On Friday, nearly two years after his initial appointment by the Department of Justice, Special Counsel Robert Mueller finally delivered his much-awaited report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election over to Attorney General William Barr.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
In a letter to the majority and minority leaders of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, Attorney General William Barr said Mr. Mueller had concluded his investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and related matters, and said he would be able to alert Congress to Mr. Mueller’s “principal conclusions” as soon as this weekend. Those conclusions are expected to be made public.
Mr. Mueller’s report, which was described by a senior Justice Department official as “comprehensive,” was delivered to the deputy attorney general’s office on Friday afternoon, which provided it to Mr. Barr. Shortly afterwards, the Justice Department notified both the White House and Capitol Hill, the official said.
No details from the report on the investigation, which examined Trump campaign connections to Russian election interference and whether the president himself tried to obstruct justice, were immediately made public. Mr. Barr said he would have to evaluate how much detail to ultimately release, but he assured lawmakers the Justice Department didn’t overrule any action Mr. Mueller sought to take during his investigation.
Crucially, as the Journal also notes in an updated and italicized line above the article, added shortly after its initial online publishing: “*Special Counsel Is Not Recommending Any Further Indictments: Senior Justice Official.”
Considering that the Mueller probe thus far has not initiated any indictments that have anything to do with alleged Trump-Russia “collusion” in the 2016 election, this effectuates something closely akin to a dramatic coup de grâce for zealous “collusion” enthusiasts.
Mueller was initially appointed by the Department of Justice nearly two years ago, in the aftermath of James Comey’s firing as FBI Director. At the time, I argued in an op-ed for The Daily Wire that it was constitutionally imperative that Mueller’s appointment be structured as a “special counsel” within the Department of Justice hierarchy and not as an “independent counsel” operating outside that hierarchy. But I also argued that Republicans should support the Russia investigation, so long as that investigation were conducted in an appropriate manner.
Notwithstanding Comey’s invariably being hated by everyone across all conceivable political stripes, the breathtakingly incompetent Trump White House managed to botch its poorly timed dismissal more epically than the Atlanta Falcons botched Super Bowl LI. The Trump/Russia conspiracy enthusiasts have responded to this sad(!) display of sophomoric bush league-ism by, much like the octogenarians at the senior facility taking Viagra for the first time, rising up to dramatically reassert their prowess. While this is not necessarily a development for the worse, there are reasons to be immensely skeptical of the particular direction in which the post-Comey investigation appears to be headed.
To be clear, Russian involvement in the 2016 U.S. election absolutely deserves a full-scale investigation. It is true that any “fire” resulting from all the cough-inducing Trump/Russia “smoke” would probably already have been uncovered, but there is still an unholy amount of “smoke” and there is simply no reason at all for Republicans to obstruct such a thorough investigation absent brute partisanship. And if the GOP were to acquiesce in such an intensive probe that nonetheless ultimately exculpated Trump in squeaky clean fashion, the party might do itself a modicum of polling favor as it tries to recover from a self-flagellating budget capitulation and a healthcare disappointment by swimming upstream against a painful political current.
It seems that longtime skeptics of the Trump-Russia “collusion” narrative have, at long last, indeed been vindicated.