And Into The Fire

Hell’s This Way

We noted the other day that we don’t know squat about what is in the report, and I joked that we’ve gone from the pan into the pot (and had to break the standup comic’s golden rule and explain a joke); but maybe now we know something more and have gone from the pan into the fire.

Over at Vanity Fair (metered paywall), Abigail Tracy reminds us about some of the DOJ’s arcane rules that might bite us in this moment (emphasis mine):


“Appointed under a different statute than Ken Starr, Mueller is merely required to provide to Barr a “confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions” reached under the current special-counsel guidelines. Barr is required to inform Congress of the conclusion of the special-counsel investigation, and detail any instances in which the Justice Department blocked a Mueller decision or denied a request, but what happens to the report itself falls under his purview…

“During his Senate confirmation hearing, Barr left a few clues as to what he might do with the report. He said under oath that his “objective and goal is to get as much as I can of the information to Congress and the public.” And in a letter to the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, Barr reportedlywrote to lawmakers that he may brief them on the special counsel’s “principal conclusions as soon as this weekend.” However, he has also emphasized his recognition that the special-counsel guidelines say Mueller’s report “shall be confidential.” When asked during his confirmation hearing if he would allow the Trump White House to put its “spin” on the Mueller report ahead of its release, Barr responded defiantly, “That will not happen.”

“But there are other Justice Department restrictions to take into account. Specifically, D.O.J. guidelines stipulate that a sitting president cannot be indicted, and that the department must refrain from publicly disparaging any unindicted individuals. In other words, if Mueller and Barr follow both of these regulations, Trump might come out unblemished—or, at least, unidentified—and Trump critics thirsty for a presidential takedown will be left disappointed.”


It’s kind of a trap, innit? A sort of Kobayashi Maru?

Anyway, not that I want to turn up the flame, but it could explain why Barr—who thought he could get a summary out to Congress this weekend—has not released anything yet.

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7 Responses to And Into The Fire

  1. 9thousandfeet says:

    I’ve already remarked on the number of articles that have appeared over the last 48 hours which emphasize that “the investigations are not over no matter what Mueller comes up with”. It’s a lot, and that trend continues today.
    I’ll say again that if the Mueller report contains anything less than clear and dispositive evidence of Trump being personally involved in conspiracy and/or obstruction, that will be all that’s needed for the “he’s been vindicated” narrative to become the dominant dynamic for weeks and weeks.

    Good luck to the House Dem committees being able to cut through all that agitprop with hearings which will increasingly be demonized as proof positive of an ongoing “witch hunt”. That agitprop preemptive strike against the House investigations has already begun, in fact, and we haven’t seen shit about what’s actually in the report yet, which leads me to thing there are some on the fascisti side of aisle who have been given something of a heads-up about what the report will contain.

    Goddam, I hope I’m wrong.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Bruce388 says:

    A comparison: Ken Starr’s sheet-sniffing report on Clinton was released to the public while it was still warm from the printer.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. MDavis says:

    “dis·par·ag·ing
    adjective
    expressing the opinion that something is of little worth; derogatory. ”
    Would it be considered “disparaging” to repeat evidence of bad behavior on the part of Individual 1, along with an explanation of the true reason he is not being indicted?
    I am just not clear on this, especially after hearing that there are some people we are officially not to indict. I had heard somewhere that no one is above the law.
    (exceptions, apparently, may apply in your current state)

    Like

  4. 9thousandfeet says:

    “The Special Counsel’s investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated. with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 US Presidential Election.”

    Also, apparently, no conclusion one way or the other regarding obstruction of justice.

    So there we have it. Complete endorsement of the “no collusion” mantra that Trump has been trumpeting almost daily since day one.
    The uproar from the fascisti agitprop machine asserting that any and all ongoing investigations into Trump or his odious family are henceforth and clearly an ongoing political witch hunt will now become relentless. The preening and posturing and the “I told you so” bullshit is going to be intolerable.

    Good luck to the Dems in trying to maintain momentum for House committee investigations into Trump malfeasance against the headwinds that the “two years of an investigation by a Special Counsel with impeccable credentials is enough, it’s time to move on” narrative will unleash.

    I shall be astonished if any really meaningful ongoing investigations into the Trump crime family can continue to stand in the winds that will now blow from feeding this Mueller report outcome into the fascisti agitprop generator.
    Christ, it’s not even sufficiently ambiguous that they’ll have to spend any energy spinning it.
    He’s in the clear.

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    • Astamari says:

      On the narrow grounds of conspiring with Russia, yes, but he is an unindicted co-conspirator on the paramour payoffs and that being a campaign violation. I’m a bit puzzled about Dumbass, Jr. and Jared. But, apparently federal prosecutors won’t bring an indictment of an individual; unless they are at least 90-95% certain of a conviction. And there just might not have been clear enough evidence to meet that standard. But I am quite surprised that all those huge columns of smoke didn’t come from any fire. I do hope the Dems get the full report and also have Mueller testify.

      Liked by 1 person

      • 9thousandfeet says:

        Nobody really gives shit about paying off hookers and porn stars, and there will be no appetite for imposing anything but a fine and a stern lecture for the campaign finance violations.

        The Administration and the GOP Senate have the wind at their backs now, and pretty much clear sailing between now and the election. Just a few possible subpoena shoals to navigate, or just plain ignore, but other than that they’re free to unleash hell on any Dem candidate who seeks to campaign on Trump being guilty of anything substantial, and they will be free to fill the airwaves with fearmongering about the evils of socialism.

        This totally puts the Dems on the defensive. They now have to try justifying every move they make, investigation wise, in the context of Trump being cleared, unambiguously, by a two-year investigation conducted by an investigation by someone with a—now suddenly and magically restored—reputation for impeccable impartiality.

        I expected something problematic, but even my cynicism didn’t imagine something this fucking bad. I think this debacle, properly managed with canny agitprop, targeted messaging, and online skullduggery with plenty of help from Vlad in demonizing whoever is the Dem nominee, ups the chances of a Trump reelection to considerably better than even.

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  5. suedoise2 says:

    Please keep in mind that Barr’s 4-pg letter is HIS composition, with Rod Rosenstein as consultant and possibly co-author. They dild not consult with Mueller in writing it.

    It’s being pointed out now that both Barr and Rosenstein have conflicts of interest here — Barr because of his derogatory memo about the SC investigation sent to the WH before his appointment to AG, Rosenstein because of his part in backing up Comey’s dismissal.

    Even the Barr letter states that the Mueller report does not exonerate Trump.

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