The publication of the report of the Special Counsel Robert S Mueller into the alleged collusion between Russia and the Trump presidential campaign is set to further increase the President’s troubles. Contrary to the impression the Trump appointed Attorney General William Barr provided earlier in his summary of the report, Mueller has not exonerated Trump. No.
In fact, he has listed several instances of Russian interference in order to ensure Trump’s win and Hillary Clinton’s defeat. It is true that Mueller has fallen short of specifically linking the Russian interference to the active involvement of the Trump team, but he has not ruled it out either. The benefit of doubt alone has allowed Trump to get away without indictment on this count.
However, Mueller is clear that in the 2016 poll, Russia interfered in a “ sweeping and systematic fashion.” Further, the Trump campaign was only too happy to receive the Russian help. Yet, Mueller has refrained from committing himself on collusion between Russia and the Trump team, something which the president has latched on to in order to shout vindication from the housetops. On another count, the Mueller report is clear.
There was collaboration between the Trump team and Wikileaks on the one hand and Wikileaks and Russia on the other. There is evidence how hacked emails from the Democratic Party headquarters, including Hillary Clinton’s own emails, were handed over to Wikileaks by the Russian intelligence to undermine her campaign. Also, a number of aides and associates of Trump were independently in touch with Wikileaks and Russian operatives, though likely without the direct knowledge of Trump.
More damning however is the Mueller finding about the obstruction of justice. The report in a telling sentence states, “If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state.
“(However) based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgement.” This will give the Democrats-led House to further tighten the screws on the President who is seeking a second four-year term. The report is bound to cast a shadow on his re-election bid. The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee has subpoenaed the full, unredacted report.
The evidence of Trump trying to subvert the functioning of Mueller, sacking the Attorney General who would not dismiss him, preventing others not to tell the truth on oath, publicly running down the investigation, pressuring then FBI Director James Comey to go easy on a key suspect, and then sacking Comey when the latter refused to play ball, and much more is littered in the damning report.
Shamefully, the Trump’s hand-picked Attorney-General summarized the report to claim that Mueller has given his boss a clean chit. The Attorney-General will find it difficult to continue after this brazen deception. As for the President, his troubles are set to mount, with the House Democrats demanding to vet his income tax returns and other suspect dealings.
The head of the most powerful nation in the world thus distracted by his own personal troubles can only leave the global field open for Russia and China to step in and twist the arm of the peace-loving democratic world. An inward looking America is not a happy development. Trump has disgraced the presidency. The onus is now on the ordinary Americans to save the presidency from such an undeserving man for further four years.