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The Mueller report concludes it was not needed

How would you like to spend two years and $30 million assembling a report that concludes you were not needed in the first place? Voilà: the Mueller report. Nice work if you can get it.  

The report is appropriately thick, D.C. thick. It takes more than 400 pages to state the obvious: There was no collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians to swing the 2016 election. Zip. Nada. Nothing to see here.  

{mosads}It goes on to tee up a question about obstruction of justice that the special counsel was not asked to investigate — and then doesn’t answer it. Wait. What?

These are some of the most elite prosecutors in the country, and they went full Hamlet on a legal determination a third-year law student would knock down between Budweisers. This is what we get for $30 million? Make a call; that’s your job as prosecutors.  

It doesn’t seem the special counsel team is fooling anyone. It showed that it would indict a ham sandwich if it could. The obvious answer is that it had no confidence in a criminal obstruction case.  

Instead, it punted to the Trump-appointed attorney general. One gets the sense this may have been by design.

Well, what about all the Russians who were indicted by Mueller’s team for trying to interfere with the election? Those were chip-shot FBI counterintelligence investigations that were well in flow when the special counsel took them over. They didn’t need special counsel magic.

Had they remained FBI-controlled cases, the indictments would have been sealed and the subjects arrested when they likely returned to the United States for more mischief in 2020. We can forget about that now.

Attorney General William Barr during his press conference early Thursday said that the “bottom line” is that no American coordinated, conspired or colluded with the Russian government to interfere in the presidential election. America should be grateful, he added.

No, America should be disgusted. Here’s a real bottom line: A cabal of politicians and bureaucrats frivolously and cynically manipulated the levers of government to further their own political greed and lust for power by trying to exploit a falsehood. It cost us over $30 million and needlessly pitted Americans against one another.

This is where Barr will find some truly grateful people: the Kremlin in Moscow. Russian intelligence, with little sweat equity, grabbed an opportunity to feed fantastical disinformation to a former British spy hired by operatives of the Clinton campaign. The return on this modest investment has been spectacular for Mr. Putin. 

The Russian ploy was seized upon by U.S. bureaucrats and politicians who were either breathtakingly naive about these sorts of things or purposefully duplicitous.  

So let’s be clear: Any intersection by a Russian with either presidential campaign was part of Russian intelligence objectives. No one can use the “naive excuse” any longer.  

Anyone who continues to attempt to exploit empty allegations, including obstruction, in light of the Mueller report findings is purposefully cooperating with and continuing a Russian active measures campaign that has roiled this country for nearly three years.

But perhaps the greatest tragedy, confirmed by implication in the Mueller report, is that a great institution, the FBI — indeed, a cornerstone agency in the continual struggle to ensure the integrity of our democratic republic — was hijacked by an irresponsible director and deputy director who insulated themselves from the rest of that seasoned, sober organization and embarked on a foolish misadventure fueled by either their stupidity or political bias. It looks like it was a combination of both.  

They were egged on, like gullible dupes, by a politically motivated CIA director and director of national intelligence. Former FBI Director James Comey and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and the team they assembled on the seventh floor of FBI headquarters started an investigation based on insufficient cause and the obvious Russian active-measures operation.  

They likely used investigative techniques that violated established guidelines, ran informants against U.S. persons in violation of established guidelines and misused the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) process to deeply invade the privacy of an American citizen.  

And they did all this against the campaign of a person running for president of the United States. When the attorney general characterized this as “unprecedented,” he was simply stating a fact.

It will take a special kind of courage to now hold accountable those who misused the positions entrusted to them to further a made-up and costly theory of collusion. There is a sense that the attorney general is serious about seeing true justice done.

AG Barr is taking flak but hopefully will stand firm. The triumph of rule of law over political thuggery is at stake. This is vitally important for future presidential administrations of both parties, and true statesmen will recognize that.

Kevin R. Brock, former assistant director of intelligence for the FBI, was an FBI special agent for 24 years and principal deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). He is a founder and principal of NewStreet Global Solutions, which consults with private companies and public safety agencies on strategic mission technologies.

Tags Andrew McCabe Andrew McCabe James Comey James Comey Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections Special Counsel investigation Special prosecutors United States Department of Justice William Barr

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