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The Muller Investigation

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Thank you, Logical-Master, for agreeing to debate this important topic with me.
-- TOPIC --
Resolved: The Muller investigation should be continued
-- DEFINITIONS --
Muller investigation: The ongoing Special Counsel investigation is a United States law enforcement and counterintelligence investigation of the Russian government's efforts to interfere, with primary focus on the 2016 presidential election. This investigation includes any possible links or coordination between Donald Trump's presidential campaign and the Russian government, "and any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation." In addition, the scope of the investigation reportedly includes potential obstruction of justice by Trump and others.[1] The investigation, since it began May 17, 2017, has been conducted by the United States Department of Justice Special Counsel's Office, headed by Robert Mueller, a Republican and former Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). As part of his investigation, Mueller also took over several existing FBI investigations, including those involving former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_Counsel_investigation_%282017–present%29
Continued: persist in an activity or process
Should: Denotes moral obligation
-- STRUCTURE --
1. Opening
2. Rebuttals
3. Rebuttals
4. Rebuttals/Summary
1. No forfeits
2. Citations must be provided in the text of the debate
3. No new arguments in the final speeches
4. Observe good sportsmanship and maintain a civil and decorous atmosphere
5. No trolling
6. No "kritiks" of the topic (challenging assumptions in the resolution)
7. For all resolutional terms, individuals should use commonplace understandings that fit within the logical context of the resolution and this debate
8. The BOP is evenly shared
9. Rebuttals of new points raised in an adversary's immediately preceding speech may be permissible at the judges' discretion even in the final round (debaters may debate their appropriateness)
10. Con must waive in R1 and Pro must waive in R5.
11. Violation of any of these rules, or of any of the R1 set-up, merits a loss
Round 1
Published:
Thank you Logical-Master for accepting this debate.

1. Intro

The United States is faced with the biggest constitutional and corruption crisis since the Watergate Scandal. The Trump administration is blatantly and brazenly corrupt. He makes zero effort to hide this fact. The Robert Muller investigation is utmost important to restoring faith in our country.

2. Scope of the Investigation

Robert Muller has fairly broad powers in handling the investigation. As noted in the definitions, Muller has the ability to investigate “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.” Robert Muller has been staying well within his scope of the investigation. Natasha Bertand notes [1]

Mueller has shown no signs of veering outside the terms of his appointment, said Asha Rangappa, an associate dean at Yale Law School and former FBI special agent. But even if Mueller came across something potentially criminal that was beyond his scope, "it's not like he can just walk away from it." 

"He would have to hand it off to Wray and the rest of the FBI," Rangappa said, referring to Comey's prospective replacement Christopher Wray. "They can't just ignore these things." 

Trump’s finances and business dealings are obviously the thing that will bring us the biggest piece of evidence.

3. Indictments and Guilty Pleas

We should let the indictments and guilty please speak for themself. The Muller investigation has indicted 36 individuals and companies and gotten significantly important guilty pleas including [2]

George Papadopoulos - Making false statements to the FBI
Michael Flynn - false statements to the FBI
Michael Cohen - 8 counts of tax and bank charges, hush money payments, lying to congress about efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow

Bob Muller also indicted 12 Russian spies for hacking the DNC database. Alex Ward reports “In total, the indictment charges 11 spies with conspiracy to commit computer crimes, eight counts of aggravated identity theft, and conspiracy to launder money. Two of the defendants are charged with a separate conspiracy to commit computer crimes.” [3]

Additionally Paul Manafort was also indicted on over 20 counts and found guilty on 8 counts. He struck a plea deal with Muller on his other charges. After his plea agreement he lied to federal prosecutors on various subject matters.[4]

Most recently in October a Russian woman was charged with attempting to meddle in the upcoming election. Peter Williams reports:

“The charges, filed Friday in the Eastern District of Virginia, accuse Elena A. Khusyaynova of St. Petersburg with using social media platforms to create thousands of social media and e-mail accounts — appearing to be from people in the U.S. — to "create and amplify divisive social media and political content." The case is not being brought by special counsel Robert Mueller's team.”

Among the other topics were gun control, gay rights, the women's march and the NFL national anthem debate. They also keyed off specific events, including the Las Vegas shooting and the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The content adopted several viewpoints, not just one, court documents said.

4. Russian Troll Farms

The Russian troll farm worked around the clock creating fake social media pages and fake accounts in an effort to undermine the Clinton campaign. They created fake black lives matter pages as well as fake conservative pages. They used VPNs to cover up their tracks. [5]

5. Donald Trump is highly corrupt

Donald Trump is the most corrupt president we have had since Richard Nixon. Throughout his tenure he has used tax payer money to go to his own golfing resorts and encouraging foreign emissaries to stay at Trump hotels. As noted in the NY Times [6]:

The president has played golf at his properties dozens of times since taking office. He refers to his Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago, as the winter White House. Shortly after his election, he celebrated New Year’s along with 800 guests there, with tickets costing more than $500. And Kellyanne Conway, a top Trump adviser, once encouraged people to buy clothes from Ivanka Trump’s line — while Conway was giving a television interview from the White House.

Trump also has significant ties to Russia. Several people on his campaign (as noted in the indictment section) were indicted because of their ties to Russia. In 2016 the Trump campaign met with Russian officials in the Trump Tower. They claimed it was to discuss adoption but now we know that it was to get dirt on the Clintons. [8]

6. Conclusion

It is very clear that Russia attempted to hack into the US election. How much meddling they did, why they did it, and who helped coordinate it are still yet to be known. The people of the US deserve to know the full truth and thus we ought to continue the investigation.

7. Sources

Published:
Many thanks to my dazzling opponent Virtuoso and cheers to what should be a momentous debate!
 
1. Introduction

 Ladies and gentleman, I ask you: What is a prosecutor? Is it someone whose job is to represent the government in criminal cases? Or is it perhaps something more romanticized like some medieval  knight in pristine shining armor who commits himself to “going after” the bad guys? It is someone who brings people to justice? What does it truly mean to prosecute cases? Perhaps that’s a question we could pontificate on all day. Prosecutors play a highly integral role in our society after all. There are many things a prosecutor is, but I will tell you one thing it isn’t: Someone who does anything and everything he can slay his political enemies. “Hmph! Leave that to the politicians”, a noble yet indignant prosecutor might say. “My only concern is upholding and enforcing law.

And yet . . . what we have before us here today is not an indignant yet noble prosecutor. Rather, we have before us a prosecutor who does not appear to concern himself with pesky annoyances like “the law” or “civil liberties”, much less “unfettered power.” We have a prosecutor who has made it his mission to get Trump at any cost.” A mission that perhaps some people couldn’t be any more pleased with, but a mission every freedom loving citizen should oppose less they one day find themselves at the mercy of a prosecutor committed to “getting them at any cost.” It is chiefly for this reason that I vehemently oppose the Mueller investigation, insist that his official powers be stripped from him immediately and thereafter insist that he personally be investigated for any and all crimes/ethical violations as referred to by the great Alan Dershowitz.

