The National Review’s Andy McCarthy was as incredulous as all of us by Robert Mueller’s brief, but incendiary statement. He offered his analysis of Mueller’s words concentrating on the following takeaway lines:
“If I had evidence, and that evidence was clear that he did not commit a crime, we would have said so.”
“Charging the President with a crime was not an option we could consider.”
This is an explosive statement. We’re going to be talking about impeachment from now until the foreseeable future. What Mueller said, which runs against what we had heard up until now, but what was certainly suggested in his report, was that the Office of Legal Counsel guidance was essentially the reason why they didn’t make a conclusion about obstruction. Now, as it happens, on the legal merits of that, I think he’s completely wrong. I think that it was his responsibility to make a decision about whether there was a prosecutable case and then it would have been up to the Attorney General and the Justice Department to decide whether or not to invoke the guidance or not that says that a sitting president can’t be indicted.
But whether I’m right or wrong about that is, what Mueller said is the reason we didn’t draw a conclusion about obstruction was that the president couldn’t be charged anyway, so there was no point in indicting him and then he took the next step of saying that in any event, in this system, the way that you discipline presidential excess is not left to federal prosecutors and what he meant by that obviously is that it’s left to Congress and the impeachment process. So, pretty explosive.
Of course charging the President with a crime was an option they could consider. Robert Mueller and his team were appointed for that very reason. It was their job to determine whether or not there was evidence of a prosecutable crime. Otherwise, the case would have just been sent directly to Congress. What does Mueller think he was tasked with?
He is deliberately misrepresenting what his function was.
Asked what he thought about Mueller’s comment that “We chose our words very carefully,” McCarthy said:
Yeah, very carefully and very wrongly. It’s simply not true that he couldn’t make a decision about whether there was enough evidence to present an obstruction case or not. The guidance doesn’t say the president can never be indicted. It says a sitting president can’t be indicted. And the prosecutor who has the investigation has the job of making that determination. Do we have a case or not?
If you decide you do have a case and the Justice Department wants to invoke the guidance that says that a sitting president can’t be indicted, then so be it.
But, Mueller’s job I think was to find out, do we have a prosecutable case or not?
Regardless of that, what he says is important in two ways. Number one, he’s saying that there may very well be a prosecutable obstruction case, but they decided that they couldn’t go there because of the guidance and second, under circumstances where Congress doesn’t need a prosecutable case in order to impeach, what he said is, in this system, the way a president gets disciplined is not by federal prosecutors, it’s by Congress.
Mueller has just performed a tremendous service to the Democratic party. He offered a lifeline to their dying narrative that the President had obstructed justice.
Rush Limbaugh came out swinging on his radio show today. He said:
Robert Mueller made it clear as a bell today that he wants to nail Donald Trump and he wants Donald Trump out of office, he just doesn’t have the evidence. And so he’s asked Congress to take over the job. But he kept talking about how guidelines, regulations in the DOJ prevent the indicting of a sitting president. They can’t do it! So what was the purpose of this? Why do this investigation at all if from the very beginning you could not nail the president?
This investigation was not to determine what the Russians had done. Everybody had already reached a conclusion the Russians had tampered whether it was true or not. This investigation was not an investigation. It was an attempt to reverse the election results of 2016. It was an attempt to imply the guilt of the president and that attempt to imply the guilt of the president continued today with this shameful performance of this guy and his eight-minute statement.
Mueller may think he is done, but his ingenuous eight minute address breathed new life into the farce that has dominated U.S. politics for nearly three years. It was as if he wanted to redeem himself for the pain he caused Democrats by not finding Trump guilty of a crime in his original report. It was also retaliation for Trump’s order to declassify documents last week.
Robert Mueller achieved exactly what he had intended today. I have one question for him.
If it was not your job to determine if the President had committed a crime, what were you doing for the past 22 months?