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Author Topic: What do we expect the Mueller Report to Contain?  (Read 607 times)
theymos
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April 24, 2019, 04:00:59 AM
Merited by suchmoon (19), squatz1 (10), OgNasty (1), Last of the V8s (1)
 #61

Still waiting for Theymos to awake from his (probably boring) time of reading this report and coming back with his findings.

Wait no more, as I have in fact now read the whole thing. It was actually very interesting, moreso than I'd expected. While it's very far from an exoneration, it's about as good as Trump could've hoped for, since it doesn't go into his personal business very much, he is personally rarely involved in anything too incriminating in the report, the number and severity of negative things are relatively small considering the massive scope of the investigation, and overall Trump comes across as more bumbling than criminal.

If you're interested in the report, I recommend reading the executive summaries at the start of each volume. Here are several scattered thoughts/notes of mine:

Volume I - "NO COLLUSION"

The Russians come off as kind of disorganized, like a few rich Russian guys who wanted to mess with American elections and casually threw a few million dollars at it. They achieved quite a bit, but no more than a few dedicated and skilled people could do. Their goal seems to have been primarily to see Hillary defeated, and so they focused on attacking her and helping everyone else, especially Trump and Sanders. They interacted with both left-wing and right-wing groups.

Today's social media is basically the perfect tool to manipulate people, and by using social media the Russians were able to achieve impressive results. It's quite possible that the election would've gone differently without them.

I wonder how the US got such detailed info on the Russian DNC/DCCC hacking. It makes me think that they might be logging most/all Internet traffic globally (which has long been suspected but unproven).

The hacking operations against election systems strike me as loud and primitive, and were probably intended mostly to sow distrust in the election system.

Trump's campaign was disorganized and naïve. They were used to these things being far away and not bothering them, so nobody was really thinking about the possibly criminal nature of the Russian stuff. They weren't prepared to be in the crosshairs of so many hostile actors both foreign and domestic, so they weren't nearly paranoid enough. I'm pretty sure that if the Russians had tried, they could've gotten the Trump campaign to do some super illegal things by abusing this careless attitude, but they either didn't think to do this or they didn't think that doing this would be in their interests. I'm not personally bothered much by the Trump campaign's outlook, since in my view law/democracy are things that you live with rather than values you fight for, and furthermore the campaign's activity in this matter was basically passive. They were being tempted by "evil", and would've fallen for it if the temptation had not been removed, but they were not the ultimate source of the "evil". If you do care about lawfulness or democracy as fundamental values, then I could understand condemning the Trump campaign's actions and outlook here, since they pretty clearly had a willingness to play very dirty in order to win and to perform acts that would break laws (even if in some cases they arguably didn't know that they would be breaking laws). (Note: IMO Clinton is probably far dirtier, but she's more experienced in hiding it.)

Bannon comes across as dirty, but too smart to leave a paper trail. Manafort comes across as very effective campaign-wise, and possibly a key in Trump's ultimate success, but he was completely ineffective at hiding his activities. It sounds like Trump himself basically has everyone else do all of his work for him, which is a decent way to stay out of trouble, at least. A whole lot of other people in both Trump's campaign and Russia come across as pretty stupid.

It's clear that there was no true conspiracy between Russia and the Trump campaign, and in fact the Russians were having a lot of trouble after Trump won in figuring out how to achieve effective communication with the incoming presidency.

Quote from: Julian Assange
it would be much better for GOP to win ... Dems+Media+liberals would then form a block to reign in their worst qualities ... With Hillary in charge, GOP will be pushing for her worst qualities, dems+media+neoliberals will be mute... She's a bright, well connected, sadistic sociopath.
[...]
GOP will generate a lot of opposition, including through dumb moves. Hillary will do the same thing, but co-opt the liberal opposition and the GOP opposition. Hence hillary has greater freedom to start wars than the GOP and has the will to do so.

Good analysis by Assange! I was thinking along the same lines at the time, and it turned out to be somewhat correct, though I've been disappointed at how much Trump has been able to continue/expand the wars. Ironically, Trump has probably been motivated to be extra hawkish due to the Russia hubub, which Assange contributed to. (Though hindsight is 20/20, and IMO Assange had good motives, at least.)

The report contradicts the idea that Wikileaks was some kind of puppet of the Russian government, though they were clearly not at all neutral.

Why is everyone sending sensitive communications via Twitter DM? Twitter's obviously going to turn that over to the government, maybe even without a warrant. It's even worse than email.

