Sigh, a friend who constantly goads me in regard to all matters pertinent to President Trump has threatened me with physical violence if the Big Red Car fails to take note of the Mueller Report. I will try to restrain myself from discussing much of the detail, but I will touch on the process.
Robert Swan Mueller III investigating President Trump’s McDonald’s selections.
First, I believe that most reasonable people will conclude, as did Bobby Mueller, that there was no evidence of Trump campaign Russian collusion. That is, of course, the genesis of the report — “Bob, go take a look at whether the Trumpies were in bed with the Russians. Do it in accordance with the Special Counsel statute.”
Two years later, we now have the Mueller Report.
The charge then morphed into an investigation of whether the President obstructed justice. The charge to look at obstruction was focused at first, but then ran far afield during the course of the investigation.
I take issue with the process. Let us map the process, shall we?
The American Legal process — what is it, Big Red Car?
Here, dear reader, is the process whereby a defendant goes from being innocent to being a criminal.
A man arrives before the bar of justice with a cloak of innocence about his shoulders because that is our legal system — a man is innocent until proven guilty.
Law enforcement is charged with investigating matters when there is a finding of “probable cause” that a crime was committed. Law enforcement is not authorized to conduct an investigation because they don’t like someone. You cannot start with the defendant and rummage around to find a crime that fits.
The crime must match a particular statute. [Note: there is no crime of “collusion” as an example and, therefore, Mueller’s boys went in search of “conspiracy” for which there is a specific Federal statute. A crime of conspiracy requires an underlying crime about which to conspire. WTF were they conspiring about?]
If an investigation finds evidence — EVIDENCE — of a crime, it is referred to a prosecutor who formally charges the defendant with a crime citing the applicable offense under a specific statute. Prosecutors don’t undertake cases without evidence.
A prosecutor may have to take a particular charge to a sitting grand jury and may haul the investigators, witnesses, and the defendant in front of that grand jury to answer questions. A defendant cannot bring his lawyer to the grand jury proceedings and the proceedings must remain secret. [This is a fertile area for a bit of legislation, opines your Big Red Car.]
The prosecutor charges the defendant with a specific crime in an indictment which is voted out by the grand jury. [Yes, a good prosecutor can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich.]
At that time, the defendant retains defense counsel and the defendant and his counsel are entitle to review the evidence and examine the witnesses. [The defendant may have retained defense counsel earlier in the process.]
The defendant is entitled to certain factual discovery including the exposure of mitigating, extenuating, and exculpatory evidence that would serve to either explain the circumstances or to assist in the defendant’s defense. This is a huge consideration and the prosecution must meet this duty.
The prosecutor and the defendant would then show up at a scheduled trial in front of a judge. The judge runs the trial. He is the king in his courtroom.
The prosecutor and defendant’s counsel, in accordance with the rules of civil procedure and under the supervision of the judge, empanel a jury from a pool of worthies.
The prosecutor would then present the case — witness testimony, physical evidence — and the defendant’s counsel would present the defense.
An important note: the prosecution carries the burden of proof meaning the prosecutor must prove the defendant is guilty; the defendant has no burden of proof. The defendant does not have to prove his “innocence.” If the prosecution fails to bear up under its burden, then the defendant is “not guilty.” He is not judged “innocent” or “exonerated.”
During the trial, the defendant’s counsel is allowed the opportunity to cross examine the prosecution witnesses and to examine the evidence.
The defendant’s counsel is allowed to provide defense witnesses and defense evidence.
In the end, the jury is charged with making a decision on a number of questions and receives formal jury instructions from the judge. The prosecutor and defense counsel participate in crafting the jury instructions, but many courts have standard instructions which are adapted to the facts of the specific case.
If the jury, after deliberation, finds the defendant guilty of the charge by the appropriate legal standard for the nature of the charges, they report to the judge their findings, called a verdict.
The judge then tells the defendant (publishes the verdict of the jury), “You have been found guilty – or – you have been found not guilty of . . . “
The judge does not use words like “innocent” or “exonerated” or “vindicated.” He tells the defendant he has been found either guilty or not guilty.
If the judge tells the defendant he has been found guilty, the cloak of innocence is ripped from the defendant’s shoulders and he is a criminal.
To declare a defendant a criminal, he must be given the ability to engage in the entire process outlined above.
The investigator of the original crime does not make a pronouncement as to guilt or innocence. That is left to a judge after a prosecutor and a defense counsel have engaged in the legal duel outlined above.
This process above is the only way an innocent man becomes a criminal in the United States.
Do you have a beef, Big Red Car?
As I noted, I am only focused on the process. I have robust thoughts on much of the report, but I am going to spare you those as they are tedious, predictable, and inconclusive.
Here’s my beef — the Mueller Report dealt with the collusion issue fine. They concluded, “Nothing to see here, y’all. Move along.”
As to the obstruction issue, the Mueller Report punted the decision to the Attorney General. But, they didn’t just punt it. They went out of their way to say that the report did not “exonerate” the President of obstruction of justice.
Huh? “Exonerate” is not a legal standard. Why did they say that?
My beef — look at the process above — is that “exoneration” is not a legal standard. A judge does not end a trial with an utterance, “You have been found exonerated.”
In this manner, the Mueller Report wants to eat its cake and have it too. It fairly deals with the issue of collusion, and it clearly states they did not find sufficient evidence — EVIDENCE — to charge the President with obstruction of justice, but they wanted to kneecap him and say that they did not “exonerate” him.
That notion — exoneration — was never in their charge, it is not a known legal standard, it is not the resolution to a trial.
So, what is it, Big Red Car?
What it is, dear reader, is an open wound with a crusty scab that will be pounced upon by the “investigate all things Trump” crowd over at the House of Representatives.
It is an invitation to impeach.
These Mueller clowns spent two years, $35MM, conducted thousands of interviews, ran folks through a grand jury, employed a battalion of investigators and arrived at, “Well, we didn’t find anything, but we’re not exonerating the old boy.”
Come on, Bobby. Really? That’s the best you can do?
Bottom line it, Big Red Car
The Mueller Report is the beginning of the impeachment tsunami that guys like Jerry Nadler and Adam Schiff want to unleash upon the United States.
President Trump arrived at the soiree with a cloak of innocence and nothing has been discovered or charged to snatch that cloak of innocence from his shoulders.
Please note that the first four months of the Dem controlled House of Representatives has passed no legislation, but has set up multiple investigative panels.
The entire premise of their investigations is this, “Hell, we know this subject better than Robert Swan Mueller III and his henchpersons. Hold our beers. We have our guy, now we just need to find some evidence.”
Well, let’s be honest, shall we? The entire House of Reps charade is about fatally wounding one Donald J Trump and his effort to be re-elected President. Can we agree on that?
Is it time to whisper to the House that this is not why the American people sent them to Congress? Or, that the “pros” at the Mueller campfire did not miss something they are going to find?
In the end, the Mueller Report grossly exceeds its charge. They were to investigate and indict or decline to indict. The Special Counsel requires them to report these decisions to the Attorney General who then has the prerogative, but not the obligation, to decide with whom to share the report.
Instead, the Muellerites wrote us War and Peace leaving us with an inconclusive utterance on the subject of obstruction of justice thereby giving the House a chance to rip that scab off and spill some blood.
Whose blood will they spill?
I suspect the Dems will be punished like a rented mule at the ballot box in 2020. I think the American electorate can differentiate between chicken salad and chicken excrement. We shall see.
So, there you have it. I resisted the temptation to get into the weeds in chapter and verse. The Mueller Report will not change a single mind in America. We are all at our self-selected campfires, talking our predictable shit, and wasting time.