Mueller Reportedly Close to Completing His Investigation

Late yesterday, there were reports that Special Counsel Bob Mueller is close to wrapping up his investigation. (See, for example, CNN's "Justice Department Preparing for Mueller Report as Early as Next Week.") Now, if you're smart — and I know you are — you're probably thinking: I've heard that before. And yes, we surely have.

There are two big differences this time — which don't mean that the report is necessarily true, but make it much more likely to be true than previous reports.

1. Bill Barr is now Attorney General. Donald Trump has succeeded in removing Jeff Sessions, who recused himself from oversight of the Special Counsel's investigation, and now has in place an Attorney General who testified during his confirmation that he would not make Mueller's report public, but would write his own report instead. And who once said that the Special Counsel's investigation "is based on a 'fatally misconceived' theory that would cause lasting damage to the presidency and the executive branch."

So, it is quite possible that Barr is shutting Mueller down, rather than Mueller wrapping up of his own accord. And it is definite that Barr is prepared to conceal the extent of Mueller's findings, both from the public and from Congress (who are only granted access to the report at the AG's discretion).

This is what Trump has wanted all along, and it looks like he's finally going to get it.

2. Trump has successfully declared a national emergency. As Sarah Kendzior noted on the most recent episode of the podcast Gaslit Nation, "The national emergency gives Trump the ability to use an internet kill switch, to shut down citizens' bank accounts, to deploy troops to attack protesters. There's no end to the national emergency because it's tied to his fantasy wall."

In other words: Trump has achieved the means to swiftly and effectively quash any mass protests that might happen in response to Mueller's investigation being shut down.

As Nadine van der Velde observed on Twitter last week: "It's a mistake for people to think in terms of norms. There are NO norms under despots. Also a mistake for people to think that the wall is THE reason for declaring an emergency. It's the excuse to grab power, money & impose broad restrictions on people. It is only the beginning."

Correct. As I have written many times now: It's not just about the wall. It's about the expansion of authoritarian powers and the further erosion of our democracy.

It has never been, not really, about building a wall, but about building the foundations of autocratic rule.

Trump has absolute contempt for the rule of law (as it applies to him and his family), and he's going to use the expanded powers he's gotten under the auspices of building a monument to nativist white supremacy at the southern border to clamp down on dissent as he obstructs and undermines the rule of law to avoid accountability for his own criminality.

Some folks are speculating that Mueller is passing off the work products of his extensive probe to other investigative bodies, e.g. the U.S. Attorney of the Southern District of New York (aka SDNY). Surely Mueller was not unaware that this could be a possibility, so it makes sense he might have designed a contingency plan.

However, Trump is clearly aware of that potentiality, too: Last year, he tried to intervene to put Geoffrey S. Berman, the U.S. Attorney for SDNY and a close ally, in charge of the SDNY's investigation, even though Berman had been obliged to recuse himself from the investigation.

Which means that even if Mueller successfully hands off the threads of his expansive investigation, there's no guarantee that Trump, with Barr's help, won't eventually find a way to thwart them, too.

What we're going to need, urgently, is a patriotic whistleblower, someone who is willing to leak or publicly testify just because it's the right thing to do, not because they've got books to sell two years from now.

Unfortunately, those folks seem to be in short supply.

No surprise, considering the cavernous lack of ethics it requires to work for Donald Trump in the first place.

In any case, it's vanishingly unlikely that "Mueller is going to save us." It always was. Which is why I've been stridently advising caution since Day One, despite the pushback (and abuse) I've gotten. I still hope I'm wrong. I still hope, desperately, that we see that report and that it matters.

But Trump is going to do everything in his (unchecked) power to make sure that it doesn't.

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus