Thoughts on Robert Mueller's Investigation

After almost two years of waiting, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is finally over and his 400 page report has been submitted to the Department of Justice. Predictably, it has not done much to bring resolution to the national debate about improprieties during Trump’s campaign or his conduct in the face of the ensuing investigations.

Also, predictably, Trump is flatly misrepresenting the conclusions drawn by the report, claiming he has been completely exonerated. The honest victory Trump supporters can claim here is that while Mueller did confirm Russian attempts to interfere in the election, he did not find evidence (or at least not enough evidence to recommend prosecution) that Trump’s campaign coordinated with Russia in those efforts. However, the report was apparently agnostic as to the question of whether there is sufficient evidence to prosecute Trump for obstruction of justice.

After the Attorney General Trump hand picked in large part due to his negative opinion about the investigation explicitly stated that the report had not exonerated Trump with respect to obstruction of justice, here is what Trump tweeted: “No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION.”

It boggles the mind how a President whose personal lawyer and campaign manager are headed to prison can keep a straight face making such claims, but he does and his supporters will buy it hook line and sinker. Similarly, it does not seem that the report will make much of a difference to Trump’s detractors. People’s opinions about Trump were firmly fixed long before the report and it was fantasy to think that the conclusion of Mueller’s investigation was going to change the hearts and minds of people who had long ago reached their own conclusions.

The only real resolution we get from the conclusion of the investigation is the knowledge that Trump will not be prosecuted. And while the Democrat controlled house will continue to press its investigations into Trump’s administration and Trump’s business dealings prior to winning the Presidency, impeachment seems increasingly unlikely as well.

Ultimately, I think this is a good thing. Since we already know that people’s beliefs and opinions are so fixed, anything that happened in a courtroom or congressional hearings would simply be fodder for both side’s talking points. It is, for better or worse, the court of public opinion that must settle these matters and the way that will happen is at the ballot box.

It is inescapable that the 2020 Presidential election, regardless of which Democrat becomes the candidate, will be a referendum on Donald Trump and, hopefully, his final reckoning.