Wednesday, March 27, 2019

What Did Mueller Actually Investigate?

That's the question well known NeverTrump Holman Jenkins asks in his regular column at the WSJ: What Mueller Won’t Say: Did he investigate the Steele dossier? If not, he didn’t really investigate. This isn't really more than what I and others have been saying all along, but Jenkins says it extremely well and--after two years--without a single silly swipe at Trump.  And, while Jenkins doesn't mention the Kavanaugh nomination disgrace, you'll see how it all plays into the same degradation not only of our public life but also of our Constitutional order. So, for the benefit of those who are blocked by the subscriber wall, here's the essence of Jenkins' presentation:

[Mueller's] painstaking and comprehensive effort to find out if the widely promoted “collusion” suspicions against Donald Trump had any basis in fact was, in a true sense, a public service. But there was never evidence of this crime in the first place, and therefore no reason, if the Justice Department’s own rules mean anything, to appoint a special counsel.

[But please note: the requirement that there be some degree of credibility before allegations can be investigated beyond simple inquiries, and articulable and specific evidence before the full investigative powers of the federal government are deployed is more than just a DoJ rule. It's the very foundation of our Constitutional form of criminal justice.]

What’s more, by the time Mr. Mueller got his hands on the matter, it had already been the subject of a 10-month-long FBI counterintelligence investigation, using the full resources of the U.S. intelligence community, commanded at the highest level of the bureau. This investigation, in the words of Peter Strzok as he contemplated switching over to the Mueller task force, already seemed to indicate that there was “no big there there.”


How is it possible to investigate these “allegations” without holding the Steele dossier, the only real evidence ever offered by those accusing Mr. Trump, up to the light? Mr. Mueller, in investigating Mr. Trump’s associates, made ample use of his coercive powers, including the fact that it’s a crime to lie to the FBI. Did he use the same leverage to get to the bottom of the document that played a key role in originating his investigation? ...


Mr. Barr enumerates: The Mueller team employed 59 professional lawyers and investigators, interviewed 500 witnesses, consulted 13 foreign governments, and executed thousands of search warrants and subpoenas. All this in pursuit of criminal activity for which there was no evidence, on which the full might of U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies had already been fruitlessly employed for nearly a year.

[Again, please note: this is a gross conspiracy to violate the Constitutional rights of everyone who was targeted--unless it can be shown that there was some reasonable probable cause behind it all.]

... How did Mr. Steele, a foreign national secretly promoting wholly unsubstantiated claims from anonymous alleged foreign sources, manage to so scandalize and disrupt our politics for two years with fabricated accusations? Our intelligence community is not interested in this question because the answers would embarrass and likely incriminate its own members.

[But: Why should our "intelligence community" be the only actors in US public life to be embarrassed--or likely incriminated? Anyone who thinks the "intelligence community" acted without substantial support from the political and legal/judicial establishment is a fool. Moreover, please note that Steele wasn't just any foreign national. He had been a foreign UK intel operative in an official capacity, and retained close ties to UK intel services. Indeed, as President Trump has stated, foreign "allies"--note well, not one but multiple "allies"--were involved. The Russia Hoax was a coup plot against the duly elected President of the United States in which the conspiracy included members of all branches of our government in collusion with foreign intelligence operatives.]

Unless Mr. Mueller’s report includes a lengthy section showing he made full use of his powers to get to the bottom of the Steele dossier, it will be worse than a coverup. On the contrary: The Mueller investigation’s very existence is itself a triumph of those who promoted the dossier. The whole episode remains a how-to for the next campaign that wants to exploit politicized law-enforcement agencies and a compliant media to give fabricated slanders an aura of legitimacy.


  1. Mueller investigated how he could pressure Trump associates into testifying against Trump.

  2. That's a nice concise way of putting it.

  3. I will just assume that Mueller's team tried mightily to confirm any part of the Steele Dossier. I suspect Mueller's team, though, didn't include any of this in the report for self-serving reasons.

    1. It'll be interesting to see. If they failed to do so, then Barr will have an additional powerful talking point if he's called to testify. For now I think he's smartly keeping his powder dry while the Dems continue dancing on a rotten limb.