The Moral of the Mueller Inquisition
by Ilana Mercer
One among many, former CIA head honcho John Brennan had famously asserted that President Trump was “treasonous” and “in the pocket of Putin.” It was “beyond a shadow of a doubt [that Trump] sought to…collude with the Russian government…to undermine and influence our elections,” seconded wonder boy Beto O’Rourke.
And that’s just a humdrum smattering of the folly force-fed to Americans for the two years of the Mueller Inquisition, from “respectable” TV megaphones, including legions of Never Trump Republicans. The same characters, in their many interchangeable iterations, will remind you that the omniscient Mueller had equivocated over the matter of obstruction of justice. Over this, the second part of his eponymous report, Mueller declined to prosecute Trump. The first part of Robert Mueller’s report “cleared Donald Trump of having conspired with Russia.”
Let us unpack the obstruction-of-justice aspect of the ongoing farce: in the course of defending his reputation against silly, but gravely serious, smears—that he was a “Russian asset,” in the words of former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe—the president forcefully and publicly berated the Mueller proceedings and his turncoat attorney, Michael Cohen (who, though a hostile witness, testified that there was no collusion).
To Mueller, that paragon of virtue, the dilemma revolved around whether to indict Trump for the fighting words he spoke in defense of his now-proven innocence. Free speech, some might call it. Remember that quaint thing? For in the legal penumbra in which the U.S. Office of Special Counsel operates, aggressively professing your innocence can amount to obstructing “justice.”
Fight an unjust conviction with everything you’ve got—and you risk being convicted of a crime. This is the Kafkaesque, circular reasoning that animates the workings of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC): it can criminalize conduct—worse, it can criminalize speech—that is perfectly licit in natural law, such as verbally defending oneself against spurious accusations. Or, as Attorney-General William Barr put it, “Mr. Trump could not have obstructed justice because HE DID NOT COLLUDE WITH RUSSIA.”
As a scrupulously honest broadcaster, Tucker Carlson recently confessed to “looking back in shame” for having originally supported Kenneth Starr’s independent counsel investigation of President Clinton. Good libertarians have always opposed the very existence of the OSC. This writer certainly has.
Another honest man, Democrat Mark Penn, former chief strategist to Hillary Clinton and a frequent guest on the Tucker Carlson show, had “spent a year working with President Clinton” to fend off Special Counsel Ken Starr’s extrajudicial onslaught. Penn had recently remarked candidly that the Starr investigation “was child’s play” compared to the infractions of the Mueller investigation.
Yet, few have been willing to concede that the Mueller inquisition was the Kenneth Starr Chamber by any other name. The origin of the Star[r] Chamber sobriquet is in 15th-century England. Meant to remedy injustice in the times of Henry VIII, the “Court of Star Chamber,” as it was known, was soon co-opted and corrupted, becoming “a symbol of oppression” during the times of Charles I.
For reasons obvious, the “Starr Chamber” designation stuck to the outfit run by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr, in 1998. Likewise, there was, seemingly, no limit to the broad remit of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Other than some accused Russians, nobody stateside dared challenge—from the vantage point of first principles—this draconian medieval inquisition.
The Fake News herd failed to report this, but the accused Russian spooks had actually called uber-bureaucrat Mueller’s bluff. Lo and behold, some of them had surprised the special counsel by showing up in court and demanding due process of law, American style.
The Russian company indicted by Mueller (“along with 13 individuals”) for election meddling asked the judge “to throw out the charges – claiming that Mueller’s office fabricated a crime.” At the time, Judge Dabney Friedrich, a Washington federal judge, seemed inclined to agree.
At the height of the “collusion delusion,” Evgeny Prigozhin, a Russian businessman, remarked wistfully:
“Americans are very emotional people; they see what they want to see. I have great respect for them … If they want to see the devil [in me], let them.”
Who can deny that, periodically, we Americans are convulsed by mass hysteria? “Hysterical contagion,” according to sociologists, is the spread of symptoms of illness among a group, absent any physiological disease. It’s a way to cope with a situation that cannot be handled with the usual psychological coping mechanisms.
The frenzied behavior known as mass hysteria or hysterical contagion is well documented. The Trump-Russia collusion-and-obstruction-of-justice probe qualifies, with an exception: this particular form of mass madness involves not a physical malady, but a meme, a story-line.
What gripped and inflamed irrational, febrile minds—still does—was the emotional pitch with which the Russia collusion groupthink was delivered, day in and day out. Rumors for which no evidence could possibly be adduced were recounted incessantly as facts. Positive, productive conduct—say diplomacy with Russia—was targeted as criminality, by agents of a Federal Government that has enough laws on the books to indict each one of us, if it so desired.
The Russian businessman just mentioned was being charitable. If past is prologue; the frenzy of inflamed imaginations could very well spill over into all-out war. If this is to be averted, Deep State operatives must be punished for pulling a Jussie Smollett on the country. For inciting the “Russia monomania” in the teeth of no evidence or evidence to the contrary, the inciters must pay. The sharks involved in the “collusion delusion”must not be allowed to slip through the netting.
As for the U.S. Office of Special Counsel: whether headed by Kenneth Starr or Robert Mueller, the OSC with its police powers and “storm-trooper tactics” is not an office one associates with a free society. It ought to be abolished!
Read also: “Fake Intel runs through it.”
Ilana Mercer has been writing a weekly, paleolibertarian column since 1999. She is the author of Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011) & The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed” (June, 2016). She is on Facebook, Gab & YouTube