You can read the complete Mueller Report at The New York Times. My Post#1 was based on the summary from Volume I of the Mueller Report which deals with Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election and whether the President or anyone in his administration aided the Russians in their interference. This post, Post#2, is based on Volume II which deals with whether President Trump or anyone in his administration attempted to interfere with or obstruct the investigation. Volume II is different from Volume I in that it contains more legal discussion and makes no determination of whether crimes of obstruction were committed and it includes four appendices and a brief conclusion. One of the most revealing paragraphs about Trump and some of his Aides comes from the Overreaching Factual Issues section of Volume II – and is presented directly below – followed by the Conclusions. Finally I present my own Impressions.
From “Overarching Factual Issues” of Volume II
“The President’s efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests. Comey did not end the investigation of Flynn, which ultimately resulted in Flynn’s prosecution and conviction for lying to the FBI. McGahn did not tell the Acting Attorney General that the Special Counsel must be removed, but was instead prepared to resign over the President’s order. Lewandowski and Dearborn did not deliver the President’s message to Sessions that he should confine the Russia investigation to future election meddling only. And McGahn refused to recede from his recollections about events surrounding the President’s direction to have the Special Counsel removed, despite the President’s multiple demands that he do so. Consistent with that pattern, the evidence we obtained would not support potential obstruction charges against the President’s aides and associates beyond those already filed.”
From “Conclusions” of Volume II
“Because we determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment, we did not draw ultimate conclusions about the President’s conduct. The evidence we obtained about the President’s actions and intent presents difficult issues that would need to be resolved if we were making a traditional prosecutorial judgment. At the same time, if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment. Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President” committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
Volume II of the Mueller Report is a well-written report of a thorough investigation into whether the President or anyone in his administration attempted to interfere with or obstruct the Special Counsel’s investigation. Volume II presents substantial evidence that could be interpreted as attempts by the President to impede and/or stop the Special Counsel’s investigation. It presents a President who demonstrates little respect for the office of the President, the truth or the rule of law. And it suggests that his efforts to obstruct or stop the investigation may have succeeded, except that some of his aides refused or failed to carry out the President’s instructions to perform certain tasks which they believe would have been illegal.
Having made these observations, I am reminded that even though Mr. Mueller appears to have bent over backwards to be fair and to give the President the benefit of the doubt in interpreting the evidence, the evidence is none-the-less one-sided. Supporters of the President can rightly argue that many of the points scored against the President by the investigation would come under withering rebuttal and cross-examination in a court of law. And we have no idea the nature of defense that the President’s team would bring to the court room.