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In superb Atlantic article abt Mueller Rept, @benjaminwittes says: “Mueller looks at these through a legal lens; he’s a prosecutor... I found myself reading it through a very different lens: patriotism.”


I believe in patriotism, as well as rule of law. But my friend Craig likes to say we shd always ask: "Why is THIS a law and THAT isn't?" Or to paraphrase Anatole France, why does the law's infinite egalitarianism ban rich & poor alike from sleeping under bridges but NOT...

...ban bankers & beggars alike from foreclosing on the poor & middle class who were hoodwinked into buying housing w/ mortgages the bank KNEW they couldn't afford? I see the Trump threat as much more perilous & lawless than the establishment seems to.
Trump faces prison. His henchmen, incl Barr, RR, Mnuchin, McConnell, Graham, Kavanaugh, et. al., have been selected BECAUSE they will aid him in avoiding justice. Trump will do ANYTHING, even if virulently divisive, illegal, unconstitutional, violent and/or blatantly fascist!

And that, I’m afraid, is what the “establishment” is failing to recognize. In many ways, they’re like the Social Revolutionaries or Mensheviks of the years surrounding the October Revolution, or the German aristocrats of early 30s.
They thot they cd operate w/i traditional strictures & that customs & laws wd guide country thru. But they were dealing w/ ppl who ignore law & decency. If @GaryKasparov’s opponent is allowed to move ANY piece HOWEVER he wants, & Gary obeys rules, he cdn’t even beat Trump!
With Mueller’s “exoneration” of Trump on Russia connection, last prayer of removal by Senate vanished. We face AT LEAST 20 mnths of increasingly lawless & destructive Admin. Will we have a country left? Knowing he faces indictment, why wd he leave WH earlier than he can avoid?
Meanwhile, two points:
A. A huge amount rests on Mueller’s failure to delve deeper into #TrumpRussia:

1. NOT issuing subpoena to Trump; 2. NOT issuing subpoenas to Junior (who may have threatened to take the 5th), Eric, Ivanka, Sessions, Trump’s interpreter at Helsinki, etc.;
3. NOT examining his tax returns for payments from Russian banks & oligarchs thru the yrs; 4. NOT resisting the DoJ’s very dubious prohibition on indicting sitting President; & PERHAPS 5. eschewal of highly classified evidence to protect valuable sources & methods.
That last -- protecting sources & methods -- may be justified – but I’d feel better if there weren’t strong evidence that Mueller et. al. are greatly underestimating the current threat. Not much point protecting sources & methods if the country is gone…
B. DESPITE the Trump & Congressional GOP obstructions, & DESPITE the strictures on Mueller’s team, there is a mountain of evidence that the Trump campaign/transition team/administration DID collude with Russia, even if not in a way prohibited by criminal statutes:
1. All the lies abt the myriad known contacts w/ Russian figures; 2. the Trump Tower Moscow negotiations & coverup; 3. Manafort’s missives to Russia re polling data; 4. Trump’s calling on Russia to find Hillary’s emails, immediately followed by Russia attempting hackings;
5. Jared’s “back channel” thru the Russian embassy; 6. Mariya Buttina, etc., etc. Does that evidence amount to enough to charge espionage, breach of Logan Act, other crime? Maybe not. But to me, it sure as hell amounts to COLLUSION even if that’s not a crime! (Why NOT?)
The points in B are enough that Mueller’s team shd NOT have given Trump/Giuliano/Graham the talking point of “exoneration” – & that’s EXACTLY way report is being taken by much of the public! Mueller shd have: 1. pushed to follow ALL evidence, incl ALL needed subpoenas;
2. NOT farmed out other nat’l security investigations (like S. Arabia connection); & if blocked by RR/Barr 3. shd have told public that he'd RESIGN if DOJ blocked investigation! Instead, he let 22 mnths of work to be coopted as strongest yet “exoneration” talking point!
If the failures of Mueller investigation are due to the DoJ’s strictures on him & not to his own decisions, he MUST step forward to Congress & reveal exactly what happened. He shd have spoken out publicly months ago – but now it is a patriotic necessity!
Yes, Mueller’s life is testament to his patriotism – but here he was NOT leader of a rifle team, prosecutor convicting Mafia, nor even an FBI Director trying to keep America safe from Al Qaeda attacks. He won Bronze Star by going “above & beyond” to carry a comrade to safety.

