Mueller’s Report & Partisanship

In the world of politics, the big day is tomorrow. That’s when the Mueller Report—with redactions—will be released to the public.

Until now, all we’ve had is the four-page summary written by Attorney General Barr, and all it seemed to accomplish is polar-opposite reactions. Republicans jumped on the conclusion that there was no collusion by the Trump campaign with Russia. President Trump, in one of his multitude of tweets, declared, “No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!” The all caps are his, of course, primarily because he wants to make sure you GET THE POINT. That was the first of innumerable tweets ever since that have said exactly the same thing.

Democrats, meanwhile, criticized Barr’s summary because he hinted that legal action might have been in play for obstruction of justice, but he had declined to pursue it. They want the full report, believing that there is evidence within that will give grounds for impeachment.

And for most Democrats, I’m afraid, this Holy Week in the Christian calendar is an afterthought—politics reigns supreme.

Democrats were also incensed that Barr has begun to look into the origins of the FBI probe into the Trump-Russia investigation. Were there political decisions made that were not solid FBI procedure? Was it really a witch hunt?

I’ll go on the record in favor of that original investigation. Why? There were valid concerns as to how far Russian interference in the election progressed. Yet I also support the new investigation into possible political shenanigans by those who sought to undermine the Trump campaign. Let all the facts be revealed, regardless of which “side” it hurts.

But what I find most thought provoking now is that the White House lawyers have apparently come up with a response to the Mueller Report that could be as long as 140 pages. Rudy Giuliani has been the front man for this. This begs a couple of questions. First, how can these lawyers come up with a 140-page response to something unless they have seen it? A response requires knowing what to respond to, doesn’t it? Isn’t that a incontrovertible evidence that the Department of Justice gave the president a heads-up on what is coming?

The second question, then, is what does this report contain that calls for such a lengthy response? I thought, as Trump confidently declared, that he was totally exonerated. What, you think Donald Trump would ever misstate something or exaggerate? Why, perish the thought!

If you follow Trump’s tweets—and it’s hard to ignore them—you know he has gone back to maligning the entire investigation, reminding us that it was all a witch hunt. Why would he find that necessary? Will the report cast him in a bad light even if there was no collusion?

The editors of The Bulwark website make a statement of fact that cannot be denied regardless of one’s personal stake in this matter.

The roles of the criminal justice system and Congress overlap, but they are nevertheless distinct. Conduct that does not rise to the level of criminal prosecution can nevertheless be inconsistent with constitutional standards of conduct.

One need not be indictable to be unfit for high office. The president may use his sweeping powers in ways that do not violate the law, but which constitute an abuse of power. Presidential actions may be legal, but also impeachable.

It’s imperative that all fair-minded people—those without an agenda—be open to whatever this report tells us. Partisans on both sides need to take it for what it says and not put their spin on it. Will that happen? I doubt it. The Democrats will use anything they find as a ground for impeachment. Republicans will deny that there is anything there worthy of an impeachment. The sides are already hard-wired to believe what they want to believe.

That is my prediction. I hope I’m wrong.