Dear Mr. Mueller ...

Opinion: Ken Trainor

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By Ken Trainor

Staff writer

Something needs to be said before you head off into private life. A lot of us, you see, are disappointed. We were looking for a hero, and you came up short. I get it. You're not in the hero business.

We were expecting a law-enforcement demigod, but you turned out to be all-too human. The fact that your report didn't find active collusion and/or conspiracy with the Russians to meddle in the 2016 election speaks to your sense of fairness. After all, you established beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Russians meddled, and you established how much and how frequently the Trump campaign, and especially Trump himself, encouraged this meddling, aided by Wikileaks.

In fact, before Congress on July 24, you characterized Trump's frequent praise for Wikileaks' activities as follows: "Problematic is an understatement, in terms of giving some hope or boost to what is and should be illegal activity." Thank you for being so forthcoming.

"Over the course of my career," you said at the beginning of your testimony, "I have seen a number of challenges to our democracy. The Russian government's effort to interfere in our election is among the most serious."

I would say the most serious, but maybe you were thinking about the 2016 election result itself as the most serious. You all but said Mr. Trump obstructed justice or attempted to obstruct justice, but couldn't quite bring yourself to say so, citing the now-famous OLC (Dept. of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel) opinion (note the word "opinion") that sitting presidents cannot be indicted, a ruling you evidently felt compelled to follow.

The bottom line is that you produced a thorough, unbiased report that kicks the can over to Congress and tells them to put up or shut up. Good enough? Perhaps, if these were normal times, but these aren't normal times, are they?

During your testimony before Congress, we saw someone who looked older, more frail, and not quite as kick-ass as we were led to believe. That surprised us a little.

No doubt you had top-notch people working with you on this investigation. Maybe some of them really are kick-ass. Maybe one or two of them should have testified with you (as I believe you requested). Perhaps you were just the executive overseeing those who did the heavy lifting.

Or maybe you sounded so unsure of yourself not only because of what you wanted to say but also what you didn't want to say.

And therein lies our disappointment.

You opted to remain a bureaucrat when what we desperately needed was a patriot. You're very good at following rules. You wanted to do your job, do it with excruciating correctness, and then step back into the sanctuary of private life. Who can blame you? Who wants to be at the center of this storm? 

A patriot, actually. A patriot would be willing to step into the center of this storm.

Instead, you followed the rules, and there is much to commend that, especially considering the person you were investigating and the kind of people who attach themselves to him, all of whom can fairly be described as rule-desecrators. 

We needed someone with integrity, and we couldn't have asked for a better person on that front. But a bureaucrat's first loyalty is to uphold the system. The patriot's first loyalty is to what's best for their country. I don't think you're unpatriotic. I believe you love your country and have always answered its call. Until now. If ever there was a time that demanded extraordinary courage, it is now. But when your country needed you most, you chose to tell the truth, but put it under a veil.

Your reputation is preserved. You didn't want to throw it all away on a clear, forceful statement of personal belief. So you took refuge in your role. Completely understandable.

And completely disappointing.

In your personal opinion, based on the evidence you gathered, do you believe Donald Trump obstructed justice or attempted to obstruct justice? That he encouraged Russia and Wikileaks to meddle in the most important exercise in our democracy, aiding and abetting and undermining that democracy?

We're not interested in your "problematic" understatements. We don't need you to "categorize it with any specificity." We don't care if you can or can't indict a sitting president. We needed someone to step up. If not you, who?

You were the one person with the authority to step into that crucible. Watching and listening, we were hoping for something more, something above and beyond, fulfilling the spirit, not the letter, of the law. Just once.

A simple but firm "Yes" would have sufficed.

To say we're disappointed would be an understatement.


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Reader Comments

5 Comments - Add Your Comment

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Comment Policy

Nick Polido  

Posted: August 26th, 2019 1:05 PM

Ken, Maybe you could focus your attention on corruption closer to home by reading Maggie Hickeys report linked here. Let me give you a quick summation: The state of Illinois has its very own emperor in Mike Madigan current Chair of the Democratic Party, Speaker of the house for the past 34 years (with the exception of two years) and Senior Partner a law that specializing in tax appeals. Our State is hopelessly broke and Don Harmon's fair tax will do nothing in correcting this. There is plenty of things to be scared of as a stakeholder in Oak Park owning property and paying taxes.

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: August 22nd, 2019 2:08 PM

It's never a waste of time to counter the dishonesty people like Ray Simpson spew here. Typical sorry Trump era playbook stuff- denigrate your critics without bothering to be specific, and/or misstating others comments and avoiding inconvenient facts. The dossier is just a small part of the ticking bomb under Trump. People like Simpson may like to forget the devastating report life-long Republican Robert Mueller delivered to Congress, but the American people - at least honest and fair minded people- won't forget. Tick-tick-tick, indeed.

Ray Simpson  

Posted: August 21st, 2019 11:15 PM

Answering Dwyer is a waste of my time and if you read his mindless drivel you are wasting your time. Remember he was the guy who claimed that the dossier was going to end this presidency - tick tick tick!

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: August 21st, 2019 9:01 PM

So, "The race is done and in the books," huh, Ray-Ray? How's that possible, when the special counsel's office passed reams and reams of investigative material to other jurisdictions for prosecution . Once again, you show you haven't a clue as to what's actually going on. Or how to read the clear decorative prose of an investigative summary.

Ray Simpson  

Posted: August 21st, 2019 7:52 PM

Sorry Ken, you bet the family farm on a dead horse. Now, you want us to believe that because of your total dedication to the race results, your expired stallion should be given the trophy. The race is done and in the books - your guy had trouble getting out of the starting gate. Why he did what he did is starting to be revealed and I am not sure you are going to like what happened and why.

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