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I'm starting another thread for the House Intel hearing.
Okay. Part 1 established beyond any doubt that Trump obstructed justice. Now we need Mueller and Ds to tell us why he wanted to stop the investigation and the grand jury proceedings.
The answer: Because he did not want the investigations to discover the details and the extent to which his campaign welcomed, encouraged, benefited, and indeed relied on Russian interference to help his campaign. (See my Reader's Guide for details.)
Powerful opening statement by Schiff. Mueller listening intently to disloyalty to country.
Schiff is covering all the bases. Sanctions. Greed. Selling out the country. Lying. There's enough stuff in this opening statement to keep the media busy with viral clips for a whole year.
Right. Collusion can involve both criminal and non-criminal behavior. Mueller listening intently. Lies. Greed. Disloyalty to country. Trump would accept Russia's help again.
Who could have expected this? Nunes begins with an attack on the Steele dossier. No rebuttal of the findings about the Trump campaign itself. The investigation was "unpredicated," so all its devastating findings should be dismissed. LOL.
WTF? Natalya Veselnitskaya colluded with Fusion GPS? The proof please? Or any evidence at all? Please. Please. Moooo.
Cannot discuss Steele dossier or the opening of the investigation. Questions about these matters need to be addressed to the appropriate departments. Rs won't accept this, but it is what BARR would insist on. Mueller needs to point this out. (He failed to do this before HJC.)
The campaign welcomed Russia's help. Says that Manafort lied. Denies Trump's claim that his investigation was a witch hunt. Schiff doing a great job of painting a general pattern.
Nunes implies that Mifsud is not a Russian agent. Nunes is heading right for the weeds.
Jim Himes. Numerous links and contacts b/w the Trump campaign and individuals tied to the Russian government. Refers to Papadopoulos' telling the Greek foreign minister about what he had been told by Mifsud.
Mueller: failure to report a country's approach like Russia's in 2016 could be a crime, depending on the circumstances.
Ratcliffe. Was the Steele dossier Russian deza? Mueller doesn't go there. And Barr wouldn't want him to.
The Report says that it did not charge Don Jr or the campaign with a crime at least in part of the grounds that it could not assign a monetary value to the "dirt," which in any case the campaign did not use.
Michael Turner. On and on about exoneration. It just means that he tried to establish that Trump did not obstruct justice and failed. That's all "exoneration" in the Report means. If Mueller can report the former, he can report the latter.
Andre Carson up. Now talking about Trump campaign collusion (in a non-criminal sense) with individuals with ties to the Russian government. Vol I stuff finally.
Agrees that Manafort's actions left him open to blackmail. Brad Wenstrup up. Did not find any documentary evidence that Papadopoulos told the campaign about what he had been told by Mifsud. Claims a contradiction with the Report. I'll have to look into this.
Mueller makes no assumption that Manafort never had any contact with Assange. Simply concurs that there is no evidence for this in the Report.
Mueller is asked about whether he requested the scope of the investigation to be expanded. Mueller doesn't respond on grounds of "internal deliberations."
Jackie Speier up. Good question. What do you want the American people to take from your Report. Chris Stewart up. Accuses the office of leaks from his office. But there were no leaks. And the Office never dealt with the dossier.
Will not answer a question about the raid on Stone's home. The leaks did not come from the Office! If anything, they were leaked by witnesses, not the Office.
What is his evidence that there were 25 leaks from the Office. I have never heard of this. Mueller should have challenged this.
Mike Quigley up. If statute of limitations allows Trump to escape justice, maybe we have to impeach. That's where he's going.
Agrees with Pompeo that WikiLeaks is a hostile foreign service. Mueller also points out that Assange is under indictment. Then Quigley puts up visuals about how much Trump loves WikiLeaks. Mueller says Trump's remarks are "problematic." Nice understatement.
Trump's touting of WikiLeaks "calls for an investigation." Rick Crawford. Again on grounds of "internal deliberations" declines to discuss the origins of the investigation.
