Sunday, March 24, 2019

The Mueller report

Some preliminary observations on the Mueller report.

1. It's been said that while it clears the president of "collusion with Russia," the report is more ambivalent about obstruction of justice. One issue is whether it's obstruction of justice if a president refuses to cooperate fully with a subordinate. The special prosecutor is not independent, but operates under the aegis of the Executive branch. He is answerable to higher ups at DOJ.

2. Even more to the point, if there was no "collusion," then obstruction would be a purely process crime–a manufactured crime with no underlying crime. That's a pernicious practice. 

3. Moreover, according to Andrew McCarthy (NRO), "collusion" is not even a crime. 

4. The investigation was a distraction, deflecting attention away from concerted efforts by the FBI, IRS, CIA, NSA, DOJ to steal the election for Hillary. And failing that, to stage a coup d'état. A complete subversion of the electoral process. That's the real scandal. There are officials of the Obama administration who ought to be prosecuted. 

5. One claim being made is that if the Mueller report accused Trump or his campaign of "collusion", or obstruction, Trump supporters would be laboring to discredit the report, but because it cleared him, they've done an about-face. (Of course, the same applies to the liberal establishment in reverse.) But while that may be psychologically valid in some cases, it's not essentially hypocritical or inconsistent:

i) From my viewpoint, this is a tu quoque argument. Even if, for argument's sake, we play by liberal rules, they lost. They championed the Mueller investigation. So they came up short by their own yardstick. I don't have to endorse their standards to point out that even on their own grounds, Trump was exonerated. 

ii) In addition, to the extent that Mueller's team were partisan Democrats, the report constitutes hostile testimony. And hostile testimony has an asymmetrical evidential force. You expect it to cast doubt on the other side. But if, despite the bias, it ends up supporting the other side, then that's unexpected. That's a strong kind of testimony. And that's not interchangeable with sympathetic testimony. If the report accused Trump of collusion or obstruction, that would be par for the course. So the evidentiary value is not reversible, in that eventuality. 

5. This doesn't make Mueller a straight shooter. It may simply mean he was unable to find what he was looking for because it wasn't there–try as he might. 


  1. I know several far left types in Cali who were saying Trump would be found out very soon (weeks, months at the most by the sound of it) over a year ago. I doubt they are eating their words, they've found something else to latch onto.

    1. It looks to me as if the new Leftist line is going to be “Trump was so good at obstruction that Mueller wasn’t able to find the crime”. This is what the House Democrats will be saying to justify their ongoing “investigations”. But I think this will backfire on them, with all but the hardest Leftists.