2. Overview

There is a litany of reasons to end the Mueller Investigation---each of which is, on its own face, sufficient to justify a CON vote. In order for me to win today, a voter need merely be persuaded by one of these reasons.

A. Conflict of Interest

Although Robert Mueller was appointed as special prosecutor with the purpose of investigating “possible links or coordination between Donald Trump's presidential campaign and the Russian government”, like any prosecutor, in order to truly focus on nothing but maintaining and enforcing the law, his investigation must be free of personal biases or otherwise conflicts of interest (which is why we have special prosecutors in the first place). That means that nearly half of his staff shouldn’t consist of lawyers who had previously (in some cases, quite generously) donated to President Trump’s political rival, Hillary Clinton. That means he shouldn’t be running around hiring FBI investigators who are spending their time exchanging thousands of  adamantly anti-Trump / pro-Clinton and who get caught modifying FBI reports to preclude prosecution of the latter.That means he shouldn’t be running around hiring staff members who publicly praise prosecutors who break their oath office by refusing to carry out President Trump’s executive orders. That means he shouldn’t be hiring former attorneys for the Clinton Foundation who have also incidentally provided generous donations to the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. And last but not least, that means that he himself shouldn’t be a close friend and longtime associate of a man who was fired and personally humiliated in disgrace by President Trump---particularly when this man has “secretly leaked — or gave — information to the New York Times to spur [the entire special counsel] appointment in the first place!

What we have here is a highly conflicted prosecutor whose conflicts not only exceed those of which were perceived by disgraced former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, but whose conflicts defeat the entire purpose of appointing a special prosecutor in the first place. Just as we don’t want someone who could be perceived to be Pro-Trump investigating the president, we just as well don’t want someone Anti-Trump either. If this investigation is to go forward, it should be fair and free of any suggestion of impropriety.

B. Mueller himself needs to be investigated for corruption

Robert Mueller himself has a sordid history with implications that if true not only make him unfit to investigate Donald Trump, but also unfit to investigate the local dog catcher! As famed liberal Democrat law professor, Alan Dershowitz has noted, “Mueller was an assistant U.S. attorney in Boston, the head of its criminal division, the head of the criminal division in Main Justice, and the director of the FBI during the most scandalous miscarriage of justice in the modern history of the FBI.” Apparently, “four innocent people were framed by the FBI to protect mass murdering gangsters who were working as FBI informers while they were killing innocent people.” And apparently, a highly credible witness “swears he saw a letter from Mueller urging the denial of release for at least one of these wrongfully convicted defendants.” To date, no objective investigation has been conducted in regards to this matter. As Dershowitz himself noted, although “a former federal judge . . . rushed to Mueller’s defense, declaring ‘without equivocation’ Mueller had no involvement in the massive miscarriage of justice . . . her evidence is the lack of evidence in the files [and] no civil libertarian should place such great trust in government files, especially in light of [the adjudicated] findings.

And so my question is why in blue blazes should someone with these kind of shady associations and intrigue be anywhere near an investigation into the President of the United States? Imagine if a prosecutor with this kind of questionable past was prosecuting one of your loved ones? Would you simply sit idly by and trust him to be fair and impartial? I know I wouldn’t! We want justice and justice has no room for rogue prosecutors who are determined to “win” no matter what the cost. Mueller has no business being part of this investigation and should instead be investigated himself. For if he truly did write this despicable letter denying the release of someone he knew was innocent, he needs to be disbarred and locked away for a long time.

C. Getting help from the Russians on its face isn’t a crime.

The general idea of the Russian collusion investigation is that Donald Trump conspired with the Russians to manipulate the outcome of the 2016 election. Lets assume for a minute that Donald Trump walked up to the Russians and they told him “we have some dirt on Hillary Clinton, come we’ll give it to you’ and Trump goes and gets the information. Lets 100% say that’s what happened in 2016. Where’s the crime? Here’s my challenge to PRO: Show me the federal statute that makes THAT a crime. As Alan Dershowitz has repeatedly noted, “that's what the New York Times did with the Pentagon Papers” and “ that's what the Washington Post did and many other newspaper did with information with Snowden and Manning. You are allowed legally to use material that was obtained illegally as long as you had nothing to do with the illegal nature of obtaining the information.” 

PRO has no choice but to argue that Trump directed the Russians to do the hackings. An effort in futility as indicated by Mueller’s failure to prove this after 2 years and millions in taxpayer dollars, but perhaps PRO knows something Mueller doesn’t. Needless to say, this is why Mueller has spent so much time pursuing the litany of unrelated indictments PRO has referred to in his opening round. Nevertheless, as Dershowitz has noted, this is all “symptomatic of a broader civic ailment that affects both sides of the aisle: Wielding criminal investigations in a politicized manner to harm one’s opponents.”That's all the Mueller investigation is and we'll get further into this when we address PRO's arguments in my next round. Just as an indignant and noble prosecutor has no time for wielding criminal investigations in a politicized manner, we the people have no time for the likes of Robert Mueller!


Sources:

See hyperlinks
Round 2
Published:
I’m going to have to skip this round. I apologize to my opponent. I kinda forgot about the debate and am super busy at work. 
Published:
Not a problem PRO! In the mean time, I'll start with my rebuttal!
------------->

Re: 2. Scope of the Investigation

PRO tells us that Mueller has fairly broad powers in handling [his] investigation.” He cites a provision in the special counsel appointment letter that gives him the ability to investigate “matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.” He further tells us that Mueller has shown “no signs of veering outside the terms of his appointment.

(a) Mueller’s Appointment is Unconstitutional: First, there’s actually some Constitutional ambiguity in regards to Mueller having these  “fairly broad powers.”

Under Article 2, Section 2, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution, the President shall have powers to appoint the federal judges and other officials. This clause empowers the President to nominate certain public officials with the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate. However, the appointment clause allows appointment of lower-level officials by the President without such advice and consent. Much like any area of the Constitution where the “advice and consent” of the Senate is required, the idea here is to establish checks and balances and assure that no one member of the executive branch can operate on a large scale without the say of duly and democratically elected officials. The problem with Mueller’s appointment is that it sidesteps all of this.

Ordinarily, the President nominates a US attorney for any one of the various districts throughout the country and the Senate approves or rejects the President’s nomination.  The US attorney then has the liberty to select his/her own staff and operate his/her district’s office accordingly. The staff attorneys are referred to as “assistant US attorneys” and all work under limited watch and direction of the US attorney. The assistant US attorneys are what the Constitution refers to as “lower-level officials” and thus don’t need to be appointed with the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate.

However, imagine if we had  an assistant US attorney (or in our case a special assistant US attorney) who was only a “lower-level official” in name only and was actually behaving like a full-fledged attorney? Well, we don’t have to imagine because that’s exactly what Robert Mueller is doing and the “fairly broad powers” he was given are living proof of this!  Not only has Mueller “has acted and has behaved like a [full-fledged US attorney]”, but he is actuality “much more powerful than is a permanent U.S. Attorney because he has nationwide jurisdiction and can indict foreign citizens and corporations without clearance from main Justice as he did when he indicted more than a dozen Russian citizens and three Russian business entities.” What’s more, any notion that he is working under the direction and supervision of the US Attorney General’s office is laughable as “Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein [was] by design not supervising and directing” the work that Robert Mueller is doing” and “Rosenstein [himself] is a potential target of Mueller’s investigation since it was he who fired Jim Comey on President Trump’s orders.”

