Like most Americans who know anything about you, I’ve regarded you as a most admirable man. The reasons you chose to head to Vietnam after you graduated from Princeton and your whole career serving the cause of justice in our nation are indications of the kind of man who seems to have impressed everyone who has worked with you. You’ve been a real American patriot.
Which is why it is so surprising, and disappointing, to hear the latest news about you– news that seems to show a lack of patriotism on your part.
The Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerry Nadler, has told us that you want to have your testimony kept private. No cameras. Just a transcript released afterward. You don’t want to be part of a political circus, we hear.
(And the other day a former colleague of yours – former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner – speculated that you were leery of being exposed to the kind of attacking treatment that you might be subjected to during live televised hearings when you were questioned by those congressmen who would want to make you look bad so that Americans would not give credence to the picture you were presenting of what your investigation disclosed.)
Sure, there would be unpleasant things about your coming forward and telling the American people what they need to hear. But so what? Since when does a patriot like you — who voluntarily put himself under fire in Vietnam for his country – decide that his need to avoid unwelcome experiences outweighs his patriotic duty?
Isn’t it obvious that your patriotic duty is to act now in whatever way will have maximal positive impact as possible on what the American people know, understand, and support – so that this crisis, in which the basic nature of the nation is at stake, can be resolved successfully?
Here’s how that’s obvious:
- We are in a moment where there’s a battle with the highest of stakes.
- Public opinion is the main battlefield to decide whether America wins or loses at this moment of choice.
- No one in America is as well positioned as you to deliver the message that will maximally move American public opinion in the direction it needs to go.
1) In terms of the stakes, I expect you’d agree, Mr. Mueller, with how House…Nadler characterizes the crossroads at which your Report shows that we have arrived:
“Now is the time of testing whether we can keep a republic, or whether this republic is destined to change into a different, more tyrannical form of government, as other republics have over the centuries.”
2) In terms of the centrality of public opinion, it is quite visible that problems in public consciousness are a major part of what is hobbling the nation’s ability to respond as it should to what you’ve uncovered about the threat to the rule of law, and thus to the survival of the Republic.
Given the way the Republicans are almost without exception simply slaves to this lawless President, the nation must look to the Democrats for the proper response to what your work shows—those “multiple felonies” that more than 800 former DOJ officials and U.S. attorneys declare that your Report demonstrates.
But the Democrats hesitate, precisely because of concern about the state of public opinion. Under Speaker Pelosi’s leadership, the Democrats are afraid to move forward in the obvious way that our founders clearly would have wanted them to in the face of such Presidential lawlessness, fearing that the voters will not be behind them.
You were right in your concern, expressed in your March letter to AG Barr, protesting how Barr was creating “public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation,” and thus was threatening “to undermine a central purpose of this Special Counsel’s work: to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations.”
He’s muddied the waters to blunt the intended impact of your Report on the American people, and the problem with the public’s state of understanding is an obstacle to America’s doing what’s called for to assure that we keep this Republic and don’t slide into tyranny.
The battle to overcome that “public confusion” and to engender that “full public confidence” still must be won for us as a nation to take the right path at this crossroads.
3) And it is easily shown you are better positioned than anyone else in America to help move the public understanding and feeling in the right direction.
No one is more credible than you, by virtue of
- Your reputation as Mr. Integrity and Mr. Competence – and the resulting enthusiasm displayed on both sides when you were named Special Prosecutor.
- Your having been the leader of a crackerjack team that worked hard and produced an important picture, which you know fully and can present clearly. You can help people see what Elizabeth Warren encapsulated from your Report:
“The Mueller report lays out facts showing that a hostile foreign government attacked our 2016 election to help Donald Trump and Donald Trump welcomed that help. Once elected, Donald Trump obstructed the investigation into that attack.”
- Your being as a person, which seems to have inspired unusually widespread admiration among those who have known you.
No one, I would wager, would be given more credence by the American people on these matters than you.
So history has dealt you a huge opportunity to play an important and positive role in helping this nation get through the present dangerous moment with the nation as intact and politically healthy as possible. Truly rare for someone – even someone as prominent as you – to have a chance play such an obviously major role in helping a great nation survive such a dangerous crisis.
Which means, I would think you’d agree, that it is your patriotic duty to do all you can to make full use of that opportunity, to have as strong and positive an impact on the public understanding as you can.
And if maximizing your impact is your duty, then of course you must choose to testify in a nationally televised hearing. That’s so much more impactful than talking behind closed doors and sending out a transcript.
(If the written word — like a transcript — could do the job, your 400+-page book would have been plenty, despite Barr’s lies. But that’s not how most humans are moved. Long before there were written documents, we humans learned to read our human beings. And there’s no way a transcript could have the impact of watching a human being in the flesh tell us what he claims to be the truth. Trump understands that, which is why he is afraid of credible witnesses like you testifying before the American people.)
Never before and presumably never again will you have such a crucial role in protecting the nation you’ve spent your life serving.
Maximal positive impact– meaning public hearings, and meaning doing your best to deliver the most positively impactful performance you are capable of for the purpose of helping the nation meet its present challenge regarding a lawless President whose “multiple felonies” you’ve laid out.