Still too early to make conclusions


April 3, 2019

No one except William Barr and Robert Mueller, to our knowledge, has seen the Mueller report.

We have seen Barr’s ultra–brief summary.

Why, then, is everybody making stupendous leaps to conclusions about what’s in it?

If they asked, and they won’t, here’s the advice I would give to principals in the whole sticky issue:

President Trump: Remember George W. Bush standing on the deck of the U.S. Abraham Lincoln with that huge “Mission Accomplished” banner behind him when our Mideast troubles were just beginning. Nothing has ended. Barr says there was “no collusion,” but on obstruction? Barr’s jury is out and yours should be, too. And don’t forget the Southern District of New York investigations, still in progress. Also remember, the bar is lower for civil guilt than for criminal.

Republicans: “No collusion” doesn’t mean there wasn’t a darn good reason to investigate. Hesitate before you go off on some half-cocked mission of revenge. Why can’t we conclude that our best law enforcers saw evidence of criminal activity and investigated? It does not matter that the Steele Dossier was compiled by Democrats looking for dirt on Donald Trump. Nor does it matter that you were doing the same thing to Hillary Clinton. Federal law enforcers investigate based on evidence. But did former FBI Director James Comey, a master law enforcer, flunk politics? Yep.

Democrats: Don’t count your chickens before they hatch. It’s costing you already. The best advice I’ve seen is to get ready to campaign on issues, not against the president, unless you want to be reminded several times a day that you were wrong about collusion. It would be a refreshing change for all of us in the electorate to see a campaign focused on issues. Let the Republican run on name-calling, groundless accusations and baseless conspiracy theories.

The establishment media: You rose to the bait. Trump called you enemies of the people and you sought revenge. It’s OK to play hardball with the administration, but it’s not OK to automatically qualify the administration’s accomplishments with reminders of previous shortcomings, to treat every Trump inaccuracy as major news, or to ignore significant trends that favor the administration. You met the president’s childish petulance by forgetting your professionalism. You need to get it back.

Fox News and Sinclair Broadcasting: Just stop. Stop the distortion. Stop the brazen lies. Stop the evidence-free conspiracy theories. Remember Ronald Reagan and William F. Buckley. You can be conservative without pandering to ignorance. Air the debates within conservative ranks, especially those that involve President Trump, whose faults are glaring. He’s not out of the woods and neither are you.

Everybody: Brace yourself. It’s gonna get ugly. The stakes are too high to play nice.

It’s going to be up to all of us to make the fight as fair as it can be, though, by calling out inaccuracy and excess as it happens.

Let the combatants go to their corners and come out fighting. The rest of us, the referees, should have whistles at the ready.

Steve Hansen writes about our life and times from his perspective of a semi-retired Tucumcari journalist. Contact him at:

[email protected]


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