WHAT NOW?

Obviously the Mueller probe did not bring about the conclusion we were expecting – proof of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, followed by obstruction of justice. Some of my friends may already have burned their “Mueller Time” T-shirts, but I have a feeling we have not heard the last word yet.

Months ago Rachel Maddow wondered aloud whether Trump was an idiot or a crook. My argument is that he was both, sequentially. The Mueller report – as far as we know now, since it has not been released to Congress or the general public – seems to say that, despite what we heard Trump say loud and clear several times (“Russia, if you’re listening…”) there was no proof that he or his campaign entered into a conspiracy to illegally influence the 2016 elections. Instead it seems they either were geniuses at covering up their tracks or that they were just bumbling about. That’s the idiot part.

After the election, though, comes the “crook” part. Trump entered into a pattern of conduct dictated either by his ego (he refused to consider, much less investigate, Russian influence operations during the campaign because it diminishes his achievement) or dictated by consciousness of, if not guilt, at least willful ignorance of interference by the Kremlin. That is why he

  • asked Comey to drop the investigation into Flynn’s behavior
  • fired Comey
  • castigated Sessions for recusing himself
  • lied about Trump Jr.’s Trump Tower meeting in June 2016.

Those are proven facts. And as the old saying goes, “it’s not the crime, it’s the coverup”. In addition, we should not forget that the Mueller probe generated 34 indictments, including 6 among aides and advisers to the president or his campaign.

The only document we have now is the letter, written by AG Barr and assistant AG Rosenstein, which supposedly summarizes Mueller’s findings.

As AP writes in a fact check, “The 4-page summary signed by Barr gave the bottom line ONLY AS HE AND ROSENSTEIN SAW IT. Mueller’s detailed findings remain confidential at least for now.” (Capital letters mine). Mueller himself was not consulted while the summary was created.

This is where the way Barr ascended to his position as AG comes into play. Barr was nominated by Trump in December. In June he wrote an unsolicited memo that ascribed vast powers to the presidency. Those powers would have covered firing Comey – with no relevance to intent. Basically, as I understand it, Barr wrote that if Trump fired Comey because Comey’s investigation might have put him in legal jeopardy, Trump’s intent has no weight, consciousness of guilt (or not) is irrelevant, and Trump cannot be accused of obstruction of justice.

Mueller’s probe was just one of the investigations into Trump’s possible criminal behavior. Other jurisdictions are looking into

  • his payments to mistresses and the resulting coverups
  • possible evidence of money laundering through various real estate deals
  • tax evasion
  • private use of monies contributed to the Trump charitable foundation
  • violation of the emoluments clause, as Trump never divested from his real estate holdings, hotels and golf clubs

There may be more, but my head is spinning.

There will be calls for Congress to drop any and all investigations because of their cost. We must resist the temptation to yield to voter fatigue. Once Congress has the full report, we must know what exactly it says. Republicans will claim that we have “Trump Derangement Syndrome” and are obsessed with impeaching Trump. So….

So we must remind ourselves that there is ample reason why we want to impeach and remove Trump, corruption making the top of the list. The best way to repudiate Trump and his cronies is to win the 2020 elections. One is not “deranged” for trying to save the country from a man who puts his own profit before the good of the country. Impeachment might make us feel good, but as the Senate stands now, we have little chance of getting Trump removed from office. We will let the Republicans gloat a little, then we will get back to work. We may have to buckle up for nearly another 2 years, but in the end a majority of voters will see the light. Corruption must be exposed. Mueller could not find proof beyond a reasonable doubt, but the stench will eventually turn off all but the most rabid Trump fans. Courage.

Disclaimer: Marie-Anne wrote this post. The views are hers and do not necessarily reflect the views of all Rockwall Democrats.

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