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The Mueller report: Glenn Greenwald vs. David Cay Johnston on Trump-Russia ties, obstruction & more

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The Justice Division has launched a redacted model of particular counsel Robert Mueller’s 448-page report detailing Russian meddling within the 2016 election, the Trump marketing campaign’s contacts with Russia and President Trump’s makes an attempt to impede the particular counsel’s investigation. The report states the marketing campaign “anticipated it will profit electorally from info stolen and launched via Russian efforts,” however Mueller concluded, “the investigation didn’t set up that members of the Trump marketing campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian authorities in its election interference actions.” Mueller additionally outlined no less than 10 situations the place Trump tried to impede the particular counsel’s investigation, however Mueller got here to no definitive conclusion on whether or not Trump broke the regulation by obstructing justice. Within the report, Mueller means that this can be a determination for Congress to make. We host a debate on the report’s findings between two Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists: Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept and David Cay Johnston, who has coated Donald Trump because the 1980s. His most up-to-date e-book is “It’s Even Worse Than You Assume: What the Trump Administration Is Doing to America.”


This can be a rush transcript. Copy will not be in its remaining type.

AMY GOODMAN: On Thursday, the Justice Division launched a redacted model of particular counsel Robert Mueller’s 448-page report detailing Russian meddling within the 2016 election, the Trump marketing campaign’s contacts with Russia and President Trump’s makes an attempt to impede justice within the particular counsel’s investigation. The report states, quote, the marketing campaign anticipated to “profit electorally from info stolen and launched via Russian efforts,” however Mueller concluded, “the investigation didn’t set up that members of the Trump marketing campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian authorities in its election interference actions.”

Mueller additionally outlined at the least 10 situations the place Trump tried to impede the particular counsel’s investigation, however Mueller got here to no definitive conclusion on whether or not Trump broke the regulation by obstructing justice. Within the report, Mueller suggests this can be a determination for Congress to make. The report states, quote, “With respect as to if the president could be discovered to have obstructed justice by exercising his powers beneath Article II of the Structure, we concluded Congress has authority to ban a President’s corrupt use of his authority to be able to shield the integrity of the administration of justice,” unquote.

However many questions stay concerning the Mueller report. About 10% of the report was redacted. Mueller has but to talk publicly about his findings.

On Thursday, Lawyer Common William Barr held a information convention earlier than the redacted report was launched. Barr defended the president’s actions, claiming Trump had a, quote, “honest perception” that Mueller’s probe was undermining his presidency.

ATTORNEY GENERAL WILLIAM BARR: In assessing the president’s actions mentioned within the report, it is very important keep in mind the context. President Trump confronted an unprecedented state of affairs. As he entered into workplace and sought to carry out his obligations as president, federal brokers and prosecutors have been scrutinizing his conduct earlier than and after taking workplace, and the conduct of a few of his associates. On the similar, there was relentless hypothesis within the information media concerning the president’s private culpability.

But, as he stated from the start, there was actually no collusion. And because the particular counsel’s report acknowledges, there’s substantial proof to point out that the president was annoyed and angered by his honest perception that the investigation was undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents and fueled by unlawful leaks. Nonetheless, the White Home absolutely cooperated with the particular counsel’s investigation, offering unfettered entry to marketing campaign and White Home paperwork, directing senior aides to testify freely, and asserting no privilege claims.

AMY GOODMAN: Democratic lawmakers are accusing Lawyer Basic Barr of mischaracterizing a few of Mueller’s findings. Home Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler has introduced plans to concern a subpoena for the complete, unredacted Mueller report and to request Mueller testify earlier than the committee. Nadler spoke in New York Thursday.

REP. JERROLD NADLER: Even in its incomplete type, nevertheless, the Mueller report outlines disturbing proof that President Trump engaged in obstruction of justice and different misconduct. Opposite to the lawyer common’s assertion this morning that the White Home, quote, “absolutely cooperated,” unquote, with the investigation, the report makes clear that the president refused to be interviewed by the particular counsel and refused to offer written solutions to follow-up questions, web page 13 of quantity two; makes clear that his associates destroyed proof related to the Russian investigation, web page 10, quantity one. The report concluded there was “substantial proof,” in quotes, that President Trump tried to stop an investigation into his marketing campaign and his personal conduct, web page 76, web page 78, web page 90, web page 157, quantity two.

AMY GOODMAN: Whereas Democrats urged additional congressional probes into the findings of the report, some went additional, turning to speak of impeachment, within the hours after the report was launched.

For extra, we’re joined by two friends. Glenn Greenwald, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, founding editor of The Intercept, main critic of the media protection of alleged Russian collusion, he joins us from Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. And David Cay Johnston can also be a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter, beforehand with The New York Occasions, now founder and editor of He has coated Trump for years. His most up-to-date guide on him, It’s Even Worse Than You Assume: What the Trump Administration Is Doing to America.

