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Wed May 29, 2019, 12:23 PM

Don't buy the lie that Mueller said he believes it's unconstitutional to indict a sitting president

Last edited Wed May 29, 2019, 01:44 PM - Edit history (1)

He didn't say that.
"We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime. The introduction to the volume two of our report explains that decision. It explains that under long-standing Department policy, a President cannot be charged with a federal crime while he is in office. That is unconstitutional. Even if the charge is kept under seal and hidden from public view, that too is prohibited. The special counsel’s office is part of the Department of Justice and by regulation it was bound by that Department policy. Charging the president with a crime was, therefore, not an option we could consider. "

He stated clearly and unequivocally that it's DOJ policy that it's unconstitutional to indict a sitting president. He offered nothing of his first view or subject

Claiming he said otherwise is a lie and is, unfortunately, being spread on DU for some reason.

We're being played. Don't fall for it!

78 replies, 5082 views

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Arrow 78 replies Author Time Post
Reply Don't buy the lie that Mueller said he believes it's unconstitutional to indict a sitting president (Original post)
EffieBlack May 2019 OP
GemDigger May 2019 #1
elleng May 2019 #2
still_one May 2019 #5
elleng May 2019 #6
still_one May 2019 #3
llmart May 2019 #4
elleng May 2019 #8
EffieBlack May 2019 #11
llmart May 2019 #15
EffieBlack May 2019 #25
llmart May 2019 #26
EffieBlack May 2019 #27
Goodheart May 2019 #30
ehrnst May 2019 #59
emmaverybo May 2019 #53
Goodheart May 2019 #7
EffieBlack May 2019 #12
Goodheart May 2019 #16
ehrnst May 2019 #63
greyl May 2019 #41
ehrnst May 2019 #77
H2O Man May 2019 #9
emmaverybo May 2019 #10
BlueJac May 2019 #13
DeminPennswoods May 2019 #14
Goodheart May 2019 #19
ehrnst May 2019 #64
EffieBlack May 2019 #20
Post removed May 2019 #23
Kurt V. May 2019 #65
ehrnst May 2019 #66
Kurt V. May 2019 #67
ehrnst May 2019 #69
Kurt V. May 2019 #70
ehrnst May 2019 #72
EffieBlack May 2019 #74
Me. May 2019 #17
Vinca May 2019 #18
Goodheart May 2019 #21
ehrnst May 2019 #78
Scoopster May 2019 #22
Goodheart May 2019 #24
ehrnst May 2019 #61
jberryhill May 2019 #28
EffieBlack May 2019 #29
jberryhill May 2019 #31
Goodheart May 2019 #32
EffieBlack May 2019 #35
LanternWaste May 2019 #37
ehrnst May 2019 #62
Atticus May 2019 #33
Hekate May 2019 #34
EffieBlack May 2019 #36
Hekate May 2019 #38
EffieBlack May 2019 #39
mcar May 2019 #68
Kurt V. May 2019 #40
uponit7771 May 2019 #51
StarfishSaver May 2019 #54
Kurt V. May 2019 #58
yaesu May 2019 #42
Marcuse May 2019 #43
Honeycombe8 May 2019 #44
LovingA2andMI May 2019 #46
Honeycombe8 May 2019 #52
StarfishSaver May 2019 #49
Honeycombe8 May 2019 #50
pnwmom May 2019 #45
gilligan May 2019 #47
Mr.Bill May 2019 #48
live love laugh May 2019 #57
Lonestarblue May 2019 #55
AndJusticeForSome May 2019 #56
ehrnst May 2019 #60
TwilightZone May 2019 #71
Hortensis May 2019 #73
StarfishSaver May 2019 #75
The Velveteen Ocelot May 2019 #76

Response to EffieBlack (Original post)

Wed May 29, 2019, 12:25 PM

1. Thank you Effie.

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Response to EffieBlack (Original post)

Wed May 29, 2019, 12:28 PM

2. I agree, I was 'confused' about his statement: That is unconstitutional.

I don't think the DoJ policy IS that indicting is unconstitutional, more like 'inconvenient.'

