So it turns out that, after being subpoenaed, former Special Counsel Robert Mueller will testify before Congress after all.
Mueller told all of America not so long ago that he would not testify, and would not discuss the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election publicly in the future, because his report “speaks for itself.” Yet on July 17, prodded by angry Democrats, Mueller instead must do his own talking.
Mueller and his crew of 19 (mostly Democratic) lawyers and 40 FBI agents came up empty after spending two years and more than $30 million investigating President Donald Trump. Mueller found no evidence that Trump or anyone else in his orbit conspired with Russian operatives to steal the 2016 presidential election, and found no sufficient, credible evidence to prosecute Trump for obstruction of justice. Case closed.
What Democrats want, though, is for Mueller to explain why he didn’t explicitly accuse Trump of obstruction after outlining nearly a dozen instances of possible interference — moments that showed, as much as anything, that Mueller and his team really know how to read the newspaper.
Therein, vengeful Democrats hope, lies the ammo they can utilize to try to impeach Trump — even though they still must explain to the country why that would happen without an underlying crime and despite Mueller finishing his investigation with full cooperation from Trump and the White House.
Democrats spent two years holding Mueller up as the paragon of virtue in corruption-ridden Washington. Since his report, however, they have taken a meat cleaver to their hero’s reputation and standing. This quite pathetic spectacle thus has brought us to this point, where Mueller’s exhaustive written account of his 22 months in action is not good enough. The doubting Thomases in Congress must hear him to believe him.
Many Democrats in Congress, like their media allies, have little capacity for introspection on this particular issue, and that inability should actually hearten Republicans, the Trump White House and other Americans who care about fairness and truth.
Forcing Mueller to go under oath will expose him to questions from GOP lawmakers eager to know why the special counsel’s office declined to look into the actual collusion with Russians, as carried out by Hillary Clinton’s campaign. The Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee hired the private intelligence firm, Fusion GPS, that in turn hired a former British spy, Christopher Steele, who obtained dirt (mostly concocted) on Trump from the Russians that filtered its way not only into the hands of the Obama administration’s FBI and intelligence agencies that used it as the rationale to spy on Trump and his people.
Mueller will be unable to offer anything new about Trump. But, under questioning by Republicans, he could speak volumes about collusion between Clinton and the Kremlin, or his office’s lack of interest in that, and perhaps how the FBI and the intel community were drawn into this political fray.
So by all means, set aside the report and let Mueller speak for himself.
This editorial originally appeared in the Lakeland Ledger.