Friday, January 11, 2019

It's Mueller Time, Con't

With former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen now set to testify publicly before House Democrats next month, the Trump regime is in full panic mode over the Mueller probe over the impending Mueller final report.  Rudy Giuliani is demanding that the White House be able to "correct" Mueller's findings before the report can be released.

Rudy Giuliani says President Trump’s legal team should be allowed to “correct” special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report before Congress or the American people get the chance to read it.

The claim, made in a telephone interview with The Hill on Thursday evening, goes further than the president’s legal advisers have ever gone before in arguing they have a right to review the conclusions of Mueller’s probe, which is now in its 20th month.

“As a matter of fairness, they should show it to you — so we can correct it if they’re wrong,” said the former New York City mayor, who is a member of Trump's personal legal team. “They’re not God, after all. They could be wrong.”

The special counsel's office declined to comment.

As ridiculous as that is, it's important to remember that there's a very good chance we'll never see Muller's final report.  David Corn:

The Justice Department guidelines under which Mueller is operating note that his final report explaining his prosecution decisions is confidential and gets delivered only to the attorney general. If the attorney general has recused himself in this matter, as former Attorney General Jeff Sessions did, then the report goes to the deputy attorney general, a position now occupied by Rod Rosenstein (who reportedly may soon leave the Justice Department). With the attorney general nomination of William Barr now pending, it’s unclear who will be in the Justice Department’s top chair—and who will be responsible for overseeing the Trump-Russia investigation—when Mueller is finished. But that’s the official who will get the report—whether it is a short roundup of the prosecutions or something more comprehensive—and he will not have to show it to the public. If the Justice Department does try to sit on the report, House Democrats will no doubt demand a copy. And it’s not difficult to envision a subsequent dust-up that could reach the Supreme Court. (The regulations, though, do note that if the attorney general at any time prevented the special counsel from pursuing an action because he believed it was “inappropriate or unwarranted under established Departmental practices,” the A.G. must report that to Congress at the end of the investigation.)

There is another possible—or parallel—scenario. Mueller has been investigating whether Trump obstructed justice. It remains a matter of legal debate whether a president can be indicted for a federal offense while in office. Justice Department policy says a president cannot be charged. Some legal scholars disagree. For instance, Neal Katyal, a former acting solicitor general contends that “generic DOJ opinions about whether a sitting President could be indicted do not create an ‘established Departmental practice’ about whether an individual could be indicted for successfully cheating in a Presidential election.” The courts have never settled this question. So what might Mueller do if he gathers information that supports a charge of obstruction related to Trump?

Mueller conceivably could submit his findings to Congress. In 1998, Starr did not indict President Bill Clinton. Instead, he handed a thick report to the House of Representatives. It was full of salacious details about Clinton’s affair with intern Monica Lewinsky and outlined grounds for impeachment. The GOP-controlled House quickly voted to present the report to the public. (This move backfired for the Republicans, who faced a backlash over their drive for impeachment and their release of Starr’s X-rated report.) Should Mueller decide that Trump may have committed obstruction of justice andthat the president cannot (or ought not) be indicted, he might follow Starr’s example and give a report on Trump’s alleged obstruction to the House Judiciary Committee for possible consideration of impeachment. (Could the Trump Justice Department block such a move? Hmmm.) It would then be up to House Democrats to decide whether to make such a report public. In other words, here it comes.

At this point, there are no indications whether there will be an explosive final report (or reports) or something minimal and narrow—and whether any report will reach the public. Peter Carr, Mueller’s spokesman, will only say, “All I can point you to is what the regulations say.”

These regulations do not guarantee the public will receive a full accounting. Providing the citizenry a complete account of the Trump-Russia scandal is actually the responsibility of Congress. But the Republicans on the House intelligence committee put on a clown-show investigation, and the Senate intelligence committee investigation is still underway with no signs of what it will ultimately yield. Neither of these committees have held a series of public hearings that such a subject warrants. (The Democrats who now control the House have signaled they will revive portions of the Russia investigation and will be mounting hearings.) House and Senate Republicans also blocked the creation of an independent commission to investigate the Russian assault on the election and to produce a public report.

So now many people are turning to Mueller to supply the full rundown on what happened. His primary mission, though, has been to search for crimes and prosecute those cases for which he believes he can win a guilty verdict. His job is not to inform the public. Mueller is a veteran G-Man looking to serve and deliver justice. A critical question is, can he also serve and deliver the truth?

Should the Roberts Court decide that publicly releasing the report would do terminal harm to the office of chief executive, then no, we will never see Mueller's report.

Unless he gives it to House Democrats...

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