? Sure, we have human decency and the moral high ground on our side, but what the hell good does that do anyone when a possible foreign agent with near-unlimited executive power has his hands on the nuclear codes and has the most powerful military in the world at his disposal? Especially since no one voted for Trump expecting human decency and morality. Holding the moral high ground is meaningless, Republicans have proven that. I'm not saying to abandon that hill, I'm just saying it shouldn't be regarded as some sort of victory... especially with the antogonist in this story doesn't regard that hill as a goal or objective.
"There's their slogan. "Democrats: Defending the Constitution, rule of law, and basic human decency". Imagine seeing that message on billboards, TV, and the internet, instead of "No cause to impeach, AND the Mueller Report is a wasteful hoax". " - DD
Billboards where? When has a billboard swayed your opinion? Seeing Mueller on the TV and this administrations malfeasance everyday means nothing to those that need to be swayed. You can't convince someone of reality, when they reject it and replace it with the warm fuzzies they've enrobed themselves in. Billboards? Really?
"And will Dems have the guts to frame the other real issue? "It's about patriotism and equality vs racist white nationalism"?
Which cases would be harder to defend? Unfortunately Democrats are so conditioned to be defensive, I doubt they can pursue even this simple avenue of attack." - DD
To what end? Honestly, it sounds like you just want to go on the attack for the sake of going on the attack. Patriotism is one of those words they have defined and will continue to define, rejecting any Democratic effort to wrestle it away. And Equality? His base already regard that as a political dirty word. You win nobody over to the right side with that. And point me to a Democrat who's defending the notion of white nationalism... these are not issues to fight over. You might as well be asking the Democrats and Republicans to argue the merits of Ice Cream vs Cake, as much as that has to do with the election of the next President. You want to fight battles that already have clearly, defined, and firm sides.
What needs to happen is for Congress to continue their investigations and continuing to scrutinize the President and his circle. That's all Congress can realistically do to help in 2020. The rest of the Baseball-team-worth of Democratic Candidates should continue to sell their ideas to the American public while they've got these big media microphones in front of them. The President can melt down and rant over Congress's activities while the Democratic Presidential field gets their disparate ideas out into the common discourse.
You want the Dems to attack and all I see is them attacking. Where you want a targetted approach on topics and ideas that are already rejected by the other side, I see an overwhelming wall of Democrats coming from multiple fronts by multiple candidates and Congress. Trump won the 2016 Primary by picking away the Republican Candidates while they fought themselves, until they couldn't band together to bring him down when they realized he was a serious threat. He's the President now and a serious threat, so Dems don't need to underestimate him anymore. Successful impeachment is a dream, but the ever present spectre of it will weigh on the President as he picks fights with everyone and everything. Throw everything at the wall, rally behind what sticks.
Rally behind what sticks, that’s a real insightful bit of political strategy. but what if nothing sticks, then what?
Nothing sticks on slime. Trump proves that fact. It’s what sticks in public discourse that matters.
Your points are all factors for consideration. Who knows what can be significant? Inaction is action when it comes to impeachment. But inaction is not really what is happening. That was the previous Republican-run House.
I think the plan is to continue hearings and investigations, and eventually add the term “impeachment” to the hearings and investigations. They will contrast nicely with the GOP Convention.
And that will probably be the extent of it, barring a clear majority swings in favor of impeachment. This is another case of Dems following the polls rather than moving the polls, as the Right does.
Why not billboards? Or any other advertising medium? Messaging is vital.
I see no down side to claiming the moral high ground. Just because they dishonestly do it, doesn’t mean we can’t. The same goes for defending the rule of law and Constitution. Why surrender that ground?
I agree, “You want to fight battles that already have clearly, defined, and firm sides.”
Racism and voting rights have been those battles for a long time, and still need to be fought. Their anti-science denial of global warming needs to be attacked. Their pro-polluter deregulation needs to be attacked. Their war on public healthcare and pre-existing conditions need to be attacked. Their tax cuts for the rich and gutting of food stamps need to be attacked. Their cruelty to immigrants and state-sponsored child abuse need to be attacked. It’s called politics.
Dems should be able to do both things, attack the Right and promote an agenda. They go hand in hand.
And again, attacking the Right on these issues is the moral thing to do.
If not? I don't know, continue the impotent rage we've been seeing for 2 years?
Point to Marianne Williamson: "If you think any of this wonkiness is going to deal with this dark psychic force of the collectivized hatred that this president is bringing up in this country, then I’m afraid that the Democrats are going to see some very dark days."
Dark. Psychic. Force.
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