All of us should be concerned by the attacks by President Trump and his supporters on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. A barrage of widely varied accusations, far too voluminous to completely itemize, has been fired at the investigators.
In a change of direction, Trump recently indicated he thought he would be treated fairly by Mueller. Earlier he had charged that the initial Russian-collusion inquiry is a “witch hunt” and a “hoax”. And he noted the disparaging e-mails exchanged by an Agent member of Mueller’s team with another FBI employee during the campaign and characterized the FBI as “in tatters.”
His allies’ assertions include claims that the investigators are biased against him. They also point to the unflattering e-mails And they complain that the campaign contributions received by the wife of FBI Assistant Director McCabe’s wife from Democrat Virginia Governor McCaulif taint the proceedings. They seek the removal of Mueller. One Congressman called for a ‘purge’ of the Justice Department.
But the worthiness of the investigation is manifested by the manner in which it is proceeding as well as the pedigree of the participants.
In voicing heir feelings about then-candidate Trump to each other, the FBI employees were within their rights. Bureau Code of Ethics allows individual agents to have and express personal points of view on public affairs. But the Code requires employees to act impartially, so that such opinions may not to effect their work. It is not an exaggeration to say that they have earned a reputation for having accomplished this professionalism. Indeed, their success in protecting us would have been impossible if they had not handled themselves in such an exemplary manner. And the Agent was even handed in his e-mails. He issued more numerous e-mails disparaging Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. There has been no indication that the e-mail sender’s performance during his membership on Mueller’s team was biased.
Most importantly is the stature of the leader. An unusually high esteem garnered over years of service in the Department of Justice, including as second in command and his twelve years as Director of the FBI – longer than any other except J. Edgar Hoover – preceded by, among other activities, heroic combat service in Vietnam as a Marine Lieutenant. As Time characterized Mueller, a runner up candidate for it’s 2017 Man of The Year:
“There is barely a handful of people in all of America with the reputation and experience to take on the task of untangling a multi-pronged Russian influence operation from one of the most disorganized presidential campaigns in memory.”
In keeping with the highest standards of probity, when Mueller learned of the disparagement of Trump, he removed the e-mailing Agent from his team. And the team’s proceedings have remained secret, free of leaks.
Though of minor importance, it bears mentioning that Mueller is a registered Republican, as is Deputy Attorney General Rob Rosenstein to whom Mueller reports. And FBI Director Wray is a Trump appointee. Hardly a band of partisan political opponents.
Obviously Trump’s allies and, perhaps Trump himself, want to shut down the inquiry. They do not want to allow it to run its course. With this as the goal, their war against the investigators inflicts collateral damage to our system of justice – the rule of law. We enjoy this arrangement of open forums in which our disputes are resolved, in an evenhanded manner, by individuals who have no axe to grind, according to established rules. And this takes place in public where what transpires is open for all to see.
If allowed to proceed to completion, the Mueller probe’s work product – including whatever evidence they have uncovered concerning Trump’s activities – will be publicly disclosed. It can then be analyzed, objectively, according to applicable legal rules, in full view of all members of our body politic. This effort to avoid scrutiny in the established institutions and under established procedures is grossly disrespectful and undermining of the sanctity of our legal system – the rule of law – that has served all of us so well.
Until Kingdom Come and our Creator takes control of day to day operations, a group of FBI Agents, Justice Department lawyers and others recruited and led by Robert Mueller will come the closest to accomplishing justice, under law, as fallible humans are capable. Perhaps that is the problem.
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