"We Had That Thing, You Know.

The New York Times obtained a list of the questions Robert Mueller wants to ask Donald Trump. NPR reports:

Most of the questions The Times printed focus on whether Trump may have obstructed justice or tried to frustrate the FBI's Russia investigation, including whether he asked then-FBI Director James Comey to lay off then-national security adviser Mike Flynn; leaned on others to pressure Comey; why he fired Comey and more.

I like the question about his calls to James Comey in March, 2017: [More...]

What was the purpose of your calls to Mr. Comey on March 30 and April 11, 2017?

Mr. Comey said that Mr. Trump called twice to ask him to say publicly that he was not under F.B.I. investigation. In the second call, Mr. Comey said, the president added: “I have been very loyal to you, very loyal. We had that thing, you know.”

"We had that thing, you know." Either Trump's mental faculties are in decline and he couldn't think of the word he wanted to use so he said "thing", or, more likely in my opinion, he knew "that thing" was wrong and didn't want to reference it and incriminate himself on a phone call that in his mind could possibly be recorded.

Agents love to come into court and tell juries about codes drug traffickers and fraudsters use to talk about their illegal activities. "Can you bring me that thing tomorrow?" or "That thing came today" or "Let's hold off on that thing one more day" or any number of varieties where "thing" represents the illegal substance, agreement or activity.

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    Rachel is talking about (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 04, 2018 at 08:22:06 PM EST
    Rosensteins second public pushback this week.  There was the extortion comment and then today, law day, he make speech for the MD bar.

    If I find a video link I will post it.  There was a couple of funny ad libs in there.

    In 1941, Congressman Carl Vinson wrote a letter to Attorney General Robert Jackson. He requested FBI and DOJ reports made in connection with an investigation of labor disputes involving Navy contracts. Vinson's committee had oversight for such issues, which is why he wanted the documents.  

    Attorney General Jackson flatly refused the request.  He did not compromise at all. Jackson explained that disclosing investigative reports would harm the national interest in a number of different ways.

    First, it would "seriously prejudice law enforcement" by providing defense counsel with the government's confidential impressions of the case.

    Second, disclosing certain investigative reports would give aid to our enemies and jeopardize our national security.

    Third, investigative reports often contain information about witnesses and informants. Releasing the information could stifle the FBI's ability to obtain sources and could even put lives at risk.

    The fourth reason is often overlooked. Jackson explained that handing over the documents could harm the reputations of innocent people. Being a subject of an investigation - or even a target - is not the same as being guilty of a crime. The Department of Justice conducts many investigations that never see the light of day because there is insufficient evidence to support the allegations.    

    When we conclude an investigation without filing charges, we do not announce our findings. We are not the judge and jury. If we cannot prove our case beyond any reasonable doubt, there is no case.

    When Attorney General Jackson responded to the Congress in 1941, he referenced case law, statements by prior Presidents, and letters from six other Attorneys General.

    Jackson explained that declining to open the FBI's files to review by congressional members and staff is an "unpleasant duty," but it is in keeping with the separation of powers embodied in our constitutional system. To illustrate his point, Jackson quoted a Supreme Court opinion explaining that it is "essential to the successful working of this system that the persons intrusted with power in any one of these branches shall not be permitted to encroach upon the powers confided to others, but that each shall by the law of its creation be limited to the exercise of the powers appropriate to its own department."


    Sorry for the long clip but I didn't know where to stop.

    The full speech is much longer and worth reading.

    Is this true? (2.00 / 4) (#20)
    by linea on Thu May 03, 2018 at 09:13:57 PM EST
    `Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow complied a list of 49 questions that the team believed the president would be asked.'

    If true, then no reported saw an actual source document that can be attributed to the Mueller investigation. Just some goofy practice questions one of Trump's lawyers dreamed up.

    Strawman alert! (5.00 / 7) (#21)
    by FlJoe on Fri May 04, 2018 at 05:49:55 AM EST
    can you even read? No reporting ever even implied it was from Mueller and within hours the follow up reporting and analysis showed the almost certainty that it came from tRump's team. My comment in this thread from 3 days ago
    ago do know that these are not official questions presented by Mueller? They are actually paraphrased summaries produced by the NYT after reading  notes, most likely produced by tRumps legal team.

    Your opinions are almost always dis-honest although you pretend they are humble.

    BTW: The questions you refer to as goofy are actually monumental, this may be the most epic legal battle in our history with the survival of our democracy at stake.


    This isn't correct (none / 0) (#27)
    by linea on Fri May 04, 2018 at 07:27:17 PM EST
    Did you read the open thread?

    In the open thread most everyone was adamant that this is an actual list attributable to the Mueller team even if the Trump team may have leaked it.

