BOOM! The White House Strikes Back.

Today’s Campaign Update, Part III
(Because The Campaign Never Ends)

The Trump White House struck back at Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his sham final report on Friday, in the form of a five-page letter from counsel Emmet Flood. Below is the full text for those who hate trying to read these things in the grainy .pdf format in which it appears at various website:

 

 

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THE  WHITE HOUSE

WASHINGTON

April 19. 2019

Via Hand Delivery

The Honorable William P. Barr Attorney General of the United States United States Department of Justice 950 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W. Washington D.C. 20530

 

Dear Mr. Attorney General:

I write on behalf of the Office of the President to memorialize concerns relating to the form of the Special Counsel’s Office (“SCO”) Report (‘”SCO Report” or “Report”) and to address executive privilege issues associated with its release.

The SCO Report suffers from an extraordinary legal defect: It quite deliberately fails to comply with the requirements of governing law. Lest the Report’s release be taken as a ” precedent” or perceived as somehow legitimating the defect, I write with both the President and future Presidents in mind to make the following points clear.

I begin with the SCO’s stated conclusion on the obstruction question: The SCO concluded that the evidence “prevent[ed] [it] from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred.” SCO Report v.2, p.2. But “conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred” was not the SCO’s assigned task, because making conclusive determinations of innocence is never the task of the federal prosecutor.

What prosecutors are supposed to do is complete an investigation and then either ask the grand jury to return an indictment or decline to charge the case. When prosecutors decline to charge, they make that decision not because they have “conclusively determin[ed] that no criminal conduct occurred,” but rather because they do not believe that the investigated conduct constitutes a crime for which all the elements can be proven to the satisfaction of a jury beyond a reasonable doubt. Prosecutors simply are not in the business of establishing innocence, any more than they are in the business of “exonerating” investigated persons. In the American justice system, innocence is presumed; there is never any need for prosecutors to ” conclusively determine” it. Nor is there any place for such a determination. Our country would be a very different (and very dangerous) place if prosecutors applied the SCO standard and citizens were obliged to prove “conclusive ly . . . that no criminal conduct occurred.”

Because they do not belong to our criminal justice vocabulary, the SCO’s inverted-proof­ standard and “exoneration” statements can be understood only as political statements, issuing from persons (federal prosecutors) who in our system of government are rightly expected never to be political in the performance of their duties. The inverted burden of proof knowingly embedded in the SCO ‘ s conclusion shows that the Special Counsel and his staff failed in their duty to act as prosecutors and only as prosecutors.

Second, and equally importantly: In closing its investigation, the SCO had only one job – to ‘·provide the Attorney General with a confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions reached by the Special Counsel.’. 28 C.F.R. § 600.S(c). Yet the one thing the SCO was obligated to do is the very thing the SCO – intentionally and unapologetically ­ refused to do. The SCO made neither a prosecution decision nor a declination decision on the obstruction question. Instead, it transmitted a 182-page discussion of raw evidentiary material combined with its own inconclusive observations on the arguable legal significance of the gathered content. As a result , none of the Report’s Volume 11 complied with the obligation imposed by the governing regulation to ·’explain[] the prosecution or declination decisions reached.” Id.

The SCO instead produced a prosecutorial curiosity – part ”truth commission” report and part law school exam paper.  Far more detailed than the text of any known criminal indictment or declination memorandum, the Report is laden with factual information that has never been subjected to adversarial testing or independent analysis. That information is accompanied by  a series of inexplicably inconclusive observations (inexplicable, that is, coming from a prosecutor) concerning possible applications of law to fact. This species of public report has no basis in the relevant regulation and no precedent in the history of special/independent counsel investigations .

An investigation of the President under a regulation that clearly specifies a very particular form of closing documentation is not the place for indulging creative departures from governing law. Under general prosecutorial principles, and under the Special Counsel regulation’s specific language, prosecutors are to speak publicly through indictments or confidentially in declination memoranda. By way of justifying this departure, it has been suggested that the Report was written with the intent of providing Congress some  kind of ‘roadmap’ for congressional action.  See,e.g., Remarks of House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, 4/18 /19 (Press Conference ). 1 If that was in fact the SCO’s intention, it too serves as additional evidence of the SCO’s refusal to follow applicable law. Both the language of the regulation and its “‘legislative ” hjstory make plain that the ‘·[c]losing documentation” language was promulgated for the specific purpose of preventing the creation of this sort of final report.2 Under a constitution of separated powers, inferior Article II officers should not be in the business of creating ‘road maps” for the purpose of transmitting them to Article I committees.

