Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Mueller's Choice

In the video below from the 10:00 p.m. ET hour, Lawrence O'Donnell can be seen reporting

Tonight, in a letter to Robert Mueller signed by a Deputy Attorney General, the Justice Department is telling Robert Mueller that he may not make "any comment on the facts developed and legal conclusions by the Special Counsel's Office with respect to  uncharged individuals."

Donald Trump is an uncharged individual. The letter also says that Robert Mueller should not testify about the "deliberative process," including any discussions that he and his staff had about "investigative steps or decisions made during your investigation. That means- according to the Justice Department, anyway- that Robert Mueller cannot answer the most important questions that he will face on Wednesday....

An hour earlier, on the other cable news network not serving as an arm of the Trump Administration, John Dean (coming up big as usual) said something startling:

If you look at the new regulations of the Department that came out during the Trump Administration- it's now called the "Justice Manual"- first of all, a former employee who is subpoenaed, as Mueller asked to be in this case, is considered under these regulations and those regulations restrict what he can say. So it almost looks like a set-up to me that he asked for this subpoena.

No "almost" there, Mr. Dean. After Anderson Cooper asked him to comment further, Dean continued

He asked for the subpoena, which would force him under the regulations of the Department, even though he's now a private citizen. There's no enforcement device at all with these regulations. I don't know what the Department would do with a former employee who went ahead and did something in direct violation of these but....

This is yet another example not only of the destruction of norms by the Trump Administration but of the concept of "a nation of laws, and not of men" turned upside down. Only a Trump-owned Justice Department would do this, though if successful, future GOP presidents will get the message.

There is nothing legally binding Mueller to testify only as the Justice Department wishes or which would impose a penalty upon the former Special Counsel if he spoke out of turn.

NBC legal contributor and former US Attorney Mimi Rocah tweets "for months, Barr has attacked Mueller for not stating whether he would have charged Trump with obstruction if he were not POTUS. Now DOJ is trying to silence Mueller & prevent him from giving that opinion."  However, it's Robert Mueller's decision alone to make.

Barr is trying not only to silence Mueller, but to intimidate him into silence.  And Robert Mueller, with a professional resume unmatched by few if any lawyers in the USA, is no young kid who will need a good recommendation from a grateful former employer. He is Lt. Mueller, who doesn't need to impress anyone and can afford to be informative and fully candid.  He'll go down in history as one who took seriously an oath to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth or as a guy who was intimidated into covering up for Bill Barr and Donald Trump. His integrity and legacy are on the line.

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