Democrats are oh-so-thankful for the caring advice of Republicans like Joe Scarborough whose column headline Monday was “You Lost This One, Democrats. Move On.” Or George Will, or David Brooks. Thanks for nothing.
They all jumped aboard the bandwagon, joined by a ton of major media editors and writers, taking Attorney General William Barr at his word — not Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s word, but Barr’s — that the Mueller report found the president not guilty of collusion with the Russians in the 2016 election, and that Trump should not be indicted, even though he was not exonerated by the report.
It’s been a sad few days of unquestioned vindication of Trump, ignoring the word “not” in “not exonerated,” by his team and a lot of very wishy-washy others. Typical of Trump and his types, the momentary perceived vulnerability was exploited to jump onto an offensive, like that moment when a cat looks the other way so that it can be grabbed, nailed to a garage door and set on fire.
Trump’s reaction to the Barr letter about the Mueller report has been to verbally excoriate his critics in the media and Democratic Party, threatening all kinds of horrible retaliation for the crime of calling him into question, and, yes, some high pitched screams could be heard emanating from behind too many of the conciliatory comments, headlines and the like in the last few days.
But as always, the facts are quite different from what Trump and his allies contend, just as we’ve grown accustomed to them being for as long as anyone has known him.
There are two overriding realities that the Barr letter has not addressed at all, and that only a thorough examination of the full Mueller report might, or begin to.
First, Trump is a crook. His contemptible behavior, personality, and penchant for lying (8,000 lies in two years, according to the Washington Post) are all beside the point when it comes to his corrupt and illegal business and personal practices dating back to his Roy Cohn and New York Mafia days of the 1970s, and that includes his working from that period with the Russian Mafia, which flooded Brighton Beach in the early 1970s under the terms of Nixon’s corrupt so-called “detente” with Moscow, and muscled its way into the construction trades, drug, trafficking, blackmail, money laundering and other Mafia enterprises that Trump quickly became associated with.
Undoubtedly, evidence of this came out in droves in the course of the Mueller investigation. Mueller is an expert at building airtight legal cases against such criminals, and without a doubt, he handed off tons of the evidence that he’s obtained to the Southern District of New York, from whence prosecutions will come that are outside the ability to Trump to dismiss. These will be in the form of massive RICO (“Racketeer and Influenced and Corrupting Organizations”) indictments that should be able to put Trump behind bars for life.
Second, the Russians’ massive attempt to interfere in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election has been confirmed beyond a doubt, including with the expressed purpose of electing Trump and defeating Hillary Clinton. Major arrests of Russian operatives have already been made to underscore this fact. The Russians used social media to flood with their deftly-developed propaganda and disinformation, not to recruit unwitting people to their cause, but simply to sew division and hate, to drag the American electorate into an ugly world of self-loathing and sheer chaos.
It has also been well documented that the Russians, and undoubtedly other adversaries of the U.S., continue to do this.
These two points are not resolved, in any way, by the Barr letter, and they raise the question of a third point, which if it doesn’t rise to the level of criminal behavior, or collusion, in the opinion of some, still is gravely troubling.
That is, why has Trump and his Republican allies done everything in their power to cover up and obfuscate this Russian interference in U.S. elections, such that most of the 17 people indicted or found guilty to date have had to do with lying and covering up the truth?