An Open Letter To Robert Mueller Urges The Special Counsel To Step Forward

Despite Robert Mueller’s insistence in behaving in a manner outside of traditional partisan politics, continuing to avoid testifying publicly would, in fact, be an “intensely political decision,” according to an open letter directed to Mueller published by Washington Monthly.

“Robert Mueller deserves some props for trying to be a consummate professional, avoiding political theater and playing the part of the guarded, hyper-competent institutional loyalist,” writes David Atkins for Washington Monthly.

Atkins is a writer, activist, and research professional who is the president of The Pollux Group, a qualitative research firm.

Atkins goes on to point out that there may have been a time where political discourse in the United States was more civilized and that Mueller’s insistence on avoiding what would likely become a partisan political spectacle could be defensible, if not admirable. Yet in the current state of American politics, such a position is a luxury that the country can not necessarily afford.

Atkins points out that Mueller’s refusal to consider prosecuting President Donald Trump through the Justice Department essentially created a situation in which the outcome was inevitably going to become political.

“In Mueller’s case, he himself set the rules of the game by placing prosecution for obstruction of justice out of the hands of the Justice Department and into the hands of Congress,” he writes. Against the intensely partisan backdrop of both the House of Representatives and the Senate, placing any decision, much less one as consequential as the fate of the president, into congressional hands would predictably become a partisan affair.

“But, of course, that is a fundamentally political process,” Atkins says, suggesting that in the modern era, only a “very public airing” of the president’s potential crimes could create the neccessary pressure for congressional Republicans to actually remove the president from office.

So, according to Atkins, the only way to continue advancing that public airing of the president’s alleged crimes is to put the discussion on display for the American people through public testimony from Mueller himself. Even Mueller’s report, which the special counsel intended to be presented to the public as a transparent and unbiased account of his findings in the Russia investigation, was spun politically as the Trump administration with the help of Attorney General William Barr largely controlled the narrative in the early days after the report’s completion.

“There is no room left for guarded hyper-professionalism at this moment. The entire process of justice for Trump is now political, and refusing to publicly testify is also a political act—one that assists the president’s cronies in helping him to escape accountability for the very crimes Mueller helped uncover,” Atkins closes.