Sunday, April 21, 2019

The Mueller Report Is Worse Than I Thought

I'm actually glad that the Mueller Report found no credible evidence of direct cooperation between the Russians attempt to infect the 2016 election and the Trump campaign. It would be terrible, shocking and dispiriting to know that an American presidential candidate was working with an enemy to undermine our democratic institutions.

Then there's the rest of the report. The disgraceful, dispiriting, venal, vile attempt by the president to stop the investigation, intimidate witnesses, subvert the investigative process, and otherwise use his office as a blunt instrument to bludgeon those who would question his utterly questionable behavior is proof positive that when it comes to draining the swamp, Donald Trump is an utter failure. In fact, Trump has brought so many mosquitoes into the swamp that Washington could run out of blood by the end of the year.

What saved the country, and indeed his presidency, were the actions of many of the president's subordinates who refused to carry out his orders, stalled, quit, or in some ways redirected the president's anger to other concerns. They are not heroes, but they do qualify as capable public servants who knew the constitution and our democratic processes better than the president. 

And, as is usual, most of them no longer work in the Trump White House because they defied his destructive instincts. The ones that are left, including Attorney General William Barr, seem to be more committed to the president than the workings of their offices and their responsibilities to the constitution.

What's worse is that the president believed he had to undermine the free press, questions people's loyalty to the country, and pay fealty to his most ardent supporters by making himself out to be the victim of some misbegotten prosecutorial overreach. What we now know is that the press is alive and vital, proving that it was the president and his press secretary who did not have their facts straight. And those former underlings who had their loyalty questioned or who were fired and/or testified against the president turned out to be the ones with the correct stories.

The president might not have cooperated with the Russian attempt to subvert the 2016 election, but he did absolutely nothing to stop it and everything to goad them and Julian Assange to feed the press stories that would not only hurt Hillary Clinton, but would denigrate our intelligence services and law enforcement agencies. He expressly denied that it was even the Russians who were the main actors, despite the CIA conclusion to the contrary. He tried to get his Attorney General to stop the investigation, and fired James Comey, thinking the whole problem would go away.

Tell me where, in all that heavy traffic, he made that tricky u-turn back to being completely exonerated. There might not have been collusion, but there was active ignorance. No crime, but plenty of attempts at breaking the law. And the president blew lots of hot air, but that only fed the fire. he has set a terrible example for the country and has made it clear that he is only interested in appealing to the minority of people who voted for him in 2016. We deserve better and I hope we get that in 2020.

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