"Mueller’s team made it clear that the Russians neither colluded with any U.S. citizens nor had any material effect on the election’s outcome."Further, the 13 Russians are all in in Russia and will therefore never stand trial--which means Mueller will never have to prove the dodgy charges in the indictment.
Now, according to NBC News via Gateway Pundit, Mueller is said to be preparing indictments against more absentee Russians--more risk free indictments that he'll never be called upon to back up. This time the claim will be that these Russians were responsible for the famous DNC hack. That would be the famous DNC hack in which the DNC refused to allow the FBI to examine their server: DNC Refused FBI Access to Its Servers … Instead Gave Access to a DNC Consultant Tied to Organization Promoting Russia Conflict. Once again there are alternative explanations, such as that the "hack" was done by an insider--perhaps a Sanders sympathizer--simply by downloading the data onto a thumb drive.
Of course none of that has been proven, tantalizing as some theories may be. But has Mueller and his Gang had access to the DNC server, the better to bolster their indictment and rebut alternative explanations? As of December 17, 2017, Andy McCarthy believes the answer to that is: No. And as McCarthy asks: "... if not, what’s the point of his investigation?" Good question. Maybe the point is more political than anything else.
Let's ask ourselves, What's the benefit in what Mueller is doing? Supposing that Mueller has come to the obvious conclusion--that as even Peter Strzok, he of the many texts, speculated, there's just no "there" there in the Russian collusion narrative. If that were the case Mueller could simply say so and close up shop. But what if he wants to provide ammunition for a Democrat impeachment effort should the Dems retake the House? The benefit then becomes obvious: by indicting absentee Russians Mueller keeps the Great Russia Hoax narrative alive, and the indictments allow for a collusion narrative that may deceive the great unwashed.
That's pretty obviously the thrust of the questioning being directed by Mueller at recent witnesses. His line of questioning points toward bogus theories of obstruction that involve Trump doing things that are totally within his discretion as President--like, contemplating firing Jeff Sessions, or actually firing Comey. As Paul Mirengoff at Powerline remarked this morning, re reports that 'Mueller is investigating President Trump’s “private comments and state of mind” during the period when he issued a series of tweets belittling Attorney General Jeff Sessions':
According to the Post, the thrust of Mueller’s inquiry is to determine whether the president’s goal was to oust Sessions in order to pick a replacement who would exercise control over Mueller’s investigation.
If this story is true, it demonstrates why the nation needs someone in the Justice Department to exercise control over Mueller’s investigation. It also confirms the suspicion that Mueller is either nuts, desperate to get Trump, or both. [my emphasis]Again, however, the point may not be to actually make such farfetched obstruction cases at all--for those wondering how farfetched the theories Mueller seems to be playing with are, Andy McCarthy lays it all out. No, the real point seems to be to keep throwing mud against the wall. The mud doesn't need to stick for purposes of an indictment. It only needs to provide talking points for an impeachment. And to anyone who thinks these types of talking points--the Great Russia Hoax narrative plus farfetched obstruction theories--are insufficient for an impeachment, I say this: You haven't been paying attention to the "Resistance" for the past year.
This, I think, is Mueller's emerging strategy.
PS: There are cautions regarding all this--and especially regarding the obstruction narrative. One is voiced by Harvard Law professor Jack Goldsmith (who also has vast experience at DoJ): Why Hasn’t Rod Rosenstein Recused Himself From the Mueller Investigation? Goldsmith doesn't plump for a particular alternative theory, although he floats at least three. He does conclude: "Something here doesn’t make sense."
The puzzle over Rosenstein's failure to recuse himself will always remain, but it is what it is. This idea of Mueller's strategy does account for most of what Goldsmith is talking about. One way or another it appears clear that Mueller is consistently looking at obstruction related narratives. The real question is: To what purpose? I say, most probably he has a political purpose in mind.
VERY BRIEF UPDATE: Perhaps I should have made explicit what I had in mind re impeachment. Obviously, there would be no conviction in the Senate, but the real point is to attempt to cripple the Trump presidency. I know all this sounds like a longshot, but at this point it seems this is all the Left has to hope for.
REUPDATE: Confirmation that this is indeed the Mueller focus--providing talking points for an impeachment--can be found in the story that came out yesterday regarding Mueller's supposed interest in the theory of the general conspiracy statute:
The statute makes it illegal for two or more persons to ‘conspire either to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose.’”
The authors add that “unlike conspiracy to commit an offense, conspiracy to defraud the United States need not be connected to a specific underlying crime,” and “defraud” is not defined by the law.
Legally, this is obviously a complete can of worms. But as I argued above, a succesful indictment and prosecution isn't the real point. That might or might not happen, but this strategy provides a rationale for continued investigation (or witch hunting, if you prefer) and, if all else fails, a rationale for impeachment.
See here for a fuller account with plenty of links.