Barr’s Summary of the Mueller Report is Out: Where Does the Country Go From Here?
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Barr’s Summary of the Mueller Report is Out: Where Does the Country Go From Here?

The Mueller report is out and while we only have a summary written by Bob Barr, we do know that Mueller failed to find collusion by Trump and his children with Russia to change the outcome of the election.   As it stands right now, we really do not know what Mueller determined about obstruction.   We do know from the 37 indictments returned that Putin’s government (acting independently or not) did affect the 2016 election, and more likely than not managed to manipulate the Electoral College to create the outcome they desired.

The underlying question is what is the legal standard for collusion or conspiracy in  a highly-developed, common law legal system.   Does a wink and a nod rise to the level of collusion or conspiracy?   Probably not.   Does a “Russia, if you are listening” public rant rise to that level?   Again, probably not.   Does a son’s and a son-in-law’s meeting with a Kremlin attorney and discussing “Russian adoptions” (Putin’s code for lifting the post-Crimea sanctions) rise to that level?   This is a little closer, but it seems to have been explained away through ignorance of the law and a claim that these people aren’t very sophisticated (even though it was evidence against Manafort).

Then, there is a history of obtaining loans from Russian oligarchs, of selling property to them at dramatically above-market and below-market rates?   The reality that Trump was working on a Trump Tower Moscow project at the time of the election (and hid it)?  Probably a little closer, but maybe not there.   Erratic and unusual behavior from Trump, his attorneys and his cohorts as it relates to post-election interactions with Russia and discussions about Russia?   Still closer.

But, all of the circumstantial evidence, taken together, means something.   And, in our law-based system, people are convicted of crimes all the time with circumstantial evidence that is far less.

The legal standard in our society is not such that Trump should be exonerated based on the absence of a firm, signed contract between him and Putin.   It certainly does not seem that privilege should have led Mueller, if it did, to conclude the investigation without seeking Trump’s testimony.   There is much more to learn here.

I would love for this to go away and for the country to begin to heal.   But, at the same time, I think it falls to Jerrold Nadler now to persist in understanding what evidence Mueller found and what standard he applied to collusion and the conspiracy.   (I am less concerned about obstruction, although it would be interesting to understand what standard was applied to actions like the firing of Comey and the Lester Holt interview).   We need to get more than Bob Barr’s four page summary to understand how our legal principles were applied here.   Failure to do such would do damage to our rule of law.    

Ari Socolow
Ari Socolow: Ari Socolow is the Chief Economist and Editor-in-Chief at BestCashCow. He is particularly interested in issues relating to financial literacy and bank transparency. Since co-founding this website in 2005, Ari has been frequently cited in the media as an expert on local and national savings accounts, CD products, mortgage and loan products and credit card rewards products.


Comments

  • Swix_blue

    March 25, 2019

    The democrats wasted millions of dollars on this with hunt. What did Russia actually get from Trump being in office - more sanctions? The democrats would have been better served building better candidates..instead the have fostered a bunch of socialists, that are planning the largest wealth distribution of all time.
    -Free College
    -Free Lunch
    -Minimum Income
    -Free health care
    -unsustainable mass transit funding

    Drain the treasury add more to the national debt....the Dems playbook.

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