Horowitz: One Year In, Mueller Probe Goes Full Steam Ahead
Tuesday, May 22, 2018
As Vox reported, Mueller has indicted or received guilty pleas against 19 people and 3 companies so far. Among the people who have pled guilty and are cooperating with the probe are former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and Deputy Campaign Manager Rick Gates. Additionally, 13 Russians and 3 Russian companies have been indicted for conspiracy to defraud the United States, among other charges, for their active social media work in the 2016 election aimed at helping President Trump, harming Hillary Clinton and sowing general discord. The indictment spells out the breadth of this aspect of what intelligence officials call "Russian active measures.”
This is before the Special Counsel has issued any indictments-which you can be sure will be coming—on the hacking of the DNC and the release of Clinton Campaign Chair John Podesta’s emails or weighed in as he will nearly certainly do on whether or not the President committed obstruction of justice or any other offenses in his over-the-top efforts to shut down and interfere with the investigation.
For this type of complicated investigation, one year is not a lot of time. So when Giuliani calls the probe ‘unjustifiable or says they have “nothing on Trump” and it is time to "wrap it up” it may be music to the ears of Trump supporters, but to the rest of us it sounds like more empty noise. This is especially the case since Trump enablers such as Giuliani, have moved from one discredited argument to another as emerging new facts consistently outruns their spin. It wasn’t that long ago that they were arguing that the Russians really didn’t meddle all that much in the presidential election—if at all. Or remember that the first line of spin on the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting was that it was about adoption.
Even more out there where the buses don’t run than Giuliani, is Sean Hannity. This past Friday night he called the Mueller probe a ‘direct threat to the nation.” And Trump himself continues to call the investigation a ‘witch hunt or a ‘hoax’. In the upside-down alternative universe of Trump and his defenders the danger to national security isn’t that a foreign power interfered in our election and is poised to so once again; it is the investigation to get to the bottom of it that is the real problem.
While this systematic effort to demonize the investigators is producing results with Republicans as polling shows an increasingly unfavorable view of Mueller and the probe among this sub-set of the electorate, its reckless disregard for the facts and ratcheted up distortions about the work of the FBI and the Justice Department is not only disgraceful, but very likely to backfire in the end. As John Adams famously said, “facts are stubborn things.” In the long-run Bob Mueller’s facts are going to be more powerful than the evasions, lies and unfair attacks of President Trump and his enablers.
While one can overdo the comparison to Watergate, the reflexive Nixon defenders both in Congress and the media, ended up just about completely discredited when the truth emerged. And their willingness to bend the truth beyond recognition pales in comparison to Trump and his defenders.
There will be a day of reckoning. It promises not to be pretty.
Rob Horowitz is a strategic and communications consultant who provides general consulting, public relations, direct mail services and polling for national and state issue organizations, various non-profits and elected officials and candidates. He is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at the University of Rhode Island