Mueller Investigation: Erratic, Undisciplined, Unaccountable

Mr. Mueller is NOT conducting the investigation that was assigned to him, or the investigation the Trump-haters expected.

Back in March, during testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, then FBI Director James Comey publicly disclosed what had been a secret, an FBI investigation, begun eight months earlier, looking into…

…Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 Presidential election [including] any links between the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts.

Two months later Special Council Robert Mueller was appointed.  Mueller’s appointment document, issued by the Department of Justice, authorizes him to take over the FBI investigation Comey had announced in March, including “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump.” 

Since then we’ve learned what Comey and the Department of Justice knew at the time, that there is evidence of Clinton campaign coordination with the Russian government.  Her campaign had paid for the infamous “dossier” of – in Comey’s words – “salacious and unverified” rumors about Mr. Trump, that the FBI could not verify after months of investigation, that came directly from Russian sources.

So our first question should be, why doesn’t Mueller’s assignment include both, the Trump and the Clinton campaigns?  Spoiler alert before you ask Google: There is no answer to this obvious question from any government source.

Thus, we acknowledge the reality that Mueller’s investigation is not just an impartial, objective search for Russian interference. It’s also an effort to affirm the political-media establishment’s conviction that Donald Trump’s coordination or “collusion” with Vladimir Putin and the Russians robbed Hillary Clinton of the coronation she deserved. 

So, how should an investigation looking for Russian interference and evidence of “collusion” be organized?  It seems pretty obvious:

  • Step one: Figure out how Trump achieved his unexpected election victory, a victory that virtually every “expert” in government and media failed to predict.
  • Step two: Once he understands how Trump won, Mueller should discover the specific acts of interference by the Russian government that ensured Trump’s victory. 
  • Step Three: If Mueller is able to identify Russian acts of interference that ensured Trump’s victory, he can then Discover what, if any connections there were between Trump or his associates and the Russians who interfered on his behalf.

We can complete Step one right now.  It takes us to the  Electoral College system. To ensure the outcome of a Presidential election the Russians would have to do something to alter the Electoral College score, which all the “experts” told us was locked in for Hillary.  Remember how often we we were told that Trump had “no path to 270,” the minimum number of Electoral College votes to win?

For the past eight Presidential elections there has been a large group of consistently Republican (red) states, a large group of consistently Democrat (blue) states, and a small group of  “toss-up” or competitive states.  Both Republican and Democrat Presidential Campaigns generally deploy most of their resources to the few toss-up states, all but ignoring the solid red and solid blue states where they figure one side or the other is likely to win no matter what the campaigns do

The consistently Democrat group of blue states – that Hillary’s campaign called her “blue wall” – adds up to 50 more Electoral votes than the red, Republican group, giving Democrats an Electoral College head start. 

In the 2012 Presidential election…

  • Mitt Romney won all the red states for a total of 206 Electoral Votes.
  • Barack Obama won all the blue states plus all the toss up states for a total of 332 Electoral votes.

To alter this status quo the Russians’ task would be to identify toss up and blue states and persuade their voters to to go for Trump, breaking Hillary’s Electoral College lock.

As she and the media remind us often, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by about three million. Yet Trump overcame this popular vote deficit and won the Electoral College. How?

  1. Predictably, he won all the red states that Romney won, for 206 Electoral Votes.
  2. He won three of the five toss-up states, Ohio, Florida and Iowa for another 53 votes.  Again, somewhat predictable.  So far he was still eleven votes short of the 270 needed to win.
  3. Then came what virtually no experienced politician or expert thought possible when the campaign began. He won three of the Democrats “blue wall” states, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, plus one vote from blue Maine, for an additional 47 votes, bringing his total to 306.

Thus, if Russian interference delivered the Trump victory it was by persuading voters in the key states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Mueller’s Step 2: has become obvious: Discover what, if anything, the Russians actually did to interfere in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania and enable Trump to break through the Democrats’ blue wall.

