Mueller handed Democrats their next line of attack against Trump

Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTrump says he'll release financial records before election, knocks Dems' efforts House impeachment hearings: The witch hunt continues Speier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump MORE apparently could not resist taking one last parting shot at President TrumpDonald John TrumpLawmakers prep ahead of impeachment hearing Democrats gear up for high-stakes Judiciary hearing Warren says she made almost M from legal work over past three decades MORE, even as he acknowledged that there is no evidence to support the Russia collusion theory. According to Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrFive things to watch in Russia probe review Trump, GOP shift focus from alleged surveillance abuse to Durham Russia probe Trump: Giuliani to deliver report on Ukraine trip to Congress, Barr MORE, Mueller “did not draw a conclusion” as to “whether the examined conduct constituted obstruction.” In consultation with Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinRosenstein, Sessions discussed firing Comey in late 2016 or early 2017: FBI notes Justice Dept releases another round of summaries from Mueller probe Judge rules former WH counsel McGahn must testify under subpoena MORE, Barr determined that the evidence is “not sufficient to establish” that Trump committed obstruction.

In other words, after an investigation lasting nearly two years and costing taxpayers more than $25 million, Mueller merely shrugged his shoulders and passed the buck to Barr when it came to the critical question of obstructed justice. That is basically the same thing former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyWill the Horowitz report split the baby? Five things to watch in Russia probe review 'Project Guardian' is the effective gun law change we need MORE did when he declared that Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWill the Horowitz report split the baby? Gabbard commemorates John Lennon's passing by singing 'Imagine' Bannon: Clinton waiting to enter 2020 race and 'save the Democratic Party from Michael Bloomberg' MORE was “extremely careless” with her use of a private email server for classified messages while declining to charge her with a crime. By not reaching a conclusion on obstruction, Mueller made sure Democrats would have an opportunity to render their own verdict once Barr makes the full report available.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Shame on Mueller for not having the guts to come to a decision one way or another,” Alan Dershowitz declared in a recent interview. “The job of a prosecutor is to make decisions. To charge or not to charge. It is not to write law review essays that lay out on the one hand, on the other hand,” the professor elaborated in an opinion column. “The last thing prosecutors should do is encourage partisan political use of their statements not dealing with charges they do not file.”

The decision that Mueller made to punt on the obstruction question is especially irksome in light of his simultaneous conclusion that there is evidence pointing to collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Since there was no collusion, how could Trump have obstructed justice in an investigation of a crime that was never committed?

“It is a cheap shot,” Rudy Giuliani, himself a former United States attorney, said in a recent interview. “There is something extremely ‘Bush League’ about investigating something” where “there is no crime committed.” Bush League is right. Planting the seeds of an obstruction charge in an investigation of a crime someone did not commit seems like the last resort of a frustrated prosecutor on a personal vendetta.

“So if President Trump, and nobody in his campaign colluded with Russia, how can they be covering up for something they did not do? Where is the burden?” Senator Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulTrump's legal team huddles with Senate Republicans Democratic congressman calls for study of effects of sex-trafficking law McConnell says he's 'honored' to be WholeFoods Magazine's 2019 'Person of the Year' MORE asked in a recent interview. Naturally, Comey publicly defended Mueller, arguing in a recent interview that the Justice Department should not always have to “prove the underlying crime.” Fortunately, the days as a federal law enforcement officer are over for Comey, and the man now in charge of upholding the rule of law in this country does not share his cavalier attitude toward justice.

Senator Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham expects Horowitz investigation to show evidence was manipulated, withheld Trump's exceptionalism: No president has so disrespected our exceptional institutions Trump, GOP shift focus from alleged surveillance abuse to Durham Russia probe MORE, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he is all but certain that Barr will soon open a Justice Department investigation into alleged abuses of power by Comey, Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaTrump keeps Obama immigration program, and Democrats blast him The House Judiciary Committee's fundamental choice Teaching black children to read is an act of social justice MORE, Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeDOJ watchdog expected to say FBI erred, but absolve top leaders of anti-Trump bias: report CNN's McCabe restricted from talking about DOJ IG report The curious timeline for taking down Trump MORE, and others. “It is not a question of if he looks, it is how he looks,” Graham said in a recent interview, indicating that Barr is merely deliberating over whether to appoint a second special counsel.

Meanwhile, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz publicly confirmed that his office is still investigating possible abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act by Justice Department officials during their investigation into Trump and members of his presidential campaign, a probe started nearly a year ago and could reveal a great deal about the deep state conspiracy to overturn the 2016 election results.

Mueller deciding to pass on obstruction certainly seems like a “cheap shot” aimed at Trump, but at long last there are now Justice Department leaders like Barr who are committed to equal justice and the rule of law. They will expose such abuses of power to public scrutiny and restore much needed impartiality to law enforcement in this country.

Madison Gesiotto is an attorney and a commentator who serves with the advisory board of the Donald Trump campaign. She was an inauguration spokesperson and former Miss Ohio. She is on Twitter @MadisonGesiotto.