Yes, I did it! Last year the challenge was “Infinite Jest”, and now, a mere twelve months later, another obstacle has been overcome.
Sure, we had to wait 22 months for Robert Mueller to finish the job. And we were then subjected to a pathetic, intentionally misleading “summary” from an equally-pathetic attorney general who will forever go nameless on michaelaba.com. Another four weeks passed before we could hold the damned report in our hands. And yes, it’s redacted and I’m sure missing several pieces of incriminating information.
But I’ve managed to read every available word.
I’ll admit; the “legalese” in the final section made me thank the heavens, once again, for never having become the lawyer everyone around me had expected. But at the same time, the professionalism, so evident from start to finish, is unbelievably impressive. And while semi-political rants have been a rare occurrence in my blog-writing career up to this point, this seems as good a time as any for a few random, post-report observations.
First of all, I found this to be an incredibly well-written, thoroughly-researched document. The methodical way Mr. Mueller was able to describe the exact methods Russia used to wreak havoc via social media was fascinating. Their ability to penetrate and then hack into various pre-determined locations, including state databases and voting machine companies, was, well - chilling. In the face of such intricately-detailed evidence, no one should have reason to doubt Russian culpability. The fact we have a president who continues to do so is almost beyond shocking.
We are living in a truly extraordinary time.
Volume One begins and ends with an admission that the legal meaning of criminal coordination (two parties meeting in advance to set a corrupt plan into motion) is not met, but previously-denied interaction between Russia and the Trump Campaign is on full display. The proper reaction when approached by foreign actors offering election interference is to contact the FBI. Obviously, this was never done, even as the Meuller Report identifies 19 Trump associates who had the opportunity.
From the Russian-based DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 to Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks, every bit of help given was happily accepted. And malicious articles appearing on now-discredited web accounts were readily reposted and retweeted by unconcerned republican officials, which widened the scope of foreign influence exponentially. Trump is supposedly sensitive to the notion of his presidency lacking legitimacy. Well, reading this report makes clear how effective the Russian cyber-assault was. Trump would not be President today without their help.
Volume Two has been getting the lion’s share of media coverage, and probably for good reason. The actual narration of this section is fluid and compelling. And on page 78, Mueller doesn’t short-change us on what is easily the most memorable quote of the report. I’d already seen media postings relaying Trump’s initial reaction upon learning a special prosecutor had been assigned:
“Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I’m f****d…”
But I was slightly surprised to discover how our religious, no-nonsense investigator didn’t feel the need to clean things up for an official document.
And there it is, in a black and white, for the rest of history. No discreet editing was necessary.
Here’s hoping he truly is.
Mueller is clear in his reasons for refusing to do what he sees as Congress’s job, which is to determine if the abundance of obstruction described in great detail rises to the level of a crime. It would be unfair, he writes, to state that a crime was committed when DOJ policy prevents him from indicting a sitting President. Theoretically, a sitting president would not be presented with an opportunity to clear his/her name via a public trial. Trump, I’m sure, would simply continue his attempts to do so through Twitter and Fox news, but these avenues are decidedly post-Constitutional.
I believe it’s impossible to read through Volume Two without coming away with the firm conviction that Mueller has drawn up an indictment roadmap that he expects Congress to follow. In the last section, he methodically shoots down every argument made by the President’s array of lawyers with a host of Supreme-Court-ready precedents. His ultimate message is clear: no man is above the law.
Much like “Infinite Jest”, I believe there’s no way the general public will dedicate the necessary time to plow through this huge (448 page) report, despite all the talking heads on TV urging everyone to do so. But this is an amazing piece of work, for sure. There’s no doubt in my mind that our friend Robert has intentionally paved the way for Congress to proceed further.
Yes, I’m talking about impeachment.
We are fortunate to have Democrats now controlling the House of Representatives. The time for them to step up to the plate has arrived.
For those of you interested, I highly recommend downloading a free copy of “The Mueller Report” at your earliest convenience.
I’m hoping this will be my last political blog for a while. Next month the quest will likely return to inspiring downloads of one or two of my own books. The new collection - “These Stories Are True” - may even be finished by then. Although between MSNBC and NBA Playoff Basketball, the odds of overcoming this particular challenge may truly be long.
We’ll see. I’ll give you all a detailed report this time next month.