Read report; draw own conclusions
April 24, 2019
If Donald Trump wants to convince the public that the Mueller report vindicates him, he needs to keep us from reading the report ourselves.
Or even part of it. Just a couple of hours of reading its summaries and conclusions (which I did over the weekend, and look forward to reading it entirely when time permits) will leave you seriously concerned about Russian meddling and downright disgusted with how badly Trump has behaved since taking office.
But don’t take my word for it. Go to justice.gov/sco and click into “Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election” and you’ll have the entire report at your fingertips.
Or you can buy it in hardcopy book form; it’s already a bestseller on Amazon.
Consider it a civic duty. A lot is riding on this historic report and what follows.
Sure, we only have the redacted version, but those blacked out portions are a minor distraction to the major insights coming out of this report. The Democrats in Congress can scream all they want about their right to see an un-redacted version but that’s just partisan noise at this point. With or without the redactions, it’s still a damning document.
Sure, the president avoided indictments — apparently because the Justice Department wouldn’t have allowed it; which I think flies in the face of the all-American adage that “no one is above the law” — but he comes out looking very much like a scoundrel anyway.
The report details Russia’s involvement in our last election, something that only Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump still refuse to publicly admit these days. Russia, a clear and present enemy of our democracy, set out to disrupt the 2016 election and apparently came to see the Trump campaign as its ticket to success. And frankly, because of the dirt they put out about Hillary Clinton, along with their effective social media misinformation efforts, it looks like Russian intervention is indeed why Trump won.
But those are my words, not Mueller’s. He pulls up short of that. His report draws direct parallels to the Russians and Trump campaign efforts, but it doesn’t connect the dots.
The report also pins some culpability for Russia’s intervention on President Obama, who knew by mid-2016 the Russians were interfering with the election but didn’t do enough to stop it. I don’t know what he could have said or done that wouldn’t have been construed as partisan in favor of Clinton but, still, Obama was the president at that time and perhaps he does deserve blame for not taking it seriously enough. (As it turns out, it should have been taken very seriously).
As for indicting Trump for his misdeeds, as detailed in the report, Mueller essentially recused himself on constitutional and legal grounds (see the Justice Department opinion that they can’t indict a sitting president), he does suggest impeachment by Congress can be used (his defense of the “no one is above the law” standard). Plus, Mueller’s report makes it clear that once Trump is out of office, he’s fair game.
You’ve probably heard Trump declaring the Mueller report a “complete and total exoneration,” which is a bold-faced lie. Again, read the report.
After you do, I’ll be surprised if you will embrace Trump’s “no collusion, no obstruction” mantra — but if you do, be careful with how you argue on his behalf, because you might just find yourself defending the Russians as well.
Tom McDonald is editor of the New Mexico Community News Exchange. Contact him at: