Mueller Testimony perilous for Democrats – by Bobill

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What Robert Mueller says (or does not say) under oath before two different congressional committees could help or hurt the democrats’ case for impeachment of the president.

President Trump has claimed loudly and often that the Mueller Report concludes there was “no collusion and no obstruction” In the 2016 presidential election. The democrats claim that the report shows the exact opposite. They claim that only a few people have read the 448-page report and thus are uninformed, or in some cases misinformed, because of the way Attorney General Barr handled the release of the report. They believe that if the American people see and hear Mr. Mueller explain under oath what’s in the report, including its conclusions, they will agree that the president and his campaign have committed crimes worthy of impeachment and prosecution.

So, congressional Democrats are delighted that Robert Mueller has agreed to testify before the congressional Judiciary and Intelligence Committees. That’s because the democrats believe Mueller will say, publicly (and under oath) that the investigators drew two all-important conclusions: 1 – That at least some members of the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians to help Trump get elected President, and 2 – that President Trump obstructed justice by attempting to impede the progress, or even shut down, the investigation on several different occasions. To the Democrats and to many of us who have read much, or all, of the Mueller Report – these conclusions are self-evident, but the report is not explicit on either of these important points.

Mueller made it clear that he did not want to testify before congress and agreed to testify only after he received a subpoena. He also says he is unwilling to say more than what is in the report. So, if Mueller refuses to be more explicit in his testimony about whether the president’s campaign colluded with the Russians to help Trump win the election, that could be a blow to the democrats’ case on the charge of collusion. Furthermore, if Mueller refuses to testify directly that Trump attempted to impede the investigation, that could mean more harm to their case against him for obstruction of justice. That would put the president in a much stronger position to fend off further attempts to investigate him and his campaign and would likely hurt the democrats in the 2020 presidential election.

In conclusion, if Mr. Mueller says publicly and under oath what the democrats believe he will, that testimony will likely convince much of the public that the president committed crimes and will strengthen the democrats’ case if they decide to go forward with impeachment of the president. However, if Mr. Mueller refuses to testify directly that the president’s aids colluded with the Russians or that the president attempted to impede his investigation, that will give credence to the president’s claim that the Mueller Report proves there was “no collusion or obstruction” – and that the report was, from the beginning, “a hoax and a witch hunt.” So, as the president often says, we’ll have to wait and see.

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First Lady announces New WH Press Secretary

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Photo: thesource.com

First Lady announced New WH Press Secretary with this tweet” on June 25.

“I am pleased to announce Stephanie Grisham will be the next [WH] Press Secretary and Communications Director. She has been with us since 2015, and I can think of no better person to serve the Administration and our country. Excited to have Stephanie working for both sides of the White House.”

Ms. Grisham has been the Communications Director for the first lady, and outgoing Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders had this to say about Grisham:

“During the campaign, she developed a good relationship with the president, and that carried through. She has developed a great amount of trust from both the president and the first lady, which is a pretty high commodity here.”

Thanks to Sarah Huckabee Sanders, we know now that Ms. Grisham has gained a great amount of respect from the president. Now, let’s hope that Ms. Grisham and the Press work together to gain one another’s trust and respect, something that did not happen between Sara Huckabee Sanders and the Press. The question remains: can anyone who represents the president be honest and transparent in dealing with the Press – and still hold on to the president’s support? Like the president often says, we’ll have to wait and see.

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Social Security Benefits – An Unfair Proposal

The process to qualify for benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA) due to a disability can be long and complicated, because the SSA must consider multiple factors in making the determination for eligibility. Under the current SSA rules, the inability to speak English is one of those factors which must be considered. The SSA describes the reason for including this English language factor in making that determination:

“Because English is the dominant language of the country (USA) it may be difficult for someone who doesn’t speak and understand English to do a job, regardless of the amount of education the person may have in another language,” the SSA says in section 404.1564 of the administration’s code of federal regulations. “Therefore, we consider a person’s ability to communicate in English when we evaluate what work, if any, he or she can do.”

President Trump’s administration is now considering eliminating the inability to speak English as a factor when considering eligibility to receive disability benefits. One of the main reasons cited by the administration for changing the rules is that applicants in Puerto Rico where English is not the primary language are using their inability in English as a basis for receiving disability benefits. What a singularly ridiculous excuse to deny disability benefits to applicants who do not speak English in the continental Unities States – where English is the primary language. Donald Trump was anti-immigration from the day he announced his candidacy for President, and the proposed rule changes target immigrants, and specifically those from South America. I have read that as many as 10,500 disabled applicants may be denied disability benefits under the proposed rules.