It's clear, however, he was and is going to comply with DoJ's position on the subject.

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Response to elleng (Reply #2)

Wed May 29, 2019, 12:30 PM

5. I think the key word is it is their policy

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Response to still_one (Reply #5)

Wed May 29, 2019, 12:33 PM

6. Right, and too damn bad.

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Response to EffieBlack (Original post)

Wed May 29, 2019, 12:29 PM

3. He is following the DOJ constraint. If the DOJ said that it was Constitutional to indict a sitting

president, he would indicated that.

The real question on whether a sitting President can be indicted or not would need to be decided by the courts, and it is doubtful that will happen.

The only path to indict trump would be through a successful impeachment and removal from office or his resignation, after which he could be indicted

at least that is how I understand it


Thanks Effie for clarifying this


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Response to EffieBlack (Original post)

Wed May 29, 2019, 12:29 PM

4. To be fair...

the sentence is ambiguous. He doesn't clarify what "That" is referring to. Was he referring to the policy or the charging of a sitting President with a federal crime?

He should have made it clearer or maybe that was his intent. Either way, I can see how it would be misinterpreted.

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Response to llmart (Reply #4)

Wed May 29, 2019, 12:33 PM

8. Thanks

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Response to llmart (Reply #4)

Wed May 29, 2019, 12:42 PM

11. The sentence isn't in the least ambiguous

If you read it in the context of the entire paragraph, it's impossible to rationally assume that he was expressing his personal opinion - unless you think that for the only time in the entire statement he suddenly shifted gears to inject his personal opinion (without identifying it is such) into the middle of his explanation about DOJ policy - and then immediately switched back in the very next sentence to talking about the policy again.

Nowhere in his statement did Mueller express a personal opinion, so it's illogical to assume that that one sentence was is opinion, especially in the context in which it was said.

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Response to EffieBlack (Reply #11)

Wed May 29, 2019, 12:47 PM

15. I have to disagree.

Either way a person interprets that three-word statement would be as an opinion.

Either Mueller is saying the policy is unconstitutional or he's saying charging a sitting president is unconstitutional. Either one could be construed as his opinion. That's why there's such a disagreement right now as to what he was referring to. He should have been more clear.

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Response to llmart (Reply #15)

Wed May 29, 2019, 01:00 PM

25. Why would anyone assume Mueller suddenly injected an opinion in the middle of a paragraph

about a policy when he offered no opinion in any other part of his statement?

And if it were his opinion that it was unconstitutional to indict a sitting president, he wouldn't need reference the DOJ opinion at all.

But even if that is his opinion, so what? His opinion is irrelevant in the investigation. The DOJ opinion controls his actions and, as he said, under the DOJ opinion, he could not charge the president.

This cherry picking one sentence out of context and trying to turn it into something is a tactic to distract from the overall statement. It looks like you fell for it. That's unfortunate.

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Response to EffieBlack (Reply #25)

Wed May 29, 2019, 01:06 PM

26. You missed my point.

Either way one would construe his statement IS a personal opinion. It's either his personal opinion that charging a sitting president is unconstitutional or it's his opinion that the DOJ policy is unconstitutional.

I'm not interpreting it either way and haven't from the start of this discussion. I merely said it was ambiguous and could have been stated more clearly what he was referring to.

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Response to llmart (Reply #26)

Wed May 29, 2019, 01:09 PM

27. I listened to the audio again. It sounds like he said

"under long-standing Department policy, a President cannot be charged with a federal crime while he is in office, that it's unconstitutional" which is even clearer.

But either way, I don't think anyone not looking to statement apart for some reason could interpret it as anything other than a reference to department policy. And the only reason to make such a big deal of it, in my view, is to intentionally distract from the power of what he said - that the only reason he did not indict the president was that he prohibited by department policy from doing so.

