Mueller’s Testimony: A Rorschach Test for Americans

Mueller’s Testimony: A Rorschach Test for Americans

Democrats believed that bringing Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees on July 24, 2019 was a way to allow a non-reading American public to finally hear the full story told in Mueller’s 448-page report: people could hear the testimony on TV or radio. Republicans saw the testimony as a stunt to resuscitate a non-issue, and an opportunity to prove some of their Deep State theories about the origins of the Trump-Russia story.

As a reluctant, and at times confused, Mueller testified, both sides got what they wanted, but their supporters likely heard – or willfully chose to overlook – uncomfortably contrary information in the process.

Democrats illuminated some major findings from Mueller’s Report:

  • The report did not exonerate the President on the charge of obstruction of justice
  • Some people interviewed by Mueller’s team lied, pled the 5th, destroyed evidence, and had communicated electronically in ways that could not be traced
  • These factors may have affected the conclusion that there was insufficient evidence to prove coordination between the Trump Campaign and the Kremlin
  • Trump’s Campaign Manager, Paul Manafort, gave a Russian operative named Konstantin Kilimnik internal Trump Campaign strategy information and internal campaign polling data, which may have helped with the Russians’ social media activities to interfere with the 2016 Presidential election
  • The Trump Campaign did not try to discourage Russia’s illegal interference efforts – including hacking Clinton and Democratic emails – and in fact embraced those efforts and planned their media strategy and campaign messaging around them
  • Russians made approximately 120 known contacts with the Trump Campaign
  • After Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference began, the President publicly and privately worked to discourage key people from cooperating with the investigation
  • The President also encouraged key people to “stay strong” and avoid cooperating with the investigation: the President and his legal staff even suggested pardons for some
  • The President made multiple efforts to stop Mueller’s investigation, including asking a number of associates to fire Mueller
  • White House Lawyer Don McGahn was so upset at being asked to do this that he prepared to resign
  • The President asked McGahn to deny being asked to fire Mueller, and asked McGahn to create a written document for the White House’s records falsely stating that the request had never taken place
  • The President also made many efforts to persuade Attorney General Jeff Sessions to “un-recuse” himself from the Mueller investigation, because he wanted Sessions to protect him from the investigation
  • The Office of Legal Counsel’s guidance that a sitting President cannot be indicted factored significantly into Mueller’s decision not to charge the President with obstruction of justice
  • A President who has committed illegal acts can be indicted after leaving office
  • Other investigations that were spun off from the Mueller investigation are still in progress, which may reveal further acts of criminality

But Republican questioning also brought some important facts to light which have not been given adequate attention:

  • Natalia Veselnitskaya – the Russian lawyer in the June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting – had hired Fusion GPS (producer of the Steele Dossier) in 2014 on behalf of her client, a Russian firm called Prevezon Holdings
  • From June 8-10, 2016, Veselnitskaya spent more time with Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson than she did with Trump Campaign officials
  • The “dirt on Hillary Clinton” that Veselnitskaya was offering was information that Simpson had uncovered while working for Veselnitskaya and Prevezon Holdings
  • The relationship between Veselnitskaya and Simpson (whose hiring of former British MI6 officer Christopher Steele ultimately provided some of the first indications of Russian election interference) was never examined by Mueller
  • It is possible that the Steele Dossier contained misinformation intentionally provided to Christopher Steele by his Russian sources
  • Konstantin Kilimnik, the Russian intelligence operative to whom Paul Manafort gave Trump Campaign polling data and strategy information, may also be an asset of the U.S. State Department
  • Joseph Mifsud, the alleged source for George Papadopoulos’ belief that the Russians had “dirt” on Hillary, was interviewed by the FBI and lied to them three times, but remarkably was never charged
  • Mifsud, a professor, may be a Russian intelligence agent or a western intelligence agent
  • Several of the prosecutors hired by Mueller to investigate Trump had collectively given over $60,000 to Hillary Clinton’s campaign

Time will tell whether Mueller’s testimony moves the needle toward at least beginning an impeachment inquiry, but Mueller’s testimony makes clear that Donald Trump committed federal crimes that would be immediately prosecutable if he were not the President. It also makes clear that there is still more of the story that has not been uncovered. In the end, what Mueller’s testimony may most effectively prove is Americans’ ability to tune out information that they don’t want to hear.

