Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the lionized hero on whom the President’s detractors have pinned their hopes and dreams for nearly two years, is reportedly very close to issuing his final report. No one on the outside actually knows yet what exactly Mueller and his team of partisan lawyers will write, but those who have been predicting daily that the Mueller report would demonstrate that “illegal collusion” with Russia was the real reason Hillary lost the election are now falling all over themselves to lower expectations and hedge their bets.
In typical fashion, they cannot accept that the report might fall short of their dreams because the evidence did not support the conclusions they wanted to hear. Instead, their latest avenue of spin is to minimize Mueller’s authority and efforts and to promise that the Committee chairs in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, driven by ego and a thirst for power, will now mount their own aggressive alternative investigations digging into every aspect of the President’s personal, business, and public life.
Instead of committing to accept Mueller’s conclusions—drawn from almost two years of subpoenas, grand jury investigations, threats to witnesses’ family members, and many other heavy-handed tactics designed to bring the President to his knees—Democrat Committee heads like Representatives Jerry Nadler and Adam Schiff are already making excuses. They’re asserting publicly that Mueller’s mandate was too narrow for him to find what they assume must be out there, and that it is now Congress’s role to paralyze the country for the next two years with endless investigations designed in reality to do nothing other than win through obstruction what the Democrats lost at the polls.
Tragically for the country, the idea of simply closing out this matter with the Mueller report, and then working forward positively and cooperatively on actual policies for the good of the American people, isn’t even within the realm of possibility for the Democratic Party leaders whose entire raison d’etre over the past two years has been anti-Trump obstructionism.
Their only purpose now is to embarrass President Trump and keep him preoccupied, thereby undermining every actual policy initiative he was elected to pursue. House Democrats have made clear that even long-standing protocol would not impede their efforts when they decided to hold the Michael Cohen sideshow hearings at the exact moment the President was overseas trying to address one of the most daunting foreign policy issues facing our nation, the threat from North Korea.
Moreover, the idea that the absence of evidence of any illegal conduct by the President is a function of limitations placed on Mueller is both nonsense and utter hypocrisy. Under Special Counsel Regulation 600.4, it was Rod Rosenstein who determined the scope of Mueller’s investigation. Yes, the same Rod Rosenstein who plotted with other Justice Department officials to orchestrate an aborted coup attempt against President Trump. Rosenstein wanted President Trump out, and he worked to fulfill his desire by giving Mueller a very broad mandate. The Special Counsel regulations themselves also expanded on the specific substantive mandate by expressly giving Mueller the authority to bring criminal charges against anyone he unilaterally decided was interfering with his investigation.
The public record shows that Mueller’s investigators have interviewed hundreds of people, including dozens within the Trump White House, on a broad array of topics. His prosecutors have charged some Americans with crimes that have no obvious connection to the original, publicly understood impetus for the investigation. Still no reigns were put on Mueller.
Additionally, when any defendant has tried to argue that Mueller’s mandate should be construed more narrowly, federal judges have consistently ruled that Rosenstein had the authority to give Mueller such a broad mandate. Interested readers might recall that when Paul Manafort’s lawyers tried to argue that one of his indictments was invalid because it was outside the scope of Mueller’s inquiry, even Judge T.S. Ellis III rejected their argument, notwithstanding his skepticism about the political nature of Manafort’s prosecution team and agenda.
In addition, Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein has testified extensively under oath before Congress about his oversight of the Mueller investigation, providing lawmakers with ample information about the probe and presenting no evidence whatsoever that the Department of Justice ever limited the scope of Mueller’s work in any way.
The record demonstrates beyond question that Mueller and his “investigators” have been given an extraordinarily wide berth to investigate President Trump, his 2016 campaign, and Russian election interference, with both the tools and the authority to compel testimony from any and all witnesses they were in any way interested in hearing from. In truth, between Rosenstein’s mandate and the Special Counsel Regulations that allowed Mueller to prosecute acts that never would have been crimes but for his “investigation,” Mueller has enjoyed virtually unlimited authority to take his work in any direction he unilaterally saw fit—and he has done just that.
Now, even Neal Katyal—an attorney who, during the Clinton administration, with the support of Janet Reno and Eric Holder, drafted the Special Counsel Regulations that apply to Mueller—has changed his tune about the investigation. After earlier assuring the public of the importance of a Special Counsel investigation, he now claims that the Special Counsel Report might just serve as a “roadmap” for Congress to take up the battle. The “roadmap” that he and the Democratic Party’s leaders apparently envision is for a never-ending highway to nowhere.
The American public was sold on a very different goal for Mueller’s work, giving rise to some legitimate questions that Americans deserve to have answered—should Mueller ever have been appointed, could the tens of millions of dollars his investigation has cost taxpayers have been better spent on programs that help people in need, and how much more taxpayer money will be spent to pursue this partisan agenda?
House Democratic leaders are already preparing their next line of attack for when the Mueller Report fails to reveal what they have hoped and promised. Rep. Adam Schiff, a Trump-hater to the core, has announced—before actually investigating—that there is abundant evidence of the President’s wrongdoing, no matter what Mueller reports. Rep. Nadler, meanwhile, has hired two “investigators” who have dedicated themselves to the impeachment of President Trump, and has issued more than 80 subpoenas designed to tie up the entire Trump administration with Committee hearings that will keep them from doing the jobs they were elected to do.
While Schiff, Nadler, and other Democratic Committee chairs have loyal anti-Trump followers who revel in their bluster, they do a great disservice to the American people by recklessly spending our money on advancing their blatantly partisan agendas under the guise of conducting investigations. They also send a horribly un-American message to students of our constitutional system and to Americans who care about fair and non-partisan investigations designed to get at the truth. The American model of an investigation is a genuine search for the truth, leaving no stone unturned. Schiff, Nadler, and their colleagues, conversely, announce their version of the truth first and then pick investigators and a course of “investigation” that they hope will support their pre-ordained conclusion.
There are so many pressing matters in this country demanding real policy solutions, yet these members of Congress are ignoring their legislative duties in favor of mounting attack after attack on the President. This is a gross misapplication of the legitimate investigative role and powers given to Congress under our Constitution. Many Americans across the country have had more than enough, and are yearning to see some real statesmanship and bipartisan policy work from our legislators.
Every American who cares about the Constitution and the enforcement of its brilliant system of checks and balances should demand that our members of Congress spend their time serving the interests of the American people, not wasting the public’s time and resources on advancing their own narrowly partisan ends.
David Schoen is a civil rights and criminal defense lawyer based in Montgomery, Alabama and has served as trial counsel in the past for the Democratic Party.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.