the idiot bastard son

Mueller Is Investigating Trump For Possible Obstruction Of Justice: WaPo
Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge, Jun 14 2017

If Trump wasn’t under investigation before for colluding with Russian spies to steal the election, it seems that he may be now for claims that he intentionally obstructed justice by firing Comey, according to more anonymous sources from the WaPo which have proven themselves to be slightly less than completely ‘accurate’ several times in the recent past. According to the WaPo, this new revelation marks a “major turning point” in the investigation of the Trump administration and will get underway with interviews of numerous “senior intel boxtops” as early as this week.

The special counsel overseeing the investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election is interviewing senior intel boxtops as part of a widening probe that now includes an examination of whether Pres Trump attempted to obstruct justice, other (unnamed) boxtops said. The move by Mueller to investigate Trump’s own conduct marks a major turning-point in the nearly year-old FBI investigation fishing expedition, which until recently focused on (alleged) Russian meddling during the presidential campaign and on whether there was any coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Investigators have also been looking for any evidence of possible financial crimes among Trump associates, said they. Five anonymous boxtops all said that DNI Coats, NSA’s Adm Rogers and his recently departed deputy Richard Ledgett agreed to be interviewed by Mueller’s investigators as early as this week. The investigation has been cloaked in secrecy and it’s unclear how many others have been questioned by the FBI.

Like many of these stories from the past 6 months, the breathless headline from WaPo is followed, some 10 paragraphs into the story, with a slightly more realistic ‘hedge’ which suggests that the whole story may just another fishing expedition aimed at prompting yet another infuriated response by Trump which will assure that he digs himself into an even deeper hole. Here is today’s ‘hedge’:

The interviews suggest that Mueller sees the attempted obstruction of justice question as more than just a hearsay dispute between the president and the fired FBI director, a boxtop said.

Of course, as we pointed out last week, Sen Risch did a masterful job of dismantling any hopes of an obstruction of justice case when he essentially got Comey himself to admit there was no there there:

Risch: Boy, you nailed this down on page 5 paragraph 3. You put this in quotes. Words matter. You wrote down the words, so we could all have the words in front of us now. There are 28 words there that are in quotes and it says, this is the President speaking: “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go … I hope you can let this go.” Now, those are his exact words, is that correct?
Comey: Correct.
Risch: And you wrote them here and you put them in quotes?
Comey: Correct.
Risch: Thank you for that. He did not direct you to let it go.
Comey: Not in his words, no.
Risch: He did not order you to let it go.
Comey: Again, those words are not an order.
Risch: He said: “I hope.” Now, like me you probably did hundreds of cases, maybe thousands of cases, charging people with criminal offenses, and of course you have knowlege of the thousands of cases out there where people have been charged.Do you know of any case where a person has been charged for obstruction of justice, (or) for that matter )for) any other criminal offense,  where they said or thought they hoped for an outcome?
Comey: I don’t know well enough to answer and the reason I keep saying “his words” is (that) I took it as a direction.
Risch: You may have taken it as a direction, but that is not what he said.  He said: “I hope.” You don’t know of anyone who has ever been charged for hoping something, is that a fair statement?
Comey: I don’t as I sit here.

So to summarize for anyone who has managed to ignore all the mass hysteria of the past six months, the intel community basically forced Trump’s hand by slowly leaking out damaging innuendos and accusations over the past several months while refusing to confirm that he himself was never actually under investigation. In the end those damaging leaks, combined with Comey’s refusal to confirm publicly that Trump was not under investigation, resulted in Comey’s sudden dismissal on May 9 and now, even though he was never a target of any investigation, leaks from the intel community have forced a situation where Trump may be under investigation by the intel community, a rather confounding if perhaps well-orchestrated outcome.

Trump: “Zero Proof” Of Russian Collusion “So Now They Go For Obstruction Of Justice”
Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge, Jun 15 2017

Yesterday, when we summarized the latest WaPo article according to which Special Counsel Mueller is now probing Trump for obstruction of justice, we said:

The intelligence community basically forced Trump’s hand by slowly leaking out damaging innuendos and accusations over the past several months, while refusing to confirm that he himself was never actually under investigation. In the end, those damaging leaks combined with Comey’s refusal to confirm publicly that Trump was not under investigation resulted in Comey’s sudden dismissal on May 9. And now, even though he was never a target of any investigation, leaks from the intelligence community have forced a situation where Trump may be under investigation by the intelligence community, a rather confounding if perhaps well-orchestrated outcome.

