Early Ethics Observations On Reactions To The Mueller Report

It was exactly 12:45 pm when I was informed by NPR that Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer had issued a joint statement claiming the Attorney General Barr’s four page summary of the report released today had misled Congress. The report had been released at 11:00 am, and was over 400 pages long, as well as extremely dense, full of detailed legal arguments that even lawyers…like me…would have to read slowly and maybe more than once. What are the chances that Chuck and Nancy had read the report  by 12:45? I think “none” is a fair answer. It’s highly unlikely that any of their staff had read the report by them either. The accusation against Barr was a lie.

See that graphic above? That’s the dishonest fundraiser Democrats sent out almost immediately to inspire indignation from Democrats who haven’t read the report. If there are any ethical Democrats whose reaction to this isn’t “How dare my party treat me like I’m an idiot and give me false and misleading information and analysis to separate me from my money?” I’d like to hear from them. Maybe there just aren’t any ethical Democrats at all. At this point, I’m willing to entertain that possibility.

By the way, I’m about 40% through the report, though not in sequence. It is thorough, professional and appears to be fair.

Here’s Jonathan Turley, a rare non-partisan Constitutional expert, pointing out that releasing an unredacted report would be illegal:

“Barr is proceeding along the well-established lines. He cannot release the unredacted report given restricted information from the grand jury as well as classified information and information from ongoing investigations. Indeed, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has publicly defended Barr’s actions.”

Here he is trying to politely tell two CBS reporters qua Democratic operatives that they are full of mulch:

GAYLE KING: One of the main concerns they [Democrats] had about him having this press conference, Bill Barr, is that he would lay the foundation that would be very favorable to the President of the United States before anybody had a chance to look at this report. It’s interesting that he did not answer the question, when he was asked by Paula Reid, ‘Are you the Attorney General or the United States or are you — the criticism is that you are working as the Attorney General for Donald Trump.’ He did not answer that question!

TURLEY: I must admit I was grinning a little bit because I know Bill Barr well and that’s when you started to hear a little bit of–

KING: Irritation?

TURLEY: Irritation in his voice. And the reason is that Bill Barr really is cut from DOJ cloth. And that — you could not ask anything more insulting to Bill Barr than that question. Now, he should not have gotten a little testy there. But Bill Barr is, as you see him, he’s a very straightforward person. He doesn’t really spin. He’ll tell you straight up.

In other words, it was an incompetent, disrespectful and inflammatory question.

GAYLE KING: Democrats are angry that they shared information with the White House office of legal counsel. Do they have a legitimate gripe there?

JONATHAN TURLEY: Quite frankly, no. It is a tradition in the Department of Justice to show reports that deal with individuals of this kind, not just as a courtesy to opposing counsel but also as a sort of due process protection for the people named. There were no changes made.

This is why Turley is on TV and I’m not. I might have said, “No, you idiot.”

JOHN DICKERSON: It was very interesting he also referred to Congress’ legitimate oversight interest which in the coming push and pull was a kind of olive branch, if you will, from the Attorney General, saying you have legitimate reasons to be asking for these things. Obviously the president says those questions are not legitimate.

TURLEY: As is giving them the report. The only thing redacted from the congressional report will be grand jury information. Bill Barr is absolutely correct, he cannot give that information to Congress. I know people have said otherwise. We just had a ruling a week ago that made it difficult even for a federal judge to remove rule 6-e information.

At this point Dickerson gives up the plan of using the segment to convince his Trump-hating viewers that the report is somehow damning, and mopes that the Democrats have “an uphill fight.” An uphill fight to claim something that they wish exists couldn’t be proven after a ruthless, almost three year investigation? Why do they think it’s ethical or appropriate to fight for that? Turley, courtly as always, answered,

That’s exactly right. The Democrats, even after the initial summary was given to Congress, came forward, people like Schiff and others, in saying, ‘no, we clearly have collusion.’ Well, look, they’re now in opposition not just to Bill Barr and the Deputy Attorney General, they’re taking a position in opposition to Mueller himself, that it’s clear that that part of the report did not find collusion, certainly in any criminal sense. And if it’s not collusion in a criminal sense, the question is, well, what are we talking about, if they found no conspiracy, no coordination?

Ooo! Ooo! Call on me professor! I know the answer! We are talking about perpetuating the Big Lie, still, even after it has been exploded. There was conspiracy! There was coordination! Because the news media and Democrats want it to be so!”