(b) Mueller has continually veered beyond the scope of Russian Collusion: We need merely look no further than many of the pleas and indictments that PRO himself has referred to see this. What in blue blazes does Paul Manafort allegedly tax-dodging and money laundering well before meeting Donald Trump have anything to do with Russian collusion? What in blue blazes does Michael Cohen tax-dodging and paying off Stormy Daniels have anything to do with Russian Collusion? Is PRO aware of how unbelievable easy it is to find something/anything to prosecute someone for in this country? Should prosecutors NOT appointed by the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate really have the kind of power PRO is championing here? Especially prosecutors whose offices’ have been known to willfully go after innocent people to get what they want

Re: 3. Indictments and Guilty Pleas

 PRO says we should “let the indictments and guilty pleas [Mueller has acquired] speak for themselves.” 

(a) Indictments and Guilty Pleas Don’t Necessarily Mean Justice: First, lets talk about “indictments.” What is an indictment? An indictment is nothing more than a formal charge or accusation that you have committed a crime. Here in the US, only a grand jury has the ability to indict someone for an offense. A grand jury is simply “a jury, normally of twenty-three jurors, selected to examine the validity of a charge before indictment.” The problem is that as famed former New York Chief Judge, Sol Wachtler, put it, a grand jury “would indict a ham sandwich' if the district attorney asked nicely”. A remark that may have been made in jest, but nonetheless a remark well corroborated by statistics. The thing about grand juries is that it’s a closed door process between the prosecutor and the members of the grand jury. Neither the defense attorney nor the defendant are allowed to have a say. The prosecutor is not bound by the rules of evidence and can present just about any information he/she wants. In essence, statistically speaking, if the prosecutor wants to get you indicted, you WILL get indicted.

Statistically, not only are you likely to get indicted if the prosecutor wants to indict you, but you’re also likely to plea guilty as well. According to the US governments own statistics, over 90% of the people they indict plea guilty. As PRO himself is aware, this isn’t due to the “skill” or “hardwork” of government prosecutors, but due to the dismal flaws of a system centered around plea bargaining. As PRO ever so brilliantly put it in a previous debate here, “[d]efendants are in a very vulnerable situation and will often plea guilty even though they are completely innocent.”

In the case of the Papadopoulos, Flynn and Cohen, that vulnerable situation is exactly what each man was faced with. A vulnerable position not created due to some illicit backdoor involvement with some Russian collusion, but a vulnerable position created as a result of being face to face with the full brunt and weight of the United States government. A position that no doubt sparked a conversation that happens for the rest of the 90% of people who plea guilty every day, regardless of guilt or innocence. In Papadopoulos’s case, it was a choice of either pleading guilty and serving 14 days in jail . . . or risking a 5 year sentence in prison. In Cohen’s case, it was a choice of risking decades in prison and his family being financially eviscerated or serving 3 years.

But I digress. The point here is that just because someone was indicted or made to plea guilty is not indicative of well . . . anything. Mueller’s ability to take advantage of a flawed and unfair judicial system and essentially blackmail defendants is not grounds to suggest that the Russian investigation has been promising. Hell, in theory, Mueller could send some FBI agents to PRO’s house, have them question PRO, later indict PRO for a litany of offenses (which we KNOW he can do quite EASILY) and require that PRO admit he had a part in “colluding with the Russians” in exchange for a greatly reduced sentence. The criminal justice system is a joke!

Re: 4. Russian Troll Farms

Whether Russian troll farms have had it ought for Hillary Clinton or not, refer back to third contention in R1. PRO needs to show us what codified crime Donald Trump has committed even if we generously entertain the previously referenced hypothetical scenario.

Re: 5. Donald Trump is highly corrupt

Red Herring and Poisoning The Well Fallacy. Again, see my third contention. The proverbial question for PRO is: Where’s the beef? Whether PRO thinks Trump is comparable to Nixon, is concerned about tax payer money going to golfing resorts, is concerned about Trump playing golf or is even concerned about Trump having talked to the Russians about dirt on Clinton . . . it’s all irrelevant to whether the Mueller investigation into the unlawful Russian collusion should be allowed to continue.  
Round 3
Published:
Thank you for your response! I will begin by attacking my opponent’s case and then will defend my case if I have enough space left! Let’s get this debate back on track!

== Con’s Case ==

A. Conflict of Interest

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, what exactly is a conflict of interest? A conflict of interest is defined as "a set of circumstances that creates a risk that professional judgement or actions regarding a primary interest will be unduly influenced by a secondary interest.”

Robert Muller is a conservative Republican appointed by Rod Rosenstein, a conservative Republican, who was appointed by Jeff Sessions, a conservative Republican. Sessions was and still is a loyal lapdog to the Trump Administration. Trump criticized him heavily when he recused himself of the Russia investigation and repeatedly asked him to withdraw his recusal. Should Muller actually have as many conflicts of interest as con says he does, then it seems highly unlikely that he would have been appointed.

Furthermore it should be noted that pursuant to 28 C.F.R. § 600.3(b), Robert Muller underwent extreme vetting and DOJ investigation and was found to be clear. [3]

His relationship with Comey and his staff’s contributions do not count as conflicts of interest. Noah Bookbinder et al. notes [4]:

Mueller does not have conflicts of interest under the applicable rules and regulations because (1) his relationship with Comey does not appear to constitute a“close and substantial connection”; (2) he did not personally represent Wilmer Haleclients Jared Kushner or Paul Manafort while at Wilmer Hale and does not appear to have had access to any confidential information relating to those representations; (3) the FBI review of Uranium One during Mueller’s tenure is unrelated to the issues that are the subject of the Special Counsel’s investigation;(4) Mueller’s spokesman has challenged the golf fee dispute allegation and in any event this issue is not remotely relevant to the subjects of the Special Counsel inquiry; and (5) a job interview does not constitute a prohibited political relationship under the relevant ethics regulations.

Members of the Special Counsel investigative team are not disqualified from participating in the inquiry as the rules governing the conduct of executive branch employees generally and DOJ investigators specifically expressly permit them to make campaign contributions, and none served as an adviser to or official of the Clinton campaign. Nor would the Special Counsel have been permitted under applicable law to inquire about his staff’s political contributions.The Weissmann email to Yates also does not establish a violation of conflict of interest rules because it shows no bias with respect to the subject matter of the Special Counsel’s investigation.

B. Muller himself should be investigated for corruption

Once again as I noted above Muller was fully vetted and cleared in the ethics investigation. If what con is saying is true they certainly would have brought it up and would have disqualified him as a prosecutor!

