After former special counsel Robert Mueller delivered his final report for the Russia investigation, President Donald Trump claimed that Mueller had ruled out the possibility that he committed obstruction of justice — which isn’t what the Mueller Rreport said. Rather, Mueller stressed that because of the U.S. Department of Justice policy against indicting a sitting president, it was up to members of Congress to read his report and draw their own conclusions. This week, Norm Eisen, former special counsel for the House Judiciary Committee, discussed the Mueller report with Yahoo News for the “Skullduggery” podcast — and was highly critical of Mueller for not charging Trump with obstruction.
Eisen said of Mueller, “He failed because he brought a 19th Century mentality, a 19th Century ethics and honor, to a 21st Century problem. It’s like trying to put out a burning building with a water pistol. His report just did not, was not fit for the purpose. It did not address the crisis represented by a President Trump, who is attacking all the fundamentals of our rule-of-law constitutional republic system.”
Eisen told Yahoo News that it was “unconscionable” for Mueller to “let Trump get away with lying.” According to Eisen, Mueller “hints at the need for impeachment” in his final report but “should have been bold like (former Independent Counsel Kenneth) Starr and said, ‘In my view, I recommend impeachment.’ He should have released the report or made a public statement immediately. He wrote a private letter to the attorney general, (William Barr), and the attorney general distorted his findings. He said, ‘Oh, please release my summaries.’ But Barr’s as bad as Trump in abusing the system. These are 21st Century abusers. They know how to spin and manipulate.”
During his appearance on the “Skullduggery” podcast, Eisen was promoting his new book, “A Case for the American People: The United States v. Donald J. Trump” — which discusses Trump’s impeachment. In the book, Eisen reveals that he drafted ten articles of impeachment against Trump before the Ukraine scandal and that some of them were based on the Mueller report.
Trump was not impeached because of the Russia investigation, but because of the Ukraine scandal. Even after the Mueller report was released in early 2019, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi continued to oppose impeaching Trump — although she changed her mind in a major way after learning that Trump, on July 25, 2019, had tried to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden (now the presumptive 2020 Democratic presidential nominee) and his son, Hunter Biden. Because of the Ukraine scandal, Pelosi went from being the Democratic Party’s most prominent impeachment skeptic to being a leading proponent of impeachment.
One of the results of Mueller’s Russia investigation was the prosecution of veteran GOP operative and long-time Trump ally Roger Stone, who Mueller indicted on charges ranging from obstruction of justice to lying to Congress to witness tampering. Ultimately, Stone was sentenced to three years of federal prison, but on Friday, July 10, Trump commuted his sentence.
Eisen believes that if Stone deserved to be charged with obstruction of justice, so did Trump. The attorney told Yahoo News, “Bob didn’t even confront Trump. He didn’t force Trump to testify. He let Trump get away with lying and pretending he doesn’t remember.... Those honorable decisions and leaving it to others to decide, leaving it to Congress…. letting Barr manipulate, completely neutered his investigation. And as I explain, we never recovered from that — and that is a tragedy.”