CNN Loons: Trump Is Screwed Since Mueller Report Is ‘Pretty Bad,’ ‘Very Damaging’

After a Thursday morning of losing touch with reality both before and after the release of the Mueller report, the CNN ostriches insisted that the President obstructed justice, the report is “pretty bad,” “very damaging,” Republicans are charting a legacy where lying about Russian contacts is acceptable, and the Mueller team want Congress to determine Trump’s guilt through impeachment.

Continuing his day-long crusade rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin asserted that “it sure looks like” the President is guilty of “obstruction of justice to me” because “every obstruction of justice prosecution is based on an attempt that doesn't succeed.”

 

 

Co-host Wolf Blitzer agreed: “It certainly at a moment it looks like conspiracy to obstruct justice.” Moments later, Blitzer wondered if the Mueller report “undermine[s] the very glowing assessment we heard earlier today from the attorney general of the United States” and Toobin stated that it “totally” bore out their feelings that Barr — well — lied.

Toobin then continued with an assist from chief political correspondent Dana Bash (click “expand”):

TOOBIN: It's very strong, and — and it's — it's very damaging. Now, do I think it's going to make any difference politically? I’d defer to my colleagues here. I've seen the polls on this President. They haven't moved in two and a half years. I don't think they will move now, but if you were just looking objectively at, you know, how bad it is, it's pretty bad. 

BASH: It’s bad and a conundrum that Gloria talked about before is going to be so real, it already is real, for House Democrats. Conundrum being do they have even more pressure than they had before? Intense pressure because of how bad, as you described it, Jeffrey, it is in here, the actions that the President took while in office that could lead to that — that bar of — of impeachment[.]

Going even further and shaming Republicans as if he were Jim Acosta, Inside Politics host John King seethed in a long-winded rant. Here’s the relevant chunk (click “expand”):

If people actually read this as opposed to put out their quick statements that they put out, so far what you're seeing from most Republicans is this is great. The President's innocent. Totally exonerated. It's time to move on. Well, if the Republicans actually read this, you know, that's up for the political community to decide if there's a threshold for impeachment. But so those Republicans are saying it's okay that the President's son, a key player in his campaign, was direct messaging WikiLeaks about dumping information. It's okay that the President's campaign chairman was continuing, not just once, on several occasions chaired internal campaign polling right after the Republican convention going into a general election with the Russians. It's okay that the President told his White House counsel to fire the special counsel. It's okay that they repeatedly lie about things in public and a lot of them lied to federal investigators, so that — is that what the Republican Party — is that what the Republican Party wants its legacy to be out of this document? It’s not — there's a bigger conversation and we all need to read it and read it twice about how we go forward with it, but a lot of these initial statements are ridiculous. 

Co-host Jake Tapper surmised that the report “basically kick[s] it to Congress” because “they don't reach a conclusion” on obstruction. 
 

 

 

And then while speaking to crime and Justice reporter Laura Jarrett (and daughter of longtime Obama aide Valerie Jarrett), he asserted that Barr misled the public when a sentence he quoted from the Mueller report in his March 25 letter because the report was “basically saying now this goes to the U.S. House of Representatives.”

Jarrett’s responded by endorsing the House taking up Trump’s guilt (click “expand”):

Yeah. He's certainly not exonerating him by any means at all. He makes it pretty clear. If we had confidence that we could exonerate him we would, but we can’t. We can't get there and there's nothing that stops congress, even though Bill Barr, the attorney general has said the President didn’t obstruct justice in his view, it’s pretty clear there’s nothing that stops Congress right now. They don't need a referral from the Robert Mueller to pick up the baton and do something about it if they so choose. Robert Mueller is pretty clear that there’s, obviously, separations of powers in things like that but there’s nothing to prevent them from proceeding with their own obstruction inquiry.

“[B]ut actually what Mueller does is much more complicated, much less tidy and doesn't tie anything up. It basically says Nancy Pelosi, over to you,” Tapper added afterward.

