• Mueller’s Public Statement: I Am Done With This

    May 29, 2019

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    Posted in: 2020, Trump

    I just watched Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s first and apparently only press conference on his two year investigation into Russian election interference and the Trump administration. The story is there is no story. Mueller basically said “read my Report if you want to know what I think.”
     
    Mueller was explicit he neither found Trump did not commit a crime nor did he find Trump committed a crime. Both sides of the debate will choose the half of that sentence that supports their position, but Mueller made clear he purposefully did not take a position. He simply reported what he learned in his investigation. In cop-talk, just the facts, ma’am. Mueller said “we concluded that we would not reach a determination — one way or the other — about whether the president committed a crime… We conducted an independent criminal investigation and reported the results to the attorney general.”
     
    Actual indictment of the president was never even actively considered under existing Department of Justice guidelines. The action was not considered because legally it could never be taken (Mueller categorized indicting a sitting president as unconstitutional) so the Report is basically on purpose a conclusion-less summary of two years of investigation. He could have but did not say he would have indicted had the law allowed that.
    Mueller made clear he could have indicted others (“co-conspirators”) besides the president under the law. He did not. We can stop talking about Don Jr., et al, and the Trump Tower June meeting, now.
    That new Michael Wolfe book claiming Mueller once prepared an actual indictment against Trump but discarded it is thus clearly and totally false. The Guardian newspaper claiming it saw the actual indictment text is fake news. Mueller’s office issued a separate statement making that clear as well.
     
    Mueller hands his information to the world without comment. Today he made crystalline he did not say, suggest, or imply it was a road map, intended as the rough draft of impeachment, or anything else, though he could have. It just is the results of his investigation. Full stop. Anyone from this point forward who insists they see further intent hidden in the Report is falsely putting words into Mueller’s mouth and ignoring what he said today. That goes especially for 2020 candidate Elizabeth Warren who said “Mueller’s statement makes clear what those who have read his report know: It is an impeachment referral, and it’s up to Congress to act.”
     
    Mueller said he would not add any additional info or comment if he were to testify. He said he plans no further public statements which would add to or comment on the report itself. He made clear he had no outstanding feud with Attorney General Bill Barr.
     
    Mueller is Done. Out. Gone. History.
     
    This will spin forever, but it seems very hard for Democrats to drag this steaming pile of ambiguity into actual impeachment hearings, though they will talk about that and hold sub-hearings of some kind through 2020. 

    Much is already being made of Mueller’s not finding Trump innocent. The option to indict we know was never on the table. Legally the option to say Mueller found no crime did exist. But Mueller did not conclude either way. “Not declared innocent” is not the same as “Found guilty.” Mueller is a smart guy, a plain speaker. He has had lots of time to say what he wants to say, in clear terms, both across a 448 page report and his carefully prepared remarks today. He is under no pressure to speak in riddles so we should not slip riddles into his words. Sometimes just what he said is all he said. Cherry-picking words, or worse, implying meanings inside of those cherry-picked words, is poor scholarship when Mueller has said in so many ways “I am presenting facts, not conclusions either way.”

    Mueller’s public statement did remind me of every exasperated professor I have had who, midway through his lecture and after a dumb question, sighed and said to the students “you didn’t do the reading, did you? This was all in the book already.” Justin Amash stated “The ball is in our court, Congress.” But he ignores that it always has been. If the House wants to impeach, they have had all the information they are ever going to have in front of them, in whole or in part, for two months now. Fish or cut bait.

    Mueller will not be their star witness. Mueller will not be their human smoking gun.

     

    Here’s how it looks if you’re a Dem strategist:
     
    — Two years of claiming Trump worked with Russia proved empty. Zero. Your move is to hope everyone just forgets you ever mentioned it.
     
    — Mueller found no smoking gun, indicted nobody with his Report. He said today he would not be your star witness, your human smoking gun. He isn’t going to help you. Your move is to hope everyone just forgets all that “Mueller Time” stuff.
     
    — Everything you can try and impeach on you have more or less had in your hands for two months/two years already and done nothing with. You don’t have a move.
     
    — You’ve been whipping your base into impeachment fever, and you will lose in the Senate if things ever even get that far. Your move is to hope Twitter goes away soon.
     
    — You can hold investigations, hoping Maxine Waters can uncover what Mueller, the FBI and the NSA missed. Your move is to hope she has a stroke on live TV and gather some sympathy votes.
     
    — The election is in 17 months and all you got is Joe Biden who leads in the polls based apparently and solely on name recognition. Nobody is motivated by Joe Biden. Your move is to run a crash test dummy with “Not Trump” written in Sharpie on the face. Other options include running The Other Guy from Wham!, the third dude to play Shemp in the Three Stooges, whoever registered Joe.Biden@gmail.com first, the Borat guy dressed as Joe Biden or any black woman willing to change her name legally to Joe Biden.
     
    — Meanwhile, 12 economic models predict Trump will win anyway. Your move is to hope people don’t notice the economy is doing well.
    — Your strongest player right now is Justin Amash. You should run him against Maxine Waters.

    I’ve read the full Mueller Report. It is not hard to understand in its whole, though passages read in isolation can be ambiguous. If you isolate say one footnote to the exclusion of the other 448 pages you can perhaps convince yourself the conclusions are unclear. But it takes that kind of effort in self-delusion.

