Harper Lee understood, as she wrote “To Kill a Mockingbird,” that many people would have trouble understanding her hero, Atticus Finch. Others talk; he acts. Others equivocate; he stands firm. Others sell out and call it victory; he suffers defeat without complaint because he would rather lose the world than lose his dignity and integrity.
Though such people are rare indeed, a society cannot manage without them. And so Lee has Miss Maudie Atkinson, the shrewdest of the Maycomb neighbors, explain Atticus to his own offspring. “There are some men in this world who are born to do our unpleasant jobs for us,” she says. “Your father’s one of them.”
Robert Swan Mueller III is one, too — and not in the safe pages of fiction but in the hot kitchen of real life. For nearly two years as special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, Mueller has endured a nearly constant barrage of insults and character assassination from a Twittering President Trump and his bootlicking propagandists.
There is only one explanation for the president’s relentless attacks. He thought that Mueller was likely to throw the book at him. And there are only two explanations for that expectation. Either Trump knew he deserved it, or Trump assumed Mueller would sink to his own level of mendacity and self-serving to pervert justice. The idea that a public servant, indeed, a team of public servants, would quietly discharge a mission with honor was utterly beyond Trump’s fathoming.
The country had an unpleasant job that needed doing. The president of United States had surrounded himself with people who lied about their contacts with highly placed Russians. He had fired the director of the FBI, James B. Comey, and within hours he personally assured the Russian ambassador that he did so to shut down an inquiry into these lies. It was possible all this could be explained as the product of incompetence and naivete, because Trump had been utterly unprepared for the presidency and was surrounded by gangsters and clowns. But it was also possible something intentional was going on.
Read the rest here. Trump owes Mueller an apology.