Slippery, slimy, conniving, and devious.
If you (somewhat selectively) read the carefully crafted lines of Mueller’s report, he said he would not reach a determination on obstruction. And he did not reach one. Therefore, the reasoning goes, it cannot be said that the OLC guidance was determinative: Since Mueller technically did not make a recommendation one way or the other, the OLC guidance was never actually triggered.
But if that’s the case, then the obvious question — to go back to where we started — is: Why mention the OLC guidance at all?
Answer: Because Mueller’s brief speech on Wednesday was not a matter of reading the lines of his report; it was about reading between the lines.
There is only one rational explanation for this performance. Mueller wants Congress and the public to presume that if it were not for the OLC guidance, it is very likely that he would have charged the president with obstruction — maybe not an absolute certainty, but nearly so.
And then, just in case we were too dense to understand the nods and winks, Mueller took pains to emphasize that, in our constitutional system, it is up to Congress, not federal prosecutors, to address alleged misconduct by a sitting president.
Simple as 1 + 1 + 1 = 3. Likely felony obstruction, plus inability of prosecutors to indict, plus duty of Congress to deal with presidential criminality, equals: Impeachment is the only remedy, unless congressional Democrats are saying that Donald Trump is above the law. (Good luck, Speaker Pelosi, trying to pipe down your AOC wing, to say nothing of the 2020 primary contestants, after that one.)
This should not be a surprise.
It most certainly should not. We know what they are—megalomaniacal Democrat-Socialist liars who will never concede any election they lose; Deep State schemers determined to preserve their excessive power and privilege; Enemedia partisans with their own perks to safeguard; Vichy GOPers in barely-clandestine collusion with all of the above—and we know what they do.
If the special counsel had told Barr that the OLC guidance was his rationale for not deciding, Barr would likely have told him, “Don’t worry about the OLC guidance, that’s not your job. The OLC guidance only says we can’t return an indictment now. We still need to know whether there is a prosecutable case. Just make a recommendation on that, one way or the other.”
If that had happened, Mueller would have been cornered. If he recommended in favor of indictment, he would have ended up in the confrontation with Barr over obstruction law that he was trying to avoid. If he recommended against an indictment, he would have undermined the impeachment effort.
So he punted. And it worked.
Well, that remains to be seen. The weasel Mueller’s hamfisted attempt last week at prodding them into action notwithstanding, Pelosi & Pals are still securely perched on the horns of a YUUUGE dilemna: if recent polling is accurate, impeaching Trump is overwhelmingly unpopular, tantamount to political suicide. Which makes watching as they all wriggle and squirm trying to find themselves a more comfortable seat a sheer delight.