– rob rünt

Full Transcript of Mueller’s House Judiciary Committee Testimony

Full Transcript of Mueller’s House Intelligence Committee Testimony

July 9 – 31, 2017


Articles & Editorials:


Main Stories


Scaramucci


Scaramucci on Leaks: ‘I’m Going to Fire Everybody’
(New York Times – 7/25/17)

Anthony Scaramucci Called Me to Unload About White House Leakers, Reince Priebus, and Steve Bannon
(The New Yorker – 7/27/17)

Scaramucci: ‘If Reince wants to explain that he’s not a leaker, let him do that’
(Washington Post – 7/27/17)

“The fish stinks from the head down. But I can tell you two fish that don’t stink, and that’s me and the president.”

– Anthony Scaramucci, White House Press Secretary

Is it a felony to leak a financial disclosure form, as Anthony Scaramucci said?
(Politifact – 7/27/17)

Reince Priebus Is Ousted Amid Stormy Days for White House
(New York Times – 7/28/17)

Anthony Scaramucci’s wife files for divorce
(Page Six – 7/28/17)


“There are people inside the administration that think it is their job to save America from this president. OK, that is not their job. Their job is to inject this president into America.”

– Anthony Scaramucci, White House Press Secretary
(CNN – 7/27/17)

Anthony Scaramucci removed as White House communications director
(Washington Post – 7/31/17)


Trump and Putin


Trump suggested a cybersecurity pact with Russia. Lawmakers say they were ‘dumbfounded.’
(Washington Post – 7/9/17)

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“This is like the guy who robbed your house proposing a working group on burglary.”

– Ash Carter, Former US Secretary of Defense
(Telegraph UK – 7/9/17)

 

Trump and Putin Held a Second, Undisclosed, Private Conversation
(New York Times – 7/18/17)

Trump Spins Putin Dinner Conversation
(FactCheck.org – 7/19/17)


Trump and Russia


All The Dots, Connected
(The American Interest – 7/25/17)

A Timeline: Russia and President Trump
(Moyers & Company – 7/17/17)

Bill Browder’s Testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee
(The Atlantic – 7/25/17)

Russian mob money helped build Trump business empire
(MSNBC – 7/17/17)

Paul Manafort Reportedly Owed Millions to Russian Oligarch Before Joining trump Campaign
(Vanity Fair – 7/20/17)

Trump ends covert CIA program to arm anti-Assad rebels in Syria, a move sought by Moscow
(Washington Post – 7/19/17)

Mueller has broader authority in his Russia investigation than Trump may realize
(Business Insider – 7/21/17)

This Is How the Russian Kleptocracy Operates
(Esquire – 7/27/17)

Russia Seizes 2 U.S. Properties and Orders Embassy to Cut Staff
(New York Times – 7/28/17)

Trump dictated son’s misleading statement on meeting with Russian lawyer
(Washington Post – 7/31/17)

Maybe What Russia Wants From Trump Is Permission to Launder Its Dirty Money
(Slate – 7/20/17)


Congressional Testimonies


Manafort testifies to Senate Intelligence Committee, turns over notes from Trump Tower meeting with Russian lawyer
(Washington Post – 7/25/17)

How Jared Kushner Helped the Russians Get Inside Access to the Trump Campaign
(New Yorker – 7/25/16)

‘I Did Not Collude,’ Kushner Says After Meeting Senate Investigators
(New York Times – 7/24/17)


Mueller Investigation


Mueller Expands Probe to Trump Business Transactions
(Bloomberg – 7/20/17)

Trump Trains His Sights on Mueller’s Investigation
The president’s lawyers are looking at multiple ways to undermine or curtail the Russia inquiry, including his issuing pardons
(The Atlantic – 7/20/17)

As Team Trump Lawyers Up, Who’s Paying The Attorney Fees?
(National Public Radio – 7/19/17)

Deutsche Bank is Turning Over Information on Trump
(Vanity Fair – 7/20/17)

Does Trump Have a Case Against Mueller?
(Politico – 7/21/17)


Trump Pardoning … Himself?!


