The letter which William Barr sent regarding the Mueller report is some fabulist confection. Here’s a link to the full thing. Read it and you’ll be set up to understand what national security reporter Marcy Wheeler is saying.
2) Having defined the underlying crime as JUST the hack-and-leak and trolling, and not quid pro quo, but also having Mueller submit a legit case for obstruction, they said, "if not hack-and-leak, then not obstruction."
— emptywheel (@emptywheel) March 24, 2019
Now, if your mind is already reeling and you’re saying “huh?”, you are not alone. Emptywheel::
Barr and Rod Rosenstein have spent 72 whole hours considering that evidence to come up with this judgment:
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and I have concluded that the evidence developed during the Special Counsel’s investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.
In making this determination, we noted that the Special Counsel recognized that “the evidence does not establish that the President was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference,” and that, while not determinative, the absence of such evidence bears upon the President’s intent with respect to obstruction. Generally speaking, to obtain and sustain an obstruction conviction, the government would need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person, acting with corrupt intent, engaged in obstructive conduct with a sufficient nexus to a pending or contemplated proceeding.
Here’s Wheeler’s commentary on this material.
Here’s the thing, though: at least given what they lay out here, they only considered whether Trump was covering up his involvement in the hack-and-leak operation. It doesn’t consider whether Trump was covering up a quid pro quo, which is what there is abundant evidence of.
They didn’t consider whether Trump obstructed the crime that he appears to have obstructed. They considered whether he obstructed a different crime. And having considered whether Trump obstructed the crime he didn’t commit, rather than considering whether he obstructed the crime he did commit, they decided not to charge him with a crime.
There’s no mention of Roger Stone in Barr’s letter, and we know full well that Stone was 1. part of Trump’s campaign; 2. dealing with WikiLeaks, 3. doing so with Trump’s knowledge and consent. This fact is important because it’s indicative of the cherry picking that is going on right now, in order to frame the Mueller report in a light most positive to Trump.
Pelosi and Schumer have already demanded a full copy of the report, and, as you recall, Trump said only last week that he had no problem with the report being made public.
This is the beginning of a long, hot summer, and it only just turned Spring.