Wednesday, February 26, 2020
Miles from the Mainstream
D. R. ZUKERMAN, proprietor

Reflections on the Politics of  the Mueller Report and  the Mueller Hearing

August 7, 2019 --

There is no suggestion of political bias in the official title of the Mueller Report is: "Report on the Investigation Into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election." Yet, for LPR, a partisan slant is suggested from the May 17, 2017 order authorizing appointment of a special prosecutor to look into "any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump...." The unbalanced language in the order naming Robert S. Mueller III as special counsel certainly suggests that Mr. Mueller was simply being precise when he indicated that investigation of possible Russian involvement in the Steele dossier seeking to smear candidate Trump was not within his purview.

LPR wonders why the language of the order naming Mr. Mueller as special counsel was not consistent with the title of his report, which implies, arguably, that Russian interference will be probed as to all aspects of the 2016 presidential election.

Notwithstanding suggestions from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, among other Democrats, that the Mueller Report cites "the president's crimes," one finds in Volume II of the report the following: "...the evidence we obtained did not establish that the President was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference." The Introduction to Volume I asserted that although the Russian government thought it would benefit from the election of Donald Trump, and the Trump campaign expected to benefit from information obtained from Russian sources, "the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities."

Those activities, as set forth by the report included a social media campaign, hacking of Democratic email accounts, and political rallies. LPR has difficulty in taking these assertions seriously, The report, for example noted: "The earliest evidence of a rally was a 'confederate rally' in November 2015." The report offers no information as to where this rally was held, nor is there specific information on alleged pro-Trump rallies in Florida and Pennsylvania. Are we to wonder, now, if the Russians are behind any pro-Trump political activities even absent campaign ties to these activities?

Volume II concludes: "[W]hile this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate." LPR is impressed .with the argument of Rep. John Ratcliffe (R.Tex), at the July 24 House Intelligence Committee's Mueller hearing, that the role of a prosecutor is not to exonerate, but to indict or take no action. To do otherwise would be to call into question the presumption of innocence. (It follows that the president is misguided in claiming to be exonerated, because of that presumption of innocence).

Chairman Nadler told George Stephanopoulos on "This Week," July 28, that his Judiciary committee will continue to investigate whether impeachment resolutions should be reported to the full House of Representatives. He said that the committee "will make a determination after we get more evidence as to the president's crimes that we had from the Mueller report, but also as to other things, as to his violations of the Emoluments Clause, his failure... to defend the constitution against continuing Russian attacks."

Stephanopoulos did not point out that, earlier in July, an appellate federal court dismissed an emoluments claim concerning a Trump hotel in Washington, D.C., with the court wondering if the action was, according to an NBC news report, "'an appropriate use of the courts.'" Nor did Stephanopoulos reminded the chairman that the report did not accuse the president of any crimes.

Chairman Nadler,and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, have said that impeachment cannot take place until the American people are ready for it. They do not explain how suvh determination is to be made. LPR has a hunch that these chairmen are counting on continued media coverage of their pre-impeachment investigations to ramp up opinion polls showing increased public interest in impeachment.

According to the Mueller Report, the Russians aim to "provoke and amplify political and social discord in the United States." After the Mueller Report's findings were summarized by Attorney General William Barr, The New York Times reported, March 26. that "those who hoped the Mueller investigation would end the Trump presidency are split between feelings of defiance and devastation." Clearly, chairmen Nadler and Schiff are among the defiant and are intent on doing their utmost to sow discord with the view of increasing public support for impeachment.

Democrats and Republican Never4 Trumpers have never accepted the legitimacy of President Trump's election and, accordingly, are not disposed to accept findings of fact that do not point to grounds for impeachment. As the late Ross Perot would have said: "It's as simple as that."