So that’s it then?
We just spent tens of millions of dollars and two wasted years on political chaos just for Mueller to prosecute some low-level operatives on process crimes and Paul Manfort for actions the DOJ knew about years before the special counsel was even appointed? Oh, and he’s also going to tell us what we already knew in early 2017 before he hired the first person on his staff. That the Russians bought Facebook ads and wanted to meddle in the election. Groundbreaking stuff.
Can we get a refund?
Per sources close to the investigation, it appears Mueller is done with his indictments.
Sources familiar with the investigation believe there are no more indictments coming from the special counsel. If Mueller follows the guidance of the man who appointed him and supervised his investigation, he cannot publicly disparage those who have not been charged with a crime.
Rosenstein is emphatic on this point: “In fact, disclosing uncharged allegations against American citizens without a law-enforcement need is considered to be a violation of a prosecutor’s trust.”
Later in the letter, he makes it clear this standard applies to anybody under investigation, even public officials.
“No matter who an investigation involves — an ordinary citizen, a local or state politician, a campaign official, a foreign agent, an officer of the federal legislative, executive, or judicial branch — agents and prosecutors are obligated to protect its confidentiality.”
There’s bigger news in there as well that’s probably making collusion conspiracy pusher Adam Schiff pull his hair out.
DOJ guidelines say that they can’t disparage or insinuate things about persons caught up in the investigation if they are not actually charged with a crime. This should have been common sense from the beginning as it’d be pretty tyrannical for government officials to be able to use taxpayer resources to politically attack someone while not actually proving wrongdoing.
The media and Democrats have been hoping that Mueller would act as their proxy, laying out a case for impeachment even if Trump is not actually charged with anything. To be sure, Mueller could just disobey protocol and run to CNN, but if he follows the rules, the Mueller Report is not going to be a tell-all on how awful Trump is or his decision making.
This has James Comey publicly encouraging Mueller to flout DOJ guidelines.
The interests of justice will also be best served by maximum transparency about the special counsel’s work. I don’t know all the considerations that will go into deciding precisely what to say about the completion of that work and when to say it. But because the Department of Justice is guided first and always by the public interest, it should provide details about finished investigations when the public needs to know them, as it traditionally has.
Translation: Go to the press and give “maximum transparency” by trashing Trump, all while flaunting the rules meant to protect innocent people from bureaucratic slander. I can’t imagine why anyone thinks Comey lacks integrity.
Rod Rosenstein has made it clear that Mueller is not to follow Comey’s lead, though. We’ll see what the report says, but signs are starting to point to a big letdown and that’s leading to lots of goalpost moving. If Mueller does the proper thing and limits his report to those who committed crimes and Russian actions, there will be a lot of sad faces in Washington and on cable news in the wake of this (see Brad Slager’s latest for current reaction).
No worries though, I’m sure it’ll take them about 30 seconds to shift the narrative and keep on attacking.
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