Mueller’s probe has become an investigation of an investigation of an investigation. Mueller wants to know why Trump fired James Comey, the former director of the FBI, who wanted to know why Trump fired Flynn, his short-lived national security adviser. What is the answer going to turn out to be? Because Vladimir Putin called him and asked him to do it? Because Flynn knew too much? Or because he knew too little? Or was Comey’s firing just a Kremlin-ordered fake-out?
If Trump ends up talking to Mueller, the former’s critics are going to start using the phrase “obstruction of justice” again. But this is question begging. What object of justice, exactly, is being obstructed here? The current state of the investigation is so far removed from the (conjectural) epoch-making reality of Russian rigging of the election that it is impossible to discuss it in terms of right and wrong.
What have we learned from the investigation so far? Paul Manafort is a liar and swindler who allegedly laundered money years before Trump knew his name? What a surprise. Flynn lied about a professional meeting he had with a Russian diplomat after the election? Clay Shaw lied about being in the CIA too. George Papadopoulos lied about emailing someone or something called “the Professor”? Is this the same guy as Mr. X in Oliver Stone’s JFK?