Why anyone would want to stomp all over that message with a picayune claim that he personally agrees with the department policy?

On Edit: the transcript says "That is unconstitutional"

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Response to EffieBlack (Reply #27)

Wed May 29, 2019, 01:16 PM

30. Actually, if he had said "that it's unconstitutional" there would be no argument

His actual words were "that is unconstitutional". Something different.

And if you go back and watch his presentation he sort of threw that in as an aside after a brief pause.

It's clear to me that he was agreeing with the DOJ's rationale for non-indictment. Which is all beside the point, anyway, because he would not have violated DOJ policy, anyway.

I actually don't understand what the point of this thread is. It doesn't matter either way... whether or not he was sharing the opinion or merely passing it on. Neither interpretation adds nor detracts from trump's guilt.

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Response to Goodheart (Reply #30)

Wed May 29, 2019, 04:24 PM

59. Actually... taken out of context, those words are misused.

 

Last edited Thu May 30, 2019, 05:43 AM - Edit history (1)

It's clear to me that he was agreeing with the DOJ's rationale for non-indictment.


I wish I was a mind reader. It would be cool.


I actually don't understand what the point of this thread is.


That's evident.

It doesn't matter either way... whether or not he was sharing the opinion or merely passing it on.


That's a U turn from the first part of your post....

Perhaps you learned something from others who have posted here?





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Response to EffieBlack (Reply #25)

Wed May 29, 2019, 03:16 PM

53. You really show your lawyering chops in this comment.

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Response to EffieBlack (Original post)

Wed May 29, 2019, 12:33 PM

7. "Clearly and unequivocally"? LOL. Er, no.

He specifically said "That is unconstitutional".

Unless he's a very poor grammarian it's obvious that he shares the opinion.

Not that Mueller is/should be the be all and end all of constitutional interpretation in any case.

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Response to Goodheart (Reply #7)

Wed May 29, 2019, 12:45 PM

12. Let me clarify:

It's clear and unambiguous to anyone who can read and interpret the spoken and written English language.

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Response to EffieBlack (Reply #12)

Wed May 29, 2019, 12:50 PM

16. Let ME clarify: you're wrong.

How's that?

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Response to Goodheart (Reply #16)

Wed May 29, 2019, 04:37 PM

63. INCORRECT.

 

Last edited Thu May 30, 2019, 06:27 AM - Edit history (1)



See post #77 for an explanation about why you get this wrong.

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Response to Goodheart (Reply #7)

Wed May 29, 2019, 02:12 PM

41. You specifically said "he's a very poor grammarian". nt

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Response to Goodheart (Reply #7)

Thu May 30, 2019, 06:25 AM

77. Still wrong on your interpretation of his words. You are taking a phrase out of context.

 

Here's where you're getting it wrong:

Remember when the GOP doing the very same thing to Obama, when they took "You didn't build that" out of context to 'prove' that he doesn't think business owners built their business. To make it clearer for you, I've italicized the context, and bolded what the RW extracted:

If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business – you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn't get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.


They misrepresented what the "thats" referred to. "That" refers to "this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive," not "your business."


Now, here's how you did that in Mueller's statement:

The introduction to the Volume 2 of our report explains that decision. It explains that under long-standing department policy, a president cannot be charged with a federal crime while he is in office. That is unconstitutional. Even if the charge is kept under seal and hidden from public view, that, too, is prohibited.


So, "that is unconstitutional" refers to what the DOJ policy states - a continuation of the description of the DOJ policy - what is allowed and what is prohibited as 'unconstitutional.' It is quoting the policy, not making a personal constitutional law judgement. That is the context you continually refuse to acknowledge in an effort to deny that you made a mistake once you have been corrected.

One has far more credibility when one acknowledges mistakes than when one doubles down on them.