Here’s an example of the consequences that the new rules may have. Two men, each age 45, are seriously injured while working at their construction jobs, which they have held for 20 years and both have paid social security taxes for that period. Both are family men with unblemished criminal records and both have served in the US military. Now, both apply for disability benefits – and both are denied those benefits, but for starkly different reasons: the first, because he speaks English and the second, because he does not. The first will likely get another job because he can speak English, and the second won’t be able to get a job and must wait almost 20 years to get his SSA benefits. The proposal is patently unfair and may violate the second man’s XIV amendment rights of “equal protection under the law.” Leave me accomment to let me know how you feel about this important matter, and don’t forget to let your congressional representatives know how you feel.

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Good Bye, Sarah Huckabee Sanders and…

Good Luck.

A Profile In Obfuscation – Updated June 15, 2019

One year ago I posted the article below in which I described how Sarah Huckabee Sanders had ingratiated herself to President Trump by defending him in ways that discredited her and the office of the President. Now, as Mrs. Sanders plans to retire to her home in Arkansas, I can’t add much to what I said a year ago. Except to say that her misinformation and misrepresentations of the truth finally caught up with her in a consequential way when she admitted before a congressional hearing that she had not been truthful in public on at least one occasion – and then had repeated the lie later. Sanders says he will continue to support (read idolize) the President and wants to be remembered for her honesty and transparency. To that, I say, good luck!. I quote here the final sentence of the original article, which I believe is as relevant today as it was a year ago.

“I expect that historians will not judge Ms. Sanders kindly, and I wonder whether she will conclude in the end that her willingness to defend this president at all cost was worth the price of her credibility and integrity.”

A Profile In Obfuscation – Original – June 20, 2018

The first six months of President Trump’s tenure was chaotic, but nowhere was the disorder more apparent than in the arena of communicating with the public and the press. The President’s first press secretary was Sean Spicer, who will be remembered for his condescending and contentious style. But Spicer will be remembered most for his claim that more people attended President Trump’s inauguration ceremony than that of any previous president – a claim that was patently false. Spicer abruptly resigned on July 21, 2017, after only six months on the job, when President Trump appointed Anthony Scaramucci to be Communications Director. Later that same day, Scaramucci announced that Sarah Huckabee Sanders would be the new White House Press Secretary. Ten days later Scaramucci was fired by the president because of derogatory statements Scaramucci had made about some White House staff staffers.From that day on, Sarah Huckabee Sanders has been the official voice of the President and the White House.

Most of this early tumult and controversy was over attempts by the president’s representatives to explain and make sense to the public and press members what the president was saying and tweeting daily. Not much has changed since those early days except that Sarah Huckabee Sanders has shown more willingness than others to use her position as press secretary to defend the President with all her might and at any cost, which includes inflicting damage to the country, the presidency and to her own credibility. It’s painful to watch Ms. Sanders as she tries to put on her best face and her best spin on answers to tough questions by press members about the President’s conflicting and dubious statements and tweets.

But give Ms. Sanders her due credit: she bites her lip, swallows her pride and bumbles and mumbles her way from one dubious answer to another, many of which are laced with obfuscation and misinformation. She stands firm in her unconditional support and defense of the President in the face of all criticism, and she does not admit to mistakes, mischaracterizations or misrepresentations. That makes her the perfect front for this president, and she has honed her skills to deflect as much criticism from his dishonesty as possible. President Trump lost his credibility a long time ago, and that of Ms. Sanders is now tarnished beyond repair. I wonder how Sarah Huckabee Sanders feels about herself – knowing that most members of the press and much of the public do not trust her as an honest spokesman for this dishonest president.

I expect that historians will not judge Ms. Sanders kindly, and I wonder whether she will conclude in the end that her willingness to defend this president at all cost was worth the price of her credibility and integrity.
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Senators Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz Discuss Donald Trump.

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Both have changed their minds (dramatically) about Donald Trump.

Today, Senator Lindsey Graham is one of President Trump’s staunchest supporters. His relationship with the President has come to rival that between the President and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.

Lindsey Graham today: “I’m concerned by the media’s attempt to label Trump as a kook or not fit to be President.”

