Sharp Dissection of the Mueller Report at Lawfareblog

Expert analysis from expert analysts

It’s a little odd to hype another blog in a blog, but the Mueller Report analysis at Lawfareblog warrants an exception. The blog was founded by the University of Texas’ Bobby Chesney, Harvard’s Jack Goldsmith (yes, that Jack Goldsmith), and Brookings’ (and formerly Washington Post’s) Ben Wittes. Now before you go all crazy on liberal establishment media, you should take a look at the blog and drill down on the bona fides of the establishing scholars. Goldsmith is a bona fide legal (and political?) conservative, and Wittes is a right-leaning moderate, though his positions are complex and sometimes hard to read and predict — an aspect of his scholarship and commentary I particularly like. The blog now is mostly run by slightly less famous rising stars in the national security community, though Goldsmith, Chesney and Wittes remain as frequent contributors. Lawfareblog is to national security law as SCOTUSblog is to Supreme Court practice.

The mainstream media is on fire with self-appointed pundits and politicians masquerading as legal experts on the report and its impacts. But if you want real, no kidding, pretty neutral expert analysis of this report from a legal angle, bookmark Lawfareblog as one of your sources of information. For example, this particular piece, to which Wittes contributes, tells you about 95% of what you need to absorb about the report.

Everything on Lawfareblog isn’t Gospel truth, but everything is meticulously analyzed and sourced with expert commentary by folks who are uniquely well qualified to deliver it. We should aspire that more news and analysis, broadcast, print and online, even approached this editorial standard.

FILED UNDER: General
Butch Bracknell
About Butch Bracknell
Butch Bracknell is an international security lawyer. A career Marine, he is a father, Truman National Security Project member, and Sorensen Political Leaders Program fellow. All posts are his personal views only, not representing any organization. Follow him on Twitter at @ButchBracknell.

Comments

  1. James Joyner says:

    I don’t know Chesney’s work but Goldsmith and Wittes are terrific.

    While Wittes is neither an attorney nor an academic (although he’s married to one of the latter) by training, you’d only know that because he constantly reminds you of it. And he’s so scrupulously fair-minded, refusing to go even an inch beyond what the evidence shows, that it can be infuriating to partisans.

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  2. Teve says:

    I’m a liberal and I’ve quoted Wittes here before. If conservatives were more Jack Goldsmith and less Tucker Carlson, America would be a better place.

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  3. @James Joyner: 100%. At some point I think he can just drop a footnote about not being an attorney because it’s irrelevant to his expertise. I don’t think a JD would make him any more of an expert than he is now. Smart people who read, contemplate and understand can teach themselves an awful lot of things without formal training.

    *This does not work for nuclear physics or flying airplanes.

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  4. mattbernius says:

    Just wanted to 100% this. The Lawfare team is top notch and their analysis is always worth reading!

    @Teve:

    If conservatives were more Jack Goldsmith and less Tucker Carlson, America would be a better place.

    100% to this as well.

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  5. It’s a little odd to hype another blog in a blog

    In the old days, that was pretty much all blogging was 😉

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  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Lawfare is one of my (semi) regular stops.

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  7. James Joyner says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    In the old days, that was pretty much all blogging was

    Heh. Indeed.

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  8. mattbernius says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    To that point, I’m pretty sure I found OTB via reading Andrew Sullivan’s blog over at the Atlantic. And via you guys I started following Daniel Larison at Am Con (and then realized that I missed the chance to meet him in person when we overlapped at U of C… Drezner as well 🙁 ).

  9. Kathy says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Before the Blog Roll went the way of the dodo.

  10. Teve says:

    Newsweek:

    Republicans for the Rule of Law, a conservative group whose stated purpose is “defending the institutions of our republic,” will run an advertisement on Fox News over the weekend to urge GOP lawmakers to hold Trump accountable for the findings in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

    considering that Fox news is running shows right now saying that the Mueller report completely exonerates Trump, and even asking why Democrats aren’t publicly apologizing to Trump, I wonder if this ad will even air.

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  11. Teve says:

    @Kathy: this is very nostalgic for me, because nearly 20 years ago I stopped paying attention to blog rolls with a comment to a friend “how many links to that instapundit jackass do I need to see?”

  12. CSK says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t Trump just yesterday crowing that the Mueller report exonerated him? Well, this morning he’s calling it “the Crazy Mueller Report” that is”total bullsh!t.” He also seems to feel that those quotes from his staff are “fabricated and totally untrue.” The investigation itself was “an Illegally Started Hoax” and the authors of the report were “18 Angry Democrat Trump Haters.”

    This son-of-a-b!tch is crazy. Article 25, please.

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  13. Kathy says:

    BTW, if El Cheeto is confident he’s not guilty of obstruction, then there’s no need for him to test the law and the Constitution by pardoning himself, nor of legal shenanigans like resigning one day before his term is over so acting president Kushner can pardon him, either.

    He can just take his chances and see whether the FBI arrests him right after his successor is sworn in or not.

  14. Tyrell says:

    I recently saw on the news that almost every president has had some sort of investigationing going on in their term. That right there shows something is wrong. My personal opinion is that there should be no more of these political investigations; of the president or members of Congress. If it seems really important then I would at least want a two thirds approval vote by the Senate to approve any investigation. If the investigation shows no wrong doing, then some sort of rebate or payment needs to go to the taxpayers somehow (I know that may sound strange but that is how I often think). Another idea is just to create a special independent standing department entirely for investigations only: the “National Investigation Bureau”, with no connections to the White House, Congress, FBI, NSA, CIA. Absolutely no contact with the White House or members of Congress would be allowed.
    This investigationing has gotten out of control. Even some members of Congress are saying it is time to get down to some real work.

