The Money Shot

PBS NewsHour / YouTube What Robert Mueller brings to the...
PBS NewsHour / YouTube

Now this is not the end. This is not the beginning of the end. This is the end of the beginning.   Winston Churchill

No Winnie, actually this is the beginning of the end. One way or the other. July 17, 2019. 9:00 AM sharp. Be there or be square. Robert Mueller started it, and now, 26 months later, Robert Mueller will end it. One way or the other.

One nice thing about Democrats, we’re not just romantics, we’re hopeless romantics. You know what the difference is, don’t you? Romantics read Nora Roberts books. Hopeless romantics buy the action figures from the movies. From day one of the Mueller investigation, Democrats pinned the very existence of their hoes of getting rid of The Mango Messiah on Robert Mueller, only to have their hopes dashed when Mueller declined to actually say that he would have indicted Trump if only not for that pesky OLC ruling about indicting a sitting President. And then, like a doomed heroine, running across the moors in a billowing gown, desperately yelling, “Heathcliffe!”, the Democrats pinned their hopes of impeachment proceedings on getting Mueller in front of congress to testify. And now they’re getting their wish, the sequel is going to press.

Don’t kid yourself, Robert Mueller is not going to indict Donald Trump from the witness chair in front of congress. The “indictment” question will be one of the first questions asked of Mueller, and he will defer, with an answer something like, “Due to the OLC ruling, we never seriously considered the question one way or the other, and I’d rather not speculate on a hypothetical here, nor risk tainting a possible future jury pool with that speculation.” Robert Mueller is a “by the books” kind of guy, which is why he will parse every word with extreme care, and say only what he knows, and not what he thinks. Which is what will be so devastating for the Trump presidency.

If I’m Jerry Nadler, the first question I ask Robert Mueller after his opening statement i, “You really don’t want to be sitting here today, do you Mr Mueller?” To which the answer will be something like, “NO Mr Chairman, this appearance was not at the top of my bucket list.” At which point Nadler should immediately pivot away to another topic. Let the impression sit there that Mueller really does not want to be there, to be the vessel being used to try to bring down a sitting president. That’s not the real reason of course. The real reason Mueller doesn’t want to be sitting there is that he doesn’t want walking colostomy bags like Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan turning his serious work into a political shit show. Let Meadows and Jordan bring out that fact if they so choose, better to leave the impression of a man doing a solemn duty reluctantly, and not one of a man trying to avoid a partisan political spectacle.

No matter how you slice it, Robert Mueller is going to be devastating for Donald Trump. Just look at his nine minute press conference at the time of his retirement. In speaking in only the most general of terms, he ignited a three day maelstrom of controversy for Trump, laying waste to every pretext that William Barr had toiled so hard to create to give His Lowness air cover. And he did that almost entirely with vague generalities. But on July 17th, he is going to be asked specific questions, and good Marine that he is, he will give specific answers. One of the prime reasons that Mueller will be so devastating for Trump is that Mueller is not a “run-out-the-clock” Trump friendly witness, filibustering the first question to avoid having to answer follow up questions. When asked a simple, direct question, Mueller will provide simple, direct answers, conserving time for follow up.

The Judiciary committee, batting clean up, will burrow in on the obstruction of justice question like a pig nosing for truffles. And as Stephen King likes to say, and so do I, “Here there be tygers.” With proper questioning, Mueller will be able to bring all of the various strands of testimony from different witnesses together, and braid them into one strong, hemp rope on each of the obstruction charges that he highlighted in his report. He will be able to use statements from one witness to corroborate the statements of another witness, defining the picture with laser clarity. And because Mueller is a “by the books” fact witness, his assertions will be incredibly difficult for Trump friendly GOP representatives to poke holes in with their rebuttal questions.

But, as devastating as Mueller can be for Trump on obstruction of justice, it gets even worse. Because, in his lead off testimony in front of the Intelligence Committee, Mueller is once again going to drag the issue of “collusion,” kicking and screaming, back into the spotlight that Trump so desperately wants to keep it out of. It is Mueller who can tie all of the loose ends together on collusion. It is Mueller who can provide a clear, concise timeline, connecting intercepted Russian traffic with specific meetings and contacts between Trump advocates and Russians. It is Mueller who can dispel the absurdity of a small band of Trump campaign aides, somehow or other innocently pinballing off of a small number of Russians more than 130 times, like t’s 7:30 AM in the New York subway. And while Mueller himself will admit that he was unable to definitively able to amass enough evidence to charge and convict, he will once and for all lay bare the raw insanity of the “NO COLLUSION” mantra that Trump and FOX have been spouting for more than two years now.

Robert Mueller is going to be “must see TV.” The Mueller testimony will make James Comey’s famous appearance look like a rerun of a “Friends” episode. The 749th airing of that episode. From 9 AM until sometime around dinner time or later, it is going to be wall to wall Mueller, with analysis during the breaks. And if FOX is required by the FCC to cover the hearings as a “public service,” minds are going to be changed. Not among the die hard Trombies of course, but minds like that woman at the Justin Amash town hall, who told a reporter that, listening mostly to conservative news, she was blissfully unaware that there was anything at all negative about Trump in the Mueller report.

As I said in the first sentence, one way or another, this is the beginning of the end. Not the end itself, but after July 17th, there will be no turning back. In a little bit, once you’ve rested your eyes, and I’ve rested my fingers, I’ll be back with a little more about where i think things will, or can go once Mueller has had his say. Bt for almost 26 months, Robert Mueller has been a shadowy figure of intrigue, and soon enough all of the shadows will finally be dispelled. I can’t imagine that it won’t have been worth the wait.

 

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Sick of the Con
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Sick of the Con

I am a pessimist and feel this democracy is done. Mueller will drop the ball. He is a Republican, no matter how much by the book. His appointment was limited in the first place, to protect Trump. None are heroes and none of the Dems are going to do anything with anything he says. He already days the man should be impeached, verbally saying it in Congress will not change one republican mind, hence, no Dem will be compelled to act without the Republicans telling them to act. SMH.