By V. Susan Hutchinson.
Now that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has released his report to Attorney General William P. Barr, it has been a roller coaster ride for Americans who insisted on their right to see it. Although there is no law saying the Attorney General can’t release the report, Barr took a circuitous route for its release to Congress and the public.
First was Barr’s four-page review of the document with a Donald Trump take-away that there was no collusion between Russia and his campaign in 2016. Then he stated it needed to be redacted in multiple sections before he would release it, with several weeks’ delay from the time he received it from Mueller.
This week we learned that White House lawyers, as well as Trump’s personal lawyers, were allowed to review the Special Counsel’s, albeit redacted, report before it was released to Congress. This is certainly a curious event after Trump and members of his administration joyously asserted that the report exonerated the president of collusion.
Today Barr held a press conference before immediately releasing the redacted report to Congress and the public. It was, by all accounts, another bizarre twist to this continuing story. As with the four-page initial review, it appears to have been intended for an audience of one – Donald Trump.
It’s Not All About Trump
But let’s stop focusing on Trump and the obstruction angle for a minute and review what prompted the appointment of the Special Counsel in 2017. There would never have been an investigation without suspicions from various national security agencies that Russia interfered in our election process with the intent of making sure the candidate they wanted was successful. The fact that Trump was their choice is a moot point.
However, evidence was uncovered of possible coordination with the Trump campaign and that led to expanding the scope to conclusively determine if Trump, or any member of his campaign, actively helped Russia in their efforts.
Because Trump and his campaign were clearly mentioned, Trump made it all about him and people lost site of the Russia meddling component.
It has never been disputed by anyone, and has now conclusively been confirmed with the Special Counsel report, that Russia interfered in the 2016 Presidential election. Even Trump stated, before the mid-terms in 2018, he wanted to stop Russia from doing it again, although he never followed up.
In July of 2018, Rep. Steny H Hoyer (D-MD-5) introduced H.R.6437 the Secure America from Russian Interference Act of 2018. What is the current status of this bill? Upon introduction it was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs.
And that’s where it remains.
Will it Happen Again in 2020?
Donald Trump has everyone focused solely on him with regard to the Special Counsel report. The fact that neither he nor anyone in Congress is actively looking at how to stop Russia, or any other foreign country from interfering in our election process in 2020, is appalling.
Every American should be outraged that this happened, with or without coordination from a presidential contender. It doesn’t matter if you are Republican, Democrat or have any other political affiliation; our democratic processes and rights as voters to choose our own representatives are being compromised and that should never, ever be allowed to happen. Anyone who ignores this or tries to justify it because their candidate benefited is not a patriot and could be considered a traitor to the United States.
This is not about partisan politics; it is about standing up for the Constitution and the principles of the founding fathers of this great country.
Lindsey Graham’s Priority
The release of the long-awaited Mueller report should have lit a fire under everyone in Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, to do something about Russian interference before 2020. It seems both parties are still focused on Trump with regard to this report.
But what did Sen. Lindsey Graham do this week? He is no longer interested in the Mueller report and decided it was more important to re-investigate Hillary Clinton’s email server. Investigating a woman who is a private citizen and who has been cleared of all wrong doing in previous investigations is more important to him than the principles upon which America was founded.
Graham, like Trump, is all about retaliation for real or perceived slights to Trump and his presidency. And because they don’t have any other way to get back at the Democrats, they dredge up old scores to settle instead.
Graham is determined to fulfill Trump’s 2016 campaign promise to “lock her up” instead of representing the people of South Carolina and defending the U.S. Constitution.
Every Senator and Representative in Congress needs to hear that their priority should be stopping outside interference in our election process and focusing on every American’s right to vote in free and fair elections before it happens again.
This is not a partisan issue. Stop making this about Trump and collusion.
Write them, call them, challenge them on the campaign trail. Do anything you can to bring the focus back to American democracy and off of Donald J. Trump.
It’s time to Take a Stand!