- - Monday, July 15, 2019

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Democrats dissatisfied with the contents of the Mueller report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election can’t seem to resist the temptation to pry off the lid of Pandora’s box. Craving the key to impeaching President Trump, they risk the danger of refusing to let bad enough alone. Their obstinacy could ultimately serve the greater good they don’t intend, giving Republicans a stage for exposing mischief unleashed by the Obama administration.

Both parties are anxious to get a look at special counsel Robert Mueller when he is called to answer questions about the contents of his 448-page analysis of the results of a two-year investigation into tales of Mr. Trump’s collusion with Russia to fix the 2016 election. So eager are some congressmen to take a shot at the Mueller findings that the Democrats who control the process have reluctantly delayed hearings a week until July 24 so they can have more time to think up questions for Mr. Mueller. Mr. Mueller has vowed to stick to the conclusions he reached and put into his report. He says he has no interest in igniting a political spectacle.

Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has the unenviable task of proving that despite Mr. Mueller’s failure to discover scheming between the Trump campaign and Russians to steal the 2016 election, the public should believe it did, anyway. Mr. Schiff has repeatedly claimed that the evidence that Mr. Mueller didn’t find is sitting “in plain view.” When ordinary people cling to delusion, it’s called schizophrenia. When the president’s obsessed critics do it, they call it good citizenship.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, is savoring his opportunity to ask Mr. Mueller why he didn’t explicitly exonerate President Trump of obstructing justice. Citing Justice Department policy of regarding the indictment of a sitting president as unconstitutional, he obviously wants Congress to pursue impeachment now.

U.S. Attorney Gen. William Barr has tried to explain to these thick legislators that, since the Mueller investigators could not prove collusion, logic dictates there was no pre-existing crime for the president to obstruct. That’s why he, with the backing of deputy Rod Rosenstein, took it upon himself to clear the president of suspicion that he obstructed justice.



Logic further dictates that, in accordance with his appointment order to look into “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation,” Mr. Mueller should have followed up to ask why the Obama administration spied on the Trump campaign well in advance of the election.

But he didn’t. Republicans on both committees appear intensely interested in asking Mr. Mueller to explain why he chose not to seize the opportunity to probe deeper and get to the rockbottom of the collusion. If he had, he might have confirmed what the president’s defenders were saying to anyone who would listen, that the court authorizing spying on the Trump team based its order on accusations in “evidence” paid for by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

The special counsel should be asked to justify his reasons for packing his investigative team with Democratic Party allies, including a former Hillary Clinton lawyer and a former prosecutor close enough to Mrs. Clinton to join her commiseration gala the night she lost the presidency to Donald Trump. There is no explanation for how a lawyer of Mr. Mueller’s skill and stature could have committed an unforced error of such magnitude.

That Russia engaged in a variety of strategies to meddle in the 2016 presidential election is beyond reasonable doubt. The Mueller report has already said that, and said that the Trump campaign had no part in the meddling. Democrats who refuse to take no for an answer might well rue the day they, like the foolish Pandora, opened such a box of strange and mysterious evidence.

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