Mueller Speaks: Impeachment Spark, or Double-Negative Legacy?

Mueller Speaks: Impeachment Spark, or Double-Negative Legacy?


Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller just gave a brief statement about his report on the Russian government's attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election, and the question of whether President Trump sought to obstruct that inquiry. Here are two takes on what Mr Mueller said.

Robert Mueller's double-negative legacy
by Willis Sparks

With his brief statement this morning, Robert Mueller leaves behind a "double negative" legacy regarding the question of whether President Trump sought to obstruct justice: we didn't have confidence that the president didn't commit a crime.

And so there's something here to disappoint both the president and his detractors.

President Trump can't be happy that Mueller made explicit in this statement that "Charging the president with a crime was not an option we could consider" under Department of Justice policy. That comment will provoke endless speculation that Trump avoided prosecution only because he's president.


But Mueller's statement is also a disappointment for Trump's critics, because he's made clear that for him to address any questions that extend beyond the text of his report, including before Congress, would be grossly unfair to the president, who can't have a trial to defend himself.

We're left with two main conclusions.

The first is political. The question of President Trump's culpability—in conspiring with the Russians to interfere in the election, in obstructing justice, or in anything else—rests entirely with Congress and a potential impeachment process. Knowing the Republican-majority Senate will not convict the president, Democrats in the House of Representatives must decide whether they have a constitutional responsibility to try to impeach him.

The second is the one Robert Mueller wants us to consider his report's true takeaway: "I will close by reiterating the central allegation of our indictments—that there were multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election. That allegation deserves the attention of every American."

Mueller Just Lit the Impeachment Fuse on Live TV
by Kevin Allison

Everything that Special Counsel Mueller said this morning was in the report he presented to the Justice Department back in March. But his brief remarks could still mark the moment that the slow-burning fuse of impeachment finally started to spark, flicker, and pick up speed.

Here' why: We're living in a TL;DR political and media age when "read the report" isn't enough. The lines between Reality TV and politics have become so blurred that to hear direct from one of the main characters in the drama – as we just did -- is likely to have a bigger impact, not only on the public but on Congress.

Mueller just stood up on live TV and stated flatly that "if we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so," while emphasizing that charging a sitting president wasn't an option.

That's politically explosive in a way that the original report was not. Coming from a man whose impartiality and dedication to upholding US institutions can't reasonably be questioned, a statement like that – for the cameras -- throws the ball squarely into Congress's court.

The evidence to consider is all there, in blistering detail -- much of it beginning on page 208 of the report. Will a dysfunctional Congress – and a Democratic Party divided over the question of impeachment – move forward to do so? Mueller's clear and public statement this morning raises the stakes dramatically.

This week, the market value of Tencent, China's biggest video game company, nosedived after a state media outlet suggested that online gaming was as addictive and destructive as opium. Tencent immediately pledged to cap the number of hours people can play, and to keep minors off its platforms.

It's the latest example of a months-long crackdown on major Chinese technology firms that until recently were viewed as some of the world's most powerful and successful companies, as well as a source of national pride. Beijing's about-face on its own tech titans could have big implications for China, and beyond.

More Show less

Whenever Burkina Faso is in the news, it's often about how the crisis-ridden country has got caught up in the crosshairs of horrific jihadist violence plaguing the Sahel.

But this week, the nation of 20 million was celebrating because Hugues Fabrice Zango won its first-ever Olympic medal after finishing third in the men's triple jump in Tokyo.

More Show less

Should people get COVID vaccine booster shots? Not yet, says the World Health Organization, which is pushing for rich nations or those with access to jabs to hold off until at least the end of September so all countries get to fully vaccinate at least 10 percent of their populations before some jump ahead with boosters. But the WHO's call has fallen on deaf ears in nations like Israel, France, Germany and Russia, which are already planning to offer boosters, in part to better protect people against the more contagious delta variant. What's more, mRNA vaccine makers Pfizer and Moderna are recommending supplemental doses for the same reason. The problem is that, beyond the obvious moral imperative for equal access to vaccines, if the rich continue hoarding jabs while vaccination rates stay low elsewhere, the virus will continue to thrive — and mutate into new, potentially even more infectious variants that sooner or later will reach every corner of the planet.

More Show less

80: If polar ice caps continue to melt at their current pace due to climate change, 80 percent of all emperor penguins will be wiped out by the end of the century because they need the ice for breeding and keeping their offspring safe. American authorities want to list emperor penguins, which only live in Antarctica, as an endangered species so that US fishing vessels will be required to protect them when operating in their habitat.

More Show less

Jon Lieber, Managing Director of the United States for Eurasia Group, shares updates on recent COVID-19 policy developments:

The Biden administration extended an eviction moratorium even after the Supreme Court said they couldn't, what's next?

Well, the CDC imposed a nationwide eviction moratorium in light of increased risk from evicted people because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Supreme Court in June ruled that they (CDC) overextended their authority in doing so and mandated that the moratorium expire on schedule in July. A group of progressive activists weren't happy about this and raised a huge stink in Congress, but Congress recessed for their August vacation before they could solve the problem, putting big pressure on President Biden to extend the moratorium even though he said he didn't think that it would pass constitutional muster. The CDC did it anyway, extending the moratorium until October 3rd, which is a time that's short enough to probably avoid it being overturned by lawsuits, but long enough that Congress has time to figure out how to either extend it on a bipartisan basis or put more money into a rental assistance fund that few people have taken advantage of so far. This whole incident shows the power of progressive activists in the Biden administration who were able to elevate the profile of this issue and potentially prevent millions of people from losing their homes this summer.

More Show less

On GZERO World, Ian Bremmer takes a look at the yin and the yang of alcohol's role in high-level diplomacy and society at large. Alcohol can bring people together just as easily as it can tear them apart. From a 1995 Clinton/Yeltsin Summit where a drunk Yeltsin almost derailed Bosnian peace talks, to Obama's Beer Summit and the recent G7 Summit, booze plays a part in how world leaders interact. Globally, alcohol consumption has been steadily increasing, by over 70 percent between 1990 and 2017, according to one report. . Low and middle-income nations like Vietnam, India, and China are a driving force behind that trend, with drinking in Southeast Asia rising by over 34 percent between 2010 and 2017. And yet, amidst this global booze boom, the world has only grown more and more divided.

Watch the episode: The (political) power of alcohol

Equestrian jumpers, and their horses, are disciplined species. They don't appreciate surprises very much.

But many participants were caught off guard during this week's individual jumping qualifiers in Tokyo by a very daunting statue of a sumo wrestler on the hurdle course (which is dotted with statues paying homage to traditional Japanese culture, like geisha kimonos, cherry blossoms, and taiko drums).

More Show less

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter, Signal

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal

Does alcohol help bring the world together?

GZERO World Clips

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal