The New Legal Concepts Post Mueller

Robert Swan Mueller III wrote a book. It was a longish book at 441 pages. Not War & Peace long, but still long enough that nobody has read it.

You have not read it. The talking heads have not read it. The Speaker of the House of the US House of Representatives admits she has not read it. It is the most unread book in America.

Cover art

You can buy an eBook ($1.99) or an audiobook on Amazon. Sales have been slow. The author is Robert S Mueller III, a Princeton undergrad and a Virginia Law grad.

[He is a lawyer, a profession I’d keep my law license current on because I think the author gig is not going to work out.]

You will note that the cover has seven stars across the top. This is not indicative of a rating, like being a New York Times best seller. This is what is called “cover art” in the book writing business. Some say these will be the only stars this book will ever be awarded. I tend to agree with them.

What often happens when an author can’t peddle his book, get people to actually read it, he did a “reading” or what I like to say he gave us a “book report.”

Others may call it a press briefing — at which he took no questions — but I will call it a book report.

In that book report (and in the book itself), we learned new legal concepts.

In the old days, we had this concept that a man was “innocent until proven guilty.”

This concept comes from English law and it was suborned when the Colonies rebelled against the King. That is the attendant folklore.

In fact, it appears for the first time in a Gettysburg, Pennsylvania court used by a Samuel Chase (reported in the newspaper The Sprig Of Liberty). Law students and lawyers know this kind of arcane stuff. Others do not.

Speaking of his client, Chase said, “He wishes the court to consider him innocent until he is proven to be guilty.”

Thereafter it again appears in a Supreme Court of Ohio 1835 report: “The law presumes all innocent of crime until proven guilty.”

Nonetheless, it is the law of this land and it is understood that a man stands before the bar of justice with a cloak of innocence until he is accused of a crime (indicted) based on a standard of probable cause, tried for the crime before a jury of his peers, given an opportunity to evaluate evidence, given an opportunity to cross examine those who bear witness against him, and not until that jury renders a verdict is that cloak of innocence removed.

In the verdict business we have only two choices — guilty or not guilty. There is no innocent, “do over,” or “well it sure looks funny.” Those are not verdicts.

Absent a verdict of guilty, the man is never shorn of his cloak of innocence. If there is no verdict of guilty, then the court is forced and the world embraces no change in the man’s status — HE IS INNOCENT.

There are also legal niceties such that if you cannot indict or otherwise charge a crime, it is considered dirty pool to talk shit about a person who cannot defend themselves. The FBI does not say, “Look we couldn’t find any evidence of a crime, but this person was careless, reckless, and we don’t like them.”

Point of order — Well, except in the case of the James “I got cut from the JV chess team and I’m pissed off” Comey denunciation of Hillary Rodham Clinton — twice — on the eve of the 2016 election, the perfect exemplar as to what not to do. HRC has a legitimate beef against Grand Master Jimmy.

In the 21 month, $35MM, 18 prosecutor, 50 FBI agent Mueller investigation of a three month period of time surrounding the 2016 election, we are confronted with some new legal concepts.

Where American jurisprudence has focused on investigating crimes that are enumerated in criminal statutes, the Mueller fallout is that you can investigate things like “collusion” which is not really a crime as there is no pertinent Federal statute forbidding it.

Mueller trumps “probable cause” with his own new invention — “possible cause.” As Bobbie Mueller said, “Sure, my boys didn’t find probable cause, but it is. . . . . possible . . . . . that a crime happened. We can’t put this fella at the scene of the possible crime, but we sure would like to.”

Then there is the additional new outcome to sleep side by side with guilty v not guilty. There is the concoction called, “We can’t exonerate the target.”

There are those who will say, “Where did that come from? I thought you charged people or not. WTF?”

Dear reader, in the Mueller book and the book report, we have a new concept. If you cannot charge someone, if you cannot get a jury to shout out — “The son-of-a-bitch is guilty!” then you and your investigators (who some reasonable persons may question as to bias) can whip out the “We can’t exonerate him” standard.

This is a new standard that will see a lot of play. Now, you can get outcomes that sound like this.

“Well, we didn’t find any probable cause of a crime, but we damn sure found possible cause.”

“We can’t get that jury to shout ‘Guilty’ and we’re not going to say ‘Not guilty’, but we can hang our hat on ‘not exonerated.'”

This, of course, requires the Mueller book report to ignore that old shibboleth of “A man is innocent until found guilty.” Mueller rips off the outdated, well-worn cloak of innocence and says, “We consider your sorry ass to be guilty unless you can convince us otherwise or we decide to exonerate you all on our own.”

I am, of course, skipping over such details as “due process” and “spying” and “secret courts” and “fraudulently obtained warrants from secret courts based on oppo research materials.” Those are just details.

Bottom line it, Big Red Car

OK, dear reader. Here it is.

Probable cause is gone and now we have possible cause.

The presumption of innocence is now replaced with the presumption of guilt.

The prohibition of speaking ill of an uncharged person is now replaced with the concept that anything goes.

The idea that there are verdicts only of guilty v not guilty is replaced with the outcome of “We didn’t exonerate the old boy.” The fact that the old boy wasn’t charged is no longer material to the discussion.

Now, you know why nobody read the Mueller Report. It was an incoherent hit piece — gibberish — of a political nature that is an offense to our presumption of innocence, respect for process. It is a political football that Bobbie Mueller has sent to the House of Representatives — who have never read the damn report anyway — to fan the flames of impeachment.

And, there you have it.

But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car. I did read the damn report cover to cover. It’s crap.