But it’s hard to imagine that this new job is any more intimidating than the one Mueller confronted on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, when the newly arrived FBI director was forced to deal with the aftermath of terrorist attacks
.. On 9/11, Mueller had been on the job at the FBI for exactly one week.
.. The wide scope suggests an inquiry that is almost certain to last for years, given the history of these sorts of investigations, and will have an unpredictable impact on the congressional midterm elections and the early jockeying in the 2020 presidential campaign.
.. reaction within the bureau to Mueller’s appointment as the special counsel was “jubilation”
.. It would be no surprise, then, if Mueller’s investigation lasted beyond Trump’s presidency. All the while, White House staffers will inevitably be distracted and fearful about being dragged into the maelstrom.
.. Graham has long been critical of what he says are Mueller’s repeated attempts to protect the bureau from embarrassment over its pre-9/11 failures as well as the former FBI director’s failure to hold the government of Saudi Arabia accountable for its possible ties to the hijackers.
Neither of those blue-ribbon investigations—especially the 9/11 Commission, most often cited by Schiff, Pelosi and their colleagues as a model for a Trump-Russia inquiry—offers much hope that an independent commission would accomplish the Democrats’ goals, at least not if those goals include getting to the bottom of this mess in a timely fashion and holding individuals accountable for their wrongdoing.
.. the investigation lasted 20 months, with its final report not issued until July 2004, more than two and a half years after the Twin Towers fell.
.. the 9/11 Commission achieved bipartisan agreement only because the panel abandoned any attempt at individual accountability.
.. I find it mindboggling that, despite blistering incompetence by government officials who ignored evidence throughout 2001 that should have allowed them to foil the attacks, none of those officials were fired or disciplined, let alone prosecuted. Several of the most incompetent and dishonest among them even got big promotions after the commission’s report, including a number still on the government’s payroll.
.. the 9/11 Commission failed on another key issue of accountability. The report was widely read as an exoneration of the government of Saudi Arabia .. despite compelling evidence that at least some low-level Saudi officials were part of a support network for the 9/11 hijackers while they lived in the United States before the attacks.
.. the Warren Commission is even less of a model for a Trump-Russia investigation, if only because it failed at its central mission of convincing the public of the truth about JFK’s murder. Opinion polls have shown consistently since the late 1960s that most Americans reject that panel’s finding that there was no conspiracy in the assassination.
.. That leaves one other likely route for an independent investigation: appointment of a special federal prosecutor, a move the Trump White House would probably see as the worst possible outcome.
.. Partisans in the House and Senate will want to keep their hands in the investigation
.. The Trump White House needs to brace itself for the possibility of multiple, competing investigations