Throughout Robert Muller’s career he has been an exemplary prosecutor. Nancy Gertner, the judge who presided over the lawsuit related to the miscarriage of justice suit writes [5]:

There is no evidence that the assertion is true. I was the federal judge who presided over a successful lawsuit brought against the government by two of those men and the families of the other two, who had died in prison. Based on the voluminous evidence submitted in the trial, and having written a 105-page decision awarding them $101.8 million, I can say without equivocation that Mr. Mueller, who worked in the United States attorney’s office in Boston from 1982 to 1988, including a brief stint as the acting head of the office, had no involvement in that case. He was never even mentioned.

I was unsparing in my criticism of the F.B.I. and Justice Department officials who were responsible for this wrongful imprisonment. I named names where the record supported it. I resoundingly condemned the government in an unusual court session in which I read my conclusions.

Mr. Mueller is mentioned nowhere in my opinion; nor in the submissions of the plaintiffs’ lead trial counsel, Juliane Balliro; nor in “Black Mass,” the book about Mr. Bulger and the F.B.I. written by former reporters for The Boston Globe.
The attempt to smear Robert Muller has absolutely no basis in reality as this matter has already been thoroughly investigated.

C. Getting help from the Russians on its face isn’t a crime

The resolution is that the Muller investigation ought to be continued, not whether or not crimes were committed. I reject the notion that I have to prove that Trump actually directed the crimes. This is something that is still unknown. I just have to prove that it should be continued.

The cost of the Muller investigation ought to be compared to similar investigations. The Watergate investigation cost 26 million, Ken Starr investigation cost 57 million, and the Iran-Contra investigation cost 75 million. Further with the value of seized assets the Muller investigation could very well turn a profit! [7]


Con is right that collusion in of itself is not a crime, but that doesn’t tell the whole store. It is, however, multiple crimes! Barry H. Berke et al. notes [10]:

The argument that such coordination would be lawful is striking, including the fact that it follows 191 charges against 35 individuals and companies brought by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, which have yielded five guilty pleas. Taken together, that work spells out the many crimes Russia committed to attempt to affect the outcome of the 2016 election.

That conduct was deeply illegal, and it logically follows that if the president or his campaign team actually worked with the Russians in connection with their efforts, they, too, could be liable. That is not only common sense: It is also the law, with a raft of specific “collusion” crimes implicated.

Many fall under the rubric of conspiracy: an agreement to further illegal action. The core federal conspiracy statute, 18 U.S.C. § 371, would be triggered here if there were any agreement by Trump or those around him with Russian agents to do something that the law forbids. For example, if in or around the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, the Russians and a Trump representative tacitly or explicitly agreed about the release or use of illegally obtained information, that could plausibly support a conspiracy charge. Indeed, there is already some evidence of just that, including Donald Trump Jr.’s infamous email that “if it’s what you say I love it.”
Thus there is more than sufficient evidence that the Trump committee colluded with the Russians and certain aspects of this collusion could very well be criminal. Again let the indictments speak for themselves!

== My Case ==

I am running out of space so I will reply to whatever I can and will pick up where I left off in the next round.

1. Scope of the Investigation

A) The argument that the Muller investigation is unconstitutional is laughably bad. As noted here "There have been special prosecutors, not confirmed by the Senate, since 1875. They have repeatedly exposed corruption in the executive branch, most notably Richard Nixon’s conspiracy to obstruct justice. The institution is part of the reason for the success of the American regime. Calabresi proposes to tear down well-functioning traditions on the basis of an abstract and untested theory. 

I am completely out of space. I will begin the next round by elaborating on this point.

On another note I will be AWOL for the next day or two. Please wait a bit before posting your next round.








Published:
== Con’s Case ==
 
A. Conflict of Interest

PRO tells us that Mueller has no conflicts of interest in light of being a Republican as well as having been appointed by Rod Rosenstein. Notably, he tells us that if “Muller actually have as many conflicts of interest as con says he does, then it seems highly unlikely that he would have been appointed.” The problem with this logic is that it is an overt Appeal to Authority; the fact that Mueller was appointed by a conservative Republican does not lead us to the conclusion that the decision to appoint Mueller was valid. (1) As my R2 source indicates, Rod Rosenstein has continually exercised poor judgment unbecoming of a deputy US Attorney General while dealing with Mueller; (2) As we can see from the litany of R1 example, we have far too many cases of Mueller hiring people under, to quote PRO, “"a set of circumstances that creates a risk that professional judgement or actions regarding a primary interest will be unduly influenced by a secondary interest.” All of these decisions happened after his appointment.

PRO further tells us that Mueller underwent extreme vetting and a DOJ investigation and was found to be in the clear, but this too is an Appeal to Authority. I’ve given crystal clear reasons as to why Mueller is heavily conflicted. It is up to PRO to address them. The DOJ is far far far from an infallible institution as we can see from my example cited in my second contention.

PRO goes on to state that Mueller’s relationship with Comey as well as his coincidental hiring decisions does not constitute a conflict. In support of this, he cites a questionable article from the “American Constitution Society.” However, none of the arguments cited in his article have any merit.

(1) Comey Conflict: In regards to Mueller’s relationship with Comey, the article notes that “no person shall participate in a criminal investigation or prosecution if he has a personal or political relationship with: (1) Any person or organization substantially involved in the conduct that is the subject of the investigation or prosecution; or (2) Any person or organization which he knows has a specific and substantial interest that would be directly affected by the outcome of the investigation or prosecution.” The article downplays Mueller’s relationship with Comey by saying that there’s merely evidence of Comey and Mueller having a professional relationship and that there is no interpretation of this regulations that would include a professional relationship. This is false however. According to credible and former deep cover FBI special agent, John Legato, not only did Comey and Mueller have a close personal relationship, but their relationship even went as far as the two going on multiple vacations together with their families. Going on vacations together clearly goes beyond a professional relationship, so the first clause of the above referenced regulation is easily met.

The article further goes on to say that even if Comey and Mueller have a personal relationship, there still might not be a conflict due to Comey not being “substantially involved in the conduct that is the subject of the investigation or prosecution” nor does he have a “specific and substantial interest that would be directly affected by the outcome of the investigation/prosecution”, but this too is nonsense. As I noted in R1, Comey deliberately leaked confidential information to get the special appointment going in the first place. Of course he has a specific and substantial interest!

(2) Mueller’s Staff Decisions: PRO’s article goes on to defend Mueller’s “coincidental” hiring decisions by making weak issue-dodging arguments like “none of the staff members have a political relationship with Hillary Clinton since none have ever served as her principal advisers or officials!”, “government employees are allowed to make campaign contributions!”, “the DOJ prohibits discrimination for hiring based on political affiliations!”, “there is no evidence that they have violated their professional judgment!” and “the actions of Mueller’s Staff does not justify removing Mueller.” Each and every one of these arguments miss the point to an extent that is almost deliberate. As PRO rightfully pointed out in this round, we have a conflict of interest when we have "a set of circumstances that creates a risk that professional judgement or actions regarding a primary interest will be unduly influenced by a secondary interest." Here, we have numerous key staff officers virulently who are anti-Trump (two of which have gone as far as modifying FBI reports to protect Hillary Clinton). Why would a prosecutor not unduly influenced by secondary interest consistently hire these people? That's the point.

