Special Counsel Robert Mueller submitted his report to the Justice Department and specifically the Attorney General William Barr. Barr will now be required to submit a summary of the report to the Congress. He may or may not make the entire report available to Congress or the public. Members of Congress have called to have the report made public and I would expect that in some period of time the report will either be made available to the public or someone will leak it to the public.
What the regulations require is that special counsel’s report should explain his decisions, including who was charged, who was investigated and not charged, and why he arrived at these decisions. Barr will then have to review this report and decide on what further actions should be taken by the Justice Department.
One fact that has been leaked already is that the Mueller report does not recommend any further indictments. That gives us a small insight into what the report may say. Five people involved with Trump have already been indicted, they include Paul Manafort, Rick Gates (former deputy campaign manager), retired general Michael Flynn who served as the national security advisor for a brief period, a campaign advisor George Papadopoulos and Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen. All these have pleaded guilty to various crimes but none of them have pled to collusion with Russians. In fact, most of them have been charged with crimes unrelated to the campaign. Roger Stone has also been charged and pled not guilty of lying to Congress.
Adam Schiff, the new Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has already spoken out and said he rejects any notion that there will not be further indictments. He will demand that Mueller testify before his committee and explain why he is not indicting more people. He has been on TV for months saying empathically that he has proof of collusion. He has never shared that proof and so he will look a bit foolish if the Mueller report does not confirm his audacious claims.
Senator Blumenthal (D-CT) was on CNN stating they had to see the entire report so they could see if further investigations were necessary. He was convinced there would be information that would lead to more charges. Only a few weeks ago he was praising Mueller and saying we had to support him and his conclusions. I guess those conclusions had to fit with his politics.
Then we have the couple of dozen Russians charged by Mueller, but you can be sure they will never step foot in the United States and therefore those indictments will never be prosecuted. So now we wait for further information. But that will not stop the political pols from speculating so I will speculate as well.
First, since there will be no further indictments it leads one to believe that there is no conclusive evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russians. I have long believed that there was no real collusion because the Trump campaign was not smart enough to collude. The two most surprised people on election night were Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. She thought she was about to be coronated and he thought he had raised his brand name in the hotel and real estate business.
Second, I don’t think the Attorney General will release the entire report to the public, but it will eventually be leaked into the public domain. Members of Congress voted unanimously in the House to make the report public. But don’t let that fool you. Democrats put that motion on the floor in an attempt to embarrass Republicans, so they saw right through it and voted in favor of the motion. Already Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi have issued a statement calling for the report to be sent to the Congress and to be made public, in its entirety.
So, there are now two scenarios. The first is that Mueller found conclusive evidence that there was some form of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian agents. If this is the case, I would expect Republicans to join with Democrats in calling for the President’s impeachment in the Houses and conviction in the Senate. The second is that the Special Counsel will find that Russians meddled in the election through a variety of methods, concentrating on social media, but there is not conclusive evidence of collusion. I use the term conclusive because I don’t think anyone can say with complete assurance that the Trump campaign colluded or did not collude. We just have to look at what the evidence says happened.
If the report does not prove collusion you would expect that would be the end of this discussion and we can begin to move past this entire sordid affair. But I highly doubt that will happen. Democrats are still smarting from losing in 2016 and they simply cannot let this go. They want to use the accusation as political ammunition. The same politicians that praised Mueller and demanded that he be allowed to complete his investigation unfettered will suddenly turn on him and question his motives. They will point out that he has worked for Republicans and that has biased his investigation. In the House, the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Jared Nadler (D-NY) will issue yet another round of subpoenas and will investigate everything he can think of investigating. Cong. Al Green (D-TX) will take to the floor of the house demanding that Trump be impeached for a wide variety of reasons. The Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, being a bit wiser and having been through more political fights, will tamp down talk of impeachment knowing that there is absolutely no possibility of conviction in the Senate.
The media is not without fault in this issue. In the beginning, they fawned all over Donald Trump during the campaign because he was good copy and full of sound bites. They never thought he could win the primary let alone the general election. But then they found him sitting in the White House and they had to attack him with full throat because they felt guilty about propping him up early. You can expect to see the liberal media go on the offensive that despite the Mueller team coming up with no collusion. MSNBC will have a heart attack and CNN will throw a conniption. The network news will be a bit more muted, but they will not stop their attacks on the administration. Already Chris Matthews at MSNBC has lamented how they could have left Trump off the hook. He was openly rooting for Mueller to find something that indicated collusion. You think there is a bias there?
Then we come to the White House. They have been trashing Mueller and his team for well over a year and if the report comes up empty-handed on collusion, they will have some serious backtracking to do and that will begin with President Trump.
Once we get past this, I would hope that Congress could settle down and start doing the nation’s business and not spending all their time on political investigations. They could start with a Comprehensive Immigration Bill. I know the Democrats don’t think there is a major problem on the southern border but even the ICE Director under President Obama, Thomas Homan, has come out strongly stating that it is fast becoming a disaster, and something needs to be done. Then they could look at infrastructure. We need to start rebuilding our roads and bridges. I would even encourage them to take a look at reforming social security and Medicare. But that would mean legislating and forgetting about politics so I am not holding my breath.