We welcome you each again to Democracy Now! for this rematch. At the moment let’s start with Glenn Greenwald in Brazil. As you learn via the 448-page report, Glenn, your general response and what you thought was most vital about what Robert Mueller and his staff discovered?

GLENN GREENWALD: I don’t assume there might be any query that probably the most vital discovering needs to be concerning the allegations that kicked off all the saga virtually three years in the past, which was the two-pronged conspiracy principle that Donald Trump labored with, coordinated, collaborated and conspired with the Russian authorities to intrude within the 2016 election and that Donald Trump is captive to Vladimir Putin because of quite a lot of blackmail, leverage and different types of hyperlinks that permit the Kremlin to dictate to the White Home what it’s that they’re presupposed to do.

And I feel it’s essential to level out from the outset that this was no atypical investigation. The Democrats, the CIA, their allies within the media, who believed on this conspiracy concept, acquired precisely the prosecutor that they needed, who everyone agreed was the person of the very best integrity and competence. He assembled an enormous staff of very aggressive prosecutors, FBI brokers, forensic accountants, intelligence analysts. He had limitless assets, the complete equipment of the U.S. surveillance state at his disposal and 22 months to dig as deeply as he might dig to seek out out the solutions as to if these conspiracy theories have been or weren’t true. You possibly can’t get a extra sweeping or complete investigation than that.

And he went via systematically every of the prongs of the conspiracy theories and located both that the proof didn’t set up that they have been true, or, in some instances, discovered the other, that the truth is there was no proof to help the idea in any respect and that the idea was merely false. One instance of that’s, for instance—I feel David talked about this the final time we talked about it, as proof that there was one thing sinister happening between the Russians and Trump—was the change to the GOP platform in mid-2016 to make it extra favorable to the Russians by diluting the language about U.S. help for Ukraine. And on the time, I had all the time stated, and stated on the present the final time, that that was completely in line with each Barack Obama and Donald Trump’s overseas coverage, to not provoke Vladimir Putin by arming the Ukrainians. Mueller stated that is executed by some low-level aide, appearing alone; there’s no proof he coordinated it with even Donald Trump, not to mention with the Russians or Vladimir Putin; and that it was simply an try to evolve the GOPplatform to what Trump’s said overseas coverage was. And time and again and over, from the Trump Tower assembly to all the submit—Russian connections after each the conference and the election, Mueller used the identical language over and again and again, which is that there’s no proof, or the proof doesn’t set up that these conspiracy theories truly occurred.

Now, you possibly can proceed to consider in them. It type of feels virtually like arguing with individuals who have adopted spiritual beliefs, that they’re going to consider of their view of how the world works, regardless of how a lot proof you current them that it didn’t occur. However Democrats and proponents of this concept acquired what they needed, which is the Mueller investigation, and now a lot of the Mueller report and his findings. And his findings are that he seemed for 22 months as onerous as he might and didn’t set up that these theories have been true. And we already knew that as a result of not one American was indicted or charged for conspiracy. However he went even past that and stated the proof doesn’t set up it.

On the obstruction challenge, I feel there’s a number of proof that Donald Trump is what we knew he was, which is an amoral liar, someone who’s prepared to corruptly abuse his energy to guard himself. However on the finish of the day, the Democrat leaders within the Home have already stated they’re not going to question him over this. And the reason being, is as a result of the query all the time was: Was Trump making an attempt to cease the investigation as a result of he genuinely believed that they have been—it was based mostly on a false conspiracy, or was he making an attempt to cease the investigation as a result of he knew he had carried out what individuals have been accusing him of doing with the Russians and needed to cowl that up? And the Mueller report concluded it was the primary occasion: He was attempt to cease the investigation as a result of he thought it was a sham all alongside, and subsequently, despite the fact that he lied and acted improperly, it doesn’t rise to the corrupt intent wanted to cost him with obstruction, which is stopping an investigation to stop your personal wrongdoing from being uncovered. And so, I feel even Democrats know that is the top of the road with this complete three-year scandal that has drowned our politics in discourse.

AMY GOODMAN: David Cay Johnston, your takeaway from this report that was launched, oh, about 20 hours in the past, as of this broadcast?

