Much has been written about Robert Mueller’s appearance before the press today, in which spoke briefly and nervously, repeating points that have already been made ad nauseam in his own report and elsewhere. Why did he do it? And why did he appear so nervous while he did it? Speculation has been rampant.
Scott posted a transcript of Mueller’s remarks earlier today. Much could be said about them, but I want to focus on just one aspect of Mueller’s characterization of his own investigation.
Two years ago, the acting attorney general asked me to serve as special counsel and he created the special counsel’s office. The appointment order directed the office to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. This included investigating any links or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump campaign.
The key word there is “included.” What else did Mueller’s charge include? Nothing, apparently. But we actually know that there were “links” between a presidential campaign and Russians who (if they existed at all) likely were associated with Putin’s regime. The campaign was Hillary Clinton’s, and the Russians were those on whose reports Christopher Steele based his infamous dossier.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign went looking for Russians who could serve up dirt on Donald Trump. In a futile attempt to avoid illegality, the campaign told its lawyers at the Perkins Coie firm to contract with Fusion GPS, run by fervent Democrat Glenn Simpson, who in turn contracted with Christopher Steele to try to find Russians who had (or could make up) useful information on Trump. The Clinton campaign used these multiple cut-outs so it could falsely report the money it paid to Steele as “legal expenses” incurred at Perkins Coie. Maybe somewhere there is a U.S. Attorney who would like to take a look at this.
Just kidding. Christopher Steele obliged the Clinton campaign by finding several Russians who, based on the information they pretended to have, almost certainly were associated with Putin’s regime. Or maybe he didn’t find them at all; maybe he just made up all of the nonsense in the “dossier” and charged the Clinton campaign for his fantasies. Probably neither Steele nor the Clinton campaign cared one way or the other.
If we assume Steele didn’t fabricate the whole thing, then he colluded on behalf of the Clinton campaign with Russian officials or insiders who told him lies. He fed these lies back to the Clinton campaign, which, as Byron York reminds us, did its best to use these Russian fables to win the presidential election.
Here is my question. (I know it has been asked before, but it can’t be repeated too often.) If Mueller’s charge was to investigate “Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election…[including] investigating any links or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump campaign,” why didn’t he look into the possibility that the false information fed by alleged Russian insiders to an agent of the Clinton campaign was a disinformation effort by the Russian government, meant to interfere in the 2016 presidential election–an effort in which the Clinton campaign colluded?
There is strong circumstantial evidence that the Steele dossier was exactly that, while there never was any evidence at all that the Trump campaign colluded in any way with Russians. So why was Mueller’s investigation confined to the wrong campaign?
The question answers itself. Mueller’s mission was the same as Christopher Steele’s mission, and Glenn Simpson’s, and Perkins Coie’s, and Hillary Clinton’s: to destroy Donald Trump, by hook or by crook. That is the only explanation for Mueller’s seeming myopia about his own failure to look for collusion where, in all likelihood, it actually existed.