The Real Obstruction Is Coming From the DOJ/FBI
The IG report removes any grounds for Mueller's pursuit of obstruction charges against Trump.
On what grounds is the Robert Mueller investigation continuing? The fact is the recent inspector general report has essentially knocked the legs out from under the stated basis for the special counsel. No credible evidence of any Donald Trump/Russia collusion conspiracy has turned up, and the primary impetus for the whole charge of collusion is known to be the dubious Hillary Clinton-funded Christopher Steele dossier. Yet Mueller continues apparently directing his investigation toward an obstruction charge. That was clearly the original and admitted desire of disgraced former FBI Director James Comey and the excuse given for his unethical behavior in leaking his Trump memos to the press.
National Review’s Andrew McCarthy argues, “Under the rationale adopted by the IG with the implicit endorsement of the Justice Department, there is no basis for a prosecutor to investigate the president for obstruction. Even if it were the special counsel’s place to analyze the chief executive’s motivation in exercising his constitutional prerogatives (and it is not), there were patently legitimate reasons to support the president’s actions; in light of his broad discretion, the Justice Department must assume he acted on them.” McCarthy adds, “If the Justice Department accepts IG Horowitz’s premise that it must not second-guess the discretionary decision-making of FBI and Department officials when there are legitimate grounds to support their decisions, on what basis may a special counsel second-guess the president’s decision-making when — as [Deputy Attorney General Rod] Rosenstein himself has argued with respect to Comey — there are legitimate grounds to support the president’s decisions?”
So, again, why is the Mueller investigation continuing? The answer appears to be twofold. First, certain individuals within the Justice Department and FBI don’t want their actions and decisions publicly scrutinized. As a result, if anyone can be seriously accused of engaging in obstruction it is the DOJ/FBI. Both agencies have continued the practice of slow-walking and simply ignoring congressional requests for documents related to both the Clinton email and Russian interference investigations.
House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) issued subpoenas to the FBI for records related to the bureau’s use of informants in its Trump investigation. As of Monday, the FBI had failed to fully comply with the subpoenas. Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) is clearly running out of patience and blasted the DOJ/FBI: “New reports of DOJ/FBI compliance with document requests are NOT accurate. While they have turned over additional documents, the new documents represent a small percentage of what they owe. The notion that DOJ/FBI have been forthcoming with Congress is false.”
Second, Democrats aim to maintain the cloud of a Russia collusion conspiracy over Trump’s presidency for political gain. Over the weekend, Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) was at a high-dollar Democrat Party retreat, where he opined, “If you get me one more glass of wine, I’ll tell you stuff only Bob Mueller and I know. If you think you’ve seen wild stuff so far, buckle up. It’s going to be a wild couple of months.” After being called out for his “drunken” remark by Trump, Warner claimed to have been joking, though he doubled down, stating, “You know how seriously I take this investigation.”
How much longer will this increasingly baseless Mueller investigation be tolerated? Trump is well within his authority to pull the plug, though doing so would likely be too politically damaging. In the midst of the recent loss of all rational judgment over the enforcement of immigration law, ending the investigation may create similar emotion-based insanity.