George Rebane: Escrow the witch hunt
Witch Hunt – an intensive effort to discover and expose disloyalty, subversion, dishonesty, or the like, usually base on slight, doubtful, or irrelevant evidence.
Even with the ongoing Kavanaugh confirmation hysteria, the Russia collusion investigation by special counsel Mueller continues to elbow its way into the lead stories of the news cycle, and rightly so. Should Mueller find some material evidence on impactive collusion or, now the add-on hunt for obstructing justice, then that would have an immediate and material impact on the prospects of President Trump completing his first term.
Today we continue to have the usual Trump enemies like James Clapper, John Brennan, and James Comey appearing daily on left-wing media endlessly rehashing their charges that President Trump colluded with the Russians to get elected, and then engaged in various nefarious acts to obstruct investigations that would bring him to justice, a road that would lead to immediate impeachment and possible conviction by the Senate to remove him from office.
The lack of any evidence to substantiate such allegations does not have any impact to slow the beat of the media propaganda drums that today continue to convince the nation’s voters that Trump is guilty as alleged. Trump and his supporters respond by calling these evidence-free allegations and the seemingly interminable Mueller investigation a witch hunt. Basically, they accuse Mueller and his Democrat supporters of following a policy that the investigation will continue until some culpable evidence is found, and the nation along with the administration will be kept on tenterhooks until that time.
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Reasonable Americans would agree that Mueller is indeed conducting a witch hunt if by this time he has no culpable evidence or plausible leads to prove collusion and/or obstruction. But there is no way of resolving this question, or at least putting it to rest without the opposition outcry that the President is trying to interfere with or shut down a productive investigation prematurely to save himself. Well, there is a solution to a way forward that would put Mueller and team on notice on their implied claim of progress, and give the administration and its enemies a rest from their endless charges and counter-charges. I will call this the “Escrow Solution” which I outlined a month ago on Rebane’s Ruminations. It is implemented as follows.
1. Mueller cites all the evidence to date that supports his contention that he is being prudent and professional in continuing an investigation that so far has claimed no culpable evidence, or evidence relevant to his charter. Under oath he swears to the verity of this information and puts this into an “envelope.”
2. The “envelope” is sealed and entered into escrow with a reliable third party, such as a federal court, that is not privy to what is being escrowed. The escrow instructions state that the contents of the “envelope” remain sealed until the Mueller investigation is formally concluded, at which time its contents will be made public.
3. Inspection of said contents at the conclusion of the investigation will then either support Mueller’s current contention that he has probable cause to continue the investigation, or show that he had nothing culpable to that date, and was simply proceeding on a “Hail Mary” basis with the hope that something significant might later turn up — i.e. confirming that at least up to the escrow date he was really determined to continue conducting a witch hunt.
4. Depending on how the investigation ends and what sworn assurances Mueller makes upon entering escrow, his reputation and fate will be determined either by the court of public opinion or a court of law. Mueller has no reasonable basis for refusing to enter into such an arrangement given that he has properly conducted the commissioned investigation, and is continuing it because it shows some promise of producing culpable evidence of criminal Russian collusion or obstruction of justice.
In any event, with such information in escrow, the investigation can now proceed under the explicit expectation that Mueller already has something that constitutes a reasonable basis for continuing the investigation; all this without the need to release any supportive and/or compromising intermediate results.
His refusal to accede to such an escrow of the current state of his investigation will speak volumes, since in no way will such a confidential filing thwart or hinder his ongoing professional and prudent efforts.
George Rebane lives in Nevada County, writes a long-running blog, and is an award-winning veteran commentator on KVMR.
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