ROBERT MUELLER is a lifelong conservative Republican and the great hope of every liberal Democrat in the country.
A prosecutor who, in nearly forty years in government service, has honored and worked within the parameters of that government and the law, he is the conservative’s conservative. When he was appointed United States attorney in San Francisco–a politically unlikely position for Mueller–he requested resignations from all the supervisors in his office then advertised as “positions now open” all the major prosecutors’ jobs in Northern California. The conservative, methodical, tradition-bound Mr. Mueller could up-end the norms when need dictated.
He avoids publicity and is prosecuting arguably the most widely publicized case in American history.
During the past week, Mr. Mueller has inspired an equal number of rants, raised voices, and confident predictions–both ruinous and salvific–from the usual suspects at MSNBC and Fox News. There have even been days when we have finally had to admit a mild fatigue at Anderson Cooper’s measured tones.
It seems impossible to make one’s way through the thicket of opinion and speculation in the wake of the latest round of confessions and convictions. It sometimes seems an unreasonable challenge even to go beyond the handsome, patrician face, the quiet demeanor, the air of mystery–qualities that can either infuriate or comfort.
On Saturday evening, settling in to a long and thorough piece in the NY Times (“What Will Mueller Do?”), I recognized fully the complexity of the man, his history, and the situation.
“By almost any measure, Mr. Mueller has led the swiftest, most successful independent investigation in modern Washington. In just over a year, he has indicted 25 Russians for trying to influence an American election. He has won a conviction of Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman at trial and secured guilty pleas from two campaign aides and the former national security adviser.”
I heard the echo of a recent conversation with an informed, educated, liberal friend who generally understands the workings of government and politics. She was expressing her opinion, supported by dates and milestones, that the problem with the entire investigation is that “it has dragged on so long.”
I began taking notes and, sure enough, the fault line is distinct, but it often does not run down the usual, expected party or ideological lines. Robert Mueller, who has never aspired to elected office, and has consistently chosen public service, is the ideal conservative candidate for just about any office in the land. His work in the Russia inquiry has been too slow or too fast. He refuses to bend to political considerations or he has assembled a team that is part of a Deep State committed to undermining Donald Trump. He is, in turn, aggressive and impatient or cautious and plodding.
Robert Mueller is clearly driving us all a little crazy. Too complicated to label and yet clear and unwavering in his convictions, this man conducting the nation’s most potentially explosive investigation carries it on without fanfare, revealing his cards only when he has something to show.
Frustrating or not, Mueller is the perfect foil for the man he might bring down, a creature of the media whose strategy is always to show every card he holds.
Yesterday, SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN died of the cancer in his brain that he has fought for many months, the same cancer that killed SENATOR EDWARD KENNEDY just when PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA was making a final push for the Affordable Care Act .
Marilyn Hall Patel, a retired federal judge in San Francisco, said of Robert Mueller, that he is “a different kind of Republican, the kind we remember.”
Robert Mueller is precisely the kind of Republican we need.