Law & the Courts

Did Mueller Sit on His No-Collusion Conclusion?

Special counsel Robert Mueller delivers a statement on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election at the Justice Department in Washington, D.C., May 29, 2019. (Jim Bourg/Reuters)
If so, why did he do it?

What did Robert Mueller know, and when did he know it?

This was among the questions that the Russiagate special counsel dodged at Wednesday’s Justice Department photo opportunity. More concretely, did Mueller promptly report his no-collusion conclusion, or did he cover it up for months, to enervate President Donald J. Trump and energize Democrats? Meanwhile, America tore itself in two.

Mueller’s 22-month-long inquiry was like chemotherapy — an invasive, all-consuming nightmare, though seemingly necessary to excise a malignancy. Serious suspicions existed that the Republican party’s standard-bearer conspired with the Kremlin to capture the White House.

The chemo eventually worked. It confirmed that there was no collusion. The Oval Office is not occupied by a Russian asset. If Dr. Mueller determined this in, say, mid-February and informed Attorney General William Barr on March 22, then Americans should applaud this fair timeline.

But what if Dr. Mueller last year deemed Team Trump cancer-free but, nonetheless, continued this exhausting, divisive, demoralizing chemotherapy — for at least eight extra months?

Why such cruelty? Did Mueller intend to keep Trump off balance and unable to focus completely on his agenda? Did Mueller mean to rejuvenate Democrats, so that they would resist the “Russian agent” who denied Hillary her “birthright?” And did Mueller (or his angry-Democrat staff) leave this smear against Trump uncorrected so that information-deprived voters would hand Democrats the House?

Under-covered passages of Mueller’s report strongly suggest that he engaged in malpractice rather than good medicine.

“As soon as news broke that Trump had been elected President, Russian government officials and prominent Russian businessmen began trying to make inroads into the new Administration,” the report states on page 144. “They appeared not to have preexisting contacts and struggled to connect with senior officials around the President-Elect.”

“At approximately 3 a.m. on election night, Trump Campaign press secretary Hope Hicks received a telephone call,” Mueller’s report continues. Through this person’s thick foreign accent, Hicks deciphered the words “Putin call.” The next morning, Nov. 9, 2016, Hicks received the email she requested from the caller.

Russian Embassy official Sergey Kuznetsov contacted Hicks via Gmail. Subject line: “Message from Putin.” In an English/Russian attachment, according to Mueller, “Putin offered his congratulations to Trump for his electoral victory, stating he ‘look[ed] forward to working with [Trump] on leading Russian-American relations out of crisis.’”

Hicks and Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, according to his congressional testimony, then spent time authenticating this email by identifying, locating, and contacting Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. After Moscow’s man in Washington validated the email, Mueller’s report states, “Hicks conveyed Putin’s letter to transition officials. Five days later, on November 14, 2016, Trump and Putin spoke by phone in the presence of Transition Team members. …”

These delays frustrated Putin. Mueller cites Petr Aven, chief of Alfa-Bank, Russia’s largest commercial lender: Mueller states that Aven had a “one-on-one meeting with Putin” in the fourth quarter of 2016. “Aven also testified that Putin spoke of the difficulty faced by the Russian government in getting in touch with the incoming Trump Administration,” Mueller writes. “According to Aven, Putin indicated that he did not know with whom formally to speak and generally did not know the people around the President-Elect.”

If Trump and Putin had been in cahoots, they would have speed-dialed each other and toasted Trump’s triumph on Election Night. Instead, Putin’s greeting crawled toward the president-elect for five days.

What did Mueller know? “Trump-Russia collusion” was a Red Square-sized lie.

When did he know it? Kushner testified on July 24, 2017. Hicks spoke to the FBI on Dec. 8, 2017. Aven sang on Aug. 2, 2018.

So, Mueller knew this at least 95 days before the November 6 midterm elections. Mueller could have removed the “Trump is a KGB agent” albatross that hobbled the president and his party. But he didn’t. In essence, Mueller hid this exculpatory evidence from the 328 million jurors in America’s court of public opinion before they rendered their verdict on Trump and the GOP last November.

The House and Senate Judiciary Committees should subpoena Robert “No Questions” Mueller and make him explain publicly why he covered up this game-changing conclusion from at least August 2 through March 22 — with a national election wedged in between.

Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a contributing editor of National Review Online, and a senior fellow with the London Center for Policy Research.

Most Popular

White House

There’s No Fix for Trump’s Bad Tweets

Whether social media have been good or bad for society is an open question. Whether social media have been good or bad for President Trump isn’t as difficult to discern. For even the most sober-minded and introspective figures, Twitter can serve as a dangerous temptation. For a man as capricious and mercurial ... Read More
White House

There’s No Fix for Trump’s Bad Tweets

Whether social media have been good or bad for society is an open question. Whether social media have been good or bad for President Trump isn’t as difficult to discern. For even the most sober-minded and introspective figures, Twitter can serve as a dangerous temptation. For a man as capricious and mercurial ... Read More
Economy & Business

Boiling Over

Andrew Ross Sorkin’s frustration over having missed so much of the post-COVID realities in markets and economic life boiled over this morning in one of the more outrageous outbursts I have ever witnessed on financial media. Perhaps this outburst was rivaled only by his behavior during the March COVID market ... Read More
Economy & Business

Boiling Over

Andrew Ross Sorkin’s frustration over having missed so much of the post-COVID realities in markets and economic life boiled over this morning in one of the more outrageous outbursts I have ever witnessed on financial media. Perhaps this outburst was rivaled only by his behavior during the March COVID market ... Read More

How a U2 Anthem Defined Generation X

In Cameron Crowe’s Say Anything... (1989), Lloyd Dobler sketches out a stumbling, uncertain-but-nevertheless-determined path for his and my generation: “I don't want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or ... Read More

How a U2 Anthem Defined Generation X

In Cameron Crowe’s Say Anything... (1989), Lloyd Dobler sketches out a stumbling, uncertain-but-nevertheless-determined path for his and my generation: “I don't want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or ... Read More
Economy & Business

The Spread of the Debt Virus

The current U.S. budget deficit could soon exceed a record $4 trillion. The massive borrowing is being driven both by prior budget profligacy and by a hurried effort by the Donald Trump administration to pump liquidity into a quarantined America. The shutdown has left the country on the cusp of a ... Read More
Economy & Business

The Spread of the Debt Virus

The current U.S. budget deficit could soon exceed a record $4 trillion. The massive borrowing is being driven both by prior budget profligacy and by a hurried effort by the Donald Trump administration to pump liquidity into a quarantined America. The shutdown has left the country on the cusp of a ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Five Thoughts on the George Floyd Story

After a night of riots, looting, and arson in Minneapolis to protest the police killing of George Floyd, five thoughts spring to mind: One: It is always hazardous to draw sweeping conclusions about society from individual criminal cases. Every individual case involves individual facts, and those facts often ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Five Thoughts on the George Floyd Story

After a night of riots, looting, and arson in Minneapolis to protest the police killing of George Floyd, five thoughts spring to mind: One: It is always hazardous to draw sweeping conclusions about society from individual criminal cases. Every individual case involves individual facts, and those facts often ... Read More

The Need to Discuss Black-on-Black Crime

Thomas Abt’s book Bleeding Out (2019) has garnered a fair amount of attention for its proposals to deal with gun violence in mainly black urban neighborhoods. The entire focus of the book is on interventions in high-crime locations to stem the violence, including: hot-spots policing, working with young males at ... Read More

The Need to Discuss Black-on-Black Crime

Thomas Abt’s book Bleeding Out (2019) has garnered a fair amount of attention for its proposals to deal with gun violence in mainly black urban neighborhoods. The entire focus of the book is on interventions in high-crime locations to stem the violence, including: hot-spots policing, working with young males at ... Read More