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After the Mueller Movie, Are Democrats Still Serious About Impeachment?
Editor’s Note: This is a non-member column (open to all).
We didn’t learn much from the Mueller hearings before two congressional committees last week that we didn’t already know … except that Robert Mueller -- who was supposed to be the star of the movie version of the “book” nobody read -- was a box office flop.
I felt bad for him. He’s a man who served this country for many years, both in war and in peace. But after watching some seven hours of him in the witness chair, it was obvious that he had lost more than a step over the years.
He didn’t seem to know what was in his own report.
He was asked how many interviews he attended during his two-year investigation. “Very few,” he answered.
He was asked about a letter he ostensibly wrote to Attorney General William Barr, a letter in which he complained about how the media was handling Barr’s summary of the Mueller report. Who wrote the letter, he was asked. “I can’t get into internal deliberations,” he responded.
Did he give the OK for the letter to be released to the media – or was it leaked without his knowledge? “I have no knowledge of either,” he said.
Based on his testimony, all we know for sure is that he signed the letter – not that he actually wrote it. We don’t even know if he knew what was in it.
He was asked about Fusion GPS, the outfit that spread the story about Donald Trump’s supposed connection to Russia. Just about everything on the subject was “outside my purview,” he repeatedly said.
Whenever any inconvenient question came up, inevitably asked by Republicans, Mueller responded that it was “beyond my purview.”
Was Robert Mueller hiding something? Was he covering for the people (at the FBI or in the intelligence community) behind what the president and others are calling the Russian collusion hoax?
And there’s another question: Was Robert Mueller even the man who ran the investigation? Or was it his team, made up entirely of Democrats, many of whom were Hillary Clinton supporters?
I’ve wondered why, if Mueller was the smart man everyone said he was, he wasn’t concerned about not only the impartiality of his team of prosecutors, but also the appearance of impartiality.
In one of the few times Mueller responded to a question with more than a single word or two, he said, “I’ve been in this business for almost 25 years, and in those 25 years, I have not had occasion once to ask somebody about their political affiliation.”
This time around, maybe he should have.
Sure it’s possible that prosecutors, like journalists, can put their biases aside and just do their job, objectively, without partisanship. But it doesn’t always happen that way.
Mueller’s lead prosecutor was a man named Andrew Weissmann. Weissmann was a Hillary Clinton supporter, no fan of Donald Trump, and attended what was supposed to be her “victory party” in 2016.
Mueller brought his aide Aaron Zebley to sit with him during the hearings. Zebley, as the Media Research Center describes him, “represented former Clinton Foundation aide Justin Cooper in 2015 and 2016 in the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. Cooper was the IT expert who set up Hillary’s server and smashed some of her mobile devices with a hammer.”
More than a few members of Mueller’s team contributed money to the Democratic Party and to Hillary Clinton herself.
If it wasn’t the impeccable Mr. Mueller, but his team of Democratic partisans who were calling the shots, is that why the report said the investigation could not “exonerate” the president of obstructing justice – even though prosecutors don’t “exonerate,” they either charge or don’t charge?
Is that why the final report seemed to be a not-so-subtle invitation to House Democrats to launch impeachment proceedings against the president?
But since Mueller provided no Perry Mason moment, no revelation of some previously unknown fact that would give the Democrats what they had been hoping for, you’d think impeachment was a dead issue.
Maybe. But do we really believe that Jerry Nadler and the 100 or so Democrats who want the president impeached are going to back off just because Robert Mueller didn’t give them the smoking gun that they desperately hoped he would?
And if Donald Trump wins re-election, even the cautious Nancy Pelosi may let her partisan hounds loose on impeachment; there’d be nothing to fear at that point about a voter backlash.
That’s the bad news for the president, a second term crippled by more investigations and ultimately impeachment by House Democrats. The good news is that the 5- year statue of limitations on charging him with obstruction of justice will have run out. Whether he obstructed justice or not, he’d likely be a free man.
But if he loses, and Democrats are running the show at the Department of Justice, Mr. Trump could be charged, tried, and if convicted, sent to prison. You think Jerry Nadler and his fellow Democrats aren’t salivating over that possibility?
The election is 17 months away, and the American people will have the final say in the matter of whether they want Donald Trump to serve a second term.
They’ll decide if he’s fit to serve four more years. But that’s unlikely to satisfy those who want Donald Trump impeached and humiliated.
Their movie flopped. Their star couldn’t even deliver his lines without mumbling through them. Their impeachment hopes were dealt a serious blow. This should be the time when the credits role and the words “The End” appear on the screen.
Don’t bet on it. Yogi was right: It ain’t over til it’s over.
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