Why does President Trump savage special counsel Mueller?
Vladimir Putin has become the shadowy supervillain of U.S. politics: a seemingly omnipotent, five-dimensional-chess-playing mastermind subverting American society, sowing “chaos” across Europe, and subverting the entire world democratic order. Ever since Trump and his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton famously sniped about who was really Putin’s “puppet,” Putin himself has been conspicuously absent from discussions of potential collusion. Like Keyser Soze or Thanos, Putin is simultaneously everywhere and nowhere.
Since the 2016 election, investigative journalists have played the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon game, except linking Trump to Putin, with varying degrees of futility. Trump-Michael Flynn-Sergey Kislyak-Putin? Trump-George Papadopoulos-Joseph Mifsud-Putin? Trump-Paul Manafort-Oleg Deripaska-Sergei Prikhodko-Putin? For those with an interest in the workings of Kremlin politics, one benefit of the Mueller investigation—and all of the intelligence tools at their disposal—is that it examines not only efforts emanating from the Trump side but those from the Russian side as well. In many cases—as the Mueller report suggests—those efforts did not always link up with one another, though perhaps it was not for a lack of effort.
The 72-year-old attacked overnight the media, a federal investigator and former FBI official, all while falsely claiming there “wasn’t any evidence” he committed a crime.
The 450-page document, released in redacted form on Thursday, in fact, outlined a dozen instances in which Mr Trump tried to obstruct the investigation; potential crimes Mr Mueller declined to reach conclusions on.
By POLITICO MAGAZINE
April 19, 2019
What surprises lurked in the two thick volumes released by the Department of Justice? And, given Attorney General William Barr’s decision not to pursue any charges, which of Mueller’s findings will end up mattering the most for the remainder of Donald Trump’s presidency? POLITICO Magazine went to some of the brightest legal minds in America for the answers.
We’d already seen plenty of detail through the 199 criminal charges, and 37 criminal indictments and plea deals that emerged from Mueller’s investigations, and in the countless news stories issued in the 100 weeks since Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel. But there were still surprises, depending on what you were looking for—from Robert Mueller’s under-argued case for publishing an obstruction report at all to the sharp contradiction—noted by many of our experts—between Barr’s public statements and what Mueller’s team actually found. Here are their responses:
President Donald Trump responded to news of special counsel Robert Mueller’s 2017 appointment by telling then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions that he was “fucked,” according to a redacted version of Mueller’s report released Thursday.
“Oh my God,” the president told Sessions, according to the report. “This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I’m fucked.”
Trump went on to lambaste his attorney general for allowing Mueller’s appointment to happen, telling Sessions that the attorney general’s job had been to protect him and that Sessions had “let [him] down.” The president, according to Mueller’s report, asked Sessions: “How could you let this happen, Jeff?”