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Response to EffieBlack (Original post)

Wed May 29, 2019, 12:35 PM

9. Bless you.

And, obviously, thank you.

Recommended.

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Response to EffieBlack (Original post)

Wed May 29, 2019, 12:40 PM

10. Thank you! nt

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Response to EffieBlack (Original post)

Wed May 29, 2019, 12:47 PM

13. K&R

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Response to EffieBlack (Original post)

Wed May 29, 2019, 12:47 PM

14. Mueller didn't indict the President because he couldn't under DoJ rules

It's that simple.

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Response to DeminPennswoods (Reply #14)

Wed May 29, 2019, 12:55 PM

19. Which makes all this discussion of his personal view on unconstitutionality beside the point.

But the fact of plain language says that he shares the DOJ opinion of its unconstitutionality.

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Response to Goodheart (Reply #19)

Wed May 29, 2019, 05:22 PM

64. "Plain language"

 

You mean taken out of context?

One sees what one wants, I guess.

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Response to DeminPennswoods (Reply #14)

Wed May 29, 2019, 12:55 PM

20. True. But there are people here trying to obfuscate that point

by blatantly mischaracterizing his comment with a ridiculous interpretation that doesn't undermine the point but does serve to distract from it.

Wonder why they're so eager to do Trump's dirty work...

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Response to EffieBlack (Reply #20)


Response to EffieBlack (Reply #20)

Wed May 29, 2019, 05:24 PM

65. ppl sincerely pissed off at Mueller is doing trumps dirty work? many long time members. you

surely don't believe that....

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Response to Kurt V. (Reply #65)

Wed May 29, 2019, 05:29 PM

66. You truly believe that Mueller was "doing Trump's dirty work"

 

after his statement that all but stated he's guilty?

If Mueller was in the bag for DT, how on earth do you explain this statement:

‘If We Had Confidence That the President Did Not Commit a Crime, We Would Have Said So"



"Length of time on DU" does not endow anyone with mind reading powers, or a constitutional law degree, or expertise on DOJ policy.

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Response to ehrnst (Reply #66)

Wed May 29, 2019, 05:42 PM

67. no i think Mueller was acting in the the constraints he was given. my issue is with effie implying

that ppl that are legit upset are helping trump on purpose instead of an ordinary emotional reaction

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Response to Kurt V. (Reply #67)

Wed May 29, 2019, 05:54 PM

69. I think that focusing our rage at allies doesn't help our goals.

 

I've seen it plenty on DU.

And it does play into the hands of the GOP.

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Response to ehrnst (Reply #69)

Wed May 29, 2019, 06:00 PM

70. Absolutely!!! we're allies here. Let's start right there.

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Response to Kurt V. (Reply #70)

Wed May 29, 2019, 06:07 PM

72. ..

 



I think that Pelosi and Mueller are allies, as well, though Mueller would get flayed like Strzok was if he admitted it.

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Response to Kurt V. (Reply #65)

Wed May 29, 2019, 08:31 PM

74. Yes, I certainly do believe that

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Response to EffieBlack (Original post)

Wed May 29, 2019, 12:54 PM

17. Once Again Effie

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Response to EffieBlack (Original post)

Wed May 29, 2019, 12:55 PM

18. If it was unconstitutional that would make the POTUS above the law and, therefore, a king.

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Response to Vinca (Reply #18)

Wed May 29, 2019, 12:56 PM

21. Correct.

The DOJ is wrong.

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Response to Goodheart (Reply #21)

Thu May 30, 2019, 06:29 AM

78. Correct. Mueller is constrained by what they interpret as unconstitutional.

 

Mueller does not set DOJ policy, nor has he indicated any opinion on if it is correct constitutionally or not. That is not his job as Special Prosecutor.

Glad that's settled.

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Response to EffieBlack (Original post)

Wed May 29, 2019, 12:58 PM

22. It is long standing DOJ policy BECAUSE it's in the Constitution.

Look, we may not like it, but that is literally what the Constitution says - the House of Representatives is the only body that can indict a sitting President, and the only body that can try & convict on that charge is the Senate. Any further legal action can be taken by the Executive and Judicial branches after he is out of office.