Reference to possible dirt on the Clintons on pages 61 and 109. I'm suspicious that a lot of the redactions elsewhere may also be protecting establishment figures.

Quote from: Vol I page 72
Cohen recalled conversations with Trump in which the candidate suggested that his campaign would be a significant "infomercial" for Trump-branded properties

LOL

Volume II - "WITCH HUNT"

Volume II is just hilarious. It basically makes the Trump administration look like a sitcom. I could seriously imagine it as a great dramatized comedy manga series or something (it'd be difficult to do a live-action show without being cringy).

Quote
when Sessions told the President that a Special Counsel had been appointed, the President slumped back in his chair and said, "Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I'm fucked. [...] How could you let this happen, Jeff? [...] Everyone tells me if you get one of these independent counsels it ruins your presidency. It takes years and years and I won't be able to do anything. This is the worst thing that ever happened to me.

Trump is portrayed as someone who has no idea what he's doing, who just randomly vents his thoughts to whoever he happens to come across. I actually laughed out loud several times reading volume II.

Quote
On March 26, 2017 [...] the President called NSA Directory Admiral Michael Rogers. The President expressed frustration with the Russia investigation, saying that it made relations with the Russians difficult. [...] The President also said that the news stories linking him with Russia were not true and asked Rogers if he could do anything to refute the stories. Deputy Directory of the NSA Richard Ledgett, who was present for the call, said it was the most unusual thing he had experienced in 40 years of government service.

There are many examples like the above; it's like Trump went through the presidential phonebook and said to everyone, "Hey, how's it going, you're fabulous. By the way, do you have any idea how I can get rid of this Russian nonsense?" Trump was so ineffective at handling his people and the Russia thing that he comes across as totally harmless, not as any real schemer.

More funny quotes:
Quote
During the June 19 meeting, Lewandowski recalled that, after some small talk, the President brought up Sessions and criticized his recusal from the Russia investigation. The President told Lewandowski that Sessions was weak and that if the President had known about the likelihood of recusal in advance, he would not have appointed Sessions. The President then asked Lewandowski to deliver a message to Sessions and said "write this down." This was the first time the President had asked Lewandowski to take dictation, and Lewandowski wrote as fast as possible to make sure he captured the content correctly. The President directed that Sessions should give a speech publicly announcing:

I know that I recused myself from certain things having to do with specific areas. But our POTUS...is being treated very unfairly. He shouldn't have a Special Prosecutor/Counsel b/c/ he hasn't done anything wrong. I was on the campaign w/ him for nine months, there were no Russians involved with him. I know it for a fact b/c I was there. He didn't do anything wrong except he ran the greatest campaign in American history.
Quote
The President also asked McGahn in the meeting why he had told Special Counsel's Office investigators that the President had told him to have the Special Counsel removed. McGahn responded that he had to and that his conversations with the President were not protected by attorney-client privilege. The President then asked, "What about these notes? Why do you take notes? Lawyers don't take notes. I never had a lawyer who took notes." McGahn responded that he keeps notes because he is a "real lawyer" and explained that notes create a record and are not a bad thing.

An important point is that Mueller went into this with the intention to refuse to say that the President was guilty of anything, though he would've been willing to exonerate him if this was absolutely clear. Some media outlets seem to present his non-conclusion as Mueller thinking that it was just too close to call, which isn't the case. After reading all of the report, I get a strong impression that Mueller thinks that Trump is guilty of obstruction of justice, but that he feels compelled not to explicitly say so. Instead, he lays out a very compelling case for obstruction of justice over 182 pages, and implies that either congress should impeach Trump or Trump should be prosecuted after he leaves office:
Quote from: Vol II Page 1
while the OLC opinion concludes that a sitting President may not be prosecuted, it recognizes that a criminal investigation during the President's term is permissible.3 The OLC opinion also recognizes that a President does not have immunity after he leaves office4.

3: "A grand jury could continue to gather evidence throughout the period of immunity"
4: "Recognizing an immunity from prosecution for a sitting President would not preclude such prosecution once the President's term is over or he is otherwise removed from office by resignation or impeachment"

Note that there are a bunch of grand jury redactions in volume II, which makes me think that they could be preparing to jump on Trump after he leaves office.

