Archive for Robert Mueller

Mr. Muller Finally Spoke!

Posted in Playthell on politics with tags , , on July 26, 2019 by playthell

Droppin Truth without fear or favor

And Told Us Everything We Need to Know

Listening to the reactions of my fellow citizens to the testimony of Robert Mueller, a life-long public servant and genuine America hero who recently served as a Special Prosecutor, I am by turns elated, frustrated, amused, angered, and disgusted. Having completed an investigation into Russian interference into our presidential election with the objective of helping Donald Trump get elected over Hillary Clinton, sow discord among the American populace, and finding out the extent to which the Trump campaign engaged in a “criminal conspiracy” with the Russians to secure a Trump victory and efforts by the Trump administration to illegally cover up their deeds from the Special Prosecutor, people all over the world were anxious to hear what Mueller had to say. His testimony was greeted with hostility, disappointment and some delight.

After much resistance Mr. Mueller finally appeared before the Judicial Committee of the House of Representatives to give an account of the product produced by his multi-million dollar investigation. Although he had warned the Committee “My testimony is in the written report,” and cautioned that he would not venture beyond the boundaries of the report, the Committee insisted that he appear anyway. Mueller’s appearance before Congress to be interrogated by skilled politicians, many of them lawyers, conjured an air of great expectations from pundits and the public. Alas, in an age rife with political ignorance and apathy, where the people are content with bread and circuses, pigged out on reality television shows that are often cheaply produced over the top melo-dramas masquerading as real life, the calm deliberative style of Mr. Mueller went over like a leas balloon.

The disappointment of MSNBC host Ari Melber, a bright and progressive lawyer and notorious hip hop head, was palpable. At one point he looked like he was about to cry. Other reactions among the media crowd ranged from quiet desperation and resignation in liberal/left circles, to jubilation among the FOX crowd on the right. Even declaring “Impeachment is dead!” I think both sides has misread what actually happened, for they viewed the hearing as though they were television critics evaluating a prime time show. Viewed from this perspective, production values become paramount and symbols are privileged over substance, entertainment over enlightenment. They wanted a good show, but when there were no fireworks many spectators were sadly disappointed.

However, while they were whining over the absence of fireworks, they overlooked the revelatory bombs Mueller was quietly dropping. The strategy of the Democrats was perfectly crafted for the type of presentation Mueller gave. Since he had made it clear that he did not wish to opine on the issues beyond the contents of the text, the democratic congressman read damming dramatic passages from the text and simply solicited a yes or no answer from the former prosecutor. Despite the absence of drama, Mr. Mueller delivered a devastating indictment of Trump.

Among the things he quietly confirmed were: Russian intelligence forces massively intervened in the US presidential election on behalf of Donald Trump; they viciously attacked Hillary Clinton in the more than 100 million dis-information messages they posted online; the Trump campaign led by the candidate enthusiastically welcomed it; once elected president Trump did nothing to retaliate for the intrusion or take any steps to prevent it in the future. In fact, Trump rejected the unanimous advice of US intelligence agencies in favor of former KGB intelligence officer Vladimir Putin’s version of events. In Trump’s attempts to cover up their cooperation with the Russians Trump committed ten acts that could qualify as “Obstruction of Justice,” including ordering his subordinates to lie and falsify documents. A thousand former federal prosecutors that Mueller confirmed were honorable professionals – some of whom he had worked with – signed a statement saying they would issue criminal indictments against anyone who had committed these acts. However Mr. Mueller admitted that he could not even consider indicting Trump because Department of Justice regulations forbid indicting a sitting president.

In reality this regulation amounts to a special dispensation for US Presidents that inoculates them against indictment, and in the view of many attorneys practically places the president above the law. This explains why Mueller did not indict or recommend indictment despite the fact that Mueller said Trump lied under oath and committed a crime when he encouraged Wiki-Leaks to hack the Democrats computers and used the stolen information gained to boost his campaign! As the hearing got underway we could see why Mr. Mueller had vigorously resisted testifying before the Judiciary Committee: he is not in the best of health. At times he looked befuddled, as if he was not sure what was going on. That, no doubt, is why he insisted to responding only to what was written in the report.

