Of late I’ve been plowing through this British TV series, Midsomer Murders, set in a fictitious quintessential English county, with heinous crimes taking place in quaint chocolate box villages, replete with the village pub, town hall, garden parties and cricket matches. Murders committed by everyone from the village idiot to the Lord of the manor. In each DCI Barnaby and a sidekick sergeant investigate with meticulous attention to detail and dogged instinct.
They interview, gather evidence, take statements, driving down ancient hollow ways and past hedgerows, a countryside that makes ya wanna grab your stick and set out down one of the many right of ways that crisscross the landscape.
I guess it’s the dichotomy of the chocolate box villages set against the brutal murders that pile up in each episode that keeps me coming back for more.
So, one hot take from the Mueller final (or, so he would prefer) statement, is that they approached this whole thing in the role of investigators, mandated to look into the 2016 election interference by the Russians, much as those British detectives. It was their job to investigate, not to indict or charge the President. The OLC memorandum prevented them from indicting a sitting president, so charging Trump would be unconstitutional, as he could not answer to those charges.
As well, it is important to note that as the Criminal Justice System is overseen by a person appointed by the President, an AG appointed by a president who committed a crime to decide whether to charge that president is, well, I guess a conflict of interest? Therefore, Mueller investigated, filed his report, and left the next steps to Congress.
So Mueller and team were basically the detective chief inspectors in the case put before them. Their mandate was to investigate, gather evidence, and file their report.
What Mueller also made clear, or clearer, that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute anyone in the Trump campaign with criminal conspiracy. Also, that if he could have exonerated the president for a crime, he would have, he could not, so he did not.
This is a man not comfortable in the spotlight, and with a slightly shaky voice he came before the cameras. He is a person who is known for his restraint, and so he spoke each and every word carefully, he is methodical, does not seek the spotlight, and therefore motivated to be pointed and direct in his statements – which are rare. So I think his order of content, the context he chose, are relevant.
First drawing our attention to the evidence collected and detailed in volume 1 of the report, he reiterated that there was insufficient evidence to charge anyone from the Trump campaign with a crime of conspiracy. This followed directly afterwards by referencing volume 2, obstruction of justice, and how he could not exonerate him.
That whole part of his statement does, with a velvet touch, direct one to the reality that it is somewhat difficult to get to the truth WHEN EVERYONE IS FRIGGIN’ LYIN CAUSE THE PRESIDENT TOLD THEM TO!
I mean, even Barnaby, clever as he may be, would have had a difficult go of it when the prime suspect is obstructing justice left, right and centre and manipulating the Department of Justice to serve their own ends.
It’s also important to note that this public statement did not have to be made, and quite clearly a simple letter of resignation would have sufficed. So every single word he spoke was for the benefit of every single American – it was for the guy in Idaho in his double wide, as certainly as it was for every legislator in Washington, and around the country.
For 9 or so minutes Mueller said his piece, and with knowledge that evidently he felt that he had no other choice, as Attorney General Barr had clearly lied and mislead the public, and that he, Mueller, was not going to walk out without first making sure the truths contained within his report were made crystal clear.
So, I guess that as Mueller reported to Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein during the bulk of the investigation, Rosenstein knew ALL of the dirty little details before anyone else, and that’s probably why Ol’Rosenstein looked like a deer caught in headlights during Barr’s televised lies a few weeks back.
Yeah, so, as the report says, the president was NOT exonerated.
The president could have been charged with 10 or so counts of obstruction of justice, but for the policy that a sitting president could not be charged with a crime.
I don’t really think Barr has any business making statements as to the guilt or innocence of the president, given he was appointed by that president. Barr is compromised in his ability to make that decision because as he is appointed by the very subject in question, so Barr’s statements are bupkus.
BUPKUS: Yiddish (probably short for kozebubkes, literally, goat droppings)
One last detail, Mueller began with it and ended with it, specific emphasis was made, and given it was the primary reason for the whole investigation, his conclusion is that the Russian government in multiple ways, systematically successfully meddled in the 2016 election.
And, if not for that influence, if not for the Russians seeing Trump as their ticket to chaos and mayhem on American soil, if not for that interference, that Trump would probably not be President – least that’s my unqualified, armchair punditity conclusion.
Congress, over to you.