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‘Dirty Cops’ Ahead of Mueller Report Release, U.S. President Donald Trump Takes Stand

On Twitter, Trump said last Saturday, "Why should Radical Left Democrats in Congress have a right to retry and examine the $35,000,000 (two years in the making) No Collusion Mueller Report...."

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A sign of the Office of the Attorney General is displayed on the Department of Justice building the day after Special Counsel Robert Mueller delivered his report into Russia's role in the 2016 U.S. election, March 23, 2019. VOA

The U.S. Justice Department will release on Thursday a redacted version of the nearly 400-page report of special counsel Robert Mueller on Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election aimed at helping Donald Trump win the presidency.

In a steady drumbeat against the Mueller investigation, Trump claimed again Tuesday that he has already been exonerated of wrongdoing linked to the election, even as he and the American public await details of the prosecutor’s 22-month investigation.

On Monday, the U.S. leader contended that “these crimes were committed” by his 2016 opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton, the Democratic National Committee and “Dirty Cops,” his derogatory term for former top U.S. law enforcement officials, “and others! INVESTIGATE THE INVESTIGATORS!”

 Mueller investigated Trump campaign contacts with Russia and whether Trump, as president, obstructed justice by trying to thwart the probe. Sparring over the report in advance of its release is rampant.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10icDQgGe78&t=3s

Attorney General William Barr released a four-page summary of Mueller’s findings three weeks ago, saying the prosecutor had concluded that Trump and his campaign did not collude with Russia to help him win but had reached no conclusion whether Trump obstructed justice. But with Mueller not reaching a decision on the obstruction issue, Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein decided no obstruction charges against Trump were warranted.

Trump tweeted that Mueller’s report “was written by 18 Angry Democrats who also happen to be Trump Haters (and Clinton Supporters), should have focused on the people who SPIED on my 2016 Campaign, and others who fabricated the whole Russia Hoax … Since there was no Collusion, why was there an Investigation in the first place! Answer – Dirty Cops, Dems and Crooked Hillary!

Barr, a Trump appointee as the country’s top law enforcement official, said last week he believes that top American intelligence agencies spied on the Trump campaign. He later amended his remarks, saying that while he is “not saying that improper surveillance occurred,” he is “concerned about it and looking into it.”

Barr said he would examine the details of how the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation began.

As for the Mueller report, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told the U.S. cable news program Fox News Sunday, “I don’t think it is going to be damaging to the president.”

Congressman Jerrold Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee that is probing the election, told CNN on Sunday that Barr should release the full report and underlying investigatory evidence to his panel, but Barr has balked.

“To deny the Judiciary Committee and the Congress the knowledge of what’s in parts of the Mueller report is not proper,” Nadler said.

No one other than Barr and key officials in the Justice Department, Mueller and his team of prosecutors appear to know what the report says about the extent of Trump campaign links with Russia during his 2016 campaign or whether he took any actions as the U.S. leader aimed at inhibiting the investigation.

Nadler said that even though Barr concluded no obstruction charges should be brought against Trump, his decision should not go without review. Nadler noted that Barr, before he became the country’s top law enforcement official, wrote that Trump could not obstruct justice because the president “is the boss of the Justice Department and could order it around to institute an investigation, to eliminate an investigation or could not be questioned about that.”

“In other words, [Barr] thinks as a matter of law a president can’t obstruct justice, which is a very wild theory to which most people do not agree,” Nadler said. “The fact of the matter is we should see and judge for ourselves and Congress should judge whether the president obstructed justice or not, and the public ultimately.”

Nadler said it “may be that Mueller decided not to prosecute obstruction of justice for various reasons that there wasn’t proof beyond a reasonable doubt on some things. But there still may have been proof of some very bad deeds and very bad motives. And we need to see them and the public needs to see them.”

Donald Trump
As for the Mueller report, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told the U.S. cable news program Fox News Sunday, “I don’t think it is going to be damaging to the president.” VOA

Opposition Democrats like Nadler have launched new investigations of Trump, a Republican, but the president is objecting.

On Twitter, Trump said last Saturday, “Why should Radical Left Democrats in Congress have a right to retry and examine the $35,000,000 (two years in the making) No Collusion Mueller Report….”

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 Barr has said he will release as much of the Mueller report as possible, while excluding material Mueller included from secret grand jury testimony and confidential U.S. intelligence sources, information about ongoing investigations and material that might prove damaging to peripheral figures in the investigation who have not been charged with criminal offenses. The extent of his redactions is not known. (VOA)

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Economy to Overcome Other Issues in 2020, says Trump

President Donald Trump is hoping that simple message in 2020 will help foil his eventual Democratic Party challenger. 

