Mueller's findings don't matter

In part, it’s the length of time that it’s taken that has rendered special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerJeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay Trump says he'll release financial records before election, knocks Dems' efforts MORE’s probe functionally irrelevant. 

I submit that the die was largely cast prior to Mueller’s appointment on May 17, 2017. Perhaps if there had been a quick investigation with prompt findings inside of a couple of months, things might be different. But nearly 19 months of speculation, breathless leaks and innuendo — true and false — have taken on lives of their own, providing time for each side to dig in.

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From what I can tell, most people have come down somewhere in one of two general camps:

Camp One

President Donald Trump is best friends with Russian President Vladimir Putin. See, Trump and Putin are so cleverly diabolical that, long ago, they foresaw what nobody else did: Trump was going to get elected president in 2016. In fact, it may even have been Putin’s idea for him to run, one that was whispered into Trump’s ear on a business trip to Moscow where Trump was recorded entertaining hookers. What better way for Trump to win favor for plans to open a hotel in Russia than to become president? Sure, it seems like a contorted way for a U.S. business tycoon to curry favor in a country where bribes usually do just fine, but there’s just no accounting for some people’s methodology.

In any event, we all know Putin broke into the Democratic National Committee’s computers and provided embarrassing emails to WikiLeaks showing the true nature of Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonMore than 200,000 Wisconsin voters will be removed from the rolls Trump is threatening to boycott the debates — here's how to make sure he shows up Trey Gowdy returns to Fox News as contributor MORE’s campaign, so that Trump would be elected president.

After the computer break-in, Trump publicly joked that he hoped Russia could find Clinton’s missing emails (the ones her associates destroyed after the emails had been subpoenaed by Congress). But Trump wasn’t actually joking; he was totally serious. Therefore, he’s responsible for Russia’s computer break-ins. For some reason, the Democrats wouldn’t let the FBI examine the computers to confirm who did it. And even though our intel agencies at the time deemed it a national security risk of the highest order, the FBI didn’t seize the Democrats’ computers to examine. But we can safely assume Putin and Trump were responsible.

Further, the whole campaign to portray Trump as an unserious candidate with zero chance of winning was actually a disinformation campaign conceived by the Trump-Putin conspiracy team, which includes retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortDOJ backs ex-Trump campaign aide Richard Gates's probation request Former FBI general counsel wants apology from Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - Democrats to release articles of impeachment today MORE, Michael Cohen, Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneDOJ backs ex-Trump campaign aide Richard Gates's probation request Schiff says investigators seeking to identify who Giuliani spoke to on unlisted '-1' number What if impeachment fails? MORE, Jerome Corsi, George PapadopoulosGeorge Demetrios PapadopoulosFive takeaways on Horowitz's testimony on Capitol Hill DOJ watchdog: Durham said 'preliminary' FBI Trump probe was justified Trump can't cry foul on FISA – unless he's suddenly a civil libertarian MORE and many others.

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We also know, in Camp One, that Putin and Trump conspired in an unlawful, treasonous way to tamper with votes.

Okay, maybe there was no actual vote-tampering, but Putin did use Facebook ads, memes and robot accounts on Twitter to hypnotize and brainwash unsuspecting voters so they would vote for Trump.

Well, maybe Putin himself didn’t do any of that, but our intel officials are pretty darn sure that people in Russia who knew Putin, or might have met Putin once, or should have known Putin, did so. Facebook and Twitter must be punished and, prior to 2020, convinced to censor material that could be beneficial to Trump or his supporters. Trump must be impeached and driven from office. He and his team of conspirators must be put in prison for the rest of their natural lives. Melania, Don Junior, Ivanka and Jared, too.

Maybe even Baron ...

Camp Two

Bad actors in our intel community and other parts of the Deep State conspired to develop “insurance policies” against Trump. They schemed to prevent him and his non-establishment team from poking into longstanding surveillance abuses and other potential crimes and constitutional violations against U.S. citizens, journalists and politicians.

They are, at once, the incompetent gang-that-can’t-shoot-straight as well as the most secretive, highly-organized Deep State operatives who ever existed.

They successfully neutralized their biggest immediate threats: Flynn and Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsLisa Page sues DOJ, FBI over alleged privacy violations Sessions leads GOP Senate primary field in Alabama, internal poll shows Trump rebukes FBI chief Wray over inspector general's Russia inquiry MORE. They opened investigations as a premise to keep Trump’s nose out of his own Department of Justice. Any actions President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats ask if they have reason to worry about UK result Trump scramble to rack up accomplishments gives conservatives heartburn Seven years after Sandy Hook, the politics of guns has changed MORE took that veered anywhere close to his own Justice Department would then be portrayed as “obstruction.”

These bad guys also worked to cover up their cover-up of the many crimes committed by the Clinton cabal — from the Clinton Foundation to Uranium One. There were payoffs to or deals with the Clintons, Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeMcCabe: Being accused of treason by Trump 'quite honestly terrifying' Horowitz report is damning for the FBI and unsettling for the rest of us Fox's Chris Wallace: IG report headline is 'It didn't find the things that Bill Barr and Donald Trump alleged' MORE, James ComeyJames Brien ComeyThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by UANI — Judiciary Democrats approve articles of impeachment setting up House vote next week Huckabee teases Hannity appearance, says he'll explain why Trump is eligible for third term Five takeaways on Horowitz's testimony on Capitol Hill MORE, Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills.  

Involved in the anti-Trump conspiracies are: John Brennan, James Clapper, foreign intelligence, Ukraine (Russia’s arch-enemy), and various domestic political opponents. They secretly surveilled numerous Trump associates, looking for political intel and blackmail material. They assigned intel operatives to commit sting operations, and sent them to infiltrate the Trump campaign and transition team to lure them into compromising positions. They used political opposition research and “unmaskings.” They violated the FBI’s strict “Woods Procedures” by presenting unverified material to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to obtain warrants to wiretap Trump associates.

Part of the conspiracy includes targeting Trump’s political allies for investigation and criminal prosecution for things they did prior to their association with Trump. Or they were prosecuted for lying about crimes that didn’t occur. It’s all to send a message: If you have the audacity to support Trump, the Deep State will comb through your life and your past and destroy you, put you in prison, or at least ruin your reputation. You’ll go broke trying to defend yourself.

For all of this, the above-named conspirators belong in prison.

Maybe even Chelsea, too ...

The fact is, whatever Mueller announces isn’t likely to change many minds at this point. Instead, it will support what people already believe.

Mueller exonerates Trump of colluding with Russia? Well, we all know Mueller is a Republican. Besides, look at all the shady characters who surrounded Trump and got in trouble. That proves he’s guilty of something!

Mueller implicates Trump in Russia collusion? Well, we all know the fix was in from the start — and collusion isn’t even a crime, anyhow.

How Muller’s conclusions are received will depend upon where we already stand.

So I say, let’s get on with it. No need to wait. We’ve each already written our own version of Chapter Two.

Let the games begin.

Sharyl Attkisson (@SharylAttkisson) is an Emmy Award-winning investigative journalist, author of The New York Times best-sellers “The Smear” and “Stonewalled,” and host of Sinclair’s Sunday TV program, “Full Measure.”