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Joyce Vance: The Obstruction Is What Kept Mueller From Charging Conspiracy

"It is that obstructive behavior that ultimately keeps the American people in the dark about what happened," the former prosecutor said.
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Lawrence O'Donnell brought on Joyce Vance last night to connect the dots between volume One and Two of the Mueller report.

"We are back with a cliffhanger with our Joyce Vance. Let's take another look of the short version of the question/answer that you found so important yesterday," he said.

REP. VAL DEMINGS: it is fair to say then that there were limits on what evidence was available to your investigation of both russia election interference and obstruction of justice.
MUELLER: That's usually the case.
DEMINGS: That lies by Trump campaign officials and administration officials impeded your investigation.
MUELLER: I would generally agree with that.

O'Donnell asked Vance why that was so important.

"It seems to me, Lawrence, that this is the linkage of volumes One and Two of the Mueller report. We used to look at it separately," she said.

"Yesterday we had two separate hearings. It is important that we understand -- and Mueller made it clear -- that we needed to understand the obstruction ultimately impacted their inability to charge a conspiracy or other crimes related to connections between the campaign and Russia, and that ultimately that obstruction of justice not just from the president, but also from people around him, people who Mueller and the report tells us did not tell the whole truth, lied, destroyed evidence, it's that obstructive behavior ultimately keep the American people in the dark about what happened."

"And so in Volume One, when we get to the phrase 'insufficient evidence,' this is part of how we got to that phrase 'insufficient evidence,' O'Donnell said.

"You know, it is and Mueller clarifies that. He says we believe that we have the full story. Because there are gaps in our evidence, it is possible that if we have more some of these folks had told the truth, that we would cast the evidence in a new light, we would view it differently or in a completely new light. And that, I think, is something we should all understand is, the risk here that when people obstruct justice, it keeps prosecutors from getting to the full truth and when we are talking about the president of the United States engaging in a pattern of relationship of behavior with Russia, it is very dangerous for us to not know the truth," she said.


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"Robert Mueller seems to be suggesting it was a lot of lying that they were aware of and different grades of it, all the way to outright liar. "Outright liar,' we can presume Michael Flynn, he got charged as a crime. It seems there are not any perjury charges as you may expect, prosecutors say we dealt with all of this lying," O'Donnell said.

"Perjury is different. It is a legal charge. It requires you prove intent and prove the materiality of what you are being told. Here we have witnesses who came in and perhaps told lies or half truths in a posture where it wasn't possible, feasible or desirable for prosecutors to spend all their time on that, and yet it impeded the investigation. We saw charges in the most important cases involving lies. I think we don't know, and we know because Mueller tells Congresswoman Demings that it did impact the investigation, what we don't know was how much and how pervasive it was," Vance said.

"It's very clear that Donald Trump is trying to impede the investigation, he's trying to stop the investigation, he's trying to fire Robert Mueller, it could be that the drama of that as it unfolds in the reading of the report, casts such a shadow that people don't notice, all of this other lying that Robert Mueller says was impeding their investigation," O'Donnell said.

"That's the risk here. We don't know the answer to that ultimate question. Was there a conspiracy? We don't know because they're so successful at obstruction. That's a dangerous place for us to be," Vance concluded.

Note: I've said all along that the Mueller investigation had access to a lot of intelligence that would permit them to know what happened, but their task was to find evidence and witnesses outside the intelligence to prove their case. They were never going to bring in counterintelligence evidence because it would disclose sensitive sources and methods.

So what happened is, asked to confirm what Mueller's team knew all along, everyone around Trump lied their asses off. The whole "no collusion!" strategy was grounded in the fact that Trump knew they could be counted on to lie for him -- at least, his inner circle.

And here were are. More lawless Republicans, doing awful things, and a Republican party that covers for him.

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