HORIST: Reactions to the not-yet-issued Mueller Report
Not since the expected election of Hillary Clinton as President of the United States by the left has a political event been more anticipated than the final Report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller. And as with the Clinton run-up, there is again a presumed certainty on the part of the Democrats and the left, in general, in terms of what the results will be. There is also the potential of yet another stunning disappointment.
There can be no doubt based on the comments of Democrat leaders and the elitist east coast press that they are anticipating information so damning of President Trump that it will finally lead to his removal from office that they so emphatically desire.
Anything is possible, but the more likely outcome may not be so decisive. It is not likely to be the vindication sought by Trump or the indictment – figuratively and literally – assumed by his political adversaries.
The first thing to consider is whether Mueller has uncovered sufficient criminality on the part of the President to recommend an indictment. Remember, he cannot indict, but only recommend such action to the Department of Justice – and there is a problem.
While it is not codified in the Constitution, the historical evidence strongly suggests that our nation’s Founder believed that a President should not be subjected to criminal proceedings by the Judicial Branch while in office. That issue is to be resolved by the Legislative Branch through the power of impeachment.
This was actually a bit of genius. The Founders understood that by assigning the removal of a President to the members of the two branches of the Congress, any such action would require overwhelming popular support. Impeachment is, after all, a political, not a judicial, process.
In making impeachment, the only means by which a President can be removed, the Founders wisely avoided the danger of a small cabal within the Judicial Branch – unaccountable to the people – from removing a President by means of bureaucratic coup. (Sound familiar?)
To underscore the intent of the Founders, the Department of Justice has had a ruling that an incumbent President cannot be indicted while in office – but can be after leaving office. So, no matter what Mueller may uncover, it is not likely to lead to an indictment of the President.
The fact that during this long two-year investigation there is yet to be any evidence or information leaked tying Trump to criminal conspiracy (collusion) with the Russians, it is unlikely that the final Report will come to that conclusion – although there may be some language suggesting some ill-advised relationships.
The issue of obstruction of justice is more complicated. That particular charge is highly subjective and generally falls into the realm of prosecutorial discretion – as is also the case of “lying to investigators.” Trump may be guilty of reckless legal language, but most legal scholars – as opposed to the lawyers pumping up the media anti-Trump narrative – believe that the known evidence is short of obstruction of justice. It will be interesting to see how Mueller handles that one.
It is also a longstanding policy of the FBI and the DOJ never to reveal any damaging or embarrassing information on a person who is NOT indicted. You may recall that violating that rule is what got former FBI Director James Comey in so much trouble over his Hillary Clinton press conferences and his leaks of internal documents. It was listed as one of the reasons he was fired – as noted in DOJ Deputy Director Rod Rosenstein’s letter recommending Comey’s termination.
Democrats and the anti-Trump media are already laying the groundwork for the post-release battle. They are demanding that the entire Mueller Report should be made public – and if it is not, they will subpoena the Report along with Mueller, Attorney General William Barr, soon-to-be FORMER Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein and just about any tourist who happens to be around the Capitol Building at the time. They will take to the overly friendly airwaves to declare the end of the Republic. It will be hyperbolic hypocrisy on steroids.
The Democrat-media combine is already issuing warnings based on concocted fears that Barr will not release the entire Report. That is for public consumption – to prejudice public opinion. They know that it would be improper and illegal for Barr to simply hand the Report over to Congress, as is. The Attorney General is obligated to redact all information that may compromise what is known as “sources and methods” used to obtain information. Issues of national security may have to be blacked out. The Report is not meant to be, and should not be, made public in totality.
It is not even necessary or compelling for Barr to release any of the Mueller Report. What he is obligated to do is provide Congress with a report on the Report. Of course, that will get the left up in arms again. They will argue that Barr is a lacky of the President regardless of his long, distinguished and respected history. It will be another example of character assassination and the politics of personal destruction.
Once the Mueller Report is given to Barr, there will be months and months of partisan feuding over its contents. Any criticism of Trump will be deemed by Democrats to be an impeachable offense. And even as that fight is going on, virtually all of the other existing and proposed investigations of all things Trump will be continuing through the 2020 presidential election.
The biggest news of substance that might come out of the final report is new indictments – especially any involving members of the Trump family.
And let us not forget that the central purpose of the Mueller investigation is the question of Russian meddling in our 2016 election. While Democrats and the media myopically focus on the Trump angle, the Mueller Report should say a lot about that nature, scope and purpose of Russian chicanery. If that is not the main thrust of the Report, then the entire purpose of the Special Counsel has been a fraud.
Mueller’s much-awaited Report is not likely to change the situation in Washington as dramatically as we have been led to expect. It will be just another milestone in a controversial presidency and another issue over which the two sides can battle. It could well result in big news with little results.
So, there ‘tis.