Showing posts with label Prosecutors. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Prosecutors. Show all posts

March 31, 2019

Kenneth Starr, Special Prosecutor Who Went Crazy Trying To Get A Dem Pres. impeached, Responsible For Barr Power Now

and...we ...wait... before we find out if the President is a crook and wether he commited many crimes and felonies and misdemeanors which makes him a bad President and one to be impeached if there is enough evidence. The Waiting is and not legal nor right...tic tac tic tac and Trump keeps preaching how good he is and how he was exonerated by Barr and Mueller. He now plans to get back to media reporers and stations, etc that reported what we know about the report and Trump. He wants to to deny station licenses and is calling for Congressman to be fire (The President does not have that power)  The idiot lost it a long time ago but it seems being crazzy is not one of the reasons to lock you up or get you out of the job which will be enough for any one of us if we behaved on that way.

 Kenneth Starr, A Republican named special prosecutor not because he was good on his resume but partisan. As it happens he loved power and to bring down a popular president on sex, what else could make the religious right high on the sex stuff?? Even though they had to go for the dress and the stair because Clinton instead of following the Trump lawless book of justice decided to testify. Still, Starr lost and people hated him and his way of going around. A President being brought down on sex and a question which the answer lies? So what the Congress do?? The eliminated the office of specisl counsel. Ann ad hoc matter they will appoint one if one needed and the rules will be set by the ruling party, in this case, Trump and the GOP. Something now proved by the way Barr is impeding the release of their results on a two year investigation. On Barr The investigation all the boxes of the investigation were in Congress in hours not weeks.
(Adam Gonzalez)
Attorney General William Barr may have written the epitaph of Robert Mueller’s investigation, but another conservative lawyer from the ‘90s put an unmistakable imprint on the probe into President Donald Trump: former independent counsel Ken Starr. 
In 1998, Starr published his official report on former President Bill Clinton’s extramarital affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky — chockfull of lurid detail about the couple’s sexual relationship, including oral sex in the Oval Office.  It was considered so explicit that it was dubbed a “voluminous work of demented pornography” by the writer Renata Adler. And it provoked such a severe backlash that it changed how American presidents get investigated — and it's why you can't read the Mueller report. It also helped make sure Trump’s own attorney general got to make a ruling on his boss’s alleged obstruction of justice — before Congress could even review the evidence. 
Starr’s report drifted so far from his original mandate, which was to investigate the Clintons’ shady land deals in Arkansas, that both Republicans in Congress and the Clinton administration agreed to rein in the power of the independent counsel’s office. 
Even Starr ultimately agreed the old law should go. So did Janet Reno, Clinton’s Attorney General at the time. During Congressional hearings about the rules in the spring of 1999, Reno called big final reports a “problem.”
“We believe that information obtained during a criminal investigation should, in most all cases, be made public only if there is an indictment and prosecution, not in lengthy and detailed reports filed after a decision has been made not to prosecute,” Reno told Congress at the time. “The final report provides a forum for unfairly airing a target’s dirty laundry…. We have come to believe that the price of the final report is often too high.”
So in the summer of 1999, the old law was allowed to quietly die, and Reno’s DOJ put new regulations in place, which have governed Mueller’s entire investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia. They are the reason his final report isn’t yet public.
What changed:
  • The title: “independent counsel” became “special counsel.” That word change signified a major shift in the power and independence granted to the position.
  • The process: The new rules put more power in the hands of the attorney general — including the right to decide how much of the investigator’s concluding document would ever see the light of day. Specifically, the old rules had called for the independent counsel to submit a report directly to Congress that documented any “substantial and credible information that an impeachable offense may have been committed” — a standard Ken Starr himself later described as a “surprisingly low threshold of evidence.”
  • The power: Now, the only thing that the attorney general had to share with Congress was a notification that the special counsel’s investigation was over, and a list of every time the AG had overruled the special counsel.
The new rules required a “confidential” final report to be sent to the attorney general, granting the AG near-total discretion over how much of that final report should be shared with anyone else.
This fundamental shift rests at the heart of the battle that is now brewing between Democrats in Congress, who are pounding their desks to read the full report, and Barr, who has so far only shared a four-page letter summarizing what Mueller found.
Barr wrote that Mueller did not find that the Trump campaign colluded with Russian efforts to tip the 2016 election — or at least, that the evidence Mueller found wasn’t enough to allow him to charge a crime.
“Prosecutors can only bring charges when they believe they have evidence to prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt,” said Mary McCord, a former top DOJ official who oversaw the department’s investigation of foreign interference in the election before Mueller was appointed. 
Yet crimes are not the same thing as impeachable offenses — which was what Starr was tasked with reporting to Congress. Starr’s report outlined plenty of behavior that didn’t rise to the level of a chargeable crime, such as when Clinton lied to the American people about his relationship with Lewinsky. Clinton’s public lying and “refusing to testify for six months during the independent counsel investigation,” Starr wrote, helped delay a possible Congressional inquiry. “This represents substantial and credible information that may constitute grounds for an impeachment,” Starr wrote. 
Trump, of course, never agreed to speak with Mueller’s team at all, only submitting written answers to questions.  
 It’s easy to imagine that if Mueller had been operating under Starr’s old rules, the endgame of the Russia investigation would have played out very differently.
Congress — and anyone with access to the internet — would have been able to instantly access every relevant clue that Mueller found, and judge for themselves whether it appeared likely that the Trump campaign had actively supported or cooperated with Russian efforts to tip the 2016 election.
And they would have been able to sift through Mueller’s evidence regarding the question of obstruction of justice, too, for themselves — just like Americans did with the Starr report.
Instead, interested outsiders were only told that Mueller had not found enough evidence of coordination with Russian spies to formally include any members of Trumpworld into the conspiracy charges that were already outlined against Russian spies and internet trolls.
Mueller specifically wrote that his report did not “exonerate” the president. But uncovering a crime beyond a reasonable doubt is a far higher threshold than pointing to “substantial and credible information” that impeachable offenses occurred like those Starr cited against Clinton. 
This shift in the counsel’s threshold takes on added urgency when considering the question of obstruction of justice, especially because Mueller declined to offer a final decision on the matter. 
Neal Katyal, who helped write the 1999 regulations himself, tweeted this week that Mueller may well have wanted the obstruction question to be decided by Congress.  
The more I think about it, the more it looks like Mueller believed that Congress, not Barr, should resolve the obstruction of justice Question&Barr inserted himself in.