Mueller is doing his best to stand up for the Constitution during this mess, despite how anyone may feel about him.

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Response to Scoopster (Reply #22)

Wed May 29, 2019, 12:59 PM

24. The Constitution doesn't say that.

You might argue that the doctrine of separation of powers mandates such a conclusion but I believe that's a stretch, at best.

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Response to Goodheart (Reply #24)

Wed May 29, 2019, 04:27 PM

61. The DOJ subscribes to that interpretation.

 

And that is what constrained Mueller.

What he thinks of it isn't clear, but since he did everything but say that POTUS is guilty of a crime, I think he's not too much of a fan.

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Response to EffieBlack (Original post)

Wed May 29, 2019, 01:13 PM

28. So what?

 


What difference does it make?

Robert Mueller's personal opinion on the subject is of the same practical effect as anyone else's - i.e. nil.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #28)

Wed May 29, 2019, 01:14 PM

29. Exactly!

but some people are making a big deal of it as if it does make a difference... I suspect the purpose is to deflect from the import of saying the only reason he did not charge Trump was that he was prohibited by the DOJ rule.

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Response to EffieBlack (Reply #29)

Wed May 29, 2019, 01:17 PM

31. "I suspect the purpose..."

 


I suspect people are expressing their opinions.

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Response to EffieBlack (Reply #29)

Wed May 29, 2019, 01:18 PM

32. Nobody here has said nor insinuated that it makes a difference.

Sorry, but your entire thread is pointless.

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Response to Goodheart (Reply #32)

Wed May 29, 2019, 01:50 PM

35. You apparently haven't seen the several OPs who seem to think t makes a difference.

But for someone who thinks it doesn't make a difference, you're spending an awful lot of time responding to my posts about it.

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Response to Goodheart (Reply #32)

Wed May 29, 2019, 01:54 PM

37. You're missing a handful of OPs that in fact, say just that.

"Sorry, but your entire response is pointless."

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Response to Goodheart (Reply #32)

Wed May 29, 2019, 04:36 PM

62. Including your posts?

 

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Response to EffieBlack (Original post)

Wed May 29, 2019, 01:30 PM

33. Thanks. Heard him say it and instantly knew it would be mischaracterized by the

Trumpies. It is disappointing to see it repeated here.

Let's please insist on hearing or reading WHAT WAS ACTUALLY SAID, not what some time-filling talking head or---worse---someone like Sanders or Giuliani SAYS was said.

There's plenty to be outraged about without inventing additional reasons.

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Response to EffieBlack (Original post)

Wed May 29, 2019, 01:34 PM

34. DU is being swarmed today

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Response to Hekate (Reply #34)

Wed May 29, 2019, 01:51 PM

36. Yup

We moved from the non-stop attacks on Speaker Pelosi to a pile-on on Mueller.

A sure sign that Mueller drew blood...

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Response to EffieBlack (Reply #36)

Wed May 29, 2019, 01:57 PM

38. The base of my skull is telling me my blood pressure's rising.I need to take a break from the idiocy

...here. Gaaah.

Nicolle Wallace wll be on the tv-machine in another hour (1:00 my time), and her panel should be good. Or I could just record her and shop for those picture-frames I need.

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Response to Hekate (Reply #38)

Wed May 29, 2019, 02:07 PM

39. Go shopping

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Response to Hekate (Reply #34)

Wed May 29, 2019, 05:49 PM

68. Sure is

The "Dems are bad" parade is rolling through. Also the "Mueller betrayed us!!11" sideshow.

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Response to EffieBlack (Original post)

Wed May 29, 2019, 02:07 PM

40. who said that? i figured everyone knew that it was doj policy.

