CAFE Insider 04/01: Justice Off-Balance
Hi, stay tuned listeners more than a week has passed since attorney general Bill Barr wrote his summary of Muller's conclusions. The Muller report is yet to be released in remains to be seen. How much of it will be made public? In the meantime, President Trump has declared an unmitigated victory and Republicans are calling for a counter investigation into the origins of the special counsel probe with the twenty two thousand presidential election fast approaching there is much to make sense of in. This relentless new cycle insider is subscription service from cafe that includes a podcast co hosted by an milligram and me each week. We break down the news and take stock of what's happening today. We're making a portion of the cafe insider podcast available in the state tuned feed. This segment is from our most recent episode to listen to our full conversation and access all other cafe insider content. Become a member at cafe dot com slash insider. That's cafe dot com slash insider. I'm a couple of thoughts about how by mother has gone about preparing the report since you had a few days to think about it last week. We taped literally the morning after the December. He came out and one is it would would have been possible for Muller and his team. And we've seen this another occasion than we do this in my office from time to time knowing that they're going to be some material that cannot immediately be made public or about which there will be a fight. You create versions, you create, you know, the version that you give to the court under seal, and then you create the version that that doesn't have the grand jury sensitive information doesn't have the classified information. And you have that ready at the time you make the submission to the court, I suppose Muller could have done that. And it gives me some comfort that Bill bar has said that going forward in connection with whatever it action process that he will be consulting with a special counsel. Although it appears he didn't consult with him with respect to the four page summary. So that's good any thoughts. Jimmy thoughts on why they didn't prepare in advance. It's some version that could have been made public or made available to congress right away. I think this is worth digging into a little bit. Because the I've had that question in my mind and the other question I've had in my mind is why did Muller give bar three week run time. And basically tell them three weeks in advance. Look, I'm coming to you. I'm not gonna make a conclusion, and I think Muller was probably trying to do the right thing. Make sure it didn't surprise anybody. But you know, I sort of have wondered in my mind was that a mistake because he set up this chain of events where bar basically decided great. He's not making a conclusion there's a void into which I can now step, and I don't want to say Muller got played. But I I definitely think that barred Muller have known each other for a long time Muller is very respectful of the institution bars, the attorney general, and you know, I sort of I question the wisdom of that sort of three week lag time, I also do not understand the this this issue the six e issue the grand jury material issue, none of that would have been so. Prizing tomorrow. And so I could have seen a version of events where Muller actually went to bar, basically said look, you know, here here's what we wanna do. We want to do a full version. And then we wanna do a redacted version or we'll give you at the same time an extra copy where we basically show you the things that we think are part of ongoing investigations or graduated material or super classified and shouldn't be disclosed. What do you think? So I think it may be that Muller's philosophy and approach to all of this is on the biggest highest stakes things were something's opposed question. I'm not going to decide, and that's the reason why he didn't make an ultimate conclusion the criminality on obstruction in it may be. That's why he didn't prepare a separate parallel redacted report that those kinds of things he's coloring in the lines within the lines that he's giving those decisions to other folks. Whether it's congress of the attorney general, I guess now on the question of you. You know, what we're going to see near. There was a second letter. Issued by Bill bar making clear that there's a timeline that he says he's a Deering to zoo started by that we're in which he says these some version of the report will be provided by the middle of April simply a longtime. So among the things to Bill bar said is we should talk about this one sentence that some people took as a positive sign. I think the better reading is that it's Embiid use with respect to executive privilege, which is one basis on which you could say some information can't be compulsory embar writes in the new letter from last Friday, I think quote, although the president would have the right to assert privilege over certain parts of the report he has stated publicly that he intends to defer to me Bill bar and accordingly. There are no plans to submit the report to the White House for privilege review. Does that mean that privilege is not going to be asserted? Or does that mean that the decisions about privilege will be made by Bill bar? Right. And I think it is it is ambiguous. And so my first reading was, oh, they're not gonna serve privilege, and then you know, I always sort of the best guy you got to separate everything fourteen completely. And then when you read it more carefully. I think you're right. It does leave open that possibility that bars just going to be the one to exert executive privilege, which would be absurd because not everything the president says or does or that his senior adviser saying do is covered by executive privilege, and it really goes to this question of whether the conversations are there to provide counsel and advice, and so you know, I would be very skeptical of bar exerting executive privilege without sitting in a room with the president and going through