The Mueller Report: A Photo Essay
Guest Author: Dr. Robert André LaFleur
Today I welcome guest author Dr. Robert André LaFleur.
A while back I posted some initial thoughts about the Mueller Report, but confess I cheated. I read the CliffsNotes — that 4-page whitewash… I mean summary… written by Attorney General William Barr.
A friend, Robert André LaFleur, has read and thoroughly dissected the full report. Two nights ago he posted his impressions on Facebook in a kind of photo-essay format. His presentation is unusual and very engaging. He was kind enough to allow me reprint it here.
Robert is a professor of History and Anthropology at Beloit University in Wisconsin where he is Chair of Asian Studies and History. I came to know Robert by way of my late grandfather, Dr. William Edgar Geil, the first person to walk the entire Great Wall of China. Robert is probably the leading academic authority on my grandfather. This is an interesting story which I’ve documented on my website, including video of a lecture given by Robert at the Doylestown Historical Society near Philadelphia.
I Have Finished the Mueller Report
By Dr. Robert André LaFleur
Originally published on Facebook, Tuesday, July 9, 2019
Well, I have finished the Mueller Report, and I wish to report on several issues. First, I got it in the mail just days after it was published (physical copy), but was in the middle of the end-of-term at Beloit College…(long, but it might be worth thinking about this stuff). Just getting started is a challenge.
Then I started my lecturing in Germany…so…I finally started reading (as I do feel is my patriotic duty as an American citizen) on July 1. I passed over July 4 (no tanks near my café in Bavaria), and read diligently (with markers) for ten days (see photos).
I do believe that every American should read this report. Anyone who knows me, knows that I spend my life reading 500-page books. I even know a thing or two about marking them up and taking notes. This is not Kant or Hegel (reading the latter now, actually). And yet (and this is my point)…I am frustrated by people who say “everyone should just read it.” I know this kind of reading terrain, and I still worked hard. It took ten days of two hours or more of reading (only the text and appendices—the stuff written by Mueller and his people—not the introductory material).
So here is what I have learned: almost no one has really read it. The time commitment, even for experienced readers, is significant. Just listening to the “discourse” out there, though, tells me that very few people (other than the very fine journalists who are derided as “fake”) has really engaged it. I have marked it up, thought about it, and I am convinced that almost every assessment by a political figure has Barred us from understanding the clear messages of the report.
If you just sit down and read it (over two weeks, or a weekend, if you really have time on your hands), pencil in hand, you will learn that the connections with Russia (I avoid the words “collusion” and “corruption”) are extremely serious. The level of interference from Russia, as well as a stupefying number of communications from people around the campaign, are beyond what you hear even in good news accounts. But far more worrisome is the obstruction section (volume two). Mueller’s team set an extremely high bar there (to the point that a president can’t be prosecuted), but the message is clear, and the report underlines that it could not exonerate the president.
So, I worked hard to read the text. I wonder how common it is (yes, I read it after my work day) for people to read every word carefully. It was much more work than I ever considered, but it was well worth it. Still, it is hard to imagine that anyone can just sit down and read it. It’s twenty-to-thirty hours of reading, and John Grisham it isn’t.
Seriously, you haven’t spent two weeks, after your regular work day? I am shocked.
The report is very well-written, and not by any means obscurely “academic.” Not by a long shot. And, still, it is a challenge, even for someone who reads a lot. The report clearly shows “collusion” (I use the term in the way the president does, even though Mueller correctly avoids it) and, most definitely, obstruction of justice. This is serious stuff, and it is shocking…and yet, I happen to have the time to do this. It is (sort of) my job. Who else can just shut down and read almost 450 pages? We have a serious problem here. Everyone needs to read it, and yet who has thirty hours to spend?
[Download images for easier reading.]
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