Mueller’s probe doesn't end with a bang, but with a whimper

In his poem, "Hollow Men," T.S. Eliot writes, "This is the way the world ends / Not with a bang, but with a whimper."

The words could just as well have been written about independent prosecutor Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian collusion and interference in the 2016 presidential election and potential obstruction of justice. While Mueller, his team and the mainstream media don’t seem to quite understand just yet, the investigation is essentially over.

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To date, Mueller has shown no evidence of Russian collusion in the campaigns of either Donald Trump or Hillary Rodham Clinton, but has gained indictments of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and one of his business partners, Rick Gates, for activities and financial issues unrelated to the 2016 campaign.

 

He’s also gotten a plea deal from a low-level policy adviser for lying to the FBI and, most recently, a plea deal from Gen. Michael Flynn on a single count of lying to the FBI. Again, no evidence of collusion, no evidence of obstruction of justice on the part of the White House. Now, after nearly $7 million in costs, every indictment of Mueller’s to date has been on process crimes, crimes that could have been pursued by the Department of Justice with no need for a special counsel.

The Flynn pleading was predictable. Some of us knew this was the likely outcome for months, based on conversations with former Department of Justice staff. Never mind that it isn’t clear that what Flynn actually did — meeting with Russian government officials during the transition period of November into January — was illegal, let alone inadvisable. That's not the point.

The point is that we are now a year into various forms of investigation by the FBI and Mueller's team into Russian collusion and there is little to nothing to show for any of it.  With heavy breathing and pounding of desks, we were promised collusion, serious crimes that bordered on treason.

We were led to believe there were smoking guns, documents and data to prove the Trump campaign worked with Russian agents to steal the election from Clinton. We were promised prosecutions that led to the desk of the President of the United States and showed that he was, in fact, a puppet of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, a veritable traitor to his country.

But it’s desperately hard to turn fairytales into facts. In fact, it’s impossible.

And then, a few days ago, FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok's name popped up in the news. You may now know him as the partisan FBI agent who was assigned to the Russia collusion investigation but who also had a hand in the FBI investigation into Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump mocks 'elites' at campaign rally Trump backs down in rare reversal Election Countdown: Family separation policy may haunt GOP in November | Why Republican candidates are bracing for surprises | House Dems rake in record May haul | 'Dumpster fire' ad goes viral MORE's private email server.

The former deputy of counterintelligence at the FBI, Strzok helped to push the fake Fusion GPS dossier inside the bureau, interviewed Clinton's key assistant, Huma Abedin, as well as other senior Clinton aides about Clinton’s server and the wealth of top-secret materials that were shared on the server, which almost certainly was hacked by foreign powers. Strzok also was one of the two agents who interviewed Gen. Flynn, and he was the agent who changed the language in James Comey's statements on Clinton's email server, adjusting the phrases so that no legal repercussions might be felt by Clinton in that investigation.

In addition to all of these Strzok revelations, you have Mueller assistant Anthony Weissmann emailing former deputy attorney general Sally Yates, congratulating her on blocking Trump’s travel-ban executive order, which led the president to dismiss her.

Many of us already thought Mueller’s team was nothing but a pack of partisan wolves. Now, there is no credibility left, no trust that this is really about the pursuit of evenhanded justice. It all smacks of a partisan witch-hunt funded by the American taxpayers, attempting to nullify the 2016 elections.

With all of these new revelations, we now face real questions as to what does the law actually mean in this country. We cannot forget that Huma Abedin may have committed the same crime as the one Flynn pleaded guilty to — lying to the FBI — yet, somehow, the FBI chose not to prosecute Abedin or perhaps others, like former Clinton adviser and legal counsel Cheryl Mills. So, is justice truly blind and evenhanded in America today?

If Flynn spends one day in jail, it will be a miscarriage of justice. We would do well to remember the precedent the Department of Justice set with the case of President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonThe case for a ‘Presidents’ Club’ to advise Trump After FBI cleared by IG report, GOP must reform itself Bill Clinton hits Trump administration policy separating immigrant families in Father's Day tweet MORE's former national security adviser, Sandy Berger, who stole classified documents from the National Archives, by stuffing them into his clothing and socks, then destroyed them before lying to federal agents about it. For that he got a $50,000 fine and was stripped of his security clearance.

But here is the bigger issue beyond the potential miscarriage of justice: The ongoing claims and misinformation that we continue to hear, that weave the dross of fairy tales into media coverage, that move markets and create great hope or fear (depending on your political perspective), and which simply are not true.

We saw this last week with ABC News reporter Brian Ross, who claimed Flynn was going to testify that the president ordered him to contact the Russians. For more than several hours, the false story percolated; the Dow dropped 350 points on the “news.”

And just this week we had reports that Bob Mueller’s team had subpoenaed the personal bank records of President TrumpDonald John TrumpFamily immigration detention centers could be at capacity within days: report Trump likely to meet with Putin in July: report DOJ requests military lawyers to help prosecute immigration crimes: report MORE and his family. Again, at least for today, a falsehood.

Reporters who received inaccurate or false information from sources are not bound by confidentiality. Yet, not one media outlet has demanded over the past year that a single source who proffered inaccurate information or, quite frankly, lies, be outed. This, in many ways, reveals just how tight the “Deep State” is with the “Big Media” that cooperates with it.

So how do we break the cycle? How do we end the lies and the false promises and the rumor-mongering? I think it’s high time for President Trump to do what he should have done a year ago: declassify everything related to the Russian collusion case and the Hillary Clinton email investigation, both of which go to the heart of the Obama administration’s Department of Justice, FBI and, possibly, the White House.

Declassification will reveal what really happened between former Obama Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President Clinton on that tarmac in Arizona. It will reveal just who saw and shared the phony Fusion GPS report on Trump. It will reveal the FBI machinations around the Clinton investigation and the Russian collusion case.

It is only through the antiseptic light of complete transparency that we can begin a process of perhaps trusting our justice system again. In declassifying everything, Trump can let Americans can make up their own minds, know the truth, and move on to better things to do with their lives.

Ned Ryun is a former presidential writer for George W. Bush and the founder and CEO of American Majority.