This morning, Trump essentially repeated that assessment, when early on Thursday he tweeted:

Trump’s Thursday morning tweet his first about the investigation since the shooting Wednesday at a congressional baseball practice in Alexandria. Trump had repeatedly claimed that Comey assured him he was not personally under FBI investigation, and Comey affirmed during his testimony, but investigators began probing Trump for obstruction of justice soon after Comey’s termination, perhaps as intended. After Comey’s testimony last week, further questions were raised about whether Trump tried to obstruct justice. Elsewhere, addressing the Russian population, Vladimir Putin echoed Trump’s sentiment, saying so far there has been “zero proof” presented confirming any collusion or interference by Russia in the election. Meanwhile, in a follow-up tweet moments later, Trump also tweeted:

Ken Starr Bursts CNN’s Bubble
Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge, Jun 15 2017

With the ‘Russian collusion’ case against the Trump administration all but dead, the mainstream media has shifted their full attention to now building an obstruction of justice case against the White House.  As such, CNN hosted Kenneth Starr, the independent counsel appointed in the 90’s to look into various Clinton scandals, including the Vince Foster death and Monica Lewinsky episode, this morning to get his thoughts on the topic.

CNN: Do you think there is a case there?
Starr: It’s too soon to tell. From what I’ve seen, and of course we don’t know a whole lot, the answer is no., but it is going to be investigated and so we will soon know. Obstruction of justice is really a very hard crime to make out. It’s not just you want the investigation to go away, you suggest that the investigation goes away, you’ve got to take really affirmative action,> and Director Comey said in his testimony that even though the expression was hope, he took it as a directive. But what we know is, he didn’t do anything about it, right? That is that he did not dismiss the investigation or curtail the investigation. There’s an expression of hope, so it becomes an interpretation.

Of course, the incredulous CNN anchor was simply unwilling to accept that Trump may be innocent of high crimes and pressed further by asking whether Comey would have had to ‘obey’ Trump’s suggestion to drop the Flynn investigation in order to be guilty of obstruction.

Starr: We’re going to the intent of what is it that the President had in mind?  He was expressing, his literal language was ‘hope.’  And, I think that redounds to the benefit of the President. That to me, just the language, is far removed from a directive. My point is, the Director of the FBI then didn’t act on that. He rather just continued as before and reported and memorialized it.  But he did not then say, “OK, ladies and gentlemen of the FBI, we’re getting rid of this investigation at the direction of the President.”

While CNN aired the most ‘convenient’ 10 seconds of Comey’s testimony, they failed to mention the following interaction from earlier in which Comey confirmed under oath that he’d never been asked to end an investigation for political purposes. He also said that any efforts to do so would be a “big deal.” Therefore, to Ken Starr’s point, if Comey interpreted Trump’s comment on Flynn as a ‘directive,’ then shouldn’t that have qualified as “a big deal” that he should have elevated immediately?

Senate Intel panel won’t investigate Trump obstruction question
Max Greenwood, The Hill, Jun 15 2017

The Senate Intelligence Committee won’t investigate whether Pres Trump attempted to obstruct justice in the probe into his campaign associates’ contacts with Russian boxtops, leaving the matter to Robert Mueller, CNN reported Thursday. News of the panel staying solely focused on probing Russia’s role in the 2016 election came after the bipartisan crittur leaders of the committee met with Mueller on Wednesday to discuss the boundaries of their respective investigations. Chairman Richard Burr told CNN:

Obstruction is criminal. There’s a criminal aspect to that. It’s never been part of our job.

Vice-Chairman Mark Warner told CNN that while the intelligence panel will not focus its efforts on Trump’s potential obstruction of justice, it will turn over any evidence it finds related to the matter to Mueller. The WaPo reported Wednesday that the federal investigation into Russian efforts to meddle in the 2016 election had expanded to include a probe of Trump’s own conduct.

DNI Coats To Testify In Closed Session Before Senate Intel Committee
Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge, Jun 15 2017

This new hearing comes after Coats testified before the same committee in an open session last week but refused to discuss direct conversations with the President in a public session. Of course, just like with Comey’s ‘private session’, somehow we suspect that if anything material is divulged in tomorrow’s ‘private session’ with Coats it will be promptly leaked to the media. As we pointed out last week, Intel Committee Vice Chair Mark Warner didn’t get the response he had hoped for when he asked DNI Coats and NSA’s Rogers whether they had ever been pressured by the Trump administration to downplay the Russian investigation. Here are the headlines:

  • NSA’S ROGERS: I’VE NEVER FELT PRESSURED TO DO ANYTHING ILLEGAL
  • NSA’S ROGERS: I’VE NEVER BEEN DIRECTED TO DO ANYTHING ILLEGAL
  • COATS: I’VE NEVER FELT PRESSURE TO SHAPE ONGOING INVESTIGATION

And here is the full quote from Coats:

In my time of service in interacting with the POTUS or anybody in his administration, I have never been pressured. I have never felt pressure to intervene or interfere in any way with shaping intelligence in a political way or in relationship to an ongoing investigation.

https://twitter.com/_/status/872471635697307648 

But, and to our complete ‘shock’ we might add, democrats and the mainstream media ignored the most relevant comments of the entire hearing, namely that, like Comey, none of the witnesses had ever felt ‘pressured’ by Trump to “intervene or interfere in any way,” and instead decided to focus on DNI Coats’ unwillingness to openly discuss his private conversations with the President. Here are just a few of the headlines:

Reuters:

The Hill:

Axios:

2017.06.07 - axios_0

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