The New York Times is so out of touch.
The New York Times is so out of touch.
The Mueller myth
Americans do not yet know what the report will share—or, indeed, whether Mueller’s findings will take the form of a published report, in the Starry sense of things, in the first place—but the chances of it offering conclusive findings about Individual 1 or his associates seem slimmer as time goes on. There have been subpoenas; there have been interviews; there have been arrests; there have been convictions. But the primary question—Did Donald Trump collude with Russia to win the presidency?—has not yet been answered, and it is unclear [whether it will be.] The Mueller mystique lives on, however, both as a joke and as an earnest aspiration for what the report might ultimately achieve on behalf of American democracy. Alicia Barnett, of Kansas City, Kansas, explained her fandom to the Associated Press like this: “He gives me reassurance that all is not lost. I admire his mystique. I admire that I haven’t heard his voice. He is someone who can sift through all this mess and come up with a rationale that makes sense to everyone.”
Salvation and salve at the same time: Heroes, in times of tumult, offer reassurances of leadership, of order, of faith both earned and restored. Their very presence—the implied transcendence of their talents—soothes, and calms. All will be well, their myths assure. But even heroes, in an environment as partisan and divided as this one, have their limitations. Mueller’s determined reticence is, on top of everything else, ostensibly a matter of political strategy: an acknowledgment that whatever his team’s findings, a significant percentage of the American populace will simply refuse to believe those conclusions—on grounds of bias, and on grounds that one form of political faith trumps another. You could read the fan fictions that have been written about Mueller as attempts to inoculate him against those doubts: to insist that the hero, because he is not subject to the frailties that plague everyone else, also has unique access to truth. The “great man” theory of history, weaponized for the needs of the present moment.
In an America led by a man who has insisted that “I alone can fix it,” that makes for an uncomfortable argument. Mueller’s mythology treats him both as the embodiment of American democratic institutions and as someone who rises above them; it is a story whose center cannot hold.
When the lobbyists become the lawmakers
Understanding what Mueller’s report is — and isn’t
What a criminal investigation can do, and what it may have done here, is to provide a text that offers a factual record which might be redeployed for purposes of answering non-criminal questions in addition to the criminal ones for which that record was created. This is the importance of the so-called Mueller report[.] …
Mueller’s report is likely geared not toward telling a story or answering non-criminal questions but toward fulfilling the purpose of the regulation—that is, explaining his prosecutorial decisions. Unless Mueller understands his role especially grandly, the report is likely not designed to fill the oversight shoes of Congress or to assist the legislature’s role in the impeachment process. Yet unless the report is particularly spare in factual detail, that will not stop politicians and commentators from redeploying it for all of sorts of other purposes.
This business of redeploying criminal investigative work product for purposes of history, for purposes of non-criminal accountability, for purposes of the public’s knowing the “truth” is dicey stuff.
Meh about Mueller on the campaign trail
At events across early primary states, voters asked about health care and school shootings and immigration. Questioners were far less likely to address the report by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, which was delivered to Attorney General William P. Barr on Friday.
Democratic voters said they cared deeply about the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election but weren’t quite sure what to make of the latest twist, exactly. …
The lack of questions at campaign events about the report surprised some of the candidates, who had come prepared with lines about the latest development in the nearly two-year investigation.
Review of Mueller report well underway, “on pace” for Sunday release, but how much of it will come out is anybody’s guess
Attorney General William Barr scoured special counsel Robert Mueller’s confidential report on the Russia investigation with his advisers Saturday, deciding how much Congress and the American public will get to see about the two-year probe into President Donald Trump and Moscow’s efforts to elect him.
Barr was on pace to release his first summary of Mueller’s findings on Sunday, people familiar with the process said. …
Barr has said he wants to release as much as he can under the law. That decision will require him to weigh the Justice Department’s longstanding protocol of not releasing negative information about people who aren’t indicted against the extraordinary public interest in a criminal investigation into the president and his campaign. Democrats are already citing the department’s recent precedent of norm-breaking disclosures, including during the Hillary Clinton email investigation, to argue that they’re entitled to Mueller’s entire report and the underlying evidence he collected.
Patriots owner and billionaire Trump pal Robert Kraft, facing solicitation charges, releases an apology
No Mueller time today
Lawmakers will be in the dark for at least one more day on special counsel Robert Mueller’s central findings about the contacts between associates of President Donald Trump and Russia during the 2016 campaign.
The Justice Department informed Congress on Saturday afternoon that Attorney General William Barr would not provide findings to lawmakers until at least Sunday, extending the rampant speculation about what might be in the report and fueling Democrats’ increasingly urgent pleas to release the full report.
Any minute now, or later, or not
Meanwhile at Mar-a-Lago
Pittsburgh cop who killed teenager Antwon Rose has been acquitted of murder and manslaughter charges — and protests are already underway
Former East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld was found not guilty Friday night in the shooting death last summer of 17-year-old Antwon Rose II of Rankin.
The jury of seven men and five women — including three black jurors — deliberated for a total of 3½ hours before returning a verdict at the Allegheny County Courthouse in Downtown Pittsburgh.
Antwon’s mother, Michelle Kenney, did not visibly react to the verdict. She told her daughter not to cry.
The Friday night framing on cable news
Fox’s Tucker Carlson framed [the Mueller report news] this way: “After all of this, years of it, not a single American citizen has been charged with anything related to Russian collusion.”
Over on CNN, Anderson Cooper said “this is a good night certainly for the president, for his family – Don Jr. was in the meeting in Trump Tower, he’s not going to be indicted – Jared Kushner, questions about him, he’s not going to be indicted.” Yes, Jeffrey Toobin said, but he added a caveat: “What are the facts that Mueller found? If there is a narrative in there, let’s wait and see what he found…”
At around the same time over on MSNBC, Rachel Maddow, who paused her vacation due to the breaking news, told viewers that “we know only the smallest little bits” about what’s in Mueller’s report. “This is the start of something, apparently, not the end of something…”
You know things are wrapping up with Peter Carr issues a statement
Let the spin begin
Take heart, Democrats?
Meanwhile, in other news…
The Democratic candidates have a simple message