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Issues & Insights

Mueller’s Final Statement Turns Jurisprudence On Its Head

Special Counsel Robert Mueller today 10 minutes publicly stating that his 448-page, two-part, $35 million and 22-months-in-the-making report speaks for itself, as he announced he was closing shop and retiring. In so doing, he said he couldn’t charge a sitting President with a crime, but if he could have exonerated him he would have said so.

This starkly politicizes presidential investigations going forward and indicts, if we may say so, the already-dubious system of weaponizing a lawyer with a blank check, no deadline, and an open-ended mandate for him to fish where he likes with minimal oversight.

“If we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so. We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime,” Mueller said. “We concluded that we would not reach a determination one way or the other about whether the president committed a crime.”

What kind of strange new standard is Mueller setting here?

Mueller had all the time and money he could want, recorded countless hours of testimony, compiled a mountain of documents, got multiple plea deals, chased down out every conceivable lead, and then says he couldn’t prove the president didn’t commit a crime.

Since when is the job of prosecutors to determine innocence beyond a reasonable doubt? And, short of that, feel free to dump all the evidence that didn’t lead to a criminal charge, but that makes the defendant look a suspect nonetheless.

How would the average American citizen like this said of him or her after a couple of years of 18 prosecutors scrutinizing his or her affairs? After reviewing all the evidence, we don’t have enough evidence to say that John Doe robbed that store. But we can’t say definitively that he didn’t rob that store, so here’s a bunch of embarrassing revelations about him that we uncovered along the way. Have fun.

When the Mueller report came out, I&I’s Tom McArdle noted “that in the United States, we don’t let prosecutors publicly blemish the reputations of law-abiding citizens for actions that fall short of criminality. At least we didn’t until special counsel Robert Mueller.”

A prosecutor’s job is — or at least used to be — to charge or not charge, not choose this or that shade of gray.

Mueller compounds this error with an equally nonsensical claim that he’s somehow protecting Trump. Mueller says the only reason he didn’t bring criminal charges against Trump for obstruction was because the President can’t be charged with a crime while serving in office.

“It would be unfair,” he said in his statement, “to potentially accuse somebody of a crime when there can be no court resolution of the actual charge.”

But what Mueller has done is worse. He’s left the public with the impression that Trump is — nudge, nudge, wink, wink — guilty of something, even if Mueller can’t say what exactly it is. And in doing so, he’s laying the groundwork for Democrats to impeach Trump, without ever having to actually accuse Trump of anything. How exactly is that fair?

Ex-terrorism prosecutor Andrew McCarthy of National Review noted earlier this month that Mueller had options if he actually thought Trump had committed a crime. If there were a case against Trump, he says, “then it is the prosecutor’s job to recommend indictment. The question of whether the (Office of Legal Counsel) guidance should then be invoked to delay indictment should then be up to the attorney general. The guidance should not burden the prosecutor’s analysis of whether there is an indictable case. Yet Mueller chose not to see it that way.”

Mueller’s dark hints of wrongdoing will no doubt add fuel to the Democrats’ longstanding desire to start impeachment proceedings.

In the wake of what will go down as the most outrageous curtain call in the history of political Washington, it is now hard to explain his report and his concluding statement in any way other than impeachment having been Robert Mueller’s design all along.

— Written by Thomas McArdle and John Merline


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25 comments

  • The rule of law has been so weakened by the desire of the political class to obtain power that our great experiment is in mortal jeopardy. Petty men and women such as Mueller have weakened the country’s historical standards to the point that we are on the verge of blood in the streets and anarchy in our communities….Shame on him and his ilk!

    • Truly. I was working in DC when President Reagan took office. Everybody in the agency circled the wagons and talked about nothing but how to defend our program against Reagan. I naively suggested he would not cut the program if indeed we followed the guidelines. I was asked to resign and did so. Feeling guilty I suppose, they funded my independent work for the next four years.

      The mentality is as if the nation were a big farm. Program Directors think they are the farmers, and the citizens are the dumb animals.

  • If our political leaders had any sense, they would force an examination of the issue, by embracing it and enshrining this steaming pile of precedent into law. Sponsor a bill named the “Robert Swan Mueller Presumption of Guilt Act”, and require a statement in the final paragraph of all future federal investigations which shall read: “This report is not an exoneration, but a finding that there was no compelling evidence found to recommend indictment.”
    Unless, of course the accused can be absolutely proven to be innocent by hard verifiable evidence.
    Let us see how such a move would be treated by the courts.

  • .
    2013, then-FBI Director Mueller stonewalling under oath to Congress about Obama’s IRS targeting scandal:
    .
    JORDAN:Can you tell me how many agents you’ve assigned to the case?
    MUELLER: I may be able to do that, but I’d have to get back to you.
    .
    JORDAN: Can you tell me who the lead investigator is?
    MUELLER: Off the top of my head, no.
    .
    JORDAN: This is the most important issue in front of the country the last six weeks, you don’t know who’s heading up the case? Who the lead investigator is?
    MUELLER: At this junction, no, I do not know…
    .
    .

    • Well, that pretty much clarifies how Mueller approached that testimony: he either very assiduously remained entirely ignorant of an investigation Congress wanted him to testify about, lied, or both. I think he simply lied.