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Response to Kurt V. (Reply #40)

Wed May 29, 2019, 03:14 PM

51. +1, the more this goes on the more it looks like shit

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Response to Kurt V. (Reply #40)

Wed May 29, 2019, 03:27 PM

54. Plenty of people said it

There are several OPs on it and tons of comments.

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Response to StarfishSaver (Reply #54)

Wed May 29, 2019, 04:20 PM

58. Members of a political site should be more informed than that but ppl are worked up. so it goes

my position hasn't changed but I've moved on bc the president, any president is in fact above the law.

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Response to EffieBlack (Original post)

Wed May 29, 2019, 02:29 PM

42. He just should have kept to his original report being it was policy & kept the unconstitutional

statement out of it, period.

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Response to EffieBlack (Original post)

Wed May 29, 2019, 02:32 PM

43. Mueller is not a policy maker or breaker. Some POTUS candidates pledge to reverse that OLC policy.

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Response to EffieBlack (Original post)

Wed May 29, 2019, 02:43 PM

44. There's almost zero chance of indictment while he's in office.

Mueller didn't, and won't. He gave his opinion on the matter, as subject to the DOJ policy. Forget about Mueller.

The Dems in the House could try. It would be litigated, ending up in the Supreme Court.

Does anyone think that Roberts, Alito, Thomas, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh are going to find that Trump can be indicted?

He can be indicted after he leaves office, if the statute of limitations hasn't run.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #44)

Wed May 29, 2019, 02:50 PM

46. The US House has the SOLE RIGHT via the US Constitution....

to Impeach. The US Senate has the SOLE RIGHT to Remove the POTUS if they so wish. The Supreme Court has NOTHING to do with either. #FACTS

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Response to LovingA2andMI (Reply #46)

Wed May 29, 2019, 03:15 PM

52. My post was about indictment, as so many keep insisting the Dems pursue.

IMO, that's a waste of time, because the S.Ct. won't rule that a sitting President can be indicted.

The Dems can impeach, for historical purposes. The current Senate won't impeach him, so he'll remain in office, like Bill Clinton did.

Looks like nothing's changed, as far as what the Democrats can do about this criminal in the Presidency.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #44)

Wed May 29, 2019, 03:11 PM

49. Congress has no power to indict anyone

That's an executive branch function.

The only way that would get a court involved is for a prosecutor to indict the president and he tries to quash the indictment. That's not likely to happen at the federal level under this administration is long as the Justice Department is under the control of Trump's lackeys.

It's possible that a state prosecutor could trigger a court challenge by indicting the president under state law. the president would likely try to quash the indictment and the case would end up in federal court. Although it's a state prosecution, the Federal Court could rule on the constitutionality of a sitting president being indicted, and the ruling would likely apply to federal prosecutions as well.

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Response to StarfishSaver (Reply #49)

Wed May 29, 2019, 03:13 PM

50. I see. I thought Congress could. But doesn't make much difference, with the current SCT.nt

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Response to EffieBlack (Original post)

Wed May 29, 2019, 02:46 PM

45. I agree with your interpretation. That whole paragraph is about the Department's policy,

not the SC's personal opinion.

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Response to EffieBlack (Original post)

Wed May 29, 2019, 02:55 PM

47. Tricky Dick said.

If the President does it. It's not a crime.
Or something like that.

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Response to EffieBlack (Original post)

Wed May 29, 2019, 02:58 PM

48. My impression of the entire statement

was that he read it as if he was a hostage with a gun pointed at his head. It sounded like he didn't even write it.

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Response to Mr.Bill (Reply #48)

Wed May 29, 2019, 04:06 PM

57. More to me like he was getting something on the record.

He reinforced the notion that a sitting president is above the law setting the stage for a court ruling.

