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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim, Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

Moving forward from the Mueller report


Rehashing 2016 will benefit neither party

The Mueller investigation has culminated into a dark cloud long hovering over American politics. Whether you see it as a witch hunt or a noble crusade for justice, it has always been lurking.

The investigation had the capacity to change everything for the Trump presidency, and many hoped it would.

Now, as the initial letter from Attorney General William Barr has surfaced, and a full redacted version of the report is set to be released in mid-April, it is clear that nothing has changed.

For almost two years, former FBI Director Robert Mueller and his team have been investigating the Trump 2016 campaign team for evidence of election collusion with Russia.

Even after the perp walks of a few crooks and cranks that Trump kept in his circle, the special counsel found that “the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”

Lest the MAGA world jump for joy, there was also another important passage taken from the Mueller report in Barr’s letter stating “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.” This quote gives a lot of room for doubt, and the president has his fair share of doubters.

Run with whichever quote you want, but the cloud of collusion and investigation still hovers above us regardless. According to a poll from the Washington Post and George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government, 83% of Americans want the report in its entirety. Much of the report will be redacted for national security concerns, but it will still be the length of a great Russian novel.

The 83% of Americans have work, the NBA playoffs to watch and homework to do. Not to mention that most of the report in its entirety will be mind numbingly boring. Very few people will actually read the full report, and what people get out of it is likely to reaffirm the mindset they had before reading.

This sort of calcifying of mindsets is already in full swing. Now that the Mueller report points to no collusion, the Post-Schar poll says that nearly eight in 10 Republicans are satisfied with a report that many detested a month ago. Not to be outdone, more than six in 10 Democrats do not accept the findings of the special counsel.

The question of collusion should not be polarizing all the way down. The truth really does matter, and the truth might be complicated. It is true that President Trump’s behavior with regards to Russian interference in American elections and how he has overseen the Mueller investigation has been nothing short of convoluted.

During the 2016 presidential race, Trump proclaimed, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’ll be able to find the 30,000 emails [Hillary Clinton’s emails] that are missing.” In any sort of decent form of public discourse this statement is disqualifying, and with every “witch hunt” tweet, he undermined the investigation in the eyes of millions of Americans.

Even if Trump did not collude with Russian authorities, there will likely be passages in the Mueller report that are embarrassing and reflect poorly on Trump and his administration.

Provided Barr does not redact all of the parts that reflect poorly on the Trump campaign and administration, the releasing of the Mueller report will not be a complete political victory for Trump and his administration.

If Democrats are really relying on the Mueller report as a key cog in the impeachment machine, they will surely be disappointed. With an eye toward 2020, it would be in the best interest of Democrats not to focus on impeachment and the never ending 2016 election speculations.

Running against a president you hope is impeached before you actually have to run against him sends a strange message. Running against a supposed-populist who is more satisfied with traditional Republican client politics with the corporate class is a much more powerful one.

If Republicans use the “move on” argument that Democrats used during the Clinton administration and Democrats with presidential aspirations move away from the politics of Russia-gate, both parties might actually be better off.

Congressional Democrats can and should continue to investigate the Trump family’s extensive conflicts of interest in their business dealings. There is still the odd chance that the Mueller Report really does have some sort of bombshell that leads to a reckoning.

However, don’t hold your breath. The Mueller report will likely not solve anything. The Trump show will go on through 2020 at the very least, and the 2016 election may keep spiraling.

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