James Comey, and just about everyone else who has worked with Robert Mueller, has been speaking out this week on the four-page Barr report. They all have the same reaction, utter confusion. So many things about the four-page report are out of character for the way Mueller normally closes investigations.
First, no one can understand how or why Mueller would shirk his prosecutorial responsibility to make a decision about obstruction of justice charges against Trump. Many people have pointed out that the point of having a Special Counsel is to take difficult decisions about an investigation out of the hands of political appointees. The Barr report implies that Mueller passed off this critical decision back to the very political appointees he was hired to keep out of the process.
Also, too much was left undone, and it is specifically the heaviest lifts that Mueller seems to have passed along to others. Mueller’s team brought charges like perjury against multiple people. However, evidence in the public domain indicates there is enough evidence to bring similar charges against Don Jr, and Jared Kushner. To pass these cases to unknown prosecutors inside the DOJ, or to abandon them entirely, is surprising.
Mueller’s fine reputation, strength of character, and public attention provided him some level of protection against the enormous pressure that comes with filing charges against the children of the President of the United States. An unknown prosecutor deep inside DOJ could be admonished, reprimanded or fired without much media attention. As Special counsel, Robert Mueller had far more power to withstand the pressure than any prosecutor he would hand off his cases to.
Finally, there still appear to be active cases involving Russian collusion. Maria Butina has not been sentenced because she is still cooperating. Presumably, her testimony is related to alleged Russian money that was given to the NRA and then to the RNC. Rick Gates is likewise still cooperating and presumably has information about the same financial transactions. There is also a second case against Roger Stone that was referenced in a court filing. This presumably has to do with his contacts with Wikileaks. This brings us to the accidentally leaked information about Julian Assange and the active criminal case against him. This case should involve Russian collusion.
Yet, because of the Barr memo, pundits everywhere are saying that Trump-Russia collusion is done and over. This just doesn’t make sense. None of it makes sense, and this week everyone who has worked with Robert Mueller is saying so. So, where is Mueller? If he has been misrepresented, why isn’t he speaking out yet? Something doesn’t add up, and sooner or later we are going to find out about it.
Cheryl Kelley lives in the DC area with her husband and young son. She is active in government and politics.