But now, with the U.S. & its Constitution under attack from a completely lawless cabal of white supremacists and oligarchs, both internal & external, he balked.
There has been nothing to stop Mueller from taking his case public at any point in the past 23 months, incl when the 4-page #Barrstool was released, he felt he was being constrained or misconstrued. As I recall, his investigation’s official spokesperson was happy to do it...

...(to the benefit of Trump Admin!) when Buzzfeed published article that was a bit inaccurate.

Our nation turned its frightened eyes to Mueller as perhaps our last defender. I am naïve enough to believe that if he'd brought clear evidence of collusion with Russia,..
...removal by Senate wd have been a possibility. That hope is gone, doomed by an outcome that Trump claims as “exoneration” even though Mueller left much possibly fertile ground unploughed. We are now doomed to at least 20 more months of lawless destruction to our country,..
...our Constitution & our alliances. And though I believe Trump is at the moment an underdog for reelection, it cd very likely be for much more than 20 months!
Yesterday, @FareedZakaria’s Take on GPS took a stance against impeachment & for concentrating on winning in Nov 2020. But it was a total contradiction of Fareed’s opening the week before, where he pointed out Trump threat to politicize/destroy the Federal Reserve!
That threat, & others yet unforeseen, will be conjured by Trump & #GOPquislings in the next year-and-a-half.

To that extent, Mueller’s failed report has been equivalent of a prosecution failing to convict a serial criminal who is in a position to do MUCH more damage...
... to America than even a murder or two every month! Now Fareed is suggesting we shd, for reasons of political expediency, eschew trying to apprehend this serial criminal for 22 more months, turning him loose in the city to wreak havoc against the most defenseless!
@ElieNYC Mystal this past w/e made essentially opposite point from Fareed’s – that impeaching Trump & forcing Senate Repubs to defend his rotting carcass, they will destroy themselves both for 2020 election & as future Presidential candidates.
I’d suggest that which pundit is reaching the more pragmatic conclusion depends on future evidence: what we have now, what we’ll get from Mueller, RR, Barr, SDNY, NY AG, etc., & how the country reacts to this Admin’s FUTURE actions, incl refusal to obey subpoenas...
... for Mueller, Barr, Mnuchin, tax returns, etc.! Is there ANYTHING the Trump Admin might attempt that the U.S. public – including Fareed! – would say is a lawless step too far & worth a shot at a Senate vote?

Maybe, maybe not. But I’d suggest...
...that how the public reacts to a failed impeachment depends very much on the evidence of malfeasance. The public didn’t buy the importance of Starr’s story Clinton gained popularity.
However, if a GOP Senate had decided to keep Nixon in office AFTER release of the Watergate Tapes, they’d have been demolished as a party in the 1976 election, even more than they actually were!
I agree w/ Elie Mystal’s point that Mueller, Fareed & other patriotic members of the establishment – even Congressional Dem leaders! -- are grossly underestimating not just the present threat, but the perils of delay in removing Trumpism.
The damage, and this Administration’s INCREASING willingness to engage in lawlessness, have 18 more months to spread the disease before the next SCHEDULED election.

But not for a second do I believe that if Trump seems certain to lose come mid-October 2020, he will say:
“Oh, well, I guess I’ll just try to defend myself in criminal court!” He will find a pretext (insecure election systems? “Illegals” planning to vote? Democratic collusion w/ NATO? Clinton/Obama treason per George Orwell’s Snowball? "Civil unrest”?)...
...for declaring a state of emergency & “postponing” the election.

What happens after that, I don’t know. Normally, I’d say the courts wd defend us, but who knows what kangaroos will have been given wigs by McConnell over the next year-and-a-half?
35/ (Next-to-last!)

I do believe that, while there may not be a Civil War Two, there will be great civil unrest & violent sectionalism, including bloodshed.

And America will never be the same.
36/ (Finis!)

Our last hope of saving America will have died through the belief – like that of many good Germans during the 30s -- that "those people can’t really be that bad!"

They ARE!
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