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: Nicely, Amy, I agree with Glenn that Donald Trump is completely unfit to carry workplace. However I feel he’s misreading what’s within the report. Mueller was charged with investigating to the usual of past affordable doubt, a legal normal. What he exhibits within the report is quite a few contacts by the Russians making an attempt to develop a relationship with the Trump marketing campaign, the willingness of the Trump marketing campaign and the eagerness of the Trump marketing campaign to profit from something the Russians might do for them, together with quite a few contacts, a few of them with recognized Russian spies. And Mueller writes one thing Glenn didn’t point out, that could be very vital, close to the highest of his report: A press release that the investigation didn’t set up specific information doesn’t imply that there was no proof of these information. There’s plenty of proof right here of improprieties. Does it rise to the usual of a felony conspiracy cost beneath federal regulation? No. Mueller says that is correctly the obligation of Congress. And the usual in our Structure is that the president takes an oath to faithfully execute the legal guidelines. We’ve to anticipate our president to be completely and utterly loyal to the pursuits of the USA. That’s why the phrase “emoluments” seems 3 times in our Structure. And the usual is abuse of energy, or, within the phrases of our Structure, excessive crimes and misdemeanors.

Now, I don’t assume Donald Trump goes to be impeached, as a result of there aren’t the votes to convict him. However that Donald Trump was keen, and his son Don Jr. and others in his marketing campaign have been keen, to get assist from the Russians, the report explicitly states. That the Russians have been desperate to ensure that Hillary Clinton didn’t win, that they assist each Trump and Bernie Sanders, is clearly said within the report. So, to recommend that there’s nothing right here and we should always overlook all this and it’s corrupted our politics, Glenn and I simply basically disagree about that. I feel this report makes very clear that Donald Trump behaved in methods that aren’t loyal to america. He urged his employees, opposite to what Lawyer Basic Barr stated about full cooperation, to lie, to disclaim, to cowl up, to destroy data. He wouldn’t sit for an interview. He wouldn’t reply to additional questions. And the solutions in writing that he offered are clever, lawyerly-like arguments that evade. That we will’t shut the loop on a conspiracy between the easiest Russians at intelligence and spying, with the top of a third-generation, white-collar crime household who spent his whole life mendacity and denying; has been discovered by judges, after testifying in trials, to offer testimony that wasn’t unimaginable; that he had handy lapses of reminiscence—and let’s keep in mind Donald Trump claims to have one of the best reminiscence of any dwelling human being—all of that factors to easily the truth that Mueller discovered plenty of proof, however nowhere close to sufficient to satisfy the legal commonplace of past affordable doubt. That’s why he particularly refers to Congress and that this falls underneath the duties of Congress to look into.

AMY GOODMAN: Glenn Greenwald, your response to David?

GLENN GREENWALD: So, to start with, simply as reminder, the Democrats management the Home of Representatives, which is the physique charged with impeaching President Trump. It’s the Senate that determines whether or not he should be convicted. So, in each of the instances of Richard Nixon and Invoice Clinton, when impeachment expenses have been introduced, there was a number of uncertainty about whether or not convictions could possibly be obtained. However the Home did its obligation, anyway, underneath the Structure, which is, in case you actually consider that Donald Trump dedicated critical crimes, it’s the constitutional obligation of the Democrats within the Home to question Donald Trump after which current the arguments and the proof to persuade the general public that he should be faraway from workplace. They usually’ve made clear they’re not going to try this. And I feel that’s fairly revealing.

I additionally need to say that David truly mischaracterized each what I stated and what the Mueller report stated. So, I made very clear that, in some situations, Mueller did what he was charged to do, which is to say whether or not there was sufficient proof to show past an inexpensive doubt with a purpose to indict Trump and his relations and aides on the difficulty of conspiracy and collusion, and he discovered that there wasn’t. That’s extremely vital. You possibly can simply brush that apart if you need, however everyone knows that everyone spent the final three years saying Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner are inevitably about to be arrested, after which none of that occurred. However the actuality—so, I didn’t depart that out. I particularly stated that there was elements of the report the place Mueller merely stated there’s not sufficient proof to show past an inexpensive doubt.

However in different areas of the report, on collusion, Mueller went a lot additional than that, to say not simply that there’s not sufficient proof to show past an inexpensive doubt, however that there’s no proof in any respect that this occurred. And the language that he used, which I’m going to need to learn, since David claims that it isn’t in there, is that Mueller himself stated, “in some situations, the report factors out the absence of proof … a few specific reality or occasion.” For instance, he says the Web Analysis Company, the Russia-based trolling farm, used Fb posts and tweets to attempt to disrupt the election. And he says, “The investigation didn’t determine proof that any U.S. individuals knowingly or deliberately coordinated with the IRA’s interference operation.” As I stated, he made the identical actual declare concerning the change to the GOP platform relating to Ukraine, that there was no proof—not that it didn’t rise to the usual of past an inexpensive doubt, that there was no proof this was something aside from a low-level aide appearing on his personal to vary the platform, with out even the information of Trump, not to mention Putin, to evolve it to Trump’s said overseas coverage. And the identical is true with all the makes an attempt after the conference, as soon as Trump was nominated, by Ambassador Kislyak to attempt to speak to the overseas coverage officers inside the Trump marketing campaign. Mueller says, “The Workplace didn’t determine any proof” in these interactions of coordination between the marketing campaign and the Russian authorities. And I might learn 10 extra examples like that.

