Tuesday, December 19, 2017


A couple of days ago, CNN reported this:
... Trump is boasting to friends and advisers that he expects Mueller to clear him of wrongdoing in the coming weeks, according to sources familiar with the conversations. The President seems so convinced of his impending exoneration that he is telling associates Mueller will soon write a letter clearing him that Trump can brandish to Washington and the world in a bid to finally emerge from the cloud of suspicion that has loomed over the first chapter of his presidency, the sources said.
What kind of letter does Trump expect?

Maybe what he's expecting isn't a letter, exactly, but a report. In a Washington Post op-ed today, Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor, explains what happens when an investigation by the Department of Justice is concluded:
When the Justice Department initiates an investigation, it can’t be closed without following a set of procedures that ensure cases aren’t shut down for improper reasons. If a case is opened, it can’t be “declined” — closed without bringing charges — without a detailed justification for closing the case. As a former federal prosecutor, I’ve declined my share of cases, and it takes time. Declining even a routine case requires a written explanation justifying the declination, citing specific reasons that are consistent with Justice Department guidelines. In more complex or high-profile matters, much more extensive memorandums are prepared.
Someone may have explained this to our simpleton president, and he may have said, "Yeah, that's what I want from Mueller -- a report, a letter. Something in writing, you know? Something on paper that says I'm innocent." A patient and long-suffering lawyer or aide may explained the part about how the report needs to cite "specific reasons" for the closing of the case "that are consistent with Justice Department guidelines," but Trump may have ignored that, or, because he's persuaded himself that he's innocent, he may believe his innocence (and the innocence of all his associates) is self-evident to everyone, so writing the report should be a breeze.

When I first read about Trump's hope that he'll receive an exonerating "letter," I thought he was imagining something that will never happen, even if he's cleared. But maybe he's only somewhat delusional.

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