Wednesday, May 8, 2019

No Collusion, No Impeachment – KOA and 9KUSA

The Mueller report finding of no collusion is very good news for the President. Trump’s mantra of no collusion is validated. In 9KUSA and KOA interviews, the politics of the Mueller report was dissected. The finding of no collusion means no impeachment. Speaker Nancy Pelosi already understood the politics and stated that for impeachment to be credible and not work to the Democrats’ detriment, it had to have the Mueller report outlining “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

The Special Counsel's investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. As the report states: “[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”

But, the Russians did interfere with the election by social media efforts to divide the U.S. electorate and help Trump and by hacking Democratic emails for distribution to damage Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump. Did it make a difference? Not determinable, but the 77,000 three-state victory of Trump will forever be less legitimate. And, there is a host of contacts between his campaign associates and principals and the Russians to forever raise doubt that there was an, at least, unethical intent and action.

But, Mueller was less definite on obstruction of justice. Attorney General Barr’s letter states:

Instead, for each of the relevant actions investigated, the report sets out evidence on both sides of the question and leaves unresolved what the Special Counsel views as “difficult issues” of law and fact concerning whether the President's actions and intent could be viewed as obstruction. The Special Counsel states that “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

Hence, there will be a demand for the evidence “on both sides of the question” and for Congress and the public to make their own judgement. According to Barr, the lack of finding collusion was fatal to the charge of obstruction as it undermined the “evil intent” requirement.

Trump will, of course, argue he’s exonerated and any further inquiries are partisan harassment. Democrats will demand the evidence and continue at least some investigations. And, of course, the President’s re-election effort is benefited by the lifting of the cloud and endless stories of subpoenas, raids, testimonies and pleas. Although Trump was harmed by the investigation, and would have been possibly fatally damaged by a finding of collusion or obstruction, the success of his re-election is based on other political factors.

The midterm result and recent polls, including from his preferred FOX News, show that he starts from behind in voter approval and head-to-head face-offs because of his unpresidential demeanor and many unpopular policies on health care, immigration and taxes. Historically, incumbent presidents get re-elected. Both Trump and the Democrats are now back to the real task of convincing voters they should lead the country after 2020.

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