|Mueller Report Concluded Too Soon
Traitorous Conduct Goes Unpunished
By William Wallace
Most Americans viewed the appointment of Robert Mueller as Special Prosecutor, with a sigh of relief and heartfelt hope that we would now find the truth and wrongdoers would be punished. A lot of us felt that he would be the savior of our democracy. After all, he is rightly revered among Democrats and Republicans alike, served in the DOJ, FBI Director for both Republican and Democratic Administrations, he is a decorated Vietnam veteran and has a well-established reputation as a man of great character. He would get it right.
We wanted, prayed that someone a great strength and character would pull the sword from the stone. Mueller only pulled the sword half-way out. The most critical part of the Mueller Report is in Volume I. The investigation that was obstructed is in this volume. The specific charter of the investigation was two-fold: (1) Did Russia interfere in the 2016 Presidential election? and (2) Did the Trump Campaign conspire with the Russians concerning election intermeddling? Mueller got it half right.
Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential election
Mueller and his team of seasoned pros obtained overwhelming evidence, in great detail, that Russia massively interfered in the 2016 election. Sixteen Russian individuals and Russian agencies were indicted. Mueller’s conclusions corroborated the unanimous conclusion of our intelligence community. Mueller has emphasized the seriousness of the Russian cyber-blitzkrieg. In his muted way, he warned us that the Russian threat “deserves the attention of every American.”
Trump Campaign Involvement With Russian Interference
There is plenty of evidence of multiple Trump Campaign officials with deep ties to Russia involving frequent communications and meetings, yet not enough evidence to get criminal convictions? I believe honest, hard-working Americans have an accurate bullshit meter– too much smoke for there not to be a fire. We know sleazy people when we see them and call them out for what they are. Americans are disappointed, to say the least, that we now have a lot of evidence–but not enough to indict and convict. Outstanding issues were left behind, unanswered. Mueller left Congressional committees with the burden of unfinished business and finding facts that have eluded the Mueller team, filling gaps in Mueller’s investigative findings.
Pre-Game Hype By Trump and Barr
Before the Mueller Report was even available, Trump and his duplicitous lackey, William Barr, were falsely declaring exoneration and victory. Barr publicly stated a bald lie, before any of us had the Report. He declared that Mueller found that Russia did not have the cooperation of Trump or his Campaign. For weeks, they had the narrative–and a lot of Americans still buy it. The repulsive Karl Rove always urged his side to get their version of the story out first. Trump and his devoted servants, like Mitch McConnell, blew the whistle, declared game over and took the ball home. A no-decision is not a victory for Trump. The Mueller Report failures require us to go to Overtime.
The Investigative Failure
In his Charging Decisions, Mueller said there wasn’t enough evidence to support criminal charges. But, the first clause in that very sentence was that the investigation did find numerous links between people with ties to Russia and the Trump Campaign.
In Part II of “Mueller Report Leaves Much To Be Done”, I make the case for why at least Paul Manafort and Rick Gates should have been indicted and tried for Federal felonies, including Federal election laws. The evidence described in Volume I of the Mueller Report represents the most compelling evidence of Federal crimes involving conspiracy with Russia to subvert an election in favor of Trump. Yet, Mueller declared that there would be no further indictments when the Mueller Report was being delivered to AG Barr.
Why did Mueller fail to proceed to indictments?
His answer is that his team could not find conclusive proof that the Trump Campaign conspired with Russia beyond a reasonable doubt. He could not find out enough.
The Report lists a number of ways the investigation failed to get what they wanted from many witnesses: lies, half-truths, deleted items, encrypted communications, lack of memory, etc. Lies by several people connected to the Trump Campaign were important and seriously hindered their investigation.
This seasoned team of prosecutors has dealt with these kinds of hostile witnesses many times, yet they were unable to find and introduce contradictory evidence to challenge the witnesses who lied or couldn’t remember?
With the powers of the Special Counsel, why didn’t they have access to NSA data warehouses that house all of our cell conversations.? Why didn’t our Intelligence agencies find intercepted communications concerning Russians in the U.S. which would have been helpful to Mueller? Wouldn’t our allies in Europe and elsewhere communicate with our intelligence community? After all, a number of other countries have suffered Russian interference in their elections.
Should we conclude that the Trump team outsmarted the Mueller team and America ?
Why did Mueller end the investigation while important and highly relevant matters were not concluded?
