Robert Muller is a lawyer. He talks like one. This is a classic case of one’s greatest strength being also their greatest weakness. He is also a former Marine and director of the FBI. He obviously has enormous respect for law and for the rule of law.
For him to pin down Donald Trump is the proverbial act of nailing jelly to a wall. Most people are not lawyers, so most people missed a lot of the subtleties of the recent statement Mueller made about his report and closing the office of special counsel he ran for the last two years.
Mueller said, “if we had confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said that. We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the President did commit a crime.”
He also said, “under long-standing Department [of Justice] policy, a President cannot be charged with a federal crime while he is in office.”
In other words, what prevented Muller from indicting Trump was not that Trump committed no crime, but only Department of Justice policy.
Mueller is a responsible, circumspect person. Trump is an irresponsible, sloppy person. Mueller scrupulously follows rules. Trump does not understand what a rule is.
Mueller also said, “So that was the Justice Department policy and those were the principles under which we operated. From them we concluded that we would not reach a determination — one way or the other — about whether the President committed a crime.”
From a lawyer and former director of the FBI, especially one as scrupulous as Mueller, this is tantamount to saying that he thinks the so called president is guilty as sin and well deserves prosecution in the appropriate venue, which, for a president of the United States, is the impeachment process in Congress, not the ordinary indictment and jury trial that a private citizen, such as Paul Manafort or Roger Stone, have undergone or will undergo.
It is still the case that there is no reason to think the Republicans in the Senate will vote to remove Trump. But highly publicized House impeachment hearings have the capacity to change that. Trump’s support among Republicans continues to erode. We do not yet know what evidence, akin to the famous transcripts that sank Richard Nixon, lie waiting for exposure, or whose testimony before the House Judiciary Committee will set of the chain of events that leads to Trump’s removal. We cannot know until the House begins impeachment hearings.
The House should begin impeachment hearings immediately.