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Bill Barrbarino

“Whuh?”

Congrats to anyone who got that reference.

I hope we can all keep a sense of humor in the days to come because when the former head of the FBI sends a scathing letter to the US AG accusing him of misleading the public it’s really not funny.

Plus, if Trump lays a hand on Hillary Clinton over some mythical email cache that never existed, there will be a bigger backlash than the the one that toppled Victor Yanukovych in Ukraine. There will be no replay of the Yulia Tymoshenko trials and prosecution no matter what Lindsay Graham wants. Don’t tempt us, Lindsay.

It just occurred to me that the reason why Nancy doesn’t want an impeachment is because what is going to come out is going to make the USA look like some second world developing country with a succession of corrupt dictators, instability and a shaky economic foundation. Too much of the world relies on a stable dollar. It could be the beginning of a catastrophe.

********************************

Bill Barr says he’s not coming to the House Judiciary hearing because he objects to being questioned by an experienced trial lawyer that Nadler has hired for the occasion. Just a reminder that it’s not a rarity for committees to hire outside counsel to do their questioning. It cuts down on the grandstanding and from what I’ve heard, it was done during the Watergate hearings.

In fact, it was done to Christine Blasey Ford last fall. That was notable in that the Senate chose to put the victim on trial, not the defendant. It was sort of an inversion if the more legitimate process but that’s the Republican Senate for you. They have power and they intend to abuse it.

Back to Barr.

Since Barr isn’t going to show up, why not see if Mueller can come? Oh, sure, he’s not scheduled until May 15. But I think it could be a real Perry Mason moment. Yeah, have Mueller clear up ambiguities and explain why the OLC ruling prevented him from charging Trump but how it didn’t stop him from accusing Trump of corruption that should be followed up by Congressional investigations and impeachment. (Mueller really wrote that. Incredible but true.)

So, get Mueller on the hot seat today. The surprise switch in witnesses will be riveting.

THEN dare Trump and Barr to fire the only honest Republican in Washington. Trump is counting on delays and stonewalling to prevent the sanitizing effect of sunshine from illuminating what this whole investigation has been about. I see no reason why the House has to cooperate with that when it the integrity of our elections and justice system are on the line.

Just do it.

**********************************

Mueller Q&A:

  1. Please explain what the OLC ruling is and how that affected your decision to not indict Donald Trump.
  2. Is Donald Trump Jr. indictable?
  3. Were you in the process of inducting Don Jr. when Barr asked you to deliver your report?
  4. If we could see what’s under the black redaction bars, would we feel alarmed about the safety and integrity of our elections next year?
  5. Is our national security threatened by Donald Trump’s actions?

Add your own questions in the comments.

**********************************

I’ve gained some weight over the past 12 weeks. Most of it is water. My face is rounder. Looks like I just drank a 6 pack. I hate that especially because I haven’t had a drink since the first week of January. It’s mainly due to the steroids. But I have my last round 1 chemo infusion tomorrow. It seems to have done most of the job. Yay. I’ll have a two week break then another round of something else. So two weeks of some serious Austin Powers’ Elimination Complete pees.

The good news is I can still fit into the wide leg tan chinos I bought back in 1995. Apparently, they are back in style. Good thing I saved them. Saves money and all that.

Desperately need a vacation. (Like you have no idea) Taking suggestions for a weekender.

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22 Responses

  1. Don’t be fooled by all horse sh*t the Democrats are flinging around. You ain’t getting a pony.

    No collusion. No obstruction. No impeachment.

    • Hi Niles! I see your boy is playing chicken again. He had to hire Barr to make sure his kid didn’t get indicted.
      Actually, you’re the one who ain’t getting a pony. From what I can tell, your choices for President next year are Trump and, er, Trump! If you fall out of love with him before November 2020, that’s all you got!
      Then again, if Trump doesn’t tighten up on cybersecurity, there might be only an illusion of a choice. You might end up with the Chinese rigging the election for Elizabeth Warren.
      Wouldn’t that be fun?? C’mon, you know it would.

      • You’re right – if Trump loses it will be because the election was rigged. But I doubt the Chinese will be involved. Democrats have lots of experience at rigging elections.

        • So true, but they only do it at the primary level. In 2008.
          Republicans excel at it! Just look at what happened in North Carolina. And Georgia. Getting the Secretary of State to referee his own election?? Stroke of genius!
          In any case, we’re entitled to a “rigged” election where Bernie becomes president. You’ll get used to the regime.
          We’ll use plenty of lube.

    • Actually, I have hope for you Niles. Innocence still seems to matter to you, or you project the concept that Trump May be innocent whether or not you actually believe it.
      It’s going to come as a punch in the stomach when it turns out he hasn’t been innocent since 1952.
      That’s ok, we’ll be here for you.

