Friday, March 22, 2019

Last Call For Last One Out Turn Off The Lights

Attorney General William Barr now has the Mueller Report, and the world looks a heck of a lot like it did yesterday, when Barr did not have the Mueller Report. At least, it appears to. The major difference is that the mystery before us has slightly changed form. Before today, we asked what Mueller was going to do, what indictments he was going to bring, and what allegations he was going to make. Today, we ask a subtly different question: What is it that he has written? What allegations has he made? And why has he decided not to make those allegations in the form of additional cases?

We don’t, at this stage, know anything about what information the Mueller Report contains. We don’t know what form the document takes. We don’t even know how many pages comprise it. We don’t know when we will learn what Mueller has found. Speculating about these questions is not useful. A huge amount depends here on how Mueller imagines his role—and on how Barr imagines his.

But there are certain things we do know: We know, for example, that Mueller was able to finish his investigation on his own terms. We know this because Barr said so in his letter to Congress Friday evening. The special counsel regulations, writes Barr, “require that I provide [Congress] with ‘a description and explanation of incidents (if any) in which the Attorney General’” countermanded an investigative step of the special counsel. “There were no such instances during the Special Counsel’s investigation.” This is reassuring. From it, we can at least tentatively conclude that the Mueller report—whatever is in it—reflects Mueller’s best assessment of the evidence, following his having taken every investigative step he felt necessary and appropriate to reach that assessment.

We also know that Mueller is not going to indict more people. Though what precisely this means is unclear, it means at a minimum that we should not expect the major collusion indictment that ties together the earlier Russian hacking allegations and social media indictment with conduct by figures in the Trump campaign. It also means that whatever Mueller found on the obstruction prong of the investigation, it’s not resulting in criminal charges either.

The president should wait before popping the champagne corks over this and tweeting in triumph. Yes, in the best-case scenario for the president, Mueller is not proceeding further because he lacks the evidence to do so. But even this possibility contains multitudes: everything from what the president calls “NO COLLUSION!” to evidence that falls just short of adequate to prove criminal conduct to a reasonable jury beyond a reasonable doubt—evidence that could still prove devastating if the conduct at issue becomes public.

There are other possibilities as well. It’s possible, for example, that Mueller is not proceeding against certain defendants other than the president because he has referred them to other prosecutorial offices; some of these referrals are already public, and it’s reasonable to expect there may be other referrals too. In this iteration, what is ending here is not the investigation, merely the portion of the investigation Mueller chose to retain for himself. It’s possible also that Mueller is finished because he has determined that while the evidence would support a prosecution of the president, he is bound by the Justice Department’s long-standing position that the president is not amenable to criminal process. On the obstruction front, he may well have concluded that, while the president acted to obstruct the investigation, he cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the president’s obstructive acts were not exercises of Trump’s Article II powers. It’s also possible that Mueller has strong prudential reasons for not proceeding with otherwise viable cases.

My gut instinct is that it is some combination of these factors that explains the end of the probe. Without knowing the reasons the investigation is finished, it is impossible to know how to assess its end—and nobody should try.

I certainly won't.  We don't know what's in the report, and America may never know.

On we go to the SDNY and NY state investigations.

BREAKING: It's Finally Mueller Time

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has submitted a confidential report to Attorney General William P. Barr, marking the end of his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible obstruction of justice by President Trump, a Justice Department spokeswoman said.

The Justice Department notified Congress late Friday that it had received Mueller’s report but did not describe its contents. Barr is expected to summarize the findings for lawmakers in coming days.

In a letter to the leaders of the House and Senate Judiciary committees, Barr wrote that Mueller “has concluded his investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and related matters.”

Barr wrote that Mueller submitted a report to him explaining his prosecution decisions. The attorney general told lawmakers he was “reviewing the report and anticipate that I may be in a position to advise you of the Special Counsel’s principal conclusions as soon as this weekend.”

So what's in the report?  Nobody's talking.  We'll see if there are any leaks.

Republicans are already declaring victory, of course.  And it's 100% up to Bill Barr if any of this information goes public or not.

For now, we wait.

It's Mueller Time.

Trump's Race To The Bottom, Con't

We all know that Donald Trump likes to hear himself talk and hold rallies to fawning crowds, but his constant hateful rhetoric and pro-white supremacist statements matter more than people think.  The Washington Post has found hate crimes in counties where Trump has held his rallies have more than tripled.

Does Trump’s political rhetoric have a measurable link to reported hate crime and extremist activity?

We examined this question, given that so many politicians and pundits accuse Trump of emboldening white nationalists. White nationalist leaders seem to agree, as leaders including Richard Spencer and David Duke have publicly supported Trump’s candidacy and presidency, even if they still criticize him for not going far enough. The New Zealand shooter even referred to Trump as a “renewed symbol of white identity.”

So, do attitudes like these have real world consequences? Recent research on far-right groups suggests that they do, especially when these attitudes are embraced and encourage by peers. Specifically, the quantity of neo-Nazi and racist skinheadgroups active in a state leads to increased reports of hate crimes within that state.

