Thursday May 30, 2019
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- Robert Mueller officially ended his term as Special Counsel, announced the Office of Special Counsel was close (or closing), and announced his resignation from the Department of Justice.
- Mueller stood alone on the stage, spoke for about 10 minutes, and took no questions. Unlike many such proceedings, Mueller was not surrounded by other prosecutors, agents, and hangers on.
- The stark nature of the arrangements, matched the stark nature of Mueller's pronouncements.
- First, he made it clear - several times - that one of the issues his office was directed to investigate was whether or not a foreign actor attempted to interfere with the 2016 Presidential election.
- Answer? Yes.
- At least two groups of Russians - one connected to the Russian government and an independent group whose hacked into computers in the United States and released hacked materials that were "designed and timed to interfere with our election and to damage a Presidential candidate."
- The candidate the Russians damaged was Hillary Clinton.
- According to Business Insider, "13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies" were indicted by a grand jury in conjunction with Russian interference.
- But, that's not the big news.
- The big news was Mueller repeating that the investigation did not exonerate Donald Trump of crimes - especially when it came to obstruction of justice.
- In his report, Mueller used a Yoda-like construct:
"If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state"
- Mueller must have recognized that Attorney General William Barr and his client, Donald J. Trump might have misconstrued that tangled language, so in his spoken statement he cleaned it up:
"If we had confidence the president did not commit a crime, we would have said so."
- Trump wants to make believe this ends the whole episode. In fact, since the beginning of this enterprise, Trump has had one major request: Someone say out loud that he has not been under investigation.
- No one would say that because Trump has been under investigation and is likely to remain under investigation if only by the State of New York and the U.S. House of Representatives.
- And, while Trump was not held as an unindicted co-conspirator, as Richard Nixon was, it was far, far from an exoneration.
- Nevertheless, Donald Trump saw it as a victory in this Tweet:
Nothing changes from the Mueller Report. There was insufficient evidence and therefore, in our Country, a person is innocent. The case is closed! Thank you.
- Well, to be a little more precise, in our country a person is not guilty; he isn't necessarily innocent.
- Mueller knew that the business of Trump not being cleared of obstruction would lead every story about his remarks, so he started with Russian interference and ended the same way:
"I will close by reiterating the central allegation of our indictments, that there were multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election. And that allegation deserves the attention of every American."
- I'm sure the House and Senate Intelligence Committees are working on this but, because they are the Intelligence Committees much of their work is secret.
- Mueller and his team publicly acted professionally and ignored every taunt of Donald Trump and his gang.
- At the end of his statement, Mueller thanked his staff:
"Before I step away, I want to thank the attorneys, the F.B.I. agents, the analysts, the professional staff who helped us conduct this investigation in a fair and independent manner."
- About a week ago Trump required his staff to do that "Dear Leader Act" by individually attesting to what a stable, sane genius he had been when he stormed out of the infrastructure meeting.
- Another difference between Robert Mueller and Donald Trump: Military service.
Having graduated from Princeton, he volunteered to join the Marines, went to Vietnam, received a Bronze Star with a V for valor and a Purple Heart for having been wounded in action.
- Donald Trump?
- On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the transcript of Robert Mueller's statement and a brief look at Mueller's military service via the Washington Post.
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