Yes, several times in fact, but ABC’s Jonathan Karl noticed perhaps the most significant of them. Two weeks ago, soon-to-be-departing deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein replied to an inquiry from Senate Judiciary Committee chair Chuck Grassley about the status of Robert Mueller’s special-counsel probe. The 12-page letter, Karl writes, provides a likely “road map” to what Mueller will say in his final report.
And that is … not much:
The bottom line: Do not expect a harsh condemnation of President Donald Trump or any of his associates if they have not been charged with crimes.
The road map comes in the form a little-noticed 12-page letter written by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein last June to Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley. …
In the letter, Rosenstein makes it clear he believes the Department of Justice will not – and cannot without violating long-standing Department of Justice policy – include disparaging or incriminating information about anybody who has not been charged with a crime.
“Punishing wrongdoers through judicial proceedings is only one part of the Department’s mission,” Rosenstein wrote. “We also have a duty to prevent the disclosure of information that would unfairly tarnish people who are not charged with crimes.”
Along with this, ABC News reports from other sources that Mueller will not present any more indictments from his probe, a point Karl made in the story as well. If that’s the case, well … game over, right?
It’s a good catch from Karl on a letter on which no one reported until now, but it’s not the first time Rosenstein has made this clear. A little less than a month ago, Rosenstein publicly remarked that the Department of Justice had no business publishing allegations against American citizens outside of indictments. Given that Rosenstein was at the time the person who was supervising Mueller and the man who would have handled the report until William Barr took over as Attorney General, that was a pretty good indicator even before his letter to Grassley confirmed it.
And even Democrats are starting to wrap their minds around the fact that the Mueller report is likely to be a “dud,” according to Politico. Not that a dud will change much for them:
WHY MUELLER IS ONLY THE BEGINNING … IF YOU TALK TO CAPITOL HILL DEMOCRATS PRIVATELY, you will hear something surprising about what they expect from ROBERT MUELLER: Many of them expect absolutely nothing. Several top Democratic lawmakers and aides tell us privately that they are certain the report will be a dud.
IF THAT’S THE CASE, the White House will immediately make the argument that it’s time for Congress to shutter its investigations into the president. But Democratic probes into PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP are going to drag on regardless of the Mueller report. The committees are looking into things that have nothing to do with Russian interference — the president’s company, security clearances, handling of classified information, decision-making in the White House and Cabinet scandals, for example.
FRANKLY, DEMOCRATS believe even if Mueller releases a report with nothing spectacular, that’s only the beginning for the Hill.
No kidding, but it does change the political ground under those investigations. No one trusts Adam Schiff to do a credible job in investigating Trump, having helped turn the House Intelligence Committee into a joke on this issue. Jerrold Nadler is no less a partisan on Judiciary, even if he’s managed to retain a little more credibility.
However, that’s not the the biggest problem for Democrats. Having run in circles screaming that the sky was falling on Robert Mueller and that they had to protect him so he could nail Donald Trump, they now face a world in which Trump never tried to fire Mueller and Mueller never found any actionable evidence for the Russia-collusion theory. Their credibility on Trump will be shot, and they will have left voters exhausted over Trump probes. The only people tuning into Nadler and Schiff will be the ultra-partisans for whom Trump is THE DEBBIL!! regardless of facts and evidence. Good luck winning an election on that basis.