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  15. DrDaveT says:

    From the linked analysis:

    In other words, the Russians and the Trump campaign shared a common goal, and each side worked to achieve that goal with basic knowledge of the other side’s intention. They just didn’t agree to work toward that goal together.

    Even in the middle of an article that goes to some pains to distinguish lack of evidence from exoneration, the authors fall into the same trap. This should say “Mueller found no convincing evidence that they agreed to work toward that goal together.”

  16. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Tyrell:
    Investigations are not out of control, Fox is manipulating you. If you don’t want investigations stop electing criminals. Trump’s criminality is epic, unprecedented. He will be investigated every day for the rest of his life. Get used to it. Learn from it. Do better next time.

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  17. the abyss says:

    @Teve: Fox will have to run it. If they take the money without providing the service, it’s fraud.

  18. the abyss says:

    @CSK: Not yet. Too many Republicans will mourn his departure and claim ‘Demoncrats drove him out of office.’

  19. CSK says:

    @the abyss: The interesting thing is, Trump’s second Tweet is unfinished, as if someone had wrestled the phone away from him before he could complete it.

  20. KM says:

    @Tyrell:
    While I question the legitimacy of your statement “almost every president has had some sort of investigationing going on in their term”, I cannot understand why’d in the world you’d think that was a bad idea on general principles. Oversight is a *good* thing. If a President is doing something questionable, it should be officially questioned and investigated. Not all investigations end in tears and orange suits like they have lately – if the investigation turns up nothing wrong, then due diligence has still been done. Harassment via investigation is a thing, true but not nearly as often as Trump makes it seem.

    Investigation *IS* Congress’ real work. After all, how can you legislate if you don’t know there’s an issue and the details about it? The Constitution itself gave Congress the duty to investigate wrong-doing of the Executive Branch so unless they are intentionally shirking their Constitutional duties, those GOP members of Congress need to STFU and get back to work

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  21. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Tyrell:

    strange but that is how I often think

    Sadly, true.

    no more of these political investigations; of the president

    Alternate approach, crown a King ?

    some members of Congress are saying it is time to get down to some real work.

    Meanwhile, some 30 Congressional committees are meeting to deal with issues from ranging from Agriculture to Veteran’s Affairs.

  22. @Tyrell:

    If it seems really important then I would at least want a two thirds approval vote by the Senate to approve any investigation

    S0000, you want to take what is currently the bar for removal and make it the standard for mere investigation?

    I don’t think you are thinking this through.

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  23. KM says:

    @Steven L. Taylor :
    Of course he has – he doesn’t want investigations! Thou shalt not inconvenience thy King, after all. Congress’ job is merely to pass the laws of the land. Who do they think they are – equals of the President in power or something?

  24. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Today is the 244th anniversary of Lexington and Concord.
    I find it sickening that today we have people, a lot of people, defending Russia’s attack on our Republic…purely out of partisan interests.

  25. CSK says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: Well, you know what the Red Hats say: “I’d rather be Russian than a Democrat.”

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  26. inhumans99 says:

    @Tyrell:

    Just stop dude, convenient that you think this way when a Republican Pres is under investigation. But her emails …

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  27. Tony W says:

    @Kathy:

    pardoning himself

    I wonder if one of the reasons for the Justice Department’s rule about not indicting/charging a sitting president has to do with the pardon power, which to my understanding can only be used after a conviction.

  28. Tony W says:

    @Tyrell:

    “National Investigation Bureau”, with no connections to the White House, Congress, FBI, NSA, CIA. Absolutely no contact with the White House or members of Congress would be allowed.

    So this agency would exist outside the law and could investigate whomever they please, and there would be no oversight by anybody accountable to the people?

    Yeah, I can’t see what could possibly go wrong with that idea.

  29. Mister Bluster says:

    @Tony W:..I wonder if one of the reasons for the Justice Department’s rule about not indicting/charging a sitting president has to do with the pardon power, which to my understanding can only be used after a conviction.

    Now, THEREFORE, I, GERALD R. FORD, President of the United States, pursuant to the pardon power conferred upon me by Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution, have granted and by these presents do grant a full, free, and absolute pardon unto Richard Nixon for all offenses against the United States which he, Richard Nixon, has committed or may have committed or taken part in during the period from January 20, 1969 through August 9, 1974.
    Source

    No indictment. No trial. No conviction.

  30. gVOR08 says:

    @Mister Bluster: I still remember where I was, in my Mercury Capri listening to the radio on the way to pick up for tennis the girl I later married, when I heard that. When I arrived, she was as even more pissed than I was.

    We’re still pissed. A picture of Nixon in prison dungarees would have saved a lot of subsequent trouble.

  31. Mister Bluster says:

    For years I have advocated for the exhumation of Nixon’s corpse so it can be put on trial for all offenses against the United States which he,..has committed or may have committed or taken part in during the period from January 20, 1969 through August 9, 1974.

    Today, not so much.
    Hard to believe but an even more odious vermin occupies 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue today.
    Tricky Dick can wait.
    Number 45 and his retinue of cretins must be removed from power as soon as possible by any and all legal means necessary.

  32. de stijl says:

    @James Joyner:

    Heh. Indeed.

    Nice!