Getting to the bottom of Collusion-gate
was “outside his purview”
‘Deep State,’ anyone?
Now we know why Robert Mueller did not want to testify. He’s lost his mojo. Don’t want to be “age-ist” here but the man seemed ready for assisted living’s mid-morning craft time.
Did someone else write Mueller’s homework? Was he a figurehead? Name on the letterhead? The Deep State conspiracy mongers have been given more fuel to light their fires.
The bean counters at the Policy Werkes lost track of how many times the old warrior asked the question be repeated. (How many times did Democrats thank him for “your service”?) To one questioner, he asked three times. Granted, many of the questions were convoluted but the white lab coats here at the Werkes were able to understand them.
How many times did Mueller deny a statement only to be reminded that said statement was a verbatim quote from page this or that of the Mueller report? Priceless exchange:
Robert Mueller: Where are you reading that from?
Rep. Sensenbrenner: “My questions.”
The man could not remember which President appointed him to an earlier post, guessed Bush and was told “Reagan.” (“What do we have for our contestant, Don Pardo?”)
To the Rep from Vermont during the afternoon Intelligence Committee hearing, Mueller was groping for a word. The Policy Werkes is shouting out “conspiracy!” Finally, the Rep from Vermont supplies the word, then offers “You help me out and I’ll help you.”
No Republicans need apply
More damaging was the revelation of his team’s political bias: 13 of his 17 associates were Democrats, none were Republicans. Not one! Nine were Democratic donors; six coughed up money to Hillary Clinton. At the imputation of bias, Mueller went all Joseph Welch (“at long last senator, have you no decency”) at the suggestion that his team was less than impartial. But this is a crew that included Peter Strzok who, in e-mails to his lover, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, vowed to defeat Trump.
Appearances, anyone? We’re not prosecuting a Mafia don here; this is a President elected in a most bitter, close and and partisan election.
As for actual evidence of political bias, consider the point raised by Josh Gerstein at Politico:
At times on Wednesday, Mueller just seemed out of it. Under questioning by Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio), the former special counsel appeared to deny that his office looked into whether the Trump campaign worked with WikiLeaks or others to steal Hillary Clinton campaign emails.
“That matter does not fall within our investigation,” Mueller said, puzzlingly, given that this was a central focus of his probe.
At another point, Mueller claimed not to know anything about Fusion GPS, the private investigation firm commissioned by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee to prepare a dossier of opposition research that appeared to fuel the early FBI investigation into ties between Trump, his advisers and Russia.
What was obstructed?
Republicans did a good job of stripping away the Democrats’ last fig leaf: obstruction. Did Mueller finish his probe? Yes. Was he hampered in any way? No. Denied any documents? No.
O.K., Trump vented at White House counsel Don McGahn to fire Mueller. Was Mueller ever fired? Of course not. (For one thing, McGahn was not in Mueller’s chain of command.) Contrast that with the Saturday Night Massacre. Richard Nixon ordered his A.G. to fire his special prosecutor. When he refused, Nixon fired Elliot Richardson. The next man up (guy by the name of Robert Bork) followed through and fired Archibald Cox. Contrast that with Trump.
MSNBC gleefully put Democrat (of course) Ted Lieu on camera with his great “get,” having promoted Mueller to say he wold have indicted Trump for obstruction if he weren’t a sitting president.
Mueller began the afternoon session with Schiff’s Intelligence Committee with a clarification and repeated that to a questioner. “As we say in the report and as I said at the opening, we did not reach a determination as to whether the President committed a crime.”
Rep. Ratcliffe of Texas had two kicks at the cat, serving on both committees. He made the point that prosecutors do not exonerate. Their job is binary, ones and zeroes. They either indict or they do not, prosecute or go home. The subject of their inquiry may claim exoneration as a result. But prosecutors do not because in the criminal justice system everyone is presumed innocent. Ratcliffe had a good line: “No President is above the law but no President is below the law, either.”
That said, the congressional power of impeachment is not criminal justice it is political and rightly so. There are no presumptions.
Our liberal-progressive-socialist acquaintances forget that the Mueller team’s indictments — outside the Russians (remember them?) — were virtually all caught up in acts having nothing to do with Russian collusion.
Someone was lying about collusion
Why weren’t they prosecuted? Freedom Caucus leader Jim Jordan went for the jugular.
“The president [was] falsely accused of conspiracy. The FBI does a 10-month investigation and James Comey — when we deposed him a year ago — told us at that point they had nothing. You do a 22-month investigation. At the end of that 22 months, you find no conspiracy and what [do] the Democrats want to do? — they want to keep investigating. They want to keep going.”
“Maybe a better course of action is to figure out how the false accusations started. Maybe’s it’s to go back and actually figure out why Joseph Mifsud was lying to the FBI and … that’s exactly what Bill Barr’s doing. And thank goodness for that. That’s exactly what the attorney general is doing … and they’re going to find out whey we went through this three-year saga and get to the bottom of it.”
Jordan asked why informant Joseph Mifsud had not been charged with obstruction given that, like Peter after the Crucifixion, he lied three times and posed as a Cambridge University professor in an attempt to deceive Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos for confidential campaign information.
“Outside our purview,” was Mueller’s terse reply.
Can’t win if you don’t play
Inexcusable that former chairman Devin Nunes would take a pass at closing arguments in the Intelligence Committee. He had done such a good job at the opening. (Democrats were complicit in running the “Russia hoax” with the the fake news media. More here.) Never leave an open microphone or hot camera empty. Especially since Adam Schiff was effective.
It is said that prosecutors can pound on the facts or pound on the law but if they have neither, they pound on the podium. That is what Schiff did Wednesday. Still, he was effective.
Blaska’s Bottom Line: Nancy Pelosi’s job just became impossible.