I want to round up the comments of a few esteemed observers on the conclusion of the Mueller investigation.
• Kim Strassel makes a special appearance in today’s Wall Street Journal with “Mueller Is Done. Now Probe the Real Scandal.” Kim writes:
Mr. Mueller’s report likely doesn’t put it that way, but it’s the logical conclusion of his no-collusion finding. The FBI unleashed its powers on a candidate for the office of the U.S. presidency, an astonishing first. It did so on the incredible grounds that the campaign had conspired to aid a foreign government. And it used the most aggressive tools in its arsenal—surveillance of U.S. citizens, secret subpoenas of phone records and documents, even human informants.
The wreckage is everywhere. The nation has been engulfed in conspiracy theories for years. A presidency was hemmed in by the threat of a special counsel. Citizens have gone to jail not for conspiracy, but for after-the-fact interactions with Mr. Mueller’s team. Dozens more have spent enormous amounts of money and time defending their reputations.
None of this should ever have happened absent highly compelling evidence—from the start—of wrongdoing. Yet from what we know, the FBI operated on the basis of an overheard conversation of third-tier campaign aide George Papadopoulos, as well as a wild “dossier” financed by the rival presidential campaign. Mr. Mueller’s no-collusion finding amounts to a judgment that there never was any evidence. The Papadopoulos claim was thin, the dossier a fabrication.
Which is all the more reason Americans now deserve a full accounting of the missteps of former FBI Director James Comey and his team—in part so that this never happens again.
• Glenn Reynolds writes here at InstaPundit:
I suspect it’s going to turn out that Trump was doing more than tweeting throughout all this, and that it reflected a strategy that has now paid off. But Republicans — including NeverTrumpers still capable of some degree of rationality, if such exist — should ask themselves what other Republican candidate in 2016 could have withstood this sort of assault. As with the Kavanaugh character assassination attempts, I think the answer will be damn few. Maybe Ted Cruz, but nobody else really comes to mind. And, say, Mitt Romney? It is to laugh. We got Trump because of a media/political environment that only Trump could survive and flourish in.
And note that the past week has been a bad one for Trump’s enemies in general: Higher education is facing its biggest scandal ever, the SPLC is folding, the Democrats are split over anti-semitism and more or less open Marxism. . . . Stay tuned. It’s going to get interesting.
See also Glenn’s USA Today column “Mueller report Collusion by the news media, not Donald Trump, but don’t expect apologies.”
• Baylor University Professor Timothy Burns, Political Science Graduate Programs Director, comments by email:
Thank you all for your enlightening coverage of the Mueller Switch Project (as Scott has aptly labelled it). And thanks for your coverage of the fully expected result of that project. I want to draw to your attention one clause in Attorney General Barr’s letter that hasn’t received any coverage so far: “despite multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign.” This seems to me worth highlighting, since it seems to point not only to the effort of Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, which John has noted, but to other such efforts, possibly even at the apparent instigation of and collusion with the Clinton campaign and its surrogates, as was the Veselnitskaya meeting (again, as John noted), to entrap the Trump campaign.
On the matter of obstruction of justice, it might be worthwhile to draw to your readers’ attention once again the fact that the President is the elected official to whom the Department of Justice reports, and that he cannot obstruct justice simply by telling his subordinates in that office what he did tell them. I suspect there might be parallels drawn by the MSM, prodded by Democrats, between the President and Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau on this, regarding the latter’s attempt to quash an investigation.
Finally, it would be helpful if you could comment on Attorney General Barr’s promise to disclose more information, given the attention that it is bound to produce. This letter is, after all, one that merely discloses what he calls “the status of my initial review” of the Mueller Report. He will be releasing parts of the actual Report over time, he suggests, after he (with the help of Mueller) identifies the “6(e)” [i.e., grand jury] information in the Report, and after he has “identified any other information that could impact other ongoing matters, including those that the Special Counsel has referred to other offices.” What more might we reasonably expect him to disclose, to Congress and the public, in the near future?
Thanks to Professor Burns for permission to post this comment along with his questions.