There is now no excuse for Special Counsel Robert Mueller to ask to interview President Trump.
In fact, it is now clear the investigators have been given so much information about the president’s actions and had such remarkably open access, they should just close shop and write their final report.
They no longer have any grounds for going to court to get a subpoena to compel the president to testify.
Mueller’s fatal mistake was revealed Saturday in The New York Times story titled, “White House Counsel, Don McGahn, Has Cooperated Extensively in Mueller Inquiry.” Michael Schmidt and Maggie Haberman reported that there were at least 30 hours of interviews between the Mueller team and the White House Counsel.
Don McGahn asserted throughout the interviews that “he never saw Mr. Trump go beyond his legal authorities.”
McGahn’s cooperation is historically unique because President Trump waived both executive privilege and attorney-client privilege. President Trump was so confident of his innocence that he waived both of these protections to allow the Special Counsel to thoroughly question the White House attorney.
We are now at the end of the failed investigation.
Accepting such a thorough and detailed briefing from the White House Counsel will ultimately hurt the efforts of Mueller’s team of left-wing Democratic lawyers.
McGahn is a very widely-respected lawyer, who thoroughly understands the difference between legal and illegal behavior – and he was in the room for virtually all of President Trump’s activities.
It couldn’t be more clear: The Trump White House was comfortable talking for 30 hours with a pack of high-powered, very tough-minded investigators, because the president has done nothing wrong.
Nevertheless, at every stage, Mueller has conducted an aggressive, one-sided, and increasingly irresponsible, investigation.
Mueller was brought in to seek the truth about whether there was collusion between the Donald Trump campaign and Russians to impact the 2016 election.
His first step down the road of abusive aggressiveness was to hire a completely partisan team of mostly Democrat attorneys. Mueller could have hired a balanced team of Republican and Democratic lawyers. He could have avoided hiring lawyers who had worked for Hillary Clinton or gone to the Clinton election night party. Instead he hired totally biased opponents of Trump – who want to take down the president.
The Manafort trial is a case study in how a ruthless prosecutor can use the power of the state to intimidate and punish an individual.
Mueller’s second step down the road was to find accusations that had nothing to do with the election, the Russians, or a question of collusion.
Look at the outrageous abuse of Paul Manafort. Manafort had been campaign chairman. He had ties with foreign businessmen. He had done extensive business in Ukraine. I’m sure the Mueller team believed if anyone was the obvious entry point for collusion, it would have been Manafort.
Yet, they found nothing.
Let me repeat this, because it is so ignored by the daily media headlines: The Mueller team found no evidence of Manafort colluding with any foreign entities on the 2016 election.
Manafort is being tried over tax and banking issues that have nothing to do with Russian collusion or any election.
In fact, the Manafort trial is a case study in how a ruthless prosecutor can use the power of the state to intimidate and punish an individual. Manafort and his wife were awakened in their pajamas in pre-dawn hours by FBI agents conducting a raid on their residence – even though the previous day Manafort had been cooperating with the Senate’s investigative body. Furthermore, there was no evidence Manafort represented any danger of violence or flight. The early morning attack was designed to frighten Manafort and send a signal to other potential witnesses to cooperate – or else.
An extraordinary abuse of power was displayed through Mueller’s holding of Manafort in solitary confinement in a cell for 23 hours a day as he awaited trial. This level of deprivation is astonishing when done to an American citizen, who has committed no violent crimes and has not been convicted of anything. Again, it is an effort to intimidate and coerce.
Mueller also understands that every person he goes after has to hire lawyers, spend their lifetime savings, and potentially end up deeply in debt to simply protect themselves from government lawyers who could potentially put them in prison.
Now, we are at the end of the failed investigation.
With McGahn’s 30 hours of testimony, it is clear there is no evidence of President Trump either colluding with the Russians or engaging in illegal obstruction of justice.
Saturday’s New York Times story should be the end of the story.
No sitting president has the time for distractions as big as the Mueller investigation absent the showing of a compelling need – the most important element of which is that any information President Trump has cannot be derived from some other source.
President Trump has not invoked any privilege and has permitted complete access to his White House Counsel, as well as others. Mueller can no longer even come close to meeting the compelling need standard.
As such, it is time to shut the investigation down and allow the president to do what Americans hired him to do – focus on making America great again. Continuing to draw out this partisan investigation only serves to confirm what most Americans now understand – it had no basis in law or fact.
Mueller should write his report to Congress and return to his retirement.