So, Mueller was not solely charged with this cramped, slender, legalistic, prosecutorial obligation to say whether or not proof rose to a normal of a past an inexpensive doubt—which, once more, even when he had solely achieved that and concluded that not one American—not Carter Web page, George Papadopoulos, not one American—was an agent of the Russian authorities whereas working for Trump, coordinated or conspired with the Trump—with the Russian authorities over the marketing campaign, that might be extremely deadly to all the things the media has been doing and saying during the last three years. However he went properly past that, as I simply learn, in a number of situations, and stated that a lot of what we have been advised simply didn’t occur.

The BuzzFeed story about Michael Cohen telling Mueller that Trump informed him to lie, BuzzFeed now admits that by no means occurred. Paul Manafort visiting Julian Assange 3 times within the Ecuadorean Embassy, as The Guardian reported, that didn’t occur. Nearly everything of the Steele file, that there have been these overwhelming, year-long contacts between the Trump marketing campaign and Russia to plan the dissemination of disinformation—the truth that they have been utilizing Roger Stone, three weeks earlier than the WikiLeaks launch, to attempt to discover out what was in these paperwork that WikiLeaks has, as Mike Isikoff himself, one of many proponents, the earliest proponents, of this conspiracy principle admitted, by itself proves that the Trump marketing campaign wasn’t doing what the Steele file stated, since had they been in mattress with the Russians all yr, they wouldn’t have wanted Roger Stone, two weeks earlier than the WikiLeaks launch, to seek out out what was within the emails. They might have been a celebration to it. However they weren’t. The entire thing was false. It was a rip-off. It was a hoax.

And once more, as I stated, you’ll be able to simply throw up your arms and say, “Properly, perhaps Mueller simply didn’t discover the proof.” I imply, how do you argue with someone like that? Yeah, in fact, I imply, perhaps Robert Mueller, after 22 months, didn’t discover all of the smoking weapons which might be on the market. However we will solely cope with the truth that we’ve, which is the truth that was produced after an extremely complete investigation, a sweeping, invasive, highly effective one, that was precisely what the Democrats stated they needed. And that proof merely didn’t produce the proof to substantiate the conspiracy theories we’ve been listening to for 3 years. And that actuality won’t ever, ever change.

AMY GOODMAN: David Cay Johnston, we’re going to allow you to reply, however after this music break. David Cay Johnston and Glenn Greenwald debate the Mueller report. Stick with us.


AMY GOODMAN: Tina Turner, masking The Beatles’ 1969 music “Come Collectively.” That is Democracy Now!,, The Conflict and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, as we proceed our debate for the hour, the rematch of two Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists, David Cay Johnston and Glenn Greenwald.

David Cay Johnston, it’s your flip, up subsequent, however I needed to additionally throw in one other a part of the Mueller report, the place he wrote, “We acknowledged that a federal legal accusation towards a sitting President would place burdens on the President’s capability to control and probably preempt constitutional processes for addressing presidential misconduct.” The report went on to say, Mueller’s staff, quote, “decided to not apply an strategy that would probably end in a judgment that the President dedicated crimes.” So, should you might reply to the quite a few factors Glenn Greenwald simply raised and in addition that strategy, which he says goes together with Division of Justice guidelines?

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: Properly, let’s cope with that half first. I feel it’s fairly clear from the report that Mueller has issues with the Workplace of Authorized Counsel place that you could’t indict a sitting president. A lot of individuals do. I do. Laurence Tribe of Harvard, who’s a terrific constitutional scholar, and others do. Nevertheless it’s the coverage. And Robert Mueller is a straight-arrow man, so he adopted the coverage. And that’s partly why his report says these are issues for Congress to take up.

This isn’t a black-and-white state of affairs. I feel Glenn has overstated the information by suggesting there’s completely nothing right here, it’s utterly improper, it’s been a rip-off, he calls it. In reality, there is a gigantic quantity of proof on this report, damning proof, that Donald Trump’s marketing campaign was desperate to get assist from the Russian authorities. We all know that they have been keen to take action, for quite a lot of causes, amongst them, Don Jr.’s “adore it” e mail and the next efforts to lie, deny and canopy up about that; Donald Trump’s refusal to take a seat for an interview; his directing individuals to behave inappropriately, via both not cooperating, destroying data, and so forth. I imply, think about if a earlier president, let’s say Barack Obama, had had a gathering with the top of the federal government in Iran and had solely gone with a translator from the Iranian authorities, or, on one other event, with a translator from all sides and had the American translator destroy their notes. I feel we’d all say, “Woah! What’s going on right here?”

