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Legal expert: Mueller just ‘guaranteed’ he can make final report public despite Trump’s acting attorney general

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Marcy Wheeler, a journalist who has written extensively about government corruption and the ongoing Russian hacking investigation, predicted this week that special counsel Robert Mueller would be able to release his long-anticipated report without the permission of acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker.

In a column on her Empty Wheel blog, Wheeler argued that Mueller has “guaranteed” that he will be able to issue a public report even if Trump’s acting attorney general plans to block a formal report to Congress.

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Wheeler, who is also a witness in the Mueller investigation, points to court filings which accuse former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort of continuing to lie after he entered into a plea agreement with the special counsel’s office.

“Now, it is true that Trump can pardon Manafort (though that probably won’t happen right away),” Wheeler wrote. “That’s the only sane explanation for Manafort doing what he did, that he is still certain he’ll be pardoned. But many of these charges can still be charged in state court.”

She continued:

But Mueller’s team appears to have no doubt that Manafort was lying to them. That means they didn’t really need his testimony, at all. It also means they had no need to keep secrets — they could keep giving Manafort the impression that he was pulling a fast one over the prosecutors, all while reporting misleading information to Trump that he could use to fill out his open book test. Which increases the likelihood that Trump just submitted sworn answers to those questions full of lies.

According to Wheeler, Mueller can effectively embed his public report on ties between the Trump campaign and Russians in a status report to the court on Manafort’s breach of his plea agreement.

“And that ‘detailed sentencing submission … sett[ing] forth the nature of the defendant’s crimes and lies’ that Mueller mentions in the report?” Wheeler explained. “There’s your Mueller report, which will be provided in a form that Matt Whitaker won’t be able to suppress.”

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Wheeler later speculated that firing Mueller or an early pardon of Manafort would be the only ways to block the court filings.

“It’s not the kind of major decision that Whitaker would get to override,” she said.


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Expert explains how Dems can mobilize righteous anger and fight Trump’s claims on ‘the economy’

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After months of denial regarding the spread COVID-19, Donald Trump first embraced the role of being a “wartime president,” then shifted again to wanting the war over immediately, saying, “We don’t want the cure to be worse than the disease.” A chorus of conservative voices quickly echoed him, suggesting older Americans should be happy to die to save the economy “for their children.” Although Trump has temporarily retreated on that front, he appeared to feint toward that message again this week, and we’ll be hearing echoes of it again, repeatedly.

This new line of argument vividly reminded me of the “South Park” episode “Margaritaville,” discussed in striking fashion in Anat Shenker-Osorio’s 2012 book, “Don’t Buy It: The Trouble with Talking Nonsense about the Economy,” which I enthusiastically reviewed at the time. “Don’t Buy It” was based on three years of research into how economists, journalists, advocates, think tanks and others think and communicate about the economy, and the breadth of Shenker-Osorio’s research made it all the more striking how well that episode captured a fundamental truth about our pervasive economic confusion — a confusion that’s now deadlier than ever.

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Trump launches bizarre attack on mail-in voting — after admitting he voted in Florida by mail

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President Donald Trump Tuesday evening attacked voting by mail—a solution many rights advocates argue is particularly necessary amid the ongoing public health crisis—as a "terrible thing" even after admitting that he cast a mail-in ballot in the 2020 Republican presidential primary in Florida (presumably for himself) just last month.

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Critics claim Trump’s ‘confession’ on permanent payroll tax cut is ‘an excuse to destroy our Social Security system’

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President Donald Trump on Tuesday once again voiced his support for slashing the payroll tax—the primary funding mechanism for Social Security and Medicare—and said he would be calling for such a cut even if the U.S. were not currently in the midst of a nationwide public health and economic emergency.

"I would love to see a payroll tax cut," Trump, who has repeatedly vowed to "save" Social Security, said at the end of the Coronavirus Task Force briefing Tuesday evening. "I think on behalf of the people it would be quick... There are many people who would like to see it as a permanent tax cut."

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