I find the arguments for obstruction of justice pretty convincing on an intellectual level, especially the witness-tampering-type stuff in Flynn's and Cohen's cases. Mueller makes a lot of good arguments for Comey's firing also being obstruction, but that I find more difficult to accept. But in reality this is 100% political, so the legal arguments don't matter all that much, and I also don't care whether Trump broke any laws. My opinion of Trump was a bit negatively impacted, but mostly due to his general disloyalty to his subordinates. On the whole, my opinion of Trump remains the same: 1) he's a bit crazy and rather ineffective, which is from my libertarian perspective good; 2) his policies are mostly objectively terrible; 3) but if you grade him on a curve with other recent presidents, he's above average.

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April 24, 2019, 04:27:50 AM
 #62

I wish I had the time to read the whole report in that amount of time.

The Mueller report is obviously not a neutral document and was written by a group of partisans. Further, the directive was to investigate the relationship between the Russian government and the Trump campaign.

I am pretty sure they wrote it in a way to make Trump look bad, even if what he (or his campaign/administration) was doing isn’t illegal. I also suspect that episodes were put in the report doesn’t necessarily reflect what actually happens on a day to day basis.

I don’t think there is any question that the Russian government expanded resources to help the Trump campaign. I am also interested to see what else they did in regards to meddling in the election, IIRC they used Twitter trolls to help Sanders during the primaries. I am curious if they did anything to help Clinton in 2016 (or 2008) that might have come out if she had won. I am curious what other countries did in 2016. Probably most importantly, I am curious to know what other countries did in both 2016 and previous elections.

The FISA warrants (that were made public) said that Russia has been trying to meddle in US elections for Decades, or more accurately, Generations.


What were most of the reasons for redactions in Volume 2? Was it for ‘ongoing investigation’? Or for other reasons (investigation techniques, national security, or personal privacy)?

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April 24, 2019, 04:49:50 AM
 #63

I wish I had the time to read the whole report in that amount of time.

The Mueller report is obviously not a neutral document and was written by a group of partisans. Further, the directive was to investigate the relationship between the Russian government and the Trump campaign.

I am pretty sure they wrote it in a way to make Trump look bad, even if what he (or his campaign/administration) was doing isn’t illegal. I also suspect that episodes were put in the report doesn’t necessarily reflect what actually happens on a day to day basis.

I don’t think there is any question that the Russian government expanded resources to help the Trump campaign. I am also interested to see what else they did in regards to meddling in the election, IIRC they used Twitter trolls to help Sanders during the primaries. I am curious if they did anything to help Clinton in 2016 (or 2008) that might have come out if she had won. I am curious what other countries did in 2016. Probably most importantly, I am curious to know what other countries did in both 2016 and previous elections.

The FISA warrants (that were made public) said that Russia has been trying to meddle in US elections for Decades, or more accurately, Generations.


What were most of the reasons for redactions in Volume 2? Was it for ‘ongoing investigation’? Or for other reasons (investigation techniques, national security, or personal privacy)?

It is also a valid point to mention that Muller has been in office and over seen some VERY shady shit during his watch. He among others behind this organized attack was a desperate attempt to cover their own asses. Muller is right in the middle of it.


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theymos
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April 24, 2019, 05:03:03 AM
 #64

The Mueller report is obviously not a neutral document and was written by a group of partisans.

Probably, but the flaws and biases mostly don't make themselves apparent to me at this time. I perceived a strong pro-DoJ bias, and of course the whole thing comes from a statist and establishment perspective, but nothing caught my eye as pushing a false narrative or anything like that.

One thing I noticed on this front is that the report states witness testimony as fact when the author finds it convenient, and in particular treats Cohen as 100% reliable. But I couldn't detect any actual false statements due to this.

I am also interested to see what else they did in regards to meddling in the election

They had huge followings on Twitter and Facebook, and they organized rallies in the US by sort of social-engineering people into being rally leaders. Also, the report convincingly argues that the hacking/leaking operations were specifically carried out with the intent of influencing the election, though this was not necessarily coordinated with the main social media campaign, which was done by a separate Russian group.

IIRC they used Twitter trolls to help Sanders during the primaries. I am curious if they did anything to help Clinton in 2016 (or 2008) that might have come out if she had won.

Yes, they weren't pro-Republican or pro-Democrat:

Quote from: VolI p22
More commonly, the IRA created accounts in the names of fictious US organizations and grassroots groups and used these accounts to pose as anti-immigration groups, Tea Party activists, Black LIves Matter protester, and other US social and political activists.
Quote from: VolI p23
[Russians:] "Main idea: Use any opportunity to criticize Hillary [Clinton] and the rest (except Sanders and Trump - we support them)."

What were most of the reasons for redactions in Volume 2? Was it for ‘ongoing investigation’? Or for other reasons (investigation techniques, national security, or personal privacy)?

