RUSH: There are some Republicans mad at the budget deal. There are also some Republicans very, very upset today over the Department of Justice sending a letter to Mueller reminding him what he cannot say. That he cannot go beyond the report. That he should not contradict himself or any of that.
And the Republicans are mad because, “Wait a minute. We wanted to ask him a bunch of questions about why he ignored the Steele dossier and all this other stuff,” and the Republicans are kind of ticked that the Trump DOJ is limiting them.
RUSH: Robert J. Mueller the 14th, Esquire, has just asked to bring somebody along with him to his testimony tomorrow, but I didn’t get a chance to catch who during the commercial break, but I’ll find that out and give you details.
RUSH: Now, the big news today, the big news today, headline: “Justice Department Warns Mueller to Stay on Script at Showdown Hearing with Congress.” This is not what happened. Jerry Nadler, the chairman of the House committee, one of the two committees here that’s gonna be investigating and interrogating Mueller, “This is terrible. This is Trump demanding that Mueller not be able to testify fully. This is showing that they know and they are afraid of Mueller.”
The Attorney General William Barr was just on television. The attorney general just said that Robert Mueller asked that this letter be written and sent to Congress. Mueller asked for the letter to be written. Now, the headline that you have all seen and that you have seen people reacting to today, “Justice Department Warns Mueller to Stay on Script at Showdown Hearing.” That is the Washington Times headline.
That is not what happened. Robert Mueller requested that this letter be sent because he doesn’t really want to testify. He doesn’t want any part of this. This is my opinion, my humble estimation, he doesn’t want any part of this. He does not want to have to answer anything beyond what is in that report. He can’t. He’s already specified that there isn’t any more.
The report says everything that can be said. There was no collusion. He couldn’t come to a conclusion on obstruction. There’s nothing new to add. He wants the Justice Department to send a letter. He wanted the letter to be written basically to give him backup when he stays within the confines of the report when it comes to his answer.
Now, the latest news is that Mueller has asked for a council, a lawyer, a member of his team to be sworn in so that he can testify as well. It’s a last minute request to have his deputy, his name is Aaron Zebley sworn in tomorrow in case Mueller can’t answer some questions and needs some help.
Now, there are any number of ways of interpreting this. I would interpret this as something I believe has been the case from the get-go, that Mueller was a name on the masthead. He’s almost “of counsel,” which means in a law firm, “of counsel” means your name is on the letterhead and you’re there to attract clients and customers, but you don’t do work anymore. Your career is behind you. You’ve worked your whole life, you’re so “of counsel.” Your name is on the letterhead, you’re a rainmaker.
He was a figurehead. Mueller was to give this investigation the imprimatur of character and dignity and honor, given his great reputation as a swamp dweller. The real investigators and the real experts in this are the people who were not gonna be testifying, led by Andrew Weissmann and any of the other 14 Hillary Clinton supporters, donors, and fundraisers which served as Mueller’s investigators.
Mueller needs somebody there with him to answer details ’cause I don’t think Mueller did much real work here. He may have sat in on some interviews, may have conducted a few himself. But this is the way Washington works. By the way, this is not isolated. You know how many of these high flying, high priced private sector lawyers who get hired to run blue ribbon investigations, special counsel investigations, do you know how many of them really do any work?
This is classic. This is a great illustration, in fact, of what high rank in the establishment gets you. You devote your life to the establishment, you devote your life to the club, you do the work when you’re young, you do all the work everybody else does when you’re young. You rise through the ranks and as you age and gain more experience, you become a figurehead, you become a big name on the letterhead that attracts people. In the case of law firms, high paying clients.
“I want to go to that firm, see, Robert Mueller works that well. I want to go to that firm,” take your pick, “Leon Jaworski works there. I want to go to that firm. Richard Ben-Veniste works there.” When these guys haven’t done any work in years. But they get paid. Oh, do they get paid. They get to charge whatever hourly rate they want to invent. And then they get to say they were at work X-number of hours a day, and they may have been there, but they don’t do — this is one of the perks.
One of the perks is being paid handsomely on the basis of your reputation not on your current work output. This is standard operating procedure. It’s one of the ways elitist organizations function. It’s just the way of the world, just the way it’s always been. It’s one of the reasons there’s such resentment for the rich in many cases because this aspect of it is understood.
So I believe Mueller was a figurehead and he doesn’t want to take any questions at his press conference that he did a couple months ago. It’s too risky. He did a prepared statement and that was it. There was no ad-libbing. There was no off the book. There was no off the prompter. There was no off script.
Now, there’s some conflicting news with this. Mark Meadows, Republican member of Congress, North Carolina, tweeted that House Democrats have been holding mock hearings, practicing five-minute interview clips, setting up a social media war room for the Mueller hearing on the collusion case that closed four months ago. I have heard that the Democrats are meeting in private, have been meeting with Mueller.
Now, I don’t know how true this is. I’m sure some of it is. I don’t know if they’ve been meeting with Mueller. But the point is Democrats have been meeting in advance trying to create sound bite moments whereas a member would ask a predetermined question and Mueller would give a predetermined answer, and they’re trying to structure the answer so that it falls within the mandate that Mueller not go outside the report but say something in such a way that will allow the media to report that Mueller let fly a bombshell, that Mueller said something not in the report, that Mueller added.