  2. Good news on the chemo front if that’s not an oxymoron. Good chemo news! Isn’t one of your daughters a doctor? As for a vacation-somewhere you don’t have to fly to get to. Sending lots of love, Sue

  3. RD, you more than deserve a vacation. I am on the West Coast, so I do not really know the better spots near you. I would think that someplace near the beach, with an ocean view, shorebirds to watch, and a couple of good books, would be salubrious. From watching “Beachfront Bargain Hunt sometimes on HGTV, it looks like the most shorebirds are on the Maryland or Virginia shore. But maybe something in PA would be easier to arrange.

    As to a book, I love the novels of Philip K. DIck, and if you have not read them, try “Time Out of Joint” (do not read the back cover, just remember that the novel was written around 1957 or so, I think), or for a real mindbending one, “The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch.” For some breezy nonfiction reading, I like the well-written cultural histories by Shawn Levy, particularly “Rat Pack Confidential,” all about Sinatra, Martin, and those days in Vegas. He has a new one coming out in a few days, “Castle on the Hill,” about the famed and notorious Chateau Marmont hotel on Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood. For a more classic novel, I very much liked Elizabeth Bowen’s “The Heat of the Day.” But you probably do not need book choices as much as just some stress-free time, and maybe a little walking on the shore.

    • Thanks, William! I’m always looking for good books to spend my audible credits on.
      Realistically, I don’t know when I’ll be able to get away. Logistically, it just seems to be hard to schedule.

      • Two authors that I have come to enjoy are Michael Connelly of the Harry Bosch and Lincoln Lawyer series.

        John Sandford is the nom de plume of John Camp, who won a Pulitzer as a reporter for the Star Tribune. His most recent novel is “Neon Prey” which was released on April 23. He usually publishes two books per year. In the spring the new Prey series book comes out. In the fall the new Virgil Flowers books comes out.

        Since you have a science background you might enjoy “Saturn Run” which Sandford wrote with Ctein. His website does have preview chapters of the novels. It’s found at JohnSandford.org.

  4. As I recall, the last beach vacay didn’t go so well. Maybe, head out for a lake and some mountains.

    • The beach vacation was going very nicely for the first 36 hours. Hurricane ruined it.
      I think the constant “one thing after another” stress type thing is starting to get a little over the top. I’m really beginning to loathe the idea of another staycation. So don’t anyone suggest it.

  5. Now, as to Barr, I am reading that he was afraid of being questioned by Norm Eisen, and then another attorney whom the House would have used. I hope that story gets wide circulation: that the highest law enforcement official is afraid of being questioned before Congress. And yes, they had no problem grilling Dr. Blasey-Ford before Congress. But the recurrent theme in ALL of this, is that Republicans have no moral or legal consistency at all; it is simply about winning and power. The other party saying, “Well, this isn’t fair, because…” has no effect on them whatsoever. If as a child, you ever played with someone who simply changed the rules to benefit him or her, you would end up not wanting to play with them anymore. In this case, it is the only game in town, and must be played, there is no walking away in disgust.

    One could actually say that the political history of the last forty years, is that Republicans do whatever they want, whether it violates laws, rules, or norms; and count on the fact that the Democrats will never respond in kind, when they have power. Unless they are made to pay in a long-term way, they will never stop. Appealing to their “better natures” is futile. And of course Republicans almost always have the media to cover and flack for them, which is a deadly combination. Just imagine if Hillary had been elected, and done one-hundredth of what Trump, Barr, and the rest, are doing. Imagine if the Democrats ran the House the way the Republicans did for the last eight years. Imagine if a Democratic Senate Majority Leader simply refused to hold hearings on a Republican Supreme Court nominee. One can’t, really.

    Questions for Mueller: Did Attorney General Barr in any way cause you to shorten or end your investigation? If so, what did he do or say to cause that? Did he threaten to fire you if you did not? Do you agree that all of the redactions Barr has made, are necessary or appropriate? Why did you decide not to subpoena Donald Trump? Did you believe that it was imperative that the President be orally questioned under oath about the matters you were investigating? What do you think about Trump replying “I don’t recall” 37 times, to your staff’s follow-up questions? Have you ever in your long history as a prosecutor or FBI Director, seen someone answer “I don’t recall” that many times? When he did that, why did you still decide that it was not necessary to subpoena him to testify under oath?

    Did you have any intention to leave the question as to whether Trump obstructed justice, to the decision of Attorney General Barr? Mr. Barr has written on more than one occasion that a President cannot by definition obstruct justice. Do you agree? If not, wouldn’t that mean that you could not leave that decision to Barr, since he would have decided it a priori, without regard to any facts listed in your 448 page report? Do you believe that one can obstruct justice even if he is, or believes he is, innocent of the underlying crime being investigated? Do you agree with Barr’s statement, in his testimony to the Senate, that if Trump believed that the claims against him were false, he had the right to fire you, or have someone else do it, and still not be committing obstruction of justice? Would that not stand for the proposition that any person being investigated for, or accused of, a crime, would have the perfect legal right to impede the investigation; bribe, threaten or coerce witnesses not to appear or to testify against him; get the investigators fired or removed?