The report is obvious that the Russians, via Konstantin Kilimnik, have been supplied with very delicate, confidential details about polling knowledge, that was then used to make use of focused advertisements on Fb. And let me clarify. On Fb, they will slice and cube stuff in order that for those who stated, “We solely need the advertisements to be seen by white males within the state of Wisconsin between the age of 55 and 65 who lease a Chevrolet car that isn’t a sedan,” you should purchase that advert. And so, they have been capable of extremely goal these advertisements. Now, that doesn’t rise to the extent of a legal conspiracy in Mueller’s view, and I completely settle for that. I don’t query what’s in Mueller’s report. However the truth that they couldn’t shut the loop on contacts and what was happening right here, because the report says, the assertion that the investigation didn’t set up specific details doesn’t imply that there isn’t a proof of these details. And that’s why Mueller referred this to Congress.

That Donald Trump repeatedly lied, that the Mueller report exhibits that issues Donald Trump referred to as pretend information he knew to be true information, and is within the Mueller report, goes to the difficulty Glenn and I agree on about, which is that Donald Trump is a morally corrupt, completely unfit individual to be president. So, I feel the report is damning as to the willingness of the Trump individuals to obtain info, the eagerness of the Russians—and see the report talks concerning the Russian authorities, not a lot the oligarchs. Vladimir Putin, we all know from this report, meets frequently with about 50 of the oligarchs and works by way of them. And they don’t seem to be the Russian authorities, however they’re definitely the brokers of the Russian authorities. And that each one of this materials went on through the marketing campaign and Trump lied, denied and coated up is proof that he had a responsible thoughts. He had mens rea.

And so, I feel that we have to acknowledge that whereas there’s, with out query, not the fabric to maintain, even should you might indict a sitting president, any sort of indictment for conspiracy—which is the phrase I’ve usually used, by the best way—the very fact is there’s a ton of damning proof right here of inappropriate conduct for a president. You’re taking an oath of workplace to faithfully execute the legal guidelines. Your loyalty ought to be totally to the USA. The Russians are dangling multimillion-dollar alternatives in entrance of Donald Trump. He lies about them. They strategy—that they didn’t shut offers shouldn’t be—is necessary, however they approached them, they usually have been willingly embraced in a gathering by Don Jr., Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner. And this report exhibits in depth contacts which are very troubling. A few of them will not be. A few of them transform insignificant, passing conversations and issues. And I agree with Glenn, a few of them—and I assumed so on the time—have been blown as much as be too massive of a deal. However to say, as I feel Glenn is basically arguing, that there’s nothing right here—he simply referred to as it a rip-off—I feel that goes means past the details and approach past Mueller’s level that this could go to Congress and that, as he stated, the assertion that the investigation didn’t set up details, specific details, doesn’t imply there was no proof of these information.

AMY GOODMAN: Glenn Greenwald?

GLENN GREENWALD: So, I feel this—to begin with, in the event you discover, everyone who was behind this conspiracy is beginning, very bluntly, to attempt to conflate obstruction with collusion and, primarily, overlook about the entire conspiracy and collusion a part of the story and give attention to obstruction, as a result of the truth is the Mueller report—and never simply the Mueller report, however the Mueller investigation—destroyed all the predictions and hopes about what it might end in and what it might discover. And that’s why there’s now this virtually monomaniacal give attention to the obstruction a part of this story, on the expense of the collusion half.

Let me simply say a pair issues. This fixation on this legalistic language that Mueller included in his report, which is that a discovering that we didn’t set up one thing doesn’t imply it didn’t occur, or doesn’t imply there’s no proof for it, is extremely irrational. Let me simply offer you an instance. I can conduct an investigation after which come again and say, “My investigation didn’t set up that there are Martians who’re controlling all of our ideas and all of our actions utilizing thoughts management strategies.” That may be true. I might conduct an investigation. The proof wouldn’t set up that. However it will even be true, I might add, that simply because I didn’t discover proof to determine that doesn’t meet it didn’t occur. That’s as a result of you’ll be able to’t show a adverse. That’s all Mueller is saying. Simply because our investigation didn’t exhibit that this stuff happened doesn’t imply they didn’t occur, doesn’t imply you could’t take a look at some occasions in sure methods and say that there’s some proof for it. However, as I stated, in lots of instances he stated there was no proof, and in lots of instances he says, “Our investigation didn’t set up.” And to attempt to reduce that, after three years of every little thing that has been dominating the information, I feel, could be very disingenuous.

