In the whirlwind of information that was released on Friday by the Special Counsel’s Office, the most important findings almost seemed obvious to most people who have been following the Russia probe — the fact that Donald Trump personally ordered the payoffs of two women in the adult industry with whom he had affairs, specifically to keep the stories from going public before the presidential election.
Yes, those are felonies, but perhaps the whole thing was a little anticlimactic for your taste. Well, no worries, because there’s an aspect you just missed, and this is like an early Christmas present.
Actually, it might be exactly what made you feel ripped off that you should actually be thankful for — all those black bars on the documents. We were supposed to find out all the juicy details about how Flynn and Manafort and Cohen cooperated with Mueller, and instead, we got redactions:
It’s like that sparkling water all the hipsters drink these days… You can tell what it’s supposed to be, but you just can’t taste it yourself.
But here’s the thing: Mueller isn’t done. The fact that there is anything at all he’s not revealing yet means he has a use for the information behind those thick black lines that would be spoiled if he showed his whole hand right now. In fact, it’s almost weird that he even charged and recommended sentences for everyone he has already, since most of that almost always comes toward the end of a long-term investigation like the Russia probe has been.
But guess who’s read all the stuff that’s redacted in these documents? Judges. Judges who have already been presiding over cases in which they’ve seen plenty of incriminating information, including now the first official declaration that Trump himself — I mean, Individual 1 — was involved in the commission of felonies.
It may turn out in the end that the Department of Justice takes no action whatsoever on the final report that Mueller files and sends to the Attorney General. And in fact, although the DOJ would have to report to Congress anything that Mueller recommended but they didn’t do, there’s nothing that would require them even to release the report that Mueller eventually files to the public at all.
By filing these redacted pages and getting them in the hands of those judges overseeing this entire process, Mueller has one hundred percent guaranteed that Trump and his new hand-picked Attorney General can’t simply bury the report and be done with it.
You get it yet?
Somebody else now has the information pertinent to the case — outside of Trump’s reach.
Think of it like a message in an astromech droid, maybe an R2 unit: Help us Amy (Berman-Jackson)-Wan, you’re our only hope. Smuggled off-world behind a Sharpie and a wry grin.
Featured image via screen capture