Mueller was never going to save you

Daniel Walker

dawalker@ursinus.edu

After spending a little over two years waiting with bated breath for Special Counsel Robert Mueller to drop the highly anticipated results of his investigation into Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, liberals, journalists, and figureheads of the #Resistance were dismayed to hear that Mueller’s final report found no evidence of collusion between the Russian government and the Trump campaign.

While Mueller also noted that his report did not fully exonerate Trump for potential charges of obstruction of justice, there was still a sense of “that’s it?” among the same people who, for the better part of the past two years, had been Robert Mueller’s biggest supporters. In the wake of the Mueller Report’s relative anti-climax, liberal Democrats and their supporters should look inward and ask why they appointed a middle-aged white man and career Republican as the nation’s de facto savior against the evils of Donald Trump.

Ever since he was initially appointed in May 2017, Mueller- mania has been the mobilizing force behind some of the loudest voices in opposition to Trump. Mueller’s no-nonsense attitude and his reputation among Washington policy wonks as an exemplar of competence and legal prowess turned him from an anonymous figure in the American political landscape to a living meme over the course of Trump’s first half-term.

Mueller is to the anti-Trump liberal what someone like Chuck Norris or Dirty Harry might be to an aging boomer grandpa. Some particularly canny merchandisers even took to manufacturing and selling Mueller-themed prayer candles. Admittedly, the Democrats’ canonization of St. Mueller is a little more tongue- in-cheek than the honest-to- goodness evangelical fervor on display at any given Trump rally. But as someone with a healthy skepticism of the American intelligence apparatus, the over- whelming support that Mueller – former director of the FBI, an organization that has played no small part in dismantling radical activist groups and obstructing efforts to maintain a greater level of government transparency – has received over the past few years does not sit entirely well with me.

In early 2003, in the months leading up to the Iraq War, Mueller testified before the Senate Select Committee that Iraq was in possession of weapons of mass destruction. Infamously, these “WMDs” turned out to be non- existent, and the Bush administration was promptly blamed for sending millions of Americans off to die in an unjust war based on sketchy intelligence. Some might argue that the sins of the past shouldn’t influence how we view Mueller’s reputation today, but in a nation where the aftershocks of the Bush administration’s inept handling of quote- unquote global peacekeeping are still felt today, it’s worth holding those who played some part in it to some degree of accountability.

In addition, Mueller publicly defended the NSA surveillance programs brought to light by Edward Snowden in 2013. Those who fervently lavished Mueller with praise for trying to bring Trump’s backdoor dealings to public attention might want to reflect on how this anti-transparency position conflicts with the public image of Mueller as an unbiased servant of justice.

Putting the onus to stop Trump on one individual or one movement is a dicey enough proposition as it is. But in putting said onus on a figure within the American justice system, Mueller’s supporters are almost asking to be let down. Hear me out –– what if foreign powers, namely Russia, aren’t entirely to blame for the rise of Trump? What if, like in those old slasher movies, the killer is calling from inside the house? What if our institutions, the FBI and the Department of Justice among them, exist solely to serve the needs of the wealthy and privileged, and that’s how someone like Trump get to where he’s gotten today?

Yes, it’s fun to make memes and don your well-worn “It’s Mueller Time” enamel pin, but at the end of the day, there’s only one person who can not only halt the rise of Trumpism but also create a vision for what the world might look like after the reign of Prez #45 has ended. That person, dear reader, is YOU – you, your friends and allies, and anyone else who believes that the future of humanity is something worth fighting for. I mean, guys, Robert Mueller isn’t even that hot. If you want a charismatic and professional-minded middle- aged man to drool over, Kyle MacLachlan is right there.

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