After last week’s much anticipated, much hyped appearance of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller, two things are now crystal clear: 1. Mueller’s investigation and his report DID NOT clear President Trump of any wrong doing, and 2. censure, impeachment, or something has to be done to address the wrongs Trump has committed.


First published in July 2019.


In his appearance last week Robert Mueller stuck to the script that he said up front that he would stick too. This was good for keeping his investigation and its results pure of politics, but bad for those who have not read the report and the obvious conclusions that it leads one too. Conclusions that cry out for censure, impeachment, or something to avoid giving the impression that future presidential candidates or future presidents can legally do the same things.

Mueller testified and the report state that multiple contacts between the Trump campaign and individuals tied directly or indirectly to the Russian government took place. Contacts that included Trump campaign officials being told when damaging emails to the Hillary Clinton campaign would be released to the public, negotiations for a new Trump Tower in Moscow, and lifting existing economic sanctions against Russia.

Congressman Justin Amash was so convinced of the truth and validity of the Mueller Report, he resigned from the Republican Party instead of joining other Republicans who turned a blind eye to it.

While neither Mueller nor the report state these contacts were a violation of the technical letter of the law they clearly violate the spirit of the law. To let these underhanded campaign coordination tricks and secret bribery attempts happen with no censure, impeachment, or something is an invitation for it to happen again.

There were also 10 instances of possible obstruction of justice that Mueller and the report state that the House and Senate need to examine to determine the guilt or innocence of President Trump. In other words, this is by the book Mueller speak for saying if Donald Trump was not the President I would indict him for doing these things. Since Mueller did not, a censure, impeachment or something has to address the 10 instances of questionable obstruction.

The 10 instances are:

1) PRESSURE ON COMEY TO END PROBE OF MICHAEL FLYNN

Flynn lied to administration officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, and the FBI about his contacts with Russia, which ultimately led to criminal charges filed against him and his firing by Trump. President Trump told then-FBI Director James Comey regarding the investigation of Flynn: “I hope you can see your way to letting this go.”

2) PRESIDENT’S REACTION TO THE CONTINUING RUSSIA INVESTIGATION

Among the evidence is the president telling then-White House counsel Don McGahn to stop Attorney General Jeff Sessions from recusing himself from the Russia investigation and Trump’s subsequent anger at Sessions. Trump also contacted Comey and other intelligence agency leaders to ask them to push back publicly and say that the suggestion that Trump had any connection to the Russian election-interference effort was untrue.

3) FIRING OF COMEY AND AFTERMATH

Mueller’s report says “substantial evidence” indicates Trump’s decision to fire Comey in May 2017 was the result of the FBI director’s unwillingness to lie and say publicly that Trump was not personally under investigation. On the day after Trump fired Comey, the president told Russian officials that he had “faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”

4) APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COUNSEL AND EFFORTS TO REMOVE HIM

Trump reacted to news of Mueller’s appointment by telling advisers that it was “the end of his presidency.” The president told aides that Mueller had conflicts of interest and should have to step aside. His aides told Trump the asserted conflicts were meritless. Following media reports that Mueller’s team was investigating whether the president had obstructed justice, Trump called then-White House counsel Don McGahn at home and directed him to have Mueller removed. McGahn refused.

5) FURTHER EFFORTS TO CURTAIL THE SPECIAL COUNSEL’S INVESTIGATION

Trump instructed former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski to have Sessions publicly announce that, notwithstanding his recusal from the Russia investigation, the investigation was “very unfair” to the president, the president had done nothing wrong, and Sessions planned to meet with Mueller to limit him to “investigating election meddling for future elections.”

6) EFFORTS TO PREVENT PUBLIC DISCLOSURE OF EVIDENCE

In the summer of 2017, Trump learned that the news media planned to report on the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between senior campaign officials and Russians offering derogatory information about Hillary Clinton. The president directed aides not to publicly disclose the emails setting up the meeting. Before the emails became public, the president also edited a press statement for Donald Trump Jr. by deleting a line that acknowledged that the meeting was “with an individual who (Trump Jr.) was told might have information helpful to the campaign.”

