The top ten, the left might come to call them. Nothing to see here, the right will certainly say. But whether legitimate or not, the ten occurrences included in the Robert Mueller report that could have added up to potential obstruction of justice by President Trump – but did not – represent the special counsel’s lovely parting gift to Democrats.
As Mueller concluded that there was no collusion between Trump and Russia but refused to make a recommendation on obstruction of justice, he listed these top ten in his report for all to see. They include Trump’s behavior regarding Michael Flynn, the FBI investigation, his firing of James Comey, his ruminations about firing the special counsel, and the matter of the Trump Tower meeting with a Russian woman in 2016. These revelations encapsulate exactly why prosecutors do not release information about investigations into individuals not charged with crimes. Who among us would not be embarrassed and enraged by the results of a two-year hunt by bloodthirsty investigators for anything that might weaken us, or bring us down?
Think about this for a moment. Obstruction of justice for a crime that was not committed – as affirmed by a 22-month long investigation fueled by Trump-hating political partisanship the likes of which we have never before witnessed. Really?
But in this case, while these top ten amount to little more than legal hearsay, they provide sufficient fodder for a revival of the left’s faux outrage over something they know not to be true. Even their longtime lifeline in the Justice Department, Rod Rosenstein, concurred with Attorney General Barr’s decision on obstruction. But if the findings of three separate investigations, all reaching the same conclusion (remember the House and Senate probes) are not enough to get them off the scent, nothing will. That is, other than polls indicating an alarming level of disapproval of such a strategy by the American people. The question now is whether Democrats choose to take the obstruction “issue” all the way to the point of impeachment, simply continue to carry on with their usual attacks on him in the compliant elite media, or move on but keep this in their pockets to revive as an issue for the 2020 presidential election.
The Mueller report affirms that the president was forthcoming in turning over all requested documents, provided unfettered access to files, and did not claim executive privilege as he could have. He dismissed James Comey with full constitutional authority and did not interfere with the investigation despite his frustration noted in the report that he could be f—ed by the appointment of the special counsel, and his instincts at one point to fire Mueller.
Of course, Democrats will harp on the president’s refusal to be interviewed in person, knowing full well that is a common legal strategy for avoiding a perjury trap. This is especially true when you consider that it was alleged false statements during the investigation that generated all but one of the U.S. indictments produced by the special counsel – most notable among them being those against Michael Flynn, whose life was ruined by the dubious charge of making a false statement to the FBI.
Only a fool could believe Mueller did not realize these ten issues would form the basis of Democratic talking points – and more congressional investigations – going forward. And from a political standpoint, they may need to keep talking about exactly that to shield themselves from the coming wrath of Attorney General William Barr’s expanding investigation into the role of the Obama Justice Department and FBI in ginning up this special counsel probe, which balkanized the country and crippled a duly elected president for two years.
Special counsel investigations are biased by definition – they seek to find crimes, not to exonerate – but consider how far Mueller was willing to go, and what he revealed about himself in both the composition of his team of lawyers and the tactics he employed.
This is a man who hired Jeannie Rhee, a lawyer in the Hillary Clinton private email scandal who defended the Clinton Foundation as well, and donated $5,400 to Hillary for America. Mueller’s most prominent appointment was Andrew Weissmann, widely considered the most aggressive member of the special counsel’s legal team and a known Democratic activist who donated $2,300 to Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. At least eight other members of the legal team also donated to the Clinton and/or Obama campaigns.
Mueller is also a man who thought it appropriate to conduct guerilla-style military raids on Roger Stone and Paul Manafort – danger to the public that they are – and toss Manafort into solitary confinement. All for crimes that had nothing to do with the counterintelligence investigation. Recall that this was not a criminal investigation, and unlike previous independent and special counsel investigations, no crime was even alleged when Mueller was appointed. Indeed, all of these indictments were for process crimes that occurred either during the special counsel investigation itself, or in the case of Paul Manafort, financial crimes committed before joining the Trump campaign.
These facts alone suggest Robert Mueller was willing to go almost to the ends of the earth to produce something, anything, that could lead to the president’s removal from office. He failed. But while he may not have delivered the goods on Trump, he certainly left a long enough trail of breadcrumbs for Democrats to gobble up and spit out for as long an anyone will listen. A lovely parting gift, indeed.