Monday, March 25, 2019

Mueller probe and meta-justice powers

The Mueller probe seems to be completed. From 2017, Robert Mueller has been investigating the allegations that Donald Trump has colluded with Russia to become the U.S. president – and that he has been obstructing justice. The investigation was started by Rod Rosenstein, a deputy attorney general.

Attorney General William Barr has received the report and summarized it in a summary. No evidence of a collusion has been found. No more indictments will be made. Instead of clearly saying whether Trump has ever obstructed justice, Mueller wrote arguments on both sides and concluded that he doesn't want to make crisp statements and it's not enough for some prosecution. Clearly, the wording concerning the obstruction is more ambiguous – which is linked to the fact that the definition of obstruction is murkier.

Trump has celebrated in a tweet. No collusion, no obstruction, I am fully exonerated. His antagonists vigorously promote the idea that Trump is lying because the Mueller report explicitly says "this is not an exoneration". Well, clearly, there is some contradiction between the two statements. But the contradiction doesn't actually imply, at least not automatically, that Trump is saying something untrue.

Instead, if the probe has carefully looked into all of the tangible accusations and found out that all of the accusations are false, this should be called a total exoneration, so Trump is right and Mueller's summary is wrong.

The investigation has involved dozens of investigators, dozens of CIA agents, and thousands of subpoenas have been sent. It was really a huge witch hunt. And it found nothing to back up the basic claims about the Trump-Russia collusion. Everything else has really been derived from it. Trump had very good – and according to the current knowledge, legitimate – reasons to "obstruct" such a witch hunt because he knew it was bogus. Mueller knows that efforts to scale down some investigation that Trump knows to be just a witch hunt against him, and a waste of time, is a pretty reasonable activity and it's surely not enough to justify an impeachment which is the only way how Trump could be punished.

On the other hand, even such legitimate efforts may be called "obstruction" if you wish. But this kind of "obstruction" simply cannot be a "crime" or at least not a "serious enough crime".

Home Alone with Donald Trump, this time in the Czech Republic. Donald Trump – along with his first wife, Jaromír Jágr, and one more – has saved Kevin's day. Touching. Czech version with English subtitles is available. Making of. A similar Czech Harry Potter montage.

The leftists in the U.S. have combined their great hatred for the U.S. president; and their hatred for the Russian nation that really is analogous to the anti-Semitic sentiments in Germany some 85 years ago. They hate both so both must have colluded! Well, this logic doesn't really work at all. When a movement hates two people, it doesn't even mean that the two people know each other. I think it's very unfortunate that the president and also Russians have become targets of this visceral hatred. In both cases, it's arguably unprecedented in the U.S.

Russia has been a Cold War enemy. But I think that the hatred is worse today than it was during the Cold War because it's more ideological. Now it's a big part of America that is promoting a radically left-wing ideology – while Russia is the proponent of a credible alternative, a more old-fashioned, conservative, and relaxed world.

Trump has done fine and I don't really have direct worries about the psychological well-being of this self-confident man with a safe enough ecosystem around him but I am still disturbed by the huge power that accusations and legal challenges have over the accused. In fact, I still don't quite understand why the investigation started at all. It's been expensive and it's been hurtful for Trump and his administration. How does it happen that some random accusation (if we don't call it a conspiracy theory – and we should!) out there – which the Mueller report basically labeled unjustified now – is seriously probed by dozens of CIA agents, pursued through thousands of subpoenas etc.?

I feel that the "actual plaintiffs" – the actual masterminds behind the accusations and witch hunts – should pay something or be punished, especially if their accusations end up being untrue or heavily overstated. In the Trump-Russia case, I think that the accusers haven't paid a penny. They just invented and spread a theory that lots of important people had to investigate in a time-consuming and expensive process that was also shining the light of suspicion on the White House. I don't know the optimal way to fix this problem but "accusations which lack real evidence at the moment" and, indeed, the "power to shape the narratives and determine what should be discussed and investigated at all" simply shouldn't be powerful weapons because such powerful weapons may be abused too easily and they de facto place some people (the plaintiffs and accusers) legally above others.

Well, maybe by having survived this witch hunt, Trump will be more relaxed and/or stronger than he would be in the complete absence of the investigation – so maybe some meta-justice exists in the current system, too.

See also: Russiagate is this generation's weapons of mass destruction – which finally destroyed the credibility of the press. Note that, as that essay reminds us, Prague has played quite some role in this Russiagate – much like in the WMD hoax (Mohammed Atta) and in the Trump-Kevin video embedded above.

P.S.: During the recent visit to the White Cottage, Czech PM donated Trump a luxurious, presidential edition of a famous Czech pistol, an act of our de facto leader that I applaud. Trump may still need it.