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Time for Mueller to Speak
This was Mueller’s baby. He signed his name to it. And it has predictably been politicized by Congress and constantly battered by Tweety McTweeter in the White House.
Things move so fast during this car-wreck presidency I am forced in mid-stream to abandon one column on Donald Trump’s spastic scramble to keep Congress and thus the American people away from his tax returns (Yikes, what horrors lurk within?) and shift gears to the breaking news on Special Counsel Bob Mueller’s recent eyebrow raising D.C. bombshell of a letter to Attorney General William Barr that was not only completely unexpected by out of character for the normally tight-lipped Mueller and unprecedented in the long history of special counsels and the justice department. Within hours of a report in the Washington Post about this unusually aggressive correspondence, Congress made it public, and man it is a doozy.
Trump Guilty of Obstruction of Justice - Now What?
Mueller basically calls the Attorney General of the United States a liar, and worse yet, subsequently an accessory to Trump’s obstruction of justice the special counsel framed in his 448-page report, or at the very least making clear that Barr’s March 24 fluff-note disguised as a summary of the Mueller Report led to "public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation." At which point Mueller goes on to write, "This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the Department appointed the Special Counsel: to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations."
The letter is not long, but it is direct, (no one that makes his living in the law uses the term “threatens” lightly) and turns out to be a kill-hell bitch slap of a rebuke on the nation’s top law officer. In Barr’s grubby paws, according to the report’s author, there is no assurance of “full public confidence.”
And this point became far clearer during a heated exchange at Barr’s Senate hearing this week, as California Senator Kamala Harris, Democratic presidential candidate, got the beleaguered and stammering AG to admit that although he determined publicly more than once that the DOJ found no evidence of Trump’s obstruction of justice in the report, he never reviewed any of it before making this decision. Because, you know, he is only the nation’s attorney general and was the first one to have access to the most important official government document created in the last decade. I mean, why study it when you can merely make shit up.
Mueller concludes his stern warning on misinterpreting his two years of work by respecting the right of Barr’s office to review the material in the aforementioned report, but “that process need not delay release of enclosed materials.” In other words, “Hey, buddy, don’t use this whole ‘review process’ as an excuse to stonewall what is rightfully the American’s people’s document bought and paid for by them and researched and formulated for them.” And then with swift and severe precision Mueller slides effortlessly into his final paragraph with “Release at this time would alleviate the misunderstandings that have arisen and would answer congressional and public questions about the nature and outcome of our investigation.”
This is the equivalent in writer’s parlance of a right-cross. Think of Mike Tyson in 1986 as a sentence. Barr would be the first-round casualty.
We know now that after digesting this little missive, Barr quite ceremoniously told Mueller to go fuck himself and took his sweet time before disseminating a rose-colored pro-Trump summary (that he later claimed was not a summary) of Mueller’s investigative opus and then before actually releasing the report held a surreal presser in which he tried to soften the obvious accusations that it levies on the president of the United States.
This tiptoe through bullshit is what landed Barr in front of Congress again – a request he playfully dodged before complying, keeping himself from contempt charges that tend to lead to disbarment and other things – and it has wrecked whatever possible credibility the AG could have had after he shamelessly campaigned for the gig by kissing Trump’s ample hindquarters.
But I digress.
This is about Robert Mueller today. It is his reputation that will be on the line next. What the special counsel does not get to do is throw stones at Barr’s rather flimsy glass house and then continue to play intellectual recluse floating above the fray with a smirk while occasionally being seen wandering in and out of D.C. churches every Sunday and leaking accusatory letters to the press. This was Mueller’s baby. He signed his name to it. And it has predictably been politicized by Congress and Trump apologists and constantly battered by Tweety McTweeter in the White House. There was less speculation in interpreting the Bible or late-Sixties Beatles songs than the Mueller Report. Its author needs to speak, and soon.
Now, there will be some who might claim that everything Mueller needed to do as a patriot and a respected investigator is encapsulated in this extensive report. Enough is enough. Leave the man alone. He did his job and did it well under scrutiny and leaks and hammering from all ends. But I disagree. As a writer, I believe it is incumbent on the author to stand up for the work and if there is any ambiguity in the interpretation of it then it must be put to rest. And this is not some novelist who can say, “I wrote it, you figure it out. It speaks to everyone differently. How you see it is where you come from emotionally and…blah blah blah.” This is law and it contains evidence and facts and it is being tossed around like a worn political football.
Mueller needs to fix this. And there is an easy way to put it all to rest; come out and speak. And not in an interview format on 60 Minutes or Oprah or CNN. He needs to conduct a press conference; a full, binding and unfiltered statement to the American people on where he stands, as his name is on the front cover of this massive undertaking that people are pulling apart. Book time on all the networks. Talk to us. Directly. Without media noise, a redacted tome, or certainly whatever lunacy comes from our game show president. It is that important.
And I don’t even mean sitting before Congress in some endless charade, which I assumed was coming no matter what was in the thing, never mind all the “The conclusion that Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the President’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law” – the key sentence in all this. But if Congress is considering additional investigations, and we know there are already 14 independent ones ongoing mentioned in the redacted version of the report, then Mueller cannot be coy. The future of this presidency, future ones, and the structure of this republic is on the line here.
The Mueller Report was #1 on Amazon’s best-seller list for days after its release. It is a bonafide smash. People are obviously very interested in what its author has to say about it and for all this guessing and litigating to cease. Everyone has a side and an idea about what level of crap the president is in. There is only one man for whom any of that matters, Robert Swan Mueller III.
And he needs to speak.
© James Campion May 3rd 2019
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James Campion is the Managing Editor of The Reality Check News & Information Desk and the author of “Deep Tank Jersey”, “Fear No Art”, “Trailing Jesus”, "Midnight For Cinderella" and “Y”. and his new book, “Shout It Out Loud – The Story of KISS’s Destroyer and the Making of an American Icon”.
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What it comes down to is not that the president is guilty or not guilty, but what there is under the constitution to be done with this.
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