Faithfully rendering the written text was of little interest to the Republican obscurantists. Their sole objective was to assault the character of Mr. Mueller and cast aspersions on his motives as well as the veracity of his report, in the vain hope of vindicating Dirty Donnie in the eyes of the public; even if they personally consider him a slime ball! Hence they attacked Mr. Mueller with brutal verbal assaults, unrestrained by the fact that he is a venerable Republican public servant that has honorably served this country as a member of the US Marine Corps, where he was wounded in combat and received battle decorations, volunteering for duty while Devious Donald was a draft dodging coward who faked an injury to escape serving.

Despite his elite education Mueller constantly spurned a cushy career in a private law firm to prosecute criminals and terrorists instead, heading the FBI after the Muslim Jihadists attack on 9/11. But this made no difference to the depraved Republican charlatans in Congress, who tried to trash Mueller’s reputation while defending the white trash in the White House. It was a shameful charade that will be condemned by future historians who will view their dirty deeds far removed from the political passions of this moment.

To the untutored, morally deformed, wretched mob bewitched by the devilish seductions of Devious Donald, these shameless charlatans are heroes. But to thinking Americans of principle who are paying attention, these spineless amoral buffoons are the archenemies of our constitutional democracy; which grows more fragile so long as Trump remains in the Oval Office! The fact that Dirty Donald has publicly admitted he would accept damaging information about a political opponent from the Russians again, offers compelling evidence for this claim. In fact, when Mueller was asked if Trump’s behavior was setting an ethical standard that is becoming the “new normal,” Mr. Mueller said he hoped not: “but I fear it is.”

Based upon the facts of the Mueller Report, and the Republican response to it; which includes labeling it “un-American,” and Mr. Mueller “Un-American.” too, we cannot escape the conclusion that the Grand Opportunist Party doesn’t give a damn if the Russians interfere in our elections so long as they help Republicans win! This realizes George Washington’s fears about the development of political parties in the US. In an uncannily prophetic statement in his Farewell Address to the nation, America’s first president warned about the pitfalls of party politics in a federal democracy:

“The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty…the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.”

Alas, is this not precisely where we find ourselves at this critical moment in the history of the American republic?

When the Republicans callously made fun of Mr. Mueller’s physical infirmities due to his age – which caused him to appear bumbling and somewhat disoriented at times, despite the fact that he always clear in his answers – we see a prime example of what President Washington meant when he warned that partisan politics “kindles the animosity of one part against another.” Alas, the Republican congressional caucus is exactly the kind of crowd Devious Donald had in mind when he shocked the world by proclaiming that his followers were so committed to him:”I could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue in broad open daylight and get away with it.” Hence there is no reasoning with this cowardly immoral pack; they only respond to raw power.

That’s why the obvious antidote to this metastasizing cancer in the breast of our nation is to begin Impeachment proceedings against Donald J. Trump, the Moscow candidate, immediately! And Mr. Mueller, in yet another benefaction to the nation, has given us the weapons we need to take Treasonous Trump down. In one instance, he even lured Jim Sensenbrenner, a passionately pro-Trump Republican from Wisconsin, into virtually calling for the impeachment of Dirty Donald. In a fit of pique Sensenbrenner says to Mueller: “Well, if you’re not going to indict the president, then you just continue fishing. And that’s — you know, that’s my observation.”

However, rather than helping the president’s case, his “observation” leads us to Mueller’s conclusion in the report. Barbara McQuade, a Former federal prosecutor and law professor, summed the matter up this way: “Rep. Sensenbrenner’s question is answered in the report – even if President can’t be indicted, he can be investigated to ‘preserve evidence’ because he can be charged later or impeached.”

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Playthell G. Benjamin
Chicago, July 25, 2019

Release The Damn Report!

Posted in The Mueller Investigation with tags , , , on March 29, 2019 by playthell

Attorney General William Barr aka Fred Flintstone

The Investigation Is Over…But the Mystery Lingers On

While Donnie and the acolytes do a doophus pootbutt victory shuffle in the end zone, with Dirty Donald repeatedly spiking the ball celebrating his “exoneration” of suspicions that he or his surrogates among campaign workers engaged in a treasonous conspiracy with Russian intelligence agents to fix the presidential election in his favor, and then engaged in nefarious efforts to obstruct justice by trying to hamper the investigation into the matter, it ain’t over yet.

