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Pence could be implicated for obstruction of justice in the Mueller report — here’s why

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As America waits for the redacted release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, a look back at Vice President Mike Pence’s role in various presidential scandals shows that he may be implicated too.

Attorney General Bill Barr’s language in his summary of the Mueller report regarding obstruction of justice was very vague and some readings of it suggest that although the special counsel chose not to prosecute the president for obstruction, there may well be evidence of it in the report.

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Though Pence is often seen as the more-seasoned politician who sits above the fray of Trump’s chaos who will be there to reign should the president leave office, his role in the firing of former FBI James Comey shows he may not be as clean as his image suggests.

In September 2017, Vox’s Sean Illing noted that at the time, the most compelling evidence that Pence assisted Trump in obstructing justice came via reports claiming that the president read aloud a memo explaining that he fired Comey to shut down the Russia investigation — and that the VP was in the room when he read it.

Nonetheless, the VP told CNN the day after Comey was fired that he’d been terminated based on the recommendation of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — the same talking point used by the White House to justify the firing.

Jed Shugerman, a Fordham Law professor, told Illing that “if Pence gave any feedback in revising the letter to cover up those intentions and to give disingenuous legal reasons for firing Comey, he is guilty of conspiracy to obstruct justice and aiding and abetting.”

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MSNBC host Rachel Maddow has also been a longtime proponent of the Pence-as-justice-obstructer theory — primarily because of his role in the saga of the disgraced Trump national security adviser Mike Flynn.

As USA Today noted in a late 2017 timeline of Flynn and Pence’s relationship to the Russia investigation, the national security adviser cited incorrect information about his contacts with the Russian ambassador he gave to the vice president in his resignation.

Maddow has also repeatedly noted that Flynn’s lobbying work on behalf of Turkey — work that resulted in his indictment for failure to register as a foreign agent — could be another source of a Pence obstruction charge.

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In May 2017, Pence gave an interview to Fox News’ Bret Baier in which he repeated twice that he’d never heard anything about Flynn’s work for Turkey — a claim the MSNBC host said is “impossible.”

“Mike Pence was the head of the [Trump] transition, while all of those news stories of Mike Flynn being on the Turkish government’s payroll were breaking,” Maddow said. “He was the head of the transition when Mike Flynn was being vetted for the National Security Advisor job. He was the head of the transition when Congress formally notified the head of the transition that Mike Flynn appears to be on a foreign government’s payroll. He was the head of the transition when Mike Flynn’s personal lawyers came and told the transition that Mike Flynn maybe needed to register as a foreign agent.”

As many of the legal experts Vox’s Illing spoke to for his September 2017 report noted, it was already unlikely that Mueller would charge Pence with obstruction of justice — and given that the special counsel brought no additional charges at the conclusion of his probe, that narrow avenue of is now moot.

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Most of those experts agreed, however, that if prosecutors could prove that Pence knew about any potential Trump crimes and either agreed to take part it in or cover it up, he could be open to charges.


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Trump wants to wriggle out of impeachment by suing ‘everybody’ who makes him angry

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President Donald Trump wants to sue his way out of impeachment, just like he got himself out of jams before he entered the White House.

The president has been obsessed with undercover recordings by the right-wing Project Veritas outfit that misleadingly suggests an anti-Trump conspiracy by CNN president Jeff Zucker, and he has been privately ranting for days about the audio and video recordings, reported The Daily Beast.

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Donald Trump’s big short: Is the president profiting off the market chaos he creates?

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Back in early 2018, I noticed something hinky about the confluence of Donald Trump’s blurts about his trade war with the movement of the stock market. As I wrote in this space back in August, I believe Trump or people close to Trump might be profiting off the volatility of the markets ever since the president first declared a trade war against our allies and frenemies alike.

Since the passage of the 2009 stimulus, and with the exception of 2015, the markets have been mostly climbing steadily, in a relatively smooth upward slope. This ascending trajectory continued through the first year of Trump’s presidency until suddenly we began to observe harrowing single-day declines — volatility in the form of precipitous collapses of as much as 1,175 points in the Dow.

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Trump Jr. and McGahn didn’t testify before the Mueller grand jury — and a federal judge wants to know why

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During the Russia investigation, former special counsel Robert Mueller sought testimony from a long list of people. But according to a court filing on Sunday, two people who Mueller did not force to testify before a grand jury were Donald Trump Jr. and former White House Counsel Don McGahn. And U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell wants to know why.

The court filing on Sunday, according to The Week, was in response to a ruling Howell made on Thursday — when Howell asserted that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) was withholding too much information from the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York. The House Judiciary Committee, The Week’s Peter Weber reports, has been “wrangling” with DOJ over the evidence that Mueller obtained during his lengthy investigation.

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