The Corner

White House

Vindication is a Two-Way Street

Robert Mueller (Mike Segar/Reuters)

To paraphrase Austin Powers, allow myself to repeat myself. At the beginning of March, I wrote: “But it looks more and more likely that Mueller’s dance of a thousand veils will end with . . .  more veils. The Mueller obsessives want him to be a deus ex machina who delivers irrefutable grounds for impeachment and I-told-you-sos. But that Mueller may never arrive. He may never even say a word about it in public at all.”

That may change, particularly if Congress calls on or subpoenas Mueller to testify, which seems likely. But it is a remarkable thing that for the last two years, Robert Mueller has arguably been the second-most discussed, debated and dissected American in the world after Donald Trump himself. And yet most people don’t even know what his voice sounds like.

You can’t say the same about the president, alas. To say that he has been vocal is like saying tornadoes are breezy. He reportedly called the Mueller probe a witch hunt 183 times on Twitter alone. I was always a collusion skeptic but I always believed that the investigation was warranted. I’m with David French and Trey Gowdy — even if the Steele dossier hadn’t existed, there would still have been an investigation — and the need for one. I want to see more, but I believe Mueller’s findings and I believe that Barr’s summary is at the very least technically accurate.

And for that reason, Trump world has good reason to celebrate and even to gloat, but it seems worth noting that Mueller’s “witch hunt” wasn’t what his detractors made it out to be. He racked up an impressive number of indictments and the president’s campaign manager may spend the rest of his life in prison. More to the point, if he was the corrupt, deep-state operative (the head of a “deep state crime family” no less!) this is not the conclusion of this chapter one would expect. There are certainly things one can legitimately criticize Mueller — and the entire probe — about (Andy McCarthy has offered many in a reasonable and even-handed way). But if this was “the most corrupt investigation I have ever seen” in the words of Rudy Giuliani, one would have expected Mueller to have delivered a different report in a different way. If he were a “Half-man, half-freak of government” who “will stop at nothing to get what he’s after” you’d think he wouldn’t have stopped where the evidence stopped.

Mueller’s report is indeed very bad news for a lot of grifters, activists, and partisans who assured the “resistance” that Trump would be frog-marched out of the White House. But at least some (though certainly not all) of those people seem to realize it, which is why they are moping like a dog whose food bowl has been moved. You can’t say the same of many of the people who eagerly peddled the partisan slander that Mueller was a corrupt henchman of the Deep State.

Jonah Goldberg, a senior editor of National Review and the author of Suicide of the West, holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute.

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