Nobody Seems to Like Bob Mueller

The left hates him because they wanted him to run the President through a wood chipper and save them from taking the blame.

The right hates him because they didn’t want any investigation at all or, failing that, a conclusion that would propel Donald Trump directly to a pedestal.

Guess what did not happen? Either of those things.

In the land of immediate political gratification, which most Americans now believe is a “right,” not getting your way is grounds for outrage.

So most Americans are outraged and they are blaming the messenger for not giving them their way.

On the right, much is made of the “two-year, $30 million, 448-page report.” If those are the “wrong” amounts, what are the correct ones?

Seems to me we learned some useful things for that expenditure of time and effort. More importantly, the things we learned are generally accepted as facts. Agreement as to what happened in any political situation today is a rarity so facts have a value.

Here are several things we either learned or determined to be the case after suspecting they were.

Russia has a strong interest in mucking up our elections either to thumb the scale toward a preferred outcome or to make us distrust the process and pretty much everything else. Even if Donald Trump did not collude with Russia (which is not even a legal concept), it seems like a good thing to know.

Opposition research ordered up by Hillary Clinton’s campaign was the basis for government wiretapping and for the initial investigation itself. Again, it seems like a good thing to know just in case you might not want it done to you. Has “oppo” gotten out of hand?

The President is an asshole but that is not impeachable. Electing (or better yet not electing) assholes is the responsibility of the voters and they will get a do over in about a year and a half.

Nominating assholes, which both parties did in 2016, is another area ripe for further inquiry. In 2016, each political party had one job. They both failed. Yet, they get the same assignment again in 2020.

Truth has been a useful idea for several millennia and might well deserve a dusting off and revival. Is there any amount of lying in politics that becomes unacceptable?

Our political process seems to have achieved new levels of disgustingness even though, in this case, only one side’s disgustingness was under scrutiny. Maybe an overall reduction of political disgustingness would be salutary?

Whether or not the President obstructed justice, there might be some value to knowing if there is a line to be drawn and, if so, where it should be.

On the left, much is made of Mueller punting on indicting the President for obstruction of justice. If the left would like to impeach him, it seems like they need only follow the trail laid out in the report.

Mueller’s findings are like rolling a snowball down a hill. They are likely to gain size and momentum along the way. The Democrats control the House of Representatives and can vote to impeach if they like. Blaming Mueller for leaving political decisions up to politicians seems a bit cowardly.

I think he did his job. He was tasked with determining what happened and it appears he did exactly that. He was not tasked with making everyone happy with the outcome.

What about a permanent Mueller – better still squadrons of them – to investigate and publicize all disgraceful political behavior? Preferably on both sides.

Don’t hold your breath. A decision to clean up our elections and politics in general would be in the hands of those who would suffer the consequences.

We probably shouldn’t hold our breath hoping voters will avoid electing assholes either. That, of course, is good news for much of the House and Senate, whose members are among the most outraged by the Mueller report.

 

 

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Haven Pell

At the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, a woman asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” Without hesitation, Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

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  • A number of legal scholars including Alan Dershowitz are of the opinion
    that there was never a probable cause of a crime, and therefore the investigation should never have taken place. Many others are of the opinion that the investigation was politically motivated by James Comey, who with the help of his friend Rod Rosenstein at Justice engineered the investigation in an attempt to rid the country of what they regarded as an odious and illegitimate president (Hillary would have been legitimate.)

    But Trump was elected by the people, for better or worse, and has not been charged with any crime by Mueller. The Democrats are free to attempt to impeach Trump on various grounds, but the Democratic leadership is aware that this drilling will likely lead to a dry hole. Most people are fed up with the whole process, and would prefer to move on.

    As for permanent investigations, they would likely be used as political weapons against opposing political parties. Only a genuinely neutral party could ever be trusted to mount such investigations. But, how or how to locate such a party?

    How about Julian Assange?

    • Are we still describing Dersh as a legal scholar? Perhaps so, but along the lines of describing Paul Krugman as an economist. Trump was indeed elected by the people and you’ll not hear me making silly arguments about democracy (whimper whimper) vs the electoral college.

      Indeed, he might well get elected again especially in light of the internecine warfare among the Democrats.

      You are correct about the permanent investigator and possible misuse (perhaps near certain misuse).

      That said, are you keen to just have the corruption continue?

  • I doubt that any of you would have liked to be in Mueller’s shoes. How about a little applause for the man who did all the work!!!

    Elinor Felcher

    • Nice to hear from you Elinor. I thought I did give him some applause and, if the other comments are any guide, many disagreed with it. I am a huge Mueller fan and I was most impressed by his ability to keep his mouth shut, a rare quality in Washington today.

  • Haven,
    While Donald Trump may have multiple personality shortcomings, he did survive a 22 month colonoscopy by Mueller and his like-minded lawyers, while contemporaneously enacting a wide range of policies that very much please half the country – perhaps more if allowed to speak freely without fear of having their persons or cars “keyed”.

    Yes, we voters will have another chance in 2020. Would you care to wager a cup of fresh coffee, served with humility? I’ll take Donald Trump and you may have whomever emerges from the field.

    Your old friend who appreciates your work to keep us engaged…

    Jonathan

    • I would not for a moment bet against Trump winning in 2020 especially given the massive lineup of those who will divide the D’s. To me, the whole thing is the problem. Nobody is trying to think through anything in a way that might actually solve anything. Pleasing the base is not a business strategy — for either side. It does seem to me the President would have an easier time accomplishing what you might like if he were less prone to making his opponents seek revenge against him.