On the query of whether or not or not there are disturbing points of Trump’s conduct, I agree that the obstruction a part of the report, once more, reveals some issues that Donald Trump did which are, for me, completely unsurprising, however nonetheless displaying his utter lack of ethics, which is one thing I’ve recognized for 30 years dwelling in New York. However on the a part of the report that offers with every part that kicked this all off, which was Trump’s relationship with Russia, the one factor that’s within the report, that David retains harping on, is the concept Trump and his marketing campaign was prepared to simply accept assist from the Russians. And that’s true. When the Russians referred to as and stated, “Hey, we now have some filth about your adversary, Hillary Clinton, that exhibits her to be actually corrupt and felony, and we want to give it to you,” the Trump marketing campaign stated, “Yeah, we’d like to get that.” Now, you’ll be able to say, “Properly, that’s simply an unethical factor to do.” It’s clearly not unlawful, in response to Robert Mueller, as a result of it doesn’t even rise to the extent underneath the statute the place you can also make it a criminal offense beneath marketing campaign finance regulation, not to mention conspiracy. However you possibly can say it’s unethical, if you’d like.

However then you must cope with this reality: The DNC had contractors working for it, collaborating, coordinating and dealing with the Ukrainian authorities, to dig up filth on Paul Manafort and Donald Trump’s funds. They usually succeeded in doing it. They received filth about Paul Manafort from the Ukrainian authorities, as a result of the Ukrainians needed to assist Hillary Clinton win the election, as a result of they thought that she can be higher for them than Donald Trump can be. The Steele file was constructed by somebody being paid by the Democratic Nationwide Committee and the Hillary Clinton marketing campaign, Christopher Steele, going by way of Moscow, working together with his contacts inside the Russian authorities, to attempt to get dust about Donald Trump.

So, in case you actually consider that it’s so nefarious for a political marketing campaign to attempt to get filth about your opponent in case you work with a overseas authorities to do it, why isn’t the outrage simply as excessive with regards to the DNC’s efforts to work with the Ukrainian authorities to dig up filth about Manafort and Trump, or using Christopher Steele to get dust from his contacts inside Russian intelligence about Donald Trump, a lot of which turned out to be, if not all of it, completely false? So, I feel that that’s probably the most you possibly can say, after which the query turns into: Why doesn’t that apply equally to the Democrats?

After which, I might lastly add, I imply, if I have been David Cay Johnston and individuals who thought like him, my focus now can be on demanding to know why individuals like Steny Hoyer and Adam Schiff and, up till now, Nancy Pelosi have just about stated impeachment is off the desk. Like, in the event you actually consider that this can be a grave menace to the republic, that these are critical crimes and misdemeanors that Donald Trump has engaged in, in abusing his energy, how are you going to not be protesting within the streets towards the leaders of the Home of Representatives for failing of their constitutional obligation to provoke impeachment proceedings towards Donald Trump? How can it’s justified, if it have been actually as egregious as is being steered by David and others, for them not to try this?

AMY GOODMAN: Properly, David Cay Johnston, do you assume the Home ought to transfer to question President Trump?

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: Properly, I don’t assume they’re going to, as a result of there aren’t votes within the Senate to convict. And so it might be pointless. You want 67 votes. And the Republican senators are merely not going to vote, although, in personal, lots of them have made it clear, in conversations with individuals, that they’re deeply disturbed and assume Donald Trump is unfit to serve.

However, you realize, Glenn stated one thing a second in the past that’s completely false, and I don’t need to let it slide. The Steele file, that was first paid for by means of Fusion GPS, run by a former wonderful reporter for The Wall Road Journal, was initially financed by Republicans. Solely after Donald Trump received the nomination did a entrance for Hillary Clinton, a regulation agency, then are available and begin paying for extra work. And so, to recommend this was a DNC challenge is simply false.

As to overseas governments, I feel it’s completely inappropriate that we have now these overseas—

GLENN GREENWALD: Simply to be clear, I agree. Simply to be—let me simply interject. I agree with that. I didn’t—all I stated was that the Democrats paid for that report.

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: OK, advantageous.

GLENN GREENWALD: I didn’t say that they initiated the challenge.

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: Effective, advantageous.

GLENN GREENWALD: You’re completely proper about that. However the Democrats did pay for Christopher Steele’s work.

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: They paid for a part of it later, that’s right.


DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: I imply, I feel this entire episode has delivered to mild critical shortcomings. And I’m someone who has uncovered spies and overseas brokers right here, going again many many years. There are actual critical shortcomings in our legal guidelines. We shouldn’t be having plenty of these worldwide contacts. However Donald Trump—the rationale I feel the obstruction concern is the truth is extremely related right here is: Why would you lie and deny, should you haven’t accomplished something fallacious? Mendacity and denying is proof of a responsible thoughts. And Donald Trump lied and denied, directed different individuals to lie. He’s primarily an unindicted co-conspirator, particular person one within the felony fees that have been pled to as marketing campaign violations by Michael Cohen.

