Special counsel Robert Mueller’s press conference should be dubbed “Much Ado About Nothing.” In it, Mueller did all he could to authorize the House to initiate impeachment proceedings against the president.
However, despite his intended purpose, his presser did nothing more than to solidify the long-held belief among many that Mueller has a personal animus against the president, and that his investigation was nothing more than a politically motivated witch-hunt intended to oust President Donald Trump.
In order to understand why this conclusion is warranted, it’s vital to review some of the relevant comments from Mueller’s prepared statement. Mueller made the following comments relative to his investigation:
“I have not spoken publicly during our investigation. I am speaking today because our investigation is complete. The Attorney General has made the report on our investigation largely public. And we are formally closing the Special Counsel’s Office. As well, I am resigning from the Department of Justice and returning to private life.
“I’ll make a few remarks about the results of our work. But beyond these few remarks, it is important that the office’s written work speak for itself.”
There are several red flags here. First, Mueller admits that the investigation is complete and that the report regarding his investigation has been made public. He also specifically states that “it is important that the office’s written work speak for itself.”
In light of these admissions, what possible purpose is there for him to make a “few remarks” about the results of the investigation? He had two years to investigate; he prepared his written findings and submitted his report to Attorney General William Barr, who subsequently released it (with necessary redactions). Why, then, would he find it necessary to insert himself into the investigation or supplement the very report that he asserts should be allowed to speak for itself?
The obvious reason is political in nature.
Mueller knows that the Russia collusion narrative has been eviscerated and that the Democrats face an uphill battle should they choose to impeach the president for alleged obstruction. He also knows, or has reason to believe, that the pending inspector general’s report, the ongoing U.S. attorney’s investigation, Barr’s investigations, and the declassified Spygate documents could pose serious problems for Democrats and shift the focus of the American public away from the president and impeachment and toward the real perpetrators.
Once this happens, it would be very difficult for Democrats to convince the American public to, once again, sit through additional “investigations” of the president when many Americans are already tired of the interminable investigations and talks about impeachment. Therefore, Mueller wanted to keep the impeachment issue fresh in the minds of the American public.
Mueller’s press conference included several other comments that reeked of partisanship and that were, arguably, improper. Specifically, Mueller stated:
“As set forth in our report, after that investigation, if we had confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said that. We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the President did commit a crime. …
“The report is my testimony. I would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before Congress. In addition, access to our underlying work product is being decided in a process that does not involve our office. So beyond what I have said here today and what is contained in our written work, I do not believe it is appropriate for me to speak further about the investigation or to comment on the actions of the Justice Department or Congress.”
Mueller’s first point confuses the role of a prosecutor, which is to determine whether someone committed a chargeable offense, not whether they are exonerated of any charges.
In addition, Mueller’s comments during the recent press conference (and part two of his report) possibly ran afoul of several policies, the first of which is the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) longstanding protocol of not releasing negative information about people who aren’t indicted. Mueller didn’t recommend indictment in his report, which should have ended the investigation relative to the president.
Rather than riding off into the sunset after completing his report, Mueller utilized the recent press conference as a means to improperly supplement his findings by implying that the president committed a crime and by “advising” Congress to utilize a different “process” to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing (given the policy against indicting a sitting president).
Specifically, at the press conference, Mueller referenced a written opinion by the DOJ and stated:
“First, the opinion explicitly permits the investigation of a sitting President because it is important to preserve evidence while memories are fresh and documents are available. Among other things, that evidence could be used if there were co-conspirators who could now be charged.
“And second, the opinion says that the Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting President of wrongdoing.”
According to The Federalist, Rule 3.8 of the American Bar Association’s rules of professional responsibility for prosecutors prohibits the use of leaks or press conferences to “indict,” or “trash” uncharged targets (with certain exceptions).
Mueller’s comments during his press conference were not necessary to inform the public of the prosecutor’s (Mueller’s) action and didn’t serve a legitimate law enforcement purpose, as required by the Rule 3.8. Rather, they were seemingly meant to hurt Trump and to encourage Democrats to impeach him.
Mueller’s press conference was nothing more than a ruse to supplement his “failed” report. There was no reason for him to make any additional comments. His report was complete and had been released to the public. He didn’t recommend any additional indictments and his role should have ended then and there.
By injecting himself into the investigation, unilaterally “supplementing” his report by way of a prewritten statement during a press conference, and by implying or “pushing” Congress to initiate impeachment proceedings, Mueller’s animus against the president was clearly visible to all Americans, and he came across as grossly partisan and ineffective.
Elad Hakim is a writer, commentator, and attorney. His articles have been published in The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, The Western Journal, American Thinker, and other online publications.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.