With the release of the SCO Report, and despite all of the foregoing, the President has followed through on his consistent promise of transparency. He encouraged every White House staffer to cooperate fully with the SCO and, so far as we are aware, all have done so. Voluntary interviewees included the Counsel to the President, two Chiefs of Staff, the Press Secretary and numerous others. In addition, approximately 1.4 million pages of documents were provided to the SCO. This voluntary cooperation was given on the understanding (reached with the SCO) that information (i) gathered directly from the White House or White House staffers and (ii) having to do with Presidential communications, White House deliberations, law enforcement information, and perhaps other matter may be subject to a potential claim of executive privilege and, for that reason, would be treated by the SCO as presumptively privileged.  Volume II of the report contains a great deal of presumptively privileged information, largely in the form of references to, and descriptions of, White House staff interviews with the SCO. It also includes reference to presumptively privileged documentary materials.

The President is aware that, had he chosen to do so, he could have withheld such information on executive privilege grounds, basing such an assertion on the established principle that to permit release of such information might have a chilling effect on a President’s advisors, causing them to be less than fully frank in providing advice to a President. Notwithstanding his right to assert such a privilege, and with a measure of reluctance born of concern for future Presidents and their advisors, the President has in this instance elected not to assert executive privilege over any of the presumptively privileged portions of the report. As a consequence, not a single redaction in the Report was done on the advice of or at the direction of the White House.

The President therefore wants the following features of his decision to be known and understood:

  • His decision not to assert privilege is not a waiver of executive privilege for any other material or for any other purpose;
  • His decision to permit disclosure of executive-privileged portions of the report does not waive any privileges or protections for the SCO’ s underlying investigative materials such as, for example, FBI Form 302 witness interview summaries and presumptively privileged documents made available to the SCO by the White House.
  • His decision does not affect his ability as President  to  instruct  his advisors to decline to appear before congressional committees  to  answer  questions  on  these same subjects. It is one thing for a President to encourage complete cooperation and transparency in a criminal investigation  conducted  largely within the  Executive Branch; it is  something  else entirely  to allow  his advisors to  appear  before Congress, a coordinate branch of government, and answer questions relating to their communications with the President and with each other. The former course reflected the President’s recognition of the importance  of  promoting  cooperation  with  a criminal investigation. The latter course creates profound separation  of  powers concerns and- if not defended aggressively – threatens to undermine the integrity of Executive Branch deliberations. The President is determined to protect from congressional scrutiny not only the advice rendered by his own advisors, but also by advisors to future Presidents.

 

A great deal is said these days about the rule of law and the importance of legal norms. In that spirit, and mindful of the frenzied atmosphere accompanying the Report’s release, the following should not be forgotten. Government officials, with access to classified information derived from a counterintelligence investigation and from classified intelligence intercepts, engaged in a campaign of illegal leaks against the President. Many of those leaks were felonies.

They disclosed the identity of a U.S. person in violation of his civil rights; they misused intelligence for partisan political purposes; and they eroded public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of our intelligence services. The criminal investigation began with a breach of confidentiality executed by a very senior administration official who was himself an intelligence service chief.  This leak of confidential information, personally directed by the former Director of the FBI, triggered the creation of the SCO itself – precisely as he intended it to do.

Not so long ago, the idea that a law enforcement official might provide the press with confidential governmental information for the proclaimed purpose of prompting a criminal investigation of an identified individual would have troubled Americans of all political persuasions. That the head of our country’s top law enforcement agency has actually done so to the President of the United States should frighten every friend of individual liberty. Under our system of government, unelected Executive Branch officers and intelligence agency personnel are supposed to answer to the person elected by the people – the President – and not the other way around. This is not a Democratic or a Republican issue; it is a matter of having a government responsible to the people – and, again, not the other way around. In the partisan commotion surrounding the released Report, it would be well to remember that what can be done to a President can be done to any of us.

These leaks and this investigation also caused immense and continuing interference with the functioning of the Executive Branch. Our constitution makes the President the sole constitutional officer for whom the entire Nation votes, and [who] represent[s] the entire Nation both domestically and abroad.” Clinton v. Jones, 520 U.S. 681, 711 (1997) (Breyer, J., concurring). As a result, ‘·[i] nterference with a President ‘s ability to carry out his public responsibilities is constitutionally equivalent to interference with the ability of the entirety of Congress, or the Judicial Branch, to carry out its public obligations.” Id. at 713. It is inarguable that the now-resolved allegation of ·’Russian collusion” placed a cloud over the Presidency that has only begun to lift in recent weeks. The pendency of the SCO investigation plainly interfered with the President’s ability to carry out his public responsibility to serve the American people and to govern effectively. These very public and widely felt consequences flowed from, and were fueled by, improper disclosures by senior government officials with access to classified information. That this continues to go largely unremarked should worry all civil libertarians, all supporters of investigative due process, and all believers in limited and effective government under the Constitution.

