25 July 2019

Mueller's Testimony Puts Democrats In A Very Dangerous Position

When Robert Mueller, former special counsel charged with investigating alleged Russian efforts to interfere with the 2016 election (and in reality charged with bringing down President Trump), testified before the House Judiciary and House Intelligence Committees, few expected there would be much drama or new revelations.

No one expected Mueller would completely discredit his own investigation, as well as the entire foundation for the allegations of Russian interference. Yet that is exactly what happened. Matt Drudge's headline on The Drudge Report was brutal, succinct, and accurate: "Dazed And Confused".

There was very little of Mueller's testimony that was anything short of shocking. He was completely confused by Congressman Matt Gaetz' blistering attack on his failure to investigate the Christopher Steele dossier that is at the foundation of the entire Russian Collusion narrative. He was unfamiliar with key sections of the report that bears his name. At one point he even contradicted his own report. In all, Mueller failed completely to either illuminate and amplify the report or to defend the integrity of his investigation.

I am no physician, and no competent diagnosis could be made merely from watching Mueller's testimony, so speculations as to why Mueller's performance on Capitol Hill was so bizarre are neither upright nor useful. But what is not speculation is recognizing that Mueller's odd turn at testifying does not simply end Democrats' hope of impeaching President Trump, it also creates a particularly thorny problem for the Democrats, and for the committee chairmen Jerry Nadler and Adam Schiff in particular.

The Democrats' difficulties begin with Mueller's complete failure to defend his own report. While it would be intuitively obvious that Mueller would not have compiled the very lengthy report all by himself, he presumably had a hand in its creation, oversaw its compilation, and therefore should have had at least a  working familiarity with its contents.  He did not, indicating that he did not have a hand in its creation and did not oversee its compilation.

The Mueller Report, it seems, was put together by someone not named Mueller.

Another major failure occurred when Mueller proved unable to defend the integrity of his staff, in particular the infamous Peter Strzok. It beggars belief that, during the process of hiring staff and selecting FBI agents to assist in the investigation, Mueller would not have interviewed people and made an effort to determine at least their perception of allegations that President Trump, while still just Candidate Trump, cozied up to Russia and helped to coordinate their disinformation campaigns. Yet Mueller's own testimony indicated he did not. Nor was he aware of several instances of potential conflict of interest, such as Jeannie Rhee having represented the Clintons during Hillary Clinton's email server scandal.

The Mueller Team, it seems, was put together by someone not named Mueller.

Mueller's unfamiliarity with the work of his own staff, and the details of his own investigation, puts one curious detail about the indictments he obtained against various Russian citizens for presumed interference in the 2016 election in a new light: At neither press conference did Mueller announce the indictments he himself presumably obtained. In both the February, 2018 and July, 2018 press conferences, the announcement of the indictments was made by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Robert Mueller was nowhere to be found. By comparison, when alleged serial sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein was indicted in New York earlier this month, the press conference was conducted by Geoffrey Berman, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, the person in roughly a comparable position to that of Robert Mueller as special counsel. 

Why did Mueller not announce his own indictments? Why were none of his staff present during Rod Rosenstein's press briefings regarding indictments obtained by Mueller and his staff?

The Mueller Investigation, it seems, was conducted by someone not named Mueller.

This conclusion was shared by more than a few observers and commentators during the hearings. As radio talk show host Mark Levin tweeted:

While it is not unfathomable for Mueller to have been a "hands off" manager of his team who delegated most of the day-to-day operations of the probe, even "hands off" managers still receive at least periodic briefings from their staff, and are kept current on what people are doing. The clear implication from Mueller's testimony before Congress is that even that did not happen, and that Mueller was in fact merely a figurehead, a person with no real involvement or even say in how the Russian Collusion investigation proceeded. Indeed, as Mark Levin subsequently tweeted:
If Robert Mueller truly lacks the capacity to head up a major investigation, did he possess the capacity to authorize various actions made by his team during the investigation? Did Mueller sign his name to requests for subpoenas and search warrants at a time when he lacked the capacity to understand fully what he was signing? To be sure, this is pure speculation, and we should be very careful not to jump to any conclusions about when Mueller's incapacity presented itself, given Mueller's bizarre behavior during his testimony, but, given the rambling and unfocused reading of his May 29 statement announcing the formal closing of the Office of Special Counsel, given that Rod Rosenstein and not Mueller himself announced the Russian indictments in 2018, the question itself is not out of bounds.

