Despite Mueller’s ridiculous insinuations and morphing of the rule of law yesterday, one thing was clear. He didn’t want to go to war with Bill Barr and Mueller was sure to not accuse him of anything.
Now it looks like there’s a bit of a further walk back from the former special counsel. The media’s takeaway was originally to foam at the mouth over the idea that Trump would have been charged with a crime if he weren’t President. Honestly, I can’t blame them for running with that line because Mueller’s obfuscation of words and clear insinuations painted that picture perfectly for them.
That appears to not be true though, as it looks like Bill Barr got ahold of him and has him clarifying matters now. This per a joint statement from Barr and Mueller’s respective offices.
In other words, Mueller is now saying “wait, wait I never said Trump would have been charged if he weren’t President, only that the fact that he was President is why I didn’t bother to answer the question.”
It’s still a weak kneed answer in my humble opinion. If that is what he meant, he could have specifically clarified that at the presser to quell the storm. Instead, his weasel language gave the entirely of the media and Democrat party the green light to claim that the OLC opinion is all that stopped Trump from being charged. He threw chum into the water and it’s really hard to interpret his actions as anything other than intentional.
Now, some will take issue with the use of the word backtrack in this article. I think it’s accurate.
“If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said that,” Mueller said. “We did not determine whether the president did commit a crime.”
Mueller explained longstanding Justice Department policy, which states that a sitting president cannot be charged with a crime.
“Charging the president with a crime was not an option we could consider,” Mueller explained, adding that “it would be unfair to accuse someone of a crime when there could be no court resolution of the charge.”
Anyone that thinks the above statements, spoken without any further clarification at the presser, were meant to be taken as innocuous or just a technical exercises is kidding themselves. Mueller used that open-ended language on purpose. The guy is not a moron. He had to have known exactly how his words would be taken by the press and Democrats.
So I do believe this joint statement is a backtrack on the impressions he was trying to give at the presser.
The problem with all this is apparent. Mueller chummed the waters and set the political media on fire yesterday, only to release a statement some hours later basically saying nothing he said was meant to be taken as everyone took it. Anyone think this statement, which essentially attempts to defuse the media crap-storm, is going to work? Of course not.
The deed is already done.