Scoot: Mueller report releases and the debate goes on...

March 25, 2019 - 1:00 pm

President Trump declared victory following the release of the Mueller report!

The nearly 2-year investigation into Russia’s attempts to control the outcome of the 2016 presidential election and into the possibility that President Trump and his campaign colluded with the Russians was released over the weekend to the Justice Department. Trump-appointed Attorney General William Barr issued a letter summarizing the findings of the investigation.

Barr’s summary led to jubilation on the part of President Trump and his supporters over the conclusion that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russians. But…which is so often the case…Mueller said that the report does not exonerate President Trump.

The ambiguity of the Mueller report left the President cheering and the Democrats pointing out that the report did not exonerate Trump. So here we are after the release of the much-anticipated Mueller report with enough information for both sides to continue their heated debate.

President Trump has every right to declare victory; but his continued proclamation that the report totally exonerates him is false, even by the written conclusion of his attorney general William Barr.

Americans crave definitive answers. We want to know who did it and why. It seems the build-up to the release of the Mueller investigation carried the promise that definite answers were coming, and that did not happen. Most surprising to many is the fact the Special Counsel Robert Mueller stopped short of coming to a conclusion on the biggest question, which was whether Trump was guilty of obstruction of justice. Mueller conducted the investigation, but decided to leave the decision of guilt or innocence up to the Justice Department and Congress.

The idea of leaving any conclusion up to Congress only guarantees that the political tug-of-war will continue. The hope that the Mueller investigation would lead to a definite conclusion was lost in the release of the report. And now, each side continues to dig in and fight their battle.

Ideally, those who were hoping the Mueller report would signal the end of the Trump Administration need to admit that the report does declare that there was no collusion and President Trump and his supporters need to admit that the President was not exonerated. I said, ideally, because the world of politics is not idea and too many on both sides will not be willing to acknowledge the other sides’ legitimate claim to victory.

The Mueller report seemed to leave no doubt that Russia attempted to meddle in our election with the goal of making sure Donald Trump won the election. It is important that both sides recognize that Russians duped a lot of Americans into believing false news stories designed to damage Hillary Clinton’s image during the campaign, but for President Trump to fully accept that premise is to bring into question the legitimacy of his campaign victory.

Failing to admit Russia’s intent and not aggressively attack the problem Russia and other nations present is to invite more malicious attempts to sway public opinion. And if the Russians want Trump re-elected, and that is a safe assumption, and the President is not involved in working with the Russians, what incentive does the Trump administration have to work toward stopping the Russians from achieving their goal?

The idea that the debate over Trump and Russia’s attempts to alter the election results is so predictable that it is almost humorous, but the reality that the Russians will do it again is a sad testament to the new norm that defending your political side is greater than seeking the truth.

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