“I Never Had a Lawyer Who Took Notes”

What We’ve Learned About Trump from the Mueller Report

Among the political media and Twitter obsessives—but I repeat myself—Thursday was dubbed “Mueller Day,” because it was the day when the mostly unredacted report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller was due to be released to the public.

I was not among the obsessives, having been skeptical for a long time about how much it will yield. Instead, I gave myself a few days to let others pore over the report, and I have sorted through a few of the best overviews, which I link to below.

First, a few notes on the prior reporting and commentaries on the Mueller investigation. A lot of people on the right are crowing that the mainstream media reporting has been completely wrong about this case. Actually, with a few notable exceptions, much of the reporting has panned out. What turned out to be wrong was the breathless speculation from commentators and the cable news talking heads flogging their dubious anonymous sources.

Two and a half years of this kind of speculation has hopelessly distorted how the Mueller Report will be received, on both sides. On the left, many were hoping for spectacular revelations of treasonous cooperation with a malevolent foreign power by the president of the United States—leading directly to impeachment and Donald J. Trump and his associates being led off to jail in handcuffs. On the right—or at least among Trump’s apologists on the right, which is most of them now–the left’s hysteria was taken as the baseline for judging Mueller’s report. Anything less than a smoking gun on outright treason was to be interpreted as an exoneration of Trump and proof that the investigation of him was a Deep State conspiracy from the very beginning.

Some of my former colleagues at The Federalist have been going on about this for a while, and it is a mirror image of the hysteria on the left. A few weeks ago, Attorney General William Barr released a four-page memo giving his summary of the Mueller Report, and many of these people took it completely at face value and concluded that Trump was exonerated. I do not think the actual Mueller Report will have any impact on them.

So now that we have the real report, what does it tell us?

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