I stole that line from Wayne Shannon…real name Gerald Wayne “Gerry” Schetzle…who was a TV personality, humorist, and political pundit who died in 2011. Back in the day…when Neil and Connie were stationed out in Mare Island CA…he was employed by KRON 4 TV, the NBC affiliate in San Francisco. His segments were very similar to those done by the late Paul Harvey…he would tell you some story, usually with some humor involved and then ask his trademark question…”What’s it all mean?”…then much like Paul would do with his Page 2 announcement…proceed to tell you what the story really meant when you cut through all the BS of a political or any other variety and spoke simple English. Connie and Neil learned to appreciate his viewpoints and this day they’re known to use his tagline.
There’s some Reality Based Blogging…RBB©…in this post.
OK…some background. Anyways…just in case you were under a rock since last Friday…Special Counsel Bob Mueller submitted his report concerning any Russian interference in the 2016 election cycle and any associated participation in any alleged interference by the President’s campaign…well, he wasn’t the President yet but I digress.
There was the famous Steele dossier which was used to obtain a secret FISA warrant to investigate Mr. Trump and his presidential campaign staff…and as it turned out the document was mostly fake and was…depending on who you believe…paid for by the campaign run by his opponent Ms. Clinton.
This investigation has been going on almost two years now…ever since Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein appointed him under the Special Counsel Act which came about after the Special Prosecutor Act expired. Mr. Mueller is a Republican but everything I’ve read about him in the past two years indicates that as the former head of the FBI and a federal prosecutor he’s a quite person who doggedly goes about his job, doesn’t seek press attention, doesn’t talk to the press, and is generally thought well of by everybody.
During his investigation…he spent 675 days interviewing more than 500 witnesses using 19 lawyers, 40 FBI agents, 2,800 subpoenas, nearly 500 search warrants, more than 230 requests for communications records, 50 orders for pen registers (who was talking to him but not the contents of the communications), 13 foreign government information requests, and associated other staff…he indicted 34 people and so far has gotten 6 guilty pleas from indicted persons.
By law…his investigation must be limited to things involving what he was appointed to investigate…alleged Russian interference in the 2016 cycle…but he is allowed to indict people for other crimes he uncovered during his investigation.
By law…his task is an executive department only task…and by law he is to supply a report to the Attorney General and Assistant Attorney General detailing his decisions to prosecute or not to prosecute. By law…the AG is then to provide a report to the Congress summarizing the prosecutions and non prosecutions.
This law…the Special Counsel Act…was passed by a Democratically controlled Congress after the impeachment and acquittal of President Clinton…and the reporting and other requirements in the law were political in nature…the law specifically outlaws the public release of the complete report by a Special Counsel.
Mr. Mueller submitted his report last Friday and on Sunday AG Barr summarized Mr. Mueller’s findings to the Congress…he stated that Mr. Mueller found no collusion between the Russians and Mr. Trump’s campaign but could not exonerate Mr. Trump from any obstruction of justice charge, but Mr. Mueller also noted that longstanding Justice Department policy precluded him from indicting a sitting President but that even if he could have indicted the President Mr. Mueller found no collusion.
Naturally the media is all up in arms about this…as is the Democratically controlled House. Here are a couple of things I’ve seen since Friday.
- Trump is guilty…impeach him despite there being no evidence of Russian interference.
- He’s guilty of collusion and needs to be indicted, impeached, and removed from office yesterday.
- Mr. Mueller…who heretofore was held up as an outstanding individual by the press and Democratic Party…was bought off and needs to be investigated
- The entire contents of the report must be released immediately along with all other evidence…but not any evidence regarding whether the original FBI investigation was improperly started.
So…as Wayne used to say…”What’s it all mean?”
Before I tell ya…I gotta also tellya that ‘round these parts we’re not real great fans of the President. We like some of his policies and his constitution reading requirements for judges he appoints. We’re not so sure why he insists on a wall since most of the border with Mexico already has a fence. We think he’s not a nice person personally and that like many rich people (Robert Kraft, owner of the NE Patriots for instance) he takes advantage of women…but to some extent we (well, at least Neil, I will leave Connie’s opinion out of it) we think that some of the taking advantage of women was consensual at the time by the women as they were getting something…hanging on a rich guys arm, presents, whatever…out of the deal. I’m not attempting to rationalize rich guys behavior…but let’s be real…rich guys have been having sex with young babes for centuries.
