Tag Archives: Influence Testimony

164. Mueller Report: Obstruction

18 Apr

I downloaded both parts of the approximately 400 page Mueller Report as a PDF file. There are extensive findings regarding obstruction of justice. I could find no evidence listed in the report that would disprove obstruction.  Attorney General Barr’s summary did indicate that there was no exoneration with respect to obstruction. He could have added that there is a sizeable amount of evidence that proves obstruction.

The parts of the report presented contained a considerable amount of important information. My impression is that the redactions were (at least mostly) proper. We probably can thank Rod Rosenstein and Robert Mueller’s participation for that.

There are several sections in the report that deal with different types of obstruction.  I found particularly interesting a section that starts on Volume 2 page 131, titled “Analysis.” The parties involved were Flynn, Manafort, and Cohen. For each of these, a considerable amount of information was provided. I have listed below some brief excerpts that reflect the arguments. The reader can download the Report from several sources, read the full section (and other areas) and make his own judgements. As opposed to what AG Barr stated, Mueller did feel he was limited in drawing conclusions because of the special status of “President.” This is noted in several areas. As a result, Mueller chose not to accuse Trump of obstruction and assumed that Congress could make that decision.

Michael Flynn.   Some excerpts:   “The President sent private and public messages to Flynn encouraging him to stay strong and conveying that the President still cares about him.” As Flynn provided testimony against him, Trump’s statements became negative.

Paul Manafort.    Some excerpts:   “there is evidence that the President”s actions had the potential to influence Manafort’s decision whether to cooperate with the government”,  “pardon was possible” for Manafort,  he “did not want Manafort to flip“, “the President called the prosecution a terrible situation and a hoax

Michael Cohen.  Some excerpts:  “The President publicly asserted that Cohen would not ‘flip’ and privately passed messages of support to him”,  “Cohen also discussed pardons with the President’s personal counsel”  Later, the President called him a “rat” and “suggested his family members had committed crimes.”

A President of the USA should know that remarks and promises made to a party under investigation are improper and certainly can affect testimony. 

I am still reading the long report. To understand it, you must realize that Mueller is considering strict interpretations of criminal law. However, Congress has much more leeway in making decisions and conclusions. Although some behavior does not fit the exact definitions of a specific crime, they can look at a constellation of illicit actions and make conclusions. The 400 page report documents numerous improper and possibly criminal actions. Regarding the complicated “collusion” concept, there are numerous documented interactions with Russians, many secret, that are highly suspicious. Several of my previous, older blogs cover these.