Another day, another story at Real Clear Investigations popping holes in the sad, pathetic, gossamer-thin Mueller Report.
Today, Eric Felten exposes the straws of supposition that are the flimsy foundation on which Mueller and his team of Democrats built their house of cards. It’s never been any secret that most of Mueller’s evidence of “obstruction” consisted of things that President Trump did in public — firing Comey, harassing Sessions, threatening to fire Mueller — but Felten lays out an argument that Mueller tried to hide the thin gruel of his evidence in the footnotes that most people would never read.
In “The Shaky Standing of Mueller’s Footnotes,” Felten suggests that Mueller or his team were well aware of the shaky quality of their evidence, so they hid it in plain sight.
… in the age of collusion claims, footnotes have become so much more — places for officials to tuck away inconvenient information; discreet spaces in which to make dubious assertions; or fine print in which required disclosures can be hidden in plain sight.
It was in the footnotes, for example, where the FBI appears to have misled the FISA court in its application to spy on Carter Page – obscuring its reliance on opposition research, the Steele dossier, financed by the Hillary Clinton campaign.
The more than 2,000 footnotes included in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Trump-Russia collusion allegations are also illuminating. Most of the citations are matter-of-fact support for claims made in the main text. But a close reading reveals that many of the footnotes raise more questions than they answer, especially regarding Mueller’s methods and intent. Some footnotes show that key allegations often rely on the flimsy say-so of media accounts; others show a willingness to accept the claims of anti-Trump critics at face value. Mueller and his team also used the footnotes as the place to include unsubstantiated gossip and speculation.
Aa usual, in any story about the conspiracy to undermine President Trump, James Comey plays a major role. In this case, Felten details how the Mueller Report’s obstruction case was fully dependent on Comey’s illegally leaked classified memos of his private conversations with the president. The Comey memos are cited in multiple footnotes, as well as Comey’s testimony about the memos and their content:
Mueller relied so heavily on Comey’s memos that he felt the need to argue the superior believability of the former FBI head’s version of events. He uses legal citations that “contemporaneous written notes can provide strong corroborating evidence” and that “a witness’s recitation of his account before he had any motive to fabricate also supports the witness’s credibility.” Perhaps. But Comey was not a disinterested observer. As Paul Sperry reports for RealClearInvestigations, citing sources familiar with an internal Justice Department review, the FBI director Trump inherited was secretly trying to build a conspiracy case against the president.
Which means that Comey was writing his memos with an eye to swaying future legal and public opinion. Upon finishing a memo, he would run it by his top deputies (see footnotes 187 and 188 in Volume II) to make sure it served its purpose. Comey’s memos may or may not be the “strong corroborating evidence” Mueller claims, but Comey surely intended for those memoranda to establish his version of events. For all his suspicions and speculations about the president’s intentions, one former FBI director demonstrates a remarkable lack of curiosity about the motives of another former FBI director.
Felten has a good sense of irony, which is on full display in his discussion of how the Mueller Report proposes that Trump might have obstructed justice when he fired Comey because months later he might have been implicated when Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to the non-crime of paying off women who were blackmailing Trump during the campaign. Really?
The most delightful chimera of the Mueller Report is the attempt to link “Russia-loving” Trump to a chess tournament held in New York City where (ooh!) Russians were in attendance. Felten has great fun mocking Mueller for including this nonsense in the report and for wasting one of the few questions he was able to ask the President on ascertaining whether he “had been invited ‘to attend the World Chess Championship gala on November 10, 2016’ and whether he had attended ‘any part of the event.’”
Trump said in his written testimony that he “did not attend the event.”
It’s worth pointing out that Nov. 10, 2016, was just two days after Trump’s election and a day the president-elect spent in Washington — it was even in the newspapers — meeting with President Obama.
One can hope that one of the Republicans interrogating Mueller on Wednesday during his forced testimony will challenge the former FBI Director on why he wasted time trying to determine whether President Trump attended a chess match, and why the brilliant agents of the FBI were unable to ascertain the whereabouts of the “most famous person in the world.”
Looking forward to the clown show led by Reps. Nadler and Schiff tomorrow. Certainly expect some decent cross examination by Devin Nunes and Doug Collins, among others. Hopefully they will seize upon this opportunity to expose the corruption within the FBI and the Deep State. Whether Mueller was part of the corruption remains to be established. It’s possible he was just incompetent or stupid. We may never know the answer to that one. Based on everything I have seen of the “great man” in public, my guess is that he is a real-life Forrest Gump or Chauncey Gardiner — someone who was just in the right place at the right time, but has been over his head from the start.
If you enjoy reading these daily essays, I hope you will consider purchasing one of the books of the “Why We Needed Trump” trilogy. Part 1 is subtitled “Bush’s Global Failure: Half Right.” Part 2 is “Obama’s Fundamental Transformation: Far Left.” Part 3 is “Trump’s American Vision: Just Right.” My new book is “The Media Matrix: What if everything you know is fake?” They are available at Amazon in paperback or Kindle editions. Also visit Heartland Diary on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1FmrOF2TF-njRznqoU4yjA