    • According to Maddow last night, it appears -rumors say; that Barr asked (order?) Mueller to terminate his investigation and fact finders are chasing this issue…

      • It would surprise no one.
        Well, except for Niles. He’s a bit behind the rest of the class.

    • One could actually say that the political history of the last forty years, is that Republicans do whatever they want, whether it violates laws, rules, or norms; and count on the fact that the Democrats will never respond in kind, when they have power.

      This should be fact #1 for all of us. The Republicans do whatever they want and complain that the Democrats must be bipartisan. It seems that there are 2 definitions of bipartisan:

      1) For Democrats it means you must respect and submit to all Republican requests.

      2) For Republicans it means you must respect all Republicans even those on the other end of the spectrum.

      When the Democrats start to play for blood then maybe we can get out of this mess… until then we will just stagnate. The Republicans will never change, and why should they, look how far they have come… we now have a president who flouts the law, and what do they do about it? NOT ENOUGH in my opinion.

  6. Excellent questions for Mueller, William! I, for one, particularly like the question why did he leave the decision on whether trump obstructed justice to barr.

    I don’t understand why Mueller put so much credence om the OLC policy that a sitting president cannot be indicated. After all, it’s not the law! Instead, he chose to punt and left that up to a democrat majority in the house knowing full well that the senate would never indict trump if the house moved to impeach. The republicans have shown without a doubt that they will use every political trick in the book to keep the full report and supporting evidence to be shown to Congress and the American people any time soon. The republicans are trying to run out the clock until after the 2020 election.

    I believe that Mueller made a big mistake when he decided to risk jeopardizing the national security of our country rather than make the tough decision to be the ONLY conservative to stop trump by simply ignoring a “policy” and taken steps himself to explain what was found in his report and not let trump and barr control the message.

    After barr’s horrendous performance yesterday in disparraging Mueller, I would think he would want to testify before Congress tomorrow and not wait in order to set the record straight and help undo the mess we find ourselves in.

  7. Kathleen, I agree. I really did not know much about Mueller before he was appointed to special counsel. Obviously, he is a man of great stature, personal courage, and integrity. But he is a Republican, which of course is his right, but he has to be pretty conservative in belief to be in that party. Chuck Rosenberg said the other day that when he worked under Muelller for two years, he didn’t really even know his politics, and that is as it should be in law enforcement. But it seems pretty clear that he was not going to fight against the OLC guidelines to indict the President, or say that he should be indicted. I guess that he thought hat he would do what Jaworski and Starr did, which is just lay out the map to Congressional impeachment. But you are right, that it should have been obvious to him that if just left it at that, Barr would do what he did, which is to preempt Congress. Maybe Mueller is so much of an institutionalist that he didn’t want to think politically as to how it would play out. Pretty clearly, he was not at all happy at what Barr did. Mueller is not on “our side,” he is on no political side. But the people he is dealing with, are on one side, and are completely partisan. And maybe that is a blind spot of his, not wanting to deal with that.

  8. Here’s a question for you, William. If the shoe were on the other foot and it was Hillary who had won with the help of the Russians by a small electoral vote and trump had won the popular vote by 3,000,000 and she tried to cover it up the way trump has, would Mueller be the institutionalist you believe he is and still follow the OLC policy and not indict her?

    If there is any doubt that he would not have gone by the book if it were Hillary, then we have to question his judgment in this case. He took the easy way out by being “willfully” blind to the tribalism which is glaringly obvious with the republican party’s hard core allegiance to trump.

    • Kathleen, it would have been worse than that. The House Republicans somehow managed to get a right-wing hack in Kenneth Starr appointed to a more powerful role than Mueller was given, because Starr could investigate anything, and did so for five years, not two. In your scenario, it would depend on what branch the Republicans controlled, probably both Houses of Congress, as they did even when Hillary won by 3 million votes. So they would have investigated everything, gone directly to impeachment, and then it would have been up to the Senate, and probably enough moralists in the Democratic Party would have voted along with the Republicans for conviction, and out she would go. And then criminal charges would be pursued, she would be lucky to escape execution for treason. That is what would have happened.

