Wednesday, special counsel Robert Mueller spoke out for the first time, saying he was resigning and closing down the special counsel’s office.
His investigation, overseen by the Justice Department, lasted two years and led to 199 criminal charges and 37 indictments.
He submitted his 448-page final report more than two months ago and made clear he completely and totally stands by the report.
“Any testimony from this office would not go beyond our report. It contains our findings and analysis and the reasons for the decisions we made. We chose those words carefully and the work speaks for itself. And the report is my testimony. I would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before Congress.”Robert Mueller
The reaction from Team Trump is probably what you expected:
Click any of these images to read them entirely, if they’re cut off.
From Trump’s 2020 campaign manager, Brad Parscale, put out by its national press secretary:
From the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee:
Mueller speaking was not a surprise to the president. He knew. His people had their ducks in a row. But were they right? Let’s review.
“No collusion and no obstruction.”Collins
“No collusion â€¦ no case for obstruction â€¦ fully and completely exonerated.”Parscale
“There was no collision, no conspiracy — no obstruction.”Sanders
Mueller did not say anything even close to those things! Click here for a full transcript of Mueller’s statement.
Now, get your fingers ready to count with me. Don‘t worry if you‘re not good at math. You won‘t need your toes.
The facts are Mueller used the word “conspiracy” once and “conspirators” once. He never said “collusion” at all. There was “obstruct” twice, “obstructs” once, and “obstruction” twice.
He said he knew, whatever he found, he could not charge Trump with a federal crime. (“Charging the president with a crime was therefore [bound by Department of Justice policy] not an option we could consider.”)
Some quotes straight from Mueller you can find in his statement:
On the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia:
“There was insufficient evidence to charge a broader conspiracy.”Mueller
On whether Trump tried to interfere in the Russia investigation:
“If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so. We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime.”Mueller
Note that’s not a ringing endorsement. He couldn’t clear the president. That’s not a yes or a no, but rather in the spirit of test-taking, a skipped question.
And Mr. President, it’s not true that “a person is innocent,” as you tweeted about yourself. For a suspect charged or indicted, and goes to trial, the choices for the judge or jury are guilty or not guilty (as in not proven guilty).
“Charging the president with a crime was therefore not an option we could consider.”Mueller
“The Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing. … It would be unfair to potentially accuse somebody of a crime when there can be no court resolution of the actual charge.”Mueller
Does Mueller mean Congress can or should launch impeachment hearings, which are NOT part of the criminal justice system, instead? (Impeachment rules come directly from the Constitution, Article. I., Section. 2. (House) and Section. 3. (Senate), which ends, “the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.” Remember not to hold your breath for any more from Mueller.
“We concluded that we would not reach a determination one way or the other about whether the president committed a crime.”Mueller
Is there anybody who still thinks this was a good day for President Trump? Seems to me impeachment hearings are more likely now than they were before Mueller spoke!
Even Fox News published most of these tweets from some Democratic presidential hopefuls:
Remember, I’m just the messenger.
In case you haven’t heard, Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) is running for president.
I could not find anything on the subject from this moment’s front-runner, former senator and vice president Joe Biden, either on Twitter or Facebook.
Impeachment is like indictment. Congress investigates, usually starting with the House Judiciary Committee. Its chairman is Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.).
Then, if it goes beyond the committee, the full House must pass articles of impeachment, which are the formal allegation(s), by a simple majority. If that happens, then the president has been impeached. Bill Clinton (1998) and Andrew Johnson (1868) were impeached. Richard Nixon resigned shortly before his likely impeachment.
After that, there would be a trial in the Senate. In the case of a president, the Chief Justice of the United States (John Roberts, right now) would preside. Conviction would require a two-thirds vote and the result would be removal from office. That didn’t happen with Clinton or Johnson. They were acquitted. What would’ve happened with Nixon is anyone’s guess.
