Robert Mueller is a famously taciturn fellow, which is one of the many things we admire about him in this very verbose age of politics, but he had plenty to say in a carefully-worded nine-minute statement on Wednesday. The former Federal Bureau of Investigation director basically said that his special counsel investigation into the “Russia thing” did not exonerate of President Donald Trump of any wrongdoing, as Trump insists, and that although Justice Department guidelines prevented him from seeking a criminal indictment Congress could and probably should consider some rather damning evidence his investigation turned up which suggest Trump committed impeachable offenses.
The Democrats and their media allies naturally exulted in the statement, and of course the Republicans and their media allies continued their attacks on Mueller’s character. From our perspective here on the political sidelines, only Mueller seems to have got the best of it.
Mueller reiterated his investigation’s conclusion that the Russian government had launched a three-pronged attack on America’s last presidential election on behalf of Trump’s campaign, which Trump’s own intelligence agency chiefs and pretty much every other sentient human being agrees with, although Trump continues to believe the assurances of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin that Russia did no such thing. Trump has thus far declined to take any actions preventing Russia or any other foreign power from doing it again, and even if that’s not an impeachable offense it makes Trump look very bad. Mueller also very carefully made clear that Trump had done things to keep the investigation from finding out about it, which Congress might or might not consider obstruction of justice.
The Democrats will probably try to make the most of it, and disastrously overreach in the process, as is their wont, but for now the Republican apologetics seem downright ridiculous. Trump triumphantly “tweeted” that “There was insufficient evidence and therefore, in our Country, a person is innocent,” but that’s like saying that Trump pal O.J. Simpson didn’t kill his ex-wife and her boyfriend because he was found not guilty by a brain-addled jury in a politically-charged moment. Mueller made clear in his carefully worded nine-minute summary of his investigation’s 480-page report that an indictment would have resulted against anyone but a sitting president, due to a dubious Justice Department policy, and we can’t blame those damned Democrats for their gleeful response, even if it once again proves disastrous.
Trump’s right-wing talk radio apologists are relying on attacks against the character of Mueller, and allegations that he’s part of a “deep state” conspiracy to overthrow a duly elected American president, but they seem especially absurd when made in defense of Trump. Mueller was a head-of-the-class student and all-star athlete at his elite prep school while the fair-wealthier Trump was being sent to a military school because of his incorrigibility, and he interrupted his pursuit of a juris doctorate degree to win a Purple Hearth and other valorous decorations in Vietnam while Trump was exempted from service due to some bone spurs that were attested to by a podiarist who rented office space from Trump’s multi-millionaire dad. Mueller was a Republican when Trump was a Democrat and independent and Reform Party member, he rose through the ranks of government service and served as an excellent FBI director during both Republican and Democratic administrations while Trump was going through six corporate bankruptcies and thousands of lawsuits as a real estate and gambling mogul. Go ahead and call us Republicans In Name Only, but at this point we trust Mueller more than Trump.
From our seats on the political sidelines we won’t venture any guesses about how it all turns out, except to say it will turn out badly. If the sizable Democratic majority in the House of Representatives decides to impeach Trump the slim Republican majority in the Senate won’t allow the supermajority needed to remove Trump from office, and at this point there’s no telling how that might play with the electorate in the ’20 elections.
We’ll hold out hope that the truth prevails, no mater which of these damned political parties benefits, and expect that at least Mueller will go down in history with an impeccable reputation.
— Bud Norman