In an op-ed for The Hill, Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, who leans left but has frequently found himself arguing against President Trump's critics, says he can no longer defend Robert Mueller as non-partisan after his controversial final statement as special counsel Wednesday.
"Until today, I have defended Mueller against the accusations that he is a partisan," Dershowitz writes. "I did not believe that he personally favored either the Democrats or the Republicans, or had a point of view on whether President Trump should be impeached. But I have now changed my mind. 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. He also has distorted the critical role of a prosecutor in our justice system."
Dershowitz, whose new book makes the case against Democrats moving forward with impeachment plans against Trump, begins by quoting the most eyebrow-raising of Mueller's comments Wednesday: "If we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said that."
That statement, writes Dershowtiz, is "worse" than the infamous statement delivered by then-FBI Director James Comey regarding Hillary Clinton's private email server in the summer of 2016, in which he said, "although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information."
In that moment, Comey went "beyond his responsibility to state whether there was sufficient evidence to indict Clinton," says Dershowitz.
But what Mueller did, was actually more egregious, Dershowitz argues. "He went beyond the conclusion of his report and gave a political gift to Democrats in Congress who are seeking to institute impeachment proceedings against President Trump," he writes. "By implying that President Trump might have committed obstruction of justice, Mueller effectively invited Democrats to institute impeachment proceedings."
Dershowitz underscores that what Mueller did was something that "virtually everybody" agrees is out of bounds: he suggested that the subject might be guilty despite insufficient evidence to make the case. Anyone who tries to argue that somehow Mueller and the investigation is a "special case," he stresses, is simply "wrong."
Dershowitz concludes that the only logical explanation for Mueller's actions is that he was deliberately attempting to "help Democrats in Congress and to encourage impeachment talk and action."
In an op-ed for The Daily Wire Wednesday, Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro comes to the same conclusion. "Mueller’s investigation never should have included obstruction by Trump," Shapiro writes in response to Mueller's statement.
"Unlike the election interference investigation, which began as a counterintelligence investigation inside the FBI, the obstruction investigation began as a criminal investigation — and a criminal investigation that Mueller admits he never had the authority to conclude," Shapiro argues. "He is a member of the executive branch. He is not an independent counsel. He is not a legislative investigator. A criminal investigation that cannot possibly result in charges is a conflict in terms. Mueller never should have agreed to such an investigation under the law, and Mueller’s own standard makes that clear."