Quantcast
Connect with us

‘Unmitigated success’: Journalist explains why Mueller’s investigation matters — even if Trump doesn’t go down

Published

on

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s has not been released in full to the public yet, and a lot of questions remain about it. But the topline conclusions — at least as told by Attorney General William Barr — are that Mueller is not charging anyone with a “conspiracy” with the Russian government, and that he did not make a determination either way about President Donald Trump’s culpability for obstruction of justice.

This is not an exoneration of Trump. But there is no doubt this is a disappointment to people who hoped for the highly improbable sight of Mueller leading Trump out of the White House in cuffs, or at the very least, that he would make a firm recommendation of impeachment. Trump certainly seems content to do a victory lap, and some members of the media content to let him have one.

But as Franklin Foer of The Atlantic writes, that does not mean any of this was in vain — and nor does it mean the president should be celebrating.

“Even if the actual Mueller report is anything like the attorney general’s summation of its contents, Russiagate will go down as one of the biggest scandals in American political history,” writes Foer. “The Mueller investigation has been an unmitigated success in exposing political corruption. In the case of Paul Manafort, the corruption was criminal. In the case of Trump, the corruption doesn’t seem to have transgressed any laws. As Michael Kinsley famously quipped, “The scandal isn’t what’s illegal; the scandal is what’s legal.” Lying to the electorate, adjusting foreign policy for the sake of personal lucre, and undermining an investigation seem to me pretty sound impeachable offenses — they might also happen to be technically legal.”

Moreover, as Foer notes, the investigation did uncover the answer to the main question it set out to learn: why did Trump go out of his way to suck up to and defend the Russians while running for president? The answer, detailed by the Manhattan prosecutors Mueller handed off the Michael Cohen investigation to, is that Trump wanted to build a tower in Moscow. He may not have aided and abetted the Russian counterintelligence war against the presidential election — Mueller could not produce sufficient evidence of this after two years of investigation. But it is increasingly clear Trump had financial interests in Russia, and used his campaign to signal to the Russians that they could make a deal with him.

ADVERTISEMENT

“This is the very definition of corruption, and it provides the plot line that runs through the entirety of Trump’s political life,” Foer writes. “The president never chooses to distinguish— and indeed, may be temperamentally incapable of distinguishing — his personal interests from the national interest. Why has he failed so consistently to acknowledge Russian interference in the election? Because that interference was designed to benefit him. Why did he fire James Comey and, let’s use the word, obstruct the investigation into election interference? Because he wanted to protect himself from any investigation that might turn up material that reflected badly on him and his circle.”

As for the claims of some leftist pundits like Matt Taibbi that the national obsession with Russia was like Bush’s lies about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? Well, yes and no, says Foer.

On the one hand, he writes, the Russia scandal differs from WMD in that the actual thrust of the suspicion was true: “The Russians were actively working to secure Trump’s victory. What makes their interference so horrifying is that it involved the theft of information and the active manipulation of public perceptions. All of that is arguably far worse than Watergate.” What is shakier is simply the issue of whether Trump himself colluded to pull this off, not whether Russian interference itself happened. But Foer argues Taibbi’s comparison has merit in one big way: “Just as Saddam Hussein acted as if he possessed verboten weaponry, everything about Trump’s behavior suggested that he was guilty of instances of collusion worse than anything the public could observe. That’s undoubtedly a major reason so many intelligence-community honchos were so worried.”

ADVERTISEMENT

“That such a partnership [with Russia] never materialized is a relief,” concludes Foer. “But the fact that we’re not staring at the worst-case scenario of guilt is hardly a reason for giving the president any credit.”


Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

‘Washington is no longer functional’: Brian Williams admits he’s sad to report that ‘our government is broken’

Published

on

MSNBC anchor Brian Williams on Tuesday reported that America's federal government is broken.

"This was day 908 of the Trump Administration and while there is no joy in it, one way of summing up today is this: Our government’s broken, our politics are broken, Washington is no longer functional, and the cracks in our society are deepening," Williams reported.

"Much of this day was taken up by the discussion of racist statements by the president. Then tonight came the news that had so many people thinking back to when we were different, the death just tonight of retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens at the age of 99," he said.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Trump ignored being condemned by Congress and instead praised Republicans on Twitter for defending his racism

Published

on

President Donald Trump celebrated on Tuesday night despite the House of Representatives having voted earlier in the day to condemn his racist statements.

By a final vote of 240 to 187, Congress voted for a resolution saying, "Trump’s racist comments have legitimized fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color.”

The resolution said Congress “strongly condemns President Donald Trump’s racist comments that have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color by saying that our fellow Americans who are immigrants, and those who may look to the President like immigrants, should “go back” to other countries, by referring to immigrants and asylum seekers as “invaders,” and by saying that Members of Congress who are immigrants (or those of our colleagues who are wrongly assumed to be immigrants) do not belong in Congress or in the United States of America.”

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

The tortured madness of Donald Trump: It’s clear the president is out of his mind

Published

on

Where’s Shakespeare when we need him? Only the Bard of Avon could do literary justice to the tortured madness of Donald Trump, who fluctuates between petulant self-pity and weird self-praise.

His brags are especially weird because they usually involve achievements he hasn’t made. It’s as though his saying something makes it true — even though everyone except his most naive devotees can clearly see that he’s either hallucinating or lying. In June, for example, at a rally launching his reelection campaign, he retrumpeted an old campaign promise to “drain the swamp,” assuring the adoring crowd that “that’s exactly what we’re doing right now.”

Continue Reading
 
 
 

Copyright © 2019 Raw Story Media, Inc. PO Box 21050, Washington, D.C. 20009 | Masthead | Privacy Policy | For corrections or concerns, please email [email protected]

close-image