CNN Panel Celebrates Mueller Report as ‘Road Map’ for Dems to Impeach Trump

In the first hour since the liberal media had time Thursday morning to sift through the Mueller report, the CNN analysts and hosts masquerading as Loony Tunes characters were distressed the Mueller team didn’t make a ruling on whether President Trump obstructed justice. But on the other hand, they cheered the report’s ten instances of possible obstruction constituted a “road map” for the House to impeach the President. 

Chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin complained less than ten minutes after the report went live that the Mueller team’s decision-making were “inconsistent with all the reporting I have done about Robert Mueller’s tradition and history and personality and temperament.”

 

 

“I think overarching the — this decision has to be the Department of Justice policy that they couldn't prosecute the President anyway. So there was no real pressure to make the decision of up or down indictment or no indictment. So why not punt? But I still think it's strange,” he added.

National security analyst and former Kasich campaign aide Carrie Cordero followed moments later, setting the scene for the impeachment discussion later by observing that, based on the Mueller report’s reasoning, “they did factor in the fact that there never was going to be a prosecutable case, and this was the facts that they developed through the course of their investigation ultimately is a political question.”

Toobin came back at the 11:28 a.m. Eastern mark, appearing exasperated (click “expand”):

TOOBIN: It’s a — it’s lot of evidence. To be honest, I'm just trying to figure out where things are going. You know, what's significant about the ten incidents is that there are ten of them and they all point in the same direction and in each individual incident, there is a perhaps innocent explanation, but when you see the President over and over again trying to interfere, trying to stop, trying to stop people from cooperating, there's a very interesting section I'm reading now about Michael Cohen, about the efforts to get him not to cooperate and then to punish him once he does cooperate with law enforcement. But again, there are explanations for each individual act by the President and his allies. It becomes harder to justify them when there are so many of them, all pointing in the same direction. 

JAKE TAPPER: Generally speaking, I’m no legal expert, but when prosecutors have an example of ten — ten examples of something happened, they generally don't give the benefit of the doubt to the potential subject or defendant.

It was ten minutes later that co-host Jake Tapper moved the discussion toward impeachment with the statement that while Mueller “did not reach a specific conclusion” on obstruction, “this document now goes from being a legal document to becoming a political document.”

“And the House now being controlled by Democrats is incredibly relevant to this, and Democrats are going to look at these ten episodes of potential obstruction, I'm guessing, just throwing it out there, quite differently than the way Attorney General Barr does,” Tapper continued.

Chief political correspondent Dana Bash went there, proclaiming that the Mueller report is “a road map to potential impeachment proceedings” and “maybe even more than potential” because even though “[t]hey're going to be careful and clear,” she’s “already hearing from Democrats in the House that they want to hear from Robert Mueller himself.”

Bash elaborated (click “expand”):

[B]ut knowing about his personality and the way he approaches this, he's not going to go up to Congress and say yeah, I think he should be impeached. He's going to say look at what I did and what he did in here, as Pamela just laid out, is a road map, a ten-episode road map for really serious consideration for impeachment, because these are things that the Mueller team concluded were intended to derail their investigation and so when I say it's going to be hard for the Democrats in the House to not at least look at that, it is because it is just as you said, Jake, spot on. This is a political question that is why Robert Mueller didn't make a conclusion. He just laid out the fact. It is a political question whether or not what the President did, according to Mueller, reaches the level of high crimes and misdemeanors which is what the constitutional bar is. 

Inside Politics host John King then read what liberals have already asserted is the green light for impeachment (click “expand”)

He essentially says so. He says so. He says we never want to entertain the question of indictment because you don't indict a sitting president, right? That's what the justice department says. Then he says if we could have said there was no obstruction, we would have said so although it's telling that he doesn't. He said “we recognize that a federal criminal investigation against the President would place burdens of the President's capacity to govern and” here’s the important part “potentially preempt constitutional processes for addressing presidential misconduct.” That means Congress. He — he was deliberately saying I'm not the fire department because the Justice Department says you can't indict a sitting president, but here's the smoke. 

Co-host Wolf Blitzer went to chief political analyst Gloria Borger and hit Nancy Pelosi from the left: “But I have to start, Gloria, with the House of Representatives and the Speaker Nancy Pelosi has already said, you know what? Between now and the 2020 election, the Democrats in the house, they have a lot more important things to do than focus in on impeachment right now. Do you think this document is going to change Nancy Pelosi’s attitude?”

Borger joined in, opining that Pelosi and her team “have a bit of a conundrum here.”

To see the relevant transcript from CNN’s At This Hour on April 18, click “expand.”

CNN’s At This Hour
April 18, 2019
11:08 a.m. Eastern

JAKE TAPPER: And Jeffrey Toobin, what do you make of Robert Mueller even putting that out there? I mean, if you can't reach a conclusion, why leave it up in the air like that? 

JEFFREY TOOBIN: I have to tell you, it is inconsistent with all the reporting I have done about Robert Mueller’s tradition and history and personality and temperament. I think overarching the — this decision has to be the Department of Justice policy that they couldn't prosecute the President anyway. So there was no real pressure to make the decision of up or down indictment or no indictment. So why not punt? But I still think it's strange. 

TAPPER: It’s unusual, no question.

(....)

11:11 a.m. Eastern

CARRIE CORDERO: It also sounds like they were encountering a set of facts that they really were wrestling with and on that point, it is odd for a special prosecutor not to make — any prosecutor not to be able to decide one way or another. There's a standard. The standard is could they have a reasonable likelihood of succeeding on the merits in a case and so what I think I'm hearing from what Laura is describing so far is that they did factor in the fact that there never was going to be a prosecutable case, and this was the facts that they developed through the course of their investigation ultimately is a political question.

(....)

