April 19, 2018
by Allan Timke
There are two things I personally have learned so far from the coverage of the Mueller Report. There is, of course, a boatload of details we didn’t have before, but I’m referring to things that provide the context for understanding the whole of the report’s findings andd the core issues we must confront.
- First, that it would be unfair for Mueller to indict Trump, or recommend that he be indicted, given his understanding the it was Deparment of Justice policy not to indict a sitting president. Given that policy. That does make some sense in practical terms, if charges or recommendations were made, the president would have no chance to defend himself in court until after he left office. Mueller is strictly a “by the book” sort of guy, as he should be.
But this does not mean that Trump, or anyone else, is above the law. None of this prevents Congress from starting impeachment proceedings or some similar proceeding where the president would have an opportunity to defend himself. And it does seem likely that Mueller expects the evidence he has found will be used either in a court proceeding(s) at some point, or by some sort of formal proceeding(s) in Congress. Most readers have likely already come to this understanding from news reports, but a real understanding of the fairness issue is somerhing I have just now come to (despite my thirst for political blood).
- Second is how the whole Trump/Russia thing should be framed. I think this is the most important lesson of all! Up until now, I have been thinking that Russia/Putin intended to support Trump to get revenge against Clinton for her attack on the legitimacy of Putin’s election in Russia, and to end sanctions that were having a major personal financial impact on Trump and his oligarch buddies. While that is probably true, it should be noted that years before Trump was even a potential candidate, Russia had undertaken a project to undermine American democracy. Support for Trump was just a convient means to that end, regardless of those other factors. I had not made that connection before. That, to me, is far more frightening! From Rissia’s point of view, I think it was a very effective tactic given what the Trump presidency has done to our country since the 2016 election.