Preet Bharara, who was fired as the U.S. Attorney in New York by President Trump despite having an outstanding record, has written in praise of his friend and former colleague, Special Counsel Robert Muller, for Time Magazine’s list of the most influential people of 2018.
“To millions, the special counsel is either a political savior or berserk villain,” writes Bharara.
“He is neither,” he continues. “He’s a by-the-book lawman who, with nothing to prove and a lifetime of service behind him, agreed to lead the most fraught, least understood, highest-stakes investigation of our time.”
Bharara opens his profile by pointing to Mueller’s outstanding war record after he graduated Princeton, and his exemplary service “battling crime” for the Department of Justice.
“When his 10-year term as FBI director expired,” recalls Bharara, “a notoriously gridlocked Congress changed the law—just for him—and, once again, Mueller forfeited comfort for continued service.”
He describes Mueller as “straitlaced and tight-lipped, a legal and sartorial traditionalist,” and recalls, “Once, while jointly announcing charges in an international assassination plot, he chided me for wearing a blue shirt.”
— Preet Bharara (@PreetBharara) April 19, 2018
What might seem old-fashioned, Bharara clearly sees as a sign of how honorable Mueller is and points out that as the man in the middle of a politically fraught investigation, that has served him well.
“Mueller’s buttoned-down discretion has made him an enigmatic vessel,” says Bharara, “into which polarized sides pour their hopes and fears.”
Trump has threatened at least twice to fire Mueller but the Special Counsel has stayed the course.
“Republicans for the Rule of Law” are running this ad on Fox defending Bob Mueller.
— Antonio Arellano (@AntonioArellano) April 11, 2018
Mueller continues doing his work and leading the first-rate team of lawyers and investigators he has assembled.
As The Hill puts it, Mueller stands tall even among some of those who support Trump: “While some congressional Republicans have questioned the fairness and validity of Mueller’s probe, there is apparently little overall support among lawmakers for firing him.”
Bharara has captured the reasons Mueller stands so tall in a world where it is often hard to be sure who is on which side.
That is what has made it so hard for Trump to fire him, and made most people ignore the president’s threats and claims that Mueller is on a witch hunt.
As Bharara says, “For that, we owe him incalculable thanks.”
Mueller and Bharara represent what has made the American justice system stand tall in a world where many countries legal systems are just tools of authoritarian leaders.
Preet Bharara: “Every single time the President makes clear that he doesn’t like an investigation of him or his associates and wants his investigation to stop, that adds to the narrative … that that was intentional and is potential obstruction” #CNNSOTU https://t.co/q1Dxpplrux
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) April 15, 2018
So far, Mueller has shown it is still possible to stand up to a would-be tyrant.