For the Record

March 27, 2019

For the Record

The Mueller Report

For many years, many pronouncements in my home began with “For the record, I just want to say … .” They came from the mouth of our youngest resident. As a lawyer, “for the record” often had me checking the room, looking for the taping system or a court reporter I hadn’t noticed.

Of course, there was never a record. There were, though, opportunities to misinterpret or, more certainly, to forget. Still, with every “for the record,” my daughter reminded me that we live in a very uncertain world, full of people wanting the certainty that can’t exist.

Cate Rubin’s words brought into focus the latest news from l’affaire Trump. Lots of noise about the Mueller report, and the only people we know who with certainty know whats in the report are Robert Mueller (and some or all of his staff), Attorney General William Barr, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

The Rs claim, without reading the report, that it vindicates the president. The Ds say “No, no.”

Vindication regarding What ought to be everyone’s first question. To even begin to answer that question requires at least some attention to what the Department of Justice hired Mr. Mueller to do.

Here’s the letter, setting forth his tasks. For non-clickers, it mentions the Russian government and only the Russian government, as the Trump campaign’s counter-party.

One can readily imagine no direct links to the Russian government. One can posit that weve seen enough involvement between unsavory Russians and the Trump campaign to leave reasonable people hollering “COLLUSION.”

Then there’s the interface between investigating and charging. Prosecutors pass on charging guilty people often, because of proof problems, cost, and a myriad of other factors. Complicating this situation? The identity of the prime target on the Russia matter:  POTUS. We don’t indict presidents, for many good reasons.

I can go on, but I’m on vacation. From where I sit, listening to the Pacific Ocean—the one which is far from pacific where it meets land—the evidence of engagements between high-level Russians and the Trump campaign abounds. Facts are facts! Yes, sometimes people misunderstand one another, but meetings happen in fact, we can know which phone called other phones (and presume that a phone’s owner called or answered), and words on a screen or a page deserve their plain meaning.

For those who expected more from the Mueller report, wait! Mr. Mueller’s conscientiousness and competence have never been doubted by reasonable people. Facts will matter. But … and the “but” matters here, expecting certainty with a label—collusion or obstruction, wrapped up neatly in an indictment or articles of impeachment—represents a fool’s errand. For the record.

Donald Diamond

Donald Diamond died on Monday, March 25, 2019. He was 91. To learn about Donald’s public persona, read the fine story in the Arizona Daily Star.

I first new Mr. Diamond—that’s who he was then, just shy of 50 years ago—when my parents bought the house two houses away from the Diamonds’ home.

My sisters and I grew up with the Diamond kids. We knew Donald Diamond was a big deal, who provided for his family in ways we could not imagine. Still, day by day, he was Mr. Diamond, down the street, our friends’ dad. A nice, regular dad.

Donald Diamond lived a remarkable, extraordinary life. He had the gene for getting and decided, decades ago, that a fulfilled life required him to give back. Giving came readily for Donald and his wife. For they got basic stuff about life: To whom much is given, much is expected. And tikkum olam, repairing the earth.

Godspeed, DRD. You lived. LIVED! Rest in peace, and may your memory be for a blessing.


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