This weekend, House Judiciary Committee worked overtime to prepare for impeachment trial. We thank our public officials’ commitment to uphold American values and our democracy! So far president Trump has refused to testify in front of the committee. Judiciary committee fire back: Having declined this opportunity, he cannot claim that the process is unfair. Senator Sylvia Garcia of Judiciary Committee pointed out: “President can shed a lot of light on these; if he think he has done nothing wrong, he has got nothing to hide. Well great! Come forward and show us!” House Judiciary Committee had released a 15-page paper stating the Constitutional ground for presidential impeachment; The Judiciary Committee hold the view that impeachment is the Constitution’s final answer to a president who mistakes himself for a monarch.
I have to admit that in the last two years I have been so wrapped up in the debates for socialism and capitalism, and US-China trade war that I totally missed the development surrounding Russia-gate investigation. Nor did I have enough brainpower to understand the implication of Mueller’s report, I am so glad to have catch up with things now. In this process, I came to appreciate our democracy and the due process in American political system. I vote for including Mueller’s report into the impeachment trail because the report revealed alarming evidences of interference from other country into American political system – the very core of our democracy. After all, this is not just about investigation on president, more important, it is about strengthen our democracy and improvement on American political system.
The Mueller Report, officially titled Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election. The revelations found on page 50-51 are clear and couldn’t be more alarming. Russian hackers did not just attempt to sway public opinion, in 2016, they actually tried to influence the results of local elections by penetrating voting systems. The GRU also targeted private technology firms responsible for manufacturing and administering election-related software and hardware, such as voter registration software and electronic polling stations.”
In the NPR program – The ‘key points’ Robert Mueller made in his public appearance, Carrie Johnson and former Justice Department official John Carlin join Judy Woodruff to revisit key sections of the report and discuss Mueller’s approach to his first public appearance since his appointment two years ago. One is that the Russians attacked our lections in 2016, and they may be up to that again. Another is that the case and the evidence they assembled with respect to obstruction were such that the special counsel team could not exonerate President Trump of obstruction. And the third is that he believes that people should read his report. He says, if people read his report, the answers to their questions will be in that document.
John Carlin said, if Mueller’s team has found sufficient evidence that made it clear that the president had NOT obstructed justice, they would have said it, but they were bound by department policy not to make such a finding.
From the Mueller’s report, “substantial evidence indicates the president’s effort to have Sessions limit the scope of the special counsel’s investigation to future – to future election interference was intended to prevent further investigative scrutiny of the president’s and his campaign’s conduct.” The Mueller Report continues: “Our investigation found multiple acts by the president that were capable of exerting undue influence over law enforcement investigations, including the Russian interference and obstruction investigations.”
Special counsel pointed to a number of possible episodes of obstruction of justice. Among the most serious were efforts to fire the special counsel himself, and efforts to get attorney general at the time, Jeff Sessions, to limit the mandate of what special counsel Robert Mueller was doing, and also efforts to get the president’s own White House counsel, Don McGahn, to go out in public and issue a statement saying, the president never tried to limit the special counsel’s mandate to begin with. Even though these efforts at obstruction were not successful, they were very serious. And the special counsel’s repot says they amped up after the president himself realized he was under investigation.
According to John Carlin, there are three elements to obstruction of justice. Number one, that is there is an act, some type of act is taken that impairs an investigation (Trump had clearly acts – tried to shut the investigation down). Two, there is a nexus. Mueller’s report said, that the matters they were investigating were of paramount importance, and that, when a subject of an investigation obstructs it or lies to an investigator, it strikes at the heart of the government’s effort to find the truth and hold wrongdoers accountable. That is clearly laying out, there is a nexus. This was a hugely important investigation, and attempts to shut it down would block that official proceeding. The third is the intent. Why was the person trying to block your investigation? Was it corrupt, and corrupt in terms of the criminal law definition, means that your intent was not part of your official duties, but you had some personal motive here in order to shut the investigation down. And that’s where he says he clearly couldn’t find him innocent, and says there’s another body whose job it is to make this determination. Mueller doesn’t name Congress, but that’s Congress.
There’s certainly a point where, in the Mueller report, where the Mueller team says: “substantial evidence indicates, in repeatedly urging Don McGahn, the president’s own White House counsel, to dispute that he was ordered to have the special counsel terminated, the president acted for the purpose of influencing McGahn’s account, again, in order to deflect or prevent further scrutiny of the president’s conduct towards the investigation.” So you do see parallels between what the special counsel said today and what is in that report.