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Reading the Mueller Report 6

By Suzann Thompson

Events of national interest are going on all the time. We get a glimpse of them when we watch or read news. The information we receive depends a lot on the source of our news.

We cannot witness every event that is of national importance. One person doesn’t have time to experience first-hand all the workings of government. Luckily, we have excellent journalists who do this work for us and report their findings.

There’s an exception to what I just claimed. The release of the Mueller Report continues to be an event of national importance. It is one of the very few items of national interest that we can experience first-hand, no matter where we live.

Reading the report takes a while, so pace yourself. Listening to it takes time, but you don’t have to listen to it all in one sitting. The point is to do the work, so you can be an informed citizen in our democracy.

I hope my Mueller Report reports have gotten you interested in reading it. Maybe you are content with reading my summaries, but when you let me summarize for you, you are reading what I think is most important. Wouldn’t you rather decide what’s most important?

That said, let me introduce you to Barbara Slate, creator of the Mueller Report Graphic Novel. Read it free on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/muellerreportgraphicnovel/. If you want a paper copy, go to the Facebook page and press the ‘shop now’ button. Barbara Slate’s graphic novel is a different kind of summary. I look forward to seeing what she thought was most important.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team investigated President Trump’s conduct that appeared to obstruct justice. Volume II of the Mueller Report detailed ten cases of obstructive behavior by President Trump. We covered two cases last week. Each event was analyzed to identify the specific obstructive act, how it connected to an official proceeding, and the President’s intent.

In May 2017, FBI Director James Comey told Congress that the FBI was investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election. Comey would not say whether the President was a target of the investigation.

Days later, Trump and his advisors drafted a letter to Comey, expressing appreciation that Comey had said the President was not personally under investigation. It also said the American public had lost confidence in Comey as FBI Director, and so he was “hereby terminated.” (Vol. II, p. 65)

In the Oval Office, the day after Comey’s firing, Trump told Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak how relieved he was to get rid of Comey, “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off…” On May 11, Trump told interviewer Lester Holt that the “Russia thing” was why he decided to fire Comey.

In June 2017, the Washington Post broke the news that the Special Counsel’s Office would investigate “whether the President had attempted to obstruct justice.” (Vol. II, p. 84) President Trump asked White House Counsel Don McGahn to have the Department of Justice remove the Special Counsel. McGahn did not follow through with this request then, or when asked again later.

Since he couldn’t get rid of the Special Counsel, the President tried to limit the scope of the investigation. He asked his former campaign manager Cory Lewandowski to tell Attorney General Jeff Sessions the following: Sessions was to say publicly that the President hadn’t done “anything wrong except he ran the greatest campaign in American history.” Sessions was also asked to say that the Special Counsel would be limited to investigating meddling for future elections. (Vol. II, p. 91)

President Trump denied and downplayed the Trump Tower meeting of June 9, 2016, where his son Donald, Jr., and other campaign officials met with a Russian who offered so-called dirt on Hillary Clinton.

Because of his active role in Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from working on any matters that had anything to do with presidential campaigns. President Trump criticized Sessions privately and in public for his recusal. Trump wanted Sessions to unrecuse, so he could take over the Special Counsel’s investigation, and open an investigation into Hillary Clinton.

In January 2018, the press reported that President Trump asked Don McGahn to fire the Special Counsel. Trump ordered McGahn to deny the story. McGahn wouldn’t deny the reports, saying he thought the media reports were accurate.

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