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Response to EffieBlack (Original post)

Wed May 29, 2019, 03:34 PM

55. This DOJ policy needs to be changed.

In effect, it says that a president could openly embezzle from the government, deal drugs from the White House, run a prostitution ring, attack and physically assault people and not be indicted for any crime. All such a president needs to do is resign before a new team is sworn in so his former VP could then pardon him as the new president. He thus escapes punishment for his crimes. I doubt that our founders believed that a president committing crimes should just be allowed to keep committing them and to escape punishment through a pardon. Impeachment is a political action; indictment is a criminal action and Trump clearly has committed crimes for which he needs to be indicted. The excuse that a president is too busy to defend himself if indicted is just hogwash—that’s why we have a VP to serve as president when the president is temporarily sidelined.

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Response to Lonestarblue (Reply #55)

Wed May 29, 2019, 03:59 PM

56. Exactly. Having a policy that puts the president above the law is what's unconstitutional

And the only literal reading of what he said is that interpretation.

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Response to Lonestarblue (Reply #55)

Wed May 29, 2019, 04:25 PM

60. Well, there is the 25th amendment which is quicker than impeachment

 

if he was to do something like what you list.

So there's that.

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Response to EffieBlack (Original post)

Wed May 29, 2019, 06:03 PM

71. People are seeing what they want to see.

I think those who refuse to read for context either went into it with preconceived notions or they're being intentionally ignorant.

In context, it's quite clear what he was talking about.

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Response to EffieBlack (Original post)

Wed May 29, 2019, 06:17 PM

73. Thanks for trying to smarten up DU overall.

Wouldn't want visitors thinking they'd stumbled into the Cave by accident.

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Response to EffieBlack (Original post)

Wed May 29, 2019, 08:41 PM

75. You nailed it, Effie!

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Response to EffieBlack (Original post)

Wed May 29, 2019, 09:04 PM

76. It was pretty obvious to me that he was reflecting what the OLC opinions said,

which can be found here: https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/olc/opinions/2000/10/31/op-olc-v024-p0222_0.pdf

But what would have happened if Mueller had decided to ignore the OLC opinions?

The OLC opined that a sitting president can't be indicted because to do so would violate the constitutional principle of separation of powers, but what if Mueller had decided, "Fuck that guy and fuck the OLC memos, he obstructed justice and I'm gonna indict his ass." Of course, the opinion stated in the OLC memos is not settled law, although the argument and the research and reasoning behind it is rational and credible, not "stupid" or "bullshit," as some have described it. Others, notably Lawrence Tribe, have made very good arguments to the contrary, as here: https://www.lawfareblog.com/yes-constitution-allows-indictment-president

So what if Mueller had decided scholars like Tribe were right and the OLC was wrong? Let's say he takes the evidence to a grand jury, which returns a bill of indictment actually charging the president and not just calling him an unindicted co-conspirator, as a Watergate grand jury did with Nixon. What would have happened to that indictment?

Most likely, Bill Barr is what would have happened, since it's probable that decision would have been made toward the end of the investigation and after Barr was appointed (and if not Barr, unqualified toady Whitaker or easily-intimidated Rosenstein).

Barr or his predecessors, on Trump's instructions or on their own, would have ensured that the indictment would have never seen the light of day and Mueller would have been fired. That's what would have happened. It would be another Saturday Night Massacre but without any heroes like Richardson and Ruckelshaus. Even though the Special Counsel regulations require any denials of proposed prosecution to be reported, if Mueller was fired there would be no report.

Or, taking it another direction, let's say Barr didn't quash the indictment or fire Mueller but instead challenged the indictment on the basis of the OLC opinions. Now we have two parts of the same agency, the DoJ, fighting with each other in court - the Special Counsel vs. his boss, the Attorney General. How does that play out? And if it ever did get to the Supreme Court, how is a majority of this Court going to rule? Kroner to krugerrands, they'd go with the OLC opinions.

So then we'd be back where we started and Trump will have run out the clock. Arguments about the validity and strength of the OLC guidance and whether Mueller should have followed it are academic and fruitless because the ultimate result would have been the same: no indictment.


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