Lindsey Graham in 2016: “I think he’s a kook. I think he’s crazy. I think he’s unfit for office. I’m not going to try to get into the mind of Donald Trump because I don’t think there’s a whole lot of space there. I think he’s a kook. I think he’s crazy. I think he’s unfit for office.”

Graham tweeted that he didn’t even vote for Trump:

“I voted @Evan_McMullin for President. I appreciate his views on a strong America and the need to rebuild our military. #3.”

Today, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas is a supporter of President Trump – but that has not always been the case – as Cruz’s rant below illustrates.

“This man is a pathological liar. He doesn’t know the difference between truth and lies. He lies practically every word that comes out of his mouth. And in a pattern that I think is straight out of a psychology textbook, his response is to accuse everybody else of lying. He accuses everybody on that debate stage of lying. And it’s simply a mindless yell. Whatever he does, he accuses everyone else of doing. The man cannot tell the truth, but he combines it with being a narcissist, a narcissist at a level I don’t think this country’s ever seen.

Donald Trump is such a narcissist that Barack Obama looks at him and goes, dude, what’s your problem? Everything in Donald’s world is about Donald. And he combines being a pathological liar — and I say pathological because I actually think Donald, if you hooked him up to a lie detector test, he could say one thing in the morning, one thing at noon, and one thing in the evening, all contradictory, and he would pass the lie detector test each time. Whatever lie he’s telling, at that minute, he believes it. But the man is utterly amoral.”

Based on what I’ve learned about Donald Trump by watching his actions an listening to what he has to say, the earlier descriptions of Trump by these two senators rings much truer than those that came after they became born-again Trumpsters.

 

 

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A Strong Case For Impeachment From a Republican Congressman

Representative Justin Amish of Michigan is the first Republican Congressman to say that the Mueller Report makes a strong case for impeaching the President. He does so in a series of persuasive tweets, and he tweets that Attorney General Barr deliberately misrepresented Mueller Report.  Four of Amish’s tweets are shown below, followed by  a paragraph from the Mueller report for reference.

“Here are my principal conclusions: 1. Attorney General Barr has deliberately misrepresented Mueller’s report. 2. President Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct. 3. Partisanship has eroded our system of checks and balances. 4. Few members of Congress have read the report.”

“I offer these conclusions only after having read Mueller’s redacted report carefully and completely, having read or watched pertinent statements and testimony, and having discussed this matter with my staff, who thoroughly reviewed materials and provided me with further analysis.”

“In comparing Barr’s principal conclusions, congressional testimony, and other statements to Mueller’s report, it is clear that Barr intended to mislead the public about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s analysis and findings.”

“Barr’s misrepresentations are significant but often subtle, frequently taking the form of sleight-of-hand qualifications or logical fallacies, which he hopes people will not notice.
Under our Constitution, the president “shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” While “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” is not defined, the context implies conduct that violates the public trust.”

From Mueller Report – For Reference

“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, however, we are unable to reach that judgment. The evidence we obtained about the President’s actions and intent presents difficult issues that prevent us from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred.”

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The President’s Greatest Fear

So, what specific thing does President Trump fear most of all as he fights with all his might to keep congress at bay by refusing to cooperate with any and all investigations into his behavior. Surely, he must cringe at the thought of having his financial business dealings exposed, especially if congress gets its hands on his tax returns. And yes, he must surely hope that the Attorney General will succeed in his efforts to keep the redacted portions of the Mueller Report from congress and the public. And most surely, the President is upset that his oldest son, Donald, Jr. has been subpoenaed to testify before a Senate Committee hearing. But none of these must cause the President to stay awake at night like the thought of having some of his closest aides testify before Congress and a live television audience – knowing that they must relate to congress the same damaging details they have already told the Special Counsel Investigators.
That damaging testimony is reported in the Mueller Report, but Trump knows that most of his supporters have not read the Mueller Report and that they believe him and the Attorney General when both say the report completely exonerates the President. But the President also knows that some of his staunchest supporters will be watching on Fox News if McGahn and other aides testify to Congress. Remember how riveting John Dean, President Nixon’s Whitehouse lawyer, was as he described in meticulous details to a congressional committee (on television) how he had warned President Nixon of a “cancer growing on the Presidency”? Then, imagine President Trump watching, (knowing that millions of others, including some of his own supporters are also watching) as his former WH lawyer, Don McGahn describes how the President asked him to commit crimes on behalf of the President – on more than one occasion.

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