Special Counsel Robert Mueller made a fruitless and clumsy attempt to reframe the national conversation over his Russia investigation — but his mic-drop statement revealed nothing new. That’s why this case is closed and it’s time to move on.
For instance, Mueller was emphatic during his farewell press conference that he has nothing more to add to what is contained in his final report, even warning congressional Democrats that it would be a waste of time to subpoena him.
Re-stating his team’s finding on their core responsibility, collusion, he said it was their conclusion “that there was insufficient evidence to charge a broader conspiracy.”
Mueller may have tried to muddy the waters with hints of wrongdoing on the part of President Trump when he said that “If we had confidence the President did not commit a crime, we would have said so.” But Mueller also stressed, yet again, that he did not “make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime.”
Mueller’s refusal to make a determination on obstruction left the question in the hands of Attorney General William Barr. In consultation with former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and other high-ranking Justice Department officials, Barr concluded that there was no basis for charging Donald Trump with a crime, even in the absence of the Justice Department’s rules against prosecuting sitting presidents.
Of course, if Mueller thought that President Trump committed a criminal act, nothing stopped him from making that point in his report. The Special Counsel could have said, in just so many words, that there was sufficient evidence to conclude that the President obstructed justice and that Donald Trump would have been charged with a crime if he were a private citizen.
That’s not what Mueller wrote in his report, though, because the evidence would not have supported such a claim.
That didn’t stop Mueller from dangling impeachment bait in front of President Trump’s political opponents by implying that DOJ policy was the only thing that stopped him from indicting President Trump. Predictably, radical Democrats and the mainstream media couldn’t resist the urge to portray Mueller’s statement as a smoking gun that will finally take down the President.
Immediately after Mueller concluded his remarks, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler issued a statement vowing to hold Donald Trump accountable for his actions.
“Given that Special Counsel Mueller was unable to pursue criminal charges against the President, it falls to Congress to respond to the crimes, lies, and other wrongdoing of President Trump — and we will do so,” Nadler said, ignoring the fact that Mueller’s team didn’t actually establish that any wrongdoing even took place.
Mueller is right — his report speaks for itself. The former special counsel’s publicity stunt — which was clearly intended to encourage the Democrats to pursue impeachment — simply restated what he has already said. In the words of President Trump, “the case is closed! Thank you.” Now it’s time to move on.
We can all hope that the Democrats in Congress accept reality and do not take the bait that Mueller dropped of the stern of his farewell cruise, but it’s unlikely that they’ll let facts and Mueller’s own conclusions get in the way of their partisan agenda.
Tana Goertz is an American business strategist, international keynote speaker, executive coach, author, and an advisory board member of the Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.