On Thursday, April 19, the report of Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and possible involvement by the Trump campaign was released by the DOJ. While there was a whitewashing effort by Trump’s Attorney General William Barr to minimize Trump’s exposure and 10% of the report contains redacted text, there’s still plenty of red meat in it to paint a picture of corruption and dishonesty by Donald Trump and his cabal of obsequious enablers.
Barr reduced Mueller’s 448 page report to four pages. Reduced further to bullet points, here are the key takeaways from the Mueller Report:
- Russia interfered in the 2016 election.
- Russia did it to help Trump and to disparage the Clinton campaign.
- rump knew they were doing it.
- Trump wanted their help.
- Trump’s campaign staffers met with the Russians to seek out that help.
- Trump and his campaign repeatedly lied about those contacts.
- Trump fired the FBI Director to stop an investigation into the matter.
- Trump and his campaign actively concealed their knowledge of this crime, even to the point of denying that Russia was involved.
Trump managed to win the 2016 election through a quirk of the Electoral College math. That means that these crimes achieved their intended result, whether causative or not, which was to make Donald Trump president.
There’s the “collusion” charge too: Trump wanted to win, Russia helped him to win, Trump knew about and welcomed that help, Trump won. Not enough evidence? Where’s the quid pro quo? Okay, how about this:
- Trump’s efforts to subvert the will of Congress by trying to remove sanctions placed on Russia by the previous administration for its illegal annexation of eastern Ukraine, its shooting down of Malaysian Air Flight 17 and its cyber attacks on the DCCC and DNC servers.
- Trump’s refusal to confront Russia’s construction of a full-service port in the Mediterranean at Tartus, Syria for its nuclear navy and basing for hundreds of Russian special ops troops. Every president since Truman has pursued a policy of eliminating Russia’s military threat and presence in the middle east. Except Trump.
- Trump’s refusal to hold Russia accountable for its flagrant violation of the INF Treaty, which was one of Ronald Reagan’s signature achievements, when Putin announced Russia’s development and intent to deploy hypersonic nuclear-capable missiles. (Aside: was scuttling the INF treat one of the off-the-record discussions that Trump held privately with Putin after the election?)
- Trump’s tacitly ignoring Russia’s building of an air base on the Caribbean island of Orchila for its supersonic Tu-160 “Blackjack” bombers capable of dropping the largest of its nuclear weapons on the mainland US in about an hour. In 1963, JFK spared no effort to force Russia to remove its intermediate range nuclear missiles from Cuba, leading to the Cuban Missile Crisis. But Trump has actually enabled Russia to move even scarier weapons into the Caribbean by dispatching John Bolton to Russia to tell Putin that the US had no intent to enforce the INF treaty.
The House is attempting to do a deep dive into Trump’s tax returns to see what other incentives Russia has given Trump over the past ten years to undermine the safety and security of the United States for personal gain. Predictably its facing strong pushback from the Trump White House which is also in full PR mode with its No Collusion happy dance.
There’s more than enough here to pursue not just impeachment but federal felony indictments. But it’s a classic altruism vs. pragmatism dilemma. Do you do your sworn duty to “preserve, protect and defend” or do you risk amping up the Trumpees with a Foxnews-manufactured issue 18 months before the 2020 election?
- 14 Must-Read Moments From the Mueller Report (Atlantic)
- The Mueller Report, annotated (The Washington Post)
- An annotated guide to the redacted Mueller report (Politico)
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