It’s time to Break It Down!
Tomorrow will mark the one-year anniversary of the Justice Department’s appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to oversee the government’s investigation of possible Russian interference in our 2016 Presidential Election, including, but not limited to collusion between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russian officials. How one assesses the fruits of Mr. Mueller’s efforts very much depends upon where one sits.
The feverish and frenzied fanatical Fox News viewers see every act that Mueller has taken (and some that he hasn’t) as evidence of a deep state, democratic, liberal media conspiracy. Let’s take a moment to consider the upside down nature of that reality. If you have anything other than a short memory, you may recall that it did not begin that way.
Conservatives and Republicans were, if not giddy, at least satisfied that their interests were being served by getting rid of Comey, who despite his arguably malevolent actions against Hillary Clinton, had managed to find himself in persona non grata time out with Republicans. Here are 10 observations made about Mueller’s appointment in one Fox News story, the day after it happened, asserting that Democrats AND Republicans should be happy:
- First, the Attorney General’s wise recusal and Deputy’s swift appointment moves this distraction from politics to legal inquiry– where it belongs. This is good for the country. Leaks may happen, but the White House and Congress can get back to legislating.
- Second, the media can sniff, but Mueller is a consummate professional, which is why two presidents appointed him FBI Director. Expect front pages to yield thin pickings. This too is good for America. It turns down the post-election hysteria on this issue.
- Third, Mueller’s reputation for being thorough, as well as efficient, offers light and quiet at the end of an unusually dark and noisy tunnel. If Russians sought to disrupt faith in democracy, he will say so. If there was no collusion of any sort, with any intent, by any party – he will say so. If some other conclusion is warranted, he will say so. Period.
- Fourth, Mueller is not after a second career. He is not going to use this assignment as means to another end. He is content with his status, wise man of the law. There is a bit of William Webster and George Marshall about the man. This means he is unlikely to be scoring political points, one way or the other. He is unlikely to want a book, movie or publication of salacious notes. He is about duty, as called. We need more of that.
- Fifth, Mueller’s penchant for close attention to detail means he will not miss vital facts, but will likely stick to the assigned inquiry, not succumbing to that age-old “independent counsel” lark – launching ever-widening inquiries on spurious grounds.
- Sixth, Mueller’s assignment represents a brilliant political move, the equivalent of castling in chess. While bringing forward a player with great versatility and respect to hold an important square, the move elevates respect for the FBI and diminishes interest in the controversial departing director, who held that post for a third of Mueller’s time.
- Seventh, the move demonstrates extraordinary good judgment on the part of the Deputy, and by extension the Attorney General. Necessarily, it reflects faith in wise men by wise men, as well as in the FBI, rule of law and pursuit of truth. This validates the president’s commitment to law enforcement, rule of law and truth.
- Eighth, the appointment reestablishes America’s longstanding commitment to openness, particularly when the “independent counsel” statute lapsed almost 20 years ago, and multiple prior Attorney Generals resisted initiating similar truth-seeking, including the last two, who resisted parallel calls for inquiries into possible mis-, mal- and nonfeasance by high-ranking members of the Obama administration.
- Ninth, while some Democrats and media hounds will credit themselves for this decision, the truth is that its speed, authenticity, clarity and level of professionalism speak to a new and un-politicized Department of Justice. America needs this change. We need the confidence that flows from such clarity of reasoning, and an end to infusion of politics into what has always been a non-political domain.
- Finally, America should take a deep breath for another reason. This was a decision that many called for and few expected; a moment of choice based on moral goodness and taking a step beyond what was necessary, into what was simply good for the country. If the investigation finds something, so be it. If it finds no material collusion, which is what I personally expect it will find, the nation is again stronger for having asked.
Robert Charles, a former Assistant Secretary of State for President George W. Bush, a former naval intelligence officer and litigator, wrote that appraisal. He also served in the Reagan and Bush 41 White Houses. He is not a deep statist, a Democrat, or a member of the liberal media. He is, as it were, “one of them.”
One thing I can guarantee you. There is zero chance that a year later, anyone in TrumpWorld has anything remotely positive to say about Robert Mueller. I don’t know how Robert Charles feels about Mueller today. My guess is, Shepard Smith would still sign off of this summary, a year into the investigation. It’s equally assured that few, if any others at Fox News would concur. In a Fox Insider story yesterday, Tom Fitton, Judicial Watch President, offered a much more typical contemporary conservative characterization of the Mueller probe. He called it “an unmitigated disaster.” He went on to say, of the investigation:
“It hasn’t worked, it’s failing, it was created based on an illegal leak by James Comey, many of the people who inspired the Mueller investigation were fired from the government.”
That’s what you will hear from Republicans now. While Democrats, looking back, likely have a considerably more favorable view of Mueller, there is still much we do not know. My sincerest advice is, don’t let anyone tell you Mueller’s investigation is a direct route leading to Trump’s impeachment. I personally think that’s an unlikely outcome due to the combination of arithmetic, and GOP Trumpitis, otherwise known as allegiance, or as Mr. Trump might call it, loyalty. I’ve explained both before, and there is a good chance I will again, but for the moment, that’s enough. “Happy Birthday: A Year in the Life of Special Counsel Mueller!”
I’m done; holla back!
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