Using the Anti-Defamation League’s Hate, Extremism, Anti-Semitism, Terrorism map data (HEAT map), we examined whether there was a correlation between the counties that hosted one of Trump’s 275 presidential campaign rallies in 2016 and increased incidents of hate crimes in subsequent months.

To test this, we aggregated hate-crime incident data and Trump rally data to the county level and then used statistical tools to estimate a rally’s impact. We included controls for factors such as the county’s crime rates, its number of active hate groups, its minority populations, its percentage with college educations, its location in the country and the month when the rallies occurred.

We found that counties that had hosted a 2016 Trump campaign rally saw a 226 percent increase in reported hate crimes over comparable counties that did not host such a rally.

Of course, our analysis cannot be certain it was Trump’s campaign rally rhetoric that caused people to commit more hate crimes in the host county. However, suggestions that this effect can be explained through a plethora of faux hate crimes are at best unrealistic. In fact, this charge is frequently used as a political tool to dismiss concerns about hate crimes. Research shows it is far more likely that hate crime statistics are considerably lower because of underreporting.

Additionally, it is hard to discount a “Trump effect” when a considerable number of these reported hate crimes reference Trump. According to the ADL’s 2016 data, these incidents included vandalism, intimidation and assault.

What’s more, according to the FBI’s Universal Crime report in 2017, reported hate crimes increased 17 percent over 2016. Recent research also shows that reading or hearing Trump’s statements of bias against particular groups makes people more likely to write offensive things about the groups he targets.

Even if your argument is that correlation does not equal causation, Trump still shouldn't be publicly saying the things he does as leader of America.

On top of all that however, the evidence is pretty strong that Trump causes bad things to happen, and hey, let's not pretend that it isn't happening right now.

A 17-year-old male was arrested over race-based threats against the Charlottesville school system, local police say.

The Virginia city's public schools were closed for two days -- Thursday and Friday -- in light of the threats that were made online.

Charlottesville police announced Friday they had arrested a juvenile in connection to the online threats. He is being charged with one felony and one misdemeanor.

The police gave few details about the threats in question, announcing only that they were alerted to the "biased-based language targeting specific ethnic groups" at the public high school on Wednesday afternoon.

At a subsequent news conference, Charlottesville City Schools superintendent Rosa Atkins said that the teen was not a student at the school.

She said that the individual was "a person who is not a part of the Charlottesville school system and community" and added that he made the "hateful threat... under the guise of being a Charlottesville high school student."

Rashall Brackney, the chief of the Charlottesville Police Department, said at the news conference that the threats "referenced ethnic cleansing."

The entire public school system -- which includes seven elementary schools, one middle school, one high school and one education program for young patients at the University of Virginia Children's Hospital -- was closed on Thursday and Friday.

But it's okay if Trump does it, right?

Jared, The Galleria Of Crime, Con't

Just a reminder that Jared Kushner is far from the worst person at criming in the Trump regime, but he does have the distinction of still being there to screw up.  Jerry Nadler and the House Judiciary are already taking their swing at this pinata, and now it's Elijah Cummings's turn at House Oversight.

House Democrats are raising new concerns about what they say is recently revealed information from Jared Kushner’s attorney indicating that the senior White House aide has been relying on encrypted messaging service WhatsApp and his personal email account to conduct official business. 
The revelation came in a Dec. 19 meeting — made public by the House Oversight and Reform Committee for the first time on Thursday — between Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), the former chairman of the Oversight panel, and Kushner’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell.

Cummings, who now leads the Oversight Committee, says in a new letter to White House counsel Pat Cipollone that Lowell confirmed to the two lawmakers that Kushner “continues to use” WhatsApp to conduct White House business. Cummings also indicated that Lowell told them he was unsure whether Kushner had ever used WhatsApp to transmit classified information. 
"That's above my pay grade," Lowell told the lawmakers, per Cummings' letter. 
Lowell added, according to Cummings, that Kushner is in compliance with record-keeping law. Lowell told the lawmakers that Kushner takes screenshots of his messages and forwards them to his White House email in order to comply with records preservation laws, Cummings indicated.
Kushner, whom the president charged with overseeing the administration’s Middle East policies, reportedly has communicated with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman via WhatsApp. 
The details of the discussion about Kushner’s email and messaging practices came as part of a new Oversight Committee demand for a slew of new documents from Kushner and other current and former White House officials, including his wife Ivanka Trump, former deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland, and former top strategist Steve Bannon. 
Cummings is demanding the documents by April 4 and signaled he may issue subpoenas if the White House refuses to comply.

Kushner used WhatsApp to talk to MBS, Ivanka has her own email server that she uses for communication to Jared with, and KT McFarland apparently used an AOL account to email Steve Bannon about that secret plan to give the Saudis classified nuclear info.

They're all idiots and massive security risks and they need to be in small cells, preferably without sunlight.


Related Posts with Thumbnails