Special Counsel Robert Mueller wishes that you’d read his report. He’s not angry; he’s just disappointed.
When the Department of Justice announced Mueller’s press conference Wednesday morning, the media exploded in a frenzy of wild speculation. What new evidence might he reveal? Would he endorse impeachment? Would he complain about the administration’s response to his report? No, he would not. Nobody who has paid attention to Mueller’s pattern of behavior expected him to do anything of the sort. Instead, Mueller assumed the pained tones of a teacher who must read the instructions to the class again. The answers to all of our questions, he intoned repeatedly, are in his report.
Mueller characterized Wednesday’s appearance as merely an opportunity to summarize what he had done on the occasion of the formal conclusion of his investigation and his return to private life. But even if he did not explicitly set out to quell rumors and conspiracy theories, his calm recitation ought to have that effect. (Whether it will is another matter.)
Notably, Mueller undermined a scandalous book before it could even reach the shelves. This week The Guardian reported that in his forthcoming tell-all, Siege, Michael Wolff claims that Mueller’s office drafted an obstruction-of-justice indictment against President Donald Trump. Mueller, Wolff claims, wrestled with the question of whether it’s permissible to indict a sitting president. But Mueller unequivocally refuted that accusation today without even mentioning it. He repeated what he wrote in his report: He views the Department of Justice policy against indicting a sitting president as binding, and believes that was “not an option we could consider.” That’s no surprise. Federal prosecutors decide to indict and then draft the indictment, not the other way around. Wolff’s story was never credible.