The much anticipated Mueller Report is finally out, and its four page summary by Attorney General (AG) William Barr seems to have stirred as much controversy as anything to do with Trump usually does. According to AG William Barr, in the Report, Mueller clears Trump of collusion, but on the ‘Obstruction’ issue, decides not to charge Trump but - ‘does not exonerate him’ either.
Well, as can be imagined Trump and his supporters claim ‘total exoneration’, even though according to AG William Barr it wasn’t (pesky facts), and the Democrats and all those who can’t stand Trump, are left perplexed and deeply dissatisfied with the outcome, as apart from it being not quite the result they were hoping for, AG William Barr’s own four page ‘summary’ clearly states the Mueller Report did not fully ‘exonerate’ Trump but gives no further details, leaving Trump to gloat. The Mueller Report reminds us of Churchill’s quote regarding Russia – “It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma”.
Churchill’s quote is very appropriate regarding the Report so far. The Mueller Investigation was primarily about Russia’s interference in the US election. And while all the US intelligence agencies were emphatic in their conclusions that Russia definitely interfered in the 2016 Presidential Election, on the side of Trump and against Hillary Clinton, they left the issue of Trump and his campaign’s potential collusion with Russia for the Special Counsellor to determine. And in spite of seeming truckloads of evidence that Trump, and his family members like Don Jr., and his son-in-law Jared Kushner, were meeting and interacting with Russian operatives, with the express purpose of helping Trump and hurting Hillary, as were his closest and senior most campaign associates and surrogates, most of whom are convicted and heading for jail, yet Mueller did not seem to have found compelling enough evidence to conclude that they and Trump had ‘colluded’. That’s the mystery part.
The enigma part is - the issue of Trump actively interfering in, and trying to obstruct the Mueller investigation. Well, there is Trump on television admitting that he fired FBI Director, Jim Comey, in regards to the Russia investigation; and later he fires AG, Jeff Sessions, for having recused himself from the same Russian investigation and not stopping it - and, there is Trump almost daily threatening Mueller and disparaging him and the investigation, calling it a ‘witch hunt’ and ‘fake’ in the most aggressive way, and threatening to intervene directly to stop it (more than firing Comey and Sessions), even as indictment after indictments piled up with his closest campaign associates pleading guilty, and with numerous Russians also being convicted. If all of this is not interference and obstruction then what is?
Special Counsel Robert Mueller was appointed to conduct an investigation into Russia’s meddling in the US 2016 Presidential Election, with the specific task to see whether Trump and his campaign ‘colluded’ with the Russian government to effect the results of the election, and to see if President Trump obstructed justice by interfering in the investigation itself, to somehow stop and derail it. Mueller decided that there was no direct evidence of Trump colluding – but that is from a strictly legal perspective (one presumes), of whether or not the evidence found is enough to bring a charge against the President that is ‘convictable’. From that tough legal perspective, Mueller decided there wasn’t.
But is that the standard for collusion itself in real life – not really. Because, there is unlimited evidence of the Trump campaign working very hard in concert with Russian sources to get Hillary’s e-mails released at certain critical points in the election, and the multiple meetings of Trump’s family members and close associates meeting with Russian operatives expressly to further Trump’s chances of winning. In real life, that is cooperation and collusion, as with the meeting in the Trump Tower with Trump’s family members and his top campaign officials with Russians promising ‘dirt’ on Hillary.
Plus there is the issue that Trump himself, and his former National Defence Adviser, Mike Flynn, and his former AG, Jeff Sessions, and just about everybody on the Trump team, including his son, lying repeatedly, about meeting with Russians, doing business with them, and working with them, and Wikileaks, on stealing and releasing e-mails. The question is, if they were all so innocent, then why all the cover-ups and lies, and all the denials about meetings with Russians during the 2016 Election Campaign? And how does one classify all this activity between Trump and his team and the Russians?
And now we also know that Trump lied repeatedly about having no business interest in Russia while he and his lawyer were pursuing a potential Trump Tower in Moscow, while on the campaign trail, his personal lawyer confessed to that transaction. Trump was always eyebrow deep in Russia.
And, as for Trump trying to stop and obstruct the investigation – well that is on public record, on TV so many times its ridiculous. Yet, the AG, William Barr, somehow came to the conclusion that even if the Mueller Report specifically ‘does not exonerate’ the President from the obstruction charge, the Justice Department (the AG and the Deputy AG) decided it was not worth pursuing. Here is the President admitting to trying to stop the Russia investigation against him, and still is in the all clear. That is a mystery and an enigma.
Vladimir Putin and Russia are the only ones that win in this sordid tale of election manipulation (Russia’s speciality), crime (multiple indictments of Trump associates and Russians) and deception (constant lying by the President and just about everybody associated with him). Trump is giddy about being ‘cleared’ of collusion and is claiming ‘total exoneration’ and his camp of fact bending sycophants are ignoring that the Mueller Report ‘does not exonerate’, but its minor details in this Russia dominated mystery and enigma.