the report line by line. And remember bars not supposed to be the president's lawyer bars was to be the lawyer for the United States of America and all the people. He's appointed by the president. But the president has his own lawyers. He's got a White House counsel who represents the presidency. He's got his own personal lawyers Rudy Giuliani and the whole gang. And so it really that that tends I think is potentially problematic. It's also a question. I think of you know, you, and I've talked about this. But a lot of the folks were interviewed agreed to be interviewed did not claim privilege, but sort of said, I'm reserving privilege. Yes. So that's been reported that they reserved privilege, and I suppose if the arrangement was agreed upon the you could assert privilege later. I do think it's odd that Bill bar has said that he's not going to submit to the White House because there's no reason to do that. And you would have thought that had the White House counsel. The new one said that they want an opportunity to review done yet. I'm not sure I'm not sure why that was given up. Yeah. I don't know. I mean, it's also sort of at this point the president has done a victory lap. Again. We haven't seen the report but bar summarized it in what he now calls a non summary summary. And so, you know, there is a little bit of the it does strike me as very odd for the president to come out and say nothing I said can be disclosed right for so take out blackout. Three hundred fifty pages of the four hundred plus page report. But I'm innocent. And so I think kind of you can't have it both ways. And so I would expect the president here to waive privilege until allow the American public to see it. Now that being said, you know, again, what you would expect and what we have been seeing or not the same thing. You know, there's ones where too in the weeds legal point on this. There happens to be an opinion that still resigned to the Justice department from the officer legal counsel from the summer of two thousand and eight that arose in connection with the congressional investigation involving the outing of the operative. Valerie plame in which the Justice department at that time took the position that when congress asks for information from the Justice department that sensitive the opinion says it is not sufficient for the committee to assert that the subpoenaed documents may at some level relate to a legitimate oversight interest. Never congress has two functions. One of the functions is oversight. And take a look at the other branch of government and act as a check and balance, and obviously the most obvious role for congress is lawmaking authority legislative authority, and this opinion takes the position that in connection with trying to get these kinds of documents via subpoena is not enough that it'd be an oversight interest. It has to be a legitimate lawmaking legislative interest. Now, I think we'll see how this plays out because the house as as we come into the studio this morning on April. First we have an indication that the house is going to seek to subpoena. The entire Muller reported unredacted form, you could make a good, obviously as a matter of oversight, the house committees have an interest in getting this document. That's very clear, it's hard to dispute that, but I think they also have a legislative interest depending on what the report found, and depending on what level of new information. We get about interference in the election, and what the Russians did there's a legislative interest in figuring out what kind of response there should be what kind of sanctions there should be. We'll kinds of legislation might help to protect future elections. So I think there's there's a deep legislate. Of interest. But that's just sort of an interesting legal fight to think about I agree with that. And I expect that it will be a legal fight. And one of the things that I find surprising is that obviously the White House and the attorney general they're they're not crazy about giving the report to congress, or at least not giving it over quickly. These kinds of reductions can be done fairly fast you and I talked about this last week. It should have been done within a week. They've got teams of people available to review it at every level. But congress gets it, you know, at the end of the day, whether you like the United States Congress or you don't whether it's run by people of your party, or by people of the opposite party. Congress has valid and legitimate reason to review the report, and I think where it gets interesting particularly with the underlying information, particularly if it's grand jury protected material bar sort of remains. I think you know, he remains I think in the wrong place on the sixty grand jury material, which is to say that grand jury testimony by a witness grand jury subpoenas issued to get say think about cellphone records. Bank records, those are treated as secret in less, the attorney general decides that there's a a reason to provide to congress, and then gives notice to the court or goes to the court himself and says, look we wanna we wanna wave sixty on this we want we want you to basically allow us to share this publicly, which I believe a court would grant. So you know, there's a lot of still back and forth. But at the end of the day, I think, you know, congress gets it. And it feels to me like there's some delaying happening here in an effort to sort of play a little bit of a game that that is not good for the American public. I hope you've enjoyed the sample of the cafe insider podcast in the full episode and a nice speak a great length about Muller's report, the acrimony and congress and SDN wise charges against Michael Nadi. We also discussed the deposition of Alex Jones, and the dismissal of charges against actor jussie smollet to listen become a member by going to cafe dot com slash insider and get access to all insider content. That's cafe dot com slash insider to the many of you who have chosen to join the insider community. Thank you for supporting our work.