Mostly "grand jury", with some "harm to ongoing investigation".

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April 24, 2019, 05:33:19 AM
 #65

The Mueller report is obviously not a neutral document and was written by a group of partisans.

Probably, but the flaws and biases mostly don't make themselves apparent to me at this time. I perceived a strong pro-DoJ bias, and of course the whole thing comes from a statist and establishment perspective, but nothing caught my eye as pushing a false narrative or anything like that.
They can pick and choose what facts and what testimony to include in the report.

I think it would be difficult to push a false narrative, but they could try to shine a negative light onto Trump. For example, there was a WSJ article (paywall, sorry) that laid out some examples of Trumps behavior, according to the Mueller report, show him to be a not good business executive:
Quote from: WSJ, 'Mueller Report Describes a Businessman President Indifferent to Facts, Unwilling to Take on Tough Tasks'
Mr. Trump campaigned on his record as a businessman who would bring private-sector efficiency to the federal government. But the Mueller report shows an executive who often lacks a willingness to take on tough conversations and personnel moves, as well as a forthrightness in dealing with employees and the public, and follow-through to ensure that his decisions are executed.
[...]
Officials and associates are shown to have disobeyed and resisted Mr. Trump’s orders, or simply ignored them, hoping he would forget. Hanging over many of the episodes is an imprecise relationship with the truth, in which aides were asked to, and at times did, make statements marked by hyperbole or without basis in fact
[...]
[M]ost aides rarely tell Mr. Trump no, the report found, instead opting not to follow through on his orders.
[...]
Mr. Trump also frequently sought to blame others for his own decisions. When Mr. Trump planned to fire then-FBI director James Comey in May 2017, some of his advisers urged Mr. Trump to permit Mr. Comey to resign instead, but “the President was adamant that he be fired.”

After Mr. Comey’s firing became public, the White House asked the Justice Department to put out a statement saying it had been Mr. Rosenstein’s idea, the report said. Mr. Rosenstein said he wouldn’t participate in putting out a “false story,” the report said.
[etc]

One thing I noticed on this front is that the report states witness testimony as fact when the author finds it convenient, and in particular treats Cohen as 100% reliable. But I couldn't detect any actual false statements due to this.
In a court proceeding, assuming the witness is allowed to testify, it is assumed the witness is telling the truth, unless two witnesses contradict eachother.
I am also interested to see what else they did in regards to meddling in the election

They had huge followings on Twitter and Facebook, and they organized rallies in the US by sort of social-engineering people into being rally leaders. Also, the report convincingly argues that the hacking/leaking operations were specifically carried out with the intent of influencing the election, though this was not necessarily coordinated with the main social media campaign, which was done by a separate Russian group.
IIRC, CNN found an old women who can setup one of the rallies, accusing her, on camera of working with Russians.

What they did to help Trump is pretty well documented, I am more interested to see what Russia did to help other candidates. I have speculated that Russia intentionally exposed themselves as helping Trump after he won, and could have done the same to Sanders or Clinton (or another Republican) if either of them had won.



It is also a valid point to mention that Muller has been in office and over seen some VERY shady shit during his watch. He among others behind this organized attack was a desperate attempt to cover their own asses. Muller is right in the middle of it.
Some of the conflicts that Mueller has have been reported in the media. Don McGahn, former White House counsel didn't agree
Quote from: same WSJ article as above
But Mr. McGahn thought those conflicts were “silly” and “not real,”

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April 24, 2019, 11:47:34 AM
 #66

....Trump was so ineffective at handling his people and the Russia thing that he comes across as totally harmless, not as any real schemer.....

....On the whole, my opinion of Trump remains the same: 1) he's a bit crazy and rather ineffective, which is from my libertarian perspective good; 2) his policies are mostly objectively terrible; 3) but if you grade him on a curve with other recent presidents, he's above average.

Covington
Kavanaugh
Mueller

I think we've pretty much got a sense of the kind of people that oppose Trump.
....
The best argument in favor of Trump’s presidency is what Trump’s presidency has taught us about the character of the people who oppose him, and who would be wielding power if he weren’t.

https://pjmedia.com/instapundit/319648/
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April 24, 2019, 12:39:34 PM
 #67

The madman Theymos actually wasn't kidding when he said he was going to read through this!

The summary is without a doubt a very amazing thing to have here, I'd like if you even stickied it so the people in this board would be able to see this without having to sift through the board. You do a very good job at noting where you biases may stand (as you are a libertarian)




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April 24, 2019, 03:05:44 PM
 #68

....Trump was so ineffective at handling his people and the Russia thing that he comes across as totally harmless, not as any real schemer.....

