Friday, May 24, 2019

The Circus Cannot Be Wished Away

Former Massachusetts governor William Weld, who ran in 2016 for vice-president as Gary Johnson's running mate, is challenging Donald Trump for the GOP presidential nomination. And as he stated to Lawrence O'Donnell (video, below), if he were the Special Counsel- for which by dint of experience he would be qualified- he would testify in public.

So he has a lot of courage, risking arrest and prosecution as a political enemy of the President if Trump is re-elected. But he is wrong about a couple of things, including his belief that Trump is trying to bait Speaker Pelosi (which is possible) while the latter is not trying to bait the President, which she is emphatically is.

He's also off-target when he maintains (at 2:45 of the video below)

I think what's going on here is Bob is so straight that he doesn't necessarily want to say how the process has been perverted and my reading of what happened behind closed doors- Bob Mueller's report says we decided not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgement because we really couldn't. 

The process is perverted, which is glaringly obvious to the vast majority of Americans. However, among those are Trump supporters unaware of the manner in which it is obvious.  It's similar to the immigration system, which virtually everyone believes is in need of an overhaul- but in what manner is extremely contentious.

If the Special Counsel's office determined it could not make a traditional judgment on prosecution, someone intimately involved in the process must explain why- and for obvious reasons, it cannot be Bill Barr. That leaves Robert Mueller.

Weld continued

Translation: Bill Barr told me that he was going to squash any indictment I tried to bring against the President for obstruction. That's a dirty story. Bob Mueller doesn't wan to have to tell that on TV and I think that's exactly what's going on here. He's such a gentleman. 

Translation: It's not what the decision I would have made but it's hard to criticize such an upstanding man. Also: if something has to be translated, it's dollars to doughnuts that there are plenty of individuals who haven't made that translation.  Unlike Weld and many members of Congress, most people are not lawyers and do not know the language.

Further, whatever is a "dirty story" must be told on television.  It's really unnecessary to explain what's going on behind the curtain that makes something a clean story. It's as if because proceedigns are so corrupt, their details must be withheld from the public. That might make Mueller a "gentleman," but sometimes an individual is placed, by God or Rod Rosenstein, in a particular place at a particular time in history that he is called to be something more, or different, than a gentleman. This is one of those times.

Continuing to speak honestly and thoughtfully, Weld continued

I suspect, however, that he wants to avoid a circus but as I say, he's testified many times in high pressure situations with a lot of members of both parties from time-to-time being angry at the performance of the FBI and he always stood there and took it. And uh, he can do it again. 

This is not a mere "high-pressure" situation, but something far more.  When a likely victim of sexual assault, Christine Blasey Ford, appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee, she was meant with fierce attacks. They were directed, moreover, against an individual GOP members claimed had merely recalled events inaccurately. At issue was the appointment to the Supreme Court of a conservative Republican who, had he gone down, would have replaced by a conservative Republican.

If, however, Robert Mueller would testify completely and in public, the fate of a GOP president would hang in the balance. This would not be a wild card matchup in the NFL playoffs. This would be the final minute of close Super Bowl, Russell Wilson throwing into the teeth of a Bill Belichick defense.

The former governor added

Believe me, he's a tough guy. I was shoulder-to-shoulder with him . He can more than hold his own there. I think it's just the picture of the politicization of the Justice Department around him and putting him down is so tawdry that he doesn't like the idea of that being in a circus atmosphere.

Robert Mueller has been (at least until recently) a tough guy. He did not create the circus atmosphere.

Nonetheless, and without Mr. Mueller's encouragement, the circus has come to town. And the circus will remain, for two, maybe six, possibly well beyond that if people who have demonstrated courage and integrity take a pass when circumstances have placed them in a position of influence, when it most matters. When the abuses of government and burden of history are at their apex, the responsibilities of of the most credible among us are at their greatest.

For Robert Mueller, those responsibilities include allowing himself to be depicted visually, live, while testifying to (or denying) high crimes and misdemeanors committed against the American people. This is not 1959, before John Kennedy was elected President over Richard Nixon's 5 o'clock shadow, before television was in every home, before posing oneself for selfies became a required ritual.

A face must be placed to the name. It may be unfair that the onus has been placed (primarily) on one man. But he took the job- and it is not finished.

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