There has never been a more anti-climactic moment in Presidential history than Attorney General Barr’s synopsis of the Mueller Report. Let’s get into what it said, what it didn’t say, and what we do moving forward.
1. TRUMP ADMINISTRATION COLLUSION WITH RUSSIA
Here is what the Mueller Report, not the fact-lite Barr synopsis, said: “The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”
What does that mean? It means two things: 1) In Robert Mueller’s opinion, he could not prove in a court of law, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Trump or his Administration colluded with Russia to hack our elections; and 2) In Mueller’s opinion, more work needs to be done on this issue by Congress, using his report as the jump off point.
As to the first issue, not being able to prove collusion beyond a reasonable doubt, here’s what reasonable doubt means: “A reasonable doubt exists when a factfinder cannot say with moral certainty that a person is guilty or a particular fact exists. It must be more than an imaginary doubt, and it is often defined judicially as such doubt as would cause a reasonable person to hesitate before acting in a matter of importance.” That’s the most accepted definition.
One definition of “reasonable doubt” comes from federal jury instructions in the Fifth Circuit: “A ‘reasonable doubt’ is a doubt based upon reason and common sense after careful and impartial consideration of all the evidence in the case. Proof beyond a reasonable doubt, therefore, is proof of such a convincing character that you would be willing to rely and act upon it without hesitation in the most important of your own affairs.”
In other words, Robert Mueller wouldn’t say with a moral certainty that Trump or his Administration colluded with Russia. He also wouldn’t rely on the prospect that there was collusion without hesitation in the most important of his affairs. And has there been a more important affair for Robert Mueller, at least in the public arena?
So what does it all mean? It means that Mueller was unwilling to be the one to indict a sitting President based on the evidence he has to date. It also means that he is unwilling to say that Trump and/or his Administration did not collude with the Russians to hack our election in 2016. So . . . we’re back where we started and now it’s Congress’ turn.
CONCLUSION: There is no conclusion on collusion, at least not beyond a reasonable doubt. I’d love to hear Mueller’s opinion if the standard were “more likely than not”. And if Trump and/or his Administration more likely colluded with Russia than not, um, that’s not good. And we don’t know the answer to that question. Also not good.
2. DID PRESIDENT TRUMP OBSTRUCT JUSTICE?
Attorney General Barr doesn’t think so but who cares what Trump’s hired gun thinks? Here’s what the Mueller Report says on the matter: “[W]hile this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
So we’re back to the same analysis as in the question of Russian collusion. Robert Mueller doesn’t want to be the one to indict a sitting President without all of the goods. There is evidence that Trump obstructed justice and evidence the other way.
Here’s what it really means: When there’s a question of fact, we put it to the fact-finder in the legal setting. So Mueller’s intention likely is that Congress will do it’s job, sort through his findings, and let the jury, in this case, the American people, decide what happened. It worked with Richard Nixon so why not with Trump?
The problem with Mueller’s approach here is that there was no Fox News when Nixon was in office. Had there been, it’s not clear that Nixon would have been forced to resign. Why? Because those who backed him would have had 24/7 news coverage telling them that Watergate was a hoax and a witch hunt.
CONCLUSION: Same as with Russian collusion, undetermined.
3. WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
If you believed in President Trump before, you believe in him now, and you’re going to vote for him in 2020. If you didn’t, then you won’t, but you have work to do. And that work, is beating Trump AND the GOP in 2020. He’s not going to be impeached before the election and the GOP is in full 2020 mode.
One of our RW readers commented that we should be choosing the best possible candidate instead of just the best-suited candidate to beat Trump. In normal times, yes. However, these are not normal times. Trump remains a danger to our democracy and must be ousted. So we must make sure our candidate is someone who can win swing states and appeal to a broad base of people. That’s the RW opinion at least.
CONCLUSION: Make sure we keep the House, flip the Senate, and beat Trump in 2020. And take back some state houses while we’re at it!
A year and change from now, even if you don’t like the Democratic nominee, you’ve got to suck it up and vote for him/her as long as Trump is on the other side of the ticket. Unless the Democratic nominee is Tulsi Gabbard. Then you find a Chia Pet that looks like Joe Biden and write it in.