B. Muller himself should be investigated for corruption

PRO tells us that there is no basis for the suggestion of Muller being involved in the case of innocent men being imprisoned that I cited in R1. He bases this conclusion on the statements of a federal judge who presided over a successful civil suit, but I preemptively addressed this in R1. Once more, as [Alan] Dershowitz himself noted, although “a former federal judge . . . rushed to Mueller’s defense, declaring ‘without equivocation’ Mueller had no involvement in the massive miscarriage of justice . . . her evidence is the lack of evidence in the files [and] no civil libertarian should place such great trust in government files, especially in light of [the adjudicated] findings.” Indeed, in a case in which the FBI is being accused of corruption, why exactly should we take the FBI’s word that no corruption exist? What’s more, we have a highly credible witness who saw the letter proving Mueller’s involvement in that case, but none of this has been investigated. Which is quite troubling since this same man is now tasked with investigating the President of the United States. PRO is insisting all of this simply be swept under the rug which is more than troubling.

C. Getting help from the Russians on its face isn’t a crime

PRO tells us that he doesn’t have to prove Trump actually directed any crimes. No, PRO needs to give us grounds to continue the investigation. And that starts with the basis of Trump directing anybody to do the hackings. If PRO cannot do that, he has conceded the debate. As noted in R1, there's no crime based on the most favorable hypothetical PRO has consistent with the evidence.

Even PRO’s own Washington Post article gives us nothing. Refer back to my comments in R1 from the great Alan Dershowitz. The author in PRO’s Washington Post article posits that Trump accepting tacitly or explicitly agreed about the use or release of illegally obtained information could support a conspiracy charge, but this is laughably false, which is why the Washington Post itself (among many other newspapers) was able to use and release illegally obtained information from the infamous Edward Snowden. The fact that the Washington Post of all places is now trying to turn around and say that that kind of activity is unlawful is not only the height of hypocrisy, but is also textbook yellow journalism.

== Pro’s Case ==


Re R3. 1. Scope of the Investigation

PRO’s response to my rebuttal is weak beyond compare as it completely dodges the issue. As I highlighted in R2, the issue is not whether “there have been special prosecutors not confirmed by the Senate since 1875.” The issue is that Mueller is running around with power comparable (if not surpassing) a full fledged US attorney and has no legitimate oversight whatsoever. He is a lower ranking office in name only. My article speaks at great length about this and PRO has yet to address the actual argument.

And that'll do it for now!


Round 4
Published:
Thank you for a fantastic debate though unfortunately I think being forced to waive the 2nd round really hurt me. Thanks for allowing the debate to continue. I will defend my opening statements.

2) Scope of the Investigation

A) Con argues that the investigation is unconstitutional per Article II, Section II, Claus II. Let's look at what it says:

He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.
So where does this leave Mueller? According to Order no. 3915-2017, Rod Rosenstein cited his authority under 28 U.S.C.§§ 509, 510, and 515 to order the investigation. According to Stanford criminal law professor Neal Katyal:

In 1988, the Supreme Court ruled in Morrison v. Olson that the Constitution allowed an Independent Counsel to be appointed by a three-judge court, completely separate from the Executive Branch,” Sklansky said via email. “In reaching that conclusion, the Supreme Court held that an Independent Counsel is an ‘inferior officer,’ not a ‘principal officer,’ for reasons that very clearly apply to Mueller: (a) he can be removed by a higher-ranking Department of Justice official, (b) he is authorized only to investigate and, if appropriate, prosecute, particular federal crimes, not to formulate Department of Justice policy, and (c) his jurisdiction is limited to the matters delegated to him by the Department of Justice.

The only significant difference between Mueller’s appointment and the appointment scheme for Independent Counsels, upheld by the Supreme Court in Morrison v. Olson, is that Mueller, unlike the Independent Counsels, was appointed by President Trump’s own appointee, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, rather than by a three-judge court,” Sklansky said. “But that just makes the argument for the constitutionality of Mueller’s appointment even stronger. Given the Supreme Court’s ruling in Morrison v. Olson, there is no remotely plausible argument that Mueller’s appointment was unconstitutional
B) Con charges that Mueller has gone off course of his initial investigation. Once again let's look at the order:

any links and/coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump; and
any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation; and
any other matters within the scope of 28 C.F.R.§600.4(a).

The second and third one are super important. 28 C.F.R.§600.4(a). states:

The jurisdiction of a Special Counsel shall be established by the Attorney General. The Special Counsel will be provided with a specific factual statement of the matter to be investigated. The jurisdiction of a Special Counsel shall also include the authority to investigate and prosecute federal crimes committed in the course of, and with intent to interfere with, the Special Counsel's investigation, such as perjury, obstruction of justice, destruction of evidence, and intimidation of witnesses; and to conduct appeals arising out of the matter being investigated and/or prosecuted.
It's obvious why the tax fraud and campaign issues were investigated and prosecuted. The most important piece of evidence is the financial records. Thus when Mueller goes over it and finds crimes related to that investigation, he has an ethical and moral obligation to prosecute them. He can't sweep it under the rug. If Meuller was going after Trump University, then yes he will be going way over his line. But that's not what's happening here.

3) Indictments and Guilty Pleas

In round 1 I cited the successful indictments and guilty pleas by the Mueller investigation as to provide evidence why the investigation should and must continue. Con's main rebuttal is that it doesn't prove justice was done? Why should we believe this? With the preponderance of evidence against the individual, it's con's burden of proof to show their innocence.

4) Russian Troll Farms

The resolution is whether or not the Trump investigation should be continued. I reject the notion that I have to prove Trump and Co's guilt. The order is an investigation into the campaign itself of Donald Trump, not just whether or not he is guilty. The impact of this argument is clear: The Russians not only gave information to the campaign, but they actively helped the campaign by spreading disinformation on the internet. Why would Russia invest a huge amount of resources for the election? Furthermore this is a huge attack on our Democracy, the bedrock of our country. This definitely warrants an investigation.

5) Trump is Highly Corrupt

Once again the resolution asks whether or not the Mueller investigation should continue. Trump's corruption is well known and quite obvious. It therefore follows that the Mueller investigation is warranted.

Conclusion

Thank you con for a fun debate! I think you have the upper hand based on my waiving a round, but I still had fun nonetheless. Hope we can debate again soon!
Published:
I mutually thank Pro for what was a fantastic debate! To note, Pro is correct about his R2 hurting him, but suffice to say, a drop is a drop and PRO has dropped all three of my contentions as of his R4. My first two contentions give grounds for kicking Mueller off the investigation (thus ending the Mueller investigation) and my third contention gives grounds for ending the investigation regardless of who is in charge. Buying any one of my 3 contentions is enough to support a CON vote.

