What makes Mueller different from previous special counsels is that his predecessors were given the mission of investigating specific alleged crimes. As my National Review colleague Andrew McCarthy has repeatedly pointed out, Rod Rosenstein mentioned no crimes in his initial order to Mueller, a violation of the special-counsel regulations. He said only that Mueller should investigate collusion and anything related.
This amorphous, wide-ranging guidance appears to have allowed Mueller to effortlessly slide from an amorphous, wide-ranging investigation into Russian meddling into an amorphous, wide-ranging investigation into obstruction of justice. (Rosenstein followed up later with a more specific memo to Mueller.)
Now, judging by the leaked questions, obstruction is the lion’s share of Mueller’s work. Absent smoking guns that we aren’t aware of (always possible), this is bizarre and disproportionate.