Former special counsel Robert Mueller testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 24, 2019, before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on his report on Russian election interference. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Yesterday, we saw a tired and doddering Robert Mueller spend some five hours demonstrating that he really hadn’t the vaguest idea about a) the facts in the report he allegedly oversaw, or b) who wrote the report, or c) who even prepared his office’s rejoinder to Attorney General Bob Barr’s summary. While the performance was so bad that even the Democrats noticed, there was one resolute group who held firm to the belief that Robert Mueller was anything but a puppet who participated in a soft coup attempt. This is a two-fer.
At the moment he was announced I praised him as a man of honor and character (we wrote an editorial at the NY Post to that effect) and after all this I think that holds quite well. He’s a professional. https://t.co/ifd9gefquB
— Seth Mandel (@SethAMandel) July 24, 2019
The facts show that by the time Mueller came on board as Special Counsel the FBI had thoroughly vetted the driving force behind the entire investigation, that would be the Steele Dossier:
Multiple sources familiar with the FBI spreadsheet tell me the vast majority of Steele’s claims were deemed to be wrong, or could not be corroborated even with the most awesome tools available to the U.S. intelligence community. One source estimated the spreadsheet found upward of 90 percent of the dossier’s claims to be either wrong, nonverifiable or open-source intelligence found with a Google search.
In other words, it was mostly useless.
The FBI already knew the rumor of “dirt” on Clinton that was passed to George Stephanopoulos was false and that its source was Joseph Mifsud, a Maltese academic who appears to be an asset of one or more Western intelligence agencies. A man who lied repeatedly to the FBI yet was never indicted, much less arrested, tried and convicted. (See Jim Jordan Fillets Mueller on Joseph Mifsud Not Being Charged, Exposes Serious Credibility Issues With the Probe.)
You can call Mueller honorable if you wish, but I think it is a stretch to consider carrying out a two year investigation into charges that were known to be false on Day One as anything but criminal misconduct. Professionals don’t go after individual Americans with the intent to deprive them of their freedom simply of the sake of building a body count.
There was other ridiculousness out there. One particularly bizarre claim was that the GOP failed because they asked questions about Steele and about Fusion GPS. I suspect that critique was more due to Mueller claiming to have never heard of the firm that brokered the meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and two of its stringers at Trump Tower than anything else. How better to cover up his dottiness than by claiming people with actual law degrees and prosecutorial experience don’t know what they are doing.
And, after burning through “they are more noble” and “Republicans are stupid” the final turn is to “both sides are bad, but Republicans are worse.” This is an example of the this tired bullsh**:
Republicans were even worse — far worse. At least a number of Democrats carefully highlighted parts of Mueller’s report that merited elucidation. Every single Republican acted as if the report were an entirely illegitimate exercise and as if the president were their client. Forget the congressional job of oversight of the executive.
This was lickspittle toadyism at its worst.
Does not a single one of those Republicans care about the vast degree of Russia’s attempts to undermine a U.S. election? Is none of them bothered by Trump’s obvious attempts to impede a valid national security-related investigation (even if those attempts to impede may not have risen to the level of impeachable “obstruction”)? Is no Republican bothered by the Trump team’s documented interest in receiving assistance from Russians with Kremlin ties, even if none engaged in a criminal conspiracy?
To repeat, their job is not to protect Trump. Their job is to protect our republic. Republicans contradicted their own name by leaving our small-‘r’ republican systems undefended. This is a dereliction of duty. This is worse than shameful. This is grossly, despicably, willfully irresponsible.
This is all total hogwash. A hearing is just that. A hearing. Mueller was there to explain and defend his report, much of which ran contrary to information that had been widely circulated not to mention common sense. For instance, Mueller, himself, did not claim the Russian government interfered. In fact, Mueller’s team was chastised by a federal judge for making that implication without providing evidence.
In fact, Mueller does not directly attribute that campaign to the Russian government, and makes only the barest attempt to imply a Kremlin connection. According to Mueller, the social media “form of Russian election influence came principally from the Internet Research Agency, LLC (IRA), a Russian organization funded by Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin and companies he controlled.”
After two years and $35 million, Mueller apparently failed to uncover any direct evidence linking the Prigozhin-controlled IRA’s activities to the Kremlin. His best evidence is that “[n]umerous media sources have reported on Prigozhin’s ties to Putin, and the two have appeared together in public photographs.” The footnote for this references a lone article in the New York Times. (Both the Times and the Washington Post are cited frequently throughout the report. The two outlets received and published intelligence community leaks throughout the Russia probe.)
Further, in a newly unsealed July 1 ruling, a federal judge rebuked Mueller and the Justice Department for having “improperly suggested a link” between the IRA and the Russian government. U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich said Mueller’s February 2018 indictment “does not link the [IRA] to the Russian government” and alleges “only private conduct by private actors.” The judge added the government’s statements violate a prohibiting lawyers from making claims that would prejudice a case.
Only conspiracy theorists would be agitated by something that Mueller does not even allege happened.
The real issue, the one that was examined by the GOP was the provenance of this investigation and how it was conducted. This is a thread from Sean Davis of The Federalist:
We were told Trump’s inquisitor was a calm, even-handed Republican with impeccable credentials who was trusted by everyone. What we learned yesterday was that the inquisition was run by the Democrat lawyer for Hillary Clinton’s aide who destroyed evidence with a hammer.
We were told that the evidence of alleged Russian collusion was rock solid, the work of America’s top intelligence agencies. In reality, it was pure fiction cooked up by a Clinton-funded foreign contractor on the payroll of a sanctioned Russian oligarch.
We were told the Trump campaign was never spied on or wiretapped by U.S. spy agencies. We now know the campaign was indeed wiretapped, that honeypots were deployed to entrap campaign affiliates, that overseas intel assets were used to set up meetings as pretexts for more spying.
We were told our nation’s intel agencies would never use false information to justify secret surveillance of American citizens. In reality, DON and the FBI peddled lies to the FISA court that were cooked up by a foreign spook and a DOJ official’s wife, both funded by Clinton.
We were told that our government’s top secret keepers would never leak classified or confidential information to the media. What actually happened is that top intel officials repeatedly leaked, often illegally, to cement a false narrative to support further spying on citizens.
Finally, we were told that America’s top cops and spies would never foment a coup to overturn election results they didn’t like. We now know the most powerful unelected people in government cooked up lies as part of an orchestrated scheme to overthrow the duly elected president.
While the Democrats have fall back positions available to them after Mueller’s self-immolation, the NeverTrump people really don’t. All they have left now is the fact that they don’t like they guy. Period. They have burned what little credibility they ever had to the ground in fluffing the Mueller investigation and if anything was more damaging to them than the Mueller book it was the Mueller movie.
Where do they go from here? It will be totally unsurprising the see outlet that bill themselves as conservative churning out “the conservative case for Pete Buttigieg” articles. One place they should never be allowed to go again is inside the GOP or any organization that considers itself conservative.
It remains amazing to me to see that, even years into the Trump era, NeverTrump will cling to *every single allegation* made against the man without once stepping back and saying, “you know, maybe my obsessive hatred has disfigured my thinking here.”
— David Reaboi (@davereaboi) July 24, 2019