Mueller concluded that the assistance that was offered couldn’t be valued, and it will be a really troublesome factor to do and to suss out when it comes to our marketing campaign finance legal guidelines. However that the Trump marketing campaign offered delicate info that helped the Russians of their efforts to ensure that Hillary Clinton didn’t get within the White Home—and, keep in mind, the Russians additionally tried to assist the Bernie Sanders marketing campaign for a similar cause. They didn’t need Hillary Clinton, as a result of she had made it clear she was going to do every little thing she might, in need of conflict, to make Vladimir Putin hand over Crimea and different actions. To recommend there’s nothing happening right here is, I feel, simply mistaken. There’s numerous proof of it. And also you don’t lie, deny, impede and canopy up, until you realize you’ve finished one thing improper. It will not be flawed to a felony commonplace, and Mueller has stated it’s not—we will’t show something to the legal normal of past an inexpensive doubt. However they present an unlimited quantity of conduct that’s improper. When you get a name from a hostile overseas energy, as Don Jr. did when he acquired his e-mail, and also you don’t decide up the telephone and name FBIcounterintelligence, I feel—and I might hope that Glenn would agree with me—that that isn’t an act of a patriot or a loyal individual and even one with a elementary sense of decency and morality.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to have to interrupt. I do know that Glenn is chomping on the bit, and also you’ll get your response in a minute, Glenn. We’re talking with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists David Cay Johnston and Glenn Greenwald on the discharge of the Mueller report—nicely, part of it. It was redacted. Stick with us.


AMY GOODMAN: “Placing Up Resistance” by Beres Hammond. That is Democracy Now! I’m Amy Goodman. We’re conducting a debate, a rematch, between two Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists, Glenn Greenwald and David Cay Johnston, upon the discharge of the particular counsel Robert Mueller’s 448-page report that concluded that the Trump marketing campaign didn’t collude, didn’t conspire with the Russians to win the election, however did say that on the difficulty of obstruction of justice, Congress ought to determine. Glenn Greenwald, if you wish to decide up the place Johnston left off: Why didn’t Donald Trump Jr. go on to the FBI when he was reached out to by Russian brokers to ask in the event that they needed damaging details about Hillary Clinton, and in addition why Donald Trump obstructed and lied about a lot?

GLENN GREENWALD: So, on that challenge of Donald Trump Jr., the primary level I made in my prior reply, which was a query to David, was utterly ignored by him, about what the Democrats did with the Ukrainian authorities. And I’m fascinating in reposing that query to him in only a second. And earlier than I do, I simply need to tackle one thing he stated—

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: Not true, however go forward.

GLENN GREENWALD: —that I feel is actually essential—OK, which was—then perhaps I missed it, so I’m all in favour of listening to once more. However David stated that Hillary Clinton made it clear that she was prepared to confront the Russians in each conceivable method, in need of struggle, to ensure that they gave up Crimea. I feel that may be a actually necessary level. In 2012, the Russians have been very clearly hoping that Barack Obama would win and Mitt Romney would lose, as a result of Romney was going round saying the Russians have been the primary geopolitical menace and we have now to be far more belligerent in confronting them, whereas Obama was saying that’s Chilly Warfare considering and that we truly ought to attempt to get together with them lots higher. In Russian elections prior to now, like when Boris Yeltsin was operating, the U.S. needed Boris Yeltsin to win, as a result of they knew he would privatize U.S. [sic] business in a means that might assist U.S. corporations, in order that they meddled of their election to assist Yeltsin win. They meddled in 2012 to agitate anti-Russian protesters.

So, I feel David is true. Hillary Clinton’s agenda, she was very essential of Obama for not confronting Putin in Ukraine, for not confronting Putin in Syria, for not doing extra to sanction Russian oligarchs. And Obama’s place was truly nearer to Trump’s, which was, “No, we should always attempt to get together with Russia. We don’t need to provoke Putin unnecessarily. He’s a nuclear-armed energy.” And he’s not that highly effective over issues like Ukraine and Syria, that are distant to the U.S. So, in fact I feel it’s rational that the Russians most popular the candidate saying, “Let’s get together with Russia,” to the candidate saying, “Let’s confront Russia extra belligerently than Obama did.” That’s what the U.S. does, too. They intrude in different nations’ elections, together with Russia, to assist the candidate that may most assist them.