Later, Toobin argued that Trump’s visceral reaction to Mueller’s appointment was enough to prove Trump’s “motive to try to end or interfere with this investigation” and thus obstruct justice by “eliminat[ing] the possibility that it was an accident or joke” by the ten instances the report laid out.

So again, it’s full speed ahead for CNN as if nothing has changed in the last two years and that the President should be removed from office.

Ten minutes before the top of the hour (1:00 p.m. Eastern), Tapper bolstered the panel-wide belief of Trump’s guilt by predicting that Trump would be charged if he weren’t President:

And I think it's fair to say that it's impossible to read this report and think, if this was Donald Trump, CEO, charged with all these things in terms of obstruction of justice, that the action would have been the same. He details action after action after action that they clearly seem to think is potentially if not definitively obstruction of justice with the underlying argument but we can't prosecute him because he’s President of the United States. 

To see the relevant transcript from CNN’s Inside Politics on April 18, click “expand.”

CNN’s Inside Politics
April 18, 2019
12:10 p.m. Eastern

JEFFREY TOOBIN: You know, the report has an interesting legal section, you know, on the law of obstruction of justice, and it makes very clear that it is a crime to endeavor, that's the word in the statute, to endeavor to obstruct justice. It is not required that the obstruction effort be successful. I mean, when you think about it, every obstruction of justice prosecution is unsuccessful is basically — every obstruction of justice prosecution is based on an attempt that doesn't succeed or the people wouldn't have been caught. Richard Nixon didn't succeed in obstruction of justice because he was forced to resign. The fact that these public servants, Don McGahn, James Comey, and others protected the President doesn't protect him from committing a crime. I look at this evidence, and it sure looks like obstruction to justice to me. Another point —

WOLF BLITZER: Let me interrupt for a moment. It certainly at a moment it looks like conspiracy to obstruct justice 

TOOBIN: Correct and one of the things that they say in the introduction is they’re not dealing with issues of intent very extensively. They say that if we were recommending an actual prosecution, we would talk about intent, so, you know — though you can hardly say that this is a small report, it doesn't really address the issue in any great detail of whether there was corrupt improper criminal intent by the President in these areas. 

(....)

12:17 p.m. Eastern

BLITZER: Now that we know all these facts, Jeffrey, and you can answer this and I’m going to have some others answer it as well. Now that we know all of these facts that are actually in the 400-page Mueller report, doesn't that undermine the very glowing assessment we heard earlier today from the attorney general of the United States? 

TOOBIN: Totally. I mean, it's — it's just — I mean, it’s — you know, yesterday we were trying to figure out what the President meant when he said there are going to be hard things in the report which I didn't understand what that meant. Now I understand. 

GLORIA BORGER: Tough. Strong, yeah.

TOOBIN: Tough. I mean — was it strong?

CARRIE CORDERO: Yeah. 

TOOBIN: Strong things. Hard things. Strong things. It was strong things. It's very strong, and — and it's — it's very damaging. Now, do I think it's going to make any difference politically? I’d defer to my colleagues here. I've seen the polls on this President. They haven't moved in two and a half years. I don't think they will move now, but if you were just looking objectively at, you know, how bad it is, it's pretty bad. 

DANA BASH: It’s bad and a conundrum that Gloria talked about before is going to be so real, it already is real, for House Democrats. Conundrum being do they have even more pressure than they had before? Intense pressure because of how bad, as you described it, Jeffrey, it is in here, the actions that the President took while in office that could lead to that — that bar of — of impeachment, or do they say — do the Democrats say to their base and to the American people, you know what? We have an election coming up. It's not going to be us who decides. It's going to be the American people at the voting booth. That is going to be and that already is the discussion I have no doubt going on within the Democratic leadership right now. 

BORGER: And — and the portrait as we read through this that is emerging of this President is of somebody who needed to be managed and who needed to be saved from himself and in reading through this, it wasn't only Don McGahn who thought, okay, I have to quit. It was Reince Priebus who didn't want to get involved in the firing of – of then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions. So time and time again you have people saying to themselves, okay, if I have to do this, I have to leave, and then they managed the President. 

(....)

