Historians of the distant future will be puzzled by many events in the Trump presidency, perhaps no more confusing than the bizarre cult that grew up around Robert Mueller, the special adviser who investigated Russian election interference from 2017 to 2019. During those years there were a significant number of liberals who thought Muller was the savior who would rid America of Trump. How The New York Times written down Shortly after the Müller report was submitted, fans of the special advisor “Mr. Müller, a former F.B.I. Director, into an anti-Trump cultural icon, complete with t-shirts, scented candles, and holiday-themed songs like “We Wish You a Mueller Christmas”.
Saturday night live did an ongoing series of skits with Alec Baldwin as crouching Donald Trump who lived in fear of Müller, played by Robert De Niro as a tough, laconic and threatening police officer. Two prominent online resistance liberals, Ed and Brian Krassenstein, published a children’s book That Loud The New York Times, “pictured Müller as a superhero – complete with shirtless, muscular pose. “(The Krassensteins responded to the mockery of their book by claiming it was a” parody “.)
The Müller cult now looks ridiculous – and not just because the special adviser came to the ambiguous conclusion that the Trump campaign welcomed Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections, but because there wasn’t enough evidence of a criminal conspiracy. Rather, what makes the Müller cult seem hopelessly naive is strong evidence that the special adviser, far from frightening Trump, was intimidated by the president.
Former prosecutor Andrew Weissmann, who helped oversee the investigation against former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, reflects on the Mueller team’s failure in his upcoming book. Where the law ends: within the Müller investigation, should be released next week.
How New York Times Reporter Charlie Savage detailsThe new book highlights a number of significant areas in which the Mueller investigation gained its clout, most notably the fact that a silence fund used to pay adult film actress Stormy Daniels received “payments to a Russian oligarch,” according to Weissmann. Another important episode concerns the issuing of secret summons to Deutsche Bank to uncover details of possible Ukrainian funds that have been sent to Manafort. Although the summons were supposed to be secret, news of them went to the White House, which vigorously opposed this line of investigation. The White House appears to have feared that Deutsche Bank loans to the Trump organization could also be investigated. The result of the dispute was that Mueller’s team withdrew from any investigation into Deutsche Bank’s relationship with Trump.
“Had we used all the tools available to uncover the truth, undeterred by the onslaught of the President’s unique powers to undermine our efforts?” Weissmann asks: “I know the difficult answer to this simple question: we could have done more.”
There are many reasons for this failure to conduct a full investigation. The Manafort team has been constantly attacked not only by the White House but also by right-wing media outlets like Fox News. This seems to have given some of them a break, especially Mueller’s deputy, Aaron M. Zebley. Mueller, a fixture in Washington, proved unable to hold his own against the Republican establishment that was his lifelong milieu.
Verification Where the law ends to the The New York TimesJennifer Szalai observed that Weissmann sees “Mueller’s fundamental flaw” as “continued trust in a Justice Department under the direction of his old friend William Barr”. The Mueller team had meticulously presented its results in its 448-page, antiseptically formulated report, only to be “blinded” by Barr’s four-page, self-designed summary, which Weissmann depicts as a naked cynical distortion of the truth: “We had just got played by the attorney general. ‘”
The Muller cult was based on the dubious idea that a Republican and lifelong member of the Washington elite would conduct a relentless and mortified investigation into a GOP president. This belief, in turn, was based on an idealization of federal criminal prosecution that was viewed as unadulterated and strictly law-abiding. The liberals who joined the Müller cult gave as much faith as any conservative to the cultural myths that J. Edgar Hoover created in the early 20th century to legitimize the FBI. These myths describe federal prosecutors as uniquely worthy: judicial officers cut off from the occupation who can be trusted more than politicians.
This is not the first time liberals have overestimated law enforcement’s ability to control political corruption. The Watergate scandal depended on the ongoing investigation into Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox, whose dismissal by the Nixon White House itself became part of the scandal. Post Watergate, after a series of political scandals, liberals have been looking for a new Archibald Cox, a prosecutor or law enforcement hero, who could fight Republican corruption. The role was played in a variety of ways by Lawrence Walsh (during Iran / Contra), Patrick Fitzgerald (during the George W. Bush presidency), and a number of characters in the Trump era: Sally Yates, James Comey and Robert Mueller.
Some of these numbers did their job well. Walsh’s investigation into Iran / Contra in the face of a hostile government was exemplary. However, it is noteworthy that they all led to nugatory results. Watergate remains the exception: a scandal that led to the resignation of a president. In every subsequent presidential scandal, including those involving Bill Clinton, the Commander-in-Chief was able to impose a successful blockade by relying on either promises of pardon, respect for investigators, or partisan loyalty to allies in Congress.
Prosecutor’s liberalism is a fantasy that weakens other methods of controlling the president’s corruption. The more personalities like Müller are idealized, the less pressure there is on Congress to fulfill its constitutional duty to oversee the executive branch. It also exempts citizens from organizing protests when a president, like Trump’s, is proven to be corrupt. The Mueller investigation was combined with a Congress indicting Trump on the strictest possible grounds and avoiding the difficult work of getting subpoenas given the stone walls of the White House. But to fight Trump for these reasons, Congress Democrats would have to take real political risks, including closing the administration if the White House remains unruly.
Would it make sense to shut down the government at the risk of alienating many voters in order to challenge Trump’s corruption? This is a sensitive political question to which there is no easy answer. But it’s an issue that Congress Democrats have been able to avoid because the party’s liberal base has been too focused on Müller’s false promise to push for action by Congress.
The prosecution’s liberalism is a safety valve that unleashes popular anger while leaving the status quo unchanged.
The Trump era put the health of the American political system to the test, and it is impossible to make a jubilant diagnosis. Even if Trump is defeated in November, he will have shown how much corruption a president can get away with as long as he has the unwavering support of his own party and an opposition unwilling to risk the government shutdown.
Political corruption is ultimately more of a political than a legal problem. A political solution is therefore required. In theory, Congress could claim to be reviewing the imperial presidency, which allowed Trump to get away with so much. Presidents may need to be open about their finances. it could formalize the principle that subpoenas from Congress must be obeyed (with penalties for disobedience); This could end the principle that presidents in office cannot be charged for their crimes. However, there is little evidence that Democrats are interested in a full withdrawal of the imperial presidency. America is likely to remain a nation whose political system cannot contain the president’s corruption. This leaves the United States ripe for future Trump pickings.