Expectations that the special counsel will deliver a long narrative of Donald Trump’s malfeasance are likely to be disappointed.
BY: David A. Graham March 12, 2019
Bob Woodward’s Fear was a blockbuster. Michelle Obama’s Becoming was the best-selling book of 2018. But as far as prepublication buzz goes, neither of them can match the expectations attached to the Mueller report. No one knows when Special Counsel Robert Mueller will file a concluding document with the attorney general, or when all or part of it will be made public, but that hasn’t prevented a devoted sentinel watch.
But there’s a more fundamental question surrounding the report than when the document will land, which is whether it will even exist—or rather, whether it will exist in a form worth the anxious wait. Whether through wishful thinking about a report that could put the final nail in Donald Trump’s political coffin or expectations created by the famous (or infamous) Starr Report in 1998, the unspoken assumption has been that Mueller will produce a lengthy summary of his probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, but legal experts and veterans of previous investigations disagree.
“I believe that many, including many in the press, have done the country a disservice by creating the impression that when he gets done, Mueller is going to write this scathing, lengthy report detailing what an **bleep** the president is, even if he’s not a criminal,” says Paul Rosenzweig, a senior fellow at the R Street Institute think tank who was a senior counsel on the Whitewater investigation. “If my thesis about Mueller is right, then that’s just not happening.”