For one thing, neither the Congress, the press, nor the public has seen the actual report produced by Special Prosecutor Robert Muller following the most most massive investigation of a President in American history. As former FBI Director James Comey says, “So many questions” remain unanswered. And they will remain so until Mr. Mueller’s full unabridged report is made public.

At present all we have is a terse summation of what the report says composed by Attorney General William Barr, which does not begin to tell us what inquiring minds with a material interests in the issues at hand need to know. The most obvious question is after a 22 month investigation which issued 500 search warrants, 2, 800 subpoenas, and conducted five hundred witness interviews, how could Barr reduce this to a four page letter of explanation composed 48 hours after its release? The next most compelling question that begs a deeper look is how did Barr arrive at the conclusion that Devious Donald was not culpable of obstructing justice.

In his brief letter summarizing the “Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election.” Barr tells us “Although my review is ongoing, I believe that it is in the public interest to describe the report and to summarize the principal conclusions reached by the Special Counsel and the results of his investigation.” The Attorney General then gives an accounting of the size of Special Counsel Mueller’s team, telling us he “employed 19 lawyers who were assisted by a team of approximately 40 FBI agents, intelligence analysts, forensic accountants, and other professional staff.”

Yet, despite this sweeping investigation Barr tells us that Mueller wrote in his summation, “While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.” The fact that it took Barr only 48 hours to resolve a question that Mueller was unable to resolve after 22 months, compels the thoughtful observer to wonder if this is a case of charlatans rushing in where angels fear to tread.

Like this writer, Fortune magazine, a journalistic pillar of the establishment, also remains unconvinced and raises 16 questions that demand answers before the Trump/Russia mess can be fianally put to rest. They are wide ranging questions that go to the heart of the matter, such as: Why did Mueller let Trump submit written answers to his questions instead of insisting that he be interrogated face to face? And how was it possible to arrive at a decision about obstruction of justice without personally interviewing the President? Whom did Mueller interview? How wide ranging was the scope of his investigation? What was Mueller’s standard of proof? What about the infamous Trump tower Meeting with Russians offering dirt on Hillary? Did he attempt to determine to what extent Russian interference swayed the election in Trump’s favor?

Obviously the scope these questions are beyond the boundary of this commentary. However it is of critical importance to find out if Mr. Mueller’s report addresses the question of why Trump never specifically tasked the FBI with developing an assessment of what effect Russian interventions had on the outcome of the presidential election, and whether he ordered them to develop a plan to counter Russian efforts to interfere in future elections.  Everything I have heard suggest that the intelligence community has received no orders to undertake this task which is so critical to the survival our democracy.

Added to these probing questions I would like to also ask why we should trust Barr’s judgment on obstruction of Justice? Everybody who cares to know is aware of the fact that Devious Donnie appointed him because of a 17 page legal opinion he authored in June 2018 and voluntarily submitted to the Department of Justice, in which he argued that Mueller’s investigation of Trump for obstruction of justice was “fatally conceived” and made an argument that was simpatico with the arguments of Trump’s lawyers that a president cannot be investigated for actions that the constitution permits him to take such as firing a subordinate who works at his pleasure, like the Attorney General. Based on this opinion it is very nearly impossible for a sitting president to commit obstruction of justice in this case. And many observers who are learned in the law believe that’s precisely why Trump appointed him….and why Barr should have recused himself.

Barr’s view of presidential powers so alarmed Neil Kinkopft, Professor of Law at Georgia State University, he wrote a critical treatise on Barr’s views. Titled The Bar Memo and the Imperial Presidency, Professor Kinkoptf warned that under Barr’s expansive view of presidential powers “(1) Trump can take over, manipulate, or terminate the investigation, and (2) don’t hold your breath waiting to see a Mueller report).” To emphasize just how radical and dangerous Barr’s views are he selects “the memo’s most jaw-dropping passage:  “Constitutionally, it is wrong to conceive of the President as simply the highest officer within the Executive branch hierarchy. He alone is the Executive branch.”

Professor Kinkopft goes on to tell us, “The conception of presidential power embraced in the Barr Memo goes well beyond the ordinary unitary executive claims.” This is both enlightening and frightening because we are witnessing Barr’s theory of presidential power being played out before our eyes, as he exonerates Trump for Obstruction of Justice, and has thus far has not released the original Mueller Report, but is futzing around with it so that it reflects his views on the law. This is unacceptable!