However, at this point and amid growing calls, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has not given the go-ahead to start the impeachment process. That may be for political reasons, such as revving up the president’s base for the 2020 election. It may be to save Democrats from embarrassment, in case an impeachment vote fails. She may not want to be too successful and end up with a President Mike Pence who could potentially serve until Jan., 2029! And with new developments happening, she can always change her mind.
But she hasn’t yet.
After Mueller spoke, Pelosi put out a statement that…
“The Special Counsel’s report revealed that the President’s campaign welcomed Russian interference in the election, and laid out eleven instances of the President’s obstruction of the investigation. The Congress holds sacred its constitutional responsibility to investigate and hold the President accountable for his abuse of power.Pelosi
“The Congress will continue to investigate and legislate to protect our elections and secure our democracy. The American people must have the truth.”
So it looks like more subpoenas to bring witnesses before Congress, or just the Judiciary Committee, and court battles if they refuse to show up. (A few decisions last week cemented congressional investigative powers.)
Don’t ever forget politics is a dirty game. It always has been, at least in the U.S. Want proof? Historian Michael Beschloss even wrote in American Heritage about calls to impeach President George Washington! (Keep in mind, it was in those people’s lifetimes the former general freed our country from Britain!)
That all brings me back to the title of this post: Would you want this said about you?
I certainly wouldn’t, but I realize die-hard Trump supporters would agree with the president’s tweet near the top: “There was insufficient evidence and therefore, in our Country, a person is innocent. The case is closed!”
I’m sorry, but that’s simply not honest and definitely not good enough for me and my good name.
What do you think? Tell me below.
- The media: Certainly imperfect, definitely necessary and trying, Feb. 3, 2017
- What is conscience? Elusive in the media, unfortunately, Nov. 9, 2017
- Lessons on addressing, our government’gift to you!, Nov. 21, 2017
- Special streets, signs in the City of Brotherly Love (and Sisterly Affection), Nov. 27, 2017
- Hey, you accused! Would Mom say, wait until your father gets home?, Nov. 29, 2017
- Follow-up, fewer watching TV news, future president?, Jan. 11, 2018
- More details on Israel after the gay paper, Jan. 15, 2018
- The rights of TV station owners vs. the public, Jan. 16, 2018
- Sad stereotypes too strong to silence (for now), Jan. 18, 2018
- Don’t post your content on Facebook if you don’t want readers getting it for free!, Jan. 23, 2018
- Your JOB is to read well past the headline, Feb. 14, 2018
- Got cable, satellite? You’ll foot the bill for Fox’s Thursday Night Football, Feb. 22, 2018
- Facebook: Friend or foe? Keep or delete?, March 26, 2018
- Who Trump hates more, Facebook or Amazon? Oh, and Stormy Daniels’ motion to make him speak!, March 29, 2018
- Tiffany Trump’s trouble, what unions could do to Amazon and the media, March 30, 2018
- Distorting history, stirring up stereotypes, April 10, 2018
- Comey comes alive with tough talk against Trump, April 17, 2018
- Sanctuary cities judges show they know justice, not politics, April 19, 2018
- The necessity of public unions, now no chance for compromise, June 27, 2018
- More moderation in politics, not so in casting calls, July 17, 2018
- Eric Trump and his shekels, Sept. 14, 2018
- Clarence Thomas, Brett Kavanaugh, justice and becoming a Justice, Sept. 23, 2018
- News starting out good but going downhill fast, Oct. 2, 2018
- Political pondering, 3 weeks before Election Day, Oct. 16, 2018
- Not a good day for political thoughts, the USA as a whole, Oct. 28, 2018
- Difficult week, from anger to sadness, as election approaches, Nov. 4, 2018
- Level-headed moderation needed now in The Birthplace of America, Nov. 28, 2018
- Odds, ends and new beginnings, Jan. 7, 2019
- Pre-election politics in Israel, and where I’ve been, Feb. 21, 2019
- Control of the media after the mosque attacks in New Zealand, March 16, 2019
If you appreciate what you read here, please subscribe with either your email address or WordPress account, and get a notice whenever I publish. Donâ€™t rely on social media with its hacking issues and censoring like this, this, this and this.