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President Donald Trump
U.S. President Donald Trump attends a Keep America Great Rally at the Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky, U.S. VOA

“It’s the economy, stupid” has been a catchphrase of U.S. presidential politics since the 1992 campaign, when Bill Clinton unseated incumbent George H.W. Bush. Nearly three decades later, U.S. President Donald Trump is hoping that simple message in 2020 will help foil his eventual Democratic Party challenger.

Trump — in tweets, at political rallies and in remarks to reporters — constantly emphasizes the performance of the U.S. economy, stock market surges, low unemployment rates and his tax cuts to boast he is doing a great job as president.

Economists and political analysts are divided on whether that message will enable the incumbent to stay in office beyond January 2021.

Culture war, partisan split

Ever since Clinton, “we’ve all kind of assumed that should be true. And I think for the most part, it is,” said Ryan McMaken, senior editor and economist at the Mises Institute, a politics and economics research group in Alabama. He cautioned, though, that Trump finds himself on one side of a culture war that his predecessors did not have to confront, as well as a deep partisan divide on consumer confidence.

Walmart Supercentre
Balo Balogun labels items in preparation for a holiday sale at a Walmart Supercenter, in Las Vegas. Black Friday once again kicks off the start of the holiday shopping season. But it will be the shortest season since 2013 because of Thanksgiving falling on the fourth Thursday in November, the latest possible date it can be. VOA

Policy analyst James Pethokoukis at the Washington-based American Enterprise Institute, a public policy research group, also is cautious about the economy prevailing over all other issues.

“Just having a strong economy is not going to guarantee you re-election,” he said. “People often point back to the 2000 election, which occurred after a decade of tremendous economic growth any way you want to measure it — gross domestic product, jobs and wage growth. And yet, [Clinton’s vice president] Al Gore still lost that election to George W. Bush.”

McMaken questioned whether voters in key swing states — such as Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio — who cast ballots for Trump in 2016 were experiencing enough of the touted economic performance to vote again for the president.

Overall, however, “it’s not a bad economy to run on if you’re Donald Trump,” said Pethokoukis.

Trump, said to have concerns about the direction of the economy ahead of next November’s election, will likely push for more tax cuts, passage of a renegotiated North American trade pact and continued pressure on the country’s central banking system, the Federal Reserve, to lower interest rates.

A LB Steel LLC's employee manufactures a component
A LB Steel LLC’s employee manufactures a component for new Amtrak Acela trains built in partnership with Alstom in Harvey, Illinois, U.S. VOA

Trouble ahead?

There are rumblings of economic storm clouds on the horizon. The impact can be seen in Trump’s trade war with China, which has hurt U.S. farmers and raised prices for consumer goods. It’s also reflected in the Institute for Supply Management’s Manufacturing Index, an underperforming U.S. Private Sector Job Quality Index and a ballooning record national debt, in addition to the worrying level of money owed to creditors by middle-class Americans.

“We’ve actually been in a sort of a manufacturing recession, seen a shrinkage of factory jobs, the exact kinds of jobs that I’m sure that people voting for the president thought would be a lot better now,” said Pethokoukis.

So far, none of this has prompted a major stock market correction.

“There seems to be a lot of adaptations in the markets to Trump’s America. That may work to his advantage,” said the Mises Institute’s McMaken.

Analysts note a lack of emphasis on economic platforms so far by the leading Democratic U.S. presidential candidates seeking to oust Trump next year.

But such a platform is likely to be touted when the opposition party holds its convention next July in Milwaukee and picks its campaign ticket. Pethokoukis suggested the Democratic Party should devise a plan with a goal to boost American worker productivity, which has flatlined for years.

The great divide

McMaken pointed out that the widening chasm between the well-off and those struggling economically in the United States makes Trump vulnerable — something emphasized by left-leaning Democratic presidential contenders such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Donald Trump says the economy isn't doing well
Tents and tarps erected by homeless people are shown along sidewalks and streets in the skid row area of downtown Los Angeles, California, U.S. VOA

“On the ground level, I would say just in general, the economy isn’t doing as well,” concluded McMaken.

ALSO READ: Greed For Power May Demolish The Democracy

Amid an impeachment drive by the Democrats, Trump is repeatedly hammering on a specific message to those questioning his suitability for office while being impressed with the performance of their pension accounts during his presidency.

“Love me or hate me, you’ve got to vote for me,” Trump said at a rally in New Hampshire in August, warning that Americans’ investments portfolios would go “down the tubes” if he lost next year’s election. (VOA)