Webb: Mueller report, Barr letter, political fodder

Before getting into a debate, I always argue against my point of view so I’m better prepared; lawyers will often consider the arguments that can be made against their positions in court.

Democrats like Reps. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffDemocrats see John Bolton as potential star witness Top State Department official arrives for testimony in impeachment probe The Hill's Morning Report - Trump grapples with Turkey controversy MORE (Calif.) and Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Video depicting Trump killing media, critics draws backlash Backlash erupts at video depicting Trump killing media, critics Cindy McCain condemns video of fake Trump shooting political opponents, late husband MORE (Calif.), and many on the left in print, television or online, have spent the last 675 days driving a false narrative to the American people. For almost two years we’ve heard innuendo and accusations presented as fact. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Schiff is one of the principal offenders. In a March 2017 interview, Chuck Todd of MSNBC asked Schiff if he had “seen direct evidence of collusion.” Schiff insisted he had. Pressed further, he stated: “I don’t want to go into specifics, but I will say that there is evidence that is not circumstantial and is very much worthy of investigation, so that is what we ought to do.” 

Former CIA Director John BrennanJohn Owen BrennanKrystal Ball defends praise of Yang: I am not 'a Russian plant' We need answers to questions mainstream media won't ask about Democrats Former Reagan official rips Republicans for backing Trump: 'It's like the invasion of the body snatchers' MORE made claims of possible collusion, utilizing the weight of his prior position to give the impression of some implicit knowledge not publicly available.

According to a Republican National Committee (RNC) research team, from May 2017 onward, The New York Times wrote 1,156 stories mentioning the Mueller investigation; CNN produced 1,965; MSNBC produced 4,202. Do the math, and this comes to approximately 10 articles per day. 

Based on the special counsel’s expenditure filings, the investigation’s cost through September 2018 was reported as more than $25.2 million. That was $50,230 per day at the time.

They did this with 19 attorneys, 40 FBI agents, and intel analysts, forensic accountants and other personnel; 2,800 subpoenas, some 500 search warrants, approximately 500 witness interviews, 230 requests for communications, almost 50 orders authorizing use of pen registers, and 13 requests to foreign governments for evidence. Fairly expensive, expansive investigating, all to get to no collusion by President TrumpDonald John TrumpWarren defends, Buttigieg attacks in debate that shrank the field Five takeaways from the Democratic debate in Ohio Democrats debate in Ohio: Who came out on top? MORE or his campaign. 

All of this gets me back to the beginning of this article, arguing against myself or, in this case, analyzing the difference between the legal and the political in the attorney general’s principal findings letter. Politicians and pundits on both sides will look to make their cases, but a few points require your attention; I suggest you peruse the letter.

First, the special counsel submitted to the attorney general a “confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions” that were reached. “Confidential” is key because there may be information that should not be released publicly for various reasons, including compromising other investigations or national security. 

Barr writes, “The report does not recommend any further indictments, nor did the special counsel obtain any sealed indictments that have yet to be made public.”

ADVERTISEMENT

The special counsel determined that Russia did attempt two primary efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election, but that’s not news — that’s what Russia does around the world. The principal findings letter states that “the special counsel did not find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in these efforts, despite multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign.” This is full exoneration of President Trump and his campaign.

The special counsel did determine that “Russian government actors successfully hacked into computers and obtained emails from persons affiliated with the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party organizations, and publicly disseminated those materials through various intermediaries, including WikiLeaks.” 

The RNC turned its servers over to the FBI for forensic examination, and it was determined they were not penetrated. The DNC and other persons affiliated with the Clinton campaign did not submit their equipment to the FBI for examination. I know of no calls by any Democratic politician for an investigation into what Russia may have acquired from the DNC or persons affiliated with the Clinton campaign.

The attorney general has stated his “goal and intent” to review the full report, with the help of the special counsel, and release as much of it as possible, consistent with applicable law, regulations and department policies. The irresponsible calls for a full, unredacted release are partisan but not realistic. It is apparent that the report will contain material that is or could be subject to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6, limiting disclosure of certain material relating to grand jury information in criminal investigations and prosecutions. These restrictions on disclosure must be followed. 

Politicians and other figures who want to see the full report ahead of the attorney general’s review and determinations simply want to use it for public political fodder. That will not happen, and they know it. They are simply disgruntled that the Mueller report confirmed what President Trump has said all along: There was no collusion by him or any member of his campaign.

What’s next, and what matters? The answer is to grow the country, now that we’ve stabilized the economy, and work internally to better Americans’ lives in every way.

The Democratic Party’s attempt to delegitimize President Trump has both a domestic and global effect on governance. We need to deny Democrats the power they seek because the Democratic Party of old is gone, replaced by next-generation leaders like Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezFive takeaways from the Democratic debate in Ohio Democrats debate in Ohio: Who came out on top? Ocasio-Cortez to endorse Sanders for president MORE (D-N.Y.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarFive takeaways from the Democratic debate in Ohio Democrats debate in Ohio: Who came out on top? Ocasio-Cortez to endorse Sanders for president MORE (D-Minn.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibFive takeaways from the Democratic debate in Ohio Democrats debate in Ohio: Who came out on top? Ocasio-Cortez to endorse Sanders for president MORE (D-Mich.).

This will take time. Long-term success requires patience, planning and execution beyond Washington that leads to victory at the ballot box. This must begin at the local level and filter into all levels of government. Don’t wait for someone else; learn, get involved and act responsibly.
As for Democrats who are willing, the question is: How much better would we be as a nation, if you worked with Republicans even just a bit for the country’s common good?

Webb is host of “The David Webb Show” on SiriusXM Patriot 125, host of “Reality Check with David Webb” on Fox Nation, a Fox News contributor and a frequent television commentator. His column appears twice a month in The Hill.