  • Hi Haven

    I thought he was supposed to investigate Russian involvement in the election. He did so diligently where the president was concerned but kinda the ball on the investigation of Hillary ‘s side which had a long history of alleged sordid Russian involvement. Think C Foundation, Uranium One, and speaking fees.

    It looks from the facts I’ve seen quoted, that the Steele dossier, which started all this, was created for Hillary by Steele with Russian assistance. It appears from the facts, the FBI used this known to be false document to do all sorts of nefarious things including spying, third world like, on a presidential candidate, FISA court prevarication, and false testimony.
    Since it was a Russian document he should have looked at it, including within the FBI. It was as within his purview as some of his other inquiries.

    Perhaps Mr Mueller felt a bit conflicted about investigating or implicating his own house and family.
    Perhaps he imagined it would be bad for the nation if it lost confidence in one one of its stalwart institutions. Maybe he hadn’t heard it already had.

    He’s a good guy. He could have done so much better. He could have been grand. He could have moved the country forward.

    Im afraid, instead, he added credence to the intractable swamp theory. Too bad.

    • I share your view as to the swamp and its pernicious effect on governance. Hence the call for full time Mueller — lots of them

  • Haven, Good comments. Many stories swirling around. The one thats unfolding now might be the most interesting depending on where it lands!!

  • Haven, my friend, you have hit the nail(s) on the Head(s). Imagine what Ben Franklin would say today if he could view the mess we’ve created. Ol’ Ben wanted to make the turkey, not the eagle, our national bird. Maybe he was forecasting what Congress would become…

    • Thank you Phil. Appreciate the comment. One of the problems that troubles me is that they are clearly not trying. How is a country to be run of those in charge don’t even care?

  • A good blog and wise conclusions. My hope is that shifts in political equilibrium are insufficient to allow for catastrophe. This climate has revealed much about the personality and character (or lack) of so many of our elected officials. How do St Paul classmates judge Mr Meuller? He seems to me a man of the highest integrity and judgement, sure to have recognized that whatever findings were put in the report people have become entrenched in their allegiances

    • Ron, Those younger than he (including me) mostly seems to think he was the person we’d like to row up to be. Among traits valued at boarding school in the early 60s he had all of them.

  • People on both sides tend to want to parse this as if it were a police investigation. But Mueller signaled from the get-go he wasn’t going for an indictment. So it was an impeachment investigation, and the only evidence that would have garnered that level of legitimacy was treason. He didn’t find treason. He may have found that Trump isn’t smart enough to commit treason, which will amount to a great footnote some day. But at that point, trying to un-elect a president on an obstruction charge with no underlying crime would have been an asinine and terribly destructive absurdity. But equally wrong would have been Mueller making that call himself, as in, “I, Robert Mueller, for whom no one has ever voted, hereby decree that you, America, may not weigh or consider an obstruction charge. “ That’s a political decision. So Mueller handed it back to the pols. I have trouble finding one damn thing he did wrong. And what? People really can’t keep their shirts on until until 2020? Isn’t that just next year? This was a ballot box problem looking for a jury box solution. Jeez. Just go vote, people.

    • Jim, I agree with you but we sure are in a minority. Since he told nobody what they wanted to hear, everyone seems angry with him. I persist in asking rude questions like, “imagine Mueller was investigating Hillary Clinton, would you take the same position?” Like Mueller’s conclusions, that tends to make them angry.

  • For some reason, I read this again, perhaps after the Mueller “statement”. I was struck by the overt use of the word “asshole”. 3 times no less !!! It seems the use of the word usually reserved flagrantly inappropriate comments or behavior has now risen into pubic usage by people who I normally consider “reserved” such as you old boy!

    Well, I suppose one can genuinely blame that on Trump.

    As to Mueller’s statement on Trump, this past week, one can only say “Well representatives er A…… , do your job, impeach or don’t impeach”.

    On the subject election investigations, don’t we have a House ethics committee with a series of rules? And do we not also have Federal Elections Commission? It seems that these bodies might pick up some of this slack. However, obviously, since the political parties have fallen in to the AFL NFL Super Bowl syndrome, the idea that they might investigate falls into the same trap of no such thing as a neutral party.

    All this said, I think there is something more interesting going on in general. That is that while we are so-called polarized etc. the interesting ting here is thawe are getting more and more of our news from different sources. It is easy to say we listen to the side that embraces our point of view, however at the same time this magic, of us all being able to read more diverse opinions, the establishment of smaller forums, and most importantly the new found ability to write to those forums and communities is encouraging many of us to think more deeply about what we are seeing, witnessing, processing etc. In particular is the question of who is reporting the truth. What are the back stories? Who’s agenda is on the writer’s boil as it were? The point being is that perhaps we are getting smarter, wiser, more savvy, less naive, etc.

    So the gridlock makes sense – many people want to to the “right thing”. But what is that ? Perhaps we are not sure. So we sit, we watch, we wait. We debate. Democracy in action. Just taking its time as we learn to digest the power of these new tools, as well as some of the many stories we are being told.

    Point being. “Let’s not go wobbly now George”.

    • Fair point on the disfavored word; Lord knows I won’t air it a fourth time.

      I would not put much faith in the Federal Election Commission. That was created to pretend to be a watchdog but it was intentionally neutered at birth to assure that life as the politicians knew it could continue with as few changes as possible.

      I am guessing you are one of a tiny number who actually thinks more deeply because the sources are now so predictably biased.