    I'm pointing out that this isn't necessarily correct. It could be true. Or maybe not. There doesn't seem to be anyway to verify this list as originating from the Mueller team.


    Question answered (none / 0) (#28)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 04, 2018 at 07:35:35 PM EST
    Clearly you can not read

    Clearly you can't read (1.00 / 1) (#30)
    by linea on Fri May 04, 2018 at 08:36:35 PM EST
    Rachel is reading the list (none / 0) (#39)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Apr 30, 2018 at 08:13:55 PM EST
    Sounds like the right questions.
    The answers will be way more interesting.

    Also (none / 0) (#40)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Apr 30, 2018 at 08:19:18 PM EST
    She speculates the questions may have been released by the Mueller team because he knows Trump is not going to agree to an interview or otherwise answer them and they want the questions out there.
    I do not think that is impossible.  Why would Trump or his lawyer release them?

    Ok (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 04, 2018 at 08:52:27 PM EST
    This is the last reply to you.

    You are either spectacularly stupid or a spectacularly shameless liar.  I go back and forth.  The comment you quoted was Monday.  I was reporting what I had just heard.  If you bothered to read the comment that is actually directly below this very comment you would see that by Tuesday, and actually before that I saw Rachel's speculation was misguided.  As everyone else commenting on the subject.

    I really just wonder who, exactly, you think the audience is for your endless lying and selective quoting out of context?

    Seriously, who do you think cares?  Who do believe in your personal fever swamp cares or is moved by your silly straw men and dishonest selective quotes?

    I would really like to know.


    I lied one more reply (5.00 / 2) (#32)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 04, 2018 at 08:58:28 PM EST
    Since you like quoting

    I guess you missed this comment 20 minutes later.

    The questions (none / 0) (#44)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Apr 30, 2018 at 08:42:41 PM EST
    Michael Schmidt (the reporter) is talking to RAchel live.  He says the list came from interviews with the presidents lawyers in response to requests for an outline of the questions Mueller had for Trump.
    He does make it sound like Trumps lawyers or one of them was the source. Which seems weird but whatever.

    He also says they freaked and said we can never let him answer these questions.

    I separated from the original subthread because it has been polluted by the trolls feces finger paintings so I bailed.

    Reply to This

    My apologies (none / 0) (#33)
    by linea on Sat May 05, 2018 at 02:55:25 PM EST
    I apologize for letting the usual suspects antagonize me into an argument.

    My post was an update to this topic and was neither outrageous nor a post that should start an argument. I most certainly do not deserve person insults for this post:

    Is this true? `Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow complied a list of 49 questions that the team believed the president would be asked.' If true, then no [reporter] saw an actual source document that can be attributed to the Mueller investigation. Just some goofy practice questions one of Trump's lawyers dreamed up.

    By the way, this is my source: Twitter

    I didn't call anyone a `liar' or `spectacularly stupid' or make a comment intended to insult and enrage like `your opinions are almost always dishonest.'

    Nothing I wrote deserved personal insults. Of course, whatever I post, the same people will reply with condescending insults and go out of their way to try and start an argument by pestering and belittling me.


    Actually, that's not so (5.00 / 7) (#34)
    by Peter G on Sat May 05, 2018 at 07:58:23 PM EST
    You claimed the 49 questions/topics, if not formally promulgated by Mueller, were therefore "Just some goofy practice questions one of Trump's lawyers dreamed up." The reporting makes very clear that that's not so. They are a written distillation by Tr*mp's lawyers of what the Mueller team wants to ask him, based on discussions of that very subject between the Tr*mp lawyers and members of Mueller's staff. Nothing goofy or dreamed-up about it.

    My guess is (none / 0) (#1)
    by smott on Tue May 01, 2018 at 02:36:04 PM EST
    Trump should respond to these questions in writing (carefully edited by his lawyers of course).
    Then spin HARD that he has cooperated fully  w Mueller and answered all his questions, even though it's all a fishing expedition/witch hunt.

    He cannot sit for Mueller. Suicide.
    If he goes in front of GJ he'd have to take the 5th. Not much better.

    Nah, I'd respond in writing and then act like it's all over, and Trump's a Boy Scout.

    You (none / 0) (#2)
    by FlJoe on Tue May 01, 2018 at 02:52:33 PM EST
    do know that these are not official questions presented by Mueller? They are actually paraphrased summaries produced by the NYT after reading  notes, most likely produced by tRumps legal team.

    I guess tRump might try to make pretend answers to these pretend questions in writing, but it will all be a show....maybe that's why they were leaked in the first place.