Re: 2. Scope of the Investigation

A) PRO tells us Rosenstein had the authority to appoint Mueller, citing an article by a Standford Professor who makes the point that Mueller is merely an inferior officer and thus does not need to be approved by the Senate. Ladies and gentleman, PRO yet again dodges the issue. The ability for the Department of Justice to appoint an inferior officer is NOT what is at issue here. The issue, as highlighted in my article is that Mueller has powers on par with a full-fledged U.S. Attorney and has had no legitimate oversight by Rosenstein whatsoever. Mueller is an inferior officer in name only. In reality, he has exceeded his Constitutional limitations and is therefore rendered his appointment unconstitutional.

Mueller’s investigation has made controlled leaks of information to the press designed to embarrass the President and hinder him in the performance of his constitutional duties, and his investigation has dominated the headlines for one year now distracting President Trump from performing his job and making Mueller far more powerful and well-known than are any of the ten Assistant Attorneys General or the 93 U.S. Attorneys, all of who are principal officers nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Unlike the officers in [cited case in article], Robert Mueller’s work is not being “supervised and directed” by principal officer Rod Rosenstein who has treated Mueller as if he was “independent”. Moreover, unlike the Morrison v. Olson investigation, this investigation is not limited in scope or in jurisdiction. To the contrary, Mueller’s investigation is breathtaking in scope, his indictment of Russian citizens and business entities directly interferes with President Trump’s ability to control foreign policy with Russia, and his breach of Attorney-client privilege is a threat to civil liberties unlike any that has been attempted in this country since Senator Joe McCarthy’s red scares.

There is no question at all that Robert Mueller has behaved over the past year as if he were a principal officer of the United States even though he has never been nominated by the President or confirmed by the Senate. He is best analogized to an Assistant Attorney General or a permanent U.S. Attorney and not to an Interim U.S. Attorney or to an Assistant U.S. Attorney or to a special assistant to Rosenstein. Thus, even though Mueller has a boss in Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, he is not an inferior officer in any meaningful way. Mueller is, in fact, more powerful than are any of the permanent U.S. Attorneys because he has nationwide jurisdiction and has indicted more than a dozen Russian citizens and three Russian business entities. He is thus more akin to an Assistant Attorney General than to even a permanent U.S. Attorney. The Assistant Attorneys General have always been treated as being principal officers who must be nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. It follows afortiori that Mueller is a principal officer and that his appointment is unconstitutional because Mueller was not nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate.
B) PRO has not uttered a word as to how tax-fraud or porn-star hush money payments are remotely relevant to investigating whether Trump colluded with the Russians. Instead, he simply said it's "obvious." Lets follow his logic to its conclusion. Bare in mind that Manafort was getting prosecuted for events that transpired years before he ever even became his campaign manager. So is it PRO's argument that Mueller believed the Russian election interference conspiracy begia in 2005? If not, reductio ad absurdum.

PRO, by his own admission, says that going after Trump University would be a case of Mueller exceeding the scope of the investigation, but lets think about that. Obviously, Trump University could come up as a result of looking into Trump's financial records and examining his various expenses (which PRO says is enough to give Mueller a free pass to investigate anything Manafort and Cohen did). Why WOULDN'T Trump University be relevant? PRO is contradicting himself. Mueller IS going over his line and that IS what's happening here!


Re 3) Indictments and Guilty Pleas

In R1, PRO presented a litany of indictments and guilty pleas that came as a result of Mueller's investigation. In R2, I demonstrated how easy it is for the federal government to obtain indictments and guilty pleas and that (per PRO's own words/arguments/sources in a previous debate) "[d]efendants are in a very vulnerable situation and will often plea guilty even though they are completely innocent.” As I stated in R2, my point was that just because someone gets indicted or pleas guilty, that on its face doesn't mean anything. People do the math on a daily basis. In this round, PRO poses the question "Why should we believe this" and my answer is simply to refer back to what I've already said and shown in R2.

PRO further says I need to prove the innocence of the gentlemen he cited, but this is feeble attempt to shift the burden of proof. PRO said the indictments/pleas prove that the investigation has been worthwhile. I demonstrated as to why indictments/pleas at face value don't prove anything. It is illogical for PRO to then turn around and claim that I must prove the indictments/pleas are all invalid. Rather, PRO is logically, at this point, required to demonstrate why either my demonstration is invalid or why despite my demonstration his indictments/pleas still prove his case. 


Re 4) Russian Troll Farms

PRO tells us he doesn't have to prove Trump committed any crimes since the investigation is a matter of whether the Trump campaign is guilty of collusion, but this is irrelevant. Whether it's Donald Trump, Invanka Trump, Baron Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Donald Trump's uncle, Donald Trump's butler or even Donald Trump's dog, we still go right back the most favorable hypothetical PRO's case allows which is someone accepting knowingly illegal information from the Russians. The question is whether THAT'S a crime. And as I have definitely proven throughout every round of this debate, NO IT IS NOT. In other words, Mueller is wasting millions of your tax dollars on something he knows (or should know) he cannot prosecute.

Whether the Russians spreaded "disinformation" over the Internet, that's also not a crime or else the members of DART itself would be subject to prosecution. Trump and Putin could have literally been getting it on every night making sweet sweet sweet forbidden collusive love over how they plan on beating Hillary Clinton in 2016 and it wouldn't mean a damn thing as far as a criminal prosecution was concerned. PRO's objections are political rather than criminal. And no honest prosecutor believes in political prosecutions in this country. PRO's complaints are infinitely better reserved for the ballot box every 2-4 years.

Re 5) Trump is Highly Corrupt

I reiterate my previous response in R2. I'd also like to note that if PRO's standard for prosecuting people for Y is because he thinks they are corrupt due to X, he is laying down the foundation for a very scary country to live in. A country full of kangaroo courts with members of the political party in power going after members of the party out-of-power. Mueller was appointed to investigate Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. If no crime was committed (i.e. "collusion"), the investigation needs to end.

Thanks for the debate! Vote CON!

Footnote:

