You don’t have to exhume Dr. Hunter S. Thompson to explain the sudden turnabout that has led the previously silent Robert Mueller to accept subpoenas to testify in front of two congressional committees. But it doesn’t hurt.
Fear, as the good doctor famously said, and loathing.
The fear is obvious. The Democrats and Mueller too, of course, not to mention an indeterminate number of FBI, DOJ, State Department, intel agency, and former administration scalawags are scared defecation-less waiting for shoes to drop from U.S. Attorney John Durham and Inspector General Michael Horowitz working under the steady hand of AG William Barr.
Careers could be ending, some going to jail. Not even their obedient media lackeys can save them in a court of law. It looks at least possible, maybe even probable, that this will be the biggest political scandal in the history of the country.
No wonder they want to get out in front of it as much as they can, even if that the means the special counsels having to face truly embarrassing questions like “Just when, Mr. Mueller, did you realize there was no Russia collusion?” He’s probably already rehearsed about thirty answers to that. (“How’s this one sound, dear?”)
House intel chair Adam Schiff says what he’s really trying to do is explain “to the American people the serious counterintelligence concerns raised by the Mueller report.” He must assume we’re ignoramuses — or is that projection?
Okay, I’m picking on someone for whom a lobotomy would be irrelevant, but he has lied to the American public consistently for over two years and deserves to be punished and humiliated. He undoubtedly knows this, because, as a member of the House Intelligence Committee, he was supposedly privy to the truth all that time. (The number of Democrat politicians who deliberately lied to the public about Russia is extraordinarily long. Hello, Senator Warner… Someone should make a YouTube of their lies when this is over, but the organization would undoubtedly ban it.)
Another question for which Mueller is undoubtedly rehearsing a response is “When did you learn the Steele dossier was a fraudulent document paid for by the Clinton campaign and did you inform the FISA court about it?”
You don’t have to overhear rehearsals with his wife to know the answer to that one: “I cannot answer because that is beyond the scope.”
But to anyone with an IQ in triple digits, that’s the very thing everyone wants to know. I predict quite a number of “beyond the scope” answers from the special counsel and I would advise Republicans to craft their questions to evince them. Ideologues like Nadler and Schiff may find legal ways of shutting these questions down. I’m sure they’re preparing them, but the public will have heard them and they will see Mueller ducking, as indeed he will.
Another question: “Why didn’t you investigate the provenance of your own investigation? How could you know it was fair without doing that?” Again, “beyond the scope” squared, because an honest answer might send Mueller to jail, just as a similarly honest answer as to why he lined the investigation with thirteen Democrats and not one Republican. That group included the highly-controversial Andrew Weismann of the Enron scandal and more. Not exactly anyone’s idea of Atticus Finch.
So the fear. As for the loathing, it’s the only replacement for fear that they have. When fear fails or gets too excessive to handle, enter loathing. We’ve seen plenty of that for the last few years.
Some worry the inspector general’s report, promised for May or June, has not yet appeared. I don’t. Horowitz is only allowed to question people currently working for the government. Durham can go after anyone and evidently has. He can probably be extremely helpful to Horowitz and vice versa. So we shall see.
Now about Hunter, who was a friend back in the seventies when we were both published by Rolling Stone’s Straight Arrow Books. Wasn’t Dr. Thompson’s primary target always Richard M. Nixon? Indeed.
But I have been thinking for a while now there is only one person in today’s politics who, to me, completely and unequivocally resembles Richard Nixon and his name is Adam Schiff. (Okay, it’s not entirely fair to Nixon. Schiff isn’t as smart. But you get my point.)
Of course, everyone we knew was a lefty or lib or something allegedly hip back in those days, but a lot of us have changed. Would Hunter have? Beats me, but I’d like to think so. At least somewhat. He always had a libertarian streak. I sure know he’d prefer Donald Trump to Joe Biden.
Roger L. Simon — co-founder and CEO emeritus of PJ Media — is an author and screenwriter. His new novel is coming soon. You will tell him if it is good.