… In the course of defending his reputation against silly, but gravely serious, smears—that he was a “Russian asset,” in the words of former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe—the president forcefully and publicly berated the Mueller proceedings and his turncoat attorney, Michael Cohen (who, though a hostile witness, testified that there was no collusion).
To Mueller, that paragon of virtue, the dilemma revolved around whether to indict Trump for the fighting words he spoke in defense of his now-proven innocence. Free speech, some might call it. (Remember that quaint thing?)
For in the legal penumbra in which the U.S. Office of Special Counsel operates, aggressively professing your innocence can amount to obstructing “justice.”
Fight an unjust conviction with everything you’ve—and you risk being convicted of a crime.
This is the Kafkaesque, circular reasoning that animates the workings of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC): It can criminalize conduct—worse, it can criminalize speech—that is perfectly licit in natural law, such as verbally defending oneself against spurious accusations.
Or, as Attorney-General William Barr put it, “Mr. Trump could not have obstructed justice because HE DID NOT COLLUDE WITH RUSSIA.”
As a scrupulously honest broadcaster, Tucker Carlson recently confessed to “looking back in shame” for having originally supported Kenneth Starr’s independent counsel investigation of President Clinton. (Good libertarians have always opposed the very existence of the OSC. This writer certainly has.)
Another honest man, Democrat Mark Penn, former chief strategist to Hillary Clinton and a frequent guest of the Tucker Carlson show, had “spent a year working with President Clinton” to fend off Special Counsel Ken Starr’s extrajudicial onslaught. Penn had recently remarked candidly that the Starr investigation “was child’s play” compared to the infractions of the Mueller investigation.
Yet, few have been willing to concede that the Mueller inquisition was the Kenneth Starr Chamber by any other name.
The origin of the Star[r] Chamber sobriquet is in 15th-century England.
Meant to remedy injustice in the times of Henry VIII, the “Court of Star Chamber,” as it was known, was soon co-opted and corrupted, becoming “a symbol of oppression” during the times of Charles I.
For reasons obvious, the “Starr Chamber” designation stuck to the outfit run by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr, in1998.
Likewise, there was, seemingly, no limit to the broad remit of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Other than some accused Russians, nobody stateside dared challenge—from the vantage point of first principles—this draconian medieval inquisition …