    Barbara McQuade agrees (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue May 01, 2018 at 03:03:31 PM EST

    Why might Trump's legal team want to leak these questions? The answer may lie in Trump's morning tweets. Trump criticized the leak, and then stated: "No questions on Collusion. Oh, I see...you have a made up, phony crime, Collusion, that never existed, and an investigation begun with illegally leaked classified information. Nice!" A second tweet said, "It would seem very hard to obstruct justice for a crime that never happened! Witch Hunt!"

    He seems to be making the public case that the investigation is now all about obstruction of justice, and not about coordination with Russia to interfere with the election. Even this premise is false, in light of the fact that several questions relate to contacts with Russians. Nonetheless, more than half of the questions appear to relate to obstruction of justice. Trump seems to be arguing that this focus on obstruction of justice exposes the investigation as an unfounded, politically motivated scandal.

    If this leak came from Trump's team, it is reminiscent of the Sam Nunberg media blitz after he received a subpoena to testify before Mueller's grand jury and to produce email messages with certain individuals. Nunberg seemed to think that he could generate outrage by going public with his story about his perceived overreach by the special counsel. That strategy failed miserably and Nunberg ultimately complied with the subpoena.

    Of course, the law does not require proof of the underlying crime to make out a case for obstruction of justice because sometimes the obstruction is successful. But Trump likely is less concerned about the court of law than he is about the court of public opinion. Because he likely would face impeachment instead of criminal charges, this may be a shrewd move.

    The legal talking heads seem to think these are "topics" more than "questions".
    Trump can of course do what he wants but IMO written answers would resolve nothing but might be a PR move that would work for the 35%


    She also agrees (none / 0) (#4)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue May 01, 2018 at 03:05:39 PM EST
    it was Rudy

    That leaves Trump's team with Rudy Giuliani new to the team. These questions were not leaked when they were first communicated to Trump's team in March, but only now, after Giuliani has come on board.

    My (none / 0) (#6)
    by FlJoe on Tue May 01, 2018 at 04:20:32 PM EST
    confidence in it being Rudy has gone up, science a possible  strategy of playing the whole thing out in public is starting to emerge. All these questions will be "answered" in one way or another through FOX and and the stooges allowed on CNN and elsewhere. Heck once he has been briefed by Fox for a couple of weeks he might answer some of the easy ones himself. Then he could blow off Mueller declaring that all the questions have been answered.

    I found it interesting that there is some kind of shift from the Dershowitz model of "the President can not obstuct justice" to to the even less arguable "there can not be obstruction with out an underlying crime."


    I (none / 0) (#5)
    by FlJoe on Tue May 01, 2018 at 03:43:35 PM EST
    don't think tRump needs to go thru any gymnastic legal reasoning to play to the base, just say bulieve me and anything and everything gets swallowed whole.

    I'm still don't understand how anybody can say that this list of questions is mostly about obstruction.

    The topics discussed do have a majority of the questions dealing with obstruction, but they are rather narrow (at least constrained to the WH staff). There are several avenues that are definitely dealing with collusion and they might be wide and deep and run all the way to Russia.



    Well (none / 0) (#7)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue May 01, 2018 at 04:33:57 PM EST
    He says there is no evidence of "collusion" (I think that should always be in quotes because it doesn't mean anything) several times a day and that is clearly not true

    I've heard a good lawyer (none / 0) (#8)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue May 01, 2018 at 04:36:20 PM EST
    Does not ask a question unless they know the answer.

    At trial (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by MKS on Tue May 01, 2018 at 06:04:39 PM EST
    Before trial, you need to discover the facts....

    Well (none / 0) (#17)
    by FlJoe on Wed May 02, 2018 at 05:20:16 AM EST
    Dershowitz is claiming that it would be out of bounds for Mueller to ask tRump any questions that he already knew the answer to, as if seeking corroborating/additional evidence is nothing but a perjury trap.  IANAL, but some of  his theories sound crazy.

    IAAL (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by Yman on Wed May 02, 2018 at 04:38:54 PM EST
    ... and some of his theories are b@t$hit crazy, including that one.

    Sounds like a dare (none / 0) (#9)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue May 01, 2018 at 04:54:02 PM EST
    Rod Rosenstein: Justice Department is 'not going to be extorted'

    "There have been people who have been making threats privately and publicly against me for quite some time, and I think they should understand by now the Department of Justice is not going to be extorted," Rosenstein said at an event at the Newseum in Washington

    Flynn sentence delay (none / 0) (#10)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue May 01, 2018 at 05:10:56 PM EST
    Robert Mueller asks for 2 more months before Michael Flynn sentencing

    "Due to the status of the special counsel's investigation, the parties do not believe that this matter is ready to be scheduled for a sentencing hearing at this time," Robert Mueller's prosecutors and Flynn's lawyers told the DC federal court on Tuesday.