However I’m , David, in listening to your reply on to the query of whether or not you’re additionally indignant, as indignant as you’re about Trump Jr. taking that assembly with the Russians, concerning the efforts to work with the Ukrainian authorities to dig up filth about Paul Manafort and Donald Trump, in addition to using Christopher Steele to dig up filth through the use of his sources inside the Russian authorities, the identical Russian authorities with whom you say Trump labored, to dig up dust about Donald Trump.

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: Nicely, one of many variations between us, Glenn, is I’m not pushed right here in any respect by emotion. I don’t hate anyone. I’m not indignant about something. I deal in details that I can show and confirm. And when the details change, my view of occasions change. And, in fact, we by no means have an ideal set of information.

However I feel that involvement—I stated earlier—involvement by both social gathering with overseas governments, we’d like higher legal guidelines and guidelines about this. I don’t assume the Overseas Agent Registration Act is adequate. And I feel it’s completely improper to be doing issues that have been carried out by—on each side, by this. That’s one the place I’ll agree with you about that. This Ukrainian info gathering is troubling. Opposition analysis goes on on a regular basis, however there ought to be some guidelines and controls on that. And so, in all of this, let’s be very clear that Donald Trump was—

GLENN GREENWALD: So, does that imply that they’re not patriots?

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: Nicely, I feel that Donald Trump Jr.’s conduct was completely unpatriotic. Sure, I feel that his failure to select up the telephone and name the FBI—

GLENN GREENWALD: What concerning the Democrats in working with Ukraine?

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: I don’t—to be trustworthy, I don’t sufficient about—

GLENN GREENWALD: And what concerning the Democrats working with Ukrainian authorities? Was that unpatriotic?

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: Yeah, I don’t know sufficient concerning the particulars of that. I feel that’s an excellent query, Glenn. And I don’t know sufficient to provide you type of a definitive response to that. I’m very troubled by it on its face.

GLENN GREENWALD: Truthful sufficient.



DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: So, however I feel—you recognize, let’s keep in mind right here, Donald Trump was negotiating for a Trump Tower deal that may have put tens of millions, perhaps tens of hundreds of thousands, of dollars in his pocket, when he was operating for president. He was mendacity and denying about numerous issues. He publicly referred to as for the Russians to hack—or, perhaps that’s too robust a phrase—to seek out the, quote, “lacking emails,” which weren’t lacking in any respect. And inside hours, Russian intelligence brokers have been engaged on doing that.

So, what we’ve seen, I feel, is true in entrance of our eyes: inappropriate conduct, and conduct that exhibits that Donald Trump, in probably the most variety—as I’ve stated earlier than, the kindest factor you possibly can say about Donald Trump is that he has divided loyalties. Donald Trump’s final loyalty is just to Donald Trump. It isn’t to his oath of workplace. It isn’t to the nation. At DCReport, we’ve been documenting all of the issues he’s doing that harm the forgotten man, that he promised to be the champion of and who he’s actively, aggressively working towards in his administration. And also you don’t lie, deny and canopy up, until you already know you probably did one thing mistaken.

AMY GOODMAN: Glenn, do you assume that President Trump ought to be impeached over obstruction of justice? You could have, what, Don McGahn quitting relatively than firing Mueller, and, in fact, President Trump fired Comey. However do you assume, regardless of, you’ve all the time stated, that this isn’t about collusion? You have got 30 seconds.

GLENN GREENWALD: No, I don’t. And the rationale I don’t is as a result of—yeah, I don’t, as a result of I feel that the query was whether or not he was appearing as a president in his proper to cease an investigation that he knew was based mostly on false allegations or whether or not he was making an attempt to cowl up his personal wrongdoing. And as soon as Mueller concluded that there was no proof to determine the wrongdoing, I don’t assume he had a corrupt motive. I feel his motive was: “I feel this investigation is rubbish, and subsequently I’m very open about the truth that I need to cease it.” And I don’t assume that’s obstruction of justice. I feel that’s simply Donald Trump eager to cease an investigation he believes by no means ought to have been launched within the first place.

AMY GOODMAN: And in 5 seconds, your ideas on Donald Trump at this time?

GLENN GREENWALD: I imply, I feel Donald Trump is a large hazard and menace to the republic for lots of causes that David could be very adeptly overlaying, and I actually hope that we will now flip our consideration to these issues, now that we’re completed with this espionage thriller that has dominated us for 3 years. I hope we will give attention to the issues that matter.

AMY GOODMAN: We now have to go away it there. Glenn Greenwald and David Cay Johnston, thanks a lot.

Amy Goodman

Amy Goodman is the host of “Democracy Now!,” a day by day worldwide TV/radio information hour airing on greater than 900 stations in North America. She is the writer of “Breaking the Sound Barrier,” lately launched in paperback and now a New York Occasions best-seller.

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