Here is how desperate they are, and how stupid they are willing to look. ABC’s Jonathan Karl, not merely not a lawyer but incapable pf playing one on TV, making an idiotic argument:

Now, of course, there’s no finding that anyone in the Trump campaign was guilty of a criminal conspiracy in terms of dealing with the Russians on this. But the chapter on collusion shows significant contact between people on the Trump campaign and the Russians. Look at page 33 dealing with the Russian disinformation campaign that was a critical part of their effort to meddle in the election. The company, of course, is IRA, the Internet Research Agency, the Russian company that was doing this. Mueller writes, “Posts from IRA controlled Twitter accounts were retweeted by multiple trump associates including Donald Trump Jr, Eric Donald Trump, Kellyanne Conway, Brad Parscale, who is the chairman for the reelection campaign and Michael Flynn.” There was even a section here where the President’s personal account responded the a tweet from one of these Russian accounts. So, the Russians were attempting to interfere with the U.S. election in part by spreading disinformation through this internet company and they were finding some cooperation on the part, maybe it’s unwitting cooperation. But they were getting help in that effort by people in the Trump campaign were further disseminating this disinformation coming directly from the Russians…Not realizing what they were doing was directly coming from the Russians. If they did, not realizing this would be a violation of the law. The violation is the presidential campaign cannot accept something of value from a foreign source. Ultimately, the conclusion here in this special counsel is it did not rise to the level of a violation of the law. But there is significant contact here, you might even say collusion, George. Because, again, collusion is not the crime. The crime is conspiracy to break a law. 

Yes, he’s really arguing that anyone who re-tweeted one of the Russian-planted disinformation tweets was colluding with the Russians. This is incompetent and should be embarrassing to ABC.

But if you want really embarrassing—except that MSNBC can’t be embarrassed—look at Nicolle Wallace having a tantrum on the air:

NICOLLE WALLACE: This was an investigation, at its core, about Donald Trump’s daily – sometimes hourly – assault on the rule of law in this country. As the country’s chief executive, he sat in his pajamas watching Fox & Friends maligning the FBI, maligning Robert Mueller, maligning Rod Rosenstein.

So Bill Barr didn’t walk into that room with the scale at zero. Rule of law had a deficit because Donald Trump had been kicking it in the teeth for 22 months. And what the country’s Attorney General did was walk in there and back up the guy doing the kicking. So the question for me now turns to, why? Why?

BRIAN WILLIAMS: Do you have an answer for that?

WALLACE: I don’t. But it goes back to the obstruction memo. I mean, did they just happen to pick a guy, who just happened to have so much free time, that he just happened to write a 19-page memo saying that a president couldn’t obstruct justice, and that Robert Mueller, who you described, I’m sure accurately, as his friend, should never, ever be able to query the President on the topic of obstruction?

I mean, it just puts in place – and there will be a strong wave of trying to bully the press, saying, “It’s over! It’s over! No collusion, no obstruction.” Really? Then why did that all happen today? Why have we heard from Barr five times if the Mueller report is so awesome for Donald Trump? We have now heard from someone who is a human shield of Mueller’s findings five times. If Mueller exonerated Trump on collusion, if there’s nothing ugly in there, why have we heard from Barr five times?

At this point I want to signal my appreciation for Newsbusters, from which all of these transcript quotes (it also has the video) arrive. Unlike Media Matters, it’s less ethical counterpart on the  Left, Newbuster shows the mainstream media bias at times like these virtually without advocacy. Res ipsa loquitur is enough.

Gee, I’d love to circulate this on Facebook.

But “the resistance,” and Facebook, won’t let me.

“Democracy dies in darkness,” and that’s exactly what these people want. Darkness.

25 thoughts on “Early Ethics Observations On Reactions To The Mueller Report

  1. The press, in the main, is now just a propaganda machine for one political party. That political party has been corrupted so entirely, it no longer stands for the Constitution. It, instead, stands only for the undermining of it. While it may not fit the legal definition, they are traitors, pure and simple, in my book. They all have turned the nation into a time bomb. Sickening.

  2. Yes, he’s really arguing that anyone who re-tweeted one of the Russian-planted disinformation tweets was colluding with the Russians. This is incompetent and should be embarrassing to ABC.

    It’s embarrassing to us all. Some of us actually watch, and will probably believe and/or agree with Karl.

    That is what’s really embarrassing, and highlights the abject failure of our educational institutions to impute even a tiny understanding of basic civics and law to most of our population.