Added:
--> @Virtuoso
lol turns out there was no collusion after all wut a surpise! So you libtards have been lying the whole time? i can't believe who would've known btw lemme guess mueller is prolly a russian agent too
can we plz get that 2 year invest. into hillary's emails now? thx go back to ur pillow crying libtard tears lmao
#27
Added:
--> @Ramshutu
7.) Just look at the WaPo excerpt one more time. Trust me. The "multiple potential crimes" is literally them saying people have been indicted/plead-guilty. The other and single crime being something you yourself noted PRO dropped.
8) This is a pretty nuanced issue that I really should have explained a lot better in hindsight. Here's the general idea though: A Principal Officer must be confirmed by the Senate. An inferior officer can be appointed directly by a Principal Officer, provided the inferior officer is supervised and directed by the Principal Officer and subservient thereto. My argument here is that Mueller is inferior officer in name only, has not been supervised and directed by the Principal Officer (Rosenstein, due to Sessions' conflicting himself) and has not been subservenient (due to exercising powers on par with, if not beyond that of the Principal Officer, such as nationwide jurisdiction, his indictment of foreign citizens and business entities and his breach of Attorney-client privilege is a threat to civil liberties unlike any that has been attempted in this country since Senator Joe McCarthy’s red scares).
9) I guess I can give heads/tails on this, but in the debate, I had made the point that Mueller had investigated Manafort on things that occurred and happened over a decade prior to the existence of the Trump campaign, much less any notion of Russia collusion. PRO said financial records are relevant while simultaneously saying Trump University would be out-of-bounds. I just don't see how one can salvage both statements.
Anyways, don't take it personally! This is a debate site and I like to debate! Thanks for reading!
Contender
#26
Added:
Don't take it personal, Ram, but this is a debate site after all and you just so happened to comment on something I'm quite interested in! I won't relitigate the debate. And hell, I'll probably agree to disagree after this latest exchange.
By your own admission, you aren't a pure TR voter, so I don't see any issue in discussing any implicit presumption that influenced your rendering of the debate.
1) Why is it that you think I was only referencing a general ability of prosecutors to be malfesant as opposed to questioning the reliability of the entire plea/indictment process?
2) I'm willing to give heads/tails on this one as I honestly did not give it any thought until you pointed out and since boils down to the difference between a pure TR and non-pure TR voter.
3) The harm was fair and free of any suggestion of impropriety.
4) Why? I raised a specific argument that the ethics investigation did not address. Logically, why should that argument be swept under the rug just because some ethics investigation has determined Rob is a good dude?
5) Do you believe that it is a valid default position that someone having an alternative party affiliation to the degree of donating massive sums of money, breaking their oaths of office and engaging in malfeasance is indicative of "a set of circumstances that creates a risk that professional judgement or actions regarding a primary interest will be unduly influenced by a secondary interest?"
6) I'm willing to give heads/tails on this one. Had I seen the "federal judge is more credible" argument in the debate, I would have rebutted by citing the federal judge in my source. I probably should have done that regardless. My thing here is that I was making the point A. Dershowitz was making in his article which is that Mueller shouldn't be anywhere near the POTUS until this stuff gets investigated.
Contender
#25
Added:
--> @Logical-Master
7.) The WaPo link, and how pro was using it was talking about multiple potential crimes not just the single one you referenced. Even the single one being mentioned in that link is not quite the same as what you or your link described which you claimed isn’t a crime.
8.) Pro showed independent counsels
are considered inferior officers by the Supreme Court, as far as I could tell, and as argued: these only differ from a special counsel in method of appointment rather than power.
9.) If you have evidence or argument that the crimes you mentioned can’t have been the result of the original investigation remit - you should have included that in the debate. Otherwise pro points must stand.
#24
Added:
--> @Logical-Master
I am happy to explain or clarify the thinking of my vote, or provide you what you could have done to win a given point. I don’t want this to turn into relitigating the debate, as more discussion here about what you meant is normally additional information and separate to what I specifically voted on. If you’re asking because you disagree with me, your not going to end up being happy.
1.) The indictments that pro referenced were being used to show justice is being done. To refute this, it is your burden to show the specific indictments are unjust - otherwise the burden would be unfairly stacked against pro. As you referenced only that there is a general ability of prosecutors to be malfeasant, your rebuttal fell short of showing these examples are unjust.
2.) As neither side contest the definition of the investigation or its purpose that was included in the debate information - I used that definition.
3.) With regards for conflict of interest; in the debate you established the appearance of a conflict - but do not show or demonstrate a specific harm that was done. However this point went your way anyway.
4.) Pro referencing an ethics investigation finding that Mueller has no conflicts MUST be taken as evidence in support of the position that Mueller has no direct conflicts of interest. You can’t simply dismiss it as an appeal to authority.
5.) I do not believe that it is a valid default position that someone simply having an alternative party affiliation is grounds to believe they are being systematically dishonest and unethical against Trump, or Russia - that would give Pro an unreasonable BoP.
6.) Your argument on Boston set up a he-said she said between a “very credible witness”, and a federal judge who said mueller was not involved. I have to weigh the federal judge more credible, as you offered me little additional reason within the debate.
#23
Added:
--> @Ramshutu
"Con argues that mueller has gone beyond his scope. Pro argues that the additional scope is warranted if the crimes were discovered in the process of investigating other matters - In my view this constitutes an explanation of how the crimes are related to the Russian interference and the campaign. Con has to provide a justification to refute pros position as to why Mueller should ignore crimes if he discovers them. Con provided no rebuttal here."
He discovered them in a way he could not have discovered them purely by investigating potential Russian collusion (i.e. investigating information a decade before the 2016 elections even occurred). I think PRO's admission that Trump University would be out-of-bounds is devastating here as Mueller could easily investigate that if carte blanche investigation into financial records is truly fair game.
Contender
#22
Added:
--> @Ramshutu
"Con argues with a link that WaPo did it with Snowden, and didn’t get charged, but pro doesn’t respond! However while I’m forced to accept that Trump doing something with the stolen data would not be illegal (as pro drops this), con drops the rest of the point - that there were multiple crimes, and other unknown possibilities for individuals in the campaign to assist with those crimes - of which cons rebuttal forms only part."
PRO's WaPo source cites articulates no other crimes. Instead, it makes mention of the fact that numerous indictments/guilty pleas have been obtained on this case, hence why it says: "The argument that such coordination would be lawful is striking, including the fact that it follows 191 charges against 35 individuals and companies brought by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, which have yielded five guilty pleas. Taken together, that work spells out the many crimes Russia committed to attempt to affect the outcome of the 2016 election."
"Con argues that it can’t be considered constitutional due to his power and thus is not an inferior office. I feel the power aspect is clearly addressed into pros Supreme Court portion - the independent counsel seems to be very similar: With the only aspect being difference in appointment. I also find the argument that repeated appointments since 1875 to be pretty compelling."
The issue wasn't whether someone could be appointed though. The issue was how much power an inferior officer could have and how much supervision he could avoid and my source went to great lengths of demonstrating how Mueller is on par with a full fledged U.S. Attorney.
Contender
#21
Added:
--> @Ramshutu
"Pro rebuts that Mueller was not appointed by a democrat, that there is no conflict of interest with regards to donations as they are expressly allowed.
Con argues this is an appeal to authority - I reject this as pro clearly states that mueller underwent an ethics review, not just that he was appointed by a Republican."
Citing the ethics review board on its face is also an appeal to authority. The point is that when someone gives a specific objection, we shouldn't presume that just because X authority generally says otherwise (without addressing the specific objection, the authority figure is correct.
