For over a year now, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has played his cards close to the chest. While Donald Trump’s White House may leak more regularly than an aging colander, Mueller has kept a tight ship. Those few occasions when anything from the special counsel’s office has slipped into public view, have mostly been when those on the other end of indictments—particularly Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort—have forced Mueller to at least tip a card toward a federal judge. What’s been demonstrated by the resulting court filings is mostly just how strong and detailed Mueller’s case against the people he has so far indicted actually is, along with proof that the DOJ authorized the special counsel to dip into actions like Manafort’s role in disrupting the government of Ukraine.
But if Mueller has sailed through months with his crew demonstrating the most-zipped-lips in the whole of D. C., that time has come to an end. Because, as Politico notes, for weeks now, America has had the keen insight of someone who is venturing into the Mueller investigation then coming back to tell the tale: Intrepid explorer Rudy Giuliani. Keen observers of Giuliani’s frequently gibberish-rich television appearances have been able to discern such critical facts as:
- Mueller says he can’t indict Trump!
- Mueller says he only wants to talk to Trump about five, make that just two, things!
- Mueller says he’ll be done by September first!
The only problem with all of this is that there’s just one thing that Robert Mueller has actually said:
As is its custom, Mueller’s office declined to comment on Giuliani’s statements.
And that’s the issue: Robert Mueller has not commented on Giuliani’s statements. He hasn’t commented on anyone’s statements. He’s not going to. Which demonstrates admirable consistency and a firm, apolitical approach to the job. Except that the one thing Giuliani actually knows about Robert Mueller is that he’s not going to comment. Which is letting Giuliani pretend to speak for him.
In an interview Monday, Giuliani said Mueller hasn’t objected to any of his statements. “I am relaying things accurately,” he said.
Robert Mueller’s silence concerning Giuliani’s statements gives absolutely no weight to Giuliani’s claims to be an accurate reporter. Giuliani could be going on national television to report that Mueller believes that Trump has psychic powers, the campaign collaborated with grey aliens, and that Trump’s dad bought the gun that Ted Cruz’s dad used to shoot JFK.
And Mueller would make exactly the same comments. Which is none.
It’s really quite a good trick. Giuliani—who has been on television demonstrably lying about every aspect of the case as it relates to Cohen and Trump—is being accepted as the Oracle of Mueller simply because the special counsel has held to his principles of staying quiet. And it doesn’t matter if Giuliani is right, wrong, or ridiculous. Because the media is so anxious to have any insight into the black box of the investigation, that they treat his every word as golden.
“There’s nothing that beats first-hand knowledge and Rudy claims to have first-hand knowledge,” said Matthew Miller, a former Obama Justice Department spokesman and frequent MSNBC contributor. “He’s an actor in this drama and the rest of us are commentators.”
Really? Are we sure about that? It’s not even clear that Robert Mueller would comment even if Giuliani was just going into the back room to puff on a Arturo Fuente Opus, then reappearing to tell us about his wonderful adventures on the other side of the wardrobe when he hadn’t met with Mueller’s team at all.
Mueller’s silences may be frustrating. But that shouldn’t be an invitation for Rudy Giuliani to fill them by blowing smoke.