    WALLACE: I don’t. But it goes back to the obstruction memo. I mean, did they just happen to pick a guy, who just happened to have so much free time, that he just happened to write a 19-page memo saying that a president couldn’t obstruct justice…

    Again, dissimulation, just like Karl. That’s not what Barr’s memo said at all, yet somehow, Wallace swallowed the spin on that hook, line, sinker, rod, fisherman and boat.

    This woman is supposedly intelligent enough to be the Director of Communications for a president. But her anti-Trump bias (for those who don’t know, she was a Republican until Trump was elected, so she’s a charter-member Never Trumper) has made her so stupid a sewer rat could beat her in a civics quiz.

    Idjits.

    This entire mess is a disaster for this country. No wonder the president wanted it shut down so badly. He was an innocent man being investigated by the full force of the US government to satisfy his political enemies.

    How he made it through without “disappearing” somebody is a mystery to me. I’ve just gained a lot more respect for him — probably he’ll crap it right back to me tomorrow, but for today …

    • Trump may be showing a learning curve… not a hockey stick, by any means, but I detect a heartbeat blip, here and there. He may be learning not to lead with his chin. Or he broke his thumbs. I would love for him to play the game with a little more savvy, but I also understand that he IS a master of playing the media… and thus the Democrats.

      Hope springs eternal.

      • Well, I hope your right. All we’ve seen so far is something that could only be described as a “curve” by a blind man. 🙂

  3. I guess we spent millions for nada, zilch.

    You know, the Mueller report did not exhonerate Brennen, Comey, Clinton, Clapper, Cummings, Schiff, Nadler, Blumenthal or Swallwell either; thus they must be guilty. — off with their heads.

    Now if I can only figure out a way to explain to an idiot that saying something is a violation of law encompasses violations of statutes.

  4. I just tried to link your article to a Facebook page I admin and got a Facebook message that your article “violates Facebook community standards.” MAJOR BS!!! I notified them of their bias. I’ll let you know if they correct their overt bias.

  5. Wow, just posted the URL link for this page on my Facebook page (I rarely use it for anything but the marketplace, and a couple of hobby groups) and, for the first time, didn’t get the “violates” notice,… and the link works.

    I’ve tried before, protested the block, and been told my objection was in some type of “review” limbo.

    Keep your fingers crossed…maybe you’re about to break out!

  6. Speaking of democracy dying in darkness… here’s this morning’s Washington Post, with the entire front page devoted to spinning the Mueller report against Trump:

    Nothing about the Mueller report’s finding of no collusion, unless you count the headline that says that Trump’s campaign should have refused “more forcefully” to collude.

    They didn’t even pause to switch gears. They just kept going full speed ahead with their attacks on Trump.

  7. The NY Times’ coverage is the same as the Post’s:

    https://www.nytimes.com/

    I suppose I shouldn’t act shocked. We all knew before the report was issued that their headlines would say this.

    Just an issue about the Mueller report’s spin: it talks about Trump’s aides refusing to carry out his orders. An alternative spin would be that a justly enraged Trump made angry suggestions, his aides sensibly advised against doing what he had suggested, and he sensibly took their advice. That was clearly Barr’s and Rosenstein’s view of what had happened.

    I agree with Jack that the report was written to a very high level of professionally and that it was dispassionate in tone, but I also agree with this opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal:

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/muellers-report-speaks-volumes-11555629994?mod=hp_opin_pos2 (unfortunately behind a paywall)

    What the Mueller report shows most clearly is a group of anti-Trump prosecutors ransacking the statute books and brainstorming hard to try to come up with some theory, any theory at all, under which they charge Trump and his associates with a crime, and when they couldn’t come up with one, they wrote a brief for the Democrats to try to impeach Trump. At the same time, Mueller’s team evinced no interest at all in the FBI’s and CIA’s invention of all of the outrageous claims of collusion that the team found to be completely false.

  8. Maybe there just aren’t any ethical Democrats at all.

    I don’t think you can have lived the past two years and still be a ethical Democrat. At this point, association with that party is Res Ipsa Loquitur.

    The GOP is not much better, as they are all elitist Swamp creatures (very few exceptions), but the GOP has not come out against the Constitution like the Democrats. If we do not get justice for the crimes committed to start and support this witch hunt, the GOP is AT LEAST complicit.

    Drain the Swamp, and keep on draining.

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