screengrab from https://youtu.be/BMBBdI19P80

 

Yesterday, Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker gave a press conference about multiple indictments of ChiCom telecom giant Huawei and one of its very politically connected officers. During the presser, the subject of the Mueller investigation came up. The sound of flatulence filled the air and the earthy aroma of trousers turning brown lingered over the room as he spoke:

Fundamentally, the Mueller investigation has a very defined scope, and so anything outside of that scope, the scope would have to be enhanced to bring additional matters to be investigated by the Mueller investigation. But obviously, if it’s not given to that investigation by increasing the scope of the investigation, it would be retained by the Department of Justice. We take very seriously lying to Congress and if their are referrals made by the appropriate committees, as is ordinary course for matters like this, then we would investigate that as we would anything else.

I’ve been fully briefed on the investigation and I look forward to Director Mueller delivering the final report. And I’m not going to talk about an open and ongoing investigation otherwise but the statements I made was as a private citizen only with publicy available information. I’m comfortable that the decisions were made are going to be reviewed either through the various means that we have. But right now, the investigation is close to being completed and I hope we can get the report from director Mueller as soon as possible.

With that revelation, sphincters snapped shut all over Washington.

Bill Kristol had a sad.

And congressional Democrats weighed in:

As the Wall Street Journal points out, if you’ve been paying attention to what is happening rather than self-pleasuring every time Ben Wittes tweets “BOOM!” then you knew that was the state of play.

Even before Mr. Whitaker’s comments, there had been signs that the probe was nearing conclusion, including the moving ahead with the sentencing of several cooperating defendants.

Mueller pressing ahead with sentencing people who were supposedly going to “flip” on Trump, mostly for lying to investigators, was a sure tell that anything concerning Russia was basically completed. The abusive pre-dawn arrest of Roger freakin Stone by an FBI SWAT team has all the hallmarks of Andrew Weissmann’s use of police power to punish and humiliate people who have angered him.

The howls are really going to come when the Department of Justice refuses to release the investigation to Schiff. As the Mueller investigation started out as a counterintelligence investigation and not a criminal one–check Mueller’s initial charter if you doubt that–by its very nature, most of the evidence is going to be based on highly classified intelligence product.

Ultimately, we’re not going to learn anything from this that we didn’t know. Yes, the Russians spent $100,000 to meddle in the 2016 election. No, they really didn’t have a dog in the fight as they focused on any theme that would create division. To the extent they supported Trump, they did so because they wanted the candidate they (like most of us) was sure would win roughed up instead of coronated. Yes, Trump, unsurprisingly, surrounded himself with grifters and bullsh** artists and men-on-the-make who had no sense of propriety. No, there is no evidence that anyone in the Trump campaign even thought of working with Russia to win the election much less took any steps to do so. And finally, the people who disliked Trump enough to believe this story and chanted “Russia is not our friend” richly deserve the humiliation they are going to get.

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