Sunday, March 24, 2019

Much Ado over Nothing [UPDATED]

The whole of the District of Columbia, to say nothing of the rest of the country, is on pins and needles as we wait to find out just what is in the final report that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller has turned in to Attorney General William Barr. The latter is supposed to produce a summary of it for public consumption by the end of today. (See "UPDATE" below.)

As I write this post, no news source has yet claimed to be in possession of a copy of the report, or even of its conclusions. All we know at this point may be summed up in two statements:
(1) There will be no more indictments coming from the Special Prosecutor. His investigation is finished. 
(2) At no point in the process did the Special Prosecutor make any recommendation, or take any prosecutorial action, which the Attorney General had to block, or reject. The Special Prosecutor's investigation had no limits whatsoever (in terms of budget or otherwise) placed upon it, and the Department of Justice did nothing to hinder or interfere with it at any step along the way. 
Let me summarize from those two statements: Robert Mueller did not even try to indict President Trump, let alone subpoena him for questioning. Despite two years of unhampered investigation, costing tens of millions of dollars, Mr. Mueller found nothing on which to base any actionable charges against the President based on conduct during the 2016 election.

After two full years of insinuation, innuendo and inanity, in other words, neither the Special Prosecutor nor anyone else in Congress has produced or elicited the slightest evidence that President Trump's 2016 campaign conspired with any other persons, whether inside or outside the Soviet Union, to bring about the defeat of the Democratic Party's candidate in that election.

All contentions to the contrary, over the past two years, have been wishful thinking, baldfaced lies, or pure hogwash. It would be well to keep in mind those who repeatedly assured us that the evidence of duplicity was there, or would shortly be confirmed.

What is astonishing is how many partisan politicians are staking out their positions even before they know what is in Mr. Mueller's report. Because of those two irrefutable points I set out above, there are no grounds whatsoever upon which to expect that further investigation will lead to facts that could be used to impeach the President. Yet the partisans in Washington are insisting that no stone be left unturned -- that nothing in the report be withheld from them, even if to do so would violate the law (such as revealing testimony before the grand jury, which by law remains sealed).

Already the House committee chairmen are taking the tack that Mueller's investigation was "too limited" in scope, and that only a broad fishing expedition, backed by Congressional subpoena power, will finally reveal the hidden truths about the President's impeachable "high crimes and misdemeanors." In other words, they will never be satisfied with simply finding out what is in the Special Prosecutor's report.

Can the nation as a whole tolerate two more years of grandstanding, posturing, distortion, and yes, flat-out lying? And that spectacle on top of an election campaign with more than twenty contenders, each one grasping at ways to capture the public's attention?

Batten down the hatches. As the old salt said, "You ain't seen nuttin' yet."


[UPDATE 03/24/19, 4:15 PM PST: Attorney General Barr's four-page summary for Congress of the Mueller report has now been made public. It notes that the report itself consists of two parts: the first part addresses Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election; the second part deals with the factual issues bearing on whether the President attempted to obstruct justice in any way.

The summary states that with regard to the first part, "the Special Counsel's investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election." That should put a definitive end to speculation that Trump or anyone working for or with him "colluded" with the Russians -- but just watch how Democrats in the House will proceed to subpoena witnesses and documents as though that conclusion had never been expressed.

In contrast to the report's first part, which specifically exonerates President Trump and his campaign from any findings of conspiracy or coordination with the Russians ("collusion" is not a defined federal crime), the second part of the report neither establishes criminal acts by President Trump amounting to obstruction of justice, nor exonerates him from such charges. Instead, the Special Prosecutor noted the unique circumstances and problems in determining whether a sitting president could be found to have attempted to obstruct justice in the process of carrying our his duties to supervise the executive branch of government. His report thus catalogs all the conduct and evidence which the Special Counsel regarded as potentially relevant to the charge, and expressly leaves it to the Attorney General to make a "prosecutorial judgment" on the matter in light of DoJ policies and guidelines.

The Attorney General's letter to Congress spells out how he, in consultation with Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, the Office of Legal Counsel and other departmental officials, and "after applying the principles of federal prosecution that guide our charging decisions . . . concluded that the evidence developed during the Special Counsel's investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense." In other words, there will be no attempt to bring charges against President Trump for obstruction of justice.

This conclusion, while exonerating President Trump from the DoJ's point of view, unfortunately will not be the end of this business.  Watch for the Democrats in the House to demand that Attorney General Barr release to them all of the evidence and contents of the report so that they may use what Mr. Mueller gathered in their plans to draft a bill of impeachment against President Trump; and watch especially if House Speaker Pelosi backs off from her current stance against impeachment.]

4 comments:

  1. So much crying wolf has been made of this investigation over the past year and a half that the public is not going to be prepared for the next efforts towards swaying voter's opinions by the real wolves out there, the Russians and the Chinese. The real saps are us dopey Americans who fall for all of the b.s. coming from both inside and outside this country when it comes to politics.

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  2. Am I relieved this attempted coup against our President yes and no. Yes it is over. No - because it was an attempted coup. The last Republic Democrat died in 1963. Our current democrat mob are Marxist Democrats. Do we as Americans expect this angry Marxist (democratically) elected party to reconsider their ill conceived strategy to destroy a democratically elected President? It is not in the political genes. God bless America. God bless our legal system that saw through, blindly I will add, this attempted coup. Alvan R. Hill

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  3. As Andrew McCarthy of the National Review noted the issue of obstruction was one of the core reasons for the appointment of a special counsel because of DOJ having a conflict of interest. If the special counsel is going to throw the matter back to DOJ which presumably is still just as conflicted, what did we need him for?

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    1. Precisely, Michael. Moreover, it is emphatically not the function of a prosecutor to "exonerate" anyone: he/she is supposed either to bring charges, or decline to bring them -- without (in the latter case) saying anything more. Mueller's gratuitous statement that his report "does not exonerate" Trump was a hunk of red meat tossed to the Democrats, and does more than anything else to show just how useless Mueller's investigation was.

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