90 Miles From Tyranny : 7 Glaring Omissions In The Mueller Report That Kill Its Credibility

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

7 Glaring Omissions In The Mueller Report That Kill Its Credibility

While there is much within the Mueller report that suggests skepticism was well-founded, what is perhaps most probative is what the report omitted.

Robert Mueller’s special counsel was presented to the American public as unimpeachable. From its beginning, a distinct minority in politics and media, including several Federalist writers, were skeptical, citing the special counsel’s past prosecutorial abuses, the past alleged misconduct of its pivotal investigators, and the team’s peculiar partisan makeup.

Once in action, its seemingly limitless powers, heavy-handed usage of such powers, and more questionable if not dubious indictments, far removed from “collusion,” seemed to confirm our worst fears. While there is much within the Mueller report that further suggests this skepticism was well-founded, what is perhaps most probative is what the report omitted.

The following are seven of the most glaring omissions from the collusion section of the redacted Mueller report—since collusion, not obstruction, was the theory from which the investigation stemmed.

1. No Attempt to Grapple with the Investigation’s Troubling Underpinnings

Russiagate in many ways appears to be the fruit of a poisonous tree of epic proportions. Allegations of a treasonous Russian conspiracy led to beyond novel legal theories, including the ludicrous invocation of the Logan Act, pervasive unmasking, spying on a presidential campaign by a political adversary based in part on a salacious and unverified dossier gleaned from sketchy Russian sources by a foreign agent and paid for by an opposition campaign, chicanerous circularity in the warrants backing the spying, the use of informants to perhaps entrap campaign members, a deluge of leaks (some of which were illegal), and much else.

We can layer on top of these malevolent acts the biases, ethical infractions, outright criminality, and clear double standards applied by law enforcement figures common to the Trump-Russia and Hillary Clinton emails investigations.

The collusion section of the Mueller special counsel report barely addresses any of the foregoing. How could such an investigation have any credibility without dealing with any, if not all of these issues?

2. No Discussion of Whether the Special Counsel’s Appointment Was Legitimate

From the special counsel’s inception, former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy and others have harped on a single fundamental question: Was the special counsel appointed in accordance with Department of Justice (DOJ) regulations?

A special counsel must be appointed based on a criminal investigation. The Mueller special counsel stemmed from a counterintelligence investigation. A special counsel’s scope must be tailored to “a specific factual statement of the matter to be investigated.” The Mueller special counsel order did not seem to adhere to this standard, and in practice, its scope was virtually unlimited.

The Mueller report does not even attempt to address this basic challenge to its legitimacy. Nor does it deal with the arguable conflicts of interest and improper actions taken by those associated with its creation, including former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, former FBI director James Comey, and the man overseeing the special counsel, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein—who, as Sean Davis points out, was a participant, witness, and perhaps target of the investigation himself.

3. No Discussion of Special Counsel’s Perceived Bias

The appearance of conflict based upon the composition of the special counsel team is striking. To highlight the affiliations of just a few members: Andrew Weissmann attended Hillary Clinton’s election night 2016 party and cheered on Obama DOJ holdover and former acting attorney general Sally Yates’ defying of a directive from President Trump.

Jeannie Rhee represented Hillary Clinton in a lawsuit regarding her private emails, as well as the Clinton Foundation, and previously served as a deputy assistant attorney general in the Obama administration. Aaron Zebley defended former Hillary Clinton staffer Justin Cooper, who installed her infamous private email server.

Democrats with deep ties to the administration under which the Russia investigations commenced, as well as Donald Trump’s presidential opponent, predominated in the special counsel’s office. Meanwhile, Mueller, as former FBI director, was a creature of the political establishment, and the institutions from which the investigations sprung. That his report does not grapple with any of the misconduct of the high-ranking individuals behind those investigations in and of itself raises questions.

One would think Mueller would have at least sought to create the appearance of neutrality among the investigators, especially given the anti-Trump biases exposed in the investigations preceding it. Yet Mueller did not, nor did he apparently feel it necessary to address this issue in his report. In fact, he fails even to discuss the circumstances surrounding the removal from his team of its most outspoken Trump hater known to the public, fired FBI agent Peter Strzok.

4. Skating Over the Papadopoulos Predicate for the Collusion Investigations

The Mueller report asserts that the investigation into collusion began when a foreign official (presumably unnamed former Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer) told the FBI that Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos conveyed to him that the Russians had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton that could help the Trump campaign. There is not even an attempt to grapple with the theory that Papadopoulos was set up, based on sketchy approaches from U.S. government informants and foreign counterparts who...

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