Nunes on again. Starts in about the dossier. Can't stop himself. I need to write up something on the R attack on the dossier. It goes back YEARS and was instigated by MANAFORT. That tells us how much integrity was behind this attack.
Swalwell up. Mueller again has to distinguish Stone. That is ongoing matter. Doesn't "talk to" Sekulow, Giuliani and whether they dangled pardons etc. (They did.)
Elise Stefanik (Republican). They cannot stop talking about the dossier. Why can't they wait till mid-August when Horowitz will issue his report on the FISA warrants etc? Because they can't rebut what Mueller did find.
Joaquin Castro up now. About the party line to minimize or even deny Trump campaign ties with Russia. This is key, and I stress it in the Reader's Guide. It explains why Trump was forced to try to stop the investigation: to keep maintaining what Cohen calls the "party line."
Castro is good. Asks about whether Trump could be vulnerable to blackmail. Mueller: can't answer that. (That is counterintel stuff. Will undoubtedly be covered in closed House Intel hearing.) Doesn't answer question about Cohen in Prague. That, too, is counterintel.
Hurd is the only Republican who has wanted to use the hearing to make America safer, rather than to undermine Mueller.
Danny Heck up. Wants to talk about greed as a motive for Trump campaign collusion. This is not a good look, I have to admit. Mueller seems unfamiliar with stuff that is in his Report! (BTW: I discuss all these things in the Reader's Guide.)
There hasn't been enough talk about sanctions relief, and how this would have benefited Russian oligarchs. Heck is one of the few today to talk about sanctions. It's crucial.,
Nunes. Actually there are footnotes in the Report referencing emails between Kilimnick and State Dept officials and consultants. But it is true we don't have the emails. Maybe that is protected matter.
Mueller: we don't use the word collusion. So he doesn't assent to the question: Did you find that there was no collusion? There was no agreement: you help us, we will help you. That is a criminal conspiracy. He didn't find that.
Peter Welch. Wow. Mueller says he fears that what the Trump campaign did during the 2016 campaign has become the new normal. And Russia is doing it still, as we speak, he says.
Sean Patrick Maloney. Why didn't you subpoena the president? What did you think of his written questions? All this makes Trump looks bad.
Clearly Trump should have agreed to an in-person interview and would have had to if he had been subpoenaed. So it is damning for Trump. Trump just ran out the clock.
Val Demings up. Trump didn't answer many questions. And some of his written answers contradicted other evidence the Office had found.
Mueller does not answer questions about whether the campaign had advance knowledge of the release of WikiLeaks dumps. Can't get into it, because it implicates the Roger Stone trial (do he doesn't say this specifically). See my thread yesterday on this.
Raja Krishnamoorti. Agrees that his probe did not probe Trump's financial ties to Russia. Won't get into whether or to what extent these tie formed part of his investigation.
Mueller: FBI is *currently* investigating Flynn. Krishnamoorti is killing it. Since Rs have gotten nowhere on the "#oranges" inquiry, they are in full retreat on the Mueller probe itself. They literally have nothing to say at the end of the hearing.
What the Trump campaign did was reprehensible even if and when it was not criminal. It was unethical and unpatriotic. And left them open to extortion and compromise and blackmail. Mueller agrees. Schiff is killing it.
Ds would have been well-advised to just turn over all their questioning to Schiff. He's an absolute master at this. And boy, does he know his stuff. He's going on and on and isn't consulting a single note.
Schiff is wrapping up. They were so corrupt that they were willing to go to jail for lying and obstructing justice. I abandon the attempt to live-tweet Schiff's summary. Everything deserves to be in the history books. This is GREAT stuff.
Wow. That's all I can say. Wow.
A general observation. In the hearing this morning, Rs were shouting at Mueller and abusing him. I think the feedback they got from Fox and others is that this approach was not playing well, because they pulled back in this afternoon's House Intel hearing. Even seemed defensive.
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