"Con is asking me to accept that there is a substantial chance that one or more of the prosecutors are acting unfairly against Trump, that the whole group is allowing it to occur (including Mueller), and I must accept this on its face because they have ties to a political opponent of someone being investigated. Con implies the motive is simply pay back."
Why do you think payback is a weak motivation in a field as slimy and underhanded as politics?
"Con lists a number of reasons why Mueller is corrupt revolving around a case in Boston. Pro outlines the judge citing categorically that there was nothing implicating Mueller, and pointed out vetting and ethics investigations."
And as Alan Dershowitz indicated in my source, this has yet to be investigated and the Judge simply saying she "didn't see anything" in the FBI's files is ludicrous when the FBI itself is being accused of corruption (see my Washington Examiner source about the numerous irregularities in the files on that case, also noted by a Federal Judge mind you) and when we have a credible eye witness who says otherwise.
Contender
#20
Added:
--> @Ramshutu
"5.) Conflict of interest.
Pro points to a single example of personal conflicts of Mueller (knowledge of Comey), and a number of examples of individual members of the investigation having ties to Hilary.
This is less an argument from conflict of interest - and at worse poor judgement but that’s semantics."
Refer back to my article from the national review. Maybe if this kind of thing happened once or twice, you could dismiss it as poor judgment, but when it's happening over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again, it's intentional.
Contender
#19
Added:
--> @Ramshutu
"3.) Troll farms.
Pro argues that we know that there were Russian troll farms, and as we do not know the true extent - the investigation should continue. In the definitions and opening the investigation is not just an investigation into Trump, but also Russian interference. Cons rebuttal on this point in my view is insufficient - pro rightly points out, that he should not need to produce proof of Trumps guilt to indicate whether the investigation as a whole should continue.
I found cons final rebuttal wholly unwarranted, firstly, it didn’t address the key point that pro made. Secondly, the definition of the investigation, and pros argument appears to be not that there are necessarily any specific crimes the Russian Troll farms have committed - but their actions must be understood."
First, my reading of the special appointment order was that Mueller was tasked to investigate any link/role between the Russian government and the Trump campaign, any matters that directly arose as a result of that and all within the scope of existing law. That's why Mueller was appointed in the first place. The investigation revolved around subject matter that the previous USAG could not involve himself in due to a conflict of interest. In R4, PRO even says "The resolution is whether or not the Trump investigation should be continued." And so I would reject any interpretation of the topic that allows the investigation to go beyond the Trump campaign working with Russia.
Second, I admittedly didn't go into this "must be understood" element of PRO's argument you're mentioning. Granted, even in hindsight, I don't think I needed to and think my points on political/criminal conduct speak for themselves.
Contender
#18
Added:
--> @Ramshutu
"Cons main rebuttal is that just because someone was indicted, or plead guilty, doesn’t mean that it is justice or is warranted. Pro is correct in his response that merely implying that they could have been dishonestly indicted or pled, or found guilty doesn’t mean they were.
On this point I mostly side with pro: If con is arguing that the indictments MAY be spurious, then it cons duty to convince me that they are spurious. Without this, con hasn’t shown me warrant to believe that these indictments are spurious - only that indictments In general can be serious."
Massively disagree. My point here is that an indictment and a guilty plea on its own is meaningless. It does not tell us anything. Prosecutors can indict just about anybody and the vast majority of people (innocent or guilty) do NOT want to roll the dice and spend a ridiculously large portion of their lives in jail due to the prosecutor's ability to overcharge. It's not a matter of whether indictments and guilty pleas MAY be spurious. They ARE spurious. As such, we would need information beyond the fact the fact that Mueller has secured various indictments/pleas to determine that the investigation has bore legitimate fruit.
Saying otherwise is flipping the BOP. Imagine Steve walks into a bar and shouts "Ghosts exist!" and citing a message on his "Ouija board app" as proof. Now imagine Robert responding to Steve by telling him that "Ouija board apps" aren't reliable since its just a program designed to input random messages and cash in on suckers." If Steve tells Robert to prove that this particular message was in fact random and NOT the doings of some apparition, is it your position that Robert should do just that or else submit to Steve's position?
Contender
#17
Added:
--> @Ramshutu
I'm generally ambivalent about who votes for what in these debates and probably won't say much even if it's a vote against me. However, in this case, we have some subject matter I'm pretty PASSIONATE about, so it's a different story. Granted, I'm not asking you to change your vote (in fact, I'd ask you to keep it the same even if you somehow end up agreeing with me) and note that you are entitled to opinion regardless of what I am inclined to say. With that being said . . .
Contender
#16
Added:
I honestly could go either way - so will score this as a draw.
Conduct: While pro didn’t technically forfeit a round, the outcome was much the same. I see little difference between a small post without arguments a few minutes before the deadline, and a forefeit. - so will award conduct the same way.
#15
Added:
Con argues that it can’t be considered constitutional due to his power and thus is not an inferior office. I feel the power aspect is clearly addressed into pros Supreme Court portion - the independent counsel seems to be very similar: With the only aspect being difference in appointment. I also find the argument that repeated appointments since 1875 to be pretty compelling.
9.) scope
Con argues that mueller has gone beyond his scope. Pro argues that the additional scope is warranted if the crimes were discovered in the process of investigating other matters - In my view this constitutes an explanation of how the crimes are related to the Russian interference and the campaign. Con has to provide a justification to refute pros position as to why Mueller should ignore crimes if he discovers them. Con provided no rebuttal here.
Conclusion.
Ugh. I feel neither side covered themselves in glory. I feel both side missed key facts and information, and could have done better.
In general, I feel that on balance pro offered a reasonable explanation of what is to be gained by continuing the investigation.
I feel con offered mostly insinuated the issues and harms that continuing the investigation would produce. I felt that pro did fairly well knocking down the majority of cons harms. With me accepting only one point - that the prosecutors have the appearance of a conflict.
In general - I felt pro missed a lot of oppenings, whilst con failed to justify much of his point and really did not fully exploit cons missed round. But at the end I feel that what I was presented with was a choice between continuing with an investigation that has an appearance of a conflict, that is investigating something that should be investigated, or not.
#14
Added:
While I want necessarily feel these clear Mueller on all points, I feel con does not offer a substantial reason not to believe the federal judge here. I feel con attempts to argue by implication rather than specific evidence: if he had offered a reason as to why it’s unlikely the judge would have not seen evidence - I may make another decision here, but I find this argument more of an insinuation than a claim with warrant in light of the federal judge quote.
7.) Getting help From the Russians isn’t a crime.
Pro points out that the resolution is not that crimes were committed, but that the investigation needs to continue. He provides a link that justifies why aspects of known interaction could potentially constitute criminal behaviour.
This is the best part of pros argument thus far. Con argues that pro should provide grounds for continuing the investigation: pro did just that. Con has to provide a good reason why he can discount the potential crime outlines as possible.
Con argues with a link that WaPo did it with Snowden, and didn’t get charged, but pro doesn’t respond! However while I’m forced to accept that Trump doing something with the stolen data would not be illegal (as pro drops this), con drops the rest of the point - that there were multiple crimes, and other unknown possibilities for individuals in the campaign to assist with those crimes - of which cons rebuttal forms only part.
8.) Unconstitutional.
Con argues the appointment was unconstitutional. Pro cites a Supreme Court ruling that the independent counsel is an inferior officer. Pro argues the appointment is similar, and thus should be deemed constitutional.
#13
#1
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Winner 1 point
Reason:
RFD in comments https://www.debateart.com/debates/463?open_tab=comments&comments_page=1&comment_number=10