The most significant thing about Monday’s Mueller bonanza is that it reminds us what is wrong with these hysterical wide-ranging special prosecutor investigations that take place in public. Whitewater went on for nearly a decade before it concluded in 2003. Does the fact that Bill Clinton lied about sleeping with Monica Lewinsky prove that he and Hillary and the McDougals broke the law in the course of their real-estate dealings in the late ’70s? If you ask enough people enough questions about enough topics, sooner or later you’re going to catch somebody in a lie. Monday’s revelations don’t in themselves mean anything other than that Jeff Sessions’ Justice Department is keeping Mueller on a very long leash.
It needs to be shortened. The purpose of the investigation is to determine whether the presidential campaign of Donald Trump knowingly colluded with the Russian government in the hope of altering the outcome of the 2016 election, not to see whether any person even loosely connected with the former could be found guilty of any crime, including perjury. The resignation of Tony Podesta from the prominent lobbying group he founded in the wake of Manafort’s indictment suggests that we are getting very far afield indeed.