House opens Obstruction of Justice Hearing, featuring convicted obstructor John Dean
In this stranger than fiction world we are witnessing awesome (in the original sense of inspiring awe) incursions into Fantasy and Science Fiction. Leaving man-made climate change aside (the potentially science fiction part aside), the obvious fantasies (plural) on the part of the hearing witnesses (save one) and many congress critters on each side of illusory aisle who claim that "Russia meddled in our election". As if the US of A doesn't meddle anywhere and everywhere. But let that topic empire alone briefly.
The colloquy lasted exactly 4 hours. Needless to say, I only watched the opening and halfway through for another 20 minutes.
Recurrent themes were focused on obstruction of justice (OOJ). Herr Müller spent the entirety of volume 2 of the "investigative report" trying to establish ten instances of possible OOJ.
The chief target during the portion ewhich I viewed centered around Trump's alleged instruction to Don McGahn, former WH counsel, to "get rid of" Müller. DJT supposedly tried to force McGahn to write a report that McGahn was not urged by the President to get rid of Müller. The story then goes that McGahn quit/was fired because he refused to do so. Shades of Elliot Richardson! This is where John Dean, convicted of felony OOJ, comes in.
It should surprise no one that Congress routinely calls as witnesses admitted perjurers to again testify (e.g., Brennan, Comey). First of all, all politicians are liars. Secondly, the House called upon convicted perjurer Michael Cohen to testify, during which testimony he lied at least seven times.
But, well, John Dean has experience in such matters, being a co-conspirator turned informant to Nixon. Not a fact witness. Nor were any of the other three law experts appearing. Two of the three were obvious anti-Trumpers, admittedly so. Vance and McQuaid, the two never Trumpers, had actually written publicly available anti-Trump screeds. I haven't read those, nor do I intend to do so.
Many troubling issues were discussed. I may not be mentioning some, since I, like many congress critters didn't read the source material (which in their case includes the actual Müller fantasy.
Acceptance of the Russia meddling narrative
Despite traps, spying, insinuation, bribery (reduced sentences), extortion (further legal
persecution prosecution by Herr Müller) representing assumptions as facts, and pure fiction, the "18 angry Dems" could not find evidence to prove any collusion (or conspiracy) between El Trumpo's campaign and the requisite evidence upon which to bring charges.
The indictment of 12 GRU officers, none of whom will ever be tried in the US, for allegedly hacking the DNC servers rests strictly upon the Crowd Strike determination that the Fancy Bear's cracked Debbie Whatshername Schultz's magic password ring (likely courtesy of Imran Awan, actually).
So Crowd Strike is a creation of Russian father and son who are vehemently anti-Putin, the Alperovich team.
Talk about evidence. No unbiased person has ever seen the data actually contained on the real DNC servers, which is now probably in the Chesapeake Bay.
By accepting the Russian hacking narrative, this raises the "hack" to a national security level. It is the function of that myth to enhance any wrong-doing perceivably committed by Trump et. al. Thus several of the "experts" (aka Dem partisan Russiagate believers) to insist that therefore such Trumpian behavior to actually require a less stringent standard of OOJ--despite their protestations to the contrary.
Because the "possible" consequences of OOJ were so potentially severe, the issue must be judged holding Trump to a higher standard of conduct than your ordinary obstructor, such as, perhaps, John Dean.
Legal basis for bringing OOJ charges
Trust me, I'm not a lawyer.
How does one obstruct justice when no crime has been proven? Lacking the ability to engage upon legal obfuscation, the ability to charge obstruction into investigation of a non-crime is baffling. Perhaps some of our legally-gifted members will enlighten me.
Several scenarios tease my brain.
A. Shooting an already dead man with intent to murder that man. The intent is clear. But the actual damage is simply defiling a corpse. Is this a crime. If so, can the shooter be convicted for OOJ by lying about his commission of the act?
B. As a backseat passenger, the rider instructs the driver to run a red light but the driver does not do so. Is the passenger then a conspirator for an act which didn't occur? The driver declined the illegal activity (a la McGahn), so what infraction did the passenger commit?
Other examples surely can be imagined, as variations upon this theme: how can justice be obstructed when no crime occurred?
The Special Prosecutor's (SP) task is to find evidence of guilt or insufficient evidence of guilt. The purpose is not to exonerate the subject. The mandate is to find evidence or dismiss the pending charges. Müller pointedly punted on the OOJ aspect, fully knowing that by so doing, he would feed the impeachment frenzy of the Dems.
None of us outside the inner corridors of power really know what the second mandate (instruction) issued by Rod Rosenstein to Müller were. How broad--or narrow--was the scope made? Was Müller instructed NOT to investigate the Steele Dossier, which is only mentioned once or twice in the SP report?
Guilt or no proof of guilt determination is the SP's sole obligation. Of course supporting evidence for either decision should be supported by evidence, not innuendo or assumption. Müller, a Deep State criminal (involvement in U1, Whitey Bulger, BCCI, etc.), did his level best to smear Trump, by demanding a legal standard contrary to centuries of common and statue law: One is presumed innocent until found by evidence to be guilty. Of course, in Müller's uncalled for press conference, he stated in essence that for exoneration Trump must prove a negative, i.e., that he did not commit a crime.
The purpose, mentioned above, is clear: To encourage the Dem lemmings to impeach the Orange One. Of course, Barr cleared that one up in a follow-on press conference. For my part, it is incredible that the arrogant Dems are going to impeachment proceedings unless Nervous Nancy pulls Nadler's ears, warning him off such a disastrous course.
The Hearing as Theater
The plot is old and well-known to all witnesses and viewers. We could practically sing along to the familiar refrains, despite several different interpretations of this whole Faerie Tale Theater. To his credit, Nadler actually seemed sane during the hearing.
The sole purpose of this effort was to fuel impeachment proceedings against Trump. Does anyone doubt that? To limit the Presidential Power to fire someone requires a constitutional Amendment, dutifully ratified by the several States.
Consequences, intended and unintended
If the whole SP process was designed to charge Trump with crimes after leaving, which cannot be done while in office, then this affair might serve a political purpose--get the Orange Man after 2020. Problem is, that won't happen. Trump will be re-elected. All the current Dem leaders will be boxed and buried (BnB).
The precedent were Trump to actually be tried on criminal counts is chilling. All future President's would need to be particularly scrupulous in their political/executive/administrative/financial affairs. Easily every living president except perhaps Jimmy Carter could be hauled into court for their crimes in office.
One example during the hearing occurred when one Republican obliquely listed Obama's failures to "significantly uphold the law". Though not mentioned by name, BHO's list of avoiding the law includes non-enforcement of drug laws (actually a good thing), selective prosecution, allowing IRS targeting of Conservative Groups, permitting Fast and Furious, etc.
Perhaps it is a good thing that our legislators aren't legislating as they always do more harm (to us serfs). The pre-occupation with anti-Trumpism precludes consideration of pressing issues such as tariffs, the southern border, Chinese meddling, geopolitical fracturing, etc.
This empire is in its last throes. The government is simply rearranging the deck chairs on the USS Gerald Ford before it sinks under its own weight.