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Mueller’s Muddled Message

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Posted: Friday, June 7, 2019 12:58 pm

Democrats have been demanding an un-redacted copy of the 448-page Mueller Report, apparently hoping to somehow find something that isn’t there, namely evidence of an impeachable crime. The report contains grand jury material which, by law, is secret and cannot be released in order to protect the innocent and unindicted but then, some members of Congress apparently think they are above the law. But demanding Mueller’s underlying and source documents in order to search for impeachable offenses is not a proper function of Congress. Identifying high crimes and misdemeanors, i.e., impeachable offenses, is a law enforcement function and those functions are assigned by the Constitution to the executive branch. The Supreme Court made it clear in 1955 that the investigation and oversight powers of Congress must not extend to law enforcement which is the responsibility of the Justice Department. Impeachment is the only method available to Congress to remove a president from office and it is not a law enforcement function.

Mueller’s 22-month inquest did not find any high crimes or misdemeanors, much to the dismay Democrats bent on removing the president from office, so they are demanding the right to re-interpret Mueller’s report in order to find some. This is unconstitutional, as pointed out by David Rivkin and Elizabeth Foley in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed.

This has gone far enough. For one thing, opinion polls are now showing that the public is sick of impeachment talk and continuing efforts to read something into the Mueller Report that simply isn’t there. Not only did it fail to find impeachable offenses, it turned out to be a colossal waste of time and money, impeding the business of government and revealing little that we did not already know. Perhaps the best thing that will come out of it is the lesson that we should exercise much more caution in the future before appointing another special counsel with unrestrained power to destroy lives and reputations and little accountability.

Rather than let the report stand for itself, a difficult enough challenge, Mr. Mueller couldn’t resist taking one final bow before riding of into the sunset. He read a brief statement that seemed to suggest that his findings might have been different if not for Justice Department rules against indicting a sitting president by saying “Charging the president with a crime was, therefore, not an option we could consider.” So would he have, if he could? This left the matter up to his boss, Attorney-General William Barr, who, based upon the report’s failure to find evidence of a crime, properly determined that there was no obstruction of justice. Mueller also seemed to imply that Congress should institute impeachment proceedings by saying, “the Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president.” This was bad enough but then he added. “If we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.” What are we supposed to infer from that? He couldn’t find any evidence of a crime in 22 months and an army of investigators but the president is probably guilty anyway?

Robert Mueller, former FBI director, was highly praised as the right man to head this investigation. He was supposed to be a relentless, objective, fastidious investigator who would leave no stone unturned. He was supposed to be fair and honorable. You could have fooled me. He was the wrong man for the job and this investigation was flawed from the start. First of all, there was no credible evidence of a crime on which to base it. He staffed his investigation with a disproportionate number of Clinton supporters and contributors. A lead investigator and his FBI-attorney sweetheart were found to have exchanged emails highly critical of Donald Trump while revealing a determination to help prevent his election. This alone tainted the entire investigation and raised serious questions of bias among the investigators. Mr. Mueller should have resigned at that point.

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is under investigation for lying to investigators. A discredited dossier, funded by the Clinton campaign, a fact not revealed to the FISA Judge, was used to obtain a warrant to spy on an American citizen. Why did Mueller not mention any of this? And he had the gall to close his statement by praising the integrity of the investigators? Please. Now he wants to fade from public view. Not so fast. Democrats in Congress want to question him. So should Republicans. Mr. Mueller has a lot to answer for and none of it is likely to enhance his reputation or that of the FBI leadership.

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