Hence, until we are provided an opportunity to review the entire unedited report from the Mueller investigation, and find the answers to these and myriad other pressing questions therein, this matter is not finished, the case remains open. But alas, even it Trump should prove innocent of all charges in the Russian affair, it still does not explain his curious behavior toward the Russians. For instance, his decision to take the word of Vladimir Putin, a former KGB intelligence officer, over all of his own intelligence agencies who were unanimously agreed that the Russians had interfered in our presidential election – a fact which is now incontestable – and then announce that decision on the world stage at Helsinki.

Nor does innocence in the Russian affair magically make Trump fit to be president of the United States. For he remains the same lying, boorish, ignorant, vulgar, shameless unreconstructed charlatan and bullshit artist he was before the investigation began. Don the Con has debased the language of presidential discourse; trashed the morals and manners the world expects of the president of the United States; repeatedly assaulted the First Amendment which he swore to uphold. by branding our free press an “enemy of the people!” Devious Donald has lied so promiscuously and prolifically – 7,000 and counting according to fact checkers at the Washington Post and Toronto Star – that his presidency has been branded:”The Post Truth Era.” And his lies are most dangerous when he is freewheeling on the stump. The perfect demagogue, his rhetoric is often so reckless it threatens to provoke internecine violence across the nation!

Alas, Trump remains a man whose character is innocent of honor and devoid of empathy; so much so that House speaker Nancy Pelosi has said nothing “associated with manhood” could apply to him. That’s why he can so easily scorn the military service of Senator John McCain, when he is a cowardly draft dodger. Some people refused to serve because they were principally opposed to the war. But Trump was a chicken hawk who was for the war so long as he was not called forth to fight it. His crooked daddy even bribed a doctor in order to get a phony diagnosis of bone spurs to keep punky Donald out of the draft. Trump’s cheap shot attacks on McCain outraged Bob Kerry, a highly decorated Vietnam Veteran, who challenged Trump to “show us your bone spurs!” Kerry says it is obvious that Devious Donald looks at all those who served in Vietnam as “suckers” because their arents didn’t have the means to get them out! A thoughtless motor mouth, Trump’s snide remarks about McCain has raised the question as to whether he lied to escape conscription, and I predict the call to show the x-rays of his bone spurs will grow louder.

By any objective measure one would stand a far better chance of making a silk purse from a sow’s ear than manufacturing a fitting president from Dirty Donald. He is a man totally devoid of any moral sense, or even any notion of fair play. That’s why he has the unmitigated gall to demand an apology from those who investigated him when it is he who should apologize to others. First he should apologize to Bob Mueller – a decorated marine veteran and life long public servant – for having impugned his motives, traduced his honor, and labeled his investigation a “treasonous” ploy of the “Deep State” – a malignant fiction conjured in the paranoid fantasies of the lunatic right.

When Mr. Mueller’s conclusions broke in his favor however, the Special Counsel suddenly became “an honorable man!” Yet Devious Donald has offered no apology for the months of vicious slander of the man, and his mission. He has also offered no apology to former President Obama for conducting a protracted campaign of racist smears and lies against him in an attempt to de-legitimize his presidency, and DD continues to call his presidential opponent “crooked Hillary” despite the fact that after extensive investigations by Republicans – which she withstood with far more grace and decorum than him – Hillary has never been indicted, let alone found guilty, of anything! Such behavior provides irrefutable evidence that Trump is a man with the morals of a pathological blaggard and has a hole in his soul. Hence James Comey is right on when he concludes: “Trump is Morally unfit to be president.’

Of one thing I am certain; If there is a just God presiding over the universe, and Dr. King was right when he declared “The arc of the universe is wide but it bends toward justice,” then somewhere out there in the 16 ongoing investigations into the affairs of that mobbed up Big Apple bunko artist who bamboolzed the bigoted boobs in the boonies and accidentally became President, Dastardly Don will get his just deserts. He shall be cast in the pit of miseries where he will dwell in an orange jump suit to match his complexion for the rest of his days. Otherwise there is no justice in this world, God is dead, or at best she has lost the battle for the souls of man to the Devil!

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Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
March 28, 2019