      I’ve written this so many times, and of course others have, too. There somehow has devolved this reality where there are two grossly different standards applied. All one has to do is to go back to the pious declamations the Republicans were making about Bill Clinton having lied about a consensual affair, and compare them to what they say now about something infinitely worse. Maybe it is the religion they practice, which apparently allows them to twist morality to their own uses. Maybe it is because the media is owned by Republicans, and too many of their employees either identify with their bosses, or have enough self-loathing to despise caring liberals, and secretly admire the jackbooters However the roots of this, it is a reality which must somehow change. Back to just your original question, I imagine that you are right, that Mueller would not have been so much an institutionalist, though it is not certain. What is very likely is that Mueller would never have been given this charge, it would have gone to a right-wing thug like Barr or Giuliani. And the Republicans would have won the next ten elections, running against “Democratic treason,” and would have controlled the Courts and the Congress and the State legislatures, and everything else. All roads lead to Rome, it seems. Or, in another idiom, when the games are rigged in every way, all the customers lose their money, one way or another. Who stops it? We will find out if anyone can. We were heading down this road for many years, the exact form of it was the only unknown aspect.

  9. Hillary was right. During her interview with Rachel, she said Barr was leading American into tyranny by arguing that the president could fire prosecutors he doesn’t agree with. How can any American agree with that kind of thinking and still remain a republican who supports trump?

    If ever there was a time for a citizen uprising, that time is now! I have my doubts that the dems have the backbone to stand up to this dictator in the making. Unless the people who care about our country organize and come together and vote in overwhelming numbers to counter the the russians stealing the 2020 election for trump, I don’t think this country can stand 4 more years of trump and remain a democratic republic.

    No one noticed, but I did – in that 5/1 interview with Rachel, Hillary brought that a voting system in Florida had been compromised. Rachell didn’t follow up and Hillary didn’t elaborate. As I mentioned a number of times before that when it comes to acknowledging that voting systems can be hacked, the media has refused to enage in a debate on the subject. Why? It’s been proven on video and made into a documentary film which proved that it could be done. That’s what concerns me the most. You can’t win an election if your vote isn’t counted as cast and I believe that’s exactly what happened in 2016 with the small margin trump received with the electoral vote that gave him the presidency.

    • I think that the Democrats will fight, but we’ve got a literal mafia running the country, saying, “You can’t prove it, copper. We’ve got the attorney general, and the courts and the media. You can’t do a thing to us. We’ll ignore your subpoenas, you can’t call witnesses, we will sue you at every turn, you can’t do anything about it, see?” Historic measures won’t work. We could even get Mueller to testify, and they’ll say, “so what?” Barr and Flood are now standing for the proposition that no one can investigate a (Republican) President, because if he feels he’s being falsely accused, he has a perfect right to fire all of the investigators, thus rendering the whole thing purposeless. It astounds me that actual attorneys with government experience would essentially argue for the divine right of (Republican) Presidents, but that’s what we are seeing.

      What is imperative is that Democrats make the kind of arguments which could sway at least some votes. And it has to be coherent and consistent. For example: 1)Republicans now stand for the proposition that if you claim you are not guilty of something, you can get rid of anyone investigating you. That would lead to chaos, and all the criminals who commit rapes and murders could never be convicted. 2) Republicans do not believe that the Congress has any power. They want a dictatorship. You might think it would be interesting, until the jackboots knock on your door and take you away to prison, torture, or death, and you don’t have anyone to appeal to. 3) Republicans are determined to take away your healthcare, and if they win in 2020, you will not have any. 4) Republicans will take away your Social Security and Medicare. The tax cuts for billionaires have created such a deficit, that they will take the money out of those programs. 5) Republicans will do nothing to deal with climate change, they will actually make it worse. Fires, floods, pestilence and famine will come with it. They do not care a bit about you, they only care about their power, and the wealth of a few selected billionaires. 6) Gun violence will get worse and worse under Republicans, because they only do what the NRA wants. Mass shootings at schools, places of worship, and anywhere you might go, will be a daily threat to you and your family.

      There are more, but these are winning themes. People have to be frightened, and then energized to vote against Republicans. The one thing the Republicans know how to do, is to focus on a few themes, and saturate the airwaves with them. “Let’s bring the country together,” is an insipid and amorphous theme for Democrats. “Trump is vulgar and abusive,” doesn’t do it, because too many voters will put up with it, in service of things which they think are good for them, but which are awful. “Trump and the Republicans are destroying the land, the air, the water, the climate, the legal system; and will turn this country into a FASCIST (use this word!) state where they’ll come knocking on your door next, to separate your family, if it suits their wishes,” should be the thematic focus. At least let people know what the stakes are. I don’t think I’m even being hyperbolic. Do not go gentle, a line of poetry we all know.

  10. Just a quick drive-by here. I spent a lot of time here around the 2008 primaries. While the fallout may have left us with radically differently outlooks, we came from a very similar place.

    I recently heard of your fight against the Big C. I am so sorry. I went through TNBC myself 9 years ago and am just now relaxed enough to decide what happens, happens Obviously I have no clue about your particulars, but I just wanted to let you know there are people out there on your side silently rooting for you.

    All the best lady.

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