Charges against Roger Stone have yet to be litigated. Rick Gates (an extraordinarily critical, cooperating witness) has not been sentenced. How many other open issues are there in Mueller’s charter of investigative mandates?
Did Mueller unilaterally end the investigation? That would be like Nixon declaring victory in Vietnam and walking away from a devastating defeat.
Did Barr, whose legacy is in ashes, press Mueller to end the investigation? If so, did Mueller accede to that pressure? Will Mueller answer that question before the Congressional committees? Mr. Mueller, were there open investigations and other matters left unfinished that were your responsibility when you concluded your Report? If so, did AG Barr press you to conclude the investigation pre-maturely?
There is much disappointment in America with the Mueller Report. Many Americans feel disillusioned. Just about all of the top people in the Trump Campaign have Russian ties (at least 5 of them) and only Manafort and Gates were caught red-handed, yet unindicted. Trump always speaks positively, even deferentially, about a murderous dictator who is America’s greatest enemy. Our President denies to this day that Russia interfered in the 2016 Presidential election. He chuckles with Putin about it in front of the whole world. That would disillusion anyone.
What do Americans think of Mueller and his Report?
Some skeptics might question Mueller’s loyalty and integrity. Some may conclude they failed through ineptitude. I don’t find either explanation plausible.
First, no one should draw conclusions now about a man who has only been heard and seen for 9 minutes. The very adversarial Trump and his pitbull, Ranting Rudy (another man whose legacy is in ashes), are falsely disparaging Mueller endlessly.
Second, Mueller is a man of excellent credentials. He’s a marine-Duty, Honor, Country–and has lived his life that way, based upon everything we know about the man. Someone to be respected. Unlike his former friend Bill Barr, I believe Mueller’s legacy, in his seventies, is as important to him today as it has been all his life. I believe Americans will see that about him on TV for multiple hours.
Third, more than a dozen former prosecutors and FBI agents who worked closely with Mr. Mueller have had nothing but praise and respect for him. BUT, we are all human and make mistakes or have proclivities that help form their judgments. A number of those very close to him have agreed that he is very detail oriented and anything that is stated in his pleadings is accurate and verifiable. Some have noted that he will delay approving something until every possible defense is countered.
So, how does one explain the failures of the Mueller investigation, absent corruption or ineptitude?
Mueller’s conclusion not to further indict Manafort and Gates is consistent with the assessment of those who know him. Mueller is conservative in determining indictments and likely was concerned about evidentiary chinks in the armour of provable allegations that could establish reasonable doubt. There is, however, too much evidence here on too critical a matter not to indict. A prosecutor who wouldn’t indict unless every defensive loophole is closed, needed to be more bold. Our democracy is at stake here. We are letting these proven scoundrels (prior guilty pleas) get away with traitorous conduct. Manafort and Gates are not within the DOJ policy not to indict. That only applies to a sitting President.
If the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of Trump’s Campaign were found guilty of conspiracy with the Russians, would anyone believe Trump did not know about it? Only blindly ignorant followers would. Other evidence could become available that ties Trump directly to the conspiracy.
Lastly, it is entirely plausible that Barr told Mueller to wrap it up. It is also possible that Mueller would have complied in a soldier-like way, deferring to Barr and following the chain of command.
We will see and hear historic testimony from Mr. Mueller on July 24th.
All Americans will learn a lot on the 24th. We will be edified by Mr. Mueller’s description of the facts and learn more about him.
I am hopeful the current circumstances make our reluctant hero determined to forcefully set the record straight. Trump is obstructing Congressional investigations by demanding that multiple witnesses refuse to testify. Trump’s ongoing false statements about the Mueller Report and his slanderous statements about Mr. Mueller and those of his dog, would motivate a lot of us to defend our honor. Mueller was brave in Vietnam. America needs that brave assertiveness now.
A closing fanciful thought. I still wonder if there is other compelling evidence of which Mueller is aware, that will “cast in a new light” (as Mueller says in the Report) the facts concerning Trump and the Russians?
After all, he and his team have been living in peril of having the investigation terminated. Would he have squirreled away some important investigative issues in another court or courts ?
[Editor’s Note: Legal scholar Jed Shugerman did a terrific article on the Mueller report last week, which was published in the Daily Beast. If you didn’t read it then, here’s the link now.It’s a great companion piece to this article.]