MONOLOGUE WRITTEN BY CLYDE LEWIS
Special Counsel Robert Mueller turned over his long-awaited final report on the contentious Russia collusion investigation. This report will settle once and for all whether or not the conspiracy theories about Donald Trump being a Russian agent are true.
The comprehensive report, still confidential, marks the end of Mueller’s probe but sets the stage for big public fights to come. The next steps are up to the attorney general, to Congress and, in all likelihood, federal courts.
I am not one to think I am a sociopolitical analyst but there is one thing I know and that is you don’t release the results of what has been touted an important investigation on dumping day. Often, the White House sets the release of bad news and unflattering documents late Friday afternoon. It is known by journalists as Dump Day or Take Out the Trash Day.
The Pentagon and other agencies also use the practice, a legacy of earlier administrations. It is also done so that the public can hear about the news and then forget about it after they have has a weekend to calm down.
It is also a time when newsrooms are understaffed, and many people do not take the time to watch their TV’s to get the news. They are usually out enjoying the weekend.
Although Mueller missed his chance to deliver his report to Attorney General William Barr on the Ides of March, he picked another significant date — he did it on the 46th Anniversary of when the secret Watergate tape was released in which Nixon tells John Mitchell, “I want you all to stonewall it, let them plead the Fifth Amendment, cover-up or anything else, if it’ll save it – save the plan.
This was the conversation that that was later used to indict Mitchell on charges of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and perjury for his role in the attempted cover-up of the Watergate scandal of 1972.
Haven’t I pointed out time and time again how history has a tendency to rhyme? This a perfect example of how this is so—you want to know the future – do you want to know the intent and hidden meaning? Check history; check the numbers –and the dates.
It is also the March 22nd or 322. The 322 number is significant as it is the number of the skull and bones society – the elite club at Yale that conspiracy theorists have said is one of the roots of the American Illuminati. It is said that 322 BCE is the date that the death of the Greek orator Demosthenes. This was a turning point in the transformation of ancient Athens from democracy to plutocracy. A plutocracy is a government that is controlled by the wealthy.
These can be important clues as to what the report is trying to tell us — and so far, there are the best clues we can speculate about because in truth that is about all we will be able to do with this report.
We have all been led down the path to this point being told that this is the hammer that will take out the witch but the witchery and sleight of hand will leave us quite confused and it is guaranteed that it will divide us even more.
It’s unclear what steps Mueller will take if he uncovered what he believes to be criminal wrongdoing by Trump, in light of Justice Department legal opinions that have held that sitting presidents may not be indicted.
The mere delivery of a confidential report will set off immediate demands, including in the Democratic-led House, for the full release of Mueller’s findings.
However, I want to read a sentence to you that may disappoint anyone looking for witches in this case. When the new powers of the special council were approved in 1999 a new law specifically states:
“At the conclusion of the Special Counsel’s work, he or she shall provide the Attorney General with a confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions reached by the Special Counsel.”
That’s it — one solitary sentence that should indicate to everyone that we should all calm down and that the media should wait before making their final push for you to believe the conspiracy theories they have spun.
I want to emphasize that this report was prepared for the attorney general. It was not necessarily prepared for Congress or the public. The report is specifically said to be “confidential.” It will also recommend the next step in “prosecution or declination decisions.”
This language is explicit and literally makes the summation of the documents are nothing more than dry law enforcement recommendations.
It is a confidential document, meaning we may not know what it has in it.
I am confident that Mueller’s investigation has relied a good deal on classified intelligence and so he would not be permitted to release the document or documents in unredacted form.
There are various laws and rules around the secrecy of witness testimony and information obtained by a federal grand jury. Traditional Justice Department practice is to not publicly speak about individuals they have decided not to criminally charge.
Now, keep in mind that William Barr is a Trump appointed Attorney General, meaning that if it is not complicated enough Barr has his own reporting requirements. The special counsel regulation states that:
“Upon the conclusion of the special counsel’s investigation,” the attorney general must provide “an explanation.”
This explanation would be provided to the chair and ranking member of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees. These are currently Representatives Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and Doug Collins (R-GA), and Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).
If the Attorney General had overruled any “proposed action” from the special counsel, he or she would have to explain why.
Finally, the Attorney General “may” release this report publicly, “to the extent that release would comply with applicable legal restrictions.”
During Barr’s confirmation hearings, he testified that he wanted to disclose as much as possible within the bounds of the law, however, it is important to note that he refused to commit to making the Mueller report public, instead focusing on the Attorney General’s reporting requirements.
This will open up the floodgates for more conspiracy theories from the media, also, it would be most important to watch the actions of the attorney general.
This the only way, at this point, to know if the report is in favor of Trump or against him.
If the report ends up not being so bad for Trump, Barr may actively want to try to release as much of its exact text as possible, in an attempt to rebut conspiracy theories.
But if the report is hugely damning Barr will not be as forthcoming; again, there would be accusations of a cover-up by the media that wants Trump burned at the stake.