7) ADDITIONAL EFFORTS TO HAVE SESSIONS TAKE CONTROL OF INVESTIGATION

At several points in between July 2017 and December 2017, Trump tried to get Sessions to declare that he was no longer recused from the Russia investigation and would assert control over it. The report says there’s evidence that one purpose of asking Sessions to step in was so that the attorney general would restrict the investigation’s scope and fire Special Counsel Mueller

8) TRUMP ORDERS WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL TO DENY THAT PRESIDENT TRIED TO FIRE MUELLER

In an Oval Office meeting in February 2018, Trump told McGahn to “correct” a New York Times story that reported Trump had earlier instructed McGahn to fire Mueller. Trump also asked why McGahn had told Mueller’s investigators about the directive to remove Mueller. McGahn told Trump he had to tell the investigators the truth.

9) TRUMP’S ACTIONS TOWARD, FLYNN, MANAFORT AND OTHER POSSIBLE WITNESSES

Mueller looked at whether Trump’s sympathetic messages to Flynn, former campaign manager Paul Manafort and others were intended to limit their cooperation with Mueller’s investigation. When Flynn began cooperating with prosecutors, Trump passed word through his lawyer that he still had a warm feeling for Flynn and asked for a “heads up” if Flynn knew of information implicating Trump. Trump praised Manafort during and after his criminal convictions and refused to rule out a pardon for his former campaign chairman.

10) TRUMP ACTIONS TOWARD MICHAEL COHEN

Mueller noted that Trump’s conduct toward Cohen, a former Trump Organization executive, changed from praise to castigation after Cohen began cooperating with prosecutors. The evidence could “support an inference that the president used inducements in the form of positive messages in an effort to get Cohen not to cooperate, and then turned to attacks and intimidation to deter” cooperation and undermine Cohen’s credibility, Mueller wrote.

By the book Robert Mueller is correct, it is not his place to determine the guilt or the innocence of the President. It is not Mueller’s place because those who say the President is not above the law are wrong, our American Constitution places the President above the law by stating that he or she is the ONLY American that cannot be criminally convicted of breaking the law in a Court of law while President. Also, those that say that the legislative branch of the House and Senate are equal to the President are only half right, the truth is the President is first among equals because he is the LEADER of our country clothed with immense power.” Power no other individual American possess like the sole authority to order troops into battle or the sole authority to pardon federal crimes.

However, the American Constitution does not make the President of the United States a king, queen or dictator. The President is answerable and accountable to the Congress and Senate, the only people empowered to question, sanction, punish or remove from office an American President. Now is the time Congress must act even if the Republican-controlled Senate will not. A censure, impeachment or something has to happen or else serious harm to the rule of democratic leadership will occur.

The political reality is the Senate will never vote to remove President Trump from office, the legal reality is according to the U.S. Constitution a vote to impeach or censure by Congress is not predicated on whether or not the Senate will agree and vote to impeach or censure. The continued no President is a dictator reality is censure, impeachment or something has to happen as a consequence to President Trump’s actions, not to punish him but to prevent his type of behavior in future presidents.

A vote to remove a duly elected President Trump from office might be a bridge too far for even some Democrats, but a censure vote to officially condemn his legally questionable actions should be a bridge within reach of all Americans dedicated to the democratic rule of law in the United States. A vote by House Democrats to censure President Trump not only opens the possibility for House Republicans to join them, but it makes possible the miracle of the Senate voting to censure President Trump as well. Either way memo to House Democrats: CENSURE, IMPEACHMENT OR SOMETHING MUST BE DONE!!!🔷



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[This piece was originally published on Isaac Newton Farris Jr.'s blog and re-published in PMP Magazine on 30 July 2019. | The author writes in a personal capacity.]

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(Cover: Flickr/The White House. - President Donald Trump. | 30 July 2019. / Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.)



     

THE AUTHOR

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Nephew of Martin Luther King Jr, he serves as Senior Fellow at King Center. Growing up in one of the most socially & politically active families has given him a unique perspective on current events.

Atlanta, GA, USA. Articles in PMP Magazine Website