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Saturday, March 23, 2019

Predicting the Mueller Report

As I write this, Mueller has turned over his report to the Attorney General, but we don't know what's in it.

With the full expectation that not all these predictions will be correct, I nevertheless offer my predictions:

1. There won't be an actual demonstration of "collusion" between the Trump campaign and Russia.

The logic of this prediction is as follows:

a. Bob Woodward, in interviews after his book was published, said he was looking for evidence of direct collusion, but didn't find anything definitive.

b. The Trump Tower meeting was suggestive, but this may be more attempted collusion.  If there was direct collusion, you would think Don Jr would be indicted, and Mueller has not recommended further indictments.

c. As Cohen's testimony before Congress showed, Trump often didn't give direct orders to Cohen often to break the law, he was more likely to give vague "take care of it" orders that shield him from accusations he directly ordered something to be done.

2. We know there were Russian attempts to influence the election (hence the indictments of several Russians), so we are likely to find out more.

3. We may get some hints as to illegality in Trump's business relationships, but remember these were outside Mueller's charge, and more likely to be investigated by the Southern District of New York. But since they are off the point of Mueller's charge, the report probably won't have many juicy details.

4. We already know Trump surrounded himself with scumbags, but we are likely to get a few more juicy details from those already indicted.

5. We will likely get hints that the president teetered close to obstruction of justice, but that gets tricky with a sitting president (Mueller doesn't think that can be done) and also because these people also report to the president, who is supposed to be overseeing them and they serve at the pleasure of the president. 

In my opinion, indicting a sitting president for a judgment call crime (obstruction of justice) seems like a terrible precedent, even if it is Trump. There is a constitutional remedy (impeachment), there is an electoral remedy (not being re-elected) and an eventual criminal remedy (prosecution after he leaves office). 

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