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1) My latest @EpochTimes

Tracing the Origins of Congressional Democrats' 'Obstruction' Strategy
2) Note: This post owes a thanks & h/t to @Joestradamus91

Also a nod & h/t to @willchamberlain

Links to articles from both will follow.

Thanks to @JasperFakkert for all his suggestions & edit work on this one.
3) Efforts by Democrat members of Congress to advance the narrative that Trump ‘obstructed justice’ have now replaced the disproven claims of Trump-Russia collusion.

However, the public narrative of obstruction actually originated prior to Mueller's Report.
4) Less than 6-months after Mueller’s appointment—on October 10, 2017—the Brookings Institution published a report titled “Presidential Obstruction of Justice: The Case of Donald J. Trump,” which outlined a strategy whereby Mueller could refer his obstruction findings to Congress
5) Notably, two of the authors of the Brookings report were later retained by Rep. Jerry Nadler, House Judiciary Committee Chairman, on a consulting basis as special oversight counsels to the Democrat Majority Staff.
6) It was initially believed that the primary focus of Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation centered around allegations of collusion, however, the release of Mueller’s report makes clear that substantial resources were dedicated to investigating potential obstruction charges.
7) The Mueller report stated that in regards to obstruction, several statutes could apply - including 1503 and 1505 - but the special counsel chose to focus primarily on Section 1512.

Mueller’s report dedicates a full section to defending the use of Section 1512.
8) Among the first mentions suggesting the use of Section 1512 was a June 2, 2017 article by the website Lawfare.

The article was written approximately two weeks after Mueller was first appointed as special counsel.
9) Wittes, himself a Senior Fellow at Brookings, was also the author of an article in October 2016 that discussed the need for an “insurance policy,” which according to Wittes was a “cross-ideological network of lawyers and philanthropists” dedicated to fighting Trump in court.
10) It wasn’t just Lawfare that had focused its attention on Section 1512.

The Brookings report, which was brought to my attention and initially covered in an article by @Joestradamus91, made Section 1512 a primary focus from an early start.
11) It is unclear whether the Brookings Institute report was part of this effort suggested by Wittes, who is also a Senior Fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution.
12) Brookings produced its first 108 page report, authored by Barry Berke, Noah Bookbinder and Norman Eisen on Oct. 10, 2017.

They followed up with a 177 page 2nd Edition on Aug. 22, 2018 which also came with a lengthy 200 page appendix.
13) In the 2nd Edition, the Brookings report dedicated an entire section solely to exploring the use of Section 1512—and as they note in their report, they did so specifically because 1512 could be applied towards “obstruction” of potential and possible future proceedings.
14) On page 148, the Brookings report discusses the issue of referring the Mueller report directly to Congress:
15) Although the Brookings report strives to make its case regarding congressional referral, at each turn it is forced to acknowledge that any referral option would be subject to the authority and oversight of then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
16) Another problem exists.

@realDonaldTrump was told on three separate occasions by Dir Comey that he was not personally under investigation by the FBI.

Therefore, Trump could not obstruct an investigation of himself if he didn't know there was an investigation to begin with.
17) Regarding claims that President Trump might have obstructed an investigation into individuals other than himself, there would need to be a rationalization against presidential pardon authority.
18) On Feb. 12, 2019, Nadler announced that two of the Brookings report authors, Eisen and Berke, had been retained as special oversight counsels to the Democrat Majority Staff.

They were appointed in advance of the April 18 release of the Mueller report.
19) It appears that Nadler had intended for Eisen and Burke to lead a hoped-for May 2 questioning of AG Barr personally.

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) commented on Barr’s absence and Berke's & Eisen's planned involvement during an impromptu press conference on May 2:
20) Section 1512 is a rather obscure statute, a fact inadvertently highlighted in two separate letters sent by President Trump’s lawyers to SC Mueller.

Section 1505, the standard for obstruction, is mentioned in the letters 39 times. Section 1512 is not mentioned once.
21) But apparently, there was one individual who had foreseen its possible use.

On June 8, 2018, William Barr, now the Attorney General but then a lawyer in private practice, sent a lengthy memo to DAG Rosenstein and AAG Steve Engel.
22) Barr’s memo noted “It appears Mueller's team is investigating a possible case of "obstruction" by the President.

Unlike the president’s lawyers, Barr predicted the use of Section 1512, noting, “It appears Mueller is relying on 18 U.S.C. § 1512.
23) This quiet battle between Mueller and Barr over the use of Section 1512 was first highlighted in an excellent article by Will Chamberlain of Human Events.
24) Barr appeared alarmed by the liberal application of Section 1512, observing that “any discretionary act by a President that influences a proceeding can become the subject of a criminal grand jury investigation, probing whether the President acted with an improper motive.”
25) Barr noted the spiralling outcomes that could come from use of the statute:

“Simply by giving direction on a case, or class of cases, an official opens himself to the charge that he has acted with an "improper" motive and thus becomes subject to a criminal investigation.”
26) Mueller ultimately failed to provide a determination on obstruction directly, leaving the decision up to AG Barr, who along with then-Deputy AG Rosenstein, ruled that there was no obstruction by the president.
27) Barr said that he and Rosenstein did not agree with much of the legal analysis contained in the report and felt it represented the “views of a particular lawyer or lawyers and so we applied what we thought was the right law.”
28) Barr concluded:

“The report itself points out that one of the likely motivations here was the president’s frustration with Comey saying something publicly and saying a different thing privately, and refusing to correct the record.”

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