Trump pushes his ‘complete power’ to pardon
(Politic – 7/22/17)

President Trump is considering pardoning himself. I asked 15 experts if that’s legal.
(Vox – 7/21/17)

Jared Kushner sealed real estate deal with oligarch’s firm cited in money-laundering case
(The Guardian – 7/24/17)


“He isn’t smart enough to do the job and isn’t man enough to own up to the fact.”

– Kevin Williamson, National Review – 7/30/17


Healthcare Reform


Frustrated in defeat, Trump threatens healthcare of voters — and lawmakers
(Los Angeles Times – 7/29/17)

Dems pivot to offering ObamaCare improvements
(The Hill – 7/29/17)


Other Stories That You Should Know About:


Interview with Donald Trump – Partial Transcript
(New York Times – 7/19/17)

Jeb Bush calls out Republicans silent on Trump’s Russia probe
(The Hill – 7/21/17)

My Party Is in Denial About Donald Trump
(Senator Jeff Flake, Politico – 7/31/17)

Jared Kushner Discloses Dozens More Assets in Revised Financial Filing
(Wall Street Journal – 7/21/17)

Trump tells police not to worry about injuring suspects during arrests
(Washington Post – 7/28/17)

House Approves Spending Package, Border Wall and All
(New York Times – 7/27/17)

House Republicans call for a second special counsel — to investigate Clinton, Comey and Lynch
(CNBC – 7/27/17)

New poll offers deeper insight into what ails rural America
(Daily KOS –7/9/17)


Keeping Track of the Basics:


Editorials


Liberals can win again if they stop being so annoying and fix their ‘hamburger problem’
(Business Insider – 7/17/17)

Trump’s breathtaking surrender to Russia
(Washington Post – 7/20/17)
Note: Senator John McCain (R-AZ) recommends that every American read this piece written by a former Senior Policy Advisor for George W. Bush

The Democrats’ New Agenda Is Everything That’s Wrong With the Party
(In These Times – 7/27/17)

No, Trump can’t pardon himself. The Constitution tells us so.
(Washington Post – 7/21/17)

Trump’s Mistake at the Boy Scout Jamboree
(The Atlantic – 7/24/17)

Trump Is Woody Allen Without the Humor
(Peggy Noonan – Wall Street Journal – 7/27/17)

The Triumph of the Idiocracy: How Narcissism, Stupidity and the Internet Got Us Donald Trump, an Accidental President
(Alternet – 7/31/17)


Alternative Facts from an Alternative Universe

Self-selecting our news sources, a reluctance to hear opposing ideas, and the choice by many of us to surround ourselves only with like-minded individuals has resulted in many Americans becoming oblivious to the beliefs of those with whom they disagree. This bubble helped create the world of “alternative facts” in which Donald Trump could become President.

To counter this, each week I will present a little of what Trump’s supporters are thinking. Their reality may be very different from yours. Please listen/read to the end, and consider what respectful questions you could ask to better understand and have a conversation, rather than seeking to prove them wrong as quickly as possible and shut them down. We can’t change minds if we can’t talk to each other.


Posted on Facebook by An0maly, reposted here because it’s important to understand Trump supporters’ different perspectives so that we don’t have to go through this again.


Cartoons, Images & Videos


A video tweeted by Donald Trump about the G20 Summit – remarkably similar to the kind of video that one might expect the leader of North Korea to broadcast:

Posted on Facebook by “Union Thugs:”

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Source: Unknown:

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Source: Unknown:

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Cartoon by Nate Beeler, Columbia Dispatch:

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Cartoon by Steve Sack, Star Tribune:

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Source: Unknown:

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Source: Unknown:

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Source: Unknown:

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This Week’s Blog Entry


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The Mueller Investigation:
Why Trump’s Finances and Beauty Pageants are 100% Relevant to Russia


Events & Actions


Resources & Organizations


“People don’t realize he loves holding my hand. And that’s good, as far as that goes.”