The Democrats are trying to set this circumstance — and a number of them — up with their rehearsals and with their attempt to stage things. This is a recipe for one of the biggest backfires, ’cause these people are not smart enough to pull this off. Nadler and Schiff aren’t. Nadler and Schiff combined are not smart enough to beat a hamster playing Jeopardy. And they’re gonna try to pull something like this off, it’s gonna be really, really tricky out there.
Now let’s go to the meat and potatoes of this. Mueller asks for the letter. William Barr, the attorney general, is putting the lie to the Washington Times story, the rest of the media. Mueller asked for this Department of Justice letter. The way the Times reports it: “The Justice Department warned former special counsel Robert Mueller on Monday not to stray beyond the four corners of his already-released report when he comes to Capitol Hill this week to testify.
“Associate Deputy Attorney General Bradley Weinsheimer, in a letter to Mr. Mueller, said that means any decisions Mr. Mueller made, or information he uncovered, that he didn’t include in his report will be out of bounds for the hearing.”
Mueller asked for this letter. Mueller asked Barr, he asked his buddy. He asked the DOJ to write this letter to give him cover with Nadler and with Schiff. Don’t misunderstand. This does not mean Mueller’s become a Trump fan. It means Mueller can’t go outside the report. He has testified to it. He has put his name on it! It is what it is. It can’t be changed. And it’s explicit.
There was no collusion. And we couldn’t conclude whether the president obstructed justice. This report was written for one reason: to be picked up by Congress and to be used in impeachment hearings. The report cannot.
Now, one of the areas of the report that is being focused on here is — and you’ve heard this — whether or not Mueller would have asked for Trump to be indicted if it weren’t for these guidelines that you cannot indict a sitting president. This is going to be one of the areas that Democrats are going to explore.
In fact, I think it’s gonna be the area they’re going to try to make news. Now, in helping me make this point, I have here a column that my good buddy Andy McCarthy wrote and submitted to the Fox News website. And his headline: “Mueller’s Testimony Will Not Give Democrats What They Crave. Can They Handle It?” McCarthy, letter-of-the-law guy. He is a former prosecutor, Southern District of New York, SDNY. He is a full-fledged, top to bottom letter-of-the-law guy. He believes Mueller can’t as a matter of law maintain his reputation. He cannot say anything not in this report. He cannot say anything that is in the report differently than how it’s stated in the report, that he’s got no maneuverability here.
Andy believes that Mueller cannot and will not give any of these Democrats what they crave. The Democrats want Mueller to say that he would have charged Trump with obstruction of justice if it weren’t for these guidelines saying a sitting president may not be indicted. Mueller cannot say that.
He cannot answer that question “yes.” Mueller cannot say, “If it weren’t for those guidelines, yes, I would recommend the president be indicted.” He can’t say that because if he does not, he’ll be contradicting his report and his statements in the press conference. And he’s not gonna do that. Mueller is not going to say that he was wrong in the report, and he’s not gonna say that he lied in his press conference.
They want Mueller to admit that if it weren’t for those guidelines, he would have recommended Trump be indicted. The thing is, the special counsel law, special counsels do not make such recommendations anyway. The law is that the special counsel turns his report over to his boss, the attorney general, privately. It is not to be made public unless the attorney general decides to. And charging decisions are made by the attorney general, not the special prosecutor.
The special counsel may recommend, but he has no decision-making process here. And anyway, Mueller abdicated on the obstruction question in the report. He passed. Here’s the real key. This is the real thing here, folks. When Mueller took over the Russia investigation, the collusion investigation, it was May 17th of 2017. Everybody knew by that time that there had been no collusion, there had been no Trump hacking of the DNC, no Russian hacking, that there had not be any Trump-Russia collusion.
When Mueller took the job, he knew that! There had been no collusion to interfere in the election between Trump and Russia. So, in essence, what Mueller assumed was more an obstruction than a collusion investigation was his starting point. Mueller knew when he took the job, as I’ve said over and over, there was no collusion.
Days prior to the Mueller taking the gig, according to Andrew McCabe, the FBI had opened an obstruction investigation against the president based on the firing of Comey on May the 9th. Comey fired May the 9th. Mueller named May 17th. It was Comey’s firing that got everybody all hot and bothered on obstruction. And that’s what Mueller began investigating.
The point is, Mueller knew there was no collusion on May 17th. Yet what did Mueller do? He put the country through a two-year hellhole investigation. And after that, after two years and all the money and all the subpoenas and all the interviews, Mueller declined to charge Trump with obstruction. He cleared Trump on collusion but did not answer after two years, did not answer the question, “Did Trump obstruct justice firing Comey?”
Now, the Democrats can wish all they want and they can try to micromanage all they want, but Mueller cannot say now that he would have indicted Trump for obstruction if it weren’t for the guidelines because the report refused to take a position, he refused to do it in the press conference. He can’t contradict himself.
The Democrats are trying to set up a circumstance where it looks like he is when he isn’t. They’re trying for that perfect sound bite to make it look like Mueller thinks Trump is guilty as sin is and would have charged him if it weren’t for guidelines elsewhere. That’s, I’m convinced, what they want to create the illusion of tomorrow.
Now, let me skip forward — no. Let me take commercial break here because I think the obstruction angle is where the Democrats are going to try to revive and revise Mueller’s testimony without really doing it. They want to create this illusion.
RUSH: Something else the Democrats are gonna do. They’re gonna have Mueller read a paragraph or a sentence or two of the report, so that the sound bites will be created of Mueller actually saying it, which will create the illusion that he’s saying something new. That’s what all of tomorrow is going to be about. Starts at 8:30.