Mueller’s presser should be no surprise, to those who read

photo courtesy of thegoodbook.com

I read a couple brief things this week that are troubling. No, they were not buried on page 327 of the Mueller Report.

Also no, the concerning readings were not on page 14 of the owners manual I was warned to thoroughly peruse before operating the gas grill I just bought.  No big deal, except for maybe that giant kaboom lurking in my backyard, right?

On Wednesday, the esteemed special counsel, Robert Mueller, spoke publicly for the first time since being appointed to that position in May of 2017. The words he used in his media availability were largely taken from the now well-known report he submitted in March. A redacted version was released on April 18. The 448-page report detailed his nearly two-year investigation into Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 election.

That’s not new, and that’s not what troubles me.

What does trouble me is this quote from a daily email I get from Indiana political writer Brian Howey. He wrote in his Thursday email: “We have no clear indication that the Indiana congressional delegation has even read Mueller’s report.”

Wow. Now, that is a far cry from knowing that they haven’t read it. In that regard, there is still hope that Howey’s reasonable suspicions are wrong. I would feel better though if there was some glaring evidence that our team in Washington was engaged on this enough to not only have read it, but also to be able to speak to Hoosiers intelligently about it.

Why does that matter?  Hang in there, readers.

The second shock to my system came from Jonathan Chait for New Yorker Magazine. His Thursday morning column’s headline read “Conservatives Stunned by Mueller Suggesting Trump Is Not Innocent.”

How is that headline possible?

Primarily because so few of them have read the report. However, I don’t want to overlook the impact of Mueller’s reading of it, live on television Wednesday. It must be embarrassing for people who claim to know so much about the Russia investigation to show that they are “stunned” by information that has been famously available to the public for six weeks.

I sentimentally recall the last time I had a good book read to me. I was in elementary school at the time, and my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Miller, read “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” by Roald Dahl to our class throughout a semester. What a classic!

The exercise of having it read to us was designed to excite us about reading. I’m not sure if it worked or not. Not every story is as great as that one after all. It did work well enough for me to remember it forty years later though, so maybe America needs Mrs. Miller’s lesson more than I thought.

Thursday morning, President Trump spent nearly twenty minutes on the south lawn of the White House ranting to the media. His tantrum covered a variety of things, but none were more prominent than the subject of Robert Mueller. Not just Mueller’s report or his public comment the day before, but the president’s personal opinion of Mueller as a person.

He is unhinged because he too was surprised by what Mueller read out loud on Wednesday. Shocking. If any human on the planet should have read the report, it would have been the president.

Clearly he has not read it either. He’s notoriously not a reader.

And he is counting on Americans to not read either.

Remember RIF?  Apparently, we need the children’s literacy organization, Reading Is Fundamental now more than ever. I wonder if they could do a workshop in the U.S. Capitol. RIF could help prioritize what they need to read. The Mueller Report would rank first, just ahead of this column.

Somehow, this book didn’t make the “must read” list for far too many decision makers. Yes, the report is published by two different publishers, and both books rank #1 and #2 respectively on the New York Times paperback nonfiction bestseller list. Plenty of people apparently do care–since they are willing to buy a copy of something that is available for free on the Department of Justice website.

Now that I think about it, I wonder how many people bought a copy because they had not read enough to know they could get it for free.

For those who insist on not reading it in any form, I will be the spoiler for you. The report is damning for President Trump. But don’t tell him that. He apparently wants to find out the usual way, exclusively via Fox News.

 

 

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Michael Leppert

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