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The narrative of #ObstructionOfJustice originated prior to the conclusion of the #MuellerReport. (Thread 👇)

Less than 6 months after #Mueller’s appointment, @BrookingsInst published “Presidential Obstruction of Justice: The Case of Donald J. Trump.” theepochtimes.com/tracing-the-or…
The report outlined a scenario whereby #Mueller would refer his #Obstruction findings to #Congress, which would then take up the matter and continue investigating.

The report also discussed ways Congress could #ImpeachTrump, mentioning the word “#Impeachment” 90 times.
2 of the report's authors, Barry Berke & @NormEisen, were later retained by #HouseJudiciaryCommittee Chairman @RepJerryNadler on a consulting basis as special oversight counsels to the Democrat majority staff. judiciary.house.gov/news/press-rel…
As @RepJerryNadler noted in an announcement, the 2 men would have a particular focus on reviewing the #MuellerInvestigation and would be advising the committee. It also appears Nadler intended for the two lawyers to question #AttorneyGeneral Barr.
The release of the #MuellerReport makes clear that substantial resources were dedicated to investigating potential #Obstruction charges—including the question whether Trump obstructed justice by firing @Comey as @FBI director.

The report dedicates a full section to defending…
… the use of Section 1512 and adopting the broadest interpretation possible.

Subsection 1512 (c)(2) is notably broad in its wording; whoever “obstructs, influences, or impedes any official proceeding, or attempts to do so” could be deemed to be guilty of obstruction.
Among the first mentions suggesting the use of Section 1512 was an article by @lawfareblog, which is published by #Lawfare in cooperation with @BrookingsInst.

The article was written approximately 2 weeks after #Mueller was appointed as #SpecialCounsel. lawfareblog.com/does-fbi-inves…
#Lawfare has been supportive of former @FBI execs like @Comey, and former FBI General Counsel James Baker is now a contributing editor at @lawfareblog.

Lawfare editor-in-chief Ben Wittes was the author of an article in Oct 2016 discussing the need for an “insurance policy.”
The 1st @BrookingsInst report looked at all the statutes that applied to #ObstructionOfJustice, but it was their 2nd report that focused more tightly on Section 1512.

In many respects, the 2nd edition provides parallels to the #MuellerReport.
The @BrookingsInst report appears to be partisan and excludes relevant details: the report notes #FusionGPS and Christopher Steele were hired by “political opponents” but fails to mention Fusion GPS had been hired by Perkins Coie on behalf of the @DNC and the #Clinton campaign.
There are several hurdles to actually making a charge of #ObstructionOfJustice against the president.

To start with, the president was told on 3 separate occasions by then-Director @Comey that he wasn’t 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.

Regarding claims that Trump obstructed an investigation into other individuals, there would need to be a rationalization against presidential pardon authority.
In other words if Trump maintains full pardon authority for federal crimes, how can anything he does become obstruction in cases relating to others?
Section 1512 is a rather obscure statute.

But there was one individual who had foreseen its possible use. On June 8, 2018, #WilliamBarr sent a lengthy memo to Deputy AG Rosenstein and Assistant AG Steve Engel.
Unlike the president’s lawyers, #Barr predicted the use of Section 1512, noting, “It appears Mueller is relying on 18 U.S.C. § 1512, which generally prohibits acts undermining the integrity of evidence or preventing its production.”

Barr appeared generally alarmed by the…
…liberal application of the statute, rightly 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.”

Barr noted the…
…spiraling outcomes that could come from such use of the statute and its effects on the @TheJusticeDept:

“…by giving direction on a case…an official opens himself to the charge that he has acted with an ‘improper’ motive and thus becomes subject to a criminal investigation.”
#Mueller ultimately failed to provide a determination on #ObstructionOfJustice directly, leaving the decision up to #Barr.

Barr said he believed Mueller could have reached a conclusion on obstruction, and stated both he and #Rosenstein were surprised when Mueller didn’t do so.
Barr said DOJ would have had to prove corrupt intent, noting “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.”

Efforts by Congress to advance the narrative that President Trump “obstructed justice” have now replaced the disproven claims of Trump-Russia collusion.

Article by Jeff Carlson @themarketswork | See full article: theepochtimes.com/tracing-the-or…
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