Thursday, October 17, 2019

Part 3 of Quotes from and Commentary on The Mueller Report - The Washington Post edition

I'll try to let the quotes speak for themselves, today.

Comey's briefing included the Steele reporting's unverified allegation that the Russians had compromising tapes of the President involving conduct when he was a private citizen during a 2013 trip to Moscow for the Miss Universe Pageant. During the 2016 presidential campaign, a similar claim may have reached candidate Trump. On October 30, 2016, Michael Cohen received a text from Russian businessman Giorgi Rtskhiladze that said, "Stopped flow of tapes from Russia but not sure if there's anything else. Just so you know. . ." [...] Rtskhiladze said "tapes" referred to compromising tapes of Trump rumored to be held by persons associated with the Russian real estate conglomerate Crocus Group [...]

~from footnote on p. 289

Our investigation found multiple acts by the President that were capable of exerting undue influence over law enforcement investigations, including the Russian-interference and obstruction investigations. The incidents were often carried out through one-on-one meetings in which the President sought to use his official power outside of usual channels. These actions ranged from efforts to remove the Special Counsel and to reverse the effect of the Attorney General's recusal; to the attempted use of official power to limit the scope of the investigation; to direct and indirect contacts with witnesses with the potential to influence their testimony. Viewing the acts collectively can help to illuminate their significance. For example, the President's direction to McGahn to have the Special Counsel removed was followed almost immediately by his direction to Lewandowski to tell the Attorney General to limit the scope of the Russia investigation to prospective election-interference only — a temporal connection that suggests that both acts were taken with a related purpose with respect to the investigation. 

~p. 419

Note: The above quote is particularly relevant because it shows that the president has been going outside normal government channels since at least a few months after his inauguration. Corey Lewandowski, like Rudy Giuliani, is not and never was a government employee.

The obstruction-of-justice statute most readily applicable to our investigation is 18 U. S. C. § 1512(c)(2). Section 1512(c) provides: 

          (c) Whoever corruptly —

                    (1) alters, destroys, mutilates, or conceals a record, document, or other object, or attempts to do so, with the intent to impair the object's integrity or availability for use in an official proceeding; or

                    (2) otherwise obstructs, influences, or impedes any official proceeding, or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both. 

~p. 422

[...] a balancing test applies to assess separation of-powers issues. Applying that test here, we concluded that Congress can validly make obstruction-of-justice statues applicable to corruptly motivated official acts of the President without impermissibly undermining his Article II functions. 

~p. 433

A general ban on corrupt action does not unduly intrude on the President's responsibility to "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed." U.S. CONST. ART II §§ 3. To the contrary, the concept of "faithful execution" connotes the use of power in the interest of the public, not in the office holder's personal interests. [...] And immunizing the President from the generally applicable criminal prohibition against corrupt obstruction of official proceedings would seriously impair Congress's power to enact laws "to promote objectives within [its] constitutional authority," [...]

~p. 439

conspiracy to defraud the United States: A legal charge used against people thought to have worked together to commit fraud against the US government in some way, such as by impeding the functions of the Federal Election Commission or another government agency. The special counsel's office made use of this charge against former Trump campaign officials Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, and against the Russian organization that engineered a social media campaign to influence the 2016 election. This is the technical charge that pundits likely mean when they colloquially refer to "collusion," which envisions a conspiracy between Russians and Americans to defraud the US election system. 

~from "Glossary of Legal Terms," p. 513

[...] defendant PAPADOPOULOS understood that a principal foreign policy focus of the Campaign was an improved U.S. relationship with Russia. 

~p. 525

Notably, 9 pages after this quote, the document quoted above goes on to say that George Papadopolous met with a "Female Russian National" because he believed she had connections to high-level Russian government officials and could help him arrange a foreign policy trip to Russia. He spoke with said Russian National via Skype and email on several occasions. When he figured out this was problematic, Papadopoulos deactivated his Facebook account and changed phones.

I'm going to stop, here, because the next section is the indictment against the Russians and there's a substantial chunk that I want to quote. Part 4 should be the final part and then I'll review the summary I've mentioned repeatedly and recently finished reading.

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