So we move on, but to where?
Published 11:22 pm Friday, March 29, 2019
What has just happened, what is continuing to happen is a splendid example of why so many people in this country hate its politics.
Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller has finished his two-year investigation and concluded that President Donald Trump did not commit the treasonous act of conspiring with the Russians to get himself elected and plunging the nation instantly into constitutional crisis and surely, that is something about which all Americans can feel both good and relieved.
You would think.
In the bull versus matador society we have become, there are, instead, only the respective cheers and laments as to which combatant gets carted out of the ring.
And no, it is not “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat,” but a lot more like “nobody’s right, when everybody’s wrong.”
The headlines will read “No collusion,” and while that is all that some people will read or think they need to, and while the significance of that alone should not be diminished, this is, of course, not that simple and not that cut-and-dried, though many will strive mightily to make it so.
The Russians certainly tried to influence the 2016 presidential election in this country in several ways (I have always felt more to hurt Hillary Clinton than to help Trump.), and 34 of them were indicted for so doing, but Mueller and his team concluded that nobody in Trump’s campaign actively aided and abetted them in that effort.
And anybody unhappy about that fact is just hopelessly partisan and unimaginative enough to see what a constitutional Pandora’s box would have been flung open had such evidence been established. I, for one, am uninterested in seeing an already almost hopelessly divided country further ripped asunder.
And it could be yet because the way Mueller chose to handle the sticky wicket of obstruction of justice in his report became enormously more complicated and controversial by what new Attorney General William Barr subsequently did when Mueller, as was his directive, handed that report off to him.
According to Barr’s summary letter sent to Congress Sunday, rather than make prosecutorial decisions on potential and yet publicly unseen acts of obstruction, Mueller apparently instead chose to list evidence and arguments both for and against such acts. That was a prosecutorial punt, for sure, and one which will be questioned by historians, but perhaps a well enough justified one in light of the existing Justice Dept. governing opinion that no sitting president can be indicted and any judgment of wrongdoing by one is properly set out in the Constitution as being in the purvey of Congress.
But Barr, who many believe auditioned for the job he’s now held a month by writing an unsolicited 19-page document setting forth his quaint and not widely held opinion that no president, because of Article II powers, can ever commit obstruction of justice, rather strongly reinforced that political powder keg of a perception by stating in his letter that he had reviewed Mueller’s report and flatly decided himself that Trump was not guilty of any act of obstruction.
Regardless of motive or justification, Barr transformed his own long-held legal theory into self-fulfilled prophecy, and that is sitting about as well as an electric chair.
The last thing this country needed was one more conspiracy theory and Barr just dropped a not so far-fetched one right slap down in the middle of it. Now, absolutely nothing less than a full viewing of Mueller’s pros and cons will be enough to dispel it and with the battle lines drawn on that already, let the games begin.
Congressional committee subpoenas are about to be flying like bottle rockets on the Fourth of July.
But the Democrats and liberals who have long viewed the Mueller probe as some sort of quick fix, a short cut to rid them of a presidential administration they find anathema to all they hold dear, just got a hard slap in the face by the reality of the rule of law they so claim to embrace.
They can and will still hate, loathe and abhor Trump for what he is, but they can no longer honestly or rightfully do so on the basis of his being somehow illegitimate.
Ray Mosby is editor and publisher of the Deer Creek Pilot in Rolling Fork.