....On the whole, my opinion of Trump remains the same: 1) he's a bit crazy and rather ineffective, which is from my libertarian perspective good; 2) his policies are mostly objectively terrible; 3) but if you grade him on a curve with other recent presidents, he's above average.

Covington
Kavanaugh
Mueller

I think we've pretty much got a sense of the kind of people that oppose Trump.
....
The best argument in favor of Trump’s presidency is what Trump’s presidency has taught us about the character of the people who oppose him, and who would be wielding power if he weren’t.

https://pjmedia.com/instapundit/319648/

True, it's almost like they are talking about themselves when they insult or mock Trump. They all end up being degenerates or criminals themselves and Trump always ends up being innocent, pretty funny.
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April 24, 2019, 10:04:40 PM
 #69

....Trump was so ineffective at handling his people and the Russia thing that he comes across as totally harmless, not as any real schemer.....

....On the whole, my opinion of Trump remains the same: 1) he's a bit crazy and rather ineffective, which is from my libertarian perspective good; 2) his policies are mostly objectively terrible; 3) but if you grade him on a curve with other recent presidents, he's above average.

Covington
Kavanaugh
Mueller

I think we've pretty much got a sense of the kind of people that oppose Trump.
....
The best argument in favor of Trump’s presidency is what Trump’s presidency has taught us about the character of the people who oppose him, and who would be wielding power if he weren’t.

https://pjmedia.com/instapundit/319648/


True, it's almost like they are talking about themselves when they insult or mock Trump. They all end up being degenerates or criminals themselves and Trump always ends up being innocent, pretty funny.

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/russiagate-fiasco-taibbi-news-media-826246/amp/

From the Rolling Stone, of all places...

You know what was fake news? Most of the Russiagate story. There was no Trump-Russia conspiracy, that thing we just spent three years chasing. The Mueller Report is crystal clear on this.

He didn’t just “fail to establish” evidence of crime. His report is full of incredibly damning passages, like one about Russian officialdom’s efforts to reach the Trump campaign after the election: “They appeared not to have preexisting contacts and struggled to connect with senior officials around the President-Elect.”
Not only was there no “collusion,” the two camps didn’t even have each others’ phone numbers!
Astargath
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April 25, 2019, 05:40:22 PM
 #70

....Trump was so ineffective at handling his people and the Russia thing that he comes across as totally harmless, not as any real schemer.....

....On the whole, my opinion of Trump remains the same: 1) he's a bit crazy and rather ineffective, which is from my libertarian perspective good; 2) his policies are mostly objectively terrible; 3) but if you grade him on a curve with other recent presidents, he's above average.

Covington
Kavanaugh
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I think we've pretty much got a sense of the kind of people that oppose Trump.
....
The best argument in favor of Trump’s presidency is what Trump’s presidency has taught us about the character of the people who oppose him, and who would be wielding power if he weren’t.

https://pjmedia.com/instapundit/319648/


True, it's almost like they are talking about themselves when they insult or mock Trump. They all end up being degenerates or criminals themselves and Trump always ends up being innocent, pretty funny.

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/russiagate-fiasco-taibbi-news-media-826246/amp/

From the Rolling Stone, of all places...

You know what was fake news? Most of the Russiagate story. There was no Trump-Russia conspiracy, that thing we just spent three years chasing. The Mueller Report is crystal clear on this.

He didn’t just “fail to establish” evidence of crime. His report is full of incredibly damning passages, like one about Russian officialdom’s efforts to reach the Trump campaign after the election: “They appeared not to have preexisting contacts and struggled to connect with senior officials around the President-Elect.”
Not only was there no “collusion,” the two camps didn’t even have each others’ phone numbers!


It's also pretty clear that pretty much all countries ''intervene'' some way in other country's elections and other affairs, after all is no secret that there are still spies working for each country trying to gather information about other countries everyday, I don't know why liberals act like USA doesn't do it.
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April 29, 2019, 02:45:38 AM
 #71

....
It's also pretty clear that pretty much all countries ''intervene'' some way in other country's elections and other affairs, after all is no secret that there are still spies working for each country trying to gather information about other countries everyday, I don't know why liberals act like USA doesn't do it.

Today the reason is because foreign influences have made deep inroads into the Democratic Party with the intention of influencing the future direction of this country.

Of course they don't want that out in the open.
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