I've gotten a lot right in four years. The one fundamental thing I whiffed on, which I'd like to have back, is that I didn't know Mueller went senile a year into his investigation. I've spent time examining the clues I missed, so I don't make a similar mistake again.
Mueller started off gangbusters in his first year. Arrests, indictments, cooperating plea deals, you name it. True to his reputation. There was every reason to expect that aggression to continue.
Then in year two, Mueller went quiet. No publicly visibly moves. I interpreted that as him building his cases behind the scenes. Turns out he spent year two not doing much of anything.
By the time Mueller finally testified (after he'd been ousted), it was clear he'd gone fairly senile. He knew and understood far less about his own investigation that I did. Then the clear delineation between year one and year two finally made sense, and not in a good way.
There's a lot of blame to go around. For instance Rosenstein secretly blocked Mueller from probing Trump's finances, then told the FBI that Mueller was doing Trump's finances, so the FBI would be afraid to step on his toes. Felony obstruction of justice on Rosenstein's part.
But mainly I blame Mueller's own team. It must have been difficult to work for a boss they greatly respected who was going senile. But they seemingly just sat back and let the investigation go down the drain instead of taking charge.
Now that it's clear Bill Barr was a bumbling doofus all along, it's even more inexcusable that Mueller's team sat back and allowed Barr to defeat Mueller almost by accident, while doing nothing to try to work around him.
Mueller's team had a responsibility to find a way to get the improperly redacted portions of their own report into the public's hands, and they didn't do it. My guess is senile Mueller didn't want it done, and they abided by his wishes.
In so doing, they destroyed Mueller's reputation. He'll never be remembered as the guy who took down John Gotti and Enron. He'll only be remembered as the guy who couldn't be bothered to take down Trump.
To be clear, there wasn't much that anyone on the outside could have done differently if we'd known Mueller had stopped doing his job. Democrats didn't control the House until Mueller was gone. No real opportunity for oversight over him. They couldn't have impeached sooner, etc.
Keep in mind the Democrats didn't control a single congressional committee, and therefore weren't able to hold a single Trump-related hearing, until January 2019. Those first two years were just a wasteland for oversight. Mueller was our only (in hindsight false) hope back then.
So I don't think that spotting the Mueller debacle sooner would have changed anything. But I nonetheless wish I'd spotted it. Then again, a lot of people did a lot of cowardly and/or criminal things behind the scenes to specifically make sure no one could spot it.
Rosenstein and Bill Barr need to go to prison for felony obstruction of justice. Mueller's former team members shouldn't have lucrative cable news analyst gigs as a reward for their cowardice. The Mueller thing was one of the all-time embarrassments in U.S. government history.
One fit of irony: when Trump fired Comey, it led to him being investigated by the far more powerful and savvy Mueller instead. But then Mueller went down the tubes. As awful as Comey was, we'd have been better off if Trump had kept him around. Trump made a mistake and got lucky.
The sheer number of times Trump has made a dumb mistake over the past four years, and then got randomly lucky with it, is stunning. And no, it's not that Trump is simply too smart for us to understand what he's doing. He didn't know Mueller was going to go senile, and so on.
Trump survived these past four years due to a combination of Republican complicity, the existing trappings of the presidency, and a number of lucky breaks that he couldn't have possibly seen coming. In fact he's only in office due to the Comey letter fluke. Go figure.
The thing about lucky streaks is that they always run out eventually. Trump finally got very unlucky in 2019 and 2020. His Ukraine gambit, post office shutdown, and Hunter Biden scandal all failed. He didn't get lucky with his decision to ignore the pandemic, and so on.
But luck has a lot to do with leverage. Trump's "luck" got worse in 2019 and 2020 partly because the Democrats were able to use the House to start blowing up his antics. And of course Trump started to taste senility himself over the past year, making it harder for him to scheme.
But I will always believe that if Mueller hadn't gone senile, and his team hadn't given up after he did, and if Rosenstein hadn't seized the opportunity to sabotage Mueller, then Trump would never have made it the full four years. I just wish I'd seen the Mueller debacle coming.
Over the next week you'll see a lot of House and Senate Republicans selfishly kneecap Trump for their own career reasons. If Mueller had done his job, Trump's approval rating would have dropped below 30%, and the Republicans would have selfishly kneecapped him before the midterms
In any case, I believe I could now spot the Mueller debacle in real time if I had it to do over again. Lesson learned. Beyond that, I stand by my record of analysis in general over the past four years. And I appreciate that you're all here.
Someone just reminded me that Mueller was such a hapless empty suit by the end, he actually got bested by Rudy Giuliani of all people. That shouldn't even be possible. Shows just how far gone Mueller was: even more senile than Rudy.
To those demanding that I provide "proof" Mueller went senile: I watched him testify. It was absolute proof. If you've spent time around people who are succumbing to senility/dementia, you know it when you see it, sadly. The guy barely knew where he was during his testimony.
And to those insisting that Mueller was simply limited by the scope of his probe: sorry, doesn't fit with the facts. In year two, Mueller went out of his way to not do his job. Didn't subpoena Trump. Didn't charge Don Jr. Would have been within the scope. He wasn't even trying.
Everyone has their pet theory about what happened, but most of those theories simply don't fit with the facts. Good solid political analysis and predictions always have to fit with the overwhelming preponderance of the facts.
And for those asking what happened to the investigations that Mueller supposedly spun off before he gave up, I guess we're about to find out if they really exist. As of 1/20/21, the DOJ and SDNY will be able to do whatever they want, with whatever they still have to work with.
Okay, enough of this never-ending thread. Thanks for hanging in there with me on this one. I've been wanting to get it off my chest for awhile. Now time to move on. We're in the Biden era now, and it feels good just to type those words 🙂

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