Musing about law, books, and politics

Reading the Mueller Report, Part VII: Mueller Does IRAC

Vol. II lays out the factual findings from the Mueller investigation regarding obstruction of justice.

A few comments about “facts” and “evidence.” Not all evidence is admissible in court. The rules of evidence are intended to screen out unreliable evidence (like hearsay).

There are a few problems with piecing together the story from news reporting—which I did, and lots of others, too. We wanted to connect the dots.

Even when the facts are accurately reported, the evidence may not be admissible in court. (Like double hearsay) Also, something can look really bad in a news article, but when the source is cross-examined, the “evidence” can fall apart.

 In my world (appellate lawyering) a “fact” is something found true by a trial court.

The next best thing: “facts” given in a Report like this one, which come from a two year investigation, and have been tested & corroborated.

Reading sections of Vol. II of the Mueller Report is like reading a novel. The facts are laid out in a compelling narrative.

The story is different from news accounts on both sides of the political spectrum. The story as given in the Report is not as sensational as you sometimes get from outraged Democrats, and it’s nothing like the story presented by Trump and Fox. But it’s the version of the story supported by a two year investigation.

Here are my impressions of the facts: It’s obvious from this Report that the truth means nothing to Trump. He directs people to lie. In Vol. II we see examples of people refusing to lie, and being driven out or fired.

Remember in Vol. I about how some Trump campaign folks “deleted relevant communications or communicated during the relevant period using applications that feature encryption or that do not provide for long-term retention of data”?

From that, and the narrative in Vol. II, we learn that the people who stay in Trump’s orbit are those willing to lie for him.

It’s also clear that Trump is running the show. He directs the lies. He seeks to control the media narrative.

For example, Trump will tell a lie, then look to see how the lie plays out in public. If he is pleased, he continues with the lie. If he doesn’t like the way it plays out, he recalibrates.

In other words, for Trump, it’s all a show.

Trump also knows how to coerce people. He knows what he’s doing.

I boiled about 125 pages of narrative from Vol. II down to a 10 page summary, but it’s still too much to tweet, so I put here.

Or you want to read the narrative portion yourself, Go to Vol. II, p. 15, Section A and start reading.

If you read the Report, you can see IRAC in action.

Remember IRAC is the method of legal analysis known to law students everywhere.

IRAC stands for:

  • Issue
  • Rule
  • Analysis
  • Conclusion

For “Rule” we use the elements of obstruction of justice, which are:

  • an obstructive act
  • a nexus between the obstructive act and an official proceeding
  • a corrupt intent.

At the end of each section, you’ll hit the analysis part. You can see how Mueller applies the facts to see if they meet the element of a crime.

Mueller Does IRAC!

My 10-page summary is here.