Thursday, October 06, 2022

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A. Compromises in Comprehension


Inability to Take in Critical Information.

Briefly, the Report outlines how the Russians systematically and sweepingly attacked America before and during the 2016 election. There were dozens of connections, meetings, visits, attempts to engage, and phone calls between Russians and the President's circle. While the Special Counsel was not able to find the final legal proof of an actual agreement between Russians and the President, the Report indicates that some witnesses destroyed evidence, gave false testimony, pleaded the Fifth Amendment, lied, claimed false privilege, or used encryption applications or programs that did not preserve long- term records. The Report also makes clear that the President knew about, expected, and received benefit from Russian actions (Vol. I, pp. 4-10). Given the President's continued refusal to acknowledge the severity of these attacks, we can see that his comprehension and ability to absorb important information from his own intelligence agencies, whatever the reason, is impaired. If he cannot protect the nation against a hostile force that has attacked us, it also points to dangerousness. While the Special Counsel concluded that a criminal act (actus reus) could not be established beyond a reasonable doubt in Volume I, a criminal intent (mens rea) is extensively well documented in the discussion of the intentions behind many of the President's actions in Volume II (as well as actus reus, if not for the Counsel's decision to abide by the Department of Justice policy not to indict a sitting president). These factors, combined with the evidence of mental incapacity, heighten dangerousness.

Inability to Work with Advisors.

When the highly-respected White House lawyer, Don McGahn, failed to meet the President's demands for obedience to the direction that he tell Acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and then demand that he "put out a statement denying that he had been asked to fire the Special Counsel" (Vol. II, p. 114), he became the object of ridicule ("Lawyers don't take notes"), saw the impossibility of his role, refused to perjure himself, headed for the exit, and then provided 30 hours of testimony to the Mueller investigators.

In a similar manner, his advisors blocked the President from acting impulsively and self- destructively, hence preventing him from committing a crime. According to one segment of the Report:

The President's efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests. Comey did not end the investigation of Flynn, which ultimately resulted in Flynn's prosecution and conviction for lying to the FBI. McGahn did not tell the Acting Attorney General that the Special Counsel must be removed, but was instead prepared to resign over the President's order. Lewandowski and Dearborn did not deliver the President ‘s message to Sessions that he should confine the Russia investigation to future election meddling only. And McGahn refused to recede from his recollections about events surrounding the President's direction to have the Special Counsel removed, despite the President's multiple demands that he do so (Vol. II, p. 158).

These illustrate a president who is:

(a) predisposed to rash, short-sighted, and dangerous acts, without consideration of consequences, motivated by self-protection to the degree that he does not appear capable of considering national vulnerability; and

(b) surrounded only by the most informal and personal resistance around him to curtail those acts, until the pressure of his predisposition pushes out the advisors.

It is clear that the course of events could have gone either way if those surrounding the President had yielded to the pressures to fire Mueller, or if they had spoken directly to Attorney General Jeff Sessions about limiting the scope of the Special Counsel instead of Rick Dearborn, a senior White House official, pocketing the message. The President's investment in a certain "reality" (that the Russian attack was insignificant) and his refusal to accept critical information or advice hence augment the dangers that our nation faces.