The 22-month, $25 million investigation directed by special counsel Robert Mueller had nothing to do with Russian interference into the 2016 presidential election. It also had little to do with collusion or obstruction of justice by members of the Donald Trump campaign.
It was all about collecting enough fodder to spur the House into launching impeachment proceedings against the 45th president. And assuming that was, in fact, Mueller’s goal, it appears that he may have failed miserably, according to reports.
Mueller performed a gross disservice as a lawyer and especially as a prosecutor by throwing gasoline on the smoldering impeachment fire. He said that his 400-plus-page report spoke for itself and that he couldn’t add anything to it.
Then he added to it and attempted to reverse the burden of proof in criminal proceedings.
The first to latch on to that reversal was CNN host Don Lemon, who tweeted afterwards, “#RobertMueller, ‘If we had confidence that the president did not commit a crime, we would have said so.’ Read that over and over and draw your own conclusion.”
The truly scary thing is that any inference you may draw from Mueller’s statement is balderdash. It’s placing the burden of proof on the accused. It’s requiring the accused to prove his innocence, rather than compelling the state to prove his guilt.
It’s the same standard Senate Democrats used against then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. They blindsided him with a string of flimsy, uncorroborated charges and challenged him to prove he didn’t do them.
In a blistering column published in The Hill, Harvard Law Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz latched on to the same language and called “shame on Mueller” for abusing his authority.
“By putting his thumb, indeed his elbow, on the scale of justice in favor of impeachment based on obstruction of justice, Mueller has revealed his partisan bias,” Dershowitz said. “He also has distorted the critical role of a prosecutor in our justice system.”
And true to form, it was viewed by mainstream media and Democratic lawmakers alike as a clarion call for impeachment.
“Robert Mueller’s statement makes it clear,” said Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.). “Congress has a legal and moral obligation to begin impeachment proceedings immediately.”
“What Robert Mueller basically did was return an impeachment referral. Now it is up to Congress to hold this president accountable,” said Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.). “We need to start impeachment proceedings. It’s our constitutional obligation.”
And the media jumped in also — especially CNN and MSNBC — and Media Research Center posted a video featuring a long list of media figures claiming that Mueller was calling on Congress to act.
After referring to Trump as “a criminal,” MSNBC host Chris Hayes said Wednesday, “Reading between the lines, Mueller came before the American people today and said, ‘Look, the President is a criminal, and there’s not a damn thing I can do about it.'”
But neither members of the press nor the Senate can impeach. That function falls upon the House of Representatives.
And the call was answered by the usual suspects, including Democratic Reps. Maxine Waters of California, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, and Rashida “impeach the m***er f***er” Tlaib of Michigan.
But if Mueller’s intention was to prod Congress into action, how successful was he? Not very, as it turns out.
So far only 51 House members — 50 Democrats and one Republican, Justin Amash of Michigan — told NBC News that they favored launching an impeachment inquiry against the president.
One name noticeably missing was Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.).
For the last two years Schiff has repeatedly appeared on network news programs claiming — without offering any proof — that he has concrete evidence that the president has engaged in felonious behavior.
Of course, it’s still early, but the way it’s shaping up, the joke appears to be on Mueller. Twenty-two months of work by a dedicated team of anti-Trump partisan investigators and $25 million later, and he has nothing to show for it.
A prosecutor’s function is unique in American jurisprudence. His job is not to win cases but rather to seek justice, and Mueller overstepped that role. We can chalk that up to poetic justice. For once it appears that Karma was paying attention.