However, whatever will be reported by the media will still be conspiracy theory because while you can’t just sweep something like this under the rug — Getting hold of the “report” might prove difficult for congressional Democrats. But if Mueller’s prosecutors do suspect a cover-up, information could get out through leaks to the press, whistleblowing, congressional testimony, or subpoenas.
There will most certainly be a fight and accusations or cover up from the press. It’s unclear how long it will take before its findings are leaked or released.
Obviously, this is not over – it brings no resolution – it means nothing.
Unless Mueller files a detailed indictment charging members of the Trump campaign with conspiring with Russia, the public may never learn the full scope of what Mueller and his team have found, including potentially scandalous behavior that doesn’t amount to a provable crime.
Two weeks ago Nancy Pelosi said in a statement that she did not support the impeachment of President Trump.
“I’m not for impeachment,” Pelosi said. “This is news. I’m going to give you some news right now because I haven’t said this to any press person before. But since you asked, and I’ve been thinking about this: Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country. And he’s just not worth it.”
However, she did say that he is not fit to be president.
Many people speculated that the reason why she made these statements is because she has caught wind that the investigation into collusion will be what critics call a “nothing burger.”
Despite the indictments of former campaign staffers, it turns out that the report will not be the 2019 equivalent of the 1998 Starr Report that nailed Bill Clinton’s role in the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
It is more likely to be a relatively boring summary of campaign law violations by the Trump team. In other words, everyone is probably about to discover that this is boring, real-life politics with no satisfying conclusions only more treachery with back peddling by an over-excited media.
If anything the Mueller report has definitely created a bipartisan agreement over whether or not the report should be made public.
According to CNN/SSRS polling, 87% believe Mueller’s investigators “should produce a full, public report on their findings.
Even when you dig into the numbers, it’s clear that every side wants to see the report. Nine in 10 Democrats (92%) and independents (88%) favor public release of the report. Even 8 in 10 Republicans feel the same way!
The question is how the public will react when they realize that they will not be getting as much transparency from the report as they were duped into believing by an over-excited media?
It is also interesting to note that before the Mueller report was released, there was an unraveling of information about the controversial Steele dossier.
A newly released snippet of a deposition with the ex-British spy behind the Trump-Russia dossier describes some of the steps he took to verify the information he collected for it in 2016, including pulling from a user-generated citizen journalism initiative by CNN, iReport, which no longer operates.
Christopher Steele admitted during a lawsuit deposition that he used internet searches and unverified information to support details he had gathered about a web company mentioned in the dossier, according to select pages of his deposition transcript that a federal court unsealed a week ago.
But Steele limited his answers about how he verified information about the web companies who claimed they were defamed. He would not explain, for instance, what else he did or sources he used to verify information in the dossier about Webzilla, its parent company XBT and their Russian founder Aleksej Gubarev, who were named in the dossier. He did not have to describe during the deposition all the steps he took to collect or check the information because of terms set by the court.
But he could talk about web searches — and how he didn’t realize one article he found in his research was a submission from a “random person,”— he literally used copy pasta as a source, something that media accuses conspiracy theorists of doing.
A senior Justice Department official said that Special Counsel Robert Mueller will not recommend any further indictments in the case. I can further hear the groans of disappointment from the left.
However, they are hopeful that the evidence uncovered by the special counsel’s probe could be used in other investigations, like in the Southern District of New York, which again demonstrates the cynicism surrounding the special council’s report and a damming plan B waiting to be used if the report shows no collusion or any other criminal activity.
All of this may sound like a buzzkill after two years of intense news coverage depicting a potential conspiracy between the Kremlin and Trump’s campaign, plus the scores of tweets from the White House condemning the Mueller probe as a “witch hunt.”
Now that it appears to be over it is safe to say that a lack of solid information, evidence and facts, speculation has run rampant in major news reports about the special counsel’s operations. Many of them were wrong, with major errors that led to mass retractions.
I predict that when history records this moment they will certainly be critical of the media and social media platforms. It is obvious that they repeatedly allowed personal confirmation bias and a visceral reaction to a Republican president tank nearly all of their credibility.
The continued proliferation of their own narrative is what will continue. Trump’s impunity, if there is any to be had, will be continuously reported even without Mueller’s report being transparent.
It would be quite a feat if the mainstream media had to correct the previous mistakes brought on by bias in the first place. After all, true reflection of the press’ problem would require some real introspection and an admission there is a problem at all.
This is the first step to recovery and one the majority of those at the heart of this issue just can’t come to terms with.
Rampant anonymous sourcing continues, despite how many times those sources have burned reporters. So long as they’re still saying the right things about Trump’s collusion with Russia, their quotes and information are still being used to drive major news pieces.
Members of the press who truly care about regaining credibility can start by acknowledging the personal biases that bleed into their work. Until then, nothing will change.
Until then, the witch hunt will continue even though the hammer has already been laid down.