Did Andrew Weissmann, Rod Rosenstein, and perhaps others perpetrate a fraud by keeping Mueller in place as a figurehead when he should have stepped down due to incapacity? Did they have an ethical obligation to bring Mueller's seeming difficulties to the attention of at a minimum the leadership of the Department of Justice? Did they, by not having done so, engage in prosecutorial misconduct?

These are not idle questions, and just the asking of them taints very part of the Mueller Report, and taints all of the evidences contained in the report. It takes no stretch of the imagination to believe that, were all this happening in a courtroom during a criminal proceeding instead, defense counsel would be arguing most strenuously for the exclusion of those evidences. If Weissmann and Rosenstein did perpetrate a fraud they surely have opened themselves up to ethical sanctions by their respective bar associations. Taken to the extreme, if Weissmann and Rosenstein did perpetrate a fraud by concealing Mueller's seeming incapacity, they themselves committed crimes. 

If Jerry Nadler, Andrew Schiff, as well as Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, knew of this fraud, and in fact sought to benefit from this fraud, arguably they are complicit in the fraud and guilty of conspiracy in facilitating and perpetuating the fraud.

If Democrats in Congress knew of Mueller's challenges and covered them up they may have committed crimes to do so.

This is where Mueller's disastrous testimony leads: the very real possibility that the Mueller probe was not merely a partisan witch hunt intended to build a case for impeaching Donald Trump and removing him from office, but was in fact an illegally conducted investigation, and one Democrats knew full well to be an illegally conducted investigation. Even if one concedes a legal basis for the investigation (which is already dubious, given Rosenstein's odd and some have said deficient construction of Mueller's appointment memorandum), no prosecutor has a legal basis for violating the law. No prosecutor has a legal basis for engaging in misconduct, and convictions obtained as a result of misconduct are open to reversal by an appeals court.

This is where Mueller's testimony leaves the Democrats. Far from having at least achieved the Democrat holy grail of a "Watergate 2.0", Mueller's testimony has created a potential "reverse Watergate", and now of leading Democrats we must now seriously question what did they know and when did they know it?

The Mueller Report itself was damning enough. As I pointed out when Mueller announced the end of the investigation, the investigation has produced zero evidence against Donald Trump. Even before Mueller's disastrous testimony, the conduct of the investigation was problematic, something I argued last year in regards to the shameful handling of the case against Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, a case that itself should result in criminal charges being laid against members of the Mueller team. Even before Mueller was appointed, I quite correctly called the Russia narrative a hoax, and the Mueller Report proved it.

Now Mueller has damned his own report. Any credible evidentiary claim that might have been made of the report has now been destroyed. Every assertion it makes must be questioned, and every claim of fact re-evaluated. Mueller damned the report simply by failing to be someone capable of either assembling the report or running the investigation which produced the report. Mueller was the appointed head of the investigation--if he was a mere figurehead the entire investigation was conducted under false pretenses, and so we are compelled to look askance at everything the investigation produced. Even if Mueller's testimony was contrived, and he is not so lacking in capacity, such deception on his part still leaves us with the same crisis of credibility, for if Mueller lacks confidence in his own investigation We The People can have no confidence in it at all.

Mueller turned the Mueller Report into the Mueller Lie, the Mueller Deception, the Mueller Ruse. He called into question every aspect of his investigation and the conduct of his investigators. He implicates Democrats in Congress as having facilitated and even participated in an outrageous deception, a fraud upon the United States without equal.

Before Robert Mueller appeared before Congress, cries of "investigate the investigators" had the disquieting appearance of political payback. Now those cries have the even more disturbing demeanor of legal necessity.

I doubt this was the outcome Jerry Nadler, Adam Schiff, and the "get Trump" Democrats anticipated Mueller would provide.

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