Tom: thank you for your thoughtful comments. I quite disagree, but I appreciate you stating them so civilly. May I reply?

There seems no reason why Robert Mueller could not have clearly stated that there was sufficient evidence to indict President Trump, but that he could not do so because of DOJ rules. But he didn’t do that, did he? One must ask why.

He clearly stated why: because he could not indict, he did not believe he had the right even to RECOMMEND indictment. I quote: “….beyond department policy we were guided by principles of fairness. It would be unfair to potentially accuse somebody of a crime when there can be no court resolution of the actual charge. So that was Justice Department policy. Those were the principles under which we operated, and from them we concluded that we would, would not reach a determination one way or another of whether the president committed a crime.”

The obvious answer is that the legal theories degrading an obstruction of justice charge, developed by his staff, were unconvincing the Mueller himself — apparently to his disappointment. So he punted the decision to the attorney general while doing his best to kneecap Trump, a la Jim Comey, in his press conference. And that was misconduct on his part.

You are making huge and unsubstantiated presumptions here. First, you presume Mueller was partisan and “out to get” Trump. There is no evidence of that beyond right wing fantasy. Very much the contrary, in fact. You also ascribe motives to him without any proof thereof: per above, he stated his reason for not charging, and it wasn’t lack of evidence. Lastly, you conclude that his public remarks were “misconduct” without bothering to offer any argument how or why. If Mueller wanted to “kneecap” Trump he could have done so far more lethally, but chose not to. It’s ironic that you see his carefully worded and very cautious statement to the press as some sort of hatchet job when a great many people would say quite the opposite: that he bent over backwards to be overly fair to a man who did not deserve the benefit of the doubt or the protection of the rule of law that he daily undermines and abuses.

As a special counsel appointed by the Justice Department, Mueller had one job: to determine if crimes had been committed, period.

Dead wrong. This is the lie that Bill Barr and his boss have been peddling: that the SCO could only reach a binary conclusion to indict or not. But this was by definition an investigation that COULD NEVER indict the president. So your point is an utter falsehood and its repetition is toxic to the national dialogue. I also hasten to note that the SCO probe was — you may recall — a counterintelligence investigation as well, which had nothing to do with decisions to prosecute or not. And on that count, he firmly concluded that the Russian government worked diligently to aid the Trump campaign, and the Trump campaign gladly accepted that help.

Moreover, he meddled in a matter that was none of his business: impeachment. He made no formal recommendation about impeachment because he knew that it would be improper for him to do so. But he tried to sneak it in during his press conference — a dodge that satisfied no one.

Again, dead wrong. You contradict yourself, simultaneously claiming Mueller “meddled” in impeachment (how?) yet admitting he made no recommendation on the matter whatsoever. Which is it? Even in his press conference he did not mention the word. Some meddling!

And I suppose you had no problem with the Starr report, which was explicitly framed as an impeachment referral? Of course, now Starr — like Kavanaugh, and Barr — have done mysterious 180s and argue that a president should not even be investigated, let alone charged… long as that president is a Republican.

That Mueller is unwilling to testify before Congress shows that he understands quite well that to do so would constitute another and more serious episode of misconduct.

It shows no such thing. Again, you are claiming some rather clairvoyant powers regarding what Robert Mueller thinks and why he does the things he does. Let’s look instead at what he has explicitly said, which is that he believes the report speaks for itself. I think so too. It’s a shame Bill Barr saw fit to summarize it in a four-page Cliff Notes version that deliberately and dishonestly buried the lede, misrepresented the report’s findings, and attempted to pull a fast one on the American people. Speaking of misconduct….

A prosecutor should either issue indictments or state that he has insufficient evidence to do so. Any additional comments amount to abuse of the considerable power he wields.

See above. This was the exact opposite of a conventional legal prosecution, which Barr knows very well even as he continues to shamelessly lie about it to protect Donald Trump and deceive the American people. If anyone has abused his “considerable power” it is the Attorney General (and the president, for that matter). History will not treat either of them kindly.

It’s not a very satisfactory for the hate-Trump mob, is it?

Your use of the phrase “hate-Trump mob” does not suggest much warmth toward Trump’s critics. Would you dispute that during the last administration there was certainly a “hate-Obama mob”? During those eight years I often asked my conservative friends who were part of that “mob” what their antipathy to the man was based on. They always insisted that was not personal at all, but only about his policies. I love those guys, but not sure I bought that, then or now. By the same token, my question to you is: do you concede that a person like myself might “hate” (or even simply oppose) Trump on the basis of his policies and behavior, and not merely out of blind partisanship?

Thank you again for your time.

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Writer, filmmaker, and veteran — blogging at The King’s Necktie @TheKingsNecktie

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