12:20 p.m. Eastern

JOHN KING: If people actually read this as opposed to put out their quick statements that they put out, so far what you're seeing from most Republicans is this is great. The President's innocent. Totally exonerated. It's time to move on. Well, if the Republicans actually read this, you know, that's up for the political community to decide if there's a threshold for impeachment. But so those Republicans are saying it's okay that the President's son, a key player in his campaign, was direct messaging WikiLeaks about dumping information. It's okay that the President's campaign chairman was continuing, not just once, on several occasions chaired internal campaign polling right after the Republican convention going into a general election with the Russians. It's okay that the President told his White House counsel to fire the special counsel. It's okay that they repeatedly lie about things in public and a lot of them lied to federal investigators, so that — is that what the Republican Party — is that what the Republican Party wants its legacy to be out of this document? It’s not — there's a bigger conversation and we all need to read it and read it twice about how we go forward with it, but a lot of these initial statements are ridiculous. 

(....)

12:37 p.m. Eastern

JAKE TAPPER: They basically kick it to Congress. 

ANDERSON COOPER: Exactly. 

TAPPER: “The conclusion that Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the President's corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law.” They don't reach a conclusion. They say basically ball’s in your court, Congress.

COOPER: They also reiterate that here and in this. They say: “In part from OLC’s constitutional view, we recognize that a federal criminal investigation would place a burdens on the President's capacity to govern and preempt constitutional processes for addressing presidential unconstitutional conduct.” Constitutional processes being impeachment. 

TAPPER: And it’s interesting, Laura, because, half a sentence of this was cited by Barr in his letter three weeks ago practically absolving the President because Barr said that he concluded that there is no obstruction of justice for a number of reasons he goes into, but actually in the context of what Mueller is doing is not exonerating the President, as he clearly states, but basically saying now this goes to the U.S. House of Representatives. 

LAURA JARRETT: Yeah. He's certainly not exonerating him by any means at all. He makes it pretty clear. If we had confidence that we could exonerate him we would, but we can’t. We can't get there and there's nothing that stops congress, even though Bill Barr, the attorney general has said the President didn’t obstruct justice in his view, it’s pretty clear there’s nothing that stops Congress right now. They don't need a referral from the Robert Mueller to pick up the baton and do something about it if they so choose. Robert Mueller is pretty clear that there’s, obviously, separations of powers in things like that but there’s nothing to prevent them from proceeding with their own obstruction inquiry.. 

(....)

12:40 p.m. Eastern

TAPPER: [B]ut actually what Mueller does is much more complicated, much less tidy and doesn't tie anything up. It basically says Nancy Pelosi, over to you. 

JARRETT: This is why we needed to see the full report ourselves and read it word for word. 

(....)

12:44 p.m. Eastern

TOOBIN: What makes that statement so significant in addition to the fact that it's colorful and we'll all remember it, this is the end is that it gives a motive to all of his subsequent dealings with the investigation. If you think that the investigation means that this is the end of his presidency, it means that you have a motive to try to end or interfere with this investigation. 

COOPER: Well it specifically points out that there was a change in his conduct and his statements and his whole attitude towards the investigation after learning that he actually was — that they were investigating him and his campaign, that it wasn't just Flynn — he thought after Flynn that — that the whole Russia thing, as he said, would go away. 

TOOBIN: And that's why, you know, it's very important that we parse each of these ten incidents in the evidence, but it is also important to note that there are ten of them and they all show in the same direction and they all show the same — they all have the same general objective and, you know, when you’re a prosecutor, the fact that someone does something repeatedly is of great significance, that it eliminates the possibility that it was an accident or joke and that's the evidence here. 

(....)

12:50 p.m. Eastern

TAPPER: And I think it's fair to say that it's impossible to read this report and think, if this was Donald Trump, CEO —

TOOBIN: Right. 

TAPPER: — charged with all these things in terms of obstruction of justice, that the action would have been the same. 

TOOBIN: Absolutely. 

TAPPER: He details action after action after action that they clearly seem to think is potentially if not definitively obstruction of justice with the underlying argument but we can't prosecute him because he’s President of the United States. 

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