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May 01, 2018

New York Times Publishes Lists of Mueller's Questions for Trump, Presumably Leaked by Member of Office of the Special Counsel

This list of questions seems to have two obvious purposes and one sneaky one.

The obvious purposes:

To get Trump to provide evidence against himself which Mueller's team has failed to gather from other sources. Obviously, Trump should not answer questions with this purpose.

To get Trump in a perjury trap in which his answer disagrees, if only slightly and arguably, from an answer of another interviewee, in which case Mueller will proclaim the other interviewee to be obviously telling the truth (even if that "truth" was obtained in exchange for immunity or a light plea deal) and claim Trump has committed perjury. Obviously, Trump should not answer questions with this purpose.

Alan Derschowitz proposes a sneaky angle to the questions: That they have been constructed to not be answered by "Yes" or "No," but have been constructed to invite open-ended answers and digressions, to encourage Trump to ramble on and wind up talking about things not even asked about or even much thought about, for which they can then charge him with perjury.

Trump is a rambler, and his mouth often seems to be an independently-acting organism with full autonomy of action and little guidance from his brain.

Given that this is obviously a set-up, and that the Special Counsel's office is acting unethically even by leaking these questions to its partner-in-crime the media, Trump should just invoke any privilege not to answer, from the Article 2 separation of powers to executive privilege to "any other privileges I may enjoy" (a method of invoking the 5th Amendment without saying "I invoke the 5th," which Democrats employed during previous investigations), and tell Mueller to go spit.

Derschowitz himself argues Trump should answer the questions in written form (with full vetting by his lawyers, one presumes), or, if that is rejected, then he should negotiate for a certain number of questions or a certain time limit for questioning. He also allows that Trump can/should invoke Executive Privilege, but not the 5th Amendment.

I disagree. Others have been permitted to allude to the 5th Amendment without specifically invoking it, just generally asserting "any other rights I might have under the Constitution." If it works for Democrats, it works for Trump.

Meanwhile, Paul Manafort's legal team says that Mueller's team has told him they have failed to find evidence of any contacts between himself and Russian officials.

At least that's what the Manfort's lawyers say that Mueller's lawyers say. Who knows with these people what the truth is.

In any event, the Deep State has declared war on a duly elected president chosen by the people in open defiance of their demands, how dare they!, and Trump should not refrain from declaring war right back.

Meanwhile, the Weekly Standard has even permitted a writer, Eric Felten (who's pretty good, despite the outfit he works for), to report what others have been reporting for a long while: that the House report either suggests or outright proves-- I tend to the latter -- that James Clapper engineered the entire Russia Collusion narrative and then, inevitably, the appointment of the Special Counsel.

[I]t was quickly noted by scholars of the Steele dossier that the House document reveals (or, if one is dubious of the House Intel majority's credibility, one can say "asserts" instead) that it was President Barack Obama's director of national intelligence, James Clapper, who helped engineer the public release of the dossier. That release may well be the essential act in producing the special counsel investigation that continues to hang over the Trump administration.

Here's what makes the dossier release essential--and no, it isnít that the release exposed credible evidence of collusion: After more than a year of investigations there is still no evidence (at least no evidence that has been made public) corroborating the dossierís significant allegations against Trump. Rather, without the publication of the dossier, President Trump would not have pressed FBI director James Comey to prove the dossier's allegations false. That pressure is central to the narrative that Trump fired Comey in an effort to obstruct the bureau's Russia investigation. That narrative led to the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel; the question of whether the president attempted to obstruct justice is reportedly the main issue Mueller's team is still investigating.

So how did the dossier get released?

..

How did the media find out about the dossier being summarized in the ICA? The House committee majority reports that when it first asked Clapper, last July, about leaks of the ICA/dossier, Clapper "flatly denied 'discuss[ing] the dossier [compiled by Steele] or any other intelligence related to Russia hacking of the 2016 election with journalists.'"

In further interviews, the former DNI changed his story: "Clapper subsequently acknowledged discussing the 'dossier with CNN journalist Jake Tapper,' and admitted that he might have spoken with other journalists about the same topic." Clapper talked to Tapper early in January 2017; January 10, 2017 CNN published a story co-bylined by Tapper revealing that there was a dossier of allegations against Trump that had been summarized by intelligence officials and presented to the president and president-elect.

THE WEEKLY STANDARD reached out to CNN about whether Clapper spoke with Tapper. A CNN spokesperson says "We do not comment on sourcing." Clapper is now an official "national security analyst" for CNN.

When even the Weekly Standard is permitting writers to write this -- remember, Lee Smith was fired by the Weekly Standard, and while I don't know why he was fired, it was almost immediately after he submitted a critical report on Fusion GPS to his editors -- then I would say this is now pretty much undisputed, except by the CryptoMenschian Fringe (including Cruise Captain Bill Kristol).


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posted by Ace of Spades at 06:11 PM

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