During the 2016 cycle…we looked at it as a vote for whoever was least bad…Neil says it’s another example of why his election idea should be implemented. He says that “none of the above” should be on the ballot and if it wins you need to have a new election and those people can’t run again.
Ok…first up all you’ve read in the news for the past 2 years is “collusion, collusion, collusion”. Collusion is defined by Webster as secret agreement or cooperation especially for an illegal or deceitful purpose. The problem with reading that for the past 2 years is that collusion per se is not against the law. If…and that’s a big if…there was collusion then the actual crime that gets charged is either conspiracy or mail fraud or possibly obstruction of justice depending on the state or federal nature of the charge.
Obstruction of justice is the other thing you’ve been reading about…but again…if there was no underlying crime then obstruction of justice charges are either impossible to file or much, much harder to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.
So…what did Mr. Mueller’s report say?
First and foremost…it found no evidence that the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in it’s election interference activities. Second…and Mr. Mueller apparently told this to the AG and Assistant AG 3 weeks ago…he could neither exonerate the President from obstruction of justice charges…nor could he have indicted the President even if DoJ policy allowed him too.
Republicans…and the President…jumped on these statements as “complete vindication…no collusion, no obstruction”. Democrats have a different reaction…”was not exonerated and therefore we (Congress) need to see the complete report and all evidence so we can initiate impeachment proceedings…and demanded that both Mr. Mueller and the AG come and testify.
Now as I noted above…Mr. Mueller is prohibited by law from giving his report to Congress…and as the chief law enforcement officer in the country the AG is legally the one who gets to decide whether evidence rises to the level of indict-ability.
So…what’s really in the report. I haven’t seen it either…but my guess is that there is stuff that would be politically embarrassing to the President even though it doesn’t rise to the level of either indict-ability or “high crimes and misdemeanors” as specified in the Constitution.
The Speaker of the House has public stated that there won’t be an impeachment vote unless compelling evidence comes forth that convinces Republicans in the Senate to vote to convict the President…and at this point that seems unlikely to remote.
The House will continue to beat this drum for the next two years until the 2020 election cycle…because it’s pretty much the only thing they’ve got to run on at this point. All announced candidates are so far to the left/socialism side that the likelihood of any of them winning is essentially zero. Heck…at this point Joe Biden is being cast as a “mainstream” candidate.
The Democrat party for the past two years has been trying to undo the 2016 election. The Republicans certainly obstructed to the best of their ability the ability of President Obama to achieve his goals…but a key difference is that the latter used the rules to do so rather than some nebulous talk of impeachment. Should the House vote to impeach…which is possible since all that is required is a majority vote…but then their majority isn’t that large and there are probably some centrist Democrats that would vote their conscience instead of the way the far left wants just as there are Republicans who would vote their conscience instead of what the Tea Party folks want. However…they would need 2/3 majority…67 votes…to convict in the Senate that that just ain’t happening.
The Republicans on the other hand…they’ll keep talking about Ms. Clinton’s email server, Mr. Comey’s disregard for both classified material rules, DoJ policy, and the requirement to not leak things to the press if you’re the FBI director…but nothing will come of that either.
I also think that unless the AG keeps a real tight rein on who has the report from Mr. Mueller that some left leaning secretary or somebody in the Justice Department will leak it to the press…despite it being against the law…and if said person is identified and prosecuted the left will canonize him/her as a “brave whistleblower” on the “corrupt Justice Department”.
So now ya know what it means…is there any chance that both the White House and Congress will get back to doing their actual jobs and running the country? Probably not.
OK, on to interesting things found on the net.
Abe Lincoln…ya know, the Republican President that the left holds up as the most outstanding President of all time who ended slavery? Turns out that through most of his public life he was an avowed racist and what would be today described as a white supremacist. He also did not free the slaves…the Emancipation Proclamation…well, it only freed the slaves in the Confederate states but not those in the states fighting on the side of the north. Look it up…it’s true. It’s also true that he was opposed to slavery but wanted to just outlaw it’s spread and let it die out over time rather than free slaves from their owners with no compensation…and he wanted to essentially send all the freed slaves back to Africa (or any place else that would take them).
Turns out there’s a new language…prairiedog-ese. Apparently they have different words for human, dangerous human, coyote, dog, hawk, and other predators. They even distinguish between the color of shirt the human is wearing.
There’s a ring of truth to this…
Apparently in Chicago they need pipe fitters…look at the salary they make and they’re offering to pay students to go to school and then advance from apprentice to journeyman to master pipe fitter.
And finally…never thought about it like this.