Mueller to finally speak
Will Robert Mueller finally tell us what he discovered, what it means and what remains to be investigated?
Next week, Mueller, the ex-special prosecutor in the investigation of Russian interference and conspiracy with the Donald Trump campaign, will make a public appearance before a congressional committee to answer questions. It is likely to become a circus-like atmosphere.
But popcorn aside, there is a great deal we need Mr. Mueller to tell us that he has so far left unclear in his report.
Here is what we know so far:
Mueller’s integrity is beyond reproach. His record is long and honorable, his service distinguished.
With numerous Russian contacts from the Trump campaign to Russian agents and operatives, our intel agencies were compelled to investigate the highly unusual connections.
Mueller’s report cited 10 distinct occasions where Trump committed obstruction of justice, but did not state those were the only examples of obstruction.
Mueller was unable to determine if Trump conspired with the Russian government because witnesses lied under oath, the Russian connection to Wikileaks and the Trump campaign was unable to be proven without testimony from Roger Stone (still facing trial) and the president refused to answer direct questions from the Mueller investigators necessary to establish intent.
Mueller’s investigation charged 34 individuals during the investigation including Trump’s campaign chairman, Trump’s security advisor, and Trump’s personal attorney. Others still face criminal charges.
At the conclusion of the investigation Mueller said, “If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.”
Since that statement, the president has said, in an interview with George Stephanopoulos, he would welcome foreign help in the 2020 campaign if it provided “dirt” on the Democratic candidate.
This leaves us with the following questions for Mr. Mueller:
If the Department of Justice policy permitted charging a sitting president with crimes, would you have charged Donald Trump?
If you had proven Trump had the intent to obstruct justice, would you have so stated in your report? Was the failure to determine intent the only reason not to charge Trump?
In the example of the Trump Tower meeting with Russian government agents, how could you deny the stated intent of Donald Trump Jr. to get “dirt” of Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate for president?
What questions remain unanswered from your investigation, questions you deemed outside your authority, or questions where you could not collect enough truthful testimony to take action?
What implications should be drawn from your investigation about the danger facing the 2020 election, of collusion with the Russians?
Mr. Mueller, your investigation left vague too many conclusions, can we go through the report attaining some clarifications from you?
What happened in 2016 was a clear threat to free and fair elections. The presidents’ recent statement that he would accept help from foreign nations (again?) in 2020 raises the most serious concerns going forward. It is time Mr. Mueller, for the good or the nation, to speak clearly to the facts and leave no ambiguity about the actions of the Trump campaign in 2016.
Jim Crawford is a retired educator, political enthusiast and award-winning columnist living here in the Tri-State. he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.