As far as fishing expeditions go, this one evokes one such adventure told 167 years ago — and still checked out of libraries today. “But shall this crazed old man be tamely suffered to drag a whole ship’s company down to doom with him?”
The president’s pursuers initially alleged collusion between Donald Trump’s campaign and the Russians. They used a foreign spy in their attempts to prove foreign interference in the presidential campaign. The fact that the campaign of Trump’s opponent paid for this investigation — their use of intermediaries to do so a tacit admission of its deceitful purpose — did not persuade federal investigators to take the evidence amassed with a grain of salt. Instead, they agreed to further subsidize the foreigner’s efforts to prove that foreigners meddled in the presidential election and presented his evidence to a judge, bypassing the fact that partisan entities launched it as part of an opposition research effort, as, incredibly, coming from a “credible” source. One administration did this to spy on a campaign volunteer for the administration that succeeded it.
Trump’s pursuers continued to obfuscate. An inspector general and congressional oversight revealed investigators boasting “we’ll stop it” in reference to Trump’s election, a discussion of an “insurance” policy in the unlikely event of the despised candidate’s election, and an FBI lawyer texting “Viva le resistance” regarding his plans for acting as a fifth columnist in the incoming administration. Finding no evidence of collusion, Trump’s pursuers steamrolled over attorney-client privilege and raided the office of Trump’s personal lawyer. A 1990s apologist for the Clintons then released a conversation involving Trump and his attorney — surreptitiously recorded by the latter. It proved this shocking fact: a billionaire former casino magnate and beauty pageant overseer once slept with a really, really beautiful woman.
How did we get from Vladimir Putin to Karen McDougal?
“To produce a mighty book,” Herman Melville explains, “you must choose a mighty theme. No great and enduring volume can ever be written on the flea, though many there be who have tried it.” Robert Mueller, who couldn’t convict Hells Angels and tried to frame Steven Hatfill as a domestic terrorist, now tries to write a mighty book with Donald Trump as his Moby Dick. This one figures to end for Ahab the same way the first one did.
The investigation exposes the investigators more than the investigated. It reveals the umpires as partisan players. It demonstrates lawbreaking by law enforcers. It sows distrust in institutions heretofore beloved by the American people.
Beware of fishing expeditions. You might catch something; monomania more likely than Moby Dick. They tend to hook the fisherman more often than the fish. But the man attached to one end of the line never sees it that way.
Unfortunately for him, Mueller’s tome won’t wind up on any must-read list; it’s gonna sink just as surely as the Pequod did.