The Democrats must have thought they'd hit the jackpot when Mueller took to the microphone on Wednesday to once again “fail to exonerate” President Trump and help his enemies further their impeachment narrative. But his odd, self-contradictory statement, read haltingly off a sheet of paper, has backfired on them, though many of them may not yet realize it. In Thursday’s newsletter, I observed that Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz had expressed dismay at Mueller’s twisting of the law and his role as prosecutor. As it happens, Dershowitz has written an op-ed for THE HILL that lays out in detail the reasons for his disgust.
The title, “Shame on Robert Mueller for exceeding his role,” only scratches the surface of the problems Dershowitz has with Mueller.
As bad as Dershowitz has always thought Comey’s July 5, 2016, press conference was --- the one in which he ran through all of Hillary’s wrongdoings but then claimed “no reasonable prosecutor” would try the case --- he thinks this weirdness from Mueller was even worse. Specifically, it was Mueller’s statement that “if we had confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said that.” (Numerous other legal experts have joined in the chorus of condemnation for that gem.)
I’ll save a detailed discussion of Comey’s treatment of Hillary for another time, as I part ways with Dershowitz and other Hillary supporters with my belief that Comey was actually trying, in a very bizarre way, to HELP her stay in the race. How? By getting out in front of the story of her misdeeds and then “officially” dismissing them all before people could start asking, “Well, what about when she did (THIS)? What about when she did (THAT)?” Democrats, including Hillary herself, like to blame Comey for her loss on election day, when it seems he was trying, weirdly, to help the “fix” be in for her.
Of course, Comey did go way beyond his responsibility with the Hillary case, just as Mueller has with Trump. What Comey should have done that day was to shut his trap and pass his findings to then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who, in turn, should have indicted Hillary for obstruction of justice and violation of the Espionage Act. Then Hillary would have had to drop out of the race. (That’s when Biden would’ve jumped in.) Instead of hopping back on the campaign bus with Huma, she would have retreated to Chappaqua, laid in a few dozen cases of chardonnay and consulted with her team of top attorneys. Trump still would have won. I digress.
Back to Mueller. Dershowitz says in his op-ed that Mueller went even further than Comey had, and “gave a political gift to Democrats in Congress who are seeking to institute impeachment proceedings against President Trump.” (Great minds think alike; I used the same work, “gift,” to describe the “I cannot exonerate him on obstruction” comment tucked into Mueller’s report.) On Wednesday, his gift to them was the mere implication that Trump had committed obstruction. As Dershowitz points out, obstruction is one of those “high crimes and misdemeanors” that warrant impeachment and removal of a president from office.
This was just what Jerry Nadler wanted. As I have said, it’s easy to imagine Mueller striking a deal with Nadler: “Okay, Jerry, I know you want the optics of having me there in the hearing room, going back over and over the report, but think about it –- you KNOW I can’t testify. The Republicans actually WANT to get me in there. Just imagine how that could go. So if you can just keep me out of that room, I’ll give a press conference and really push the “obstruction” angle. Don’t worry, I won’t take questions.”
Here's Dershowitz in his op-ed, making the same point as he did in the quote I pulled from FOX News on Wednesday: “Until today, I have defended Mueller against the accusations that he is a partisan. I did not believe that he personally favored either the Democrats or the Republicans, or had a point of view on whether President Trump should be impeached. But I have now changed my mind. By putting his thumb, indeed his elbow, on the scale of justice in favor of impeachment based on obstruction of justice, Mueller has revealed his partisan bias. He also has distorted the critical role of a prosecutor in our justice system.”
Mueller is allowing himself to be used for partisan advantage, and Dershowitz can’t imagine any reason for this other than that he’s a partisan himself. Neither can I. In fact, I’d say that on the question of partisanship, Mueller got the benefit of the doubt from Dershowitz for an amazingly long time. (We saw indications of his bias early on, right?) But now, it’s just so obvious that all the smoke and mirrors in Washington can’t hide it.
In his op-ed, Dershowitz also outlines how the justice system is supposed to work, as opposed to the way it worked in practice under Mueller & Company. I recommend it highly.
Robert Mueller may have dodged having to take questions by Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee, but he’s not out of the woods by any means. The president of Judicial Watch, Tom Fitton, has called for an investigation of Mueller himself, for suggesting “wrongdoing by an innocent person without any foundation.” This is exactly what Mueller did during his bizarre presser.
Of course, Judicial Watch has never had reason to give Mueller any benefit of the doubt. They’ve been trying to find out what was going on at the FBI, DOJ and State Department for literally years now. (We may not have a wall at our southern border, but we sure have one around the Justice Department. Not to mention the State Department.) Fitton’s persistence has been unbelievable and is finally paying off big-time.
During an appearance Wednesday night on Lou Dobbs’ show on FOX Business News, Fitton said that Mueller’s political attack on the President was “turning the rule of law on its head,” as it suggested that Trump is guilty and, “because he can’t prove otherwise, we should conclude that he should be impeached.”
Dobbs called Mueller’s actions “an abuse of power.” Sounds right to me.
Partly because of the cozy relationship between Mueller and Comey, Dobbs believes there should at least be an internal ethics investigation of the special counsel’s operation and its interaction with some of the witnesses. Actually, it seems to me that this investigation should –- and will –- go further than that. Many of the questions Attorney General Barr has about the origins of the “Russia” investigation will overlap with what the special counsel was doing later on. For one thing, it ALL goes back to that blasted “dossier.” For another, some of the same people were deeply involved in both investigations. I have a feeling that Barr is working right now to get a clear picture of what all those relationships are.
Barr is well aware of how important his assignment is, and he can’t get to the bottom of it without looking at Mueller. As Fitton said, “This was about as political an intervention in our system as any Justice Department employee’s ever done.”
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