If Mueller Report said “I’m leaving this to AG,” wouldn’t Barr have quoted that yest? 
 Katyal’s argument fits with previous investigations into obstruction of justice by a sitting president: That exact charge loomed large in the impeachment proceedings against both Richard Nixon and Clinton. 
But Barr, Trump’s hand-picked attorney general, issued a public ruling on the criminal question before Congress got a chance to decide for itself on the basis of Mueller’s findings. And it’s safe to say that Barr’s got a decidedly different perspective of the matter than Congress. 
In fact, Barr had already telegraphed his conclusion months ago, when he wrote a lengthy, detailed memo calling the potential obstruction-of-justice case against Trump “fatally misconceived.”
While Mueller’s evidence remains unseen, the decision that there was no obstruction of justice was essentially a judgment call by Barr, said McCord.
Another attorney general could have conceivably reached a different conclusion while reviewing the same evidence, McCord added.
And until we get to see Mueller’s report, and possibly his underlying evidence, the entire country, including the President of the United States himself, will have to take Barr’s word for it. 
Cover: Then-independent Counsel Kenneth Starr holds up his report while testifying on Capitol Hill Thursday, Nov. 19, 1998, before the House Judiciary Committee's impeachment hearing. (AP Photo/Joe Marquette)

July 17, 2017

The Way Prosecutors Might See the Trump Tower Meeting

Last week sparked a deluge of speculation about Donald Trump Jr.'s 2016 encounter with a Russian lawyer, and what criminal charges — if any — might ensue.
But for a substantive answer, NPR asked a former federal prosecutor. Randall Eliason worked public corruption and government fraud cases; now he teaches law and writes the blog Sidebars, "a reflection on white collar crime and federal criminal law."
Eliason starts with the fact that there were several people in the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower. They included Donald Trump Jr., his brother-in-law Jared Kushner and then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, plus Russian lawyer Natalia VeselnitskayaBritish-born businessman Rob Goldstone and Russian-American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin.
Goldstone had asked Trump for the meeting with Veselnitskaya, writing in emails that Veselnitskaya would be providing "some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary [Clinton] and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father." Trump Jr. replied, "if it's what you say I love it especially later in the summer."

But the meeting turned out to be a bust, Trump Jr. said on Fox News last week. He added that Kushner left the meeting after about five minutes and Manafort spent most of the meeting on his phone. "It was literally just a wasted 20 minutes, which was a shame," he also said. (Veselnitskaya has told NBC News that she never had any damaging information on Hillary Clinton and never had any intention to provide any at the meeting. Trump Jr. said in a statement to the New York Times that at the meeting "it quickly became clear that she had no meaningful information" and that "that the claims of potentially helpful information were a pretext" because Veselnitskaya changed the subject to Russian adoptions and the Magnitsky Act.)
Trump Jr. also told Fox News' Sean Hannity that he never told his father about the meeting, because "there was nothing to tell."
Eliason says that with so many people involved, "One of the first things that would pop into your mind as a prosecutor would be possible conspiracy charges."
One reason to start with conspiracy: It helps to clarify things. "The conspiracy charge by its nature does a very good job of encapsulating the big picture of the entire scheme — everything that went on — and allows you to list all the different steps they took, all the different crimes they either committed or were trying to commit," Eliason says.
His legal analysis lies midway between the hottest of hot takes on the left — treason — and the argument on the right that no criminal case exists.
"I think from a practical standpoint, most people would have taken that meeting," President Trump said at his Paris press conference Thursday. "It's called opposition research, or even research into your opponent."
So Eliason would include a charge of criminal conspiracy, plus two conspiracy charges involving underlying crimes: "conspiracy to violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which prohibits hacking into someone else's computer, and that sounds like much of what the Russian interference involved, and then conspiracy to violate federal election law."
It's illegal under federal law to solicit or accept a campaign contribution from a foreign national or foreign government.
Evidence of an attempted cover-up could lead to charges of aiding and abetting, and failing to report a felony, Eliason says.
President Trump in Paris dismissed the whole notion of wrongdoing, saying, "Nothing happened from the meeting. Zero happened from the meeting."
But that isn't a defense against a conspiracy charge.
"The thing about conspiracy is you don't have to succeed," Eliason says. "You can have a conspiracy that gets thwarted by the government or some other thing happens that makes it impossible for you to carry it out, and you can still be prosecuted for the conspiracy itself."

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