What The Mueller Report Does And Doesn’t Mean

Just a one-way thing apparently.

Politico reports on the story set to dominate the week in Washington political news, the hotly-debated “summary” by Trump ally and Attorney General William Barr of the conclusions of a report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller on the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 elections to support President Donald Trump’s unlikely victory.

Though Republicans are tripping over themselves to declare Trump “exonerated” by Barr’s opinion of Mueller’s report, there’s little factual basis for that conclusion–and many essential questions left to be answered:

“The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities,” the special counsel wrote in his findings, which Attorney General William Barr released on Sunday in four-page summary form.

Mueller’s long-awaited findings also do not take a clear position on whether Trump obstructed justice, a gray-area conclusion that leaves the door wide open for an already-heated debate in Congress over whether Democrats should even consider impeachment proceedings against the president.

“For each of the relevant actions investigated, the report sets out evidence on both sides of the question and leave unresolved what the special counsel views as ‘difficult issues’ of law and fact concerning whether the President’s actions and intent could be viewed as obstruction,” Barr wrote in a letter to the key House and Senate committees.

“The Special Counsel states that ‘while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him,’” Barr added. [Pols emphasis]

The phrase “does not exonerate” appears to have lost a key component in translation from the Special Counsel’s report, as eagerly disseminated by President Trump and Colorado Republicans–the “does not” part.

With a very large gap still evident between the reality of this investigation and Republican spin following the release of Barr’s summary, attention now is turning to the next logical Democratic priority: release of the unredacted full report provided by the Special Counsel to the Department of Justice. 9NEWS reports that two Colorado members of Congress will be closely involved with that effort on the House Judiciary Committee:

The Justice Department said Mueller delivered his final report to Attorney General William Barr, who will now review the report and relay the conclusions to the House and Senate Judiciary committees.

Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Colorado) and Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colorado) are both members of the House Judiciary Committee.

We’re going to go out on a limb and suggest that Rep. Joe Neguse will be substantially more persistent in the public disclosure of the Mueller report than Rep. Ken Buck–and the difference between Buck’s eagerness to investigate any number of supposed Democratic misdeeds versus slow-walking the Mueller report will be a useful contrast. A great deal depends on the evidence “on both sides of the question” set forth in the full report that Barr doesn’t address with any specifics. In addition, it’s likely that Mueller himself will be called to testify to clear up these ambiguities.

Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been clear for months now that the bar to commence an impeachment proceeding would be very difficult to clear–a revelation that not even the most hardened pro-Trump Republican could ignore. In the end Mueller’s investigation into the 2016 elections was always more likely to produce facts for voters to resolve electorally than an impeachment of Trump, which is why the Trump administration is trying desperately to control the release of those facts. It’s almost certain that more damaging disclosures are just around the corner.

What Americans do know now with no real partisan dispute is that the Russians wanted Donald Trump to be America’s President. If you accept as axiomatic that Russia does not have positive outcomes for America in mind when they meddle in our elections, which most observers do, the question of whether Trump actively colluded with the Russians or passively reaped the benefits of their election meddling becomes less significant.

The Russians helped Trump win, and it wasn’t to make America “great again.”

16 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. ParkHill says:

    The best comment of the day came to me via Jeet Heer, sitting in for Josh Marshal at TPM. He says the historical comparison is Iran-Contra, not Watergate. In other words, a few, lower-level personel (like Eliot Richardson) will take the fall, only to be pardoned later. Rehabilitation later always comes easy if you are a Republican.

  2. PodestaEmails says:

    You'll never give up, because its not about the truth. It's about partisan lies and sniping. I don't give a fuck what Russia wants, I care about what Trump is DOING. Greatest economy in history and the world has to respect us or pound sand. Trump is going to win by a landslide in 2020.

    Fuck off sore losers!!

    • unnamed says:

      Wow Poddy Mouth.  You told us.  So, what should we do instead?  Open the 300th investigation of Benghazi ?


      You were sounding like a sore loser when Dems kicked your sorry party's ass last fall.  And, you just boosted my confidence that Trump will have a tough row to hoe with this comment:

      Trump is going to win by a landslide in 2020.

      Considering your track record, Fluffnut, that might just be the kiss of death for your Fuhrer.

    • Mike W. says:

      President's party doesn't win a single statewide office during the Midterms in the three states the orange buffoon absolutely needs to win


      That might be better than Moddy's old Governor Coffman taunts, especially in retrospect.

      • unnamed says:

        Poddy/Moddy had to move on from Governor Coffman.  Now he just has to make sporadic appearances as an uber-angry incel that likes to cuss a lot.

        Poddy, remember what you used to say back in the day?  

        Vulgarity means you're losing.

    • unnamed says:

      Hey, Fluffy, if the Muller report exonerates Hair Fuhrer, why did Mitch McConnell block a resolution to make the report public.  Surely Trump has NOTHING incriminating to hide.


      P.S. I await you’re coherent and respectful answer to this question.

  3. Davie says:

    It's almost like Vladimir Lenin was thinking of someone like *rump when he spoke of "Useful idiots".

    I suppose if *rump is correct about "No collusion", it's not for his family and associate's lack of trying…

    Mueller apparently didn't feel the evidence would lead to a conviction in a court of law, thus leaving it to Congress to judge if it rose to the level of an impeachable offense.  That would definitely be the case if we used the philandering (Gingrich), sex-pervert (Hastert) hyper-partisan GOP leadership's judgement that Clinton's blowjob rose to the level of impeachable offense as the permanent standard.  Cooler heads in the Democratic leadership won't stoop to that level naturally.

    With at least a dozen other federal and state investigations of run-of-the-mill graft and corruption, however, *rump and his minions will not completely escape justice.  

    I predict, barring a self-pardon, *rump will be indicted and convicted of serious crimes within a year of leaving office.

  4. Diogenesdemar says:

    Also in the report, according to Barr:

    . . . There’s no such thing as climate change.

    . . . Smoking does not cause cancer.

    . . . Trump’s administration is made up of America’s “best and brightest”.

    . . . Football is not a cause of CTE.

    . . . Donald Trump is a stable genius.

    . . . OJ is innocent.

    . . . We still haven’t gotten tired of all this winning.

    . . . America has the very best health care system in the world.

    . . . Hillary’s pizza shop was a center for pedophiles.

    . . . The Roman Catholic Church wasn’t.

    . . . America is just a re-election away from being truly great again.

    . . . Obama really was the antichrist (he just wasn’t very good at it).

    . . . Mexico’s check paying for “The Wall” is in the mail.

    . . . Oil companies really do care.

    . . . This whole Mueller investigation really was nothing but a partisan witch-hunt, and we can’t ever believe or trust a single word of its findings. . . . Wait, no, wait . . . ?

    • mamajama55 says:

      yes yes This should be exported into a meme: "These Things I Believe – from a Trump Patriot. " It should be written in a bold, yet accessible white font across a red and blue background with patriotic music playing while it scrolls.

      It's beyond my skill as a meme creator, but somebody oughtta.  It would get hundreds of "likes" from the fools that really do believe these things.


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