I respectfully ask you to include a copy of this letter in the Department’s records relating to the SCO investigation.

Sincerely

Emmet T. Flood

Special Counsel to the President

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Here is what all of this means:

  • President Trump is, from this point forward going to be making extensive and rightful claims of executive privilege in order to protect his employees from being ruined financially by despicable Democrats in congress who want them to appear in hearings purely for the purpose of trying to entrap them in a “perjury trap.”
  • He is also going to be making such executive privilege claims in order to protect the priorities and rights of the executive branch of government against an out-of-control house of representatives that is desperate to continue Mueller’s two year of obstructing his presidency.
  • The President is going to very shortly begin declassify broad swaths of documents that the Mueller people did everything they could to hide from the public now that Mueller’s coup attempt has run aground.
  • Many of those documents will be released either shortly before or shortly after the issuance of the upcoming Hororwitz report on FISA abuse, since they have direct bearing on that subject.
  • Barr is moving very quickly in his own investigation of the real bad actors who attempted to fix the 2016 election and execute a coup d’etat on a duly-elected POTUS.

And here is who should be most worried about Barr’s piece of this: James Comey and the others who made a habit of leaking classified information to their friends in the fake news media, and members of the press who financially benefitted from that relationship and/or provided compensation to the leakers in exchange for the information. That is what the following passage is all about:

Government officials, with access to classified information derived from a counterintelligence investigation and from classified intelligence intercepts, engaged in a campaign of illegal leaks against the President. Many of those leaks were felonies.

They disclosed the identity of a U.S. person in violation of his civil rights; they misused intelligence for partisan political purposes; and they eroded public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of our intelligence services. The criminal investigation began with a breach of confidentiality executed by a very senior administration official who was himself an intelligence service chief.  This leak of confidential information, personally directed by the former Director of the FBI, triggered the creation of the SCO itself – precisely as he intended it to do.

Mr. Comey is scheduled to appear in his own personal “townhall” on CNN next week. He’d be a lot smarter to huddle up with his personal defense lawyers instead.

That is all.

Follow me on Twitter at @GDBlackmon

Today’s news moves at a faster pace than ever. Whatfinger.com is my go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time.

9 thoughts on “BOOM! The White House Strikes Back.

  1. TM1 - May 3, 2019

    Rolling down the road to MAGA

  2. Greg - May 3, 2019

    I think the true sign will be when you see people like the Clintons and the Obamas, and maybe some some smaller fish, literally flee the country to escape arrest (probably to places without extradition treaties). Then you’ll know the s**t is really going down. Only before we get to that point, be prepared for a whole slew of false flag attacks and God knows what else as they go last ditch “Crazy Ivan” in an effort to distract or disrupt the nation to a point of chaos that renders the wheels of justice unable to turn. And they won’t care what they have to destroy or who they have to kill. These evil monsters will go straight up scorched earth before they finally try to cut and run.

    1. merlintobie - May 3, 2019

      agree, well put

      IMO the Presidential security budget cannot be too high

      I sincerely hope they spare NO expense

    2. Kevin - May 4, 2019

      And they will run into a wall of steel

  3. RandyLee - May 3, 2019

    Here is what all of this means: democrats best be packing a lunch and bringing a flashlight. they are in for a long rough ride and it isn’t going to be pretty for them.

  4. Mesmer - May 4, 2019

    Just fantasizing a little here, but wouldn’t it be great if Federal Prosecutors marched right on to the set of Comey’s “townhall” and arrested him right then and there? Oh how fitting that would be. Plus, all the people forced to watch CNN in airports would get something worth watching for once.

    1. guidvce4 - May 4, 2019

      Mesmer, you got me laughing at just he picture you conjoured up. I can just envision the US Marshalls walking on to the stage and trying to be restrained by whatever security detail Comey has around him at this point. I’m sure they would fade away, not wanting to be brought up on charges of obstruction of federal officers.
      I’d watch the CNN rerun of that, if they had the guts to play it.

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