    You really hit the nail on the head, J (none / 0) (#12)
    by Peter G on Tue May 01, 2018 at 08:14:27 PM EST
    about "that thing." Totally wiretap material from a Mafia case or a drug conspiracy.

    obstruction of justice or an investigation? (none / 0) (#13)
    by thomas rogan on Tue May 01, 2018 at 08:38:07 PM EST
    Leaving aside process crimes like "lying to the FBI" and "obstruction", what is the worst case scenario for major, serious actual crimes that actual people are going to be indicted for and convicted of?  At least Watergate had an actual burglary.  130000 nonreported campaign contributions or talking to Russian lawyers about getting dirt on Hillary is not exactly major; 60 minutes said that most people with the campaign issue only get a civil fine.  Jared Kushner getting a loan from a Russian bank before the election could viewed as "business" and you'd have to get Russians to come from Russia and testify convincingly otherwise.    

    Read the Manafort Indictment (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by RickyJim on Tue May 01, 2018 at 09:25:44 PM EST
    I don't know (5.00 / 3) (#15)
    by Repack Rider on Tue May 01, 2018 at 11:30:32 PM EST
    ...what you're reading, but it's a lot deeper than that.

    I am constantly amused by those such as yourself who ask plaintively, where's the metaphoric beef?  In your view of the universe, Mueller must not have anything, because YOU don't know about it.

    Not a thing has leaked from his office other than filings. The list of questions was not leaked from Mueller's office.  Mueller is not under any obligation to tell you, or more importantly, the targets, what he is up to. Would you expect a general to broadcast the battle plan before putting it in motion?

    What are the odds that Mueller knows more about this case than you do, and that he has a lot more on the line than you do?

    If you were a betting person?


    The civil (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed May 02, 2018 at 02:12:45 AM EST
    fine was about the campaign donations with payoffs to porn stars and playmates.

    Colluding with foreign agents is called conspiracy against the United States of America. There are laws against that. Trump's campaign was in direct contact with Russian agents. Passing around hacked emails is recieving stolen goods.

    I'm not a lawyer but this is pretty basic stuff. Conservatives seem to want it all put in 3rd grade terms.


    It's funny how conservatives ... (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by Yman on Wed May 02, 2018 at 05:16:24 PM EST
    ... who claim to value the rule of law are suddenly bending over backwards to try to minimize serious felonies (including obstruction of justice) as "process crimes".  Not to mention how they claim to be patriots, but rationalize American citizens (and possibly a POTUS) conspiring with a hostile foreign nation to interfere with a foundation of our democracy.  You can start with Conspiracy against the US, criminal election fraud, computer fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, obstruction of justice, engaging in foreign intelligence activities (i.e. spying).

    Your selecive obtusity ... (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sun May 06, 2018 at 09:31:36 PM EST
    ... is really not a flattering look. You better think very long and hard about your position here, because coming down on the wrong side of history is going to have serious consequences -- especially when the people who you support have knowingly and intentionally betrayed the foundational principles of their own country, by conspiring with a foreign power to influence an election.

    Trump just threw Rudy (none / 0) (#22)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 04, 2018 at 09:11:56 AM EST
    Under the bus

    "Just started yesterday.  Doesn't know the facts"

    Overheard humor

    Trump should be paying Rudy Bush money

    Damn (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 04, 2018 at 09:12:29 AM EST
    HUSH money

    Best part is ... (5.00 / 4) (#25)
    by Yman on Fri May 04, 2018 at 10:34:48 AM EST
    ... this is after 2 days of Trump lauding Giuliani and Giuliani proclaiming that they would be completely unified in their strategy/statements ("you  will not see daylight between the President and me.").

    Good luck with that, Rudy.

    Curious as to how long a real lawyer (Flood) puts up with this nonsense.  Then again, it's not like he didn't know he was signing up for a circus.


    So, I guess Trump/Sanders will be (none / 0) (#24)
    by Anne on Fri May 04, 2018 at 09:50:52 AM EST
    out later to say that "just started yesterday" refers to when his media appearances started, and not his, you know, actual date of hire.

    Question, as always: what has Rudy been doing for the last 2 weeks?  Because he for sure wasn't getting up to speed on "the facts."

    Feel like the Trump-to-English translation is, "Rudy will figure out where we are on the lie spectrum/protocol - just give him a couple days."


    I think a couple of days (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 04, 2018 at 03:14:00 PM EST
    May find Rudy back to professionaly smoking cigars.

    Full time.

    This is a disaster.