There’s a scene in “The Godfather” where fugitive Michael Corleone’s girlfriend Kay tries to give Michael’s adopted brother Tom a letter to forward to Michael. Tom declines receipt of the letter, stating “if I accepted that letter, in a court of law they could prove I knew where [Michael] was.”

I’m not a lawyer, so I’m not sure whether that’s actually true, but what is true is that deductive reasoning often turns curious-but-superficially-unimportant behavior into devastating circumstantial bear traps.

I’ve mentioned it before, but we should never stop reminding each other that, just as James Comey was the only person who could credibly “clear” Hillary Clinton in July 2016, Robert Mueller is the only human being on earth who can definitively establish the president’s innocence and that of his campaign.

If he runs through this entire investigation and says there’s no evidence the president knew about or participated in any coordination to influence an election with a foreign adversary, we who consider ourselves reasonable will have little choice but to accept Mueller’s findings. It will be frustrating and even gravely disappointing to drop the matter so unceremoniously, but the alternative is to abandon the point of doing investigations at all and descend into a lifestyle where suspicion and conspiracy theory reigns supreme over evidence and sworn testimony.

As Shakespeare wrote “that way, madness lies. Let [us] shun that.”

Mueller is the only person on the planet with the bipartisan credibility and information access to exonerate the president and his campaign team of wrongdoing. If the White House ever hopes to govern in a normal, halfway functional manner and clear people’s names, Mueller is the only path to daylight. Like the apparently oblivious Ty Cobb, they should be eager to cooperate, get this matter behind them and force everyone who suspected and “slandered” them to eventually eat their words. But most of them aren’t eager. Ty Cobb might be the only person on the team who genuinely believes what he says.

Every time we hear people associated with the administration or campaign do anything but adamantly shoot down the possibility firing Mueller, we know that 1) they don’t believe Mueller will establish the president’s innocence 2) they may be personally aware of legal malfeasance even if not directly involved with the original events in question.

When someone like Bannon suggests the president should defund Mueller’s investigation, he is arguing that the president should neutralize Mueller before Mueller can neutralize him. Deductively this is an admission that Mueller not only can neutralize the president, but is more likely to neutralize the president than exonerate him. This not only confirms suspicions that the president is legally vulnerable, it suggests that Bannon knows the president is legally vulnerable, which would make Bannon himself a witness and possible accomplice.

By proposing defunding the investigation, Bannon could arguably be culpable for attempting to obstruct justice in a manner similar to witness intimidation or jury tampering.

Your ears should prick whenever you hear someone on the team attacking Mueller. They are telegraphing. The message is clear: there is no possibility Mueller investigation can conclude in good news for this White House. Exoneration is not an option.🔷

(Cover: Wikipedia / The White House - Robert Mueller at the White House, Washington D.C, USA, 20 July 2012.)