Thursday, April 18, 2019

The Mueller Report: Twin Triumphs of Fake News and Conspiracy Theory

After many months, many subpoenas, many interviews, and endless bloviation, hyperventilation, and fabrication by both the legacy media and portions of the alternative media, the much-anticipated Mueller Report has finally been released to the public. Aside from redactions (which are disturbing to some, a non-issue to others), we may now see what Robert Mueller has seen, we will now know what Robert Mueller has known.

The actual report itself is some 400 pages in length, but we already know how Attorney General Bill Barr has summarized its conclusions:
  • "After nearly two years of investigation, thousands of subpoenas, and hundreds of warrants and witness interviews, the Special Counsel confirmed that the Russian government sponsored efforts to illegally interfere with the 2016 presidential election but did not find that the Trump campaign or other Americans colluded in those schemes."
  • "After carefully reviewing the facts and legal theories outlined in the report, and in consultation with the Office of Legal Counsel and other Department lawyers, the Deputy Attorney General and I [Attorney General Barr] concluded that the evidence developed by the Special Counsel is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense."
As readers of this blog will recall, when Mueller was appointed Special Counsel I pointed out the history of Special Counsel investigations was one largely of failure. Mueller's investigation has held true to that form--no indictments for any conspiratorial collusion with Russia (or anyone else), only peripheral players charge with any form of obstruction (chiefly lying to the FBI). Two years and $30 million worth of investigation, and we have very little to show for it.

Can I get my money back?

To be sure, Democrats are outraged that Mueller failed to crucify Donald Trump, and even more outraged that Attorney General Barr failed to spin Mueller's report into a crucifixion of Donald Trump. During and after Barr's morning press conference, several took to Twitter to pontificate and bloviate some more:



Other commentators and members of the chattering class strove not to be outdone by Democrats:




Not wanting to be left out, numerous conservative commentators felt compelled to tweet out the insanity and inanity of the left over Mueller's finding of no collusion:

What none of them have done is make the case for their particular position. What we are seeing is not a sober and serious discussion of the report, and of the many troubling questions arising from its contents, but merely an endless echoing and retweeting of one of two basic narratives: 1) For the Democrats, "orange man bad/Russia!"; and 2) for the Republicans, "witch hunt!" and "Russia Collusion Hoax".

None of these commentators are speaking to the substance of the Mueller Report. On both sides of the political aisle, people are reducing the report to the most expensive MacGuffin of all time--a prop merely to push their chosen narrative forward, facts be damned.

None of these commentators are willing to confront the disturbing dimensions of the Mueller Report:
  • How and when is it appropriate for the FBI and the country's intelligence apparatus to conduct secret surveillance of a political campaign? When is it okay for the government to spy on other Americans?
  • What are we to make of the careerist leadership of both the FBI and the Department of Justice that both were willing to believe the worst of Donald Trump on the flimsiest of evidence?
  • Why did the media persist in advancing an increasingly debunked "collusion" narrative, ignoring all evidence to the country?
  • What are we to make of President Trump's often incendiary tweets? Should we demand a different standard of conduct from the President?
  • What did Russia do to upset the electoral applecart in 2016? 
These are the questions that should be discussed, not just in Congress or by the legacy media, by by all Americans. The one undeniable truth of Mueller's report and the investigation that preceded it is that there has been a significant assault on our Constitutional system of governance. That assault is the one point of truly bipartisan consensus in this entire sordid drama.

That our system of government was assaulted is undeniable: we have 400 pages of Mueller Report to substantiate that, even if there is debate over whom is doing the assaulting (Trump, the Democrats, the "Deep State", or Russia). Who is asking what shall we do about that? How can We The People protect the Constitution from similar predations in the future? How do We The People protect and defend our Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic?

Neither side wants to have that discussion. Both sides wish to promote their preferred conspiracy theories, arguing not fact but feelings. As the sampling of Tweets above demonstrates, both sides have no interest in engaging with others to arrive a some fact-based, logically-derived articulation of the truth in these matters.

Today is a sad day for The Republic. In the Mueller Report the twin evils of Fake News and Conspiracy Theory have won the day. Time will tell if those demons win the day tomorrow as well.

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