- - Wednesday, July 24, 2019

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Beating a dead horse is an exercise in futility. Hammering on Robert Mueller, author of the vaunted Mueller Report, has proved no more productive. The special counsel, who searched for damning evidence proving Donald Trump’s involvement with Russia’s attempt to interfere with the 2016 presidential election, has spoken, and spoken again. No matter how many times Democrats demand a do-over, the results won’t change. President Trump deserves better, and so does the nation.

Facing the klieg lights on national TV Wednesday, Mr. Mueller appeared overwhelmed by the moment, unfamiliar with his brief, a figurehead set in place by mischievous hands. A less confused account of the search for Russian collusion with the Trump campaign is laid out in the special counsel’s 448-page report. The final text can be picked up at any bookstore, ordered on Amazon or downloaded for free. Each copy spells out in black and white the failure to find that Mr. Trump committed a crime.

That hasn’t stopped conspiracy theorists from scouring the contents for something — possibly printed in invisible ink — charging the president with something un-American. Unwilling to relinquish the suspicion that the Trump presidency is the bitter fruit of poisonous political malignancy, they strain to find that simply isn’t there.

Delusional congressional Democrats, chief among them Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York and Rep. Adam Schiff of California, quizzed Mr. Mueller Wednesday along with their respective House Judiciary and Intelligence Committee members. Apparently convinced that the correct incantation in question form would loosen the tongue of the man tasked with investigating Russian shenanigans in the balloting that saw their political champion, Hillary Clinton, beaten by a nonpolitician.

“This is a president who has violated the law six ways from Sunday,” Mr. Nadler said on “Fox News Sunday.” “We have to present — or let Mueller present — those facts to the American people … because the administration must be held accountable and no president can be above the law.” Hitching up his pants for another swing at the Donald, he added: “We hope it won’t end up being a dud.”



In fact, the hearings were both dud and do-over. They failed to uncover magic words with which to undo Mr. Mueller’s finding regarding allegations of Trump team collusion with Russia: “The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”

It is in the president’s thoroughly human anger at unjust accusations of treasonous dalliance with Russians that Democrats have fancied him mortally wounded by Mr. Mueller’s refusal to absolve him of obstruction of justice: “The evidence we obtained about the President’s actions and intent presents difficult issues that prevent us from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred. Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

In a court of law, prosecutors feel their teeth itch when faced with a hung jury. Unable to charge or exonerate the president, Mr. Mueller must know the feeling. Congress may act as a court of law only when the president is charged with “high crimes and misdemeanors,” and Mr. Mueller’s ambiguous findings have left House Speaker Nancy Pelosi itching instead to slam the door on impeachment proceedings.

The court of public opinion is another matter, though, and Mrs. Pelosi must weigh whether Mr. Mueller’s dazed performance will further drain waning interest in the two-year-plus Russian collusion tale and end what innuendo has failed to accomplish.

Unwilling to watch the Democrats’ do-over in silence, the president took to Twitter as the committee hearings wore on: “I would like to thank the Democrats for holding this morning’s hearing. Now, after 3 hours, Robert Mueller has to subject himself to #ShiftySchiff — an Embarrassment to our Country!”

For his part, Mr. Mueller had been instructed in a Sunday letter from the Justice Department to stay within the clearly marked boundaries of his report during questioning: “Any testimony must remain within the boundaries of your public report because matters within the scope of your investigation were covered by the executive privilege, including information protected by law enforcement, deliberative process, attorney work product, and presidential communications privileges.” He did simply that, referring to his report or declining to answer questions more than 120 times in the morning hearing alone.

Do-overs work in baseball when the ball goes astray. The Mueller Report, though, is already in the books. Democrats’ rehash won’t change the score.

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