Almost three years ago, I tuned in to then FBI Director James Comey’s press conference announcing the conclusion of the agency’s investigation of the handling of government email by presidential candidate Hillary Clinton when she served as Secretary of State under President Obama. As I heard Comey layout a litany of misdeeds by Clinton – including careless and reckless handling of government emails (some classified) and the use of an inappropriate private server – I was convinced that the former First Lady was about to get indicted. But nooooo. Comey not only did not call for her to be charged but he said that no prosecutor would press charges. That alone was not his call. It would have been up to the Attorney General.
The Clinton folks were happy that there was no indictment coming down the line, but they were rightfully furious over the harsh criticism of her actions. Comey later re-opened the investigation and closed it down again faster than attorney Michael Avenatti could scam a client.
It was the Democrats who were clamoring for Comey’s firing at that time. After all, he had grossly violated a number of FBI rules and policies. It was considered improper to deal with investigations of candidates on the eve of an election. More seriously, it was FBI policy not to lay out the sins of anyone who was not being indicted. In short, Comey should have kept his mouth shut and simply waited until after the election to issue a statement.
The policy is based on the idea that the candidate may be found innocent of all charges but would have lost the election in the meantime. That actually happened to former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens.
Comey’s actions were so serious that it led to an FBI Inspector General investigation which reprimanded the Director in the harshest terms.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller did not issue his report on the eve of an election – and in fact, was said to have put the investigation on pause just before the 2018 election. BUT … the Report he recently issued has disturbing similarities to the Comey press conference.
Mueller decisively dismissed the notion of any criminal collusion between President Trump, his campaign or any other American, for that matter. There may have been various and sundry meetings between various and sundry Trump operatives for various and sundry reasons, but none of them were illegal. In that decision, Mueller blew up the Democrats’ and anti-Trump media’s biggest and most prolonged bogus accusation.
When it came to the question of obstruction of justice, it appears that Mueller pulled a Comey. He outlined 10 actions by Trump that COULD POSSIBLY be seen as obstructive. He even hinted that further investigation by the FBI MIGHT reveal more conclusive evidence. (What? Twenty-three months and $35 million dollars was not enough?)
And like Comey, Mueller said he could not find sufficient evidence to make a prosecutorial decision. In real terms, that means he would not and could not prosecute the President. Rather, he used the report to compare incidents on one hand and yet leave open the legal arguments against prosecution. As an employee of the Justice Department, he deferred the final decision to his bosses – in this case, Attorney General William Barr, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and the folks in the Office of Legal Counsel. Contrary to the narratives of the propaganda press, Barr did not make the decision unilaterally. In a sense, they agreed with Mueller that there was not enough to make a case against the President.
There is one matter that needs to be cleared up. As part of their anti-Trump disinformation campaign, Democrats and you know who in the media claim that Mueller did not bring an indictment because a sitting President cannot be indicted. Mueller and Barr have both indicated that the Department of Justice rule putting the President beyond indictment while in office was NOT – repeat, NOT – the reason Mueller did not make a prosecutorial case – which he could have without an indictment. He could have said that Trump had broken the law but cannot be indicted at this moment. But Mueller did not do that.
The Justice Department also has the rule that forbids defaming anyone not indicted. That was the criticism against Comey. It seems, however, that the rule does not apply to high-visibility political figures. That can be argued both ways among reasonable people, but it is clear that Mueller created a lot of unnecessary chaos – and fueled the most rabid anti-Trump element on the left – with his decision to not make the prosecutorial care while offering up bullet points to one side in the highly-charged political atmosphere.
Some say that Mueller was secretly making a case for impeachment by creating the appearance of obstruction. If that is true, Mueller is corrupted by political partisanship as much as Comey, Peter Strzok, Bruce Ohr, James Clapper, John Brennan and Andrew McCabe.
So, there ‘tis.