President Donald Trump speaking about French President Emmanuel Macron
(New York Times interview – 7/19/17)

May 21 – 27, 2017

 


Articles & Editorials:


Main Stories


Russia


Ex-C.I.A. Chief Reveals Mounting Concern Over Trump Campaign and Russia
(New York Times – 5/23/17)

CIA Director Alerted FBI to Pattern of Contacts Between Russian Officials and Trump Campaign Associates
(Washington Post – 5/23/17)

Calculating or Naive? Trump Caught in Cloud of Russia Probe Revelations
(CNN – 5/23/17)

GOP Strategist Admits he Colluded with Russian Hackers to Hurt Hillary Clinton, Democrats
(Salon – 5/25/17)

Trump Asked DNI, NSA to Deny Evidence of Russia Collusion
(CNN – 5/23/17)

White House, Department of Justice Miss Deadline to Provide Comey Memos, Records
(USA Today – 5/24/17)


Jared Kushner


Russian Ambassador Told Moscow that Kushner Wanted Secret Communications Channel with Kremlin
(Washington Post – 5/26/17)


Mike Flynn


Jeff Sessions


Trump’s Casino was a Money Laundering Concern Shortly After it Opened
(CNN – 5/22/17)

Explosive Dutch Documentary Says Trump has Deep Ties to Russia’s Mafia Underworld
(Raw Story – 5/12/17)


Other Stories That You Should Know About:


Trump Budget


 Trump’s Budget by the Numbers: What Gets Cut and Why
(CNN – 5/23/17)

Trump Budget Seeks Huge Cuts to Science and Medical Research, Disease Prevention
(Washington Post – 5/23/17)

Trump’s Budget Cuts Children’s Health Insurance Program
(CNN – 5/24/17)


Trump Leaks Information Again, Jeopardizing US Military and More


Trump Revealed Submarine Locations to Philippines President
(The Hill – 5/24/17)

Trump’s Loose Lips Drive Allies to Reassess U.S. Access to Intel
(Miami Herald – 5/25/17)


Conflicts of Interest


Despite Promise, Trump’s Business Offers Little Information About Foreign Profits
(Washington Post – 5/24/17)


Trump’s Trip to Saudi Arabia, Israel, Italy


Read the Embarrassing Scribbled Note Donald Trump Left at the Holocaust Memorial in Israel
(Daily KOS – 5/23/17)

With Gift and in Conversation, Vatican Presses Trump on Climate Change
(New York Times – 5/24/17)

Out of Step: G7 Leaders Take a Stroll, Trump Takes a Golf Cart
(The Times UK – 5/26/17)


International Relations


Following Trump’s Trip, Merkel Says Europe Can’t Rely on ‘Others.’ She Means the U.S.
(Washington Post – 5/28/17)


Ethics


White House Moves to Block Ethics Inquiry Into Ex-Lobbyists on Payroll
(New York Times – 5/22/17)

On Same Weekend as Record-Breaking Arms Deal, Saudis Announced $100 Million Donation to Ivanka Fund
(Daily KOS – 5/21/17)


 Keeping Track of the Basics:

Trump’s Cabinet Picks and Their Status in the Approval Process
(Full Article – The Atlantic)

Entire Trump Administration: Who’s Who
(Full Info – Real Clear Politics)

Ongoing Tracking of Trump-Russia Connections
(Compiled and updated by the office of US Representative Eric Swalwell, House Intelligence Committee)

Ongoing Tracking of Trump-Russia Connections
(Washington Post)

How Much Have Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Stays Cost Us So Far?
(Is Trump at Mar-a-Lago?)


Editorials


Satire: Trump Boasts that his Impeachment will Get Higher TV Ratings Than All Other Impeachments
(Andy Borowitz – New Yorker – 5/1217)

What Will Trump’s Fake-News Habit Mean in a Crisis?
(The Atlantic – 5/15/17)

Right-Wing Extremists are a Bigger Threat to America Than ISIS
(Newsweek – 2/4/16)

Mike Pence Wants us to Believe he’s Innocent. Don’t Buy it.
(Washington Post – 5/19/17)

 Donald Trump’s $10 Trillion Magic Asterisk
(Washington Post – 5/24/17)

The Enormity of Trump’s Scam is Coming into View
(Washington Post – 5/24/17)


