By V. Susan Hutchinson
Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller testified before the House Judiciary and the Permanent Subcommittee on Intelligence on July 24. Depending on who is doing the reporting it expanded on key information in his report or did nothing except make him and the Democrats look bad.
With the exception of saying Donald Trump can be prosecuted for obstruction of justice after he leaves office, Mueller did not stray far from the information and conclusions contained in his 448-page report.
Although his testimony wasn’t exactly riveting, the actual report is well worth a read. The introduction to Volume I is short and to the point. It clearly states, in the second paragraph, “The Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping, and systematic fashion.”
How much clearer can it be? You don’t have to be an attorney to understand that statement.
But don’t stop there. Keep reading to see how they did it. If James Patterson took Volume I and re-wrote it as a spy novel with some colorful characters it would be a New York Times best seller.
Maybe that’s the way to get everyone to read it.
Despite its importance, Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the Senate majority leader, and Lindsay Graham (R-SC), now Trump’s chief apologist, have admitted they haven’t read it.
Of course, just like Trump, they only have the attention span of a tweet or sound bite so over 400 pages of text is too much time commitment for them. They want you to believe they don’t need to read it because the key conclusion for them, and Donald Trump, was Trump’s campaign did not collude with Russia to rig the election in his favor.
The problem with that view is that Mueller did not look at collusion during his investigation because it is not a legal term. His terminology includes cooperation and coordination. So, to say “no collusion” means absolutely nothing.
But people don’t know that because they aren’t reading the report, which is a legal document.
The conclusion Mueller drew of no collaboration with Russia was based on not finding evidence the Trump campaign actively worked with Russia. The report indicates Russia and Trump were basically running parallel to each other to try to get him elected. There were no strategy sessions between them or cohesive plans to accomplish that goal. At least none that Mueller could find or document. The two camps just shared information with each other with Trump running a “clean” campaign and Russia doing the dirty work that was illegal to influence voters. Russia was thorough in its interference and reading how they did it is disturbing.
All of this is clear if you read Volume I in its entirety. What Trump did was definitely unethical and maybe borderline illegal, but nothing that would stand up in a court of law.
We Need More Answers
Which brings us to Volume II, the obstruction of justice section.
In the introduction of the report Mueller states “Volume II addresses the President’s actions towards the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election and related matters, and his actions towards the Special Counsel’s investigation.”
We all know Trump’s reaction when Mueller was appointed as special counsel. After reading Volume I you can conclude that he really had nothing, legally, to worry about. If he had let Mueller complete the investigation into Russian interference, which was the actual intent of the special counsel, there would have been no need for Volume II or even for Mueller to testify before Congress.
So, what was Trump so freaked out about that he needed to try to derail Mueller’s investigation? Was he afraid they would get a copy of his tax returns that show he’s lied about his wealth? Was he afraid that Mueller would uncover his shady business dealings? Maybe something even more unsavory in his personal life?
Or was it something more disturbing than what we already know? Trump is not ashamed of spewing hatred, inciting violence or using racist rhetoric to divide the country, so it couldn’t be that.
After reading Volume II, it looks like Trump should have been testifying before Congress last week and not Mueller.
Robert Mueller is now a private citizen and he is no longer required to answer questions. Everything he has to say is in the report. Read it if you want to know his findings and understand why he made his conclusions.
As for the investigation into Trump’s obstruction, there are still unanswered questions on motive. This is where real investigative journalists need to step up and find the truth. If there is something lurking in his past, or present, that will be the end of his presidency, we need to know now.
New York Times, Washington Post are you listening?