But Trump’s troubles aren’t completely over. A number of other investigations are continuing
Exonerated? In legal terms, yes. Remember, though, Mueller was running a criminal investigation, looking for proof that would convince a jury ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ – that’s what prosecutors do in criminal cases. But there was also a counterintelligence investigation. Intelligence findings might contain evidence that isn’t enough for a criminal prosecution – but is still evidence. That’s why Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, issued this statement before Mueller’s findings were revealed: ‘Mueller’s report is likely to focus on his prosecutorial decisions and may not shed necessary light on counterintelligence findings of profound significance to our committee and the nation – whether the president or others around him have been compromised by a foreign power.’ Schiff may be flogging a dead donkey, but he said that if his committee did not get the counterintelligence findings, they could subpoena Mueller. After all, Mueller was careful to say he could not ‘establish’ that the Trump campaign conspired with Russia. That one word could span the ravine between intelligence findings and evidence in a criminal trial – is Mueller saying there was no evidence of collusion, or no evidence he could prosecute on?
If Mueller does find himself before a Congressional committee, another question for him would be: did you want to indict the president for obstruction? Did the Attorney General tell you not to ask for that? Those questions arise from the strange way that Mueller threw the decision on obstruction over to Barr. Two weeks ago, Cockburn was told there was a fight between Barr and Mueller over whether to indict Trump. If this was really what was happening, it would explain the odd choreography now. It might explain the Attorney General’s statement in his letter that on obstruction, Mueller had ‘not exonerated’ Trump – though a page later, Barr himself does. Yes, Barr had told Congress on Friday that there were ‘no requests’ of Mueller’s that were denied, but perhaps Mueller never made a formal request about obstruction, knowing that it would have to be denied given Barr’s previous public statements. (He wrote a letter to Congress last summer, saying the president couldn’t be charged with obstruction.) Cockburn’s source has some credibility on this issue as he also said – and we reported here – that Mueller’s report ‘would not make the case for collusion’.
One more thing from Cockburn’s informant in that story two weeks ago: the older Trump children, and Jared, would be indicted. The former director of the CIA, John Brennan, had also said in a TV interview that Mueller might indict Trump’s ‘family’ – the older children – or ‘extended family’ – Jared. So where are the indictments? Was the source, along with Brennan, simply wrong about this? Mueller did not announce any indictments. But Brennan also said: ‘I think Robert Mueller wants to be able to conclude his work and turn over the investigative threads to the Southern District of New York, the Eastern District of Virginia and other jurisdictions as appropriate.’ There are multiple investigations of Trump’s businesses going on, the most significant being in New York, both state and federal. For years, Trump’s children have taken the lead in the Trump Organization, Trump himself appearing on The Apprentice rather than running his own business. One source told Cockburn that the New York state attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, was ‘days away’ from charging some of the Trump children when he was forced out in a #MeToo scandal. Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, has been helping prosecutors in New York. Cockburn hears that he’s been telling people that ‘the Trump Organization is done, over.’
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