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The Velveteen Ocelot

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Hometown: Minnesota
Member since: Sun Oct 26, 2003, 11:54 PM
Number of posts: 76,499

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Here's why I now think Barr pulled the plug before Mueller was finished with the investigation:

Prosecutors investigating a scheme involving multiple potential defendants almost start with the small fish first and work their way up to the capo. So far, Mueller has bagged a bunch of Russians (who will never be prosecuted here), small fish Papadopulous, van der Zwaan and Pinedo, larger fish Butina, Flynn, Gates, Manafort and Cohen; and Roger Stone will be tried for charges arising from his alleged involvement with Wilkileaks in November if he doesn't plead first. Witnesses who have spoken with investigators include Alan Weisselberg, who probably knows even more than Cohen. When Stone was busted, the FBI seized an enormous amount of data from his home and devices, and Flynn, Gates and Cohen are still cooperating.

This means there must be more evidence still being collected and evaluated that was not included in Mueller's report - because Barr stopped the OSC investigation. The reason the report didn't find evidence of "collusion" or a conspiracy with the Russian government (at least according to Barr's letter, which he probably wrote three weeks ago before he even saw what Mueller had discovered) was because Mueller was shut down before he could find enough of it to warrant more indictments, particularly those of Trump Jr. and Kushner. What he'd have done if he'd found evidence that Trump himself was involved still isn't clear.

The investigations are continuing with other prosecutors, and if there is prosecutable evidence of "collusion" (more accurately, conspiracy) on the part of any of the big fish, it will eventually be found, but it will not have the political impact of Mueller's report, and in the meantime Trump is free to twist and poison the media narrative - which is what he wanted all along.
Posted by The Velveteen Ocelot | Thu Mar 28, 2019, 03:00 PM (0 replies)

I care about whether he can beat Trump.

Trump is an existential threat and he has to be gotten rid of or we're screwed. Quibbling over whether a candidate checks all the proper progressive boxes is nothing but narcissistic ideological navel-gazing right now, and it will be useless if not downright destructive. I will support the candidate who can pants Trump, steal his lunch money and stuff him in his locker. If that's Beto, great. If it's Harris or Warren or Biden or Sanders or Booker or... or... that's great, too. Fuck ideology. We can worry about that after we reclaim the White House.
Posted by The Velveteen Ocelot | Thu Mar 14, 2019, 05:01 PM (4 replies)

So often these discussions of candidates' "faults" devolve into stupid arguments

about what somebody might have done or said or written forty years ago. Unless there's solid evidence that a candidate was the Zodiac Killer (allegedly Ted Cruz, lol), I don't give a rat's ass about what somebody might have done or said or written forty years ago. I want to know what they've done or said or written recently, relevant to currently important issues. I don't want to see thinly-veiled attempts at character assassination, backstabbing, or accusations without evidence that a candidate or their supporters are trolls, Republicans or Russian sympathizers. I do not want a replay of 2016 on DU. I want an understanding that all candidates have faults and none are perfect, but regardless of their imperfections they will be exponentially better than Trump, who is an existential threat and not just a bad president.

Most of all I want us to forgo the usual circular firing squad, evaluate the issues and candidates on their merits and not on their warts, and eventually unite behind someone who probably won't be ideologically pure enough for anybody but who can and will defeat Trump.
Posted by The Velveteen Ocelot | Tue Mar 12, 2019, 08:22 PM (0 replies)

So I've got this wild-ass idea about Barr, and it's probably completely insane, but

what would be the best way to take down Trump from the inside of his administration? By becoming his Attorney General, that's how, and then you allow the Mueller report to become public and then disregard the previous OLC opinion that a sitting president can't be indicted.

But how do you get to be Trump's attorney general - a job that's been nothing but trouble for those who've had it, and at this point no sane, reputable lawyer would want? Say you're an old-line conservative who's been AG before and has held other high-level government jobs, and more recently has been making top dollar at a white-shoe law firm. You have perfect professional credentials but there are probably a lot of other, more reliable Trump-loving Matthew Whittaker-type stooges who'd take the job in a heartbeat. So what do you do?

What you do is, you write and send Trump a long, detailed, and completely unsolicited letter setting out your opinion that the Mueller investigation is legally invalid and the president has almost unlimited power over the executive branch. Given your exemplary professional credentials as well, which will make your Senate confirmation inevitable, Trump sees you as the perfect candidate. When he interviews you, you assure him that you would not recuse yourself like Sessions, convincing him that you'll protect him. At your confirmation hearing you come up with enough vague platitudes about following the law that even many Democrats vote for you.

And then the Mueller report comes out and it's full of bad shit about Trump and his family and other GOPers. Trump expects you to protect him, but being an old-fashioned institutionalist you don't. Instead, you make the report, except for a few classified bits, public. And then you decide that the DoJ won't be following the old OLC opinions, allowing Mueller to take Trump's case to a grand jury, which indicts him. In the meantime the House proceeds with his impeachment...

Yes, I know it's totally mad. But wouldn't it be awesome?

Posted by The Velveteen Ocelot | Sat Mar 9, 2019, 02:35 PM (0 replies)
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