Special counsel Robert Mueller’s long-awaited report on Russian meddling in the 2016 election landed with an anticlimactic thud over the weekend, concluding that neither the president nor any Trump campaign officials knowingly conspired with Russia. On the question of obstruction, however, according to a summary of its “principal conclusions” released by Attorney General Robert Barr Sunday afternoon, Mueller came to no conclusion, balefully noting that while not concluding that the president committed a crime, his report “does not exonerate him” either.
That wording has many conservatives questioning Mueller’s intent, as it left a huge opening for the Democrat-media complex to continue peddling conspiracy theories impugning the president and his attorney general in perpetuity.
As Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) pointed out, it’s not a prosecutor’s job to exonerate anyone. They prosecute, and if Mueller opted not to prosecute, that means the case was lacking evidence.
My Democrat colleagues keep seizing on this line that the Mueller report “doesn’t exonerate” the President. Folks, prosecutors don’t exonerate people. They either find evidence or they don’t. They looked for 22 months and found none. It isn’t there. No collusion, no obstruction.
— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) March 25, 2019
All the special counsel needed to say was that he lacks evidence of obstruction and cannot recommend further action. His decision to leave the question open appears to be yet another partisan smear against the president.
Did conservatives unfairly criticize Mueller? No—his report vindicates their concerns. Mueller cleared Trump in fact—no prosecution—but still tried to harm him politically by claiming to make no call about obstruction. Yet to recommend prosecution or not *is* the call.
— Daniel McCarthy (@ToryAnarchist) March 25, 2019
The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway compared the move to fired FBI Director (and Mueller pal) James Comey’s passive-aggressive word games with the president.
A Comey-style ploy is to play games between what's known and what's not known. So, for example, Comey told Trump he was NOT under investigation 3 times–but publicly suggested otherwise. Perhaps Mueller thought he would try to do something similar with his weird line. 7/
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) March 25, 2019
If Trump was not guilty of a crime, what was he supposed to be obstructing anyway? Barr concluded that no charges of obstruction were warranted under DOJ rules because there was no underlying crime to obstruct.
Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz condemned Mueller’s “cop-out” yesterday in an interview with Fox News.
“I thought it was a cop-out. For him to say that there was not enough evidence to indict, but it’s not an exoneration (on obstruction)…it sounds like a law school exam.
“That’s not the job of prosecutor. The job of the prosecutor is to decide ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ Make a decision. And then if you say ‘yes,’ you indict, if you say ‘no,’ you shut up,” he said.
“You don’t go on and say, ‘no we’re not going to indict, but let tell me you all the evidence that might have led us to indict.’ That’s exactly what prosecutors shouldn’t do,’” he added.
Because Mueller left the question open, House Democrats will now use it as an excuse to launch their own partisan investigations into obstruction — which will go nowhere, but that’s not the point.
The point is to hurt the president with a damaging obstruction narrative as he heads into the 2020 election season, and of course to appease the anti-Trump resisters who are still demanding Trump’s head on a pike.