The Narrative is dead! Long live The Narrative!
That’s what played on CNN, NBC, and The New York Times yesterday as they struggled to digest the parting meal Robert Mueller served to the RussiaGate lynch mob: a nothingburger with a side of crow-flavored fries. Mr. Mueller was careful, though, to leave a nice red poison cherry on top with his statement that “…while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
Mr. Mueller, who ought to know better, could not be more in error on that too-fine-a-point. The official finding that no crime was committed is, ipso facto, an exoneration, and to impute otherwise is a serious breach of his role in this legal melodrama. Prosecutors are expressly forbidden to traffic in defamation, aspersion, and innuendo in the absence of formal charges. So, it will be interesting to hear what Mr. Mueller has to say when Jerrold Nadler reels him into the House Judiciary Committee, as inevitably he will, to do to some ‘splainin.’
What actually happened with RussiaGate? A cabal of government officials colluded with the Hillary Clinton campaign to interfere in the 2016 election and, failing to achieve their desired outcome, engineered a two-years-plus formal inquisition to deflect attention from their own misconduct and attempt to overthrow the election result.
The Cable News characters, quite a few of them lawyers, were litigating the living shit out of the story on Sunday night in their usual spirit of obdurate rank dishonesty. For instance, Jeffrey Toobin, who plays Attorney General on CNN, went off on the infamous 2016 Trump Tower Meeting in which the president’s son, Donald, Jr., met with Russian lawyer Natalia V. Veselnitskaya. Toobin omitted to mention that Ms. Veselnitskaya was, at that very time, on the payroll of Fusion GPS, Hillary Clinton’s “oppo” research contractor. In other words, Trump Junior was set up.
That was characteristic of the collusion that actually occurred between the Hillary campaign, the FBI, the DOJ, the CIA, the NSA, the UK’s MI6 intel agency, and the Obama White House, striving to prevent the election of a TV reality show star, and to disable him afterwards — also of the news media’s role in the whole interminable scam of RussiaGate. Their fury and despair were as vivid the night of March 24, 2019, as on November 8, 2016. And now they will attempt to spark off a sequel.
Rachel Maddow, for instance, struggling to maintain her dignity after two years playing Madame DeFarge on MSNBC, tried to console her fans with the prospect of Mr. Trump getting raked over the coals by the DOJ’s Southern District of NY prosecutors for crimes as yet unpredicted — really, whatever they might find if they turn over enough rocks in Manhattan. Perhaps she doesn’t know how the justice system actually works in this country: we prosecute crimes not persons. In places like Stalin’s Soviet Union and Hitler’s Germany, you first choose a person to eliminate and then fit them to a crime. If no crime can be found, one is easily manufactured. In the USA, a predicate crime is required before you can launch a prosecution. Perhaps the actual Attorney General, Mr. Barr, will advise the avid staff of the Southern District of NY how this works.
There remains also, the rather sweeping panorama of misconduct and probable crime among the government (and former government) players in the agencies mentioned above. Does the full Mueller Report mention, for instance, that the animating document claiming that Trump colludedwith Russia was manufactured by Mrs. Clinton’s employees? And that this document was used time and again improperly and illegally to prolong the inquisition? How could Mr. Mueller notacknowledge that? And if not, what sort of investigation was this?
You are forced to ask: did Mr. Mueller play an honorable role in this epic, multilayered scandal? And is Mr. Mueller himself an honorable character, or something less than that? I believe we’ll find out. The other team is coming to bat now — and just in time for MLB’s opening day, too. The Mueller report has been a shocking disappointment to the so-called “resistance,” but what about the as-yet-unreleased DOJ Inspector General’s report on these very matters? Or the parallel investigation of federal prosecutor John Huber, who is charged specifically with looking into the malfeasance of the RussiaGate investigators? Or whatever action the Attorney General himself launches in the wake of all this? Or whether Mr. Trump finally declassifies the mountains of documents behind the simple failure to find him guilty of any crime?
My favorite college professor and mentor, David Hamilton, once put a curious question to us when we were vexing him for some reason now forgotten: “Why,” he asked, “Did Achilles drag Hector around the city of Troy three times?”
We twiddled our cigarettes and pulled our chins.
“Because he was just that pissed,” he said.