ROSE: Robert Mueller’s muddled mess

On May 29th Special Counsel Robert Muller broke his two-year silence by holding a brief, nine-minute press conference.  Far from providing closure to his investigation—as had been hoped, Mueller’s public statements have led to renewed cries by Democrats to further investigate and possibly even impeach the President.

In his remarks, Mueller omitted any mention of the investigatory findings favorable to President Trump and his campaign organization.  In his written report, Mueller had concluded that “… the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian Government in its election interference activities.”  In his press conference, Mueller spoke only to the secondary issue of whether President Trump had sought to obstruct the Special Counsel’s investigation.

Mueller stated that his team was unable to determine that the President did not seek to obstruct the investigation.  Mueller added that “… our Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting President of wrong-doing.”  Mueller thus tacitly provided the Democrats with the pretext to pursue further investigations and even impeachment proceedings, and the encouragement to do so.

By his public statements, Mueller is turning our Constitution on its head and our system of justice upside down.  The implication is that Trump should be presumed guilty unless it can be proven that he did not commit a crime.  Such a conclusion runs completely counter to our constitutional guarantee of due process under the law, and a presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

Not only has Mueller imposed a judicial standard straight out of Stalinist Russia, but he has exceeded his authority under the Special Counsel regulations.  These regulations do not authorize the Special Counsel to make recommendations that Congress consider or pursue further investigatory hearings or impeachment proceedings.

Documents recently made public suggest other possible misconduct by Mueller, including material misrepresentations and the omission of facts and evidence favorable to the President in the Mueller Report.  There are further indications that exonerative evidence may have been suppressed in obtaining the indictments and convictions of persons associated with President Trump and his campaign, on charges unrelated to the alleged Russian collusion.  If such evidence was suppressed, Mueller and his team would also have violated the Justice Department’s prosecutorial code of conduct and the code of ethical conduct applicable to all lawyers.

It is not surprising that Mueller does not want to appear before Congress and face questions from lawmakers.  Doing so would risk exposing possible gross misconduct by Mueller and his team, and potentially the false premise of the entire investigation.

If the Democrats follow Mueller’s cue and proceed with hearings and impeachment, they will likely encounter the same reality that led the Special Counsel to not recommend a charge of obstruction of justice against the President.  By all accounts President Trump’s cooperation with the Special Counsel was unprecedented in its candor and completeness.

Despite the great concern over Russian interference in our elections and the possible obstruction of related investigations, it is startling that the actions of Hillary Clinton have not also been formally examined.

There is compelling evidence now that Clinton actually did collude with Russia-linked Ukrainians in an attempt to influence the outcome of the 2016 election, and actually did obstruct justice by destroying subpoenaed emails, communication devices, and computer storage devices.  The evidence is mounting that Clinton was aided and abetted in these offenses by senior Obama administration officials.

The apparent partisan effort led by Democrats to undo an election result and destroy a Republican presidency has divided our country to an extent not seen since the Civil War.  The full measure of the resulting damage to U.S. foreign policy and national security, and to the accomplishment of domestic policy initiatives, will never be known.

What has taken place over the past three years is arguably the most egregious and damaging case of government corruption ever in the history of the United States.  Unless those persons behind this scheme are held to account for their actions, this type of corruption will become an accepted aspect of our government and our electoral system, just as it characterizes unstable, corrupt regimes elsewhere in the world.

Stowe Rose is an Charlotte-based attorney