Everything we needed to know about the Mueller report was known before November 8, 2016. The last two years has revealed literally nothing new, making it perhaps the worst investment of $25 million the American taxpayer has supported since Trump took office.
Without too much effort, I can reel off the non-surprises:
- Paul Manafort was in the pockets of Russian strongmen who padded his bank accounts both within and outside the law.
- Michael Cohen was a greedy, sometimes-shady lawyer who made bank dropping names and coddling up to Donald Trump, among others.
- Gen. Michael Flynn was a simple military man, a Russophile who thought himself more politically savvy and well-liked than he actually was, by at least an order of magnitude.
- President Trump was being investigated by the FBI for various indiscretions related to his campaign staff, advisers, and transition team before he was President-elect, and even while he was in transition to the White House.
- James Comey, according to his own statements, flat out lied when he told Trump he was not under investigation. This would make anyone angry, especially Trump as president, who became Comey’s employer.
- Roger Stone has no soul.
So now we should all move on, because there’s nothing new here, those who have been prosecuted have gotten their just desserts (except Roger Stone), the faux indictments against Russians will go nowhere, and there are no more indictments or referrals forthcoming.
The report appears to be a non-committal bowl of Jell-O, a Rorschach test that will undoubtedly leave us exactly where we started. Those who believe Trump colluded will continue to believe it and call for more investigations ad infinitum. Those who think the report completely exonerates the president will find nothing to dissuade themselves of that opinion.
But the report does neither. It neither fully exonerates Trump of accusations of collusion and obstruction–it merely states what we who believe in Occam’s Razor already knew in 2016 and early 2017. Trump’s campaign had no problem citing and goading Russian sources to discredit Hillary Clinton, but did not accept direct offers of aid. Clinton, in turn, had no problem doing whatever it could–truth be damned–to take down Trump. The Obama administration leaned–ahem–heavily toward Clinton and protecting her while attempting to dig up Russia collusion dirt on Trump.
The entire collusion narrative emanated from the FBI under James Comey. This gives credence to Trump’s “Witch Hunt” claim. However, nothing Trump did during and after his campaign did anything but double-down on the FBI’s concerns, and create lots of smoke for those looking for a gun to go with it.
But there was no gun. It’s almost like Trump enjoyed having Mueller dig around for two years, while he got to shout “Witch Hunt” and denounce every part of the process, taking down his own Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, Comey, Deputy Director Andrew McCabe (who more than anyone probably deserved it), and creating this swirling vortex of insults and lies.
This fits Trump’s personality, in my opinion. He judges friends and enemies totally through the lens who who sticks by him when the fecal matter is dropped into the blender. Trump likes to be the one hitting the power switch on the blender.
So the Mueller report—based on what we know today–is totally understandable and expected. It’s the simplest explanation of the facts we already knew.
We Won’t Move On
Both Democrats and Republicans are using the Mueller report to fundraise. Cynical much? Oh, yes. And that’s why we won’t move on.
I have two emails in my inbox, one from Trump’s campaign and one from the NRSC, asking for contributions, within hours of Attorney General William Barr’s initial report. Trump has been emailing since Friday, reported the Washington Post.
But Republicans are not alone in using the Mueller report to raise money. Several Democratic 2020 hopefuls have joined them at the trough.
The Cory Booker campaign sent a fundraising e-mail to supporters headlined with “Add your name: Release the Mueller report now,” and talks about the release of the report as the only way to restore faith in American democracy….
Similarly, Kamala Harris’ campaign also sent out an e-mail with a subject line “BREAKING: The Mueller report is in. The American people have a right to see what’s in it.” …
Both the campaigns of Kirsten Gillibrand, of New York, and Elizabeth Warren, of Massachusetts, also took part in the fundraising frenzy off of the conclusion of the Mueller investigation Friday.“White House hopefuls immediately start fundraising off Mueller report,” Washington Examiner, March 22, 2019
Two years, $25 million, and all we got is a load of “donate today!” emails to show for it as we head into the 2020 cycle. I think in the end, the result here is a positive for the president. Democrats will spend the next year hunting for the elusive “obstruction of justice” brass ring that Mueller failed to deliver. They will nip at Trump’s business interests, Jared Kushner’s dealings, and possibly get some kind of indictment against people close to the president in New York.
But in the end, the American public will remember that the Obama Justice Department started this investigation, based partly on accusations in a dossier funded by the Clinton campaign, and these accusations turned out to be false.
No amount of wishcasting and “what’s next?” editorial opinions will change that.
We should move on, but as Trump himself proved, conspiracy-hucking pays. But this time, it will be the Democrats doing the hucking.