HOME



Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405



Facebook: Digby Parton

Twitter:
@digby56
@Gaius_Publius
@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)
@spockosbrain



emails:
Digby:
thedigbyblog at gmail
Dennis:
satniteflix at gmail
Gaius:
publius.gaius at gmail
Tom:
tpostsully at gmail
Spocko:
Spockosbrain at gmail
tristero:
Richardein at me.com








Infomania

Salon
Buzzflash
Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Slate
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic
Common Dreams
AmericanPoliticsJournal
Smirking Chimp
CJR Daily
consortium news

Blog-o-rama

Eschaton
BagNewsNotes
Daily Kos
Political Animal
Driftglass
Firedoglake
Taylor Marsh
Spocko's Brain
Talk Left
Suburban Guerrilla
Scoobie Davis
Echidne
Electrolite
Americablog
Tom Tomorrow
Left Coaster
Angry Bear
oilprice.com
Seeing the Forest
Cathie From Canada
Frontier River Guides
Brad DeLong
The Sideshow
Liberal Oasis
BartCop
Juan Cole
Rising Hegemon
alicublog
Unqualified Offerings
Alas, A Blog
RogerAiles
Lean Left
Oliver Willis
skippy the bush kangaroo
uggabugga
Crooked Timber
discourse.net
Amygdala
the talking dog
David E's Fablog
The Agonist


Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

01/01/2003 - 02/01/2003 02/01/2003 - 03/01/2003 03/01/2003 - 04/01/2003 04/01/2003 - 05/01/2003 05/01/2003 - 06/01/2003 06/01/2003 - 07/01/2003 07/01/2003 - 08/01/2003 08/01/2003 - 09/01/2003 09/01/2003 - 10/01/2003 10/01/2003 - 11/01/2003 11/01/2003 - 12/01/2003 12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004 01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004 02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004 03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004 04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004 05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004 06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004 07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004 08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004 09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004 10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004 11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004 12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005 01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005 02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005 03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005 04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005 05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005 06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005 11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006 01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006 02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006 03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006 04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006 06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006 07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006 08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006 09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006 10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006 11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006 12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007 01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007 02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007 03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007 04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007 05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007 06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007 07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007 08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007 09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007 10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007 11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007 12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008 01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008 02/01/2008 - 03/01/2008 03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008 04/01/2008 - 05/01/2008 05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008 06/01/2008 - 07/01/2008 07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008 08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008 09/01/2008 - 10/01/2008 10/01/2008 - 11/01/2008 11/01/2008 - 12/01/2008 12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009 01/01/2009 - 02/01/2009 02/01/2009 - 03/01/2009 03/01/2009 - 04/01/2009 04/01/2009 - 05/01/2009 05/01/2009 - 06/01/2009 06/01/2009 - 07/01/2009 07/01/2009 - 08/01/2009 08/01/2009 - 09/01/2009 09/01/2009 - 10/01/2009 10/01/2009 - 11/01/2009 11/01/2009 - 12/01/2009 12/01/2009 - 01/01/2010 01/01/2010 - 02/01/2010 02/01/2010 - 03/01/2010 03/01/2010 - 04/01/2010 04/01/2010 - 05/01/2010 05/01/2010 - 06/01/2010 06/01/2010 - 07/01/2010 07/01/2010 - 08/01/2010 08/01/2010 - 09/01/2010 09/01/2010 - 10/01/2010 10/01/2010 - 11/01/2010 11/01/2010 - 12/01/2010 12/01/2010 - 01/01/2011 01/01/2011 - 02/01/2011 02/01/2011 - 03/01/2011 03/01/2011 - 04/01/2011 04/01/2011 - 05/01/2011 05/01/2011 - 06/01/2011 06/01/2011 - 07/01/2011 07/01/2011 - 08/01/2011 08/01/2011 - 09/01/2011 09/01/2011 - 10/01/2011 10/01/2011 - 11/01/2011 11/01/2011 - 12/01/2011 12/01/2011 - 01/01/2012 01/01/2012 - 02/01/2012 02/01/2012 - 03/01/2012 03/01/2012 - 04/01/2012 04/01/2012 - 05/01/2012 05/01/2012 - 06/01/2012 06/01/2012 - 07/01/2012 07/01/2012 - 08/01/2012 08/01/2012 - 09/01/2012 09/01/2012 - 10/01/2012 10/01/2012 - 11/01/2012 11/01/2012 - 12/01/2012 12/01/2012 - 01/01/2013 01/01/2013 - 02/01/2013 02/01/2013 - 03/01/2013 03/01/2013 - 04/01/2013 04/01/2013 - 05/01/2013 05/01/2013 - 06/01/2013 06/01/2013 - 07/01/2013 07/01/2013 - 08/01/2013 08/01/2013 - 09/01/2013 09/01/2013 - 10/01/2013 10/01/2013 - 11/01/2013 11/01/2013 - 12/01/2013 12/01/2013 - 01/01/2014 01/01/2014 - 02/01/2014 02/01/2014 - 03/01/2014 03/01/2014 - 04/01/2014 04/01/2014 - 05/01/2014 05/01/2014 - 06/01/2014 06/01/2014 - 07/01/2014 07/01/2014 - 08/01/2014 08/01/2014 - 09/01/2014 09/01/2014 - 10/01/2014 10/01/2014 - 11/01/2014 11/01/2014 - 12/01/2014 12/01/2014 - 01/01/2015 01/01/2015 - 02/01/2015 02/01/2015 - 03/01/2015 03/01/2015 - 04/01/2015 04/01/2015 - 05/01/2015 05/01/2015 - 06/01/2015 06/01/2015 - 07/01/2015 07/01/2015 - 08/01/2015 08/01/2015 - 09/01/2015 09/01/2015 - 10/01/2015 10/01/2015 - 11/01/2015 11/01/2015 - 12/01/2015 12/01/2015 - 01/01/2016 01/01/2016 - 02/01/2016 02/01/2016 - 03/01/2016 03/01/2016 - 04/01/2016 04/01/2016 - 05/01/2016 05/01/2016 - 06/01/2016 06/01/2016 - 07/01/2016 07/01/2016 - 08/01/2016 08/01/2016 - 09/01/2016 09/01/2016 - 10/01/2016 10/01/2016 - 11/01/2016 11/01/2016 - 12/01/2016 12/01/2016 - 01/01/2017 01/01/2017 - 02/01/2017 02/01/2017 - 03/01/2017 03/01/2017 - 04/01/2017 04/01/2017 - 05/01/2017 05/01/2017 - 06/01/2017 06/01/2017 - 07/01/2017 07/01/2017 - 08/01/2017 08/01/2017 - 09/01/2017 09/01/2017 - 10/01/2017 10/01/2017 - 11/01/2017 11/01/2017 - 12/01/2017 12/01/2017 - 01/01/2018 01/01/2018 - 02/01/2018


 

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Hullabaloo


Tuesday, January 09, 2018

 

Trump and Mueller may need to speak more than once

by digby




I wrote about the latest stories about Mueller requesting an interview with the president for Salon today:


With all the day-to-day craziness around President Trump, it's easy to forget what serious legal trouble he may be in. He may have many character flaws, might be dumb as a post and could even have some kind of neurological problems, for all we know. His White House is a mess and he's in the process of finally killing off whatever vestiges of integrity were left in the conservative movement. Any of that would be a stunning set of problems for any presidency. But the fact that just a year into his presidency, Trump will reportedly be asked to speak under oath to a special prosecutor about a counterintelligence investigation into his campaign, presidential transition and administration, is still mind-boggling.

He won't be the first president to testify in an independent probe of his administration, of course. Ronald Reagan testified under oath in the Iran-Contra scandal, where he memorably said he could not recall anything about it. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney testified before the 9/11 commission together, under extremely limited circumstances. But the most direct parallel is Bill Clinton, who spoke with prosecutors more than once: He was compelled to give a sworn deposition in the Paula Jones case and then testified before a grand jury in the Monica Lewinsky matter.

