On December 1, Andrew McCarthy posted an article at National Review summarizing what he believes is the goal of the Mueller investigation. His summary makes a lot of sense.
First of all Andrew McCarthy reminds us that this investigation is leading to a report–not a trial. Therefore, the fact that the only charges so far involve lying (which obviously discredits a witness in a trial) is irrelevant. He then notes that the investigation is a counterintelligence investigation, not a criminal investigation.
The article notes:
This is why, from the beginning of the Trump-Russia investigation, and certainly since Mueller’s appointment on May 17, 2017, we have stressed that the probe is a counterintelligence investigation, not a criminal investigation. The idea was not to dizzy you with Justice Department esoterica. The point is that we don’t want prosecutors involved until it has been established that a crime was probably committed, warranting use of their awesome, intimidating investigative powers. Our main interest is in the crime we authorize prosecutors to investigate; we are not looking to have prosecutors manufacture crimes through the process of investigating — even if we agree that people should not be permitted to lie to investigators with impunity.
With respect to the president and “collusion,” Mueller does not have a crime he is investigating. He is investigating in hopes of finding a crime, which is a day-and-night different thing.
The article further explains the methods of investigation being used:
Mueller is turning such lies into guilty pleas, for three reasons.
First, he is not going to indict the president, which would precipitate a trial at some point. The convicted liars are not going to be jury-trial witnesses, so Mueller is not concerned about their lack of credibility. The report will detail disturbing — and thus politically damaging — connections between Trump associates and Kremlin cronies. But there will be no collusion crime, and thus no charges and no need for witnesses.
Second, with the media as his biggest cheerleader (other than Jeff Flake), the false-statements pleas create the illusion of a collusion crime, and thus appear to vindicate Mueller’s sprawling investigation. As I’ve previously explained, the game works this way: The media reports that Mueller is investigating Trump–Russia collusion and that dozens of people have been charged or convicted; but the media omits that no one has been charged, much less convicted, of any crime involving collusion between Trump and Russia. The great mass of people who do not follow the news closely come away thinking a Trump–Russia collusion crime is an established fact; by now, Mueller must be tightening the noose around Trump because he’s already rolled up a bunch of the apparent accomplices.
Third, defendants convicted of making false statements are very useful because Mueller is writing a report, not preparing for a jury trial. Convicted liars never get cross-examined in a report. Nor do they give the bumpy, inconsistent testimony you hear in a courtroom. Instead, their version of events is outlined by a skilled prosecutor, who writes well and knows how to make their stories sing in perfect harmony. They will sound far better in the report than they would on the witness stand. We’ve already gotten a taste of this in the offense narratives Mueller has incorporated in each guilty plea. Read the criminal information in Cohen’s case and ask yourself whether Mr. Fixer could have recited matters with such clarity.
Aside from the fact that this investigation has been a colossal waste of money, it is sad that the press so readily signed on to the idea of bringing down a President they did not like. It’s odd that when Donald Trump was a Democrat he got awards for his work in racial harmony, was hailed for putting the first woman in charge of constructing a New York skyscraper, and fought city hall to make sure Mar-a-Lago did not discriminate against either Jewish people or black people. The press loved him then. They laughed at his unfiltered remarks and gladly put him in their social pages. It is amazing how much that changed when he ran for President as a Republican.