11:26 a.m. Eastern

TAPPER: And also, interestingly, Laura, the attorney general at the time, Jeff Sessions recused himself on the advice of the Department of Ethics lawyers in the Justice Department, but the special counsel basically says that his meetings, Jeff Sessions’s meetings with Russian officials, were — were nondescript and benign and nothing really substantive happened in those meetings. 

LAURA JARRETT: Yeah. That's right, but it's interesting the special counsel still took note of all the pressure he was putting on Sessions to unrecuse, and of course, the big question there is why. Why was it so important to have an attorney general that he thought had his back, and clearly, he wasn't successful in those efforts, but they do outline all of the different pressures he put on a whole host of other people, even his deputy national security adviser, K.T. Mcfarland, wanting her to write a certain statement about conversations about Russian sanctions with Flynn. She didn't do it because she wasn't sure it was truthful. So, there's a whole host of efforts, I will call, of pressure on former administration officials. 

(....)

11:28 a.m. Eastern

TOOBIN: It’s a — it’s lot of evidence. To be honest, I'm just trying to figure out where things are going. You know, what's significant about the ten incidents is that there are ten of them and they all point in the same direction and in each individual incident, there is a perhaps innocent explanation, but when you see the President over and over again trying to interfere, trying to stop, trying to stop people from cooperating, there's a very interesting section I'm reading now about Michael Cohen, about the efforts to get him not to cooperate and then to punish him once he does cooperate with law enforcement. But again, there are explanations for each individual act by the President and his allies. It becomes harder to justify them when there are so many of them, all pointing in the same direction. 

TAPPER: Generally speaking, I’m no legal expert, but when prosecutors have an example of ten — ten examples of something happened, they generally don't give the benefit of the doubt to the potential subject or defendant.

CORDERO: Well, and — and I think also what's interesting is that it confirms, it seems to confirm in the report that just because things happen in public doesn't necessarily mean that it doesn't still provide evidence for potentially criminal behavior or activity that would be in violation of the statute. So certainly, the President's intent would have been relevant in the obstruction case, but if there were ten different scenarios, again, I think one of the most important things that are going to come out of the hearings of the attorney general and the special counsel is why under the obstruction statute didn't you think that this wasn't — you could look at an obstruction case on one or two examples. If there were ten examples of the President trying to derail, obstruction, or destruct the investigation, why wasn't that sufficient?

(....)

11:38 a.m. Eastern

TAPPER: And in terms of the obstruction of justice charge, though we know that Attorney General Barr doesn't think there's anything there that's prosecutable, and — and — and we know that Mueller at the very least was ambivalent and did not reach a specific conclusion, this document now goes from being a legal document to becoming a political document. 

DANA BASH: Absolutely. 

TAPPER: And the House now being controlled by Democrats is incredibly relevant to this, and Democrats are going to look at these ten episodes of potential obstruction, I'm guessing, just throwing it out there, quite differently than the way Attorney General Barr does. 

BASH: As a road map to potential impeachment proceedings. Maybe even more than potential. They're going to be careful and clear. We're already hearing from Democrats in the House that they want to hear from Robert Mueller himself, but knowing about his personality and the way he approaches this, he's not going to go up to Congress and say yeah, I think he should be impeached. He's going to say look at what I did and what he did in here, as Pamela just laid out, is a road map, a ten-episode road map for really serious consideration for impeachment, because these are things that the Mueller team concluded were intended to derail their investigation and so when I say it's going to be hard for the Democrats in the House to not at least look at that, it is because it is just as you said, Jake, spot on. This is a political question that is why Robert Mueller didn't make a conclusion. He just laid out the fact. It is a political question whether or not what the President did, according to Mueller, reaches the level of high crimes and misdemeanors which is what the constitutional bar is. 

JOHN KING: He essentially says so. He says so. He says we never want to entertain the question of indictment because you don't indict a sitting president, right? That's what the Justice Department says. Then he says if we could have said there was no obstruction, we would have said so although it's telling that he doesn't. He said “we recognize that a federal criminal investigation against the President would place burdens of the President's capacity to govern and” here’s the important part “potentially preempt constitutional processes for addressing presidential misconduct.” That means Congress. He — he was deliberately saying I'm not the fire department because the Justice Department says you can't indict a sitting president, but here's the smoke. 

WOLF BLITZER: But I have to start, Gloria, with the House of Representatives and the Speaker Nancy Pelosi has already said, you know what? Between now and the 2020 election, the Democrats in the house, they have a lot more important things to do than focus in on impeachment right now. Do you think this document is going to change Nancy Pelosi’s attitude? 

BORGER: Well, I think they have a bit of a conundrum here.

BASH: Exactly.

BORGER: And they're going to have to sit down, read this report, and figure it out. And the question that I really have, and the lawyers can answer this, the question that I really have, you know, as in collusion, the word knowingly was important, did anyone knowingly collude, et cetera, and the answer to that from Mueller and Barr is no, you couldn't establish that. Is that the same question you have to ask with obstruction? Because it seems to me in starting to read this voluminous report, that you did have a President who was frustrated, angry, lashing out, trying to get his White House counsel to fire Mueller, and then apparently trying to get him to say that the President didn't get him to fire Mueller. So you have a President, you know, talking to his national security team about this. You know, talking to Comey about this, et cetera and is there something in this that says, well, the President didn't know that he was obstructing anything, that he was ignorant of the law in this matter, and therefore, we shouldn't treat it the same way we would treat someone who was knowingly obstructing justice? 

NB Daily Congress Mueller Report Push to Impeach Trump Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats Trump-Russia probe CNN Other CNN Video Government & Press Robert Mueller Jake Tapper Wolf Blitzer Dana Bash John King Jeffrey Toobin Laura Jarrett Donald Trump Nancy Pelosi
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