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What they’re saying about the Mueller report

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- Commentary

This is a case where it’s helpful to step back and see the forest and not just the countless trees. Trump knew he was guilty of numerous bad acts and repeatedly lied about those bad acts. So he did everything in his power to obstruct, fight or derail the investigation to prevent his bad acts and lies from becoming known. It’s really that simple. Josh Marshall, Talking Points Memo

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This article was originally published at DCReport.org

The redacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report released on Thursday runs 448 pages. But its most important implication can be summarized in a single sentence: There is sufficient evidence that President Donald Trump obstructed justice to merit impeachment hearings. Yoni Appelbaum, The Atlantic

After two years without facts, we now have facts. Thus far the White House and Trump boosters haven’t disputed the facts. What they say is “no collusion,” because that’s what they were going to say, no matter what. But the facts in this movie are devastating. They paint a picture of Trump campaign members helping Russia steal an election, with polling data and secret meetings, and of a lawless and King Lear-like Trump trying desperately to obscure what was really happening. Mueller may not have taken the American public anywhere specific on questions of law. But he sure as hell took us all to the same place on the question of reality. And the facts that the American public—at least those who don’t have an intravenous hookup to Tucker Carlson’s worldview—are seeing today, whether by way of quotes, or hot takes, or television punditry, is a walk down the well-trod lane of how Trump operates. He lies. He tells others to lie. He fires people. He threatens. He demands loyalty. In some ways, I’m enjoying this movie more this time around precisely because, as 448-page encapsulations of all the facts I thought I’d become insensible to go, this is a hell of a read. And in its own pointillist and nuanced way, that story makes the conclusions of law somewhat less frustrating. It’s as if Mueller was just saying, “You all know this happened and continues to happen. Now you decide what to do about it.” Dahlia Litwick, Slate

Donald Trump might be in substantially more legal trouble if not for top administration aides and officials, according to the redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report released by the Justice Department on Thursday. Igor Bobic, HuffPost

It is not for me to split legal hairs in this document. But politically, the road forward from this report is obvious: President Trump must be impeached in the House of Representatives. It does not matter that his conviction in the Senate is vanishingly unlikely. America’s political moment now unambiguously calls for a prolonged, painful, and public hearing about the lawlessness of the president of the United States and his immoral and illegal efforts to bend America’s system of justice to his ill will. David Faris, The Week

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Americans have not seen the full Mueller report. But we have seen more than enough. The warning I delivered at the 2016 Democratic National Convention — Donald Trump is not fit for office — is now clearer than ever. Michael R. Bloomberg, Bloomberg.com

The obstruction section of the report, when read as a whole, depicts an administration in which Trump’s impulsive responses to the events unfolding around him routinely put him at odds with his senior aides and White House lawyers. It describes several instances where top officials simply ignored directives from the president or those close to him in order to avoid taking action that they believed was ill-advised or, more seriously, could undermine his own administration. Zoe Tillman, Buzzfeed

The report also said that although there were many contacts between members of the Trump campaign and people affiliated with the Russian government, there was insufficient evidence to prove that the campaign was involved in a criminal conspiracy with Russia. The question, now, is what Congress will do. Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux, FiveThirtyEight

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[There’s] a stark contrast between the principled, rational and precise arguments of Mueller’s lawyers and the brazenly, barkingly mad bullshit that emerges from Donald Trump and everyone who surrounds him. Richard Wolffe, The Guardian

Thursday marked the end of a corrupt investigation into an innocent president, driven entirely by political motivations and resulting in the complete and total exoneration of Trump. Kayleigh McEnany, Fox News


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Are Republicans even trying to defend Trump? Or just doing Vladimir Putin’s bidding?

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Last Friday, President Trump made the huge error of committing an impeachable offense while a House impeachment hearing was underway, by seeking to intimidate former Marie Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine — who he had already threatened during the famous July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. He did it again over the weekend with this insult toward Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Mike Pence, who heard that call.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1196155347117002752

 

Someone seems to have gotten through to Trump since then, because he didn't personally insult or threaten the witnesses during Tuesday's marathon hearings. He did, however, retweet insults by others and issued an official White House tweet questioning the integrity of the National Security Counsel's Ukraine expert, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman. In his one appearance before the cameras, he made a snotty observation that Vindman had worn his U.S. Army uniform to the hearing, implying — as did several Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee — that he was being theatrical. There was a time when they would have swooned over any military dress uniform covered with salad. Now they only revere those who commit war crimes.

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Fox News commentator Sean Hannity appears to be knee-deep in Trump’s Ukraine scandal — despite his denials

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Fox News host Sean Hannity raved that he never spoke with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about ousted Ukrainian Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch after a third witness confirmed the alleged call to impeachment investigators.

David Hale, the undersecretary of State for political affairs, testified under oath that Yovanovitch was the victim of a baseless smear campaign led by Rudy Giuliani, the personal attorney of President Donald Trump, which led to her ouster. According to a transcript of the closed-door deposition released Monday, the smears originally stemmed from the conservative columnist John Solomon, who wrote in The Hill that former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko had claimed that Yovanovitch gave him a “do not prosecute list.” Lutsenko later retracted that claim.

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A historian explains why Robert E. Lee wasn’t a hero — he was a traitor

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There’s a fabled moment from the Battle of Fredericksburg, a gruesome Civil War battle that extinguished several thousand lives, when the commander of a rebel army looked down upon the carnage and said, “It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it.” That commander, of course, was Robert Lee.

The moment is the stuff of legend. It captures Lee’s humility (he won the battle), compassion, and thoughtfulness. It casts Lee as a reluctant leader who had no choice but to serve his people, and who might have had second thoughts about doing so given the conflict’s tremendous amount of violence and bloodshed. The quote, however, is misleading. Lee was no hero. He was neither noble nor wise. Lee was a traitor who killed United States soldiers, fought for human enslavement, vastly increased the bloodshed of the Civil War, and made embarrassing tactical mistakes.

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