Recall that at the time the independent counsel's office was investigating a penny-ante real estate deal from the 1980s, "cronyism" in the firing of the White House travel office and a sexual harassment civil case from Clinton's time as governor of Arkansas. In the course of those investigations, the affair with Lewinsky was uncovered and Clinton denied it, which led to charges of perjury and obstruction of justice. In contrast to the Russia investigation and Trump's nepotism and ongoing corruption, it was a joke.

Clinton was supposed to testify on a live feed from the White House, but at the last minute the independent counsel demanded that it be taped because one of the grand jury members had to be absent. In the end the grand jury was never asked to return an indictment. The testimony was instead used by independent counsel Ken Starr to make an impeachment referral to the House of Representatives. House Republicans immediately voted to release the report, the underlying documents and the tape of Clinton's supposedly secret grand jury testimony to the public.

I only bring up this stale history to show just how ruthless the independent counsel was in pursuing a case against President Clinton and how craven and openly contemptuous the GOP House was toward the normal processes pertaining to secret grand jury testimony. Keep that in mind as modern-day congressional Republicans begin to wring their hands over "prosecutorial overreach" in the Mueller investigation. You know they will.

According to The New York Times and NBC News, Trump's lawyers have been brainstorming over how to respond to a request from special counsel Robert Mueller to speak with the president, since at least October. Mueller finally raised the subject unofficially in a meeting in late December. The assumption is that the prosecutors have homed in on possible obstruction of justice charges and that Trump will be the final witness.

According to all the experts, this is a strong signal that the case is close to wrapping up, although I would point out again that Clinton spoke with the independent counsel's office multiple times over several years and ended up testifying before a grand jury, so it's not written in stone that the entire probe is about to come to a close. There are a number of tentacles in this investigation, from the Paul Manafort trial to money laundering and Russian election interference, whose true extent we still don't know.

The experts also caution that Trump's lawyers will likely try to keep him as far away from Mueller as they can. Trump has been sued in civil court many times, so he has a lot of experience with depositions and has shown that he can be coached to be calm and say nothing more than the bare minimum. (He has also lied repeatedly under oath.) But speaking directly with the special counsel is quite different. Trump is looking at potential criminal charges for himself and his family, and nobody knows how he'll respond in such a high-stress situation.

It seems likely that Trump's lawyers will seek a deal that has the president swearing an affidavit or answering written questions. They may try to arrange a version of George W. Bush's question-and-answer session before the 9/11 commission, in which the president is not under oath but agrees to speak for a very limited time.

There is no sense of whether or not Mueller and his team are amenable to any of that. If Trump refuses to cooperate outright or if they're not satisfied with his answers, they can subpoena the president. United States vs. Nixon settled that question, which is why Clinton ended up volunteering to testify before the grand jury -- Starr said he was ready to issue a subpoena if he didn't. We know what ended up happening that time, although in Trump's case the issue at hand isn't nearly as important as lying about an illicit affair. We're only talking about conspiring with a foreign adversary, and then obstructing justice to cover it up.

It's clear that the Republicans in Congress have no intention of doing anything to further this investigation, so Trump has nothing to worry about there. If Mueller were to report to the House with articles of impeachment, as Starr did, they would immediately be thrown in the trash and the evidence would never see the light of day. If that's Mueller's intention, he will have to wait until the American people have their say in November.

This is why I suspect that all this talk of Mueller closing up shop soon is likely to be wishful thinking. It could be true, of course. There is some possibility that Mueller has found that all that intelligence chatter during the campaign added up to nothing and the only people who are culpable of any crimes are the four he has already indicted. But if there's more to this and he believes there is a case against the president himself, I'd be surprised if this whole thing winds up before next year at this time. This next phase of the scandal is only beginning.

.