    The problem is many Americans don’t want to believe what it says, and so claim there must be more to it all, some hidden meanings. They had been convinced by the media there must have been some huge Russian-Trump conspiracy (“the Manchurian Candidate”) made up of a dozen Grassy Knolls like the June 6 Trump Tower meet, Cohen in Prague, the Alfa server, the pee tape, etc. Those are all false, irrelevant, or not crimes.

    To be told by Mueller there is nothing he found to indict Trump on simply triggers so much cognitive dissonance that people cannot believe what they read in the Report. The same dissonance prevents them from not trusting Mueller, who was elevated to superhero status by the media. So if Mueller must be right and the Report doesn’t scream Impeach! then the conclusion is there just has to be somehow more.

    Sort of like how many of those same Americans refused to accept Trump won the election now coming on three years ago. He could not have, they believed, so they started down this tunnel to find an answer that did not require them to accept the truth.

    By the way, this is all a bad thing for a country.

     

    To try and get Dems to understand how wrong what is going on is, let’s try this: think back to Comey and his statements reopening the Clinton investigation in summer 2016. Then look at Comey and Mueller vs. Trump. What you are seeing is the Deep State inserting itself into our political process.

    With Clinton, it was a powerplay. She was going to win, they believed, and the reopening of the email investigation was a way to remind her that her entire time in the White House was owed to the Deep State allowing her to get away with her email server. A brush-back pitch in baseball terms.

    With Trump, it was a coup, a bureaucratic assassination attempt. He wasn’t supposed to win and the Deep State was thrown onto defense.

    They didn’t always succeed in their various efforts, and made missteps with unintended consequences, but focus on what they tried to do — change the course of events and control the president, whomever she or he ended up being. Watch out, because the same actors will be smarter, smoother, and better at it the next round.

     

    So I called the local prosecutors’ office and asked how many certificates of exoneration they’ve issued this year, or any year. Seems they don’t do that.
     
    I asked if they do not find sufficient evidence to prosecute a case, then what happens? Turns out absence of evidence to prosecute, they don’t prosecute. They just end the case. There can be all sorts of reasons sufficient evidence does not exist that you might think are good or bad or mean whatever you think they mean, but in the end it all adds up the same way. Case closed, everybody goes home. There is no system where the prosecutor goes to court anyway and says to the judge “No evidence to move forward on your honor, but I’d like to speak in riddles and code about what we really mean.”
     
    Amazing system. Turns out it is all based on this idea of “innocent until proven guilty.” I checked; they don’t have another system.

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    Copyright © 2019. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

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  • Recent Comments

    • John Poole said...

      1

      Many hoped Mueller was working pro bono for the Democrats. If he could nail their nemesis Trump he’d share in their spoils. It was never spec work with a contingency of a huge reward if he was able to deliver the goods on Trump. Some- Bauer?-for perhaps very personal reasons – seemed to want revenge at any cost more than the evil Hillary.

      05/29/19 11:54 AM | Comment Link

    • J.L.Seagull said...

      2

      Thanks for this blog post, I appreciate the clarity on a press conf that was reported extremely ambiguously by the media.

      05/29/19 8:01 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      3

      JP,

      What the f are you smoking? You have this amazing etchysketch memory that I have this hardon to fuck Trump. The problem is the Dumbass Country, who will vote for this conman again, no matter what deals he is making while in office.

      I really regret the years I spent protecting this dumbass country from real terrorist threats and didn’t bankrupt the country in the process. What the fuck was I thinking, watching this country in the past 50 years become the real threat to the world?

      05/29/19 10:00 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      4

      Maybe historians will surmise in 100 years that
      America was “saved” by Trump since he kept Hillary Clinton from becoming POTUS. She was determined to become the Warrior Queen. We’ll be dead of course and won’t be able to chuckle at the irony that perhaps America was spared a nuclear demise because of one guy whose ambition was to have his name on garish hotels circling the globe.

      05/30/19 7:28 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      5

      Bauer your lament rings hollow. Why did I know- at age 20 in 1964 that the US was the most evil empire currently on the earth and a threat to innocent nations? Being drafted in ’67 confirmed my belief was not a suspicion. So you worked for an evil empire protecting whom from what? You collected a paycheck and looked the other way. Don’t feign victimhood now- it is unbecoming.

      05/30/19 3:47 PM | Comment Link

    • Joe said...

      6

      But, but, but … I don’t like Trump and his policies. (Though I don’t actually know much about the latter – I’d be collaborating if I looked into them. But I do know we had open borders before Trump!) And all my friends on social media are resisting him as well. And Rachel Maddow says Trump is a Russian spy. So there must be some way to just get rid of him, and then Hillary will be the first woman President – that’s how democracy works, right?

      05/30/19 7:47 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      7

      Good news, guys. The Pompous Pig State Dept Troll farm is hiring. Previous State Dept experience will not be held against you.

      06/4/19 11:40 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      8

      Bauer- do you think Patrick Kennedy might apply? He was an impressive and proficient fixer for Hillary and many before her. Trump might finally realize that firing him was stupid. Kennedy would have served Trump’s nefarious needs as well as he did Clinton’s but Trump wasn’t the type to really understand system loyalty is meant to serve the incumbent boss regardless of political affiliation or lack of ethics.

      06/4/19 12:36 PM | Comment Link

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