But, what have we heard was discovered by the FBI and Mueller, after eighteen months of investigation, streaming leaks and media tumult?  Nothing about step one or step two!  Nothing about Wisconsin, Michigan, or Pennsylvania.  Published leaks from the FBI and Mueller’s shop have told us…

  1. Some people associated with the Trump campaign met with some Russians, before and after the election.
  2. After months of investigation Mueller indicted Paul Manafort, who was Trump’s campaign manager for about three of the 16 month campaign, for alleged financial crimes committed years before the campaign.
  3. Two campaign operatives have pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents about matters unrelated to any alleged or identified Russian actions of interference in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

Perhaps the most hyperbolic coverage has been about a meeting with a Russian lawyer attended by Donald Trump Junior.  Apparently he agreed to meet with her because he was told that she would bring negative information about Hillary. But instead she came to lobby for repeal of a US law that penalizes certain Russians.  The meeting ended quickly and the very busy Trump campaign moved on, with no time for, or interest in her issue.  The meeting was NOT about how to interfere and motivate key voters in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Yet, speculation about this meeting has burned hundreds of hours of cable TV time.

We’ve heard breathless reporting of a few other meetings and “contacts” with Russians by people associated with the Trump Campaign, mostly after the election. But these meetings had no affect on the VOTERS in the blue wall states of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

So what have we been told the Russians actually did to interfere? So far we’ve heard two allegations, neither of which was focused on Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

  1. The Russians were the thieves who stole thousands of emails from John Podesta, Chairman of the Clinton Campaign and had them published on  Wikileaks. So far the intelligence community has told us nothing about why they believe the Russians stole the emails and there is some evidence that it was an inside job.  But doubts about Russian involvement aside, to the extent Wikileaks influenced voters at all, that influence was nationwide, not focused on Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.  And the influence can not have been meaningful because Hillary Clinton’s nation-wide popular vote was only about one tenth of one percent less than Obama’s in 2012 and three million more than Trump’s.
  2. Someone representing Russians bought $100,000 of Facebook ads.  Obviously, this is an absurdly small expenditure, equaling only a tenth of one percent of the $81 million the Trump and Clinton Campaigns spent on Facebook ads and only 0.004% of $2.4 BILLION total budget of both campaigns.   But it’s even less than it seems. It turns out more than half of these ads ran after the election!  And, the ads weren’t necessarily favorable to Trump.  Some of them appear to be attempts to motivate turn-out among groups that are generally considered Democrat constituencies, such as African Americans and LGBT.   It is simply not plausible that this tiny sprinkle of Facebook ads had more effect on the voters than the sum of televised debates, televised campaign events attended by millions of people, two televised conventions and thousands of hours of media coverage nearly all of which favored Hillary.

Even though it takes only hours to complete step one, Mueller still appears unable to complete Step 2 after seven months. He has not identified Russian acts of interference that ensured Trump victories in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. If he had found anything it would have been fed to the bellowing media.

Thus, we have to conclude, based on everything we’ve learned from official announcements leaks and media reports, that Mueller is not investigating what he was assigned to investigate, “Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 Presidential election.”  If his real goal is to convict Trump of “collusion” he hasn’t yet begun that investigation. He has not explained what the Russians did in Wisconsin, Michigan an Pennsylvania.

Finally, here’s a quick wrap up of the three key, blue wall states, individually:

Wisconsin: Hillary got 238 thousand fewer votes than Obama did in 2012 but those votes didn’t go to Trump.  He received fewer votes than Romney!  Third party candidates got 149 thousand of Hillary’s lost votes.  The rest, 92 thousand just didn’t show up at the polls.  So, in order to help Trump win Wisconsin even though he got fewer votes than Romney in 2008, The Russians would have had to reduce turnout by 92 thousand, AND transfer 149 thousand Obama voters to third party candidates.  Do the Democrats or CNN or Mueller have evidence of or even speculation as to what sort of diabolically clever interventions by the Russians could make this happen?  Well, no. Of course not.

Michigan: In 2016 Hillary got almost three million fewer votes than Obama had in 2012.  About half of them went to Trump and half went to minor parties. Trump won Michigan by an extremely narrow margin 47.25% to 47.03%.  No word from Mueller on how the Russians could have made this happen.

Pennsylvania: Hillary got 64 thousand fewer votes than Obama. Trump got 290 thousand more votes than Romney to win 48.17% to 47.46%.  Again, no clue from the Mueller investigation as to how the Russians could have engineered this upset.

*Maine is one of only two states that does not automatically award all of its electoral votes to the statewide winning candidate. The Electoral College allocates a total of 4 votes to Maine. Maine awards one vote to the winner of each of it’s two Congressional Districts, and two are awarded to the statewide vote winner.  Trump won one Congressional district and thus received one Electoral College vote. Hillary won the other district and the statewide vote and thus received the remaining three of Maine’s Electoral College votes.

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