  • In all seriousness, since the 2016 presidential campaign, and the duration of Trumps term to date, the two people who have shown themselves to be the most corrupt and the most dangerous to our democracy, are James Comey and Robert Mueller. Their unabashed arrogance, along with what appears to be a clinical superiority complex without the fear of any repercussions, is staggering. The republic would be well served going forward if, for the sake of general deterrence of others, these two men were prosecuted and sentenced to some term of imprisonment.

  • A few questions for the Wizard of Oz Mueller:

    Why the impromptu conference 6 weeks after the release of the report (coincidentally after Barr initiated investigations into potential wrongdoing at your former place of employment and your pal Comey’s increasing loud opposition)?

    Why are no questions allowed, especially from Republicans? Could there be some difficult answers to questions such as when it was known there was no Russian collusion?

    Is it possible that your bread sandwich report was always targeted to be released after the mid term elections to undermine the president and the Republican party?

    Is it possible that the FBI has been conducting these covert operations for quite some time, even when you were the director?

    When in the history of American jurisprudence did “not” not guilty become implied guilt?

    We would like to examine your phone / email records for interactions with Comey and others that are involved.

    Since you report to the AG, Barr needs to demand your appearance under oath for further questioning!

  • If Mueller was able to indict, Donald Trump would have been in the slammer a long time ago. Of course this is not a normal process – it’s the President. Any other person committing the acts other than this so-called President, he or she has would have been already been spending rest of their years in a federal penitentiary.

  • What I find confusing and unhelpful is the fact that 600 former and current prosecutors have signed a letter saying that Trump obstructed justice, but there is no clarity/specificity about exactly what facts alleged in the Mueller Report are the basis of obstruction. The public ought to hear the precise case against Trump for obstruction.

    • A crosslist of these 600 former and current prosecutors found that they are the same as Comey’s “no reasonable prosecutor” list of who would not bring charges for Hillary’s crimes.

  • Despite claims to the contrary, Hillary and Trump were treated exactly the same.
    Comey: “Hillary is guilty, but, ya know, well, there’s no reason to actually charge her with a crime.”
    Mueller: “Trump is innocent, but, ya know, well, there’s no reason not to have impeachment move forward.”
    See?

    • True. If it were you or me, he would have quietly recommended prosecution. If he were applying the law fairly, he would have done the same for her.

  • Mueller is a political hack who, in an honorable world, would be facing disciplinary action from his Bar Association.

    I was a prosecutor for 28 years. If, in my official capacity, I had directed calumny at a person not subject to prosecution, I would have expected to be fighting disbarment or suspension.

  • “We concluded that we would not reach a determination one way or the other about whether the president committed a crime.”

    Well, which crime could you have not made that determination and why could you not have made that determination?

  • Did AG Barr lie in his short summary of the Mueller report?

    NO, but keep reading for an insight that you won’t see anywhere else.

    Both the Mueller report and Mueller’s 10-minute public statement were carefully crafted so that Republicans would understand it one way, and Democrats would understand it entirely differently. The TV news coverage clearly bears out this dichotomy. “Fair and Balanced” Fox News has noted these different reactions.

    You ask a Republican for a summary of the Mueller report, and you (of course) get a summary of the report as read and understood by a Republican. Republicans thought it was an accurate summary,but Democrats do not. NO Surprise! That’s really a sign of how well-crafted the report was toward its goal of different understandings by different readers. So it’s no surprise that different audiences had different reactions to Mueller’s statement.

    This isn’t new. At the end of the O.J. Simpson trial (25 years ago) every black person I knew thought he was innocent, and every white person I knew thought he was guilty.
    Different audiences – Different Understandings.

  • Since Mueller couldn’t indict a sitting president, per OLC rules, he could only be in the role of investigator, not prosecutor, when it came to Trump. His only recourse is that the facts he assembled could get to Congress, and the most he could say was a double-negative, that Trump is not not guilty.

    • Problem with your theory, Warren. Mueller was asked *specifically* if the OLC rules prevented him from concluding that the president committed a crime *multiple* times by Barr, and said ‘No’ every time.

  • We had a recent supreme court candidate hearing where the burden was for the accused to prove his innocence. Proof of guilt is the burden of the accuser, for Mr. Kavanaugh and Mr. Trump and every other accused citizen. It is certainly not the obligation of the accused to provide “proof of innocence”. That is basic jurisprudence, apparently, a difficult concept of many to understand! Sad.

  • It is time to open an Ethics (or lack of) Investigation into Mr. Mueller and if I was Barr I would subpoena him to clarify his statement since Barr under oath and making a point to say that he had witnesses to the conversation asked Muller 3 times if his decisions had anything to do with indicting a sitting President. Mueller stated on the record no ….Mueller lied in his statement and Barr knows that he did….

  • A SC can return one of two results to the DOJ, 1) There’s not enough evidence for us to recommend prosecution or 2) There’s enough evidence to show guilt. The SC report stated quite plainly that there was no evidence the Trump campaign conspired with the Russians on the election despite several attempts by the Russians in that regard, and that *none* of the obstruction of justice charges could ever hold up in court. That’s as close to exoneration as possible.

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