The writing is clear and jargon-free, even riveting in its deadpan just-the-facts narrative. The 182-page volume 2...reads like a cross between Wolf Hall and Richard III ... It is Trumpian reality television come startlingly to life ... Most accounts of the report, understandably focused on the conclusions—obstruction? indictable? impeachable?—have omitted the detail needed to fully grasp both the madness in the White House and the sheer energy these aides had to expend to keep the presidential engine from jumping the track ... There, revealed in all its granular glory, is the state of our democracy today.
Mueller conducted a herculean two-year investigation, issuing more than 2,800 subpoenas, executing nearly 500 search warrants and 280 orders for electronic communications intercepts and records, and interviewing about 500 witnesses, 80 before a grand jury. The report rests its determinations of credibility on multiple named sources and thoroughly explains its reasoning. Its objective 'just the facts' approach only underscores its veracity ... No reasonable reader can come away from the report with anything but the conclusion that the president repeatedly sought to obstruct an investigation into one of the most significant breaches of our sovereignty in generations, in order to avoid disclosure of embarrassing and illegal conduct by himself and his associates.
It is one of the most important documents in the history of the American presidency. It is breathtaking in its detail, spread over 448 pages with 2,381 footnotes. It is also highly readable for layperson and lawyer alike. Indeed, portions read like a vivid political thriller ... The report includes the most concise explanation available to the public of how the Russians interfered in the 2016 election ... It deserves to be read by everyone who cares about the United States and the future of our democratic institutions ... Unfortunately, although worth reading, the commentaries in both publications are rather short and superficial, and large portions appear to have been written prior to the release of the report [by Skyhorse and Scribner] ... The need for 'instant' print publication of reports like this no longer exists. But the need for in-depth analysis remains. It would have been a greater public service had the commentators been given more time to dig deeper into the report and produce more comprehensive analyses. Perhaps others will undertake this important task.
Palace intrigues make for addictive storytelling, as the popularity of Game of Thrones illustrates, and reading the report as a work of literature makes clear that the narrator of the document, whoever that may be, relishes a little bit of that now and then ... But how does it read? Given that journalists and experts are willing to read it for you, does the report itself...reward the time it takes to plow through almost 500 pages of densely footnoted findings? ... The first volume, devoted to Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election, begins, like any good political thriller, with a bang ... A thriller is only as good as its villain, and the bad guys here have an undeniable panache ... The closest thing the Mueller report has to supervillain material is Julian Assange, whose bogus maverick posturing, suave mendacity, and comprehensive lack of human decency is spectacularly showcased in these pages ... Things quiet down after this roaring start, alas, as the report moves toward documenting evidence that the Trump campaign might have conspired with Russian persons ... The report’s account of their activities constitutes what we in the book-reviewing trade like to refer to as a longueur. Even the infamous June 9, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower comes across as something of an anticlimax ... the report refrains from drawing almost any conclusion, to the frustration, surely, of many of its readers ... It’s less invigorating than a report voicing decisive judgments about the events it describes, but you get the sense that sticking to that Tolstoyan detachment is the only thing keeping the authors sane ... The Mueller report, Olympian and meticulous, feels like an attempt to wrest back our government on behalf not just of real lawyers but of reality itself.
Too many footnotes and distracting redactions. The writing is often flat, and the first half of the book drags, covering plenty of terrain that has been described elsewhere. The story shifts abruptly between riveting insider tales and dense legalisms. Its protagonist doesn’t really come alive until halfway through ... Yet as an authoritative account, the Mueller report is the best book by far on the workings of the Trump presidency. It was delivered to the attorney general but is also written for history ... Mueller doesn’t just have receipts — he seems to know what almost everyone wanted to buy ... The mix of incompetence, disorganization and self-interest evident here evokes Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury, which depicts a Trump inner circle both unprepared and uninterested in actually governing ... The Mueller report is not beautifully written. These are lawyers, not stylists, and the book’s power rests not in its prose but in its overwhelming authority. Yet even that authority has limits, as does the document’s scope ... it is tempting to view it as the definitive insider account of the Trump presidency, as most tell-alls purport to be. But it is not.
Mueller’s descriptions...are dry, methodical and lawyerly, as they should be. One is occasionally left, however, feeling that a vital ingredient in Mueller’s analysis has been omitted ... Each of its subsections contains detailed, sometimes confounding, summaries of the relevant facts and legal considerations, only a fraction of which are summarized above. It is organized in a way that allows a reader to determine how deeply to engage. Each of its two sections, the first covering Russian interference and the second covering obstruction of justice, begins with an executive summary, and each subsection begins with a detailed overview of its findings. A reader can thus delve deeply into some or all parts of the report, all the way down to its almost 1,100 footnotes, as interest and time permit.
Mueller and Trump—they surely constitute one of the great double acts in criminal history...and the pairing documented in this massive but obsessively detailed report is all the more magnetic because the two of them never actually meet. Perhaps they don’t need to: like that other celebrated couple, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, their connection is symbiotic or even conjoined ... Mueller’s report has painstakingly reassembled facts and arranged them to expose an elaborate but precarious work of fiction. More than a liar, Trump here looks like a fabulist ... Although we may long for crimes to be punished, here the end is anticlimactic: Mueller declines to pronounce Trump guilty but pointedly 'does not exonerate him.'
It perhaps necessarily lacks both the novelistic sweep of the 9/11 Commission Report and the intimate — 'prurient' would be a more exact word — scene-setting of the Starr report on President Bill Clinton ... The Mueller report is a dense slab of verbiage. It is not written in bureaucratese, but it is not far from it either ... This is not a narrative that warms in the hands. There is no sweeping language. It appears to have been designed to make minimum political impact ... A plausible title for the paperback editions that will soon be in bookstores might be, We Didn’t Not Find Anything ... The Mueller report is a thorny, patriotic addition to this curious American shelf ... With its blacked-out redacted passages, the report more closely resembles a reverse crossword puzzle. We will collectively be solving for its inky elisions for some time, perhaps the rest of our lives ... reading it is like consuming a short story collection that’s already been excerpted in every magazine you subscribe to ... Volume Two of the Mueller report, like the second volume of Bob Dylan’s greatest hits, is the more stereophonic and satisfying ... It is hardly pleasurable to read, on textual as well as emotional grounds.
...it's just as unsparing about dysfunction and deception as all those earlier versions by journalists, gossip mavens and former staffers ... it's amazing how many journalistic stories derided as 'fake news' over the past few years now re-appear in Mueller's recounting — only this time as documented evidence ... It may not make the end product an ideal movie script, or a page-turner in the aisles at your bookstore.
Mueller’s forensic techniques and the Trump campaign’s chaotic practices don’t suit each other. It’s tempting to speculate what might have been produced if this kind of scrutiny had been applied to the Clinton campaign instead. ...If Clinton had something to hide, she would have buried it deep, meaning that if you ever did find it, there would be ample evidence of foresight. Trump chose to hide his secrets in plain view. But what saves Trump from the charge of conspiracy is what damns him on the charge of obstruction ... The Mueller report, even in this redacted form, is damning. Trump is not fit to be president. He has attempted to obstruct the legal system and to intimidate and coerce the people who worked for him. Trump has told people to lie – including people who reported to him in his capacity as president – and he has done it often. The evidence is here. But on the question of whether he should be impeached, Mueller does not speak. That, too, is above his pay grade.