Robert Mueller may have confirmed that the President of the United States didn’t knowingly collude with Russia, and Team #MAGA is taking its victory lap.
The report is agnostic on the question of whether Trump obstructed justice, and several members of his circle are already or will soon be behind bars. (As noted by CNN Legal Anlyst Elie Honig, imagine if Mueller had waited until he completed his report before announcing all 34 indictments, including the likes of Paul Manafort, Roger Stone and Michael Cohen, at once.)
In any event, even if Trump isn’t guilty of collusion, it certainly doesn’t make him a good President or even a decent human being.
…at the end of the day Donald Trump is a bad man. A bad, orange man. And a bad president. Vanna, show them what they’ve won!
Trump is still the same guy who:
Told Billy Bush that “I moved on her like a bitch” in reference to a married woman. And that his M.O. is to “grab ’em by the pussy.”
Insulted John McCain for being captured while serving in Vietnam.
Insulted a Gold Star family whose son died in Iraq.
Said Mexico was going to build America a wall.
Accused an American judge of dual loyalties.
Refused to divest from his businesses after he was elected president.
Does not appear to understand trade deficits.
Complained about immigrants from “shithole” countries.
Said terrible things about male journalists.
Failed to swiftly and simply condemn violence by neo-Nazi and white nationalist protesters during the Charlottesville protest.
Said he had a “great relationship” with Rodrigo Duterte, the Phillipines president who has bragged about personally killing people during his war on drugs.
Retweeted an extremist British nationalist’s anti-Muslim videos.
That’s not even half the list. And the complete list doesn’t even mention he’s a vaccine troofer on top of everything else.
In any event, that victory lap might be premature, according to Henry Olsen:
This evidence could have a quite different effect on public opinion than it would in a legal proceeding. Criminal prosecutions require proof “beyond a reasonable doubt,” and Mueller clearly saw a strong case against Trump under that standard. While Barr decided he did not, reasonable observers could conclude differently. They could also conclude, perhaps, that they have reasonable doubts but think Trump did obstruct justice under the more lenient “clear and convincing evidence” or “preponderance of the evidence” standards. Prosecutors would not look at a criminal case through those lenses, but politicians and pundits are sure to do so.
Barr’s section labeled “Obstruction of Justice” is essential here. Every sentence is extremely precise and carefully worded. The matter of the president’s intent is key, as a prosecutor would have to prove that such a crime was committed with “a corrupt intent.” Barr writes that the special counsel’s finding that the president was not involved in an underlying crime bore “upon the President’s intent” regarding obstruction. In plain English, that suggests there is evidence that people could conclude constitutes criminal obstruction, but that Trump’s saving grace in the law is that he also could not be proven to have colluded with the Russians. Political observers could disagree.
Barr’s subsequent release is highly likely to contain much more detail, much of it at least unflattering to the president, than most pundits surmise. With respect to the issues of Russian collusion and obstruction, we have clearly reached the end of the beginning. We are nowhere near the beginning of the end.
The more Trump crows about how the Mueller report proves his innocence, the harder it will be for him to avoid releasing it. Though if anyone is shameless enough to try, it’s him.