Cartoons, Images & Videos


Melania Slaps Away President Trump’s Hand on Tel Aviv Tarmac at Start of Israel Trip
(New York Daily News – 5/22/17)

 

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox Offers Advice to Donald Trump:

 

Posted on Facebook by “Oh Great, More Politics:”

Posted on Facebook by “Super Deluxe:”

Trump Pushes Prime Minister of Montenegro Aside – Posted by Tucson News Now:

Posted on Twitter by Christopher Cooper (NOT Photoshopped):

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Source: Unknown (but again … NOT Photoshopped):

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Source: Unknown (Photoshopped):

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Posted by Jens Böttiger:

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Cartoon by Steve Sack in Star Tribune:

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Source: Unknown:

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Cover of current issue of Mad Magazine:

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Events & Actions


Resources & Organizations


 

March 27 – April 2, 2017

March 27 – April 2, 2017

 


Articles & Editorials:


Main Stories

 


Russia


Who’s Who in Trump-Russia Saga
(CNN – 3/29/17)

Here’s What We’ve Learned from the Senate Hearing on Russia So Far
(Washington Post – 3/30/17)


Paul Manafort and Russia


Russian Dissident Shot Dead Who Would Have Been Star Witness in Paul Manafort Trial in Ukraine
(Palmer Report – 3/23/17)

Paul Manafort’s Puzzling New York Real Estate Purchases
(WNYC – 3/28/17)


Michael Flynn … and Russia


Mike Flynn Offers to Testify in Exchange for Immunity
(Wall Street Journal – 3/30/17)

‘General Flynn Certainly Has a Story to Tell’
(Atlantic – 3/30/17)

Too Soon to Discuss Immunity for Flynn, Investigators Say
(Washington Post – 3/31/17)

Questions, Answers About the Legal Immunity Process
(Washington Post – 3/31/17)

Michael Flynn Failed to Disclose Income From Russia-Linked Entities
(New York Times – 4/1/17)


Other Stories That You Should Know About:


Conflicts of Interest


Nearly 1 out of every 3 days he has been president, Trump has visited a Trump property
(Washington Post – 3/26/17)

Trump Couple, Now White House Employees, Can’t Escape Conflict Laws
(New York Times – 4/1/17)


Trump and the Press


Stop Shaking Your Head’: Sean Spicer Lashes Out at Reporter April Ryan
(NBC News – 3/29/17)


Trump University


Trump University Suit Settlement Approved by Judge
(New York Times –3/31/17)


Keeping Track of the Basics:


Editorials


Trump Promised to Bring Back Coal Jobs. That Promise ‘Will Not be Kept,’ Experts Say
(Washington Post – 3/29/17)

The GOP is Not a Pro-Life, Christian Party
(John Pavlovitz – 3/29/17)

Understanding the Angry Mob at Middlebury That Gave Me a Concussion
(New York Times – 3/13/17)


Alternative Facts from an Alternative Universe

Self-selecting our news sources, a reluctance to hear opposing ideas, and the choice by many of us to surround ourselves only with like-minded individuals has resulted in many Americans becoming oblivious to the beliefs of those with whom they disagree. This bubble helped create the world of “alternative facts” in which Donald Trump could become President.

To counter this, each week I will present a little of what Trump’s supporters are thinking. Their reality may be very different from yours. Please listen/read to the end, and consider what respectful questions you could ask to better understand and have a conversation, rather than seeking to prove them wrong as quickly as possible and shut them down. We can’t change minds if we can’t talk to each other.


‘I believed everything he said’: Ex-supporter whose son OD’d says Trumpcare made him turn on the president
(Raw Story – 3/21/17)


Cartoons, Images & Videos


Source: Unknown

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Source: Unknown

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Events & Actions

Two major nationwide protests coming up:

  • Saturday, April 15, 2017: Trump Tax Day Marches nationwide to let President Trump know that it’s not just reporters who care about his undisclosed tax returns – find your nearest march here!
  • Saturday, April 22, 2017: Scientists and people who